Monday, 15 July 2019

Joy in the Everyday Ordinary - July, 1-10

Hi there everyone 😀

Apologies folks for all the writing in today's Joy in the Everyday Ordinary ... do feel free to scroll past ...

One night last week it was late but I just couldn’t sleep ... which is pretty unusual for me. I was wide awake and my head was just buzzing with all kinds of everything. I decided to get up and try and capture a bit of a moment that I'd had earlier in the week. I sat in the dining room listening to the rain, as it was hitting the windows and sills and every now and again there was a bit of a metallic ting as it hit the old metal watering can out front.

It had been a funny old week ...

Of late we seem to have got into a routine of not having a routine. Don't get me wrong, we are very fortunate and pretty much living the life of Riley, more or less doing whatever we want whenever we want. Every now and again though, things seem to descend into chaos and become a little overwhelming.

When I retired back in 2014 I found myself in a really good routine, where I was keeping on top of everything. I guess that was how I transitioned into this new stage in my life, rather than spending every day wondering what I was supposed to be doing. For a while I did a really good impression of the domestic goddess, laundry all done, house and garden tidy, tea on the table and plenty of time for relaxing too.

Slowly I added stuff to my new life ... this blog, crafting, days out keeping in touch with old work friends, lunches out with friends and family and plenty of gentle pottering about.

In 2016 Martin semi retired ... he tends to work two weeks a month ... and it all seems to have gone a bit to pot since then. When he’s not working he feels like he’s on holiday, so doesn’t really fancy doing routine day to day chores and because he’s off, I would rather be doing more interesting things too. My routine has gone right out of the window ... after all I don’t want to be attacking a pile of ironing whilst Martin is chilling out in the garden.

For both of us I think there’s also an element of feeling that ... hey, we’re retired, surely we shouldn’t be spending all of our time doing chores ... especially when the weather is good ... we want to be out visiting new places, relaxing in the garden, meeting up with friends and generally enjoying our time off. This is all very well and sounds perfectly acceptable but we seem to have fallen into a routine of doing none of the day to day stuff for about three weeks then getting really fed up with living in chaos and have a blitz ... this normally coincides with us being due to go on holiday.

The problem now is that we are not away again until September and all of a sudden, last week, it just became a little too chaotic and it was hard to know where to start, never mind build up the energy to have a really good crack at bringing life back under control.

I think I’ve realised that, if we want to fit in everything that we want to do and keep a nice home and garden, then we need to succumb to some form of routine and since having my wobble earlier this week I’ve set myself a couple of  new ‘rules’. I’ve decided to get up a bit earlier and I've set myself a bit of a morning routine, that needs to take place before I get sucked into any form of social media.

I’ve also revamped my bullet journal and started trying to plan time in for stuff that needs doing, limiting my daily goals to sensible levels ... meaning that everything gets done and possibly more besides.

So far it seems to be working. I’ve been amazed at how much I’ve achieved this week ... that extra bit of time gained from getting up that little bit earlier and that reduction of time spent scrolling through Facebook has made all the difference ... as has knowing what I want to get done each day, rather than procrastinating and ending up not getting on with anything.

I’ve done plenty of crafting, a bit of gardening, sorted all of the paperwork, written a few blog posts, kept on top of the daily stuff and cleared about three weeks worth of ironing. I’m not there yet ... the house still needs a good clean from top to bottom, but at least everything is away and everywhere is pretty tidy, which is certainly making me feel a lot better.

The plan now is for a bit of a blitz on the cleaning front over the course of the next couple of weeks and then trying to set ourselves a routine to make sure we keep on top of it, whilst still having plenty of time for all of the fun things that we want to do.

Hopefully it won’t be long before normal service is resumed and home feels like home again.

Don't get me wrong I know there are lots of people with far more things to worry about than whether the house is clean and in the great scheme of things my problems are insignificant ... I really do recognise that we both have lots to be grateful for.

In spite of my wobble there has still been plenty to smile about so here we go with our first 10 days of July ...
Day 1 - Finally ... the first sweet pea flowers have bloomed
Day 2 - It was such a lovely day we decided to drop everything and head for an al fresco lunch at one of our new favourite spots
Day 3 - We had a big day out to Kew to see the Dale Chihuly glass sculptures. I struggled to pick a favourite but this was certainly a strong contender. 
Day 4 - Our first passionflower - just beautiful
Day 5 - It's been ages since we've seen Jackie and Phil and we had a lovely impromptu evening, raising a glass to Rachel & Tom, who have just got engaged 💜💜💜
Day 6 - We spent the afternoon out with the craft stall at a local nursery fun day ... but just look at these succulents, they are so pretty
Day 7 - Today we had an impromptu invite for lunch with mum and dad, David, Alison & Bobby,  so of course we dropped everything and were on our way. Back home in the garden and once the sweet peas start coming it's not long before there are enough to fill a jar ... this is my first of what I hope will be many
Day 8 - Monday and with Martin back at work I was getting ready for a crafty week ahead, starting with washing this lovely lot in readiness for topping up on the beeswax wrap stocks
Day 9 - Working on a button art heart order that we picked up from the Lullington Open Gardens weekend
Day 10 - I decided to have a go at something new on the craft front and cut out lots of scraps of fabric for making up into bookmarks

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Having reflected on what I've written at the beginning of this post and having looked at the pictures that I've selected to represent the joy I've found in the last 10 days it's no wonder the housework is behind ... I think I may need to work on my balance of activities 😀

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Thursday, 11 July 2019

A Taster of Kew Gardens

Hi there everyone 😀

Last week I managed to tick another item off the list of the 50 things I want to do before I'm 60. We had a big day out to Kew Gardens. It's somewhere I've wanted to visit for as far back as I can remember and when I found out that there is a glass sculpture exhibition in situ for the summer, I just knew it was the right time to go.

We had a fabulous day ... bright sunshine, fabulous sculptures, an al fresco lunch and took loads of photos. I will do another post sharing lots more photos and giving lots more detail of what we saw and what we thought of Kew but for now here is a taster of our big day out with just one photo and a three word caption for each half hour of our day ...
08.30 ... At Tamworth station
09.00 ... Here's our ride
09.30 ... On our way
10.00 ... Almost at Euston
10.30 ... Heading for Victoria
11.00 ... The District Line
11.30 ... We are here!
12.00 ... Our first WOW!
12.30 ... Sun's coming out
13.00 ... The Japanese Garden
13.30 ... Time for lunch
14.00 ... The Temperate House
14.30 ... Colours were amazing!
15.00 ... Broad Walk Borders
15.30 ... Yay ... The Orangery!
16.00 ... Very, very hot
16.30 ... One last push
17.00 ... One last selfie
17.30 ... Heading for home
So there you have it ... a whistle stop tour of our day. I promise there's another post on its way, with lots more sculptures and a more leisurely tour of the gardens so ... watch this space 😀

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Monday, 8 July 2019

To Ilam Park for a bit of a Wander

Hi there everyone 😀

Back at the beginning of June we had a day out in the very lovely Peak District. We started out at the Tissington Well Dressing Festival and then decided to have a drive over to Ilam Park.

It was a short, but lovely, drive from Tissington. I just love the hills and dales of the South Peak. We headed through the tiny village of Thorpe, passing Thorpe Cloud and The Rest, the holiday cottage we stayed in back in 2015, and down the hill, which we walked up a fair few years ago ...
... passing the road to Dovedale and the Isaac Walton Hotel ...

We made way for the locals ...
... before parking up in the National Trust car park at Ilam Hall. The last time we visited here it was wet and grey ... not so today. It looked lovely in the afternoon sunshine ...

First stop ... you've guessed it ...
... for tea and cake with a view to die for ...
Refreshed, we decided to have a bit of a gentle wander ... along the terrace past the front of the Hall, which is now used as a Youth Hostel ...
... down the steps and into the parkland ...
... and past the Church ... there is a fairly easy walk from here to Dovedale if you feel so inclined, but that was not on the cards for us today ...
We headed towards the river and St Bertram's Bridge ...
... for fabulous views looking across the river and back to the hall ...
We wandered along the river, heading for the Boil Holes, where water rises from underground to join the River Manifold ...
It was all so lush and green. We didn't quite know what to expect at the Boil Holes, but this is what we found ...
We carried on along the side of the river until bearing off at Paradise Walk ...
... where we wandered in the shade of the lime tree avenue until we reached the Battle Stone ...
At this point we decided to head back up the path through the woods ...
... which brought us back to where we'd started from, in the garden of the tea room ...


There was just time for one last look at the view before it was time to head for home ...

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