Friday, 6 July 2012

Tuesday 27th December 11

Well a fairly chilled day, although did go and do some log stacking whilst Gill and the boys were in town. 

When they arrived back, they reported that Gill had tripped over a raised paving slab and fallen flat on her face, scratching her glasses, cutting the bridge of her nose, bruising her elbow and knees.

She was helped by several people and one chap took a photo of the uneven surface, and later emailed it to me, and offered to provide a witness statement.

So that was really the (sort of) highlight of the day... not a highlight really, but the only 'thing of note'.

Monday 26th December 11

I was stacking logs in the morning when our neighbour Dave came out and asked me not to build a logpile next to the hedge any higher as he didn't want to be looking at it.  He also mentioned the pine tree next to the house, which he'd asked me a few years back to take down as the falling leaves/needles were filling their bay window gutter.

I'd been taking it down bit by bit as I didn't want the ground to swell and cause cracks in our walls.  But today I responded to his comment by getting the ladders and removing all the rest of the branches, just leaving the main trunk, which I'll need help with to take down.  I'll need someone on the end of a rope to pull it in the right direction.

So I did a couple of hours of wooding and processing, and at 3 set off to see one of my friends who's been sectioned and is in Bootham Park Hospital.  However, she wasn't in, and was with friends somewhere.  I left my present of dried fruit for her and cycled through town, via a logpile and home.

Later, I went to Celeste's to see Serena, and spent an hour and a half there, before coming back via the lovely productive logpile again!

Then Gill and I had a game of Scrabble which was really nice!

Sunday 25th December 11

I was having a bit of a lie-in and at 9.30, our youngest came to wake me up to get me to come downstairs so they could open their presents.

We didn't have many presents this year... normally we don't 'do' Christmas that much, although Gill always puts a tree up and a few decorations. We've used the same 1960s artificial tree that belonged to Gill's mother since we met and started living together... apart from this year as I obtained a real tree with roots, very cheaply.  However, back to the presents.  I got 3 pairs of thick socks (excellent present) and a bar of chocolate and a wordy dice game called Alphabet Soup.  The boys got calendars and books.  Gill got a cheque from her sister.  And that was about it.

In the afternoon we all went out in the garden and I did a lot of tidying and composting.  Really enjoyed being outside.

We didn't do any special food... the tomato soup I made last night was much appreciated, and Gill did some potatoes to go with it.

I had a couple of good telephone conversations, including one with my Aunty Lizzie who has managed to move house and is now living close to cousin Bob in Beccles.  

Saturday 24th December 11

Not sure I did anything much in the morning apart from cycling round to the bread shop.   I did a bit of chainsawing in the afternoon, and splitting, and then cycled down to Country Fresh where I picked up some fruit and veg, and a couple of sacks of compostables.  Rich had 3 Christmas trees left, with less than an hour of being open before closing for Christmas, and he offered me one 'for a donation'.  I pondered and asked how much he'd like for one.... and he said 'a couple of quid' so I bought one.

My decision was based on the fact that Gill has apparently lost the feet to the old artificial Xmas tree we use every year, and that the trees Rich had are rooted, in pots.  I carefully bungeed the tree onto my pannier rack and went round to Alligator. 

I picked up there just before they closed, and cycled carefully back with my unusual load.  The family were delighted with my surprise buy.  I left them to decorate it whilst I sorted out the compostables.

Friday 23rd December 11

Didn't have to get up TOO early.... about 8.30 so I could leave the house at 9.15 and get the 9.45 bus to Leeds.  My platelets donation appointment was at 10.50, and it all went very smoothly, I gave 3 units in 78 minutes.  The woman next to me, a psychiatrist doing her first donation, was on a timer of 87 minutes to give two units, and the chap beyond her was like me, donating 3 units, but he was doing it in 95 minutes.  I have no idea why I'm so quick.  Is my blood hyperactive too?

I collected quite a few aluminium cans on the way back to the bus stop, and got a message from Glenn saying he was ready to meet me.... I was still in Tadcaster when I got this so I asked if he could hang on til 2.30.  I visited Country Fresh and Freshways on the way home, and got in at 2.25, Glenn arriving 10 minutes later.

It was good to see him, we chatted as I lit the stove, had a sandwich and then after an hour, I had to go out to pick up something from the chemist, so Glenn went on his way... he'd been doing some shopping  in York and was heading back to Scarborough.

I did a few bits and bobs around the house, emptying the vacuum cleaner, washing up, filling log baskets, contributing to the evening meal.... and later, watched 'Titanic' on the telly, which was really good.  Gill's seen it twice before but this was my first time.

Thursday 22nd December 11 Winter Solstice

Well the actual Solstice was at 5.30am but I slept soundly through it, as expected.  I think some of my friends got up early in order to 'be there' and celebrate.  I don't celebrate the Solstice but I recognise it as a turning point in the year, and I'm looking forward to more daylight.

I woke in time to get myself together to have a meeting with Simon from Solar Energy Savings, who rang me yesterday asking me whether I'd considered getting PV panels installed.  I had several conversations with various people at the company, and although I said it would be extremely unlikely that I'd be able to say yes to getting them, I agreed to have the sales person come round.  At the back of my mind was the idea that they might want to come and have a stall at the Energy Event I'm organising in March.

Simon was nice, he saw immediately that I didn't need the technology explaining and we spent over an hour chatting about all sorts of related things, including the reduced Feed In Tariff and how this could be a good thing, and the scheme they have which means that a few 'early adopters' have their house used as a show house and get their initial investment back after 5 years.  This looked an attractive idea... I just wish I had £9k to play with!

In the afternoon, I took a cheque to CVS and then met up with the rest of the family on Petergate to take the children to my dentist, their new dentist, and Gill went for a little wander to see if she could find anything suitable for their Christmas presents.

After this they went home on the bus and I called in to Country Fresh to pick up the compostables.  I had a chat with the shop owner, Richard's brother Martin, and he told me about his sad plans to close the shop, as it wasn't making any money.  His wholesale business is, but it doesn't make financial sense to keep the veg shop going.  I was very sad to hear this as I've REALLY enjoyed my association with this shop, helping them to reduce their waste stream by buying all their unsold fruit and veg at a penny per box and composting it.

I've done very well out of this arrangement, as some of the fruit and vegetables have been usable... for soups and stews, and fruit for drying. In addition, I've been given some groceries at wholesale prices as a thank you for helping with the recycling.  I will miss this relationship enormously.

So I came home, subdued, and got on with assorted housework, did a bit more stacking to get chopped logs into a dry area before tomorrow's forecast rain.

Wednesday 21st December 11

Nice long lie-in and later, a trip to town to take the wine auction cheque into the building society, and then to David's to give him half the proceeds.  Very generous sharing it 50:50 with me... he supplied the goods, I found the auction house, and organised the transport of it to go to Manchester and took it over on the train.  I think we're a good team!

I also went shopping for a few bits and bobs... didn't find my Trees For Life Diary but did get a 'Nature In The Garden' diary, which might suit one of us. I visited Shared Earth, The National Trust Shop, WH Smith, Waterstones, Anti Gravity, Barnitts and Waitrose.  I got 4 items. I really don't like shopping.

So, came home a bit frustrated, and phoned Trees For Life, to find out they haven't published a diary this year, as their distributor went bust.  There'll be one on 2013.

I did quite a bit of sorting out sweet chestnuts and a pineapple.

Tuesday 20th December 11

My first Pantomime!

David has been going to see pantomimes since he was a child, and he goes to see the York one every year. So this year he organised tickets to go with Carolyn and her grandchildren.

I was lucky enough to be asked to be his personal assistant.  Thus, I got to see my first panto!

It was 'The York Family Robinson'.  The plot was less important than the traditional content that pantomimes have built up.  Berwick Kaler is the regular 'pantomime dame', and this was his 33rd year. He also writes and directs.

I was unaware of all of the traditions beforehand... I knew the audience participation with answering back 'he's behind you' and the like, but not all of them.... which I looked up later in the day.

I did enjoy it, to some extent.  I liked the way it was made, and liked it that lots of people were having a really good time.  David enjoyed it, so that was the most important thing for me.