Thursday, March 24, 2016

It's been a quiet week with garden pottering. music and reading as it has finally sunk in I have again finished work. The four weeks honeymoon period of escaping work has finished and now comes the 'What do I do next?' period. What will help is that Spring has finally sprung albeit a cold one. Time spent in the garden attending to the various chores with frequent tea and book breaks is just wonderful. Particularly in light of the ongoing atrocities in the world and latterly in Belgium. The little Buglers like my company in the garden and keep me entertained as well as the pooch who has rediscovered her pink spiky ball, pestering us to throw it for her.

I had an evening out planned out in nearby Louth to say goodbye to an old friend who's moving back to Staffordshire to care for her parents but sadly her father took a turn for the worse and the evening was cancelled. She's right in her statement to appreciate what you've got and enjoy the time with your loved ones whilst they are still here. Hopefully her father will come round again and my thoughts are with them. I have a couple of friends at my old team who keep me informed about work shenanigans as well as try to tempt me back. It sounds frantic and extremely fractious with managers increasing the pressure to meet targets. *Breathes a sigh of relief.*
It's odd that Easter is upon us but I don't feel connected to the excitement of others anticipating the long weekend coming up. As I'm not working it doesn't feel special to me and my pace of life has slowed right down. For the weekend I popped along to Message in a Bottle to buy a few excellent bottles of beer in to help celebrate what is really a pagan festival co-opted by the followers of the Nazarene.

My plans will include the beers, an Easter family dinner, fingers crossed for the weather and garden, walking and possibly a day out to see the local Morris Dancers. Again, the latter will depend upon dry weather. Excuse me but Mrs C is demanding my attention...

Well, that was different as she wanted me to rescue a frog from the middle of the main road. I scooped him up and the poor thing was cold. Warmed up in my hands and duly deposited in a handy pond. I'm a sucker for wildlife and pleased to have rescued him from becoming roadkill.  I hope you all have plans for the Easter weekend and have an enjoyable and peaceful one.


Sunday, March 20, 2016

The past week has flown by and to be honest, I have done very little of note. I have completed the raised bed with fresh soil added, netting on and various feline defence devices. So far I have removed Sherlock at least seven times and I am hopeful the latest additions will keep the cats out. He really believes I have made a beautiful luxury feline toilet for his exclusive use.

I will be potting up seeds indoors for the bed as well as for various pots and fingers crossed we may eventually experience some warmer and sunny weather.

Dwarf and larger daffodils are out as well as a variety of the smaller flowers...

The birds are singing and there are buds plus some blossoms in the trees so spring is just about to explode and we can shake off the winter woollies / blues / bugs. I am ever the optimist.

I have also started another Future learn course: The Science of Medicines which will go in my nurse registration portfolio for future use. This first week has certainly exercised my brain and the organic chemistry sessions have brought long dormant memories of secondary school chemistry lessons back to the fore. Lessons in distilling alcohol, how to make explosives and rockets plus making wine from various fruits. I bet those lessons are not on today's curriculum... they weren't on it at that time either but Mr Fitch certainly had attentive pupils. I do wonder what became of many of those teachers. Some I know are dead with a couple at a surprisingly young age from my current perspective of 55 years. Below is the headmaster during my tenure at secondary school and I was surprisingly moved when I found out he had died.

Time marches on and I must away as critters to feed.

Friday, March 11, 2016

I spent yesterday afternoon putting together a raised bed frame for vegetable growing. Discovering that some necessary new Philips screwdrivers were missing and that the Philips drill bit enthusiastically 'ate' the screw heads, I was forced to use an old screwdriver.  Blisters on my right hand was the end result but the frame was completed. 

The frame is 6 feet by 4 feet and should provide a good base for the vegetables. I have plans to plant tomatoes, chillies, carrots,lettuce, salad leaves and radishes. I also have some aubergine seeds which will prove to be an interesting experiment although I may plant them separately in a tub with a cloche over it. Shopping for compost will be a priority as is covering the whole shebang. The cats will regard it with nice friable soil as their new toilet. I had an audience of three cats and the dog as I huffed, puffed and occasionally swore during its construction. The neighbours cat had come to see what the noise was about and he's keen to make our acquaintance but the dog has other ideas about that. Fingers crossed for a dry weekend and I can crack on with it.


Tuesday, March 08, 2016

I intended to post yesterday but the first day of using the fitbit and walking every day saw me somewhat exhausted. The fitbit measures the number of steps each day with a minimum of 10,000 steps to be taken. Yesterdays target was achieved but showed how unfit I really am and today I have almost reached my target already with two lengthy (for me) walks completed already. Aching feet and back necessitates a large mug of fresh brewed coffee and a hot shower. The lower fat breakfast of grilled bacon and mushrooms plus a crisp roll kept my energy up in between the two walks. Happily I am motivated to crack on with this although the cold wind blowing through the Trossachs ensured I maintained a reasonable pace. It also enables me to do my favourite activity which is people watching. Now for that hot shower and to put my feet up for a rest.


Sunday, March 06, 2016

I didn't make the gig last night as the pooch wasn't too well. All sorted out with veterinary advice and she is once again settled by my feet. A massive prolonged coughing fit with various liquids expelled from various orifices and the clean up operation took a while.  Not pleasant and my anxiety about her plus little desire to leave her alone led to me putting my feet up and dozing off in front of the TV. All's well that ends well this morning at least.

A comment by Blue Witch about luxury car ownership and how this disconnects one from the world fired me up for this post. For many years I refused to buy a car and I relied upon cycling or public transport. This was made easier in that I lived in London and using the bus or tube for travel was easy to do. Cycling was even easier and most days I would cover between 8 and 20 miles by bike with the occasional lengthy trip out for pleasure, usually around Hertfordshire or Essex. Parenthood and the need for a vehicle with space for buggy plus other assorted baby accoutrements necessitated I buy a car, an estate (Station Wagon). With hindsight I now realise I could have stuck to the bicycle plus a trailer / child seat but my natural anxiety about other idiots on the road pushed me to car ownership.
The past year of owning and driving a large luxury car, albeit an old one, was an eye opener. Other road users were more respectful when I was driving it when compared to my driving the little Suzuki. Admittedly the latter is an OAP mobile and excellent for driving around town. The Lexus also drew envious looks and seemed to rile up young BMW drivers whenever I encountered them. I did not feel comfortable owning it and at times I felt like a 'fraud' which is bizarre. Defrauding whom... defrauding whatever opinions or beliefs I don't really know? I do feel happier and more comfortable driving the Suzuki and cycling which I guess fits in with some of my more long term sensible beliefs.

My plan is to gradually get back into exercising: walking for the first few weeks and once the weight starts to come off to get back on my bike. When I do eventually return to work, whatever it is, I would like the option of cycling to work and relying upon that rather than a car. Again, it's that desire to live a simpler life with gardening, brewing beer, etc... and divesting my life of unnecessary things. I won't go the whole hog with knitting my own lentils and erecting a tepee in the back garden as I do like my comforts (central heating, hot water and computer!). I am looking forward to Spring and Summer this year and the walking / cycling will be an enjoyable part of that.

Looking at the above reminds me that next weekend lots of Lincolnshire attractions will be free to the public including the Cathedral and the Castle. So a trip over there and a day spent enjoying the sights plus my trusty camera in tow after I have dusted it off. One of the reasons for taking a break from work is to enjoy days out so this is something I am looking forward to. I must away as I can hear the cats scratching at the back door for admittance.


Saturday, March 05, 2016

Well, that was an interesting week and one I shall be glad to see the back of.

The pooch went in for a variety of investigations with the upshot being an enlarged heart and shadows on her lungs. The vet wanted to perform an endoscopy but I suggested we do now know why she is poorly and I just wanted her to recover from the anaesthetic and come home. She will be on medication for her heart for the rest of her life which I expected but it has taken her thirty six hours to return to her usual self. She is currently lying beside my chair smelling of damp dog... unsurprisingly she is currently a damp dog and drying out by the radiator. She's happy and so am I. Short walks, lots of TLC and despite the diet she is now on, the occasional treat of a Jelly Baby which we discovered she adores earlier this year. With the recent pistachio and various treats incidents in mind, they are kept well away from both the cats and the pooch.

I have also sold off the Lexus as it failed the MOT test. The car was worth approximately £1,000 and the repairs required to pass the test amounted to £1,700. With the anticipation of the vet bills and on-going medical costs for the pooch I decided it was not worth it. After some negotiation it was a relief to get rid of it because it had become a bottomless money pit. I had a years enjoyment out of it but it has gone to someone who has the time, skills, place and tools to work on it. I have the time but none of the other attributes required. Interestingly, I had a discussion with Mrs C about ownership of a luxury car and how I had never felt entirely comfortable with owning one. A stupid belief but it led to our discussing why I would think that. I do feel more comfortable in the utilitarian Suzuki and that will serve me for the next few years.

With the anticipation of spring I had started on my plans for the garden but the arrival of sleet, snow, gales and more rain has put any work on hold. It is currently like a quagmire with more rain anticipated this weekend I shall put my plans on hold. A quiet day with football on the radio, keeping the mutt happy and the Quireboys for a livelier night ahead.