Sunday, 30 December 2012

The Mobile Phone Luddite...

On the run up to the holidays I put off several time-consuming jobs.  Yesterday we tackled the one that I was least looking forward to..... the dreaded 'new mobile phone' experience!

Basically I've had a phone on contract for years.  It is a bit expensive - but the huge mileage we do, the odd hours I work and the sheer amount of time we spend away from home sort of justify the expenditure.  When I first had a phone in 2001 I paid £35 per month (for a ridiculously small number of minutes and a small phone that made calls).  Over the years the monthly fee has shrunk to about half the original, while the minutes have soared.  The phones have become more sophisticated but I've still felt mostly in control of their functions.

Yesterday I went into a certain well known chain of mobile phone shops (fortunately I had Mark with me for back up......)  I am now the owner of a mini-computer that just happens to make phone calls.  The monthly fee is exactly the same as the last contract AND they are throwing in a 7" tablet computer for free!  Technologically I feel a little bit like Alice must have done as she fell down the rabbit hole.... I have a phone that can store complete novels in one corner of it's huge memory.  Last night I sat on the sofa and read the first few chapters of 'Pride and Prejudice' on my phone - just for the experience.  I've never considered myself to be a luddite but I've got to say that this feels like a technological step too far!

In the end I spent of lot of time last night worrying that the phone was going to do something 'behind my back' and that I might end up with a huge additional bill because of it's functions.  First thing this morning I got on the phone to the providers technological support.  A lovely lady explained how I could control it's access to the internet and cut the connection if I wanted to. 

I now at least have the illusion of being in control of this thing!  At the same time I feel slightly 'non-plussed' about the arrival of the free tablet computer.....  I suppose it can always stay in its box!

Friday, 28 December 2012

Finally... time to blog!

You've probably guessed that the last couple of weeks of term became increasingly manic.  I tried to keep reading your posts and commenting but I completely ran out of time when it came to posting on my own blog.  Anyway, here's a quick summary of the last few weeks..

There were concerts and Year 11 Parents Evening (on the PENULTIMATE night of term - stupid school!)  There were also pre-Christmas meals and drinks with family and friends AND a trip to see Mark's Dad and Brother in Oxford.

In the middle of all of this I was crocheting like made to finish a blanket.  I made it as a Christmas present for my friend who showed me how to crochet back in March.  I made a label which read "For my Teacher" - she was really delighted with it!

My Mother-in-Law stayed from the 24th ~ 27th so the whole house had to be nice and tidy.  She's actually pretty relaxed about these things but I like my visitors to feel as if I've made a bit of effort.

Mark was responsible for the tree.  He likes lots of lights - this year there are over 300!  Thomas is transfixed every evening by all the twinkles!

We had Christmas Eve at my house then went to my Sister's for Christmas Day.  This is the table set for 9 of us at my Sister's house. 

On Boxing Day we loaded Mark's Mum and my Parents into the old Discovery and went for a picnic.  The weather was a little unrealiable so we went up to Ironbridge and went for a short walk by the river.  Here's Mark and his Mum on the famous 'iron bridge'...

We were surprised that there seemed so many people around on a cold mid-winter day.  Then we realised that they'd come to see some lady Morris Dancers, who were clearly maintaining a local tradition and dancing on the bridge on Boxing Day...
Since my Mother-in-Law went home yesterday I've been making the most of a few days of 'R+R'.  It's been too wet to walk long distances so I've curled up on the sofa and started one of my Christmas books.  I've also started to crochet another blanket with some wool from the stash.  We went into Worcester this morning and had a little look at the Sales.  Mark spent some Christmas money on a much reduced PS3 Game but I wasn't really inspired to spend my money.  Most of the shops appeared to have dragged anything that needed 'clearing' onto the rails but there weren't any bargains.

In the end we left the shops and went down by the river to walk by the floods.  Fortunately the flood defences seem to be doing their job and people's homes and businesses are dry.

Now I'm back in the 'blogosphere' and catching up on all your news. 

Season's Greetings to you all!  Jx

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Taking a break..

Having spent most of Thursday morning in tears over work-related issues, I forced myself to take a complete break this weekend.  Mark and I pottered over to Startford on Avon yesterday.  We found several great 'Antique/Junk' shops where I found a lovely Spode plate for a bargain price.  We also spent ages in a fabulous vintage accessory shop that was tucked away in a side street.
Today we did the food shop then organised ourselves to do a completely new walk in the area.  This involved a couple of miles of the Wychavon Way, then a spell of canal-side walking before returning to Droitwich via some lovely quiet lanes.
Here are some of the canal boats moored at Hanbury Warf (on the Birmingham to Worcester Canal)
We even found a sheltered spot to eat our picnic.  These benches are on the junction of the Droitwich and Birmingham/Worcester canals.  In the summer it's really busy but today it was really peaceful..

I couldn't resist this view of the rather sodden Worcestershire countryside...

Tomorrow morning I'm going to have a meeting with our Deputy Head and I hope that some of the things that have been making life difficult at school will be mentioned - if not resolved. 
Fingers crossed!!!!  I hope that you all have a good week.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Sunday Morning

I was so glad that I'd decided to pick up my camera for our walk yesterday morning.  I couldn't resist snapping away at these dramatic wintery skies..
This was a picture taken down by the canal - one of our favourite circuits.
I really wanted to get a picture of the sky and its reflection in the water.
It didn't quite work because I was a little too low.  I suspose that I should have tried
climbing a tree!

This is a more general view of my beloved North-East Worcestershire country-side.
The hills in the distance are at Great Whitley.  On a really clear day you can see
as far as the Shropshire Hills from here, and you only need to turn a little to the left
to see the Malvern Hills as well.

There's a little hamlet of Victorian cottages and houses a little further along this road and
all the properties have views like these.
Much as we love our current home, Mark and I always have a little fantasy about moving to one of these houses - just for the view.
Unfortunately they also come with masses of land which doesn't really suit our current life-style.
One day ...... maybe!

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Inspired by Bagpuss..

Inspired by bagpuss's pink and white stripes, my latest Motorway blanket is a blend of
 bright pink, a sparkly pink and white yarn and lots of plain white for the background.
The light was going when I took this photo - but I hope that you get the general idea..!

The target audience is a young girl!
Hopefully it will soon be brightening up the life of a young person somewhere..
I'm still crocheting away in the passenger seat, but I've abandoned these blankets while I work on a Christmas gift or two.  Firstly I want to create something for my friend who taught me how to crochet back in February.  She loves handmade gifts so would appreciate the fact that I'd made something for her.  Then, if I've got time, I'd also like to make something for my Mother in Law. 
Unfortunately December seems to have caught me by surprise!
We've been ridiculously busy with work AND socialising loads.
On top of all that we seem to be commuting seperately quite a lot too,
which means a lot less crafting time.
I hope that you all have a good week.