I hope everyone is having a good week so far. I started yet another book today. I now have four books on the go which is feeling very odd and I definitely prefer reading one book at a time but I just can’t seem to settle at the moment.
I have been having some adventures outside of books though, so here they are.
Lord of the Rings Conqueror Challenge
We are still walking and trying to complete our Lord of the Rings Challenge. We are still on the first medal (there are 5) but we have now reached the 40% mark of that medal. Who knew it would take so long to get to Bree!
RAF Museum Cosford
I had an unexpected free Monday a couple of weeks ago so we decided to go to and see some antique planes. I always love visiting but I always feel a little sad at seeing all these beautiful planes which will never fly again. This is one of my favourite planes.
It was my Mom’s birthday last week so we took my parents out to an amazing afternoon tea at Stanbrook Abbey. The food and service was absolutely brilliant and the venue itself was incredible. Definitely worth a wander around.
Today we took advantage of the beautiful weather and went on a National Trust outing. Sadly, we were not able to go around the house but were allowed to go for a wander around the basement. Thankfully, the grounds at Attingham are beautiful so we did lots of walking and investigating. There was also a huge second hand book shop where we found a holiday guide for our next holiday.
So there are my recent adventures, making the most of days off.
I thought it was time for a non bookish update. My husband and I have really been trying to make the most of our days off together over the last few weeks and this has led to more adventures.
Lord of the Rings Conqueror Challenge
We signed up to the Lord of the Rings Conqueror Challenge with the aim to walk 10 miles a week. Some weeks we have fallen a little behind because of work but overall we are getting more walking in. It has been so good to get outside for a nice walk most days.
Severn Valley Railway
A couple of weeks ago we went on the Severn Valley Railway. We spent a lovely day on the train and exploring one of the stations and the museum there. We haven’t been on the steam trains since Christmas so it was so good to be back.
Last week we went to the National Trust property Coughton Court. It isn’t the first time we have been there but it has been a few years since we last visited so it was good to be back. The Court is a really beautiful building with a fascinating history and lovely grounds. We spent all day there exploring and I even bought a book in the second hand book shop.
Tonight we went to the cinema for the first time in at least three years. We went to see the new Downton Abbey film and we really enjoyed it. The cinema was very quiet when we went and we shared the screen with only another 3 people.
So there are our most recent adventures. Hopefully we will manage some more very soon.
I hope everyone is well and looking forward to Easter with all the yummy goodies that come with Easter. I am particularly enjoying the Marmite and Cheese Hot Cross Buns by Marks and Spencers, my husband is horrified.
Anyway, here is what I have been up to recently.
I met up with my best friend last week which was wonderful. This meet up meant lots of yummy pizza and cake and spending far too much money in Waterstones. The weather was terrible but that just meant more time sheltering in the book shop.
For Lent my husband and myself have been trying to do more walking. Our day off from walking is Sunday but otherwise we put our walking boots on and off we go. Most of the walks have been local which has been lovely because we get to say hello to the local horses and lambs. We have also gone to different locations for a change as well and one of these was a Gruffalo walk which was very exciting.
Yummy Lunch and Pipe Organ Builders
My husband and myself are both church organists and this week we had an opportunity to go around an organ builders which I must admit was a bit worried about but it was very interesting. Before we went though we fortified ourselves by going to lunch at a local french restaurant and i had two of my all time favourite dishes, French onion soup followed by Mussels and fries.
I have more adventures planned for next week as I have the week off from teaching so I plan on making the most of the free time.
I thought I would do a non bookish update. Last week was half term which meant I didn’t have any school teaching but I did still do my private teaching and organ playing for church. This meant I had a little bit more free time which meant another adventure.
We managed to get away for a night which was lovely and we treated ourselves to a tasting menu at the hotel restaurant. The hotel was absolutely beautiful and was an amazing place to stay with gorgeous grounds. They also had some enormous chairs which I think would be super comfy for reading in.
Walking and fitness
This week has involved getting back into our walking and I decided that for Lent this year we would aim to walk outside at least a mile a day with the hope of walking longer. However, since the start of Lent all it has done is rain and because my asthma is really bad in damp weather we have only managed our mile a day but fingers crossed for better weather and longer walks soon. I have also got back into my fitness recently after a few stop starts from ill health. I am particularly enjoying my new spin bike and following the Kaleigh Cohen cycling classes on Youtube.
I am still ploughing away with my Winnie the Pooh 1000 piece jigsaw and I will be honest it might just be the hardest jigsaw I have ever attempted. I will post a picture once I have got further along with it or by some miracle finish it.
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.
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.
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.
I haven’t done a This and That Thursday for a while so I thought I would do one this week.
The studying and teaching is still going and this week I was really pleased to find out my two students who had completed their music exams at the beginning of the month had passed with a merit and a distinction. In these difficult times where their lessons have been online via Zoom since March it was an excellent result.
So here is what I have also been up to…
Yes, we have been getting the house ready for Christmas. I love decorating the house for Christmas and I would have a Christmas tree in every room but my husband reigns me in so I just have 3 instead. Here are a few snaps of the house so far as it isn’t finished yet.
The walking continues, we have been sticking to local walks recently and only averaging 1.5 miles but I always struggle at this time of the year with my asthma.
I’ve got back into my fitness again and have been enjoying my regular workouts on my exercise bike and doing some strength training. I have also come to realise that I really hate ab work on the floor so I have been trying out some standing ab workouts and have found I much prefer them and the aching I feel the next day shows that they must be doing me some good. I also treated myself to some Christmas leggings for my workouts through December.
So there is my week. I hope everyone is having a good week so far and managing to stay safe in these weird times.