Sunday 28 February 2016

Catching up 28/2/16

Well I've got some catching up to do here.  I missed my news post on Friday, the Friday Faves that I've started doing and the SoCS post yesterday.  I'm really slipping.  Doesn't bode well for the A-Z Challenge!

I had an easy day on Friday.  I was quite tired so I took it easy and made the mistake of getting hooked into one of the books I'd been bought at Christmas.  Big mistake.  I couldn't put the book down - well I did let it go when I dozed off in the afternoon!  I'm feeling much better but still get tired quite easily.  Pesky virus!

Anyway it was a good book (The life I left behind by Colette McBeth.) and reading helps with writing so they say.  That's my excuse.  I also put some of my CDs onto my iTunes so that I could add them to my iPod.  That's another good sign of recovery.  When I'm feeling ok I'm much more likely to be listening to music - have Adele playing right now.  I love her new album.  

I also instigated a date night with hubby on Friday evening.  I had a gift card for Jamie's Italian for Christmas.  That made me realise I'd already got one for my birthday we hadn't used so I decided on the spur of the moment to suggest to him that we met up at Westfield and ate out for a change.  We're so predicatable.  When we met and had got settled at the restaurant his comment was "We should do this more often."  That is what we always seem to say when we go out to eat! But it was nice and the food was good.  No room for dessert though.

Yesterday we joined most of his siblings at his Mum's house (which is now where his eldest sister is living) to sort through her things and see if there was anything we wanted in the way of keepsakes etc.  It's always hard doing that sort of thing but it was nice being there with the others and we stayed and had dinner with them.

Today we had our daughter and youngest son and their spouses here for dinner.  We also invited Nick's eldest sister and her husband as we've been at their place for several meals lately so it was definitely our turn to feed them.  We only had a roast beef dinner but with all the trimmings and I made two desserts, a strawberry flan and a chocolate trifle.  That's the sort of cooking I enjoy.  Nothing too complicated but tasty!  And I do love a nice dessert.  Our daughter also brought a cheesecake with her so the diets were definitely broken today.  Thankfully the dishwasher is in working order although it might protest a bit at overuse after all those dishes!

Well that's my catch up and it's a shame I didn't get around to doing the SoCS post yesterday - the prompt was food and I would have had plenty to write.

Time to check on the dishwasher.  Have a good week.

Thursday 25 February 2016

How much do you recycle? 25/2/16

I nearly included this article in one of my five news items last week:

Is there a serious problem with coffee capsules?
 Coffee capsules in front of a coffee cup

It seems there could be - the article reports on how Hamburg has banned the use of coffee pods in state run buildings to reduce waste.  It certainly got me thinking about the whole recycling issue.

Where I live we are able to recycle paper, cans and plastic bottles with our domestic refuse.  We have a separate bin for the recyclable items.  There are also bottle banks nearby where I can recycle glass.  I also have a composter in my garden although I need to up my game on that one as I kept putting stuff in without really doing anything to it or taking it out so at the moment my composting has ground to a halt.

We buy a lot of fresh food rather than processed so our use of food packaging is not too bad but it could be better.  I'm much more conscious of what goes in my rubbish bin that might end up in a landfill site.  When I saw the coffee pods article last week I started thinking about what similar things I might be doing and one of those was buying disposable wipes for the bathroom.  They are very convenient but it made me realise that they are not environmentally friendly and I don't actually need them.  A few new cloths and the recyclable bottles of cleaning fluids would work just as well.

Fortunately we don't have a fancy coffee machine that needs pods but with their growing popularity it's easy to see how bad they are for the environment.  It was pointed out that one of the manufacturers has a recycling scheme in place so I started to look into that.  

The Tassimo Recycling Scheme has been set up as an incentive based scheme similar to schemes for printer cartridges where you collect the items, package them up and send them back to be recycled and earn points for rewards or cash.  All well and good.  Except that there doesn't seem to be many collection points within the Greater London area and the nearest to me is more than 10km away.  At present there is also a waiting list for anyone wanting to set up a new collection point.  You also have to collect quite a lot of pods to earn any rewards.

Other manufacturers have schemes where you are provided with a box  which once filled can be sent off but, and this is a big but, the box has to be purchased!

This got me thinking about two things.  Firstly should we be looking at placing restrictions on the introduction of things that are harmful to the environment.

Secondly, maybe when recycling programmes are set up they should be free to users.  Of course I realise that the costs of recycling will be passed on to the consumer in some way, the most obvious being charging more for the product in the first place.  But I'm sure that more people would be encouraged to recycle their coffee pods if all they had to do was take them to a recycling point.  Yes the machine might cost more but these things seem so popular I'm not sure they would be put off buying one.

There definitely needs to be more joined up thinking when it comes to creating goods that pose environmental issues with their disposal and the whole recycling process. 


Wednesday 24 February 2016

No Hodgepodge Wednesday

Well I was quite disappointed yesterday when I looked for Joyce's Hodgepodge questions because I had forgotten this week has been declared a holiday. I hope you're having a good time Joyce with whatever you are up to.

I couldn't let Wednesday pass without a post though so here we go with a quick catch up.

I had a nice lunch with friends yesterday and managed a short walk.  I still don't have as much energy as I would like so I'm not pushing myself too hard.  It's a nice day today but very cold.  I'm going to get out for a bit shortly and make the most of the sunshine.  

This morning I accompanied my sister-in-law to the hospital.  She is recovering from a nasty bout of tonsillitus and a quincy which is basically an abcess.  It's left her feeling quite low and  anxious but I think the doctor reassured her this morning that the aftermath of the abcess looks normal and it's quite normal for her to feel the way she is.  He prescribed her another course of antibiotics and will see her again on Friday.  I took her home and left her with strict instructions to rest and even sleep if she could.

Unfortunately I think we have too much information to hand sometimes and we can worry ourselves silly over things.  But that's not to belittle her situation.  She has been really poorly and I think she's only just beginning to appreciate that this might take a while to get over.

I'm just trying to keep to my usual routines without putting too much extra into the day.  I've been catching up on paperwork and later I want to tackle my e-mails, the majority of which will just get binned!  But even that takes time.

I'm back to keeping track of food and activities using my Fitbit but I haven't upped my targets this week.  I need to maintain the status quo for now.  Tomorrow I'm planning to brave Westfield shopping centre.  There are a few bits I need from there and I've been putting off going but hopefully I can make an early start and get there before it gets too crowded and the kids are back at school this week after their mid term break so there won't be all the extra activities going on pulling in the crowds.

The referendum date has now been announced (June 23rd) for the UK to decide whether to stay in or opt out of the European Union.  All I need now is someone independant who can explain to me, in plain English, the pros and cons so that I can make an informed decision.  Although the fact that the Justice Secretary,  Michael Gove, is saying opt out is enough to make me want to opt in having seen what he was capable of when he was the Education Minister.  Unfortunately I think many people have negative views of the EU which are not necessarily based on hard facts.  I need to do some homework!

Sunday 21 February 2016

Sunday snoozing 21/2/16

I would love to be able to say that I'm fully recovered from whatever bug has recently invaded my system but that wouldn't be totally true.  I am feeling much better but the cough hasn't gone (although it's not as annoying) and I keep getting the pressure feeling in one ear like you get during a plane take off.  

I did manage to venture out for a walk today.  Not far but it was good to get some fresh air especially as I'd started to snooze on the sofa so needed to do something to wake me up.

I also managed to get myself to a get together with some old work colleagues on Friday evening.  That took me back a bit - we met in a pub I used to frequent when hubby and I were courting.  The pub hasn't really changed that much.  Still very much an East End pub.  

I've also managed to get an online shop done with delivery scheduled between 10-11 am tomorrow morning.  That will give me a good reason to be up and showered at a reasonable time.  Don't want to embarrass the delivery guy by still being in my pjs!

Hubby has just got back from an outing to listen to some live music.  He is so daft sometimes though.  He told me when he got back that he had nearly phoned me from the corner shop to see if we needed anything.  We then had a conversation about milk - me saying we had enough milk until the morning and then some would be delivered.  When he then got on to the subject of cooking dinner he mentioned making a parsley sauce to go with some fish.  However, somehow, when I said that there wasn't enough milk for that he was moaning that I should have told him when he was at the shop.  

But I didn't know you were at the shop I responded. 
You could have called me and told me we needed milk before I got to the shop.  
But we didn't need milk.
Yes we do for the parsley sauce.
But I didn't know you were going to make parsley sauce!

And then he wonders why I get cross sometimes.  He'd undertaken to prepare dinner but somehow it was my fault that he hadn't checked the milk situation! I'm really not complaining because he does do most of the cooking but sometimes his logic is definitely skewed.

Saturday 20 February 2016

SoCS 20/2/16 - Contraction
 If you want to join in with SoCS click on the image above for Linda's page where you will find all the details plus links to the other participants.

This week's prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “contraction.”  Make the first word of your post a contraction. For extra points make the last word one too. Have fun!

Isn't it strange how words can have such different meanings depending on your thought processes?  My first response when reading the prompt was to think about contractions during labour and not wanting to bore everyone with my trials and tribulations at producing three children.

Of course then I thought about the prompt properly and realised that it was a totally different sort of contraction being referred to.  I should have known better.  My hubby is always picking me up on grammar errors.  I have finally (though not completely) mastered saying different from rather than different to.  But he takes great delight in pointing out mistakes.  Earlier he corrected my reference to less than when it should have been fewer than.  I can't even remember what I was talking about now.  It's amazing how he hears all these little mishaps but complains loudly and often that he can't hear what I'm saying as I don't speak loudly enough.

He clearly has selective hearing.  Which can be a blessing when I'm muttering something I don't actually want him to hear.  It's not a blessing when he wants to listen to the TV of course.  I've suggested lots of times that he should get his hearing checked but he insists it's not bad enough yet to warrant a hearing aid.  I think I might just keep talking in my quiet voice and hope he gets the message.  The trouble is I suspect he won't!

Friday 19 February 2016

Fave Five on Friday 19/2/16

If you want to join in this is where to go Friday's Fave Five

It's a place to come on Friday's and think back over your week and just post about 5 favourite things from your week. It can be anything that tickled your fancy over the week. Favourite quotes, posts, happenings, scriptures, recipes, pictures, great internet finds, etc., etc.

1.  Cough linctus.  My cough is improving, slowly, but a linctus recommended by a friend has definitely helped.

2.  Books.  I've got through 2 this week while I'm still not 100%.  I'm also signed up now for two Facebook book clubs and loving the interaction.

3.  Dinner with friends.  Wasn't sure if I was going to make it but am so glad I did.  Was good to get out of the house and catch up with some long term friends.

4.  Sunshine.  We've had some this week and it definitely lifts my mood.

5. Roses.  For Valentine's Day.  Hubby and I don't usually make a big deal out of this but he surprised me with flowers this year.  Much appreciated.
Well I've been listening to my body that was clearly telling me it needed a rest but it does at last seem to be re-charging.  The bonus is that I've had more time for blogging.  The downside is that the frustration levels are also rising as I look at all I want to get done.   However I know that I'm blessed with a roof over my head, food on the table and people who care about me.  It could be so much worse and I should stop complaining.

 Have a good weekend.

Friday Five News 19/2/16

Thank God for news websites.  I’m fed up with hearing doom and gloom on the TV but it’s a bit worrying when one of our daily newspapers, The Independent, announces it's switching to a digital only edition.  I do like to be able to pick up a newspaper and read.  However, in the absence of a paper trawling the BBC site can be enlightening and I can pick and choose what I look at.

The INTERNATIONAL  story that has dominated our national news this week is the ongoing saga over Britain’s membership of the EU.  David Cameron, the Prime Minister, is currently in Brussels trying to negotiate a better deal for us but progress seems to be slow.

We have been promised a referendum on whether we want to stay in or out of the EU but I feel that the ordinary people need to be really well informed before making such a huge decision.  It is certainly complicated and I can understand other European countries viewing us as this little island nation that wants the best of all worlds.  A seat at the top table without buying a ticket.   

Working together for the greater good would seem to be the way forward but with so much diversity between the member states, and an ever increasing number of members that is never going to be easy.  The whole idea seems to have got too big for its own self.

My common sense tells me that surely it’s better to be part of it and have a say in how things are managed when inevitably it will affect the UK if we are in or out.

This LOCAL  news item I’ve flagged up is a very sad and worrying story about cruelty to cats in South London. (Warning the article is quite upsetting.)  It’s hard to believe someone could be going around killing cats but it does seem to be being treated seriously which is a good thing in that hopefully it will lead to the individual being caught and stopped before they move on to bigger targets.

In SPORT:  there has been a lot of talk this week about the snooker player, Ronnie O’Sullivan, opting out of finishing a 147 break as he thought the prize money of £10,000 didn’t justify the effort.

(For those wondering if I’ve switched to a foreign language, a 147 break is the maximum you can score in a frame of snooker by potting all the balls on the table in the required order.  It’s obviously quite difficult to do and most tournaments, in addition to the prize fund for the winner, will have prizes for players achieving a 147 break.)

O’Sullivan clearly has more money than sense and it would have been nice if he’d won it and donated it to a good cause.

Following the BAFTAs and GRAMMY awards, focus now turns to the Oscars. But it seems some things are not all what they seem.   This ENTERTAINMENT led piece reports on how the Academy is suing a company over goodie bags that have been linked to the Academy Awards.  

I had heard about these goodie bags earlier this week and had been appalled at the contents and the cost of them - estimated at $200,000.  (Although what do you give movie stars who have everything?  Oh yes, a toilet roll costing $275 and that doesn't include someone to apply it which presumably might be needed! ) 

The show I saw this on definitely led me to believe these were official bags.  Now it seems not.  You just can’t believe everything you see on TV!

On a lighter note, under MISCELLANEOUS  I found this story about Tesco discontinuing the sale of crescent shaped croissants.  This seems very sensible to me as it is hard to get the chocolate spread on all of the croissant.  Then I noticed that the article was on the Chidren’s BBC Newsround page.  Not sure what that says about me.

All links are courtesy of the BBC website. Opinions are my own.

Wednesday 17 February 2016

Wednesday Hodgepodge 17/2/16

Wednesday's Hodgepodge is brought to us courtesy of Joyce at 
 Pop over there to see other posts and if you want to join in add the link to your Hodgepodge blog post to the Linky List at the end of Joyce's post and don’t forget to visit at least your neighbours on the list.
Have fun!

1. February 17th is National Random Acts of Kindness Day. It lands on the calendar one day after National Do Something for a Grouch Day (February 16) which somehow feels related. Perhaps the 16th inspired the 17th?
Tell about a time you performed a random act of kindness or were the recipient of one. Will you make an effort to perform a random act of kindness on the 17th? Share details if you're so inclined, and if you have something specific in mind.

Not having the benefit of a calendar with all these wonderful dates on it I haven’t got a random act of kindness planned for today.  But I don’t think we should only be doing this on a certain day.  I try and do this when I can but usually they are only acts of politeness and just being nice to people.  One that I do remember doing was getting a mug printed for my Goddaughter.  She has an unusual name that you don’t usually find on the personalised items in stores.  I’d heard her mention that she’d struggled to get  a mug with her name on so I got one made for her and sent it as a surprise.

As for Do Something for a Grouch Day well my hubby can be a grouch so I fulfil that one on lots of days! lol
2.What's the most uplifting or encouraging thing you see happening in the world right now? You may have to dig deep for this one.

There is a lot of focus here in the UK at present on acknowledging mental illness.  It’s a small step in the right direction of reducing the stigma attached to it.
3. Black olives, black currants, black grapes, black beans, blackberries, Oreos...your favorite food the color of night? Your least favorite on the list?

From that list it would be Oreos all the way.  I could tolerate all the rest except the olives.
4. A while back I read (here) a list of twelve things you should do before you turn 50. They were-

travel when you have the chance, take care of your skin, learn a foreign language, make exercise a habit, leave a toxic situation, stop caring what others think about you, stop worrying, volunteer, spend time with your grandparents, pledge to work less, learn to cook an amazing dish, and seize an opportunity as it arises
What do you think of the list? What would you add or remove and why? If you're over 50, have you done all 12? If you're not yet 50, have you done any at all? What's on the list that you haven't done, but would like to do?

Well I have done a few of those, the most notable ones being leave a toxic situation and work less.  Unfortunately I don’t have grandparents or parents left now but I could switch that to family and friends.  I’d love to learn a foreign language and be able to use it but that might be one step too far.
5. Besides the classic Christmas flicks, what's your favorite film where winter plays a part in the setting?  Sleepless in Seattle.

6.When did you last feel helpless, and what did you do about it?  
I was backed into a corner in my job.  I couldn’t see a good solution to the situation so I walked away.
7. Share a favorite proverb.   
Not great on proverbs but here’s one that I think is true - A stitch in time saves nine.
8. Insert your own random thought here.

I’m here on Wednesday!  And I feel a bit better than yesterday.  There is light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks for all the messages of sympathy and get well wishes.