Thursday, 29 December 2016

2016/17 Winter Photo Scavenger Hunt

I didn't think I would have time to join in with this, but as our relocation has been delayed slightly, I find myself with a bit more spare time than anticipated, and have, therefore, made a start. Whether or not I finish is another matter. You can see this year's list here

No. 2 Raindrops - as seen through the frosted glass window in the bathroom

No. 3 A key - to the booze cupboard

No. 8 A seasonal treat - chocs from FO and CH

No. 15 Hands - all three (hour, minute and second) in perfect alignment

No. 16 A memory of childhood. GO is now almost 28, he drew this when he was about 6 years old and it has been on the wall near to the first aid kit ever since

No. 21 Hygge

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Advent Calendar 2016 Day 24

Merry Christmas everyone

Linking to Julie's Scrapbook

Friday, 23 December 2016

Winter Photo Scavenger Hunt

For the previous couple of years I've co-hosted this with Eileen, but this year, with a house move imminent, I decided that I simply didn't have the time available to participate. However, as we approach the Festive season, and most of the civilized world will close down from today until 3rd January 2017, I thought I might have some spare moments to join in.

Here is this year's list - copied and pasted from Eileen's post:

It's December 1st, so it must be time to start the Winter Photo Scavenger Hunt. The hunt will run from 1st December 2016 to 21st March 2017, and all photos must be taken between these dates.

1.   layers
2.   raindrops
3.   key
4.   a signpost with an image of an animal
5.   fur or feather
6.   river or canal
7.   glassware
8.   a seasonal treat
9.   diamond
10. winter weather
11. a photo taken outside at night
12. a market or market stall
13. cogs/gears
14. repetition
15. hands
16. a memory of your childhood
17. a church with a tower or spire
18. tools
19. bird table or bird feeder
20. cold
21. hygge - this one is compulsory, here's a link to an explanation of the meaning of hygge 

If you find any of the above hard to get you may substitute one or both of the subjects below, except No. 21 which is compulsory.
Alt A  a pinecone
Alt B  a shadow
Alt C  an angel

I'd love you to join in, the more the merrier- please visit Eileen's link above to sign up

Advent Calendar 2016 Day 23

Thankfully, the goblins in the sideboard don't seem to like port, this bottle is still (almost) full - well, we had to just taste it, didn't we?

Linking to Julie's Scrapbook

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Advent Calendar 2016 Day 22

I can't believe this bottle is already empty - we must have Baileys-liking goblins in the sideboard.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Advent Calendar 2016 Day 21

. . . and it's the winter solstice, celebrate people, after the longest night of the year.

A lovely delicate shade of pink for a pleasant change, wonder how long I can keep this alive?

Linking with Julie's Scrapbook

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Advent Calendar 2016 Day 20

Will it be in flower for December 25th? Watch this space

Linking with Julie's Scrapbook

Monday, 19 December 2016

Advent Calendar 2016 Day 19

Our tree doesn't look quite so tiny like this!

Linking with Julie's Scrapbook

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Advent Calendar 2016 Day 18

We don't have a fairy at the top of our tree

Linking with Julie's Scrapbook

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Advent Calendar 2016 Day 17

B&M's rather uninspiring window display - presumably better viewed from inside the store

Linking with Julie's Scrapbook

Friday, 16 December 2016

Advent Calendar 2016 Day 16

Less than a week left then, if Christmas at Wetherspoons finishes 22nd December!

Linking with Julie's Scrapbook

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Advent Calendar 2016 Day 15

Just one of many, many stands like this urging us to spend, spend, spend

Linking with Julie's Scrapbook

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Advent Calendar 2016 Day 13

Just checking the lights to make sure they're all ok

Linking with Julie's Scrapbook

Monday, 12 December 2016

Advent Calendar 2016 Day 12

Annual family winterfeast get-together - 4 sons, 4 D-i-Ls, 1 grandson and 5 granddaughters (only 4 of the granddaughters are visible, the fifth is due in late march) - sadly one D-i-L couldn't make it (yes I know it's greedy to have 5 D-i-Ls with only 4 sons, but I love them all).
Sorry the photo is a bit wobbly, GM was behind the camera, and had been enjoying himself lagerwise.

Linking with Julie's Scrapbook

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Advent Calendar 2016 Day 11

Annual Family Winterfeast meal today, cards to take for everyone

Linking with Julie's Scrapbook

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Advent Calendar 2016 Day 10

Jean and I meet up once a month for a cuppa and a natter, and, more often than not, it's possible that cake is involved. Yesterday we met for the final time this year, nattered for England, enjoyed a mince pie each, and swapped gifts. Look at what she has made for me. Isn't it just lovely? Thank you Jean.

Linking with Julie's Scrapbook

Friday, 9 December 2016

Advent Calendar 2016 Day 9

I know lots of you now prefer to give money to charity rather than buy and send cards for the festive season, but knowing how much I really love having "proper" post drop through the letter box, this is one tradition I intend to continue with for the time being.

Linking with Julie's Scrapbook

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Advent Calendar 2016 Day 8

Can't think of anything to say about this, apart from it being just another way for Morrisons to try to get you to part with your hard-earned dosh.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Advent Calendar 2016 Day 7

Now this is simply ridiculous, everyone knows that Rudolph shares Santa's mince pie, don't they?
Linking with Julie's Scrapbook

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Advent Calendar 2016 Day 6

I came across this the other day, a different take on Advent, and a much better one than trying to make us spend our money. I'm starting this today (by sharing it) and will take two actions each day until I catch up.
Linking with Julie's Scrapbook

Monday, 5 December 2016

Advent Calendar 2016 Day 5

I think I can see a bit of a theme developing here. All of these people/establishments seem to be wanting to take our money! Now there's a surprise.
By the way, I find this particular message very irritating, it should read " come in and check out our christmas deals" 
Linking to Julie's Scrapbook

Advent Calendar 2016 Day 4

(just a little bit late, as I was away for the weekend)

Do you or don't you?
Love 'em or hate 'em?
Explain please.
Linking with Julie's scrapbook

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Advent Calendar 2016 Day 3

Oh dear Morrisons, you are in business to make money. Joy is something you cannot make!

Linking with Julie's Scrapbook

Friday, 2 December 2016

Advent Calendar 2016 Day 2

Ah, yes, I remember Terry's chocolate oranges, most definitely a festive taste memory for me

Linking with Julie's Scrapbook

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Advent Calendar 2016 Day 1

Oh, sorry, we are a bit late - according to Wetherspoons, Christmas started on Monday 14th November!

Linking with Julie's Scrapbook

Sunday, 27 November 2016

It started with a cough . . .

. . . back in the spring of 2008, which long outlasted the flu-type illness that I had suffered from over the late December/early January period. 2008 was a very busy year for us, firstly I celebrated my 60th birthday with a big family party, and then almost immediately we sold our house, then prepared for and executed our relocation to Wiltshire, so I hardly noticed that I was still coughing, there was just too much else to think about! Although my memory of this period is mostly now a blur, I do vaguely recall that at some time during the move I effected an awkward manoeuvre which gave me a strange sensation in the muscles around the stomach area.

It wasn't really until the spring of 2009, after the usual coughs and colds of the winter months had been and gone that I realized I was still coughing, and had been on and off for the entire year and more, so I decided it was time for some medical intervention. A visit to the doctor resulted in a prescription for some antibiotics for a (non-existent, so it turns out) chest infection and an appointment for a chest xray - which showed that my lungs were all clear. The antibiotics didn't clear the cough, so after a couple of months or so another visit to the doctor resulted in a trip to Salisbury hospital for an internal inspection of my nasal passages. Slight inflammation of the throat and lower bronchial areas led to a diagnosis of acid reflux from a hiatus hernia. Nasal sprays and stomach acid neutralizing capsules were prescribed. By this time we were well into 2010, and GM had his own health problems, which obviously overshadowed my own, so I just kept on taking the capsules, as although I was still coughing, it was nowhere near as bad as it had been. Certain things seemed to trigger a fit, so I avoided lager, cheese and wholegrain bread, which also helped a bit. At about the same time I started having the odd bout of cystitis now and again, which was treated with antibiotics.

Fast forward to 2011, GM's stroke and subsequent early retirement package, together with a problematic neighbour and a distinct disillusionment with the amount of traffic and new building in the area, we made the decision to move again, and so (to cut an 11 month story very short) 2012 found us where we are now, in Warminster. Still taking the capsules and still coughing, I made another trip to the doctor, a hospital xray showed up that, yes, I did have a hiatus hernia and that was the end of it, as treatment required major surgery - which is no longer advisable, according to NHS.

Over the following three years I just continued to take the capsules to neutralize the stomach acid, cough mixture whenever the cough was too uncomfortable, and continued to suffer the occasional bouts of cystitis followed by yet more antibiotics. Roughly 18 months ago a family situation occurred over which GM and I had different reactions and opinions, and I'm sad to say that consequently our relationship suffered a bit of a hit. Not only that but the health of my elderly mother deteriorated and I think I was probably extremely run down. At about the same time the cystitis was occurring on a monthly basis, which was also making me feel unwell. My doctor decided that it would be a good idea for me to see a urologist, who suggested that an internal examination of my bladder was the next move - this happened in January of this year, followed by a three month course of prophylactic antibiotics.

What a relief, three whole months free of urine infection, and what a difference it made to my overall outlook on life. GM and I worked hard on our relationship and things seemed to be going well. Fast forward to late spring/early summer, the three month course complete and then, out of the blue, an unwelcome return of monthly bouts of cystitis, the last of which, in late summer, turned out to be the one when the antibiotics were no longer strong enough to clear it. My GP suggested that the next step would be an inspection of my kidneys.

Back down to a very low ebb, I made the decision to change my diet in order to build my strength to fight off the infections on my own. I didn't turn completely vegetarian or completely organic, but got as close as I could within the confines of our family budget. I also had a few sessions in the hyperbaric oxygen tank at the MS Therapy Centre where I help out once a week, and treated myself to a rather expensive kinesiology session - this was, at long last, a turning point for me. The kinesiologist told me that I was overwhelmed (which I sort of knew anyway) and also that my body was reacting against wheat and rye, and therefore I should avoid these food items as best I could - they have now all but been eliminated from my diet. After a chat - about having my kidneys investigated - with the oxygen administrator at the therapy centre, she suggested that I should also have a session of reflexology, as that might help show up any internal problem, so I took her advice and booked a session. The reflexology session was not only wonderfully relaxing, but also suggested that if I had a problem it was more likely in my stomach than my kidneys, and the reflexologist asked if I was interested in finding out about food fermenting and probiotics to redress the balance of acidity in my system.

LIGHTBULB MOMENT!!!!!!!  All this time I have been taking capsules to neutralize stomach acid. What my system needs to help evacuate waste and toxins is stomach acid - so all this time I have been taking medication that has helped marginally to relieve one symptom, but has had devastating side effects on the balance of my body overall.

Without further ado I stopped taking the capsules completely. For the first week or so, as my body adjusted, I was very weak and teary, but my strength has gradually grown, I have been taking probiotics, my system has gradually built up its own immunity, and for the past month not only have I had no cystitis symptoms but I am feeling better in myself than I have done for years!

Except that I still seem to have a bit of a cough, so I think I'll just have to top up on the old cough mixture and avoid lager, cheese and wholegrain bread!

p.s. Just for the record, the family situation has sorted itself, GM and I have made our peace, my mum's health has stabilised and everything seems, at the moment, to be on an even keel.

2017? Bring it on.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

A conversation with myself

So, Mrs. S. now that you are just about ready to sign the purchase contract, please can you tell us the attraction of the house you're buying.

Is it the spaciousness? Well, actually no, it's quite a lot smaller than the one we have, it will be a struggle to fit everything in.

Is it the wonderfully modern kitchen? Well, actually no, the kitchen is mediocre and in poor condition so would need a total replan and refit.

How about the other internal features then? Well, no actually, the bathroom is small and quite grubby, the downstairs loo likewise, and it lacks a utility room.

Well then, maybe it's the garden? The garden is OK, but it's on a slope and is a bit of a mess.

The house must be attractive to the eye, or be in a good position? It is a very ordinary 70s built semi, and it is exactly where we want to live - midway between the Surrey families and the Wiltshire families - but that's not it.

Must be the price? No, it's probably overpriced for what it is.

Alright then, what is the attraction? It's the location, right on the edge of town, overlooking open countryside for miles.

So, what if I were to tell you that, although the vendor's agent and the vendor's mother-in-law denied all knowledge of such a thing, there is an outline planning application to build 202 houses in the field adjoining the back fence?

OH SH*T!!!!!

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Top notch or stopped watch?

I came across an article in today's The Times Magazine (Chav Chic, p.46) about the current celeb fashion fad, i.e. the sporty look, comprised of joggers, trackies, hoodies and trainers, which are apparently now the height of style. This is fabulous news for me, as it means that my current, ongoing wardrobe has suddenly come back into fashion - I've been wearing these clothes for years, in fact the same ones for years in some cases (probably since the last time they were the "in thing" to be wearing).

I don't exactly live in these clothes all the time, I do wear my dress for special occasions and during the summer you might just catch me wearing cropped trousers on a very hot day, but for the most part I admit to being very lazy, I love to just slop about at home in my "comfort zone" clothes.

Does this mean that I have unwittingly become highly fashion conscious? Or am I just like the very old watch that I keep in my bedside cabinet for sentimental reasons, which, although not working, shows the right time twice a day?

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

It looks very likely . . .

. . . that our relocation will happen within the next month. In the mean time, in between packing and cleaning, offloading and downsizing, I'll be giving my blog a revamp and a new name - if I can remember how to do it! I expect to be far too busy looking ahead to worry about today's devastating news, let's all just hope that our worst fears do not come to fruition. We all need to send more love out into the big wide world, now more than ever.

I hope to be back in January, as it is my intention to do a 365 of things I love about my new home. Hope to see you then.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Autumnal Equinox Update

June 2016:

Our house goes on the market and within three days we have a full price offer.
We start house-hunting.
We find a house we like but it's over our budget. The sellers' agent suggests we put in an offer anyway, which we do. After a bit of haggling a price is agreed and we start the purchase procedure.
Our surveyor finds a potentially expensive problem.

July 2016:

While we are considering what we should do about the problem, we are gazumped.
We restart house-hunting.
Our buyers are under pressure from their buyers and attempt to put pressure on us.
We make 4 separate trips to our target area without finding a house we would be happy to live in.

August 2016:

We finally find a house we would be happy to live in and we make an offer.
Our buyers' buyers pull out, our buyers are not able to proceed, we withdraw our offer on the house we would be happy to live in.
We grant our buyers a three week window to find another buyer.
Our buyers do not attract another buyer and decide to withdraw.
We are back to square one.

September 2016:

Our house goes back on the market and within two days we have a full price offer.
We start house-hunting.
We find a house we love and after a bit of haggling a price is agreed and we start the purchase procedure.
Our surveyor will visit the property soon.

To be continued  . . .

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Five in five on the fifth

It's quite a while since I've joined in with Sandie's five on five, but as this month found me idling away my time on a beach in Suffolk on the 5th, I thought I would join in. So here are five photos all taken within five minutes on 5th August.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

5 in 5 Dining Suite

Well, Sandie will certainly think I've got a bit of a cheek, but anyway here goes.

I may have mentioned in an earlier post that GM and I are relocating in order to be closer to family. The only downside to this relocation is that as we are moving to a slightly more expensive area so we are downsizing, buying a smaller house than the one we currently live in, meaning that various items of furniture are too big or surplus to requirements in the new house.

We currently have the luxury of a lovely dining room, but our new house has only a kitchen/diner - the diner half has room for a table and chairs, but not the beautiful dining suite that we currently own. So it has to go. I'll soon be putting it on Gumtree or Ebay (haven't yet decided - ebay has a larger audience but Gumtree is cheaper [free]), but in the mean time if you, or anyone you know, are/is looking for a fabulous dining suite, please get in touch.

The table is an (up to) 8-seater, with 6 chairs and 2 carvers. I am told that the table top is "book match veneered cat's paw oak" and the chairs are stained beech. You can get a general idea of the size from the photos, the table has an extension which fits in the centre, there is also a protector cut to the full (extended) size and a plain (very slightly wine-soiled!!) cream table cloth to fit. If you are interested please comment below or email me joy.shallcross at btinternet dot com.
You will need to collect it from Warminster.

By the way, I know that the carver in the last photo looks as if it only has three legs, but you'll have to take my word that the fourth (rear) leg is completely hidden by the leg in front of it (otherwise it would have fallen over!).

Joining in with Sandie's 5 on 5, you can see other entries here.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

My personal EU vote story

I personally voted to remain in Europe, because, to my (I admit limited) knowledge I thought it would be best for everyone, for all of the UK citizens and for the citizens of all the other EU countries as well. I naively assumed that the majority of others in this country would feel the same. What I hadn't realized until only last Monday was the personal impact that a leave vote would have on me and my family.
My lovely daughter-in-law is Japanese, she and my son have been together for 10 years, married for 7 and they have two gorgeous daughters. My daughter-in-law is the main breadwinner as her job with a Japanese Investment bank provides a deal more income than my tree-surgeon son could hope to earn.
The work that she does is quite complicated, but I hope she won't mind me telling you that basically she sells European shares to Japanese investors. In order to do this, the company that she works for (and incidentally any other UK or international company that does the same thing) needs to be situated inside the EU, which means that at some not too distant point in the future the company and all its employees will need to be relocated to an EU country. If I remember rightly, the options available to them are Dublin, Paris or Frankfurt. So, instead of them being an hour's drive away, they will be heaven knows how far away. And, worst of all, my daughter-in-law, being a foreign national, had no say in the process, despite having lived in this country for many years, being married to an English man, having two half-English children, and having a mortgage on a house in England.
To say that I am sad is an understatement, but I guess that now I'll at least have the opportunity to travel to wherever they end up, as long as my pension holds out!
This is not a complaint or a whinge, just an individual viewpoint of how suddenly several lives can be impacted so severely. These two brothers, who have always been close, will now be separated, as will the four cousins who all get on so well together.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

2016 Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt

I wasn't sure whether to participate this year or not, with so much else going on, but having just had a few days away with GM, in a very wet Wales, I saw some of the items I knew were on the list so I started snapping, and before I knew it I had found and snapped almost half of the items on the list (which can be found here).

No. 1 A wild heart - clover leaf

No. 2 A foot or paw print - found in Caerleon

No. 3 A skeleton, bone or xray - a snail, wearing his bone on the outside

No. 5 a porch or deck - at home

No. 12 A window - our holiday digs (spot the wildlife)

. . . and the remains of a window in Usk Castle

No. 13 The moon - through a window

No. 16 A map showing a trip taken - our day at Caerleon

. . . and the area we stayed in

No. 17 Twins - Cat and Hat (although I'm not sure which one is which)

18. A supermarket cart, basket or trolley full of groceries

If you would like to join in, please visit the link at the top for the complete list of items to find, and the "rules".