Fresh Adventures

As I sit at my desk here in Devon I can only guess how Lol is feeling out there in Taiwan because today, if I’ve got it right, he starts his new job at the British Council in Taipei. Gwil and Fi are getting ready to move to the capital too, Fi to start a new job and Gwil to enrol at the University to study Mandarin. It has been a busy and successful year for them. They opened from scratch, Talk Easy Language School, decorating the rooms, making and buying the furniture and most importantly, enrolling the students. It has gone tremendously well and we are both very proud of them. They have now sold the business so as from next week the school has fresh owners, and they are ready for their next adventure!

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Ma-Jiong

Monday night is Ma-Jiong night. We meet at each other’s houses and Qun instructs us in the art of the game. We have varying degrees of competence, some like me have only played it once or twice before, others have their own sets and have played regularly with their families. Still, there is nothing like learning it from a Chinese person and we all have much to learn.

I played it first one holiday, in France, with Fiona, who comes from Taiwan. There we learnt a simplified form as we weren’t gambling. With Qun we use the full set, including the ‘flowers’, which some people forget and call the ‘fairies’. I seem to get loads of flowers and don’t win, they count towards you’re winnings, and when I do win, I don’t have any flowers to boost my winnings. Such is life and doubtless there is an old proverb about it!

The weather continues snowy in Wales, the north and the south-east but we haven’t any down here in the west country I am pleased to say. We are due to visit mum for her birthday so I am hoping that the snow will have gone by then.

I went to the gym this morning, although it wasn’t snowing it was sleety rain and I was not looking forward to it. When I first arrived it was rather crowded but it soon thinned out and I was able to complete my programme, wearing my new MP3 player, and it wasn’t so bad after all. I’m going again tomorrow and might fit in a swim too!

I had my hair cut yesterday and I only paid half of what I usually do, I think that must be because I asked for a wet cut, which she blow-dried at the end. Now if I had asked for a blow-dry, which would not have ended up much different, I would have had to pay twice as much so I must remember for next time.

I have started two paintings, they are just at the early stages so you will have to wait to see them. I was going to make some hot water bottle covers but I bought new bottles + covers in Primark for only £5 each so I won’t bother. While I’m on the subject of sewing I just want to thank Vee for the tablecloth and napkins that she made us for Christmas. The napkins I use as place mats when there are just the two of us eating, and the cloth, which I have just washed and ironed, is beautifully made with all the turnings the same size, not easy, and the ‘ runner’ down the middle, is dead straight. Thanks again.

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The last photograph shows the place mats or coasters that Vee also made for me from the Purl Bee website.

Speed Queen

We woke up this morning to the promised snow, not as much as they have in Wales or Somerset, but a decent smattering. There is a light breeze blowing and it keeps snowing intermittently but really it is more like wet sleet. The road is clear, except for a lot of slush, so I can’t really say that in my days of having to get up and head off to work, it would have deterred me from going to work. Mum has just phoned and the snow has started there and Vee has it too, in fact they’ve closed Bristol airport airport!

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Yesterday I went on a speed awareness course, 4 hours. I went out of self interest as I didn’t want the points on my licence but it turned out to be very interesting and if you didn’t have to pay £80 for the pleasure, I would recommend it to anyone.

I have spent most of this morning fiddling with my new MP3 player.

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I had to switch to media player as I couldn’t transfer the songs at first, then it still didn’t work as the instructions described but I noticed a sync tab and that seems to have sorted it. Part of the problem is getting used to Windows 8. Anyway, that was the easy bit as the instructions just assume that you will know how many times to press a particular function button. I think I’ve got it now, and certainly it plays really well and although I was thinking of getting some new earphones for it, I don’t think I’ll bother, they are good enough.

Signing Up

Well I went along for my gym induction and was taught how to use the very scary looking equipment and was then told that they will only have it for another month because the whole gym is being modernised and decorated and enlarged! The guy who was showing me around was not in favour of machines to keep fit so I rather wondered what I was doing there as he kept on saying that I would get the same effect with some sit ups and lifting some weights! Anyway, I had the tour and then went on some of the machines for about 30 minutes to get the feel of them. Tomorrow night I go back for my personal plan to be written and the following day I have a 1-1 whilst they see what equipment is going to suit me best. I also signed up for the Pilates class tomorrow so we will see how I do!

The main thing is to lose weight and to this end I have been reading this book which my son in Taiwan sent me.

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It has much of the same information as the Michael Mosley programme which I watched last year and it certainly seems to be the diet that I did with all those years ago with Slimmers World, give or take a few ideas. I shall try it but reading the book seems like a load of old tosh to me, but that is his style and I guess it motivates some people. There were several good ideas, including measuring myself, so out came the old Rosemary Connelly tape measure, and I’m pleased to see that I’m not any bigger than I was, but, thats still too big and a strain on my joints.

I’ve already started with a breakfast of an egg with peas, a salad for lunch and the lentils are boiling away as I write this. Time will tell but at the moment I am determined that this time I will succeed, I’ve done it before after all.

Apologies to Scribbles for being rude about the book but Dickens it aint!

A New Year

Well I can’t believe that it is so far advanced into the new year and I haven’t made any entries yet into my blog. The weather has been incredibly mild with some sunny spring like days so I have been moved to do some tidying up in the garden, that didn’t get done before Christmas. The weatherperson says we can expect snow any day now so I don’t know what to think, its certainly a bit chillier today. The front garden is all tidy and trim now so at least we are not letting the village down. Vee swept up the remainder of the leaves at Christmas so that is another job done. I bought a Thyme and a Rosemary today in Tesco, I just couldn’t resist the offer but I think I will hold off from planting them out for a bit, just in case the weather does turn bad.

Hyw had gone up to London for a few days so I took the opportunity to surprise him with a new computer. Needless to say my plan didn’t quite work out as the guy in the Apple shop said they wouldn’t have any new Macs in until the end of February. Now I don’t know about you, but when I go to buy something I expect it to be in the shop and able to take it away there and then! I was not a happy bunny but by chance, I was in John Lewis and they had some incredibly cheap Compaq towers, so rather than go home empty handed, I bought one as I had several spare monitors at home. It is very good and certainly a lot faster than the old computer. I had just finished setting it up and personalising all the settings when the phone rang. It was the guy from the Apple Store to tell me my luck was in, they had just taken delivery of a fresh consignment! I was spitting blood, but I consoled myself by the money I had saved and the dangers of being an early adopter! I shall get one in March as birthday treat for myself.

As part of my new year’s resolution to get fit I signed on at the Gym and go for my induction on Monday. I pulled out all my keep fit gear and intend to book into some classes also. On the food front I’m cutting down gradually and certainly don’t eat any visible fat or have any spread these days. We shall see but I don’t feel like going to any slimming clubs anymore. Part of my gym kit is a new MP3 player. I remember that they have the most inane TV shows on so I shall distract myself with audio books and music.

I have been doing some printmaking, just some small bits to get my hand back in. Hope you like them.

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