Sunday, 26 January 2014

Admitting defeat

I've come to the conclusion that, as The Lady in the Tower: the Fall of Anne Boleyn by Alison Weir has been sitting half read on my bookshelf for months, I am probably never going to finish it! It's a very dense, well researched book, focussing on a very short time period, and unless I read it in a fairly short space if time (a week, say) I'd never be able to keep a track of who all of the people discussed in it are.

Also, The Three Edwards by Michael Prestwich has been hanging about for a while- not as long as Anne Boleyn, but long enough!

These books were relevant/interesting/useful to me at one point, but now there are other things that I would rather be reading, so it's rehoming time for them...

Monday, 20 January 2014

Book review: A History of Bury St Edmunds by Frank Meeres


This is a book that I will be keeping, as I am sure that I have not absorbed all of the information in one reading! As this is my home town, I found that I often stopped reading to look on a map to find the places which the book was referring to.

I'm not sure that this book would be highly interesting to anyone with no connection to Bury; and I did notice that the author was amusingly defensive of the town (which was described as 'dull' in the nineteenth century) and also mildly disapproving of some modern development. The writing style was fairly engaging- although I might not be the best person to judge this, as my idea of 'readable' has probably been heavily skewed by some incredibly unreadable books during my history degree! One of my favourite books so far, as I will be able to wander around Bury feeling much more well informed about its history, and perhaps actually understand the origins of some of the place and road names.

Friday, 3 January 2014

2014 aims and review of 2013 aims

After all of the Christmas feasting (the fridge is still full of cheese, and sprouts that didn't get cooked), and despite the first cold of the winter, I am feeling the urge to get cracking with some projects, and finish up all of those little lingering jobs that I've been putting off. One of those is to work out what I am aiming to achieve this year...and this is what I have come up with:

- complete first module of C&G knitting course and start second. Save enough money to pay the course fees for the whole course.
- donate 2% (minimum) of earnings to charity. I am planning to donate at the end of each month, and to donate to a variety of causes, local, international, animals, people, conservation- hopefully a wide variety.
- read down the house- I'd like to read 12 books this year, which would leave quite a few books unread. But it'd be nice to establish the habit of reading again.
- reduce stash of knitting yarn from just under 40,000 metres to under 30,000 metres. If I buy no yarn during the year, I would need to knit 27 metres per day to so this, which is manageable. There is one knitting kit that I am going to ask for for my birthday, but other than that I am going to try and go 'cold sheep'.
- house inventory- this is a latecomer to the aims list- when I saw Dar's post about her complete home inventory, I decided it would be a good idea- partly for insurance purposes, but also just to see what we have!

A much shorter list than last year- but it does have the advantage that I might actually be able to remember and focus on my aims! To keep the momentum up, I will do an end of the month round up of how I am getting on.

Now, last year's aims/resolutions:

1. No alcohol- I didn't totally stick to this, but I didn't drink much either. It's quite easy to give up something that makes you feel ill.

2. Riding- I passed Equitation 5, but no progress on the Stable Management as we are no longer having lessons.

3. Exercise- I have been quite sporadic with this, although since June when Parkrun started in Bury St Edmunds, I have been most weeks. Also, before I started my new job I walked a neighbour's dog most weekdays. The most consistent exercise, though, has been from walking to my new job- it's about 25-30 mins of fast walking each way. I'm always better at exercising for a purpose!
As a result, I am fitter and have knocked about 2 mins off my parkrun (5k) time.

4. Save money. I was bad at this. Maybe saving with a purpose will work better for me.

5. Plan meals- this has definitely got better. There has been much less grazing and more proper meals.

6. Sleep- more work to do here!

7. Less stuff- I have definitely got rid of some excess stuff this year (mostly clothes). Not sure there is much more major decluttering to do.

8. Read more- October and November were good, the rest of the year not so much...

9.  Garden- also a bit hit and miss. Didn't get a lot of food from it, did harvest some lavender which is drying at the moment.

10. Knitting course- progress has been made- I just need to actually finish the module!

11. Knitting- I have finished some projects which have been hanging around for a while, but still have four things on the go, and still bought yarn this year...hmmm...

12. Sewing- I made a needle case for knitting needles- that was about it. Fail!

13. Make bread from scratch- I do this all the time now. Bread is a bit dense, but good.

14. No poo- fail! My hair was more disgusting than I was prepared to put up with. Luckily I now work for a company which makes organic, cruelty free products, including shampoo and conditioner, which I am happy to use.

What are your aims/resolutions/key words for the year?

(If I had to pick a key word, it'd be FOCUS...I need to get better at doing one thing at a time!)