Friday, 28 February 2014

February Happiness

Five things which have made me smile this month...
1. Daffodils, at home and at work!

2. This chirping bird which Andrew bought as a little Valentine's Day present for me.
Little tweeting bird
3. A lovely Valentine's Day tea date at Penfold's Kitchen in Bristol.
Lemon drizzle cake and hot chocolate
4. Lots of comedians and shows - Punt and Dennis at the beginning of the month, Russell Howard last weekend and a live performance of Radio 4's Any Questions this evening.

Tickets to shows
5. We got throught all the IVF treatment okay and none of it was quite as bad as I was expecting.
All we have to do now is wait - neither of us will know what the outcome is til next weekend and if it's okay with everyone, regardless of whether it's a good or bad result, it's something I don't think I'll share on here just for a few weeks. Whatever happens, we'll both need a bit of time to get our heads around it!

Final bit of IVF treatment
What little things have made you happy this month?

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

The Midweek Hop - Fair Trade

The other half's guest post - three music videos on a theme...
(inspired by Desmond Carrington's 'The Music Goes Round')

'Balami I200' 1957 Jukebox
'Balami I200' 1957 Jukebox
This weeks theme is...Fair Trade
Inspired by Fair Trade Fortnight (Monday 24th February to Sunday 9th March) - so three songs about three commonly found fair trade foods!

1. Banana Boat Song (Day O) by Harry Belafonte

All together now...Day-O, Day-a-a-O
'Banana Boat Song' entered the chart on 1st March 1957 reaching Number 2.

2. Sugar Sugar by The Archies

A fictional band (long before Gorillaz) and also part of the bubblegum pop tunes of the late 60s!
'Sugar Sugar' entered the chart on 11th October 1969 reaching Number 1.

3. China Tea by Russ Conway

Like many Bristolians, he sailed the seven seas with the Merchant and Royal Navy- wonder if his ship ever actually carried tea?
'China Tea' entered the chart on 21st August 1959 reaching Number 5.
Happy listening!

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

A Photo Every Hour - Saturday 22nd February

February's 'Photo Every Hour' challenge (courtesy of the lovely Jane from Is That You Darling) fell on Saturday 22nd February.

The beauty of doing a photo an hour challenge is that sometimes your day is full of fun and games and other times your day probably seems rather mundane. I'm a nosy so and so though, so even a day that seems boring to everyone else is quite interesting to me!

As well as Jane, Rachel (from Dear Ms Leigh) and Shazzarob (from Sunshine and Celandines) also took part.

Here's my Saturday in pictures...

9am - a quick jump in the shower before heading out for the morning.
Shower water droplets - Bath Fertility Clinic in the sunshine
10am - we arrived at the fertility clinic in the beautiful spring sunshine.

11am - last bit of the treatment over and done with (now all we have to do is wait!).
Hospital bed - Fried breakfast
12pm - on the way back from the clinic, we stopped off at the local Co-op store for a breakfast
(aka. lunch/brunch/whatever).

1pm - after breakfast we headed to visit Andrew's mum before she left to go to hospital in Bristol.
This was the view from her living room window!
Blue sky, sunlight and clouds - A cup of tea
2pm - back home with mid afternoon cup of tea.

3pm - Andrew's planning a new driveway at the moment so I lent a hand holding the tape measure.
Measuring the driveway - planning the new driveway
4pm - still planning and measuring
(he's a precision mechanical engineer so it was always going to be like this...).

5pm - Andrew retired to the garage (aka. the man cave) so I took the chance to try and catch up with 3 weeks worth of blog posts.
Bloglovin feed - Ordering a Domino's Pizza
6pm - all our good intentions for a healthy dinner went out the window when Andrew suggested a Domino's pizza!

7pm - the pizza arrives and we tuck in (if you're interested, it was a special deal of a large pizza (we had half Meator and half New York Deli), coleslaw, garlic pizza bread and wedges).
Domino's Pizza - Made in Dagenham
8pm - on our hard drive we had the film, 'Made in Dagenham' so we thought that'd do for the evening.

9pm - 'Made in Dagenham' is very good!
Made in Dagenham - Bedsocks
10pm - heading to bed at this time probably means I'm getting very very old...

If you fancy taking part in Jane's Photo an Hour challenge next month, pop on over to her blog to find out what the next date is. :-)

Monday, 24 February 2014

This Weekend at the Duckpond

We have mostly been...

Participating - in February's Photo an Hour challenge (set by the lovely Jane from Is That You Darling). A full round up to follow tomorrow...
Blue skies
Visiting - the fertility clinic for the last bit of our IVF treatment (at least, that's assuming it all works - if it doesn't, then it'll probably be back there in a few months for another go).
Day-tripping - to Gillingham in Dorset for the first steam rally get together of the year (at a day imaginatively called the Gillingham Gathering) followed by a road trip to Poole and Bournemouth taking in a walk round Poole Park before heading to the Bournemouth International Centre in the evening.
Apollo at Gillingham Gathering
Meeting - lots and lots of feathered friends at Poole Park!
Ducks at Poole Park
Laughing - at Russell Howard's new show, 'Wonderbox'. He's still just as funny now playing arenas as he was playing small pubs over 10 years ago. I'm sure most of Somerset must've been there as well; I know Rosie from Every Word Handwritten went plus we bumped into someone Andrew used to work with who only lives in the next town to us!
Russell Howard Wonderbox Tour
What did you get up to at the weekend?

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Now and Then

The lovely Tori from over at Tori's Tales took part in a 'Now and Then' tag a little while back. The idea is that you compare 2014 you to teenage you (whenever that was) and see what's changed. It's a really interesting thing to do; I'm pretty sure I've changed a lot since I was at school (hopefully for the better) and certainly some of the things I was interested in back then have since been long forgotten.

Duck in 2014 aged 31 and Duck in 1998 aged 15
Now - on the left, me aged 31 (last month)
Then - on the right, me aged 15 (about 1998)

Crushing on...
(I'm not sure I like the phrase 'crushing', whatever happened to the good old 90s phrase,  'fancied'?)
2014 - Tim Minchin, Noel Fielding, Richard E Grant, various stand up comedians such as Danny Bhoy and Ed Byrne (yep I have weird tastes).
1998 - Chandler from Friends, Niles from Frasier, Pacey from Dawson's Creek, Adrian Lewis Morgan (who played Roger in the 1998 version of the musical Rent), Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Lewis and Rory (aka Finn) from Hollyoaks.

2014 - BBC4, BBC3, Call the Midwife, Outnumbered, comedy shows like Have I Got News For You, Mock the Week and The Last Leg.
  1998 - BBC2's Stand Up Show, Whose Line Is It Anyway, Dawson's Creek, Friends, Frasier, Hollyoaks, Drop the Dead Donkey, Dharma and Greg, Father Ted and Ballykissangel.

Listening to...
 2014 - Radio 2, 6 Music, Caro Emerald, Muse, Florence and the Machine, Tim Minchin, Elbow, musical soundtracks such as Matilda.
 1998 - Radio 1, GWR FM, All Saints, The Offspring, Massive Attack, Portishead, Spice Girls, Alisha's Attic, the musical soundtrack to Rent.

 2014 - Uni textbooks about Librarianship, books set in the second world war, young adult and children's fiction, Pretty Nostalgic magazine and Style at Home magazine.
 1998 - Point Horror, historical romances such as Elvi Rhodes and Maeve Binchy, Just 17 magazine, Mizz magazine and (when we had the guts to buy it) More magazine.

2014 - dresses, a-line skirts, 50s style halternecks, tights, kneehigh boots, polka dots, flowers and red things.
  1998 - Kickers shoes, black trousers, fitted t-shirt style tops, school uniform and plain colours.

2014 - shoulder length or a bob, brown with lighter bits, left curly or straightened.
  1998 - long brown mousy hair, tied up in a high ponytail with a scrunchie or plaited.

2014 - theatre, stand up comedy, baking, swimming and blogging.
  1998 - walking round town, coach trips to the seaside, making up our own mix tapes and radio shows and homework.

2014 - individual, positive, stubborn, logical and it's a terrible cliche but life is too short and we don't get a second chance so make the most of it.
  1998 - positive (but inside worrying), sarcastic, comical, shy around boys (unless they were good friends) and convinced I'd be single forever.

2014 - well, it'd be nice to finish my librarianship degree and have a small family but in reality, we'll take whatever comes our way and make the best of it.
  1998 - A-Levels, a degree and a nice tidy flat away from my mental parents!
If you fancy having a go, I tag all of you reading this!

Friday, 21 February 2014

52 Lists - Good Things About Your Hometown

This week's theme is all about the good things in your hometown. I'm going to interpret my hometown as the place where I currently live - and am planning to live for the forseeable future. It's the town where Andrew spent all his life and he can trace bits of his family tree in the local area back to the 1850's.

Midsomer Norton South Station

This list is probably going to sound a little bit like it's all about leaving the town, but I think the location is one of the major selling points!

So firstly, it's fairly close to the seaside - you can be in Weston Super Mare in just over half an hour which is perfect for getting home from work on a gorgeous sunny evening and just jumping in the car for a walk on the beach in the evening sun.

Secondly, it's kind of in the countryside (walk 3 minutes from our house and you're on an ancient track into woodland and fields) but in 20 minutes you can be in the cities of Bath or Bristol. Obviously at rush hour this increases to 45 minutes!

Thirdly, the town has an incredible amount of history. The ancient Roman Road 'Fosseway' runs right through the local area plus if you thought the South Wales Valleys were the only place you mined coal from, well think again! The Somerset Coalfield was a rich source of employment for the local area with well over 20 mine shafts over the last couple of hundred years. And that's all before you even get started on the Somerset and Dorset vs. Great Western Railway clash-of-the-titan-style battle for the rails!

Fourthly, there's ducks! We have a small river running through the town and a couple of places where the ducks seem to congregate - right down to one bit of road where the traffic regularly has to stop for ducks waddling leisurely across the road.

And lastly, there is a real community atmosphere to the town. When I used to work in the local library, everyone seemed to know each other and there's plenty of local groups and activities to join in with. Of course, this can also be taken as a large proportion of the town are inter-related (just don't look too closely at our webbed feet or six-fingered hands...)

What's the local area like where you live? 

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

100 Happy Days #4

The fourth instalment of my attempt to catalogue 100 Happy Days... :-)
Monday 10th February

The first snowdrops have started blooming on campus.

Tuesday 11th February

Wetherspoons Hot Chocolate
You can't beat a Wetherspoons hot chocolate, spilling over with cream and all for less than £1.50.

Wednesday 12th February

Cleveland Pools Leaflet
Our workplace holds free public lectures every Wednesday and this week it was all about the historic Cleveland Pools in Bath.

Thursday 13th February

Tweeting Bird
An early Valentine's day present from Andrew - a little chirping bird! I think he's going to live in my conservatory. :-)

Friday 14th February

Lemon Polenta Cake and Hot Chocolate
A delicious Lemon Polenta Cake and Hot Chocolate with Andrew at a little cafe in Bristol.

Saturday 15th February

Ovitrelle Injection
The very last IVF injection! No more needles, yay!

Sunday 16th February

Calendar showing a drug free day
After 36 days of IVF drugs, I had one single drug free day before I had to start taking yet another drug.

Monday 17th February

Galaxy bar and hot water bottle
A very well-deserved whole Galaxy bar to myself after my operation that morning.

Tuesday 18th February

Farringtons Farm Shop fried breakfast
We had some good news from the embryologist that morning so we treated ourselves to a slap-up breakfast at Farringtons Farm Shop.

Wednesday 19th February
Tickets for the National Theatre Live screening
Finally got round to booking some tickets for a National Theatre live screening in May!

Previous instalments can be found here...

The Midweek Hop - All About Duck

The other half's guest post - three music videos on a theme...
(inspired by Desmond Carrington's 'The Music Goes Round')

'Wurlitzer 2300' 1959 Jukebox
'Wurlitzer 2300' 1959 Jukebox

This weeks theme is...All About Duck
Inspired by well, I'm having some rather uncomfortable IVF treatment this week so Andrew thought he'd put together the 3 songs that remind him of me!

1. Louie Louie by The Kingsmen

Andrew really likes this song, despite the fact that I've never actually been called Louie!
'Louie Louie' entered the chart on 30th January 1964 reaching Number 26.

2. You've Got What It Takes by Marv Johnson

'nuff said...
'You've Got What It Takes' entered the chart on 12th February 1960 reaching Number 7.

3. Don't Ever Change by The Crickets

The only line that's kind of wrong is the bit about wearing jeans - I wear dresses much more than jeans!
'Don't Ever Change' entered the chart on 21st June 1962 reaching Number 5. 
Happy listening!

Monday, 17 February 2014

This Weekend at the Duckpond

We have mostly been...

Attending - the fertility clinic on Friday morning for my final scan before the minor operation of egg collection on Monday. Apart from the fact that the whole procedure makes you sound a little bit like a chicken farm, it's relatively simple and by the time you read this, I should be at home resting and recovering (and probably catching up on some blog reading).
Out of interest, would anyone be interested in a blog post about what it's like to have IVF?
(I know it's quite a niche subject so I won't be offended if you all say 'no') :-)

Visiting - Andrew's dad in hospital. He's down to just one chest drain and his stomach feeding pipe and at the end of last week, the doctor said he's now allowed one glass of milk a day!

Enjoying - a Valentine's day tea date at Penfold's Kitchen in Bristol. It's a little cafe just opposite the hospital and we've walked past it every evening on our way to the ward and never actually been in because it's always been closed. On Friday we were there during the day though so we popped in and had a delicous hot chocolate and lemon polenta cake.

Penfold's Kitchen - Lemon Polenta Cake and Hot Chocolate

Sharing - a breakfast with Andrew, his mum and his sister at Wetherspoons. Andrew's sister, Judith came up from Cornwall and met us all in Street before taking his mum off to Bristol to visit the hospital while me and Andrew had a mosey around the charity shops. Me and Andrew were also treated to a slap-up roast dinner at Toby Carvery on Friday night by Andrew's mum (I think she wanted to thank us for looking after her the last month).

Wetherspoons Breakfast

Driving - to see how the floods are getting on in Somerset. After we'd had a browse around the shops and visited the library we took a drive to the same place we visited back in January. We then drove on to Dunball Wharf (which is where the big pipes from the Netherlands are pumping out gazillions of litres of water every hour) but you couldn't get anywhere close to see anything.

Flooding in Somerset

Dunball Wharf

Flood drainage pipes

Sorting - out the masses of drug paraphernalia I've got left from all the IVF drugs. Apart from the sharps box (which has to go back to the clinic), everything else can be recycled or binned. It seems very surreal to think that I've actually taken all these things and we're now at the stage where the embryologists can do their science-y bit!

IVF Drug Papaphernalia
This is what the drugs from a long protocol IVF cycle look like - 10 Provera tablets, 12 Gonal-F injections, 1 Ovitrelle injection trigger shot and 272 Suprecur sniffs!
What did you get up to at the weekend?

Sunday, 16 February 2014

52 Lists - My To-do List

This week's 52 Lists prompt is to show off your to-do list for the week, complete with all the mundane and boring things to do.

My To-Do List

I always seem to have a long list of long term things to do so I've just focused on what I had to actually get done this week, not including the obvious things like daily housework and going to work.

Ring Mum to wish her happy birthday
Leave work at 4pm - visit the hospital in Bristol
Record Jo Whiley on Radio 2 8pm
Tesco shopping arriving 10-11pm

In work late - scan at 10.15am (mention about Suprecur running out)
Do injection after appointment
Birthday meal at Wetherspoons in Trowbridge for mum's birthday

Lecture about Cleveland Pools Bath 5.15pm
Visit Asda - Valentine's card for Andrew, wedding RSVP note and 4th birthday card
Finish 'Taking Stock' blog post
Remind Andrew to ring Dad - find out how hospital visit went

Pop into mother-in-law's to check she's okay

Day off work - scan at 10.15am (mention about Gonal F running out)
Email line manager about not being in Monday
Check work email and sort out any last minute work
Do injection after appointment
Pick up mother-in-law and visit hospital
Visit cafe for tea and cake with Andrew
Toby Carvery for dinner with Andrew and his mum

Pick up mother-in-law at 10am and visit Street (meeting Judith at Wetherspoons 11am)
Take books back to library
Post wedding RSVP note
Reply to comments on blog
Put timers into hard drive for TV programmes during the week
Ovitrelle injection trigger shot 8.15pm

Finish 'This Weekend' blog post
Book tickets for the Merlin Theatre's National Theatre Live show in May
Sort out drug boxes and paperwork
Try and catch up on Bloglovin feed
Get lasagne from freezer to defrost ready for Monday night
Pack bag for Monday's operation

What did your to-do list look like?
Did you complete everything this week?

This post is part of Ema's (Made in Hunters) 52 Lists Project
For a full list of all the other lovely bloggy people taking part, visit Scarlett's site (WorkRestPlayLove) for a nosy!

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Taking Stock...

I spotted the 'Taking Stock' tag on the lovely Michelle's 'Life Outside London' blog last year and then the equally lovely Angela from 'Little Apple Tree' had a go last month.
Luskentyre Beach

So, currently (as in, this week) I am...
Making...lists, lots of lists, there's lots of things to do this weekend and next week.  
Cooking...not much. Hospital visits, birthday pub dinners and meals from the freezer has meant the oven hasn't been on much at all this week.
Drinking...decaff tea, pineapple juice, milk, no alcohol and lots and lots of water.
Reading...No Fixed Abode by Charlie Carroll
Wanting...the days to hurry up so one way or another, all the treatment will be over with.
Looking...forward to a mini holiday at the seaside in Blue Anchor at the end of March.
Playing...the waiting game.
Wasting...hopefully not much. I hate waste!
Fixing...the burglar alarm in our house which seems to have developed an annoying habit of going off about 2 in the morning.
Deciding...which steam rallies to attend this year.
Wishing...that the flood waters in poor soggy Somerset would begin to recede just a little bit. I think they've probably all had enough now, Rain God!
Enjoying...a day off work tomorrow!
Waiting...for the day when my father-in-law is allowed to eat food again. He's told us he's craving a pint of Strongbow (and for a 73 year old who doesn't really drink, that's pretty impressive) and a Toby Carvery roast dinner.
Liking...Jo Whiley's Live Session with the Magnetic Zeros on Radio 2 on Monday night. the rest of 2014 will pan out.
Loving...the new series of Call the Midwife on BBC1. My god, how heart-wrenching was last Sunday's episode?
Pondering...what the future may hold.
Considering...which pictures to hang on the wall of our refurbished bedroom.
Watching...TV shows from last September and October.
Hoping...everything goes okay with our treatment over the next couple of weeks. what modern medicine can do nowdays.
Needing...a new driveway, a new shower, a new fireplace and perhaps a cleaner?
Smelling...fresh daffodils on my kitchen windowsill.
Wearing...dresses, legging, boots, cardis and scarves.
Following...the slooooow traffic queues in and out of Bath.
Noticing...that already the year just seems to be flying past so quickly.
Knowing...that whatever happens, both myself and Andrew will be okay. We'll pick ourselves up and start all over again. It's a really corny sentiment but it's kind of true.
Thinking...probably too much. Althouugh I'm trying to make them all positive thoughts rather than 'what if's'.
Feeling...excited, anxious, overwhelmed, happy.
Admiring...the photos of the UK storms across the internet. You'd never wish this weather on anyone but some of the pictures are just spectacular and unbelievable.
Buying...a last minute Valentine's card, an RSVP to an evening wedding invite and a birthday card for Andrew's 4 year old godson.
Getting...very very behind with commenting on blog posts - apologies if I've spammed anyone with comments that are 3 weeks out of date!
Bookmarking...several pages of the IKEA catalogue, I've got my eyes on a new sofa either as a celebratory present or a commiseratory present...
Opening...Valentine's cards tomorrow! We do give each other a card but that's about as far as it goes now. When we first met we used to take it in turns to cook each other a meal but that kind of loses it's appeal when you live together and cook every night. the fact that our Valentine's present tomorrow couldn't be less kinky if we tried - even though it does involves a doctor, a nurse, an ultraound wand, a needle and a hospital appointment!
Let me know if you fancy giving it a go!
And hop on over the lovely Angela and Michelle's blogs to see where I stole the idea from :-)

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

The Midweek Hop - Sweet Valentine

The other half's guest post - three music videos on a theme...
(inspired by Desmond Carrington's 'The Music Goes Round')

'Wurlitzer 1500' 1952 Jukebox
'Wurlitzer 1500' 1952 Jukebox

This weeks theme is...Sweet Valentine
Inspired by Valentine's Day (in case you've forgotten, it's this Friday, the 14th!) :-)

1. Stupid Cupid by Connie Francis

Ahhh, young innocent lovebirds...
'Stupid Cupid' was a double A side with 'Carolina Moon' which entered the chart on 22nd August 1958 reaching Number 1.

2. The Look of Love by Dusty Springfield

Always heavy on the eye makeup - was it the look of love or just mascara?
'The Look of Love' entered the US Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1967 reaching Number 22.

3. The Price of Love by The Everly Brothers

And if you're completely fed up of Valentine's Day...
'The Price of Love' entered the chart on 20th May 1965 reaching Number 2.
Happy listening!
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