Tuesday, 25 April 2017

The Bucket List

These birthdays are a real nuisance aren't they? Just think, if we didn't have birthdays we wouldn't need to get any older - not that the numbers really matter though, how old you feel is just all inside your head, isn't it? Today I'm having what is very aptly described in our house as a dopey day, I've spent an entire weekend with my ancient mother, who is fast losing her mental capabilities and I think maybe she has leached mine as well and despatched them off to Fairyland with her own. So I'm feeling a bit oldish today, although thankfully still nowhere near to feeling as old as the number of candles which will be appearing on my birthday cake (should I be lucky enough to have one!) fairly soon. Given that the number of years I've been on the planet ends with a nine (yes, you've guessed it, I'm nearly nippety nine), next year's birthday will be a biggy.

With this in mind I've decided to spend the next twelve months completing a bucket list of things I'd like to do before I'm nippety ten, so here is that list, and my reasons for it. (To be completed in no particular order, but just over the coming twelve months)

No. 1. Many years ago when the younger two sons were little more than toddlers we spent a week in South Devon, and one of the places we visited was Budleigh Salterton. I liked it there. In fact, I loved it there, and I always vowed to myself that one day I would return without a pair of toddlers in tow. So, now the time has come, sometime during the next twelve months we'll return to Budleigh Salterton for a childfree break.

No. 2. Back in 1970 GM graduated from Newcastle University, and ever since we've been together he has wanted to go back to see how much (if anything) has changed. So I've promised him that this is the year he'll return to Newcastle, with me, so I can see it for the first time, AND what's more, we'll fly there.

No. 3. I'm a Fulham Football Club supporter through and through, but I also like to support a Premier League team, and with my historical connections to the area I've chosen to support Southampton while Fulham are in the lower division. The last time we went to a Premier League match in 2012 it was Southampton v. Fulham, and now there is distinct possibility that Fulham will be promoted back to the top flight league so this fixture might well happen again during the 2017/18 season. I very much want to attend another Premier League football match, obviously if this could be at Craven Cottage to watch Fulham then no-one would be happier than me, but if they miss out on promotion this year then instead I should like to make another trip to St. Mary's to cheer on the Saints.

No. 4. I'm a very lucky lady, in that while I have four sons I actually have five lovely ladies that I call my daughters-in-law, four of whom are current partners and one of whom is an ex partner (the mum of my grandson and one of my very dearest friends). I would love to have a DiLs day, a day when the six of us would all meet up and have a great day together. This might take a bit of planning, so be warned girls.

No. 5. I love drawing and painting but have had no formal training, so I think it's time I did. I'll see what I can find.

No. 6. GM and I have always loved walking, and whenever we've had the chance we've climbed the highest hill available at the time. Recently moved to Hampshire, I find that the highest hill in Hampshire (Pilot Hill) is less than ten miles away from where we live, so it is on the list.

No. 7. A hot stone massage, a real treat, just for me (and, in fact, already booked for 12th May - watch this space).

No. 8. Despite living in the London area for more than 85% of my lifetime, I'm ashamed to admit that I've never attended a promenade concert. This will be remedied before the summer of 2017 is out.

No. 9. I would very much like to try either pole dancing or line dancing, just the once. I have two left feet so dancing doesn't come easy to me.

No. 10. I have a friend who lives in Sussex who calls is a Mentor to Passionate World Changers, she's also known as a Happiness Experimenter, and I belong to a group that she runs called Dancing in Your Soul Shoes, so you get the general idea of the sort of person she is. I'm so looking forward to attending a weekend retreat that she intends to hold later in the year. She lives in the middle of a forest and will hold the retreat and activities in her recently acquired yurt. Sounds wonderful.

No. 11. My dad came from a large family, so I have lots of cousins, mostly girls, and all within a 15 year age range. We don't get together nearly as often as we should, it's so much fun when we do, so I'm hoping we can get something organised for this year - maybe I have to arrange this myself to make sure it happens.

No. 12. I intend to spend this coming year eating well and healthily - plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, enjoying the odd glass of wine or two now and again, drinking lots of water and a good dose of kefir on a daily basis, and also to increase my daily step count quite significantly - these measure will, I hope, lead to my body becoming more shapely and slender than its current condition and will incentivise it to stick around with me for many more years to come.

So, my twelve month bucket list, please come back next May to see how well I've done. If this catches on I might possibly do it every year.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Week Ten

Day 64

Where do you keep yours?

Day 65

My dresser in its permanent position and fully loaded

Day 66

Bath-time companions

Day 67

This bus is here most weekends, one day I'll visit and find out what it's all about.

Day 68

New, and matching, loo-roll holders in downstairs loo, bathroom and ensuite, woohoo.

Day 69

The cooker hood lamp cover is broken and keeps falling down, a new one has been ordered.

Day 70

Danglies in the entrance hall, which neither of us are fond of, so a couple of ceiling mounted lamps are in hand and will be fitted soon.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Week nine

Day 57

Our kitchen is adequate, but at some stage we'll need to provide more cabinets for all our stuff. In the mean time, we've had these old Ikea units for years, and now they've come into their own once again. Positioned in the dining area they are currently filled to bursting with kitchen overflow.

Day 58

This is the smoke alarm, it's fitted to the ceiling just outside the kitchen. Last week the battery ran out of steam and woke us in the middle of the night, so poor old long-suffering GM had to get up and remove the battery. There is a problem with the unit, I don't remember what the problem is, but we've had to order a new one which has arrived but hasn't yet been fitted. (Don't worry, there is another smoke alarm fitted at the top of the stairs so we are still protected!)

Day 59

The landing window is positioned such that half of it is above the staircase, so in order to fix the curtain rail he had to make himself a little platform to sit on the windowsill on one side and the upstairs banister rail on the other. We now have a curtain rail and a curtain at this window.

Day 60

The garden as viewed from the top corner, as you can now see quite clearly it is most definitely a blank canvas for us to work on. The brick wall on the right of the picture is the back of the garage, and off picture to the left is a full width raised bed. I am so looking forward to turning this area into a lovely garden, but it will be hard work and will take a couple of years.

Day 61

We bought a job lot of chinese lanterns and have put them up in most of the rooms, but sadly none of them seem to hang very straight! They will be replaced slowly as we decorate each room, but will have to do for the time being.

Day 62

GD1 came to stay for a couple of days, we put up a camp bed in the studio for her to sleep on.

Day 63

A no longer blank wall in the kitchen.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Bucket list

My next big birthday (one with a zero at the end of it) is getting scarily close, in fact less than 13 months away, so I decided to create myself a bucket list of things to do before I reach the beginning of the end of middle age. My list will have 12 objectives, giving me one for each month. I already have a couple of ideas, but when I have a full list of 12 I'll publish it, so . . . .
watch this space. 

Monday, 10 April 2017

Week eight, during which the weather improves and some time is spent outside of the house

Day 50.

One of the shelf units on the landing, full of boxes containing various bits and pieces of mine.

Day 51.

On a bright, dry and sunny day we resolve to "tackle" the garage, which involves emptying most of the stuff out and then putting it all back in, in some semblance of order.

Day 52.

We can now walk through from the front of the garage to the back and vice versa.

Day 53.

The lawn mower sees the light of day for the first time this year.

Day 54.

The front grass before and after

Day 55.

The back grass before and after.

Day 56.

The fig tree, in the blue/green pot, survived the move, and will be permanently planted in this warm sunny corner quite soon.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Week seven

And what a week it has been. Last Tuesday we had a phone-call at 2.30 am from GT to let us know that our first joint grandchild had been born an hour before. ST had been in hospital for several days while induction procedures were attempted, but as GD5 had no intention of traversing the birth canal, it was decided that a Caesarian Section was the answer. So a big welcome to the new little member of our family. At some stage later that day a bottle of champagne was shared.

Then on Friday GO rang us (from Gibralta, where he and EG are on holiday), to tell us that they had become an engaged couple, I am now quite overwhelmed with happiness and excitement, and I guess that more champagne will be consumed at some stage soon.

Now, back to earth, and some more "progress" in the new home.

Day 43.

FO and CH came to visit, bringing GD2 and GD4, so there was an obvious opportunity to try out the nearest playground.

Day 44.

Cassie seems to have settled in well, and has taken to spending time with me in my studio - pity she's no good at erecting shelving units, but she's pretty good at guarding the doorway.

Day 45.

Our house is fairly new - two years ago it was still in the process of being built - so the soil in the garden is a real mixture of chalk, rubble and clay and will need a fair bit of compost and organic material added to it. I treated myself to these compost bags as it will be quite a while before permanent compost bin/s will be erected.

Day 46.

A short area of wall on the landing between the top of the stairs and GM's office is exactly the right width for the small bookshelf housing our collection of Poirot books, which (unlike most of the other items in the photo) have made this their permanent location.

Day 47.

GM's current work space (the floor in the dining area) . . .

Day 48.

. . . him up a ladder . . .

Day 49.

. . . and we have a curtain across the front door. It needs shortening a bit, but that will have to wait for a while.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Week six

Slowly, slowly we are getting things together, we have registered at the closest health centre and have been allocated a GP, we have both been for a quick check-up and registered with an NHS dentist group, and we have registered Cassie with a vet practise. We had our first (apart from a brief pop-in for a cuppa-type visit from my cousin) proper visitors yesterday, although they only stayed for a couple of hours, which was quite long enough in our current state! We have curtains up in most rooms, and our next major job, when conditions allow, is to empty, sort and restack all the "stuff" that was put into the garage on moving day.

Day 36.

Our lovely big mirror has been mounted at the top of the stairs on the wall between the bedroom and bathroom doors.

Day 37.

A new batten and a swish rail in position and we have curtains at the bedroom window.

Day 38.

View from my studio window on a very wet and windy March day.

Day 39.

GM is installing a LAN (local area network) so our PCs, printers etc. can all talk to each other - there is a partial one already in the property, so this is an easier task than he was expecting, but we still need physical cables from one room to another.

Day 40.


A replacement window panel with a hole cut through each pane and hermetically sealed means we can install our super-duper all singing, all dancing electronic cat-flap so Cassie can get in and out without us having to open and close the door every five minutes.


Day 41.

GM has temporarily installed himself in the littlest bedroom, so we can empty his office of boxes (which will all be moved downstairs into the dining area for unpacking), rebuild all his shelving units and get it ready for his permanent occupation.

Day 42.

Our other cat is happily installed as a door stop in the lounge.

For those of you intrepid readers who have got this far and who know Eileen of  In my playroom , some news for you. I was a little concerned at not having "seen" her around for a while, so I got in touch. She has had a bug since the early days of this year, which keeps recurring, and she is currently feeling very low, but she is seeking medical advice and hopes to be on the mend soon. She is also in the process of having to replace her laptop, so is currently unable to communicate except by phone. If you would like to send her best wishes and don't have her phone number, please leave any messages in my comments below and these will be forwarded to her.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Week five

Day 29.

We've bought some new swish curtain rails - enough to do all the windows, and were going to buy some timber battens, but were lucky enough to find just exactly what we needed stashed away in the garage.

Day 30.

The first one up, in the entrance hall.

Day 31.

A view of the entrance hall from the kitchen door.

Day 32.

Someone had a birthday (not me!)

Day 33.

GM (aka sysman) has moved my work station from the dining room into my studio. (I have refrained from showing the rest of the room just now - it's still full of boxes, I'm waiting for my shelves to go up).

Day 34.

Since we arrived it's been too wet to do anything at all in the garden, even tidy up after the removers. Hoping for some dry (even if not sunny) days soon, so we can get out there and start. As you can see, it's pretty much a blank canvas, I'm so looking forward to making my mark.

Day 35.

My house plants have been brought home from their temporary storage at the MS Therapy Centre, although I'm still not quite sure where they'll end up. A bouquet from GO who popped in with EG to see our new home for the first time - he's been away for work, which is why he didn't come round earlier. I had to use one of my kitchen implement jars as I haven't yet unpacked my vases.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

The fourth week, and the end of our first month here

Doesn't time fly when you're having fun (or unpacking and trying to turn a house into a home - which is sort-of fun).

Day 22.

I knew it wouldn't be long before the novelty of doing dishes together wore off.

Day 23.

Time to reorganise the furniture in the lounge from how the removers left it to how I want it.

Day 24.

That's more like it. We seriously need some extra storage for this room, loads of books and ornaments still boxed up (out of sight, out of mind, for the time being).

Day 25.

Sunrise from my studio

Day 26.

You can buy a personalised map centred on your home from Ordnance Survey for the sum of £16.99, always worth it if, like us, you walk a lot. Can you imagine my delight to discover that we are literally yards away from a Roman Road?

Day 27.

The utility room is actually just a very large cupboard, but I've had a chance to tidy it up and now it looks quite respectable

Day 28.

The previous owner removed all the curtain poles, so we are left with this in all the bedrooms.