Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Knickers for Gambia

Today is a sick day, not a good day, but I had to see the doc so on the way home popped into the Cancer Research shop and found 12 pairs of brand new, with the tags on, kids knickers...for £3.00. They are going to The Gambia with us. Everyone needs knickers, so let's hope these get to cover some little bums. 

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Windy weather as The Storm approaches

The Storm, The Storm, is it coming. A tree is down in a neighbouring village. There are about a dozen leaves left on the neighbour's maple.
This morning we walked the dog on the farm. Around the fields, the sky sometimes black, sometimes blue above us. Lots of chestnuts to be found, they go in the oven this afternoon....Keisuke loved the open space, and the wind just lifted everyone's spirits.
We visited a dog kennel as well today as Juno has to stay somewhere when we are away at Christmas. Not bad, a bit whiffy, and for some reason I though it should be cleaner? Having not seen one before it is hard to judge. I will compare a few I think.

Now I am about to start the traditional roast dinner thing with yorkshire puds for our Japanese guest.....he is watching football with Big J. Nice for Big J that he has someone to share that with. 

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Harry Potter lives here!

We have just collected a young man from Heathrow, a young Japanese man who went to school with the girls when we lived there. What an enthusiastic person. He is RARE among the many, many Japanese students of English that I have come across in that he WANTS to speak in English. 

He has asked me what he can call me and seems happy to use my first name..... He has asked me to correct everything he says, not necessary, he is doing very well and he has asked me to tell him if his behaviour/language is inappropriate or odd!!

But the best thing is that he is seeing all we take for granted about our town with fresh eyes. He thinks our neighbourhood looks as though Harry Potter should live here.... and that the town itself is like a 'Disney movie set'.

It is so refreshing for me to see his reaction. Just off a 12 hour flight he is in town now with Hannah and we are going to watch the local rugby team a bit later on. He reckons he will be up for Match of the Day tonight as well.... 

Could be an active week.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Outdoor therapy

Walking the dog is one of the best forms of therapy I know. When we are out in the field or on the bridle path, I make an effort to engage my senses. I love to smell what is going on. Right now it is that gorgeous damp earth smell of autumn when some of the leaves have lost their crispness and are being trod underfoot.
I look both up and down. I like the little details in the undergrowth as well as the big skies, be they blue, grey, or like today with huge clouds sweeping across them.
I am no twitcher - so bird song is trickier one. But I recognise the chirps of the robin and blackbird,  the call of a local squirrel which has a very unattractive voice...the pheasants that screech when disturbed and the woodpecker's drumming, to name a few.
The wind gets me though. In the trees and grasses, and blowing on me. It feels almost cleansing.
It is also good to touch things in nature (within reason folks...). Today we (Juno and I) found some fabulous chestnuts, to be roasted soon. Their spiney cases seriously hurt, but wellies are good for splitting them to get the nuts. All manner of little seed heads, leaves and other flora end up in my pockets on every walk we go on. It is a bit like being a chipmunk. I come home bulging sometimes!
And of course there are things that one can eat. The soft berries are all but gone. However, there are rosehips and if you read this lovely blog  there is some great stuff about rosehips on it. Elderberries, sloes, damsons, apples, there is so much out there.
But the walk is also exercise, me time and I can talk, shout, sing, cry or laugh and only Juno hears me.
If you don't have a dog, that shouldn't stop you. Get out there and be good to yourself. 

Monday, 21 October 2013

Rude awakeing gives way to slap in the face!

So, after a weekend in which we drove to PRESTON and back in pouring rain to see the University of Central Lancaster and to find out about their great Chinese program....and one hectic day at the office, my blood pressure has shot up even higher and the doc is not a happy bunny. Nor me. I have long believed I am invincible, fit, energetic, an out there getting on with life kinda gal...now I feel a bit frumpy and tentative.
Well I did, until I thought bugger it, I am not going to let this get me. We discussed life style changes....oh yes...the hard bit. Effort required and WILL POWER, in spades, but essential.
First thing was a healthy meal tonight and I have made some Bircher Meusli (with no added sugar or salt) for breakfast, and there is a very green salad in the fridge for lunch tomorrow.....
There is no incentive like one's own health.
The other thing is to have a week of quiet nights in. No Book Club tomorrow. It is just too much fun! Too liquid at times and very noisy. Calm is the thing.
Bit of blog reading and backgammon tonight and no study. Bed early too.
Beetroot soup on the menu tomorrow - with maybe only a tiny bit of feta....
Dog walks for exercise and to enjoy the autumn smells and colours. Doable even in the rain - although Juno seems to think it a bit much.
Bed time now so sleep tight all. x

Friday, 18 October 2013

Rude awakening?

You know I love my job. Yesterday was no different except I was feeling a bit headachy. That had started the night before and I had a burning feeling in my chest....dutifully ignored by moi.
The Princess Royal visited in the morning to open the new theatres, but apart from a fleeting glimpse in the car park, there was not much for the rank and file to see. I thought it would have been a good idea to walk her round our offices so she could see how the rest of the population of the hospital works....HA!
After lunch I got a chance to go into the new theatres and talk to some patients recovering from their ops. Part of an inpromptu inspection which I volunteered for. It was great. Those nurses are fab, and the patients were all happy and I felt very privileged. Then the chest pains came back and to cut a long story short - my manager walked me to MIU. There they did an ecg, took my blood pressure which was way, way up and I usually have low bp, and sent me off to the GP....Looks like, seems like, may be stress. To be honest I do not feel stressed. I eat, drink, do my things and am crazy busy all the time. I love my work and friends and the buzz of helping people. But the man said to stay at home today and relax. Que?
So after some mad texting and phone calls I am officially not working and am relaxing. I will do some reading of my course material. (I WANT to do this), some crochet, Thomas Henry's blanket is coming together nicely, walk the dog and have a big fat siesta. So with the kitchen clock ticking, the dog and cat asleep beside me, I will have a little blog browsing session.
Have a great day folks.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Job(s) done

The room has been stripped of many of the knick knacks and trinkets of Adam's time here. None of it has been thrown out. It is all in a box for him. Two more shelves to go and it is done. The bed is falling apart but the mattress is very good, so out with the divan and in with an internet sourced bed frame with cashback and free delivery at more that HALF the price I would pay for the ones I priced locally. Sadly our local ebay and for sale mag has not produced a bed for me to even ring up about let alone buy. But I do want a wooden framed one.
I also did the test and it was not brill. Not terrible but not brill. Never fear, there is always another test!

we all need a FQ style kick up the butt from time to time

Like many of you, I read Frugal Queen's blog ALL the time and am wowed. But this morning I read this one.......... and thought how apt. How true, how REAL. How is it that I can drift along wishing for things to be different when I don't DO ANYTHING about them?

It was never meant to be easy. I am finding the study a challenge. My lovely, lovely girls are having tough times. They need me and to know that they have it in themselves to get through it. This house pees me off big time and the only one who can change that it ME. I have been battling a slow increase in weight for years despite my gym going and dog walking and finally after some EFFORT to eat less and move around more it is coming off. But it is not easy. I have also been saving. Little bits here and there from my leftover pay packet. I hate not saving. I was always so good at it. Now there is no excuse. I might not be working in less than a year if I do go to uni. Time to knuckle down and be sensible.

I have been to town today to spend time with the lovely Cliona B and we charity shopped. A cardi for me, £4.50....would have been £40.00 new.  We had a coffee, and I am home and I am about to finish my first exam for the course. It is far harder than I thought it would be, at least the exam questions are!! But I am going to do it, then I am going to start gutting Adam's room. We have a Japanese kid from the girls' old school coming to stay and he will sleep in there. It is time I realised that I hold the key to how my life will pan out and it is time I got off my butt.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Jersey - Les Ecrehous

We are back from a great few days in Jersey. One of the most thrilling things was a trip to Les Ecrehous on a RIB. The sea was calm, the sky was blue and this group of little islands and rocks revealed itself to us with the rapidly ebbing tide. The huts on the rocks are owned by those who like to get away from it all. There is no running water, no electricity and no loos!! But there is pristine seawater, fresh fish and shellfish, beaches at low tide and the area is full of wildlife and seabirds.

We were there at a particularly low tide, so our intrepid guides took us to some sandbars that only appear for half an hour - 30 mintues as the tide goes out and 30 minutes to come in. We all got our toes wet here, on a really hidden beach. 

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Love is a sock!

Big J and I are off to JERSEY tomorrow for a few days. Since leaving work on Friday the slow releasing of my shoulder muscles has started.  My mind is happy that I have a week off to do me/us things.
Today Hannah and I walked the dog. The sun was out and it did not feel autumnal, it was very warm. There are however, sloes, acorns and conkers everywhere as well as the displays of red berries that seem to be all around and I have no idea what they are. Rosehips, yes, but there are many others.
I have been wearing my walking boots of late, and they get pretty wet. Here's what happened when I left them at the back door to dry out a bit.

Anyway, I digress. Substantial time has been spent this evening clearing all the photos off my memory card - some were quite old. It was this act that discovered the photos above, taken by one of the girls when I was not around.

I hope that Jersey provides a lot of subject matter to photograph. It looks interesting.