Friday, 23 March 2012

On Dieting

I've been dieting for the last 5 weeks, and at last night's weigh-in I passed my 5% target. So far, despite what the scales say, it doesn't show.

Maybe when I reach my next target, which is 10%? When I go down a clothing size, that might be a bit encouraging.

I've been going to Weight Watchers. The meetings are really quite entertaining. The leader is a successful dieter, and uses her own success to encourage us. The members who come to the weigh-ins and stay for the meeting are all very friendly, and some of them are really quite funny, so the meetings are always lively. I think half the battle is won when you actually enjoy going to the meetings. And hearing some of the longer-standing members tell about how much weight they've lost, and seeing how good they look, is a real incentive to carry on.

My second week was a bit of a disaster when I reloaded some of the weight I'd lost in the first week. This convinced me that I should do my point tracking online rather than on paper. By doing it online, the points are calculated for me so there's no danger of me shaving off a point here or there by adding them up myself. Since then I've toed the line a bit more.

Points are Pro Points of which we're given a daily allowance which we can't carry over, and an additional weekly allowance that we can dip into if we run out of daily Points. All foods have a points value, and you keep track of what you're eating by counting the points. Fruit and vegetables are zero, so you can eat as much of those as you like. Even bananas are zero, which is wonderful because they can really fill up those gaps.

This week we're being encouraged to try a day of eating 'filling and healthy foods' without counting points, just eating till we're full. Haha! I don't think so! I could easily eat and eat and regain the whole 5% in one day.

Friday, 2 March 2012

A little bird

A little bird got into my house through the chimney this morning. By the time I noticed it was flying from window to window banging into the glass. I shut the doors into the sitting and dining room, opened up one set of windows and started to black out the other glass windows and doors. While I was doing this, it missed the open windows and landed on the floor. I went to check, and it seemed to be okay, so I carried on blacking out the other windows. When I came back I couldn't find it, and so have to assume it flew out of one of the open windows. I've looked around, and can't find it, so hope it hasn't hidden itself somewhere to die.

Now I have to find all the droppings it's left all over my sitting room while it was flying around in a panic!

I have a special wire lid on my chimney to stop birds from flying in, but I guess this little bird was small enough to slip through.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Palindromic Date

Today's date is a palindromic date, in other words it can be written back to front and still read the same.

If you're British, the date today could be written as 21/2/12, or 21/02/2012 both of which are palindromic. However, if you were American, you would write it as 2/21/12 or 02/21/2012, neither of which are palindromic.

When I name a file on my computer, and I wish to store it chronologically, the first word in the name is the date entered as YYMMDD so today's files would begin with the numbers 210212, and wouldn't be palindromic. The only time I can think of this year that the dates on any of my file names will be palindromic will be on the 21st of November (121121).

Monday, 13 February 2012

Planting today

A couple of weeks ago I placed a pretty large order online for seeds and seedlings as well as one or two other gardening items. It's been very cold here, and I didn't expect to receive any live plants until the spring, but I wasn't too surprised when packets of seeds, potato growing bags, and a window ledge planter arrived.

Here it is, newly planted up with lettuce, basil and spinach. I'm hoping I'll be able to start picking these for salads within the next few weeks.

I wasn't even too surprised when potatoes arrived today, because they do need some time left out so that they can do their 'chitting' thing, which is to start their shoots off before they're planted in the ground.
Here they are sitting in empty egg cartons on a window ledge in the conservatory. The ones on the left are called Sarpo Mira, and they're organic and late croppers. The ones on the right are called Kifli, and they're early croppers. So I'm hoping I won't have to buy any potatoes for the whole of the summer this year.

I was really surprised to receive some perennial flowering plants that I'd ordered for my flower beds. They came with instructions to plant immediately into 5-inch pots. When I went out to get some compost to plant them in, it was completely frozen, so I had to chip lumps of compost into a bucket and bring it inside and leave it till the next day before I could plant them. They were planted a couple of days ago, and seem to like their new pots.
One of the things I ordered was a tree. I hope it doesn't arrive too soon, because the ground is still frozen.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Today I made some butter....

Last night I watched Superscrimpers on TV. It’s up to Series 2 Episode 3, and I hadn’t come across it before, so I’m busy watching the ones I missed online.

But back to last night’s episode. Leo made some butter out of cream that was almost at its use-by date. I had some cream left from a dinner that I’d cooked for friends a week ago, and had been looking for a way to use it up. I’m not a big cream fan, so hadn’t found a use for it yet, and was reaching the point where I would have to get rid of it somehow.

I didn’t like the idea of throwing the whole pot away in my rubbish bin any more than I liked the idea of pouring it down the drain. Just as I was playing around with the thought of turning it into ice cream, I saw Leo making butter.

My home-made butter

All I needed was an empty jam jar and about 10 minutes’ worth of elbow grease and I had a pretty respectable pat of butter to put on my bread.

Best of all, I know what went into it.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

An interesting way to listen to lectures

I came across an RSA Animate video on one of the channels on my TV, and found it so interesting to watch the illustrations appearing on the page in tandem with the voice of the speaker, that I went online to find more examples.

To tell the truth, I'm not one of those people who would normally go out of her way to listen to a lecture, unless it was something that I was truly interested in. These animations, however, make a lot of subjects that I might not normally have bothered to listen to much more interesting. I also find that I take in more of what's being said because my eyes are following the illustrations and script so my mind doesn't wander.

The lectures cover a lot of different subjects and are given by a diverse selection of speakers. Here's just one example:

RSA Animate – The Internet in Society: Empowering and Censoring Citizen?

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Sunday Morning


The possibility of snow is being forecast. It seems that we're in the grip of a cold front, but that there's a rainy warm front coming in from the west which might turn into snow when it mixes with the cold front.

I guess this explains the belief that if the weather is very cold, it needs to warm up a little before it will snow?

I found this rather detailed but enlightening explanation online:

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Saturday Morning

It's a bright and sunny day, so far.

Last night I set off to Buckingham to catch the bus to Oxford. I was meeting a friend for some dinner followed by a visit to the theatre. The bus I wanted to catch was the 5.20 pm and I was at the stop by 5 pm. It was very cold waiting outside at the bus stop, and at 5.20 pm a bus did arrive, but it was heading in the opposite direction: to Cambridge. At 5.50 pm another bus arrived, but once again it was going to Cambridge. I finally gave up at 6.10 pm and went to reclaim my car from the car park, and drive there.

As I was walking back to the car, I realised just how cold and disheartened I felt, so I called my friend to say I was going home. A couple of hours later, I got a text from her saying I should be happy that I was at home because the play was awful. I don't know whether it improved later, I haven't heard any more.

The RSPB is asking people to do a big garden birdwatch this weekend. They're asking us to spend one hour in the garden and record every bird that we see in that time. They've supplied a little chart online that you can print off, for keeping track and identifying the birds.
It's ideal for someone like me who doesn't know one bird from another. I was looking out of the kitchen window this morning, and spotted a wren, a house sparrow, a blackbird and lots of starlings.

It's pretty cold, and I've already done one hour of freezing outside this weekend, so I think I'll be forgiven if I stay inside and watch the birds through the kitchen window, rather than out in the garden.