Sunday, 31 May 2009

The plan

Sometimes things just come together....I realised that there are 40 working days until the end of the summer term. Eight weeks of school and work days, precisely.

I've also been thinking that some of projectforty has been going rather well - the writing, the working, the making. I've realised, too that some of it hasn't been going quite so well - the exercising, the healthy living, the more visible aspects of what I'd hope I'd get round to doing.

It's time to put some real effort in and these thoughts have co-incided with another little discovery.

Twitter.

I worry about twitter. I can't quite believe that anyone reads any of it. In one of my previous posts I listed a group of people that I'd quite like to meet - I searched on twitter for them. Nigella does not tweet but, surprisingly Will Self does. Will Self tweets but he doesn't follow anyone else's twittering - why doesn't that surprise me. He has over 5,000 followers which is but a grain of sand in comparison to Oprah's 'twibe' of millions.

Anyway, as a little experiment, I'm going to use twitter as a way to record this year's concerted effort at looking better. General posting will not be interrupted but I'm interested how I can combine the twittering with the blogging.

My goal for the next eight weeks is to shrink a little and reduce the increasing creakiness that I encounter in the mornings. If I do nothing, things aren't going to improve on their own.

I know from the wii-fit, my clothes-fit and my level of un-fit-ness that something has to be done. I'm going to aim for some exercise every day and selective, mindful snacking. I have several downfalls - chocolate, biscuits and cheese. The usual suspects.

I promise not to tweet about what I had for breakfast, just a summary of 140 words a day.

Wish me luck! I think I'm going to need it....

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

new arrivals


Please be upstanding for (drumroll please)...... Snowdrop!
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One of four newly acquired point of lay hens.

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We had bantams ages ago (not keen on them), and then we had a few hens. Then we had a lull in the fowl department. Now we have four.
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They seem to be having fun, despite the dark, dank weather.
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I promise, only occasional news from the chicken coop.
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By the way "Projectforty - the action plan" starts Monday 1st June. Did you know there are 40 working days between Monday and the beginning of the school holidays. Drastic action is needed. I have no excuse. I work 3 days a week, 30 seconds WALK from the local gym. It's time to get serious. There will be numbers and measurements.
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Monday, 25 May 2009

taking the opportunity


My animal-loving, puppy-yearning daughter is in the unfortunate position of being part of a family that 'doesn't do' creatures (apart from our planned chicken arrival). Fortunately she has the occasional opportunity to visit my sister-in-law's where animals come in all different sizes and varieties.
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This weekend we celebrated the arrival of a new member of the human family and also heard of K's success at delivering and rearing other members of our non-human extended family! E was a hit, feeding tiny reluctant Midnight and making repeated visits to check on sheep-related matters in the local vicinity. I have no idea where this instinct comes from, I think it must, somehow be in my husband's genes. My lot were bakers and hairdressers.
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Visiting K's is a little like being in a Disney film. I spent most of yesterday stitching patchwork hexagons whilst an enormous Alsatian chased a puppy version of himself, a cocker spaniel and a terrier around and around the garden between said extended family playing cricket and the occasional game of badminton. It was bedlam! There were a couple of cats, flocks of geese and a charming collection of tiny ducklings milling around the place. I wouldn't have been surprised to see a llama or two.
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It was wonderful to be welcome little O and have such a lovely family day. The sun even shone for most of it.
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It's amazing, too, what a little bit of time chilling does for a person's batteries. It's good to get away sometimes and absolve all responsibilities to one's hosts. Cheeky, but nice.



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Friday, 22 May 2009

WLTM

Will Self
Tracey Emin
Antony Gormley
Elvis
Nigella Lawson
The Duchess of Devonshire
Rod Stewart
Rob Brydon
Orla Kiely
Vivienne Westwood
Paul Smith
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A short list of some people I'd like to spend some time with for many reasons but in no particular order. I see these people and read about them. I am interested in what they think and how they think it. There are many other people I'd like to meet but these are the ones that spring to mind at the end of a busy week.
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I'm pleased none of them are coming round to dinner tonight. I couldn't cope with a mentally and intellectually stimulating dinner with individuals I am in awe of. I am waiting for fish and chips to arrive along with ketchup, white bread and mushy peas. A Friday feast. That's one advantage of medium-sized boy's drum lessons on alternative Friday evenings. It's impossible to pass Langley fish shop twice in a day without stopping to savour it's pescatorial (?!) delights.
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Enjoy the bank holiday. Don't get sunburned. You know it's not good for you.
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Thursday, 21 May 2009

The Chop

"So, what shall we do here then, " said Janet.
"Choppy, layered, remove the fluff" said I.
"How short?"
"As short as you want to?"
"Really?"
"Go for it"
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I don't know who was more worried, me, the floppy haired fortysomething or the latest contestant in "search for a Wiltshire hairdresser who can cope with wavy hair".
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We coped. It's the best haircut I've had in about two years after an unfortunate short layering incident with a young lady who started out quite well but whose interest in my aging locks were destined to fade.
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The older I get, the less able I am to communicate with people who I'm paying to make me look a little better. I'm not sure whether it's because I'm starting to speak some kind of over-40 dialect; whether it's because I'm now on the slippery age to Tena lady pantypads and need more intensive (see expensive) work, or because all I really want them to do is make me look better, even if that's just until the next encounter with a hairdryer.
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Janet was marvellous and she coped very well with my random and unintelligible descriptions of how I wanted my hair. We got out the books and, for once, in my hairdressing visiting history, she sat while I looked and skilfully steered me away from all the cuts that I really want - elfin, flicky, small-headed haircuts.
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I am neither elfin, nor small-headed.
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I went, I sat, I read 'Hello' and G noticed the cut when he got home. Success, indeed.
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Tuesday, 19 May 2009

going, going, gone

Days fly. Weeks race by. I'd forgotten how working in education makes the year feel rushed and segmented by reports, exams, sports days and parents' evenings. It's relentless enough as a parent. Working in a school can feel like running a long distance marathon with a number of significant landmarks along the way.


Last time I worked in education I worked term-time only. This gave me the knowledge and support that I was amongst teachers and school staff, working relentlessly for several weeks with a well-earned and welcome break before the next exhausting term. My new job? It's all year-round. I don't have the luxury of knowing that sometime soon there is a potential period of optimum slump.
Somehow I must work in education whilst those around me plot long summer holidays and watch as they get the end of term look in their eyes. 'Only another few days to go' they trill, doing their utmost to keep on top of their ever-rising workload until they can rest. I am dreading next term. I must book my leave and book my leave soon.
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On another note...I am having a candle party tomorrow night. This is like an Ann Summer's party but without the sex toys. We moved here about seven years ago and I remember going to my first one, truly believing that I'd been invited to a sort of mini-sleepover and perhaps I needed to take my pyjamas. No. I'd been invited to spend enough money so that the hostess could splash out on a leopard print tealight screen.
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So why have a candle party? I was invited to one recently and was one of two guests. I had to do something constructive. I offered to host a party. I have been a woeful hostess so far. I had an initial email surge the day after I agreed to clean my house for the purpose of candles and, subsequently, have done nothing.
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The upside? I haven't seen any of my school friends/neighbours properly since I started working. I need an excuse to gather them to my house and give them wine. The lady who is organising me asked me not to invite too many people but I have. She will just have to cope. I think she may be concerned that people may have fun and not gaze at her catalogue for too long.
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Tesco are delivering crisps and nuts tonight. I've just swept the kitchen floor. I MUST remember to do something about fluff on the living room rug.
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Thursday, 14 May 2009

pretty in pink


I wouldn't say I'm a 'pink person' although my recurring skin sensitivities do result in a general rosy glow (I've mentioned this before).
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I once had a pair of baby pink dungarees. I was seventeen. In my defence it was the mid-80s. I don't think I've possessed a pink item of clothing since.
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I don't really like purple either. Does this say something about me?
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I love red (I've mentioned this before too).
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Anyway...we're in the pink. Tomorrow is NRH's last day of freedom. On Monday he reverts back to his proper title, G. He has found a job. I'm very proud of him although I always secretly knew that he wouldn't be a househusband for long.
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I'm also very proud that he actually took to the househusbandry thing rather well. Several positive outcomes have been noted:
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- he can now cook salmon, spaghetti bolognese, tuna bake AND rice
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- he has kept the kitchen clean and tidy the entire time he has been at home
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- he hasn't complained once about me leaving stuff everywhere
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- he's been getting as fit as a fiddle by pinching my bicycle and doing 'the loop' almost every morning
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I won't continue as if he ever reads this. Does he ever read it I wonder? His head will get too big to fit into the pool car that's arriving tomorrow.
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Yes, another positive outcome. There will be a second car in the drive again! The major victim in this whole redundancy malarkey has been my little Punto. She doesn't have a strong constitution. We took one, singular trip in her as a foursome and I thought she was going to grind to a halt and all her wheels and doors were going to fall off. She is not robust, neither is she resilient. She is not a car for family travel. We didn't go far.
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Is it Thursday evening already? I'm going to a patchwork workshop on Saturday. I've lost my list of things to take. It's with the Embroidery Guild. I am likely to be struck off
(or stitched up - ha ha!!!).
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Monday, 11 May 2009

we ploughed, we scattered


I had plans to write and organise my ever growing pile of paperwork this weekend. Instead? I toiled and tilled the patch of earth outside my kitchen window - sometimes referred to as the allotment, more commonly referred to as 'that sodding mess'.
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I share the allotment with my good friend and neighbour, H. It's all rather Amish. I enjoy the allotment a great deal more when we are out there together. Two people working together seems to get three people's amount of work done singly.
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We have different approaches but it seems to work:
- I wear gloves, H does not
- I like doing the edges, and mowing (I worry that I have masculine gardening tendencies)
- H can dig over a bed in 10 minutes flat, I'm still finding my flowery wellies
- I like a nice row of salad veg, H likes parsnips and potatoes
- H can stick a twig in the ground and it will grow, I need greenhouse assistance and even then, germination can be haphazard
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Well, as usual, we got a little carried away. I have a border fork which makes me feel as if I am cultivating a field with a toothbrush. Two minutes in to the weeding we started to mutter about rotovating and fixing the contraption that has been in my garage for about five years and used precisely twice due to various mechanical defects.
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'R and C have a rotovator'
'Are they in?'
'Let's go and ask'
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Within fifteen minutes of contemplating mechanical intervention, the rotovator stood proudly above our weed infested plot.
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I suspect we've done a mad allotmenting thing. It is likely that we have chopped all the dying weeds (I had an inorganic moment a couple of weeks ago with a bulk-buy purchase of weedkiller) into tiny pieces and re-invigorated their growing potential but, frankly, who cares. That sodding mess looks like an allotment now.
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We also planted squash and courgettes and pumpkins, controversially, through plastic matting stuff. They survived the weekend but will need constant supervision.
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Roasted veg for dinner? We hope so, sometime around September
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Friday, 8 May 2009

short and sweet


Forgive me, blogger, I have not blogged for more than almost a fortnight.
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Bluebells are a great reminder that the things around us just carry on despite all the other things we worry about or struggle with. I've popped up from my recent dip into the doldrums but there's so much going on my head is a little spinny. I've recently learnt the term 'fiddlehead' which is American, I think' for the spiral baby ferns that posted on craftdelight. Fiddlehead would seem an appropriate description for my thought patterns at the moment.

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I'm not a natural nature lover. I do not swoon at rabbits, voles or swifts. I like the countryside and a gorgeous view of rolling hills or ancient forest but if offered a citybreak or a rural retreat, I would choose urban distractions every time.
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I do love woods though, particularly when there's a carpet of bluebells and their scent is so dense. They are so prolific, yet so fleeting. It's always a treat to see them.
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We're lucky to live near Westonbirt which, despite, its astronomical entry price (if not a member) is the national arboretum with a collection of 18,000 trees. I don't go there often but it's a great place to dip in to during the year and is never the same twice. You can see the seasons so vividly there.

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My own garden is woefully neglected although I have managed to plant out my courgettes this week and sow some more parsley. I am planning a writing and gardening morning tomorrow to get some work out of the way and move some more seedlings from the greenhouse into the outside world. I suspect they will be eaten. Nature's great.
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Hot off the press news.....NRH has been offered a job. I know. It's great. He's had a lovely few weeks 'off' and made himself very useful. He starts in a couple of weeks so I'm preparing myself to re-organise and work out how we're going to manage with both of us working almost full-time. Just another little challenge to hop over.
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Am fitting in a trip to the American Museum in Bath this afternoon and I can't wait. I'm hoping for quilts and folk art.

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Y'all take care now
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