Tuesday, 29 May 2012


HOT HOT HOT that's what it's been for just over a week now, just when I asked where is the sun, she came to visit!!!
Monday last week I had meetings in the morning in central Oxford and then I went shopping till 4pm and it was just warming up a little. Then I had appointments every hour last Tuesday and it was cloudy with sunny spells but again warming up nicely... Then the forecast for the rest of the week was so amazing but there was a catch: I was supposed to be working a 3 day week.... Luckily a few phone-calls and e-mails later and I had been granted annual leave! Thus making for me a holiday at home. BLISS. And it HAS been ABSOLUTE BLISS.
I have been pretending to be in Turkey - in 2006 and 2008 we spent 2 weeks in Turkey at this time of year and the temperatures here in my Oxfordshire garden have been very similar.
I have sunbathed and relaxed, read novels lying on a towel and ate a lot of salad and ice cream - not at the same time.
Can't believe how much I have simply SLEPT. Finally came off the benadryl at night which I was taking since 2009 when my husband started with his depression and the Court case hung over us. Now that is all over - well husband is not well yet and sleeps erratically- but this rest has been FANTASTIC.
Even though I put on 1.5 lbs through all the inactivity and did very little on the creative side.
I have started dreaming again: what joy!
We haven't had a hot sunny holiday like this since 2008 and boy was I in need of one. JJ says he doesn;t believe in them , especially as the girls can be moody and spoil meals out or travel abroad with their squabbles etc. All due to teen hormones no doubt.

Back to work tomorrow, feels really odd right now but I'll be glad to be back in adult company for a while. The dogs have been walked in the early evening or late at night after dark, they don't cope well in this heat. JJ has been away a lot and the girls at school, but relaxing and heartwarming it has been. Batteries have been re-charged.

Oh and last Friday we gained a NEW FIREPLACE . It's lovely, so elegant and simple.

Did my eczema improve? Yes I think it did, although I'm peeling a bit of course. Still not sure of the cause: obviously not the salt water or the soft water as neither were included in this holiday.
It could be the sleeping or the determination not to plan, think or stress over anything?
Was it the creaming after a shower or the oils and creams with sun protection?

Dog walk as the sun sets: the air is still blissfully warm, no knitwear or sleeves needed.

Also dog walks in early morning: there had been sowing: the new shoots were liking the weather too.

And don't look now these are a few personal ones to remind me of a tan achieved in the back garden in Bonny England.

If I had smiled I feared I'd look like a maniac?  New hair cut- longer at the front.

See? That's part real and part fake I reckon....Nice toffee colour . Whites look fab.

Here's the hole and the old fussy fireplace mantle which I have disliked now for 16 years and just put up with.Mind you it was the brown marble that went with it that grated on my sensibilities too.

And here is the new one, classic simple, BEAUTIFUL.

There's a new stone floor coming next week.....

And this is what the dog walks were like:

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Where is the sunshine?

These lambs were so cute a few weeks ago I finally caught up with taking a few photos as the Spring passes so quickly.
Where has the sun gone? We have hardly seen it throughout April- the WETTEST April since records began hundreds of years ago- and now most of May to date has been white or grey or wet.

So what do you do when you feel you need cheering up? Or how do you exercise when it's raining outside and walking is not really an enjoyable option?

You go SCOTTISH COUNTRY DANCING!!!! Or at least I do. It makes me feel so happy I can't stop smiling as I dance. Must look like an idiot but I don't care.
The music, the rythm, the energy, the steps and the skipping, the moves and best of all the people too! It's very sociable and has become a very big part of my life recently. Like it was long ago at Uni.  These are photos of the end of Term dance of the O.U.S.D.S. in March 2012.
As is the video that I started with. Yesterday was a similar event but elsewhere and organised by Abingdon branch of RSCDS: a welcome dance in Cumnor. I danced 17 dances 7:30 to 11;30 pm and never had time to take a photo so the above will suffice as a reminder of all the fun we had.  Not to mention the Harwell Ball recently where we did the same but in evening dress.

Where is the sunshine? In the smiles and fun that people have when enjoying themselves, dancing.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Weight Watchers Progress

 Hip Hip Hooray!!!! At the WW weigh in today I reshaped myself by yet another 2.5 lbs to give a total of 20 lbs removed by re-shaping efforts. There is no mention of ''loss'' as apparently psychologically speaking the body and spirit will fight any ''loss'' as it's seen as negative so re- modelling it is then.

I AM SO HAPPY! It s just an amazing feeking trying on things and finding they not only fit but mostly look good too? Here I was shopping for some dance skirts, tops, dresses, to dance and stay cool in and of course my fave BLUE attracted me. It's a ''roysl blue'' and affiliated season or year for me I think, like it was a turquoise year a few years ago in 2009 or 2010.
This has all happened since Febnruary 1st when I started going with Miss Y as she was over 10 stone and we thought WW might help her. It didn't and in fact she's gained a wee bit but it worked a treat for me and unexpectedly so.

Last time I was this weight was about 1993? I have been around 9st7 in 2008 and 2009 for a while but never below it. Found an old notebook that said I was 10st 3 in 2003....
So HOW and WHY did it work now? And I have to say that if only I'd realised how GREAT it would FEEL I would/ should have done it years ago|! Or did the menopause and turning a certain BIG number actually HELP this too?

THIS is my list of HOW:

1.WW pro points plan is really good and it works and for Miss Y 's benefit we stayed for every week's meeting and that helped as well.
2. I went to three different meetings sometimes and the variety and ideas from each helped too
3. We bought all the gear all the gadgets over a period of 12 weeks: so the cook books and propoint calculator came first and then the journals and finally the scales and pedometer.
4. I found the sweets are fab for snacking on when in long journeys in the car or train or bored at a computer at work.
5. The cereal bars are delicious and can keep me going for hours.
6. I always have either bananas or grapes and a few bottles of water with me and I have found I drink much more than I used to: easily the 2l recommended for health.
7. I eat a great many bananas now.
8. I plan every week in advance in my journal while waiting for the meeting to start.
9. Exercise in particular, I now plan and look for ways to increase and include more activities into each day. the journal helps with this as it devotes a page to it each week.
I love my CHOCOLATE PORRIDGE most mornings but I do vary it with toast or scrambled eggs or fruit cocktail to stop any monotony creeping in.
10. I try to always have a pan of zero point soup available , especially for lunch at home on my at home days.
11. I joined the Simply Walks programme and the Chiltern Weekend Walkers to get more walking into my week.
12 I no longer eat a biscuit or cake at tea breaks in the office or at dance classes either English Folk or Scottish  Country Dancing. And I dance more times per week than I used to.
13 everything I eat is recorded and pointed up and if I slip up a day or a few days then I start again as soon as possible. Or I increase the activity by dancing in the kitchen to Scottish CD s
14 . I have converted some Nigella recipes and pointed them up so we can still enjoy them.
15 Using the WW recipe books can be good too and gives good ideas of how to cook favourite dishes differently.
16 Personally we have banned Quorn now because a nutritionist told me it was very bad for you and have replaced it with turkey mince or turkey sausages.
17. I have been amazed at how much more energy I now have in the day .

 Some final shots, more shopping this time in Oxford Street, a new shop for me: Pull and Bear?
With my fave White Stuff leggings and navy leather boots I was feeling good but in need of a bit of Lace for Spring: there's so much of it about, crochet lace, tape lace, broderie anglaise, embroidered tulle and embroidered organza and finally needle lace too.
As you can see there are still a few lumps and bumps to be removed especially below the waist....

Onward to a bit more ''body tailoring'' : the next 7 lbs or so here I come!

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Weir video of rushing water driving home part 2

OK not sure this video upload has actually worked as yet.

Here are the drive home photos:

A lane that reminded me of the David Hockney type lanes from his recent exhibition at the Royal Academy of Art. Not quite a tunnel but very VERDANT.

The cake made it home safely : it's TENTATION : a chocolate and raspberry confection which we shared so we each had 1/4. Delicious and a perfect ending to a PERFICK day as Pa would say. I was extremely lucky to start the day VERY HAPPY : just because I am and because of the sunshine and because I feel so good without that surplus 18 lbs..... Or just happy anyway as it's a way of feeling but really just a state of mind. I had my finger on the feeling happy button and the walk, company and weather meant it stayed there all day.
I give thanks, THANKS to CHILTERN WEEKEND  WALKERS and in particular to the lovely lady who led our walk today. It was BRILLIANT and I feel as if I have had a mini - one day- HOLIDAY. Refreshed and energised and quite tired too so it's finally time for a bath!

CWW Walk part 2 and the drive home

Back along the river on the THAMES PATH at Henley: we started just after 13:40 and had got to Henley by 3 pm, then to the weir and back and between 15:30 and 16:10 we had a break . Some went to the pub and others to Maison Blanc for tea and  cake. Being on WW I purchased cake to take home and they put it in a box and then a carrier bag for me or it could have got crushed in my backpack.
This is the home stretch: relaxing and peaceful and dry. No rain all day and quite a lot of wonderful sunshine and those bright brilliant BLUE skies. Lots of baby white clouds as well as baby goslings and ducklings to see. Then the weir at Hambleden which I had not visited before and with all the recent rain it was quite a sight, AND SOUND. RUSHING WATER EVERYWHERE.

More rushing water at many levels:

Fascinating such energy in all that water.

And that was the end of the 5 mile walk. Back at the car.
This photo is looking back up the hill where a winding single track lane brought me here from Ibstone via Fingest, Skirmett and Rockwell End. The route here was amazing but on the way here I was nervous and worried about finding the car park and being late. As it was I arrived exactly at 13:30 into the car park after a lovely couple up on Colstrope Lane had re-assured me of the way.
We arrived back at 17:16 and my old WW pedometer had recorded 22,208 steps and estimated a distance of 4.55 miles walked . ( with a stride length of 13'').
On the way back I drove with the top down and in a more relaxed way and here are a few photos on the way home.

This was a road I turned left into at the end there is a sign saying Padmore Lane or somesuch, it was not on any of my maps so caused much confusion on the way out.

The sun shining through the new BEECH leaves in these woods was just incredible. A green so bright and yet light and ethereal too. Quite magical.

There's more but having technical problems so the rest of the drive and a video of the rushing water at Henley weir are in another post. This last photo was taken on Colstrope Lane. There is building works going on there and there's a wood on one side and a lovely view of a valley on the other.This is a wee glimpse of the view.