on the first day of December

Santa hasn’t visited for quite a few years now. Not sure whether that is because I’ve ‘grown up’ or I’ve been naughty, but I’m still a kid at heart when it comes to having an advent calendar to anticipate the 25th December.

This year, Christmas New Year close down at work is 12 noon 24th December. So my special calendar is also to count the days until the holidays.

I often buy a cardboard advent calendar with perforated doors to open to chocolates with a Christmas motif. Last year, because of the heat, the chocolates did not release from the plastic mould in which they were held. So this year, I decided to make my own advent calendar.

I remembered that I had a collection of envelopes from birthdays and previous Christmas cards, so decided to place these in the shape of a Christmas tree on the wall. The envelopes contain my/our favourite chocolates, that is, milk chocolate Baci, white chocolate Baci, and Guylian chocolate sea shells. The tinsel star is from our box of tree decorations.

advent calendar 2014

In hindsight, I perhaps should have chosen some flatter chocolates, but the flat envelopes will help to indicate that a particular day has been reached.

I don’t know whether we are going to have similar temperatures to last year, but at least I will be able to lick the chocolate off the foil wrapper this year.

The advent calendar has also assisted me to declutter my writing compendium of 24 used envelopes. But now I don’t know whether to continue to collect, or whether I will be able to reuse my reused envelopes.


who I am and why I’m here

I have been here at WordPress.com since 2007, but have been mostly off-line for the last couple of years. My interest in blogging was renewed by reading about the Zero to Hero 30-Day Blog Challenge as I thought that it was just what I needed to begin the habit of writing consistently.

Rather than create a “who I am and why I’m here” post, I am re-interpreting this challenge to update my Who I Am page having seen that it was first published on 12 November 2005. Which seems a bit weird because my first post begin at the beginning was published on 9 February 2007. In addition, I thought I would respond to some of the questions posed in the challenge.

Why are you blogging, rather than keeping a personal journal?

I do keep a diary, but as it is personal, I don’t share this. Items that I want to share, I would like to take the time to reflect on and perhaps photograph. Because I’m aware that I’m writing for someone else, often these posts are the better record than the scribblings in my diary. I have often used my blog as a reference as to when I read a book, saw a film, what I planted and when.

What topics do you think you’ll write about?

I don’t have any particular focus, as I am interested in too many items to list. But common themes are living sustainably, gardening, reading, cycling as transport as opposed to sport, discovering new things to learn, university studies, and so on. For example, having just completed my first timed 5K run, I may mention running quite a bit in the near future as I’m still pretty excited about this. Also, I got a crochet kit for my birthday in 2011, that’s not the last birthday, but the one before. I still haven’t figured out how to crochet – it’s still on my ta-da list.

Who would you love to connect with via your blog?

Connecting up with other people who have similar varied interests would be terrific. I also look forward to reading topics that I am interested in on their blogs.

If you blog successfully throughout 2014, what would you hope to have accomplished?

Just as I am decluttering one item per day, I am aiming to blog more consistently throughout the year.

flour and water

Some people are fascinated by how planes stay up in the air, I’m amazed at how the combination of just flour and water with a bit of salt makes beautiful smelling and tasty sourdough bread.

  1. Beginning with the starter, add flour, salt and water.
  2. Mix and rest.
  3. Toss.
  4. Rest.
  5. Bake.


Lids for Propagating Trays

Yay, I now have umpteen clear acrylic lids for my propagating trays.

I have been trying to remember when this project started. It was after we got a shade house and while I was a member of The Digger’s Club. It was also when H was using acylic for another project, and used to go the company of a family friend to get it cut to order. Well, we no longer have the shade house, I have not been a member of the club for over ten years, and the plastics company no longer exists because the proprieter died.

I resumed propagating and growing plants from seeds last year, and completing the project was a way to clear the material from H’s shed.

H obtained a new tube of glue, and we set up the ultra-violet tube in my fish tank light fitting to fix the glue quicker. This was after H spent many painstaking hours scraping and cleaning off the paper that was adhered to the acrylic to protect it.

Today, I took some cuttings from the Santolina chamaecyparissus [1]. This is very hardy plant with silvery-grey foliage and pretty yellow button flowers. Once established, it requires very little water. I know this, as the plant from which I took the cuttings was the last surviving plant from my herb garden on the verge that had not been watered for many years.

Santolina also has a very pungent smell although I don’t find it unpleasant. When I checked my book for spelling the species name, I read that the plant is used “sweeten the air”. I’ll hopefully be using it as a fill-in plant while I kill and remove the couch from the side verge.

[1] Unfortunately, I didn’t take pictures when it was flowering last month.

house renovation – main front gable

We took the scaffold down today because H has finished the main front gable.

Almost repeating the renovation plan from the north west gable in that the sheets and battens were replaced. Except that there are always fiddly bits to be found and recover from as you go.

We had to wait until a piece of material was machined for the bottom batten. Unfortunately, this was just before Christmas, so we had to wait until the new year before we had all the battens. Lesson from this, is make sure that have all materials for the job before you start.

The intention is to finish the gables and other uppermost sections of the house before we render the walls. The screw holes on the bottom batten have not been filled so that the batten can be removed prior to rendering.

Other work needs to be done on the verandah so we will do the south east gable next rather than the other front gable over the verandah.

house renovation – north west gable

Yay, H moved the scaffold around to the front of the house today.

What this means is that the first gable, that is, the north west gable is completely renovated. We don’t have a BEFORE picture of the north west gable, only the original south east gable..

The south east gable is similar structurally albeit in better condition than was the north west gable before renovation took place. The north west side of the house is the weather side.

But now with its new cream cement sheet and eave battens, and Deep Brunswick green wood both decorative and to cover the joins in the cement sheet, the north west gable we think looks the business.