Friday 29 September 2023

#WBOYC in September


This is the month with the most amount of letters so far so might be more of a challenge this Month!

September 6th was our 43rd Wedding Anniversary.  Starting reception class at school for Rosie and Max. (Max lives in a little village a short distance from us so not both at the same school)

East Runton was the destination for a long weekend away - what a lovely few days we had on the Norfolk coastline.  Perfect weather and lots of 'dog friendly' places to visit. The weather was glorious and perfect for exploring the local area.

Planning the revamp of the downstairs loo started with the purchase of a new sink unit followed by a rather bold wallpaper choice - watch this space.   

Trying to put on a brave face for Rosie when she had to go to hospital for an operation to insert grommets into her ears. Also tooth inspection at the dentist for me, all appears ok, not needed to be seen for another six months. Which apparently takes us up to Easter!

Extra voluntary NI contributions under much discussion as pension age gets closer and closer!  I've been pleasantly surprised how easy it was to speak to a human being about whether or not it is worth my while filling in a couple of the years I have not been working.  Surely I'm not nearly old enough to be a pensioner?  Spoiler alert - I am!

Making up a small deficit in my national insurance contributions to ensure that I get the full pension when I am officially of retirement age in March next year.

Blood tests as I haven't had one for a few years and I'm now officially in the 'over 65' age group 👵 results were ok but I need to monitor my blood pressure as I am creeping over 'higher end of normal' into mild hypertension territory.

Excruciating pain after twisting awkwardly putting washing in washing machine.  After chatting it through with an osteopath I think that was the final straw in a sequence of things but it really brought it home to me how we take for granted when we can get out of bed or out of a chair without thinking 'oh no!' Good intentions abounding now to keep up the stretching exercises she gave me and to be more mindful about how I pick things up or load a washing machine!

Return to school and Year 3 for Leo. I think everyone needed to get back to their daily routines after six weeks away. It is so lovely to see the world through the eyes of a seven year old!

So that’s it for another month and here it is, 1 Second Everyday.

Joining in with the other Deb, on the other side of the world! She's been far more energetic than me, pop over there to her blog all about it!

Thursday 28 September 2023

What I've been reading in September

I've started off the month with two books that my daughter lent me.

'It Ends With Us' and 'It Starts With Us' both by Colleen Hoover 

And it is very important that you read them in that order!  Apparently the author wasn't planning on there being a sequel but public opinion demanded that the next stage of Lily and Atlas were published.

Lily hasn't had the easiest of childhoods but she works hard and makes her own way to eventually start the florist shop she has always wanted.  She meets Ryle, a neurosurgeon who appears to be everything she hopes for in finding a happy future.  Despite claiming to not want a committed relationship, Ryle suggests an impromptu wedding and life seems to be falling into place.  When her childhood friend Atlas appears after years of being away, Ryle feels threatened and a different side to his nature is revealed.  Lily can feel her life mirroring that of her mother's which she will not stand for.  

This isn't always an easy read but oh boy does it grip you!  There are humorous aspects to it where instead of keeping a teenage diary, Lily writes letters (which are never sent) to Ellen Degeneres who she feels would be able to help her with her problems.

It Starts With Us picks up the story but it is hard to review it without giving away spoilers to the first book!  Each alternate chapter is written by either Lily or Atlas.  But I felt like this book is more about Atlas' side of the story.  You certainly learn more of his back story, and he has a few surprises in store.  

What can I say but I loved these books.  Some of the subjects covered don't always make for easy reading but I was engrossed.  There were times when I was worried that Lily wasn't going to make what I thought were the right decisions and times when I thought her kind nature was going to make excuses for other's bad behaviour.  But she obviously heard me and stuck to her principles!  Would I recommend these?  Absolutely! 

Something completely different next 

The Woman Who Lied by Claire Douglas

Emilia is a happily married mother of two children who is the author of a series of crime novels featuring the detective Miranda Moody.  Keen to change the genre of books that she writes, Emilia decides to 'write off' Miranda by making her the victim of a serial killer thus ending the series.

Then an incident that is part of the plot of one of her earlier novels happens in real life.  Emilia assumes that it is pure coincidence.  Until it happens again.  And again. Things that happen in the book she has not yet published.  Strands of her stories are happening in real life and she cannot help but be afraid that she will be the next target. The perpetrator can only be someone who has read the early copies of the last novel, which narrows it down to friends and family or her editor. 

 It took me a little while to get into this book but you can't help but sympathise with Emilia as she doubts who she can trust and sees maliciousness in people she previously considered friends.  There are many twists and turns, with a final surprise just when you think you know what happened!

Monday 25 September 2023

Me on Monday


There's a TV programme here that may not, at first sight, seem as if it will be interesting.  It's called Mortimer and Whitehouse Gone Fishing.  Now I have no interest in fishing but I enjoy this programme.  Two comedians in their mid sixties going to various locations around Britain, fishing local rivers while chatting over the subjects that mid sixty people chat about.  I know, it doesn't sound thrilling does it?  But their friendship and camaraderie shine through their conversations and now and again they say something that really makes you think.  

Last week we saw an episode where Bob Mortimer says something along the lines of the fact that as you get older you get more into the habit of saying 'no' to things.  Then after a while people stop inviting you to join them and you find yourself increasingly alone.  Saying no is the start of the path to isolation. Isn't that true?  

So this weekend I have found myself with that at the back of my mind, and said 'yes' to three invitations!

I've hurt my back.  Really hurt it. Bending down awkwardly to put washing into the machine I felt something twinge and next thing I knew I couldn't stand up!  It's been gradually improving every day especially if I keep standing or walking, it's the sitting down and laying down that is doing me no favours.  (Osteopath appointment booked for lunchtime today!) We had been invited out for dinner with friends to a new restaurant which opened in town and I was really on the verge of cancelling but then I thought about the quote and decided to take painkillers and go.  After all, if I'd stayed home all I would be doing was sitting down so I may as well sit down with friends eating a lovely meal someone else had cooked!  It was a good evening and my back was fine right up until the moment I tried to stand up after sitting for two hours - but a bit of a stretch got it moving again and by the time we'd walked back to the car it wasn't too bad.

Then on Saturday we had spoken about going to an open day at a group of art studios in a nearby town.  I wasn't feeling like it but then ... I thought, the sun is shining, I will be walking around and it will be nice to get out and about rather than sitting at home while Paul went on his own.  I was pleased I went as it was a lovely location and lots of talented artists working in their studios.

Have you ever wondered what happens to old Wii and Nintendo controllers after they die?  They become a sculpture!

The last thing I said Yes to when my immediate thought had been 'no' was booking tickets to see a show at our local arts theatre.  A guy we know is part of an amateur dramatic society and every year they put on a musical.  Every year we think 'we should really support the local community events' and every year we don't get round to it as we don't really enjoy musical theatre.  But we have taken the bull by the horns and booked tickets to see him in this year's production in November.

So, this Monday finds me booked in for a physio apt for my back. I think I have to admit defeat and realise that waiting for it to right itself quickly is a little optimistic. The week ends with our granddaughter Rosie having an operation to insert grommets into her ears to resolve her 'glue ear'.  So all in all a bit of a week of medical appointments!  I hope your weekly plans are a bit more pleasurable!

Monday 18 September 2023

Me on Monday

This Monday finds me a bit bleary eyed after a disturbed nights sleep.  We had a humdinger of a storm which felt directly above our house in the early hours of the morning, which disturbed Coco who could not settle anywhere between the flashes of lightening and cracks of thunder.  The only place I could convince her to lay was on the bed in the bedroom which used to be our son's.  Even then she was not staying anywhere on her own and I realised that the only way both of us would be able to get back to sleep would be for me to be in the bed while she slept on it.  Then she wanted to lay full width across the bottom so I had to sleep diagonally across the bit she had left for me.  

I think the storm is a sure sign that our season has tipped from summer to autumn.  We have a few plans for changes in our garden; we have a tree which has died and needs removing and we have been clearing space and thinking about how we will redesign that area.  There's still colour in the borders though and this little fellow spent ages flitting from one head of sedum flower to another as I was weeding beneath the plants.

The lake looked lovely on the early morning dog walk and we made the most of the dry weather as the forecast is far more unsettled for the week to come.

At the moment I don't have too many plans for the coming week apart from our childminding routine and that feels nice.  We are out for dinner with friends at the end of the week to a restaurant in town we haven't tried before so that will be interesting.  

I have actually done some crochet this weekend and finished all the individual squares  - so it was time to join them all together.  It now looks like this

And so begins the border - not to mention finishing off all the ends on the reverse side.  I had good intentions to do that as I went along but you know how easy it is to forget good intentions 😉 

Tuesday 12 September 2023

Me on Tuesday

 I'm a day late this week, due to our long weekend in Norfolk!  

We enjoyed sunset walks on the beach

Sunshiny days 

Trips to Cromer Pier

Seeing goats grazing on the hillside going down to the pier

And trips out to National Trust property, Blickling Hall

All in all it was a lovely weekend, weather was perfect, our Air BnB was in a good location as a base to explore that area of the Norfolk coast and everywhere was 'dog friendly' - what more could you want?

Back to 'normal' today, catching up on washing and drying and a return to school day childcare.  But first, I have a lot of blogposts that I need to read (the lengths I go to to avoid ironing all that washing that is now ready to be de-crumpled!)

Monday 4 September 2023

Me on Monday

 I realise as I get older that the more I think I know what my plans are, the more likely they are to change.

I thought we had a quiet weekend ahead.  We were having Daisy here for a few hours while Leo had his birthday party at their house.  As soon as I received a message from Rachel just saying 'Nightmare' I held my breath waiting to hear what had happened.  It turned out that the bouncy castle they had carefully chosen had been delivered, only to be told that you shouldn't have them on top of artificial grass.  (Just for the record, Paul and I are VERY against fake grass and tried hard to dissuade them from having it laid when they had the work done on their garden!) Of course we have a natural lawn and so with Leo worried about having to change all their plans, we offered for them to host the party here.  

So much for an quiet afternoon! To be fair he only chose six friends to come and they were all well behaved but my neighbours must have wondered what we were up to.

This Monday finds me thankful that the sun has returned and looking forward to a few days away at the end of the week. It also finds us looking around do-it-yourself shops looking for a small basin and unit to put in our downstairs toilet as our existing one has developed a crack. Paul is confident that this is a job he can tackle himself 😬 Time will tell!

Back to school this week for the children - I think grandparents all over the country are breathing a sigh of relief just as much as parents.  I'm still not going to tempt fate through by pretending I know what I'll be doing with my extra free time!

Have a good week!

Friday 1 September 2023

Let's have a cup of coffee - 1st September

 Come in, sit down, I'll just put the kettle on.

You will notice that Olive has set the table for us with her toy tea set! We may need more than one cup to quench our thirst 😉

It's been a busy month since I last saw you, with lots of childcare going on - not to mention a bit of 'hamster care' as well!  

I honestly don't know how working parents manage to get through the long holiday if they don't have family nearby to help out with childcare.  I know we aren't alone in looking after the grandchildren, all the grandparents I know are in the same boat!  It would be SO expensive to have to pay for childcare for six weeks.  Added to all that both our children have wedding anniversaries within 6 weeks of each other plus Rachel has a birthday so our offers of babysitting while they go out to celebrate are quickly snapped up before we can change our minds!  Schools are back next week so some kind of normality will return.

The weather has been horrible this 'summer' and it's hard to believe that other places in the world are sweltering in heat waves.  A lot of my summer clothes haven't seen the light of day since we went to Sicily.  There's a definite chill to the air now in the mornings and the nights are definitely drawing in.  How are things where you live?

I'm looking forward to some continuity in my Zumba classes as a new term approaches.  Our instructor took a holiday and the hall was then closed for redecoration for two weeks so there have been more classes that didn't happen than those which did!  I need to get back on the straight and narrow.  The results of the Dexa scan I had earlier this year showed the start of osteoporosis so I need to be mindful of trying to strengthen my bones.  I'm taking alendronic acid tablets and calcium/vit D tablets to help slow the process down, but weight bearing exercise helps as well.  Plus an hour of Zumba has no nasty side effects!

Even though I don't have children of school age any more, September always has me feeling like a new start is happening.  Not so much new pencil cases and lunch boxes but clearing out the garden and planting bulbs!  Do you still get that feeling of a new chapter starting?

Thank you so much for stopping by; I hope to see you again, same time, same place, the first Friday in October!