Sunday, May 31, 2015

standing in the garden

(The Weepies - Same Changes)

This blog seems to have had recurrent references to our gardening in recent weeks. Apologies for the picture heavy post, and poor quality pictures at that! I have had a go at some highly technical (for me) before and after montages to try and make up for it. I'm not sure I've succeeded entirely, and feel slightly self-conscious of filling a post with pictures of our garden, but those montages took me ages so I'm going to use them!! I had planned to do this post yesterday, but after running the 5k our new dishwasher then took over four hours to fit, so apologies for the double posting this evening but I was in my dressing gown at 5pm last night, and unashamedly went to my grandad's wearing it (and slippers) for a night of crosswords with my mum while Grandad and Mal watched the rugby.

There are a whole bunch of new plants in here, and I'm hoping the lavender starts to flower soon. The tubs contain some sweet-peas though they got a little battered by hailstones soon after we planted them so we will see how they fare. I'm so pleased with the new path, my brilliant Grandad relaid the paving stones and built us a step up to the shed, and I much prefer it to the crooked sloping version that was there before.

Spot the beagle exploring the new garden. We love that purple acer in the corner by the shed, and Millie loves to lie under it on sunny days. 

Looking at these pictures, the arduous bank holiday weekend was definitely worth it. The flowerbeds are the result of The Husband's particularly productive day of annual leave. Having come home anticipating that he would have mostly been watching films or playing on his console, I was amazed that he had weeded all of the borders and replaced all of the bark (much to Millie's delight). We planted up the new peony by the shed, and I love the pop of colour from the azalea that has flowered now.

The rest of The Husband's handywork (complete with a sneak peek of his forehead in the before shot!), and I can't wait for the roses and peonies to start to bloom. The buds on the peonies looked ready to burst this afternoon, so not long now. In the very corner is where our new raised bed has been given pride of place.

We bought some trellis and decking, and turned it into this creation! The herb pots, and garden tool set are courtesy of Ikea, and I love having the herb scissors out there ready to take cuttings. We are so proud of this little project, it turned out exactly how we had hoped, and has already brought us lots of enjoyment. If we manage to eat even one thing we have grown I will be so very thrilled! We have planted carrots, cauliflower, tomatoes, strawberries, green beans, runner beans, mangetout, sweet potato, onion and aubergine (that is definitely the underdog as it is looking fairly bedraggled). We've also planted a blackberry bush behind the trellis which we are hoping will climb. The herb pots contain oregano, rosemary, thyme (struggling), sage, mint, lemon mint, chives, parsley, coriander and basil (though those last two are growing from seed - hopefully). 

We also bought some trays of violas, and I planted some into pots for the back garden, and some into hanging baskets for the front of the house. Since these pictures were taken they have bloomed brilliantly, and I find the colour so cheerful, both looking out of the kitchen window and leaving the house each day. It's the first year the garden has felt completely finished (with the exception of a bit of weeding still to do around the paving stones), and my brilliant step-dad comes to mow the lawn every week or so, and keeps it looking fabulously groomed. Now we just need some weather that's warm enough for us to enjoy sitting outside!

project 365: week 22

144. These are some particularly important flowers, they are my commemorative 2 mile flowers. Silly as it sounds, as I set out to run my first 2 miles last Sunday, I passed these flowers growing near the start of my usual running route, and to try and convince myself I could manage it, I made a mental promise to myself that next time I saw those flowers I would have completed a 2 mile run. I was so pleased to have achieved it, and thought a picture was a fitting memento. 

145. The rest of this week's pictures are fairly bland, and quite beagle heavy! This one is Millie taking up a typical position of nestling in the crook of my arm as I sat in the study. I've been contributing some black and white pictures over on The Monochrome Muse site as well, including this floral offering.  

146. I'm so sorry, I took this as part of the year in books twitter chat, which somehow meandered into stationery and coloured inks. I decided it wasn't worth posting online, then forgot to take any other pictures, and so here I am, posting it online. Head hangs in shame....

147. ....Particularly as I am following it up with a second night of forgetfulness. This actually involved me waking suddenly as I was drifting off, having realised I had forgotten to take a picture. The Husband was overjoyed at me turning the lamp on, photographing it, then settling back down to sleep!

148. Still getting so much joy from our daily inspections of the vegetable planter. I've been fascinated by the intricacies of the different produce, particularly the delicate layers of these peas.

149. Friday night cuddles with this beautiful beagle.

150. We did it! Our first ever 5k complete, and in a much better time than I was hoping. Millie was absolutely brilliant, I was very nervous beforehand, both about my ability, and concerned that she would get a bit giddy at the prospect of running with lots of other people. As it was she coped valiantly, and once we set off, she trotted alongside me the whole way round, completely unfazed. Crossing the finish line, my mum and step-dad had done an early morning dash to meet up with The Husband, so we had our very own surprise welcome party waiting as we finished. I realise 5k is not a huge achievement for many, but when I consider that less than 12 weeks ago I was still at the running in one minute bursts stage, I'm absolutely thrilled with what me (and Millie!) have done, and so very grateful to have such a supportive family who celebrated our progress with us.

Friday, May 29, 2015

word of the week #22

Lots of lovely plans this week. Mostly we have been planning our summer holiday to Scotland. We are planning on doing a mini road trip and doing a mix of camping , Air BnB and hotels. We are also planning on taking Millie so who knows how it will go. The Husband has had the tent out, and is using it as an excuse to buy all manner of gizmos and gadgets. He came home the other day brandishing an inflatable mattress which of course then necessitated an electric pump, and now we have a multitool complete with hammer for tent peg related tasks. We have so far resisted the urge to buy Millie her own rucksack.

We have a route planned and as of today one of the hotels booked. We also have a voucher for afternoon tea in Edinburgh which will be a lovely treat. It is our anniversary while we are away so we have found a great dog friendly hotel with a rather tempting looking spa and a delicious sounding menu to celebrate in style.

I also have plans to do my first park run tomorrow, in preparation for my 5k race next weekend. I managed 2.5 miles twice this week so we will see how I fare when it comes to the terrifying business of running with other people!

Other plans include meeting up with a good friend on Sunday, and a meal out with my mum and some neighbours next weekend. There is lots to look forward to in the weeks and months ahead. Here's to a lovely summer.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

breakout manchester

So I mentioned recently that I was going to write up a few of our room escape experiences, and lo and behold I received an email from Breakout Manchester saying that it was their first birthday - Happy Birthday to them! I then realised that this weekend will be exactly six months since we first visited Breakout, and in fact, since we first did a room escape, and so I thought it was as good an occasion as any to write about them.

image from Breakout Manchester 

So, obviously, Breakout Manchester will always hold a special place in our hearts as the place we did our first (and second!) room escape. We booked it on a whim, having read about room escapes in London a few months earlier and then being very excited to realise there was one a lot nearer to home. I opted for Sabotage, mainly because it was the first room that had availability, not realising it was one of the harder rooms. When we did it it was a 4* difficulty, but it has since been upped to a 5*, I don't know if it has changed in content, or if they have just adjusted it because it's fairly tricky.

The premise of Sabotage is to stop a missile strike in an enemy control centre, and escape, in 60 minutes. We got out with about 30 seconds to spare, and were absolutely hooked. I won't talk about the specific content because there is nothing worse than spoilers, but I will say that the puzzles took lots of different formats, and there was a lot to do in the time. The room made good use of technology, and there was a lot of information to assimilate, but the story felt generally believable, and the plot you were given before you went in made good sense.

When we returned, for my Birthday, we decided to go back to basics and do the easiest room, John Monroe, which is rated as 3* difficulty. We wanted to work our way up through the difficulty of the different rooms over time, and assumed we would find the John Monroe room a breeze after succeeding at Sabotage. We were a little over-confident I think, and didn't do that much better time-wise in the end, missing one or two obvious things for a little while. The plot here centres around a detective who has been murdered by someone he was investigating, and you have to work out from the suspects who it was. Again the puzzles took lots of different forms, and there was very little overlap with the puzzles in Sabotage. We assumed that the rooms would all be the same things just in different settings, but actually it used a variety of approaches that we didn't see in Sabotage at all. Our only bug with this room was that the story seemed a little less logical, particularly when some of the information on the suspects hidden in the room said that they were suspected of murdering John Monroe - it didn't make sense that he would have hidden those in his own office before he died. We do have a tendency to analyse these things in depth afterwards, and it's worth saying that it didn't in any way bother us during the game!

As a company Breakout seem to be doing great, since we first visited they have opened a further three rooms (two of which are the same so you can play two teams against each other - a great idea). They have also opened a site in Liverpool, which we have also visited and will be writing about another time. They don't seem to be resting on their laurels, and even the fact that, for example, Sabotage has changed it's rating makes me think they are constantly reviewing and improving the games they have.

The staff have always seemed really keen and enthusiastic, across both sites, and they have a good twitter presence too. I really like that they run the rooms for two people (not all places do this, and it puts me off going if we have to pay for a minimum of three), and they have great attention to detail. From the moment the door is shut, the room set-ups feel incredibly realistic, with a lot of props and items. As well as making the games more complex by throwing in a few red herrings, they generally capture the feel of the setting, so the two game rooms above felt completely different inside.

All room escape games generally have a way for you to get hints if you are completely stuck, and Breakout deliver theirs through a large screen in the room, which is also where the clock counts down. Generally there will be a noise to alert you when there is a hint so that you know to look (and I like that the noise is also themed to the room - so much thought!), and your helper types up a clue to appear on the screen.

If we could improve something about Breakout it would be this hint system, which, although better than some of the others we have seen suffers because you can't have a two way dialogue with your helper. This means that you sometimes get hints when you don't want them, or before you're desperate enough! The Husband and I have come out from Breakout rooms and felt like we had too many hints, and wondered what our time would have been without them. I did see on twitter recently that a team asked not to be given any so perhaps we might try that in future! Ideally though it would be good to be able to have some kind of way to signal that you want a hint, or even better, what it is you want a hint with. At other times we have been really struggling with something, but got hints about something else that we understood, or had already done. In one room, there was also a puzzle that we struggled with for ages, partly because The Husband is colour blind. We didn't think to mention it on the way in, and when we explained afterwards, the guy said he would have helped us a lot sooner had he realised. We both felt we would have been disappointed not to have succeeded because of it, especially as we knew what we had to do! I can honestly say it is the only thing we would change about Breakout, and it certainly hasn't stopped us going back.

Setting wise, Breakout Manchester works pretty well. It is centrally located and easy to find. The John Monroe room actually includes a large window facing out onto a busy street (the rooms are on the first floor of the building), and I was put off for a few seconds when I thought we would be seen by everyone doing their shopping. The minute the clock started ticking I rapidly forgot about it, although they did tell us a few people have tried to report burglaries when they have seen the room getting "ransacked" from outside. It has a large waiting area with plenty of seating, and all of the rooms have felt a good size. Having been to other places since, it is clear that the rooms aren't purpose built, but they do a good job to make the rooms feel realistic, with plenty of detail.

Something I really like about Breakout, and didn't really register until we played other rooms, was the use of background music too. Again, it's the little details like this that set the mood, particularly when it changes pace as you enter the last ten minutes. I've always found the staff at Breakout Manchester seem to love their work, and they really make the experience each time, helping to set the scene and get you engaged from the outset. I can't wait to go back and try some of the other rooms soon, and look forward to seeing what they have achieved by their second birthday!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

project 365: week 21

137. Gardening finally finished, and herb pots planted up. I'm hoping to do a bigger post showing you the finished results at some point soon, now we just need the rain to stay away long enough for us to enjoy it!

138. Monday night with Millie, although she doesn't look very impressed with here for some reason. Probably tired of having her picture taken!

139. The first time I used some herbs from the garden in our cooking, fresh oregano for a vegetable pasta with goats cheese.

140. I've started contributing to a collaborative blog of black and white photography, and here was one of the practice pictures I took on the way home from a day working in London.

141. Hot pink flowers brightening up the study for spring, my mum kindly brought them as she was going away so thought I should enjoy them!

142. Made the most of working from home and went for a lunchtime walk with Millie. It was good to get some fresh air, and it stayed dry enough for a wander through the park, although the geese who hissed at us as we walked past their goslings weren't quite so happy to see us as we were to see them!

143. Saturday night dinner with The Husband, before a brilliant room escape. We got to Friday night and realised we had no plans for the bank holiday weekend, so made a few bookings and it turned out to be a lovely evening.

Friday, May 22, 2015

word of the week #21

It has been a productive week. Nothing major has really happened, but small achievements. Last weekend we finally finished the garden, and I'm thrilled with it - a full post on that soon! A few niggly things that were playing on my mind both at work and at home have got done and seemed to go well.

The running is improving, slowly but surely, and on Sunday I will run my first ever two miles without stopping, and I can't believe that somehow that doesn't sound like a ridiculous idea. I'm also slowly progressing towards my target of a healthy weight, with lots of support from my wonderful mum and The Husband.

Things are good, life is happy, and there are small changes for the better happening all around. Joining in with this project helps me to notice them, even when nothing remarkable has happened, each week includes something of note, and I'm enjoying taking a few minutes (or a bit longer in the case of that picture which went slightly awry) to recognise the progress I am making.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

making our escape

I seem to have been mentioning room escape games for months on this blog, with the promise of a longer post later on several occasions. This post has been in draft for ages, so I thought I would finally commit to sharing a bit about this hobby that has got me hooked! 

So, what is a room escape game? I have heard some people describe it as being similar to a Crystal Maze or Krypton Factor type activity, and this is partly true. It is a timed activity, although typically at 45-60 minutes a lot longer than a room on the Crystal Maze, and generally it involves logic and puzzles rather than much physical skill - no Krypton Factor style assault courses here!

In truth though, my experience of room escape games, goes back many years, when they were (and still are) popular as online computer games such as these, where you point and click around a locked room, finding clues and objects to help you escape. Many a happy hour as a geeky teenager (and if we're being honest twenty-odd-year old) was passed completing the puzzles with The Husband. It seems to have been in the last year that real life versions have taken off in the UK, although apparently they have been around a lot longer. They are growing massively in popularity, often topping Tripadvisor lists of activities in various cities. There are so many to choose from, and as my friends have started going and taking part and agreeing how fabulous they are, I feel somewhat vindicated, and increasingly proud of my geekdom - turns out I was cool all along, just ahead of my time!

So what actually happens? Well the rooms are generally designed with a particular story in mind, the ones we have done so far have varied massively, there have been crimes to solve, science experiments to investigate, and even missile launches to stop. You are generally given the back story by your helper, who takes you to the room, and then watches your progress from outside, and can offer hints if you need them. The room will be set up to look like a "proper room" with furniture, pictures, books, etc, and you have to work out what in the room is relevant, and use it to solve clues, work out codes, unlock boxes, and eventually get out of the room. There is a timer counting down, and you frantically try to get out before the sixty minutes runs out.

The rooms often vary in difficulty, and generally can be done by 2-6 people (although this varies depending on the place). The Husband and I have always done them as a pair, and have thoroughly enjoyed all 6 that we have done. I'm going to write a bit more separately about the different places we have visited, as they they are all quite different. I don't plan on turning this into a room escape blog, as I realise it might be less than interesting for most people, but much like sharing the books I have read, I decided I'd like to share some of room escape experiences on here too.

When I tell people about it, a lot of people think it must be either claustrophobic or scary (or both!). Personally I've never found it to be claustrophobic, the rooms have all been quite reasonably sized, and all have a means of exiting in an emergency. I don't tend to think of myself as being locked in, more as having to solve the puzzles, so I think knowing that I could get out if I wanted to helps, although obviously other people could well feel different. In terms of it being scary, one or two of the rooms have had elements that made me jump (and maybe scream, just once), but there are plenty to do that don't include anything that is frightening - except for the fear that sets in in the final five minutes!

If you like puzzles, and logic, and fancy doing something a bit different, I'd highly recommend giving one of these a go. This brilliant site tells you where does them across the UK. They seem to be really popular with families, and from what I see on the twitter feeds of some of the companies, children quite often put parents to shame when it comes to code cracking! The Husband and I are definitely fans, and it is a really good way to spend an hour together, it's fun to feel like we have shared the experience (and definitely a good test of any friendship or relationship - there has occasionally been episodes of snapping - me, and not listening  - him!). We always come away with tons to talk about, and so far have managed to escape every time, albeit cutting it very fine on a few occasions. I'll share with you some more detail of our different experiences on a few future posts, but what do you think, is it something you would try?

Monday, May 18, 2015

the year in books: may

It has taken me forever to get around to finishing this post. I started it ages ago and then lost part of it, and after a successful month of reading in April, I haven't quite got round to writing it and now I realise it is nearly the end of May. I partly blame the fact that I am plodding through a book that I'm not really loving, and it has curbed my enthusiasm somewhat. However, April was filled with some fabulous reads, so hopefully finally getting this published will reignite my enthusiasm!

“The early days of any relationship are punctuated with a series of firsts - first sight, first words, first laugh, first kiss, first nudity, etc., with these shared landmarks becoming more widely spaced and innocuous as days turn to years, until eventually you're left with first visit to a National Trust property or some such.” 

I really enjoyed this, the main character almost reminded me of Don from The Rosie Project in twenty years time. A brilliant combination of a tour through Europe, descriptions of art, and a great plot. I can heartily recommend this book, and thought it was wonderful, a very believable account of a family at a critical juncture, with superb characters.

“Olivia Joules liked hotels. She liked hotels because: When you went into a new hotel room there was no past. It was like drawing a line and starting again. Hotel life was almost Zen-like in its simplicity: a capsule wardrobe, capsule living. No debris, no nasty clothes you never wore but couldn't throw away, no in-tray, no dishes full of leaky pens and Post-it notes with chewing gum stuck to them. Hotels were anonymous." 

In early April I was having a few sleepless nights. When it gets particularly bad (thankfully not often) rather than lie in bed mulling things over I take myself downstairs and dig out a book. I tend towards ones that I have read before, that aren't too taxing, but that have enough of a plot to keep me engaged, and on this occasion this one was the book of choice. I've read this a few times over the years, and find it quite funny, with the brilliant ability to satirise life that Helen Fielding has. It is a little dated now in terms of the plot, but it did the trick and The Husband came downstairs to find me asleep under a blanket on the sofa in the study. 

“He liked the idea of coffee quite a lot—a warm drink that gave you energy and had been for centuries associated with sophisticates and intellectuals. But coffee itself tasted to him like caffeinated stomach bile.” 

The plot had the potential to be interesting, but I found the writing style really grating. The author (John Green who wrote A Fault in Our Stars) put footnotes on every page explaining foreign terms, mathematical equations and specific facts that he had included in the text and it became really distracting. As well as constantly looking to the footnotes, it gave the sense that the author was constantly trying to show the breadth of his knowledge and it really spoiled the book for me.  It seemed quite a jarring way to include the information in the narrative, and drew me away from what was otherwise a good plot. Added to the main character being a prodigy who was particularly keen on doing anagrams, it just felt like one long display of skills and information, and wasn't that enjoyable.

“Your hope lies in accepting your life as it now lies before you, forever changed. If you can do that, the peace you seek will follow. Forever changed.”

After the previous book, I wasn't as enthused about starting this, another novel written about teenagers finishing school. As it was I thought it was brilliant, some great writing, and really gripping. I liked the shifting narrators, and the story. Also, I can highly recommend reading the author notes at the end of the book, I actually read them down the phone to my mum, weeping as I did!

“This was how it could be done. This was how you lived with a terrible secret. You just did it. You pretended everything was fine. You ignored the deep, cramplike pain in your stomach. You somehow anesthetized yourself so that nothing felt that bad, but nothing felt that good either.” 

Another brilliant pick by The Husband. I don't know what I expected from the cover, but this book was so much more than I anticipated. A really engaging read, with lots of intertwining storylines, and darkly witty in places. I thought at first it might be tricky to follow, but the characters were so clearly written that it was easy to keep up with the switching plots. I will definitely look out for more of this author's work.

My first (and only) book so far in May has been To The Edge of the Sky by Anhua Gao. As I hinted at the start I'm battling with this one, so it will likely be a much shorter, but hopefully earlier, post next month!

Linking up with Laura's The Year in Books project.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

project 365: week 20

130. Millie's second birthday involved party hats, a new bone and a trip to a dog show.

131. Lots of seeds for planting in our new vegetable patch.

132. Millie helping me recover from a run. She didn't come with me on this one but looked exhausted in sympathy.

133. Dark chocolate with sea salt is one of my favourite treats.

134. Not my fastest pace, but the first time in as long as I can remember that I ran for 10 minutes without stopping (twice). I keep getting despondent about my slow pace, and wasn't going to use this picture but then I realised what a key milestone it was and decided to see the positive!

135. Beautiful two-tone tulips.

136. Think Millie was entering into competition with the panda Easter egg for who could pull the funniest face.

Friday, May 15, 2015

word of the week #20

This week has flown by, I have been working away for a few days but even so I'm sure that last time I checked Sunday was only yesterday. Anyway this week has been focussed on our developing garden. Last weekend we bought a whole range of goodies to plant in our newly built vegetable beds. There are beans and peas, tomatoes and strawberries, onions and cabbages, and aubergines and sweet potato. 

I am loving my daily visits to see their progress and The Husband sent me photographic updates while I was away, partly to prove he was doing his watering duty. There was a trip to ikea to buy multiple herb pots and soon they will be planted and it will be finished. I am very excited and hoping for some dry weather over the weekend.

The Husband had a day off work today and spent some of it pruning and weeding and neatening up the flower beds. It was lovely to get home from a few days away and see all of the progress.  It seems hopeful that soon our garden will be all spruced up, and then all we need is a lovely summer to enjoy it!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

project 365: week 19

123.  Sunday cheeseboard as a treat for The Husband and I.

124. Cheerful tulips to end the Bank Holiday weekend.

125. Me and my running partner recovering in the kitchen.

126. Lamplight in the study after an evening spent working late.

127. Couldn't resist joining in with #dogsatpollingstations on our trip to vote. 

128. Wonderful sight to get home on a Friday night to a tidy kitchen and freshly made beds after our topsy-turvy week. I was so grateful that The Husband had got things straight when he got in from work.

129. Our first hill climb with my step-dad was spent mostly in cloud but they very kindly started to lift as we reached the top.

Friday, May 08, 2015

word of the week #19

That is supposed to say backward, you know, backwards. I apologise, it worked better in my head. I am regretting increasing my picture size, having been inspired by the photos over on Sarah's beautiful blog.

Ah this week, I am glad it is Friday. It has been a niggly sort of week. The long Bank Holiday weekend went by in a haze of fence painting, and suddenly it was Tuesday. The fence panels look brilliant and I am so glad we did it (except our neighbours have just said they are thinking of extending some fencing and I have visions of our newly painted panels getting replaced imminently!), and I also can't wait to show you pictures of our newly built raised beds once they are planted up, they were a great success.

Since the weekend though, things have not gone quite to plan. My wonderful early starts have not continued, and my wake up time is getting later and later all over again. My hopes of blogging daily also fell by the wayside. Millie's house training has definitely gone backwards, and she has weed on our bed for the second time in less than a month, despite us being right there with her and her only having just been let out (more fool us for letting her back up there I realise) So it was back to the dry cleaners with the duvet, thanks to my wonderful step-dad for taking it on both occasions. We have been topsy-turvy ever since, sleeping in the spare room, lots of washing and drying going on, and so I was very grateful to get home from work tonight and find The Husband had remade beds and tidied up and life was starting to look back to normal. I also managed to do a run tonight that was my slowest in weeks, though I am trying very hard to think positively, and tell myself I was going faster than everyone on the sofa, and similar such platitudes, but I do feel a little that my early-rising, faster-running, slightly smug sounding self from last weekend has been put back in her place! 

I also managed to wipe all of the messages from my mum off my phone by accident, and in a bid to restore them went backwards in time, albeit only by 36 hours as I restored my phone from its backup. Luckily it worked and I only lost a few messages, but it was a bit of a faff, and I hadn't realised until tonight's run that I had also lost all of music that was on there, so I am partially blaming my slower pace on the fact that I was trudging along in silence.

Some of the backwards have been more positive, though. The number of things on my list is gradually going backwards, with voting for the first time ticked off, and a hill climb with my step-dad planned for tomorrow (albeit a warm-up for a bigger walk later in the year). We are part way to planting a veg patch, and I have got my list of classic films ready to start watching. Another backwards has also been the numbers on the scales, with a more concerted effort to improve my diet this week, coupled with the more regular running, and plenty of support from my wonderful mum. It is a small start but it is going in the right direction. And we also looked back thirteen years this week, to our first date, as sixteen year olds at the cinema. I don't think we ever could have imagined that night that 13 years later we would be married, in a home just round the corner from my parents, or that we would spend the evening stripping our bed and cursing our mischievous but much-loved Millie.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

flowers for you

There was to be my year in books post tonight but I'm afraid I lost half of it. It has been a bit like that today. Instead I offer some tulips and a promise to try again tomorrow. 

Monday, May 04, 2015

painting by numbers

Bank Holiday weekends: 1

Litres of dark oak fence paint: 24

People: 2 (plus Grandad re-laying a paved pathway)

Fence panels painted: 22

Sheds painted: 1

Gates painted: 1.5

Newly built raised bed for vegetables painted: 1 

Paint brushes used: 5

Times Millie had to be hosed down to prevent her being permanently stained dark oak: 1

Muscles that are now aching: all of them

Panels requiring a re-coat despite the "one coat" promise on the tin: 12 (and the shed and the gate)

Years until re-painting needed (according to tin): 2

Actual years until re-painting done: indefinite

Sunday, May 03, 2015

project 365: week 18

116. Walking through the city, after breakfast with friends, this caught my eye. We had a lovely weekend away, including breakfast at the place we came to last time, the subject of one of the first ever posts on this blog.

117. Not very inspired, but I thought the detail on this coving was interesting when I was working in London.

118. Home at last, and after our escapades with Millie, these delicate roses brought a sense of calm as I headed to bed.

119. Every shade of turquoise on the bedside table it seems, and the results of our search for classic films. Following the comment from Tess on that post, I may put the list up here, additions (and subtractions!) would be welcome!

120. An afternoon snack of scones with butter and jam. No cream, unfortunately, but they were warm and very enjoyable.

121. Discarded on the bedside table after a lovely evening out with Mum.

122. A coffee break in the kitchen in the midst of our first day of gardening. The rain has hampered progress quite a lot, but we are hoping for a dryer Monday. In the meantime, cuddles in the warm with Millie make for a lovely Saturday afternoon.

Linking up with The Boy and Me