Saturday 31 August 2013

My month in numbers - August edition

Brought to you in conjunction with Julie Kirk's Month in Numbers challenge - you can find out all about it here ...

So as we pull up the anchor of August and set sail into the sunset it's appropriate to start with a photo of that sunset
which was the last in the 21 photos needed to complete Rinda's Scavenger Hunt. 

This month I had 31 days of not working and yet still being paid.  The major perk of being a secretary in a school.  The downside is that I am not allowed time off at any other time of year other than the official school holidays but let's not dwell on that.

The month started with 7 days in sunny Ibiza.  According to the in flight information screen that's just over 900 miles.  When we arrived at the hotel we were allocated room 101.  Hang on a minute.  According to the TV series, isn't room 101 where you put things you detest?  Didn't George Orwell invent room 101 as the place you put people to endure their own worst nightmare?  Well, my nightmare is lifts - can't bring myself to step inside one, so any room number that starts with a 'one' means I can walk to it via a staircase so that is fine by me.

For someone scared of lifts, staying in a hotel set into a hillside means there are a lot of steps to negotiate during the course of a day.  21 stairs between our room and reception.  32 stairs down to the dining room.  Another 19 stairs down to the bar/pool area.  Then another 21 to the terrace we used to like to have our sun loungers.  So with all that exercise how come I returned home to find I weighed 2lb heavier than when I left?

Number of books read - 4.  Quite a variety too.  First off was The Great Gatsby because although I had seen the film three times in my Robert Redford phase in the 70s, I had never actually read the book. Next up was The Abomination by Jonathan Holt.  It was one of the best books I have read this year and I strongly recommend it.  First of a trilogy, I can't wait for book two to be published.  Then I read the Little Coffee Shop of Kabul by Deborah Rodriguez which was an easy, good read and read within 2 days. The third was The Rose Petal Beach by Dorothy Koomson.  So good.  If you saw the Ice Cream Girls on tv, this is from the same author. Quite a few twists to the story. 

Moving on swiftly - I may be responsible for a wax candle shortage this month.  235 candles would bite the dust in August! 27 of them to a very special girl - my daughter.  How can I possibly be old enough to have a 'child' that age?

Meals out this month.  7 in Ibiza and 3 in England.

And a late inclusion.  16 butterflies found sleeping in our garage. The discovery of these was followed by the hysterical scream of 'We've got baby bats nesting in the garage - get them out!!!!'  Which was followed by a proper investigation, a sigh and a slight shake of the head and 'They're butterflies, Deb.  They aren't going to harm you.'  I'm still not totally happy about them being there but extremely happy that they weren't bats. 

☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

So onto the communal count for this month. 

I'm throwing my hat in the ring for the earliest time I got up this month.  3.50am.  That was a night of very little sleep.  But in a good cause because I was booked in for an early flight from Stansted Airport! 

(It wasn't the earliest I was awake that night though and anyone with grown up children may understand this.  R had gone up to London with friends for a night out.  They had booked a minibus to take them back to a friend's house.  She was planning to stay overnight with that friend and then get a taxi home the next day. At the last minute she decided to come home after all.  The mini bus would drop her at the station and she would get a taxi home at about 2am - or 2.30am at the absolute latest.  I went to bed at 10pm to get a decent amount of sleep before the alarm went off at 3.50am.  At 2.45am I woke up.  Don't know why, just wide awake.  I knew that R wasn't home because she cannot come in the front door quietly and tends to put all the lights on in the house as she comes upstairs.  Looked at my phone.  No messages.  Wonder where she is. Lie wide awake for about 10 minutes.  Look at phone again.  Maybe I'll just call her to see how far from home she is.  No answer.  Whoever invented the silent button on mobile phones?  Then at just before 3am I hear the engine of a taxi outside, the slam of a door, the loud 'Thank you', the crunch of footsteps across the gravel path.  I get out of bed, tiptoe downstairs to try not to wake the dog and hear her mumbling outside as she searches for her front door key.  I open the door for her. 'Awwww Mum!' she says as she sees me, 'You shouldn''t have waited up.  'Night')   

Number of visitors to the house.  19.  Not bad considering we weren't here for a week of August!  However, 12 of them came in one batch for pre-going out drinks for our daughter's birthday.

So come on then, let's pop over to Julie's to see what numbers other people have come up with this month. 

Tuesday 27 August 2013

Let's sit and have a cup of tea

August has been a busy month so it's lovely to sit and have a cup of tea together and share our news.  I think we had better sit inside today as it's a bit cooler today and there seems to be a fine mist in the air.  Autumn is probably on its way.
As I put the kettle on to boil, I feel sure that Coco will be excitedly greeting you.  She loves visitors, especially is there is a chance of some cake crumbs to share with her.  There is a tiny piece of my daughter's birthday cake left from the weekend.   
I can't believe that I have a daughter who is 27, it makes me feel old!  She had a lovely birthday despite being under the weather on heavy duty antibiotics. She had a crowd of her friends over for drinks, then they hired a minibus to take them to Kanaloa Club in London.  It's owned by Sarah Harding from Girls Aloud and they had a great time.  Came home with their Hawaiian Lei around their necks.  Which may have ended up as a blog header and certainly ended up as a dog decoration.
I'd try not to bore you with tales of our holiday, which already seems so far away.  But I would certainly show you the quilt that I have made to give to my son's girlfriend for her birthday in October.  I'm really pleased with the way it has turned out.  This is the third one I have made now and I think that with each one I find a new way to do something and improve.  I'm already planning a chevron one to make with the off cuts from the one I have just finished.  I've been so inspired by Abi's fab quilts and the chevron idea is definitely copied from hers.  I do hope I don't have to email her too often for help and/or advice! Have you tried any new skills this year?  I do love to learn something new. Isn't it amazing what tutorials you can find on YouTube?  But oh, how time flies when you click on 'just one more'!
I'll be offering you a top up and would probably be telling you that this time next week I will be back at work.  Taking part in a CPD day and not feeling happy about it.  Secretaries have never had to take part before and so we enjoyed an extra couple of days holiday just as the students do, but the head had an idea that teachers and support staff should be treated exactly the same so we are lumbered with having to go in.  You can tell I'm not keen.  It's pitched at teaching staff and I'm not convinced that non-teachers will gain much from being there.  I hope I'm proved wrong!
I'd ask if you were taking part in Rinda's Scavenger Hunt this year and tell you how I have all my photos now.  I am going to a crop in a couple of weeks time and intend to have them printed off so I can spend the first part of the day working on the mini album I bought to keep them in.  The hunt is so much fun and there was a part of me that was sad when the last one was found.  I wonder if we can talk her into doing a Winter one too?
Well, the pot is empty and the cake is eaten; the dog is scouring the floor for the smallest crumb and eyeing up any drop of tea left in the bottom of the mugs - she does love a cup of tea!  But if you are still thirsty, pop over to Abi's and see who else is taking part this month. 


Thursday 22 August 2013

Better late than never

So we have one more week of the summer holidays and this morning I had to acknowledge that I still hadn't done what I set out to do. When we broke up from school I said that one of the first things I wanted to do was to make a layout with photos from J's graduation.  And then I said that 'as soon as I am back from Ibiza, I'll make that layout'.  And then I got involved with making another patchwork quilt - and then I got involved in wrapping presents and making a birthday cake for R's birthday and then today I realised I had a morning with no plans.  The mobile dog groomer was coming round to beautify Coco and I had two hours with the house to myself.  And so I finally got to do this :
I've also got round to using the stitched paper stars that I received in a kit about 2 years ago.  I put them to one side as I really liked them, then couldn't think of a design in which to use them, then I forgot about them ...
I can't believe that the holidays are almost over and know that going back to work is going to be painful.  People say 'oh how lucky to work in a school, all those holidays.' But it is really hard to go back to the office after 5 weeks away.  I just realised that I think/hope I left my security card in my desk drawer, (if it isn't, I'm in big trouble as I have looked everywhere else at home!) and I tried to log onto my emails from home and realised that I have also forgotten my passwords.  I think I've got them written down in last year's academic diary so I hope I didn't throw that away as in 'I won't be needing that one any more'. (school diaries run from September to July) All those things I put to one side to do 'when we go back in September' - I can't put them off when I get back can I?
Five weeks, gone in the blink of an eye.  Remember when we were little and the summer holidays went on forever ... 

Thursday 15 August 2013

Simply a Moment in August

On the 15th of the month, Alexa suggests that we take a pause and capture Simply a Moment.  My moment this month was captured last week - I hope that's allowed!

I have come to the end of the book I am reading on my Kindle and I turn it off, remove my glasses and close my eyes contemplating the final twist in the plot.  Even though I am laying beneath a parasol, I can feel the rays of the sun filtering through the canvas and warming my skin.  There is a gentle breeze blowing and the temperature is just perfect.  

The waves are lapping on the rocks below the balcony on which I am relaxing.  The rigging on the sails of the boat which is moored close to the shoreline is rhythmically swinging from side to side as the boat moves with the tide and I can hear the sound of rope on metal.  

I open my eyes.  A bright yellow pedalo passes by, being pedalled by a group of young children.  Some are sitting on the seats and some sitting with their legs hanging over the edge but one young girl is standing at the top of the ladder, about to go down the slide into the water.  Over and over, she is singing 'We all live on a yellow submarine' with a Spanish accent.  It makes me smile, she is far too young to know that song, what has prompted her to sing that?

I see, before I hear, the ferry from Ibiza Town coming into the bay.  Ploughing through the sea with the people on deck at the back being gently splashed by the waves as it approaches the jetty.  A blow of a horn; the metallic sound of a gangplank being lowered onto the wood of the small pier and the gentle throb of the engine as it slows to a stop.  The captain bellows 'Cala Llonga!  Cala Llonga!' so that those who have booked tickets to the next resort along know that this is not their destination.  The people waiting to board are carrying lilos, sun umbrellas and towels.  They will be joining the boat for the next part of its journey to Santa Eulalia. 

Ibiza - a perfectly relaxing place to share a moment in the sun.

Wednesday 14 August 2013

Time travelling with the dog

I read an amusing link via a friend's twitter account yesterday.  It involves dogs and cars.  Yesterday I was strapping Coco into her harness and clipping it into the seat belt holder on the back seat ready for our trip to the station to pick R up from the train and I kept thinking about it and giggling to myself.
What the article pointed out was that dogs don't actually realise that when we get in the car, we are in control of what happens and where we go.  There is no way that they can know that us putting in a key, turning the wheel or pushing pedals makes the car move.  To the dog, we put on our special harnesses, buckle ourselves up, there's an odd rumbling movement and if you look out of the window, the landscape goes all blurry.  Things stop, and you end up in a totally different place.  How did that happen?  Sometimes someone else gets in the magic box,and off you go again.  How did they get there?  You never know where you'll end up.  Sometimes it's fun like going to a different park to run around, sometimes it's not so much fun and you end up at that place called a vet where they stick injections in your fur and do unmentionable things with a thermometer. Who knows where you'll end up?  Just roll the dice, strap yourself in and go off on an adventure.

Sunday 11 August 2013

Honey, I'm home!

Did anyone notice that there was an absence of random ramblings from Deb's World this week?  You see, I've been away.  Some may say I was sunning myself on a week's holiday on the beautiful island of Ibiza, just off the coast of Spain.  But the truth of the matter is that I was desperately hunting down the last two pictures I needed to complete Rinda's Scavenger Hunt. 
Two pictures.  You'd think it would be easy, huh?  An airplane.  Surely that couldn't be difficult with Stansted airport just 15 mins drive away.  And a sunset.  Well the sun sets every day, everywhere, so surely that was a simple one.  Yet those were the two I struggled to find. 
So I popped over to see my old friend Mick Jagger in Ibiza Town.  "Mick," I said, "where could I find an airplane to photograph?".  He gave it some thought and then pointed me in the right direction.
And whilst a shot of an aircraft in the sky was beyond the capabilities of the zoom on my little camera, I was able to snap one on the runway of the airport. 
So me and Mick had a wander around the town, he pointed out a few more photos for me to take of things that I had already found but I photographed them anyway so I can choose my favourite at the end of the challenge.  I'll share those another time.

It was getting late; I still had one left to find.  "Mick," I said "where do you think I'd find a sunset?"  Again, he gave it some serious thought, considered it for a while and then, in a moment of inspiration, he once again pointed to where he thought I'd find it

See, he's not just a pretty face  :-s

So, that's what I have been up to.  Now I'm off to browse the blogs to see what everyone else has been doing!


Sunday 4 August 2013

Picking my precious

My year seems to be measured not in months but the number of Picking my Precious posts and here we are with August's offering.  (For others pop over to Sian to see who is joining in this month)

So exhibit A is someone regular visitors will have met before ...
Penguin.  He attracts trouble like iron filings to a magnet.  He's been rescued from the jaws of a ferocious puppy and kidnapped at a scrapbooking crop to name just a couple of incidents.
When my sister and I were going through my mum's possessions after she died, we found penguin in a shopping bag.  Mum had died the week before Christmas so we assumed that she had bought him as a gift.  But who was he for?  My niece?  No, she was at university at that time and too 'cool' for a bean bag toy.  My daughter?  No, she was into all things Spice Girls and Take That, soft toys were no longer on her radar.  So we had to guess that he was for me.  I had a small collection of penguin items and I willingly took him under my wing.  He's lived in many areas of my home and is currently residing in my dining room, looking after the strawberry that Deb Turtle gave me and keeping his beady eye on the little turtle that Karen put on the bags of scrapbook goodies that she gave us when Deb, Carrie and Alison came over in March.  He's out of harms way up there, unless the dog learns to climb onto the sideboard.  And high enough that he can't get down on his own. 
My International 'Man' of Mystery - the infamous {precious} Penguin.  

Thursday 1 August 2013

Scavenger Hunt progress report

I'm doing ok on the Scavenger Hunt this year and although I still have a couple to go, I'm still on the lookout for duplicates of ones I already have in case I find something better than my first 'find'. At the end of the post I will give the list showing the ones I have left to find. (Not including bonus finds!)

So, what's new since Rinda's first check in?  Well, I found another sign which made me smile

 And I'm sure the Tower of London will qualify as a pretty good Tower
There's been no shortage of dinosaurs
 Today I went shopping in Cambridge, and right by the Open Air Market
Is a Cath Kidston shop, where the children's section had this lovely design covered in Fire Engines!

 And of course, last week I found a better outdoor bench

But if you want to see my whole set so far, they are all on my Flickr page which you can find here

I can't wait to pop over to Rinda's and see how everyone else is doing!

1. Open air market
2. Theater for performing arts (not a movie theater)
3. City Hall, Capitol or other similar civic building
4. Airplane
5. A sunset
6. Someone or something taking a nap
7. A sign that is intentionally or unintentionally funny
8. A tower
9. A photo with someone or something that is clearly out of place or doesn't belong
10. A bench that is outside
11. An animal in a zoo, aquarium, nature preserve, etc.
12. A cloud in the shape of something (please specify what you see)
13. A fence
14. A stained glass object or a mosaic
15. A fire truck or police car
16. A windmill
17. Candle(s)
18. Your local pub/bar, coffee house or tea shop
19. A fisherman
20. A dinosaur
21. A photograph of you with an artistic tool or craft supply (you cannot substitute for this item)
Bonus/substitute items. If you find any of the above items too difficult, feel free to substitute either (or both) of these items. You can substitute up to two items, but you cannot substitute Item #21:
A person wearing an outfit (or item of clothing) that symbolizes your country
A sundial