Sunday, 17 December 2017

Day 122: It Could Be Worse

Frustrating as it is that the boiler is having a funny five minutes, it could be worse. There is obviously something wrong but it is working intermittently so I still have hot water and heat. I bought a heater yesterday, just in case, and have switched it in for the first time this morning. In the end I managed to make the purchase of the heater into my (sort of) treat for the day by really splashing out on a Dyson Hot and Cool Fan Heater - expensive, but it'll double up as a fan in the summer and is very quiet so I'll be able to use it in my bedroom when it gets too hot (she says, trying to justify to herself why she's spent so much money on a heater!). 

Today is an at home day sandwiched between providing taxi services for Lauren, driving her to and from work. I'm hoping to finish reading my current book and then will clear the dining table and start on a jigsaw puzzle. I should really do some housework but I'm trying to ignore that nagging little voice which is telling me to get on with it. Actually, I'm doing an extremely good job of ignoring the voice of my inner housewife as I can honestly say that I haven't once felt the urge to start dusting or hoovering and am confident that should that urge raise it's ugly head, I will have no problems ignoring it! I've had a look at what's on TV but nothing stands out so I will probably do a bit more work on the family tree tonight. I've moved it all across to the new laptop and I want to tidy up some weird looking entries before I carry on discovering new information. 

Tomorrow is all about getting the boiler fixed. Then real life can resume!

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Day 121: No More Treats!

I don't think there will be any more treats this month as the money is needed for something else much more important - keeping warm. I arrived back from our final carol playing, absolutely shrammed, to find a freezing cold house because the boiler has decided to stop working. The repair man can't come until Monday and I need to discuss with him about whether to repair the existing boiler or go for a new one. He thinks the fan has gone but that was replaced about two years ago and it wasn't cheap. Regardless of that decision, today I'll have to buy an electric heater to keep me warm until it's all sorted. I'm taxi service for Lauren this weekend so I'll buy one at Currys when I pick her up from work.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Day 120: Meet the New Addition to the Family

My new toy has arrived, all safe and sound and is looking very clean and shiny. I've finished unpacking it properly and have had a go with it ... squeal! Anything more has to wait until I get some fabric. The realisation that I didn't have enough fabric for my first project brought me down to earth with a bump so that's today's treat for myself - fabric for my first quilt.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Day 119: A Quick Post

Well it's not the lurgy thank goodness. I woke up this morning with a nasty cold, but at least it should be over and done with by Christmas. I've been playing carols at Tesco tonight so now I have a headache - playing a brass instrument when you have a heavy cold is just the worst thing ever, so I'm off to bed for an early night.

I'll be back tomorrow with a proper post and hopefully feeling more human!

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Day 118: The Shivers!

I can't get warm today. I've turned the heating up, put on extra clothes and am snuggled up on the sofa with the throws wrapped around me but I'm still shivering. I don't really feel ill but if it is a bug, I hope it's only a 24 hour one. It's pouring with rain and the room is dark already, even though it's only just gone 3:30 pm. All things considered, it's not the best of days!

I've made arrangement to go with friends to see the new release of the film Jumanji next week. I've never watched the original but have a vague idea about the storyline. We were supposed to be going out tonight to see the swing band another friend plays in, but we've cancelled as none of us is feeling 100%. 

Today's treat is proving to be difficult. I seem to be incapable of making up my mind between a piece of jewellery or a ticket to see the Snow White panto in Bath. I haven't been to a proper pantomine for years but am not sure how much fun it'll be on my own. I'll delay making my choice until later today and maybe the choice will be clearer/easier.

I've just read over what I've written. Sorry, it all sounds a bit dreary and negative when, apart from having the shivers, I'm fine. I've started reading a new book - I Sometimes Lie by Alice Feeney - which so far, is proving to be a good read. The principal character is in a coma and can't remember what happened to her; the story is developing by switching between a childhood diary, the days leading up to the accident, snippets on conversations she hears from visitors to her hospital room and through the nightmares she experiences as she lies in a coma.

I have to decide what to cook for tonight's meal. I was going to do a midweek roast but am seriously in need of some comfort food instead. Macaroni Cheese is  the current favourite but I also have the ingredients to make a fish pie. Maybe I'll make both and then choose!

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Day 117: Nativity, Tesco and Treats!

Three more power cuts yesterday, only about 10 minutes each time, but enough to put paid to my cooking plans. I'd finished the soup and the chilli and was about to start the rest when the power went. Once it came back on I was getting started when it went again, so I decided to abandon that idea. I've just got home from my Tuesday school and now have a pot of fridge soup bubbling away. Fridge soup, in case you're wondering, is all the odds and ends of vegetables left over in the fridge which need to be used up ... it's different every time!

I wasn't teaching today but went in to see the dress rehearsals for the Reception class nativity play and the years 1 and 2 Christmas story performance. As I expected it was lovely to see all the children doing their best and singing at the top of their voices. The best part is seeing their teachers and TAs doing all the actions so that the children can follow - been there, done that, but now I can just relax and enjoy the performance.

I'm now enjoying a mug of coffee while I wait for Tesco to arrive with lots of goodies to restock the cupboards and freezers. I don't know if we are due any snow in this area but I prefer to have plenty in so that I won't need to go shopping if the weather does get worse. I'll be doing quite a lot of bulk cooking over the next few days, this time trying out some recipes using my new Instant Pot.

I decided against doing my own Advent calendar this year. I've no idea how I reached that decision but it was the wrong one and I've been missing my daily treat so I've come up with the brilliant idea (well, I think it's brilliant!) of buying myself a treat every day. I'm following the same rules as for previous year's Advent calendar which is that it must be a treat and not something I'd routinely buy. I've set myself a budget and have been enjoying online searches to see what I can get. It won't be a full month's worth as I only started two days ago, but enough to make the month, and me, feel special. So far I have bought a pair of fleece lined walking trousers and a new Singer sewing machine, both things were ordered online so I'm waiting for deliveries again. The sewing machine is a semi-planned purchase as my existing one is destined for the skip (would cost too much to service and repair) but I'm counting it as a treat as it's a much better model than I was going to get with lots of extra specialist attachments and embroidery stitches. Watch out for quilting and dressmaking efforts/updates in the new year!

Monday, 11 December 2017

Day 116: Bits and Pieces

In the end yesterday's power cut only lasted about 40 minutes and it tried it's hardest to snow later on but it was much too wet to settle. Instead we now have flood warnings to worry about and as the other end of the village floods every year I'm sort of expecting it to become a reality. Luckily my home won't be affected if it does flood.

I'd planned to go to Bath this morning to buy my walking boots but in the end, couldn't face going out. Maybe tomorrow. In the end I've settled for catching up with bits and pieces that are on my mind so that everything is cleared before Christmas ... or much sooner hopefully.

To start with I've dealt with some overdue email replies, written and posted some of my Christmas cards, and sorted out a pile of books for the charity shop pile - either ones that I've read or which have been passed on to me but which I don't fancy reading. I'm now in the kitchen and have a pot of chilli and a pot of lentil and vegetable soup bubbling away. Once they're done, I'll make some bolognese sauce, and shepherdess pie and shepherd's pie. The pies will be finished off in the oven and I'll have some shepherdess pie for my meal tonight with the remainder of the cabbage and cauliflower, and the rest will be portioned and stacked away in the freezer.

While stuff is bubbling away on the hob I've set my laptop up on the table and am slowly working my way through bits and pieces of admin for the band. It's probably going to take me two or three days to get it all done and is the biggest 'thing' that's preying on my mind, so the sooner I get it all done, the better I'll feel.

I bet nobody else has wrapping paper like this ... lovingly made by my Thursday class as their contribution to their school's Christmas Fete. Tomorrow I'm visiting my Tuesday school to watch the KS1 nativity, so something nice to look forward to.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Day 115: No Snow!

Well the promised snow hasn't appeared yet. There are photos on Facebook showing lots of the white stuff in Swindon (about 30 miles away) but here it is raining. There was an attempt at sleet a few minutes ago but now it's back to rain.

I suppose I shouldn't grumble but I was planning to go out and take some photos of the fields covered in snow. Now I'm stuck at home and there is a power cut. Thankfully the house is warm, the phone fully charged and it's cold enough not to panic about the freezer in the garage yet. I just need to finish this post before the (old) laptop battery gives up! It also means that I can't set up the new laptop yet, which is a bit frustrating. If the power doesn't come back on soon I foresee a sudden need to visit friends!

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Day 114: Music

It's been a day of live music. 

Playing carols with the band this morning - freezing cold but everyone enjoying themselves.

A flash mob this afternoon - singing Christmas carols at a fete in a retirement home.

A concert this evening - seeing Steeleye Span, who were absolutely brilliant.

I've had a thoroughly enjoyable day!

Friday, 8 December 2017

Day 113: Feeling Festive

I'm definitely feeling all Christmassy today. This may be due in part to the fact that I've now completed all my teaching commitments so my time is my own until January 9th. I still have a few band events and some other music groups to play out with, but they are most definitely under the heading of fun!

I've started on making the house look more festive. This week I've swapped the mugs, tea towels, jimjams and throws for the Christmas ones and will keep using them until twelfth night. Next week, it's a good tidy round and then all hands on deck for decorating the tree and the living room, which is a big change for me as traditionally my family waited until Christmas Eve to buy the tree. I realise that the reason behind that was all down to cost - we certainly had some weird shaped trees to decorate when we were children - but my Christmas is so different now and, for me, it's more about the build up to Christmas Day rather than the day itself. 

Tomorrow I'll be taking band practice for the beginners and then playing with the juniors and main band who will be busking at one on the local retail parks. It's going to be bitterly cold, if the forecast is correct, so I'll be handing out their Christmas chocolates to keep them going. We may have to invest in some hot chocolate as well and keep reminding them that they are having fun!!