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Friday 1 September 2023

Ballet, Bikes, Sunflowers: Life in August {2023}


A field of sunflowers near Hainault in Essex with city of London in background

Dear friends.  Welcome to the first day of meterological autumn (fall). And just like that, summer was over. We usually get some good weather in September and October, so here's hoping. 

At the start of summer I had a list of walks to do and places to visit, but it was just wasn't sunny enough for the seaside places.  Enough of the weather.  I'm sticking to the paragraph per day format which you seemed to like last month. 

Tues 1 August

Did bike ride 26 miles, v hilly, around Essex to the White Water Centre. Saw teams training for the new kayak discipline. Cloudy. Had roast chicken.  

Weds 2 August

Rained nearly all day. Cleaned bathroom,  washed conservatory floor, changed bed. Watched Mark Cavendish documentary film. Caesar salad.

Thurs 3 August

Cloudy. Did urban walk to drop off a card and DHL parcel.  Ordered new tablet, Samsung S9. I get the 12 in version as I use it mainly to watch TV when J is watching something ghastly.  Pilates.  Mac cheese.

Fri 4 Aug

Cloudy. Won £300 on premium bonds. Invited to join Bluesky. Did cycle ride, 17 miles,  Olympic Park.  New tablet came. It's so simple nowadays to transfer everything from one tablet to another. Got DNA results for health & fitness. 

Sat 5 Aug

Did walk in Epping Forest, rainy, saw the runners in an Orions race. Went to the Royal Opera House with Oxana to see the Australian Ballet in Jewels. Had to rethink outfit because of the rain. She spotted a famous Russian Bolshoi Ballet dancer, Nikolai Tsiskaridze, in the audience and we had our picture taken with him. 

Is This Mutton Gail Hanlon with friend meeting Russian dancer Nikolai Tsiskaridze

We had dinner before the performance in the Balconies restaurant, high above the bar.  A lovely experience. We were there early, before the crowds. 

Sun 6 Aug

Went by bus to M&S South Woodford to get a chicken to roast for lunch. Bus and tube travel is free for me in London as an over 60. 

Mon 7 Aug

36 mile bike ride, it was hard work on the way back. Wrote 2 blog posts.

Tues 8 Aug

Rainy. Went to a Meetup at Royal Courts of Justice. There were 25 of us. The building was designed to look like a cathedral.  The architect never saw his vision fulfilled as he died before it was finished. Every day judges preside over hundreds of civil cases, and the public is welcome to attend many of them. We weren't supposed to take photos but I couldn't resist a couple. 

The "Bear Garden," not to be confused with beer garden, is where the opposing barristers meet each other to discuss cases. 

Weds 9 Aug

Bike ride, Lee Valley Country Park. Nice weather.  Weeded in afternoon.  A pendant I'd sent off to be mended came back, with no charge.  It was a birthday present last year and my favourite. 

Thurs 10 Aug

Daughter-in-law-went into hospital.  Third grand child born just after 11am with no problems. We're asked not to share details on social media.  A sunny day had been promised and it was indeed. Did forest walk instead of Pilates. Wrote a blog post.

Fri 11 Aug

Sunny after cloudy start. Walked to Pilates, no buses running. Then went to see the new grand child at home. The parents don't like mentions of the children on social media, which is a good idea. Photos are shared among family on an app called Back Then. I'm afraid that means no pics here. Fish n chips (home made).

Sat 12 August

Sunny intervals.  Did longest bike ride yet, 45 miles. Coffee at Moreton. Max heart rate 104 so not working v hard, but felt exhausted. We were battling against wind on the way out. 

Sun 13 August: Rest day. Roast lamb.

Mon 14 August

Mostly cloudy. Cycle ride to Lee Valley.  20 miles, cut short as J had puncture.  I'm watching the weather forecast for Saturday like a hawk  (it's my big Kettlewell event). It has changed from very hot and sunny to showers! Sent my old tablet to Samsung as part of the trade-in. Aching and tired. 

Tues 15 August

Sunny start. Bit depressed about blog stats, huge fall off after the turnaround in traffic a couple of months ago.  Google tells me there are lots of issues with CLS and INP.  (!). Asked Pipdig for help but they didn't deliver. The fixes online are extremely technical, aimed at software developers, which makes me frustrated that I can't improve things.

Went to garden centre for compost, also bought a pot with 3 plants in, to try to rescue "shed corner,"  and a tray of pansies. Harvested seeds from nigella.

Shed Corner looking a bit busier.

Weds 16 August 

Did a brisk forest walk before getting to Jodie's for noon to have my hair coloured and cut. As always she did a very good job. 

Thurs 17 August

Became sunny. Did 45 mile bike ride. Wind on the way, was gruelling.  Knees very sore, probably because I was wearing different shoe than usual.  Had bath to relax the sore muscles. Curry.

Fri 18 August 

Bit cloudy, rained am. Had been due to do a Meetup (Benfleet to Southend, via Leigh-on-Sea) but decided to do it in October instead.  I'm not keen on seaside walks in poor weather, ruins a joyful experience.  Seem to have lost my over-60s travel card, which is a pain. 

Sat 19 August 

My Kettlewell event in Hyde Park, which was scheduled back in March. Fortunately the weather was ideal, not too hot , light wind, no rain.  31 ladies attended and it was huge fun. I took this shot with the tripod and camera on timer and should have been in it, but a couple of ladies got cropped by the camera from each end, oops.  Two girls nearby asked me if we were from the Women's Institute!  

Sun 20 Aug

Watched the World Cup final.  I put some Cremant in the fridge to chill in case we were celebrating, but unfortunately the Lionesses lost. Had chicken. Finished a book blog post for tomorrow. Ordered replacement travel card.

Mon 21st August 

Sunny after 11. Cycle ride Lee Valley.  Wore new Sundried top. Roads quieter today.  My day on the Amanda Prowse All Good Things blog tour. She posted a lovely tweet on Twitter/X. It makes my day when authors engage with me. 

Tues 22nd August

Turned sunny pm. Did several outfits in a shoot and wrote the post. Heard Debussy L'apres midi d'un faun. Haven't heard it for ages. Booked a visit to the Courtauld Gallery with Oxana in September.

Wednesday 23rd

Did bike ride, sunny, one of the best yet, saw field of sunflowers (top and below).   Coffee in Abridge. 25 miles. 

Thurs 24th August

Drizzle and cloudy. Did some blog work and housework, then Pilates. 

Friday 25th August 

Sunny. Did a Meetup, Ruislip nature reserve and lido. Lots of fun. Went on the miniature railway.  Very tired, haven't been sleeping well this week. 

Sat 26th August

Sunny intervals in the morning, went on short (20 mile) bike ride to the Olympic Park. Rained with thunder in the afternoon.  Started clearing out hiking and summer clothes.  Have far too many and find it depressing, have nowhere to store it all. Took pics of my outfit for Style Not Age.  Felt a bit peculiar today. Stomach in spasms, although had same dinner as J. Very tired. 

Sunday 27th August

Feels cooler and more autumnal. Actually slept well. Did a walk in the forest with J. Saw the big herd of cattle, around 24. I got back in time to catch bus to South Woodford to get a few bits in M&S and Boots. Had roast chicken. 

Mon 28th August. 

Bank holiday. We did a bike ride to the Lee Valley Country Park (24 miles). I'm still suffering from exhaustion after what appeared to be a bug last week. Had no energy in the afternoon although I'd planned to weed the rose bed. Watched last episode of Wolf (BBC iPlayer). This was a very strange drama which grew on us. Didn't like the ending.

Tues 29th August

Still feeling a bit drained. Cloudy weather. Returned a Boden tulle skirt. Sadly although I love tulle skirts, they do me no favours. You  need a very small waist. Took a  bag to the charity shop. Started watching The Tower (ITV). Made chicken casserole. Finished book The Cold Case, very good. 

Weds 30th August

No Wednesday blog post today for the first time in years. Attempted to write one yesterday but had no energy to do the pics.  The sun came out late morning. Dropped off another bag at the charity shop and did a long walk in the forest, which was therapeutic. Was up to weeding the rose bed, which took two and a half hours. Such huge weeds! Unbelievable, particularly as I did it a few weeks ago.  Salmon fillets for dinner. Started a new book, a thriller called Geneva. 

Thurs 31 August

Missed the Blue Moon last night. In bed quite early. Cloudy start as usual. Did a long forest walk and saw just one cow, strangely. No sign of the others. 

Hope you enjoyed my August. What did you get up to?  Did the weather mean you did less, or did you carry on regardless? Do let us know in the comments.

Sharing this post with #AnythingGoes at My Random Musings, Rena at Fine WhateverTalent Sharing Tuesdays at Scribbling Boomer, #SpreadTheKindness at Shelbee on the Edge,  #Neverendingstyle at The Grey Brunette, Final Friday at Marsha in the Middle, #FridayCoffeeShare at Natalie the Explorer, Senior Salon Pitstop at Esme Salon Traffic Jam Weekend at Is This Mutton 

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