Well, I've dithered about for ages thinking about writing a blog and wondering what to write about and then again whether to write one at all. It's been 18 months since I first thought about it when I left my job working for the Connexions Service in County Durham.
It seemed like a good idea to keep a record of my new lifestyle and the things I would do once I had more time on my hands. Ha! Ha! However I took some time to think about it. You see? Procrastination at work again. Anyway, I started to think about what I've done over the last 18 months. After all I'd had such great ideas, hadn't I?
- I'd enjoy more time with my grandchildren, especially Lauren who's 3.
- I'd get the house tidied up and decorated as it's been sorely neglected while I've been working. To be truthful it's a tip as I'm such a hoarder and untidy with it. My daughter groans at the thought of clearing it all out when I kick the bucket. I have no doubt that everything will go into a huge skip or two (maybe more).
- Then there's the garden, also a bit of a tip. Again I've dithered about it for years. Watched loads of TV programmes, read books and drawn up plans and.....nothing. Eat your heart out Alan Titchmarsh!
- My community website for Washington AboutMyArea NE38 needed some work doing on it. I'd spent ages getting the information on it but it needed more time spent on marketing it.
- My Spanish language skills also needed improving. I've been going to classes for years but never really concentrated on it. Not enough time, I said to myself. When I retired I'd go and live in Spain for a couple of months. Immerse myself in the language, it's the only way.
- Then there were lots of small projects I'd started and never finished. The cross stitch panels, a half finished jumper, a crochet cloth and so on.
So 18 months on what have I achieved? Well, if I'm honest, not a lot!
- However, I'm still here and I'm happy. I suppose they're my greatest achievements!
- The house has had a couple of rooms "tarted up" but it's not looking a lot better thanks to my hobbies and untidy habits. I've watched quite few programmes on doing up houses but have to say I didn't really take to any of their ideas. The minimalist look isn't my thing. Too 'sixties for me and I've already been there. I'd give the TV House Doctor a thump. Give me "homely" any day.
- My Spanish hasn't improved at all. Probably got worse! Haven't been able to go to Spain for a couple of months due to "grandchild responsibilities". I don't know why I haven't got into the habit of just switching on a "Larn Yersel" Spanish CD to listen to (on the rare occasions I force myself to do some housework) or maybe picking up the books which have been lying about and adding to the mess. I can only assume I don't really want to. Strange!
- The garden? Well the garden fairies haven't visited sadly. It hasn't been touched apart from occasionally having the lawn cut, thanks to two of the worst summers I can remember for donkeys years. At present it's like a quagmire due to the clay soil.
- I've really been enjoying myself with my grandchildren, Nathan & Lauren. I've often wondered whether I've enjoyed them more than I enjoyed my children. It's probably my memory playing me false but there's not so much to worry about and much more time for fun. Things like trampolining, face painting and generally jumping and dancing about like a loony.
- I love reading but I normally reserve it for holidays because once I pick a book up, I find it hard to put it down until I finish it. However I've read a few books recently. Alan Alda's autobiography, "Never Have Your Dog Stuffed" was a great read. He seems just as nice in real life as he did on M.A.S.H. and he's not a womaniser. Must get his latest book "Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself". I enjoyed one of Colin Dexter's Inspector Morse stories, I just had to remember to keep a dictionary close by. I thought I had a reasonable command of the English language but occasionally I came across a word I didn't know or couldn't remember like "otiose". That's the only word I can remember looking up! One book I re-read was an Ellis Peters Cadfael story. I love the TV series with Derek Jacobi; another daytime TV treasure I re-visited on rainy days this summer. Well there were plenty of them, rainy days I mean. Decided I'm going to continue reading but I'm going back to using the public library as our bookshelves are all full and I don't want any more books lying about. It's very green and saves cash too!
- As I mentioned earlier, due to the bad weather this summer, I've discovered I like "some" of the daytime TV programmes. Not really a good idea to get too hooked on this as it stops you getting things done. Although I have to say it's been great to revisit Inspector Morse, Cadfael and Poirot. Mind you, one series I'd love to see again is M.A.S.H. I don't think they have ever shown it in the UK since the original screening way back. It's a classic and would have a whole new audience of younger viewers who have never had the chance to see it. Would probably top the ratings too; but then I'd never get any work done.
- I've finished a couple of sewing projects I started earlier and still progressing with a few others.
- I've spent hours on the Internet. Far too much time but I've enjoyed it. Time to focus on more tangible productive things now.
So what now?
Well I'm going to take up my patchwork & quilting again. Found lots of information on the Internet about groups in USA, Australia and down south. Don't seem to be many groups here in the North East which is a pity but I'm still looking. On the off chance that anyone reads this blog and has some information about a group near to Washington, Tyne and Wear, please get in touch via my website page.
I've been looking for a holiday in Spain for a week to try to motivate me to start my Spanish again. Also been looking for some Spanish classes at the local college with no success. This seems ironic given the constant criticism about the UK having such poor language skills and how young people are losing out in the international job market due to this. The colleges seem to be focusing on basic skills. That's no bad thing, but I don't understand why so many people have poor basic skills when so much has been spent on education over the years. I came from a poor mining town and can't remember anybody in my class not being able to read. Gripe over!
Task achieved! I've finally written a Blogg and the weather's great for once, so I'm off to do some gardening.
Now, stop the dithering, just press the button and publish!