dEAr diary ~ just pottering along

After my marathon on Friday  I seem to have been on a go slow over the weekend – not intentionally, but I think I just feel so much in limbo at the moment that I cannot focus on either the house or myself.

As it was raining today work on the gravel patch at my daughter’s house was not going to happen so I stayed home and sorted the washing then began on the ironing mountain.

After about 2 hours I eventually saw the bottom of the basket and by this time the rain had stopped and the sheets and pillowcases I had washed were blowing on the line and almost dry – just nice for ironing as there is minimum creasing.

After a bit of putting away and tidying I sorted out the four vases of birthday flowers that had really past their sell by date and were in a rather sorry state.  I rescued what I could (as I always like to make them last as long as I can) and as usual it is the chrysanthemums that seem to last the longest.  I transferred anything that still had any signs of life into a smaller vase.

I  am no flower arranger as you can see but I  decided they looked so much better in this jug that was a present for my birthday.

A while ago at the beginning of the year I began a notebook where each month I paste in or note down bits and pieces of information and inspiration that I want to keep for a while as well as writing out my month’s intentions.

The monthly list of intentions (for the benefit of new readers) was just a combined list of must do’s and want to do’s for the coming month.  At the end of each month I would review my progress.

Anyone interested can go back to my previous blog and read them if you click the links below.

February and March Intentions and review

The list kept me focused but came to an abrupt halt after the March one mainly because we went on our trip to Italy during April and May.  Life just got so busy on our return to England together with the blog problems I had and handing in my notice at work I found I did not have the time to plan my month instead I resorted to dealing with whatever presented itself as most urgent day by day.

Not a good way to live.

Today I picked up the notebook again to add a few clippings and articles from old magazines that consisted of products I am interested in looking at, a few gardening notes and one or two book reviews as well as some summer ideas.

With all this hot weather I have thought of nothing else but shade – I am perhaps not alone in this and so I when I came across the article on gazebos in a magazine I tore the page out to keep. They range in price from the pop up at Tesco only £20 to a large sail gazebos from Wyevale Garden centres at £299 (but it is a semi permanent structure that is weather and rust resistant).

I also stuck in this clipping of a beautiful vibrant rose from David Austen that caught my eye called Lady of Shalott, a lovely summery apricot.

At this point I am not sure what my intentions are for August once I leave work. Tomorrow is my penultimate day –  surprisingly I don’t feel anything at the moment, not happy, not sad – more tired and I am not even thinking about what reception I might be in for!

We have spent the evening with the friends who moved house recently – they are now at the other end of our village about 1 mile away and at last we found some time to stroll down to see them and deliver the card.

On Wednesday it is Little L’s 4th birthday and we are visiting the fairy and pixie place near Pateley Bridge whose name escapes me – so that should be fun.

So that was my day I hope you all had a good one.

Back soon x

 

 

rEAdy, stEAdy…dash then crash

Today has been one of those days when you feel you are on overload and I spent the day dashing around trying to fulfil obligations.

The day began quite well – I woke early at 6am – it felt a little too early, I could have slept more but decided, as it is cooler at the beginning of the day, I would get up and just have a bit of a potter around the house putting oddments away.  I had little piles here and there throughout the house and an ironing pile that must be reaching a metre high – but although it is annoying me today was definitely not a day for ironing.

Most of my birthday flowers are still hanging on despite this heat – I have changed the water several times and removed any dead ones.  I love having so many about the house.  My daughter had also surprised me and put a tiny vase with a sprig of flowering lemon balm and thyme by my bedside yesterday.

Once the house looked a bit straighter I had a few errands to do in town.   I would not normally have chosen to go to town on a Friday, a very hot Friday too – the roads here are busy and congested – but I had to get cards, flowers and fairy wings (don’t ask!).

I also had to do a favour for my friend and neighbour who has just come out of hospital after a hip operation and after lunch I had planned a visit to see her.

Once in town I headed for Claire’s Accessories to look for fairy wings for my granddaughter’s birthday next week – they had an offer on of buy two items and get one free.  Even so they are not very cheap for what they are but will be just what is required for Little L’s 4th birthday next week when we go on our Fairy and Pixie adventure (can’t wait!)

I popped into Clinton’s and the Card Factory to look for cards.  I needed quite a few for different occasions – a 70th birthday, a moving house, a wedding card as my new neighbours are getting married, and a wedding anniversary, (actually I should have bought two of these – one for my own anniversary next week – but I forgot my own!).

Passing Waterstones I had a quick look at their cards and came out with a book (I know I shouldn’t have but after the week I’ve had I really felt a treat was a good idea to cheer me up).  Then it was across to Sainsbury’s – a quick check for fairy wings in case they had some cheaper ones (but nothing doing), picked up a bunch of flowers and the paracetamol for my neighbour, a couple of loaves of bread and a number 4 sparkler for Little L’s cake.

On my journey home the heat and heavy traffic was almost impossible to deal with and I am so thankful for the air conditioning in my new car.  I had to take a bit of a detour and stop by a friend’s house to deliver a birthday card for her partner – I was actually thankful they were not at home and I was able to put it through the letterbox and get back home sooner.

It was 2.30 pm when I eventually arrived home to find the telephone ringing – it was the heating engineer asking if we had decided on a date for them to come to change a part in our boiler (we hadn’t – but finally agreed on 17th as we have to work around having my mum and granddaughter and go to Scotland in August).

So it was a very quick lunch and then straight round to my neighbours – not forgetting to grab the bunch of flowers and paracetamol to take with me.  At least I always get a welcoming cup of tea there – this time made for me by her hubby who is acting nurse at the moment whilst she and her new hip are recovering.

After a bit of a chat I came home wrote all the cards, delivered the wedding card for my immediate neighbour and then at last sat down for 5 minutes and fell asleep for over an hour hoping that everyone had been given the right card for the right occasion!

 

 

dEAr diary ~ oh dear …what can the matter be?

Before I forget this time thank you for all the birthday wishes and your lovely comments about my recent explorations in Derbyshire.  It has been a battle keeping all the flowers I received for my birthday looking fresh in the vase with this heat.

But outside in the garden my sweet peas are starting to flower one by one.

Sweet Peas

Only two days to go now at work (next Monday and Tuesday) and I suddenly find I have quite a lot of work to get through as well as packing up my belongings.  I am in high demand from so many different departments in the office who want to know how to do something.  I seem to have acquired quite a skill bank over the 19 years and now everyone is panicking because when I go some of the knowledge will go with me.

The pressure became so great I had to leave work at lunchtime yesterday as I was having palpitations.  I have been having them for the last week and often this is because my Thyroxine is out of balance again.  A very pressured meeting during the morning made them far worse to the point I felt I couldn’t breath properly.

I won’t go into detail here but I am now finding it hard to know what to think about the new person.  As you know during her first few days our HR lady had received two formal complaints about her from colleagues – if you remember I thought at the time this was a bit premature and I did all I could to make her welcome and just put it all down to the newness and change.

But since then there have been further ‘events’ two in my absence at the end of last week and the one yesterday involving me.

The issues last week with the new person was yet another complaint from a junior member of staff whom she had been extremely demanding and rude to and then again when called in to explain this episode to our HR lady she walked out of the meeting with her.

I cannot accept rudeness, bullying etc in any form by a senior member of staff on a junior.  In my books you should treat everyone with the same politeness as you would want to be treated no matter what your status.

In further conversations with the new lady she told me she was used to working in London and down South and there you just click your fingers (which she does often) and you expect a job done.  Is this right?  I have not worked in the South since college days – is there such a big difference now as she claims or is this an excuse?

We must seem like the parochial cousins to her  – slow-witted and a bit behind the times as she is very critical of the way we work and the speed.  She is even more preoccupied about money and targets than the directors!

I have always thought of myself as a very fair person and giving people the benefit of the doubt but I must say I am finding it really hard to understand the new lady and her approach.  I am starting to question my first impressions and wondering if I could actually work with her after all if I had been staying.

The reason for this is there is an IT issue at the moment on our accounts program – looking into it I believe it has been there for four years so not life threatening but before I leave she is almost bullying me to do something that I know will not fix the problem and could make matters worse.  I deal with the maintenance of the software for the Legal Aid part but I keep telling her that our Software provider should be given the chance to look into it first and establish the extent of the problem and reason but she hasn’t the patience for that as you have to log a call and wait in a queue – and waiting she doesn’t do.

I know I shouldn’t really care or be bothered and just do what she asks but I do care as the implications of adding things onto the software without knowing what you are doing could be huge.

So I am feeling tired now and looking forward to the final day so that I can make plans for the future.  I have many thoughts swirling around in my  mind that I need to get onto paper.  I know I want to establish a regular exercise plan as soon as possible and introduce  a few healthier meals but I also want to get my house in order – a good spring clean and a lot of decluttering.

Whilst I was ironing on Monday I watched the minimalist Japanese writer of ‘Goodbye Things’ on You Tube and noted one or two ideas he had that I found quite perceptive.  I am not sure I want to go to only 300 items but I do need to reduce our stuff.

I often sell / give away/ repurpose stuff but it just builds up again.  Reading around the blogs it seems that we are all doing this endless decluttering task many times over.  Thank goodness for charity shops and car boot sales. I never remember my gran decluttering ever except the day they moved into a granny flat.  She never seemed to have things that she couldn’t find a home for and this maybe because they didn’t really have multiples of anything not even on her grocery shelf (and yes it was just a shelf!).

I do remember my mum ‘doing out’ her cupboards before a major holiday like Easter and Christmas but this was just straightening rather than decluttering.

I am beginning to think decluttering is only like a sticking plaster – a temporary solution and that I need to get back to the cause of my accumulation of stuff.

More thoughts another day. x

 

mEAndering ~ on a summer’s day

Stoney Middleton Well Dressing and Fete

After picking mum up from my sister’s caravan in Bradwell on Saturday morning we drove over to Stoney Middleton a few miles away for our first event.  Not surprisingly most people just pass by this village along the main road but if you take the time to turn off and drop down into the rather cramped village centre (called the Nook locally) there are all sorts of wonderful nooks and crannies to explore.

Colourful bunting was strung between houses and trees and there were plenty of stalls to buy plants and crotchet blankets, books and bric a brac, but first of all we headed for St Martin’s Church which has a very central place in the village.

St Martin's Church Stoney Middleton

I have been to this church on two previous occasions in the past but it is always worth another visit.  It is quite unique in that it has a nave of octagonal shape.  It was built in 1415  by Joan Eyre of Padley to commemorate the safe return of her husband Robert from the Battle of Agincourt.  The tower is original but in 1757 the nave was destroyed by fire and rebuilt 2 years later in its present octagonal form.

St Martin's Church Stoney Middleton

The pews are positioned around the central and magnificent tiled floor which is directly below the eight sky lights above in the domed roof.  It is very light and bright and the arrangement has a very cosy and intimate feel almost resembling a Quaker Meeting House and I imagine perfect for small weddings .  As you can see below the placement of the stone pillars not only blocks the view of the person seated behind it but also cuts one of the pews into two unequal sections that leaves a  singular seat near the aisle which I thought rather cute.

St Martin's Church Stoney MiddletonSt Martin's Church Stoney Middleton

The village has a wealth of tiny higgledy piggledy cottages with beautiful gardens in full bloom.

Many have delightful little features like the carved number on the gate of this one.

There is water everywhere in Stoney Middleton – running alongside the road and under bridges like a mini canal or wending its way down little purpose-built gulleys at the edge of the lane – the children just love it, splashing about and jumping in – the duck races taking place later – there are no railings so you do have to mind your step.  I hung onto mum for dear life so that she did not end up in the stream.

Stoney Middleton

This year’s main well dressing depicted the little known Boot and Shoe Operative’s strike of 1818 which lasted 2 years and by the end of it they set up their own factory.

Stoney Middleton Well dressing

The Children had chosen equality as the theme for their well.Stoney Middleton Children's Well

Although there was no information for this one we think it may be a picture of a suffragette to mark the 100 years when the Representation of the People Act was passed in 1918 to allow women over 30 the vote.

Just along from this well dressing is the recently restored building known locally as the  ‘Roman Baths’ and now open to view inside.  The spring water is said to have healing properties and thought to have been first used in Roman times with the surrounding structure built around it much later. The two parts of the building represent the ladies on the left and the mens on the right.Roman BathsRoman Baths

The bath is 3m by 4m and about 1.5 metres deep and accessed by the stone steps to one side.  The warm spring water bubbles up from the grate set into the marble floor and presumably you would immerse yourself in the water and keep warm with the aid of the fire in the corner.  Roman Baths

The water then drains into a similar bath set lower than the ladies side and divided by a full height wall – so the ladies would have the benefit of the cleaner water!

Chelmorton Summer Festival

After lunch we drove down to Chelmorton which is about 4 miles south of Buxton and is a long linear village – the highest in Derbyshire, some 1,209 ft above sea level, with the church, St John the Baptist, in prominent position at the very top of the hill with the Church Inn pub opposite (you need it after the climb).

This is where we began our visit as we wanted to see the exhibition of Christening gowns inside the church and it is far easier for mum to walk downhill.  We were not disappointed – we saw examples of some of the most delicately stitched gowns and capes across the decades up to present day.  My mum loves having a good ‘memory walk’ so this more than suited her.

Both my girls and my granddaughter were christened in our family heirloom  (see post on my previous blog click here to view).

Christening Gowns

On leaving the church we headed downhill admiring the Scarecrows as we went and almost falling over one laid prone on the grass verge.Scarecrow

Scarecrow

The tap was one of those ingenious devices where the water was actually running from the tap which appears to be floating in mid-air (though logic tells you it can’t be) and the foam was beginning to fall outside of the bath tub.  I was quite tempted to jump into the foam in the same way you are when you see a puddle or a mound of crisp fallen autumn leaves!

Scarecrow

Humpty Dumpty

Mum chose to have a picture taken besides Humpty Dumpty (mum is on the right!).

The village is known by locals as Chelly – it was built on the banks of the stream known as Illy Willy Water and below is the Chelly Pound where any stray livestock from the fields were placed until collected. The Pound now has an additional modern-day sign which reads ‘No Fly Tipping’ which says a lot about today’s standards!

Chelmorton Pound

The village is also home to the famous stone built telephone box which has now become a mini library…

…and had been decorated for the Festival by the Yarn bombers in the village – obviously prolific knitters.

Knitting bombing

I particularly liked the pretty garden flowers and the Bee in the tree.

Knitted flowers Knitted Bee

Of course one of the most important signs – the Tea Tent – for a most welcome cuppa, a sit down and a biscuit.

Tea tent

Before we left I had to take this snap – it is of Restoration House perhaps in need of a bit of urgent restoration itself!Restoration House

We let mum off the long walk back up the hill to collect the car and waited for DH to pick us up.

We had a lovely day and then on the Sunday it was another drive up to Yarm to take my mum home, we had lunch in Thirsk but skipped the nearby Open Garden as it was far too hot for mum and me to be without shade.

I had my birthday day off from work today and I will have only four working days to do from tomorrow – the end is coming ever closer.

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