Sunday, 27 October 2013

Money and taste

The Welsh Dresser arrangement has been an extreme success with positive comments from my sister and others. Best of all though is the increased space in the kitchen and the "keeping it clear and tidy" attitude I have been adopting in this part of the house.

There is a mug in our collection that reads "If the house is clean there is an assignment overdue"! Which is so true for me in that the state of my accounts is pretty woeful which is in striking comparison to the increasing order in some areas of our home. All that shifting and clearing was bound to create a vacuum in which with papers in piles and needing to be sorted my accounts were going to become a target. I tried looking for a local PA to hire and help me but for some reason my googling skills let me down. Finally, I emailed a confession to my accountant in case she knew of someone who could help. The reply was rather short and curt telling me I can not afford to hire someone and arranging an appointment for me to come in and see her. A date this coming week has been sorted and I have been told to bring in my papers from such and such a date in the dim and distant past.

Oh dear. And yet, fantastic. I have been told. Like a naughty girl I must appear before head teacher and I can not let her down. The thing is, my papers are here, there and everywhere. In purses, bags, piles, slipped in this or that nook and cranny. Unopened envelopes conceal I do not know. I am terrified and yet I want it sorted. All up to date, not just to the previous accounting year, or my case the one before that! I want to never be in this mess again. I want to earn enough to be paying tax. I want the brakes to come off and the money to flow in - I have plenty of good uses for it.

With just four days notice of the agreed appointment I have so much to go through. I can forget about trying to get it all perfect which is probably what stops me in the first place and I will just have to get something done. Meanwhile, I already had an appointment with my niece to go shopping with her which turned into a fun day out (eliminating one of my four days) culminating in making gorgeous cupcakes with cream cheese topping. It is official that in under an hour it is possible to get home and make seventeen muffin sized cupcakes, let them cool and ice them. They were delicious.Too darned easy to eat on the whole.

If only the accounts were as easy and yet, in the end, they probably will be. It is just those barriers and hurdles in one's mind that holds us up.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013


Here I go on another extreme and passion! Or is it simply a matter of doing something and doing it until it is all done?

My sister was horrified when I said I was going to get my mother's bone china dinner service out the loft of my dad's place and asked if she objected if I had the china. Not that she wanted the china at all or had any plans for it, she was adamant that under no circumstances was I to start cluttering up my life with it. Well, it is a matter of perspectives. I may not have chosen this particular pattern but it is still lovely and it is fine china.

Under stealth mode, I have these last few weeks looked out second hand dressers and all sorts of arrangement including a rather lovely 1930s office bookcase with glass doors on top. Then this last weekend it all came together after the latest episode of Strictly (come Dancing) I set to with re-arranging the main room of our already over-full apartment to incorporate a Welsh Dresser. This included draining the fish tank and re-siting it. "Luckily" the fish had one by one over the years popped their clogs a while back and so I didn't have to worry about any. (New fish are on their way.)

Early Sunday morning my dad was obliging. I drove over and helped to get the china down from the loft and with his bigger vehicle picked up my chosen Welsh Dresser from the second hand shop down the road. It is a "marry-age" of a stained pine top which is extra tall and just what I imagined in respect of dimensions, with an oak sideboard with tapered front corners so there are no sharp corners for me to manoeuvre in order to get to my desk which has been moved along with all the cables tidied and ratified. Darling Mr Doris was a tad concerned as I'm unplugging wires here there and everywhere. Probably in case he was going to be called in to re-instate everything, but no, I am the mistress of the puzzle and I not only had everything back up and running, it looks so much tidier and neater.

A good clean of the dresser and screwing top to bottom, and an extra good wash of all the china (the newspaper most of it was wrapped in was 2004 so nearly 10 years in the dark) and then bit by bit placing it. Incredibly, this dresser was made for this amount of china. I am so surprised how complete and undamaged it is - just the handle of the cream jug has a problem that needs fixing and might be an issue though for the moment tiny blobs of blu-tack hold it in place. It is a complete dinner service for six people complete with serving plates and bowls and platters. There was once a cake stand but that has long since broken. There is a coffee set for six and a tea set for six.

The even more amazing thing, which I had sort of envisaged, was that the sideboard now also contains all sorts of dining stuff from around the kitchen and our bedroom. All in one accessible place and freeing up vital kitchen cupboards. In the last week or two the kitchen cupboards had been getting a zealous work out from me and now this. Yesterday morning saw other changes with the kitchen counters being cleared and re-organised/re-designed. After I take my daughter to work shortly I'll continue over to the next town and get a new table covering to match the new style, and possibly new lampshades. We have the cheapest paper shades which have served us well and can stay as lampshades are more of a considered purchase unless something fabulous and low cost stands out.

Even my son complimented me on how nice the dresser looks. And it does. It makes me smile and it looks stunning. The brown wood works perfectly with our brown dining table and chairs whilst bringing out the delicateness of the white bone china with its pink and gold decoration. My sister has yet to find out what I have been up to and to see it. That should be interesting if her views have changed.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Dear Dr Michael Mosley

We are allowed to change our minds and to review and grow as we learn more but please consider how much contradictory information you are prepared to be aligned with in your multitude of TV programmes in the last 18 months alone. When more people realise, this could severely damage any respect one might have had for your name and involvement in projects.

In no particular order there was a programme on eating styles which demonstrated that eating a full and substantial breakfast was essential and beneficial to your day and to your body long term.

There was a programme, followed up by your own co-authored book concerning the Fast Diet, that investigated existing studies in the US regarding modes of fasting. As part of that programme you found that there were demonstrable beneficial effects on the body from fasting such as lowering of cholesterol. (However, I do not understand how the idea of regular fasting somehow was sidelined into the 5:2 diet of eating two smaller meals or grazing during the day as this truly did not put the body into fasting mode which switched it from growth mode to repair mode, thereby repairing cholesterol levels amongst other things.)

And now, that I know of, the latest programme "Trust me I'm a Doctor" interviewed two doctors with opposing views on the use of statins in the relatively healthy which are intended to reduce cholesterol levels and therefore the chance of heart attack. After discussions with both on the various problems or merits of statins, you summarised with your personal view that you would rather take statins than not with just one very brief reference that diet and lifestyle was the alternative to taking statins.

Just like that you completely undermined the role of diet and lifestyle which you had been part of  promoting so loud and proud in the last twelve months. It rather sounded like you have been paid by the drug industry and makes me wonder what you will be paid to say next.

I'll leave that with you to ponder and would welcome any views from anyone on the subject.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

A life of extremes

That's me, full of extremes. If I make bread then I'm up at 5 making bread. If I'm running then I'm running for miles and miles. If I've embraced a new business then I work and day and night. If I'm blogging then I blog every day. My life is littered with extremes: friendships; activities I've been involved with; navel gazing ....

Thankfully I have 14 years of happy marriage behind me; stayed with my current career for the past three or so years; and have some friends left.

That's it! I'm keeping this short and sweet. Last night I prepared my first loaf of bread in some weeks and shortly I will pop it into the baking tin to warm and rise. I'll pop on my runners and do a shortish run to get back into the swing of it. I'll do a little of some of all those other things I have been recently been juggling on the basis that at least a little is better than nothing. Then am off to work this afternoon until 8pm.