I thought it was time for an update on life outside of books. The usual things continue such as teaching and studying but I have been fitting in some other adventures as well.
Paint by Numbers
Yes I have another paint by numbers which proved to be useful whilst my husband was watching the Grand Prix. This one is an Eeyore which my friend very kindly sent me.
I’ve recently completed a virtual walking challenge and now I am trying to walk 1,000,000 steps for a sponsored challenge by Diabetes UK. This has involved going on some beautiful walks which at times have been a bit muddy. I love going on different walks as it is fun to discover new places and get out of the house.
We spent the day in Worcester today and tried to find all the elephants. Sadly we didn’t find them all but we had great fun and rewarded ourselves with pizza. There were also some strange creatures in Worcester which looked great. It was a lovely day and I went to my first bookshop in over 18 months.
I haven’t done a This and That Thursday in ages so I thought it was time for an update that doesn’t involve books.
I have had my first vaccine now and have gradually started going out and visiting places which has been a nice change.
I have now begun work on my dissertation and I am thoroughly enjoying it. It is so nice to be studying a topic that you have chosen for yourself.
I am averaging an hour a day of piano practice and thoroughly enjoying it. It is so good to be practicing and having a proper structure to my practice again.
We went for a lovely day out to Croome which is a National Trust property. I hadn’t been for years so couldn’t remember much about it. It was beautiful day and it was wonderful to go for a nice walk around the grounds and go around the house followed by a nice lunch in the cafe.
We also went for a lovely meal this evening for my mom’s birthday. It was so good to have some normality and have a nice relaxing evening.
This morning we got the telescope out to see the solar eclipse, with a filter of course. It was rather cloudy but we managed to see it which was wonderful to see. I managed to get a rather dodgy picture with my phone through the telescope, it isn’t great but it was really tricky to get the phone lined up with the telescope.
So there are a few of my adventures recently. Work and chores continue as normal but I must admit I have been having lots of fun with the new strimmer. Hopefully I will manage to go to an actual bookshop soon as well.
So what have I been up to during lockdown that isn’t reading wonderful books.
Over these last few weeks I have been doing a lot of studying and assignment writing but I must admit I am rather excited that soon I can begin work on planning what I want to do for my dissertation. The freedom of choosing my own topic is both exciting and terrifying!
I have been regularly practising the piano and trying to do at least half an hour a day and I have been loving it. I must admit that for a few reasons I had fallen out of love with the piano and sometimes music in general but lockdown has done me some good and I have fallen back in love with it all. The challenge of learning new pieces is fantastic and the memory skills that had lapsed are coming back and it is all falling back into place. The Ukulele also continues and hopefully this year I will finally manage to take an exam.
Exercise and Walking
Exercise is still going and I am loving it. I am a complete kettlebell addict and I also love latin dance workouts. I am now finding myself looking forward to my exercise which I never thought would happen. It is a perfect break from studying and teaching and I love how each week I am getting better at the workouts and stronger. We continue with our walking but only when it isn’t raining. I am no good when it is raining as it sets off my asthma. I also love a good dance workout with glow sticks and the disco ball.
I have now been planning all dinners a week in advance for over a month and I am thoroughly enjoying it. I no longer have to think what to make for dinner each evening but know exactly what I am making. This planning means I am trying lots of new recipes that we have never had before which has been great fun.
Not much going on really but I have been very happy. I have realised that usually I spend my time racing around from one job to the other and it is rather nice to have a quieter time which doesn’t involve so much racing around.
I haven’t done one of these posts for a while so I thought I would post an update of what I have been up to.
We have been trying to do more walking again but I must admit if it is too cold I tend to chicken out. This was taken the other day where the water splashed up from cars had frozen on the hedge.
Over the last four weeks I have been exercising 5 days a week and trying out lots of different workouts on the platform Own Your Goals and I must admit I am thoroughly enjoying the Latin Dance workouts and the other dance workouts. I always tend to stick to strength training so it is nice to mix it up a bit. When I did a later workout I got out the disco ball and the glow sticks and really went crazy. I workout in the conservatory so the neighbours might have been wondering what was going on if they noticed.
We have been trying new recipes over the last few weeks because I was desperate for some different meals. We have tried a smoked trout pasta bake and this included me trying a cheese I had never tried before which was Emmental. We have also tried spaghetti puttanesca which is definitely a new favourite in our house.
The rest of the time has been taken up with studying and music and teaching.
We took part in our first Zoom quiz on Saturday and it was great fun. It was so good to have some social fun, even if it was online. Our team came 7th out of 9. The rounds consisted of:-
Our best round was Abba. I thought I would share the Shakespeare questions with you all and see what you all think. They are all cryptic clues to different plays.
Farce of mistakes
Everything’s satisfactory which terminates satisfactory
Honourable duo from a city of love
Greek statesman, sovereign of a Phoenician city
The subjugation of the fishwife
The trader of Veneto’s capital
The sequel to “The Life and Death of King Richard 2nd”
The convivial consorts of Maidenhead’s neighbour
Priam’s son and Calchas’s daughter
Pumbaa’s friend from the capitol of Greece
I have been getting into my piano playing and I am thoroughly enjoying the new challenge of the pieces. I am hoping I get good enough to do the grade 6 exam this year.
I have finally got back into my exercise and I must admit after a big kettlebell workout on Tuesday I am still aching. I have also started watching the series The Expanse from the beginning whilst using my exercise bike.
We have almost finished the first series of 24 and I must admit I am thoroughly enjoying the show and I think it is really cleverly done.
So there is my week. I hope you enjoy the Shakespeare questions.
I am so happy that I have finished and submitted my assignment, I am hoping to celebrate by getting to read some fun things and not things about Ancient Roman funeral rites.
This week has mainly been spent on the assignment and teaching but I have managed to fit in some other things as well.
I haven’t really managed any of my fitness due to time constraints but I have managed a few long walks and on one of them we met this lovely pony who came over to meet us. My husband is allergic to horses and ponies so he couldn’t make a fuss of the pony but I made sure I gave the pony lots of nose scratches.
I’ve managed a bit of piano practice and it has been a welcomed relief from studying. I am learning two of the grade pieces and I am absolutely loving the challenge. One of the pieces is by Chopin and I must admit I have never really been a fan but I think this piece is going to convert me.
Today has been taken up by moving approximately 3 tonnes of logs from the drive to the log store at the back of the garage. This was a long process and I must admit when we finally moved them we rewarded ourselves with a hot chocolate and I promptly fell asleep on the sofa.
We have just finished the TV series Spooks and I must admit I was left a bit shell shocked by the last ever episode. We have now started the series 24 and I must admit I am hooked already. Oh and I have also been watching the Masters Snooker as I do love snooker.
Welcome to the first This and That Thursday of 2021.
I will be honest as we are back in Lockdown yet again I am doing the same old things but I have had some highlights.
Before Lockdown I popped over to see my cousin and dropped off his Christmas presents. I obviously did not go in but thankfully the two dogs came out of the house to see me and I had lots of fuss off Daphne the Shar Pei and Daisy the Westie.
The Christmas decorations were all taken down this week as well which I never enjoy. I always leave it for as long as possible before I take the decorations down as I always find it so depressing and the house always looks so bare once they are down.
This week has involved lots of nice walks and I have been getting back into my exercise by doing lots of cycling on the exercise bike and strength workouts. It has been nice to get back into fitness but I must admit I am finding it harder to get back into the healthy eating after Christmas and New Year.
Today I have spent nearly all day researching and writing an assignment. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to find a reference that you know exists but you can’t find it! An hour later I found the reference and managed to write a bit more of the essay.
For Christmas my husband got me the game 51 Worldwide Games. This has been great because it has meant we have lots of games we can play together. I must admit I am a little bit obsessed with the fishing game and the darts. My old headmaster would be proud of my new found darts skills as during a school summer fair he tried to teach me how to play darts but I made more holes in the school gym wall than the darts board.
Piano and Ukulele
I have just started looking at the new Grade 6 piano syllabus and have chosen some pieces to learn and I must admit so far I am really enjoying the new challenge. I’ve been practicing the ukulele again and I am determined that 2021 will include some ukulele exams.
So there is my week so far. I hope everyone is having a good week so far.
Well 2020 has gone so it is time to look back and see how it went.
Firstly, I would like to say a massive thank you to all my followers for supporting my blog and encouraging me. I would also like to say a massive thank you to all my fellow bloggers for writing such fantastic posts that have kept me entertained through 2020 and have also made me buy and read some books that I would have never thought of reading.
I read 71 books in 2020 and was really pleased with that result as I had a reading slump in January and February that made a dent in my reading time so I was concerned I would not reach my reading goal. Lockdown 1 and 2 helped because it gave me more time to read – about the only bonus of the lockdowns.
I also discovered that I think my favourite genre is now historical fiction, it was always fantasy and sci-fi but I think historical fiction has taken over. I still love fantasy and sci-fi though and the first two books I am reading in 2021 are from the genres historical fiction and sci-fi so I am having a nice balance.
I read 18,043 pages in 2020 so I obviously read longer books than 2019 as I only read 15,902.
The shortest book I read was Letters from Fairyland by Charles Van Sandwyk at 24 pages.
My average book length was 254 pages.
I haven’t actually got a favourite book of 2020 but I have a favourite series instead and that is the Six Tudor Queens series by Alison Weir. I love this series and I can’t wait for the last book in the series and will definitely be reading more books by Alison Weir.
Sadly, my Waterstones Challenge has had to be put on hold because I am shielding as much as possible due to Covid and underlying health issues.
So I think that is about a wrap of my 2020. I have some great plans for the blog in 2021 and can’t wait to get reading and blogging.