Recently I've been taking photos of...
...a variety of things!
One of the walls of the garages near my flat gets the sun pretty much all day - when it's shining. Even though the weather has been rubbish recently, when the sun is out the leaves on this wall look lovely. Here are two photos from a couple of weeks ago...
...and here are two from more recently:
I love how the colours change, and how bright they are. I hung out some white bed linen the other day (before the worst of the weather began!) and it looked so lovely blowing in the breeze near these leaves.
My lovely mum sent a surprise parcel in the post last week. I knew she'd been to a Pointless book signing, but I wasn't expecting our own copy!
I had a job interview last week, and once again I didn't get the job. I was told I come across very well in interview, I am very personable and my PhD has clearly given me a good foundation, but the position went to someone with 'more directly relevant experience'. ARGH! How did that person get experience? I presume someone previously gave her/him a job which allowed her/him to develop that experience! I am a bit reassured by the fact I do come across well etc etc etc, I just need to get some experience...so someone needs to take a chance on me and allow me to gain that! As it's research-based work I've been applying for, it's not really 'experience' I can gain in any way other than doing 'research' if my entire research-based PhD isn't experience enough. Sigh. Just keep going!
After my last job interview, I cheered myself up by crocheting a pretty flower. This time, I had a shiny new toy to play with:
No, I didn't buy this iPad because I didn't get the job - that would be a very expensive way of making myself feel better! A recent inheritance has paid off my overdraft (this is one reason why I would like a job, please!) and replenished my savings slightly. It came with the only condition not to spend it all on bills and be a bit frivolous. I paid close attention to that instruction, and this thing of beauty arrived last week. I love it - it is just so shiny, and so clever, and does so much (although I am sure I will never know half of what it is capable of doing!). There truly is an app for everything - Ben has made it be a tv remote (don't ask me how he did that). (He's also got a Simpsons game on it, which is fine, only he didn't turn off the sound on the notifications. So I did jump slightly the other night when I was sitting in the living room on my own, iPad behind me on the table, and Homer Simpson cheered.) There was a free option to have something engraved on the back, so I went for the first two lines of my favourite Dr. Seuss quote: 'The more that you read, the more things you will know, the more that you learn, the more places you'll go'.
Our Brownie meeting this week was planned around chocolate - a favourite with Brownies and Owls! We spent a little bit of time discussing fair trade (and food banks, as there was a little bit of confusion over the differences between them, but we ended up concluding both are a good idea and important) and then played The Chocolate Game, a game which deserves capital letters! A large bar of chocolate (wrapped) and a knife and fork are put on a tray in the centre of the circle, along with a hat, scarf, and pair of gloves, ideally adult-sized to make it that little bit harder! Brownies take it in turns to roll a die, when they roll a 6 they go up to the tray, put on all the accesories, and then try and eat the chocolate. They're not allowed to use their hands ("but we need to use our hands, Fluffy Owl, to hold the knife and fork" said one of my Brownies, very fair point, but you know what I mean!) and they have to first open the packaging then cut up the chocolate and eat one square at a time. They keep going until someone else rolls a 6, when they swap over. It's one of only a few games everyone enjoys playing, and it's great fun to watch the Brownies try to throw the die a certain way so it will land on a 6 - unsurprisingly, their methods rarely worked!
We then made some chocolate spiders using fair trade ingredients (or as fair trade as I could find). Chocolate buttercream icing spread on a Rich Tea biscuit, decorated with little sweets and strawberry laces.
The results look pretty good! They tasted good too. I love how creative and how different all the Brownies can be, when they're all given the same ingredients and instructions.
Guiding is not all about the girls, and this weekend I went to a County training day. As the name suggests, it's an event put on to train leaders in some aspect of Guiding - so there were slightly more serious training sessions on first aid, risk assessments, accounts, fundraising, and then more activity-focused sessions. I went to Spring Activities for Brownies and a session for leaders who have been with Brownies for more than five years. I love these sorts of sessions, as they're great for getting ideas from trainers running the session and also for airing and sharing ideas with other leaders. I also particularly like doing the activities. It's very nice to be given a booklet of ideas, but it's much more fun to try them out for ourselves!
My favourite thing I made is my bumblebee, made from fondant icing, white chocolate buttons, writing icing and cocoa powder. The stripes on the back were made by placing a fork on the icing and sprinkling the cocoa powder on top. Very clever.
As it was a session on spring activities, we looked at different bird feeders. There was a lovely messy one using pine cones and lots of lard and bird food, and this simple popcorn feeder, which is simply a piece of bent wire with lots of popcorn threaded on.
The session in the afternoon was about ensuring our units run a girl-led programme, with the girls choosing what they want to do. We talked about different ways of doing this, and my favourite is the Adventure Flower ('adventure' as the Brownie programme is based around adventures). Each petal has a different letter on spelling out 'adventure' and the girls can write down any ideas beginning with that letter on each petal. It would obviously work with other words too, so I think it would be a great way of coming up with ideas for a bigger event, such as a residential trip.
Overall, it was a really good day - a great opportunity to develop new ideas. The conversations at lunchtime were about what we'd discussed in the morning sessions, and we all have so many ideas for what we want to do with our units.
I know it's still a couple of months until Christmas but how ridiculously cute are these socks?! That's another present ticked off the list!
I've also taken lots of photos capturing progress on the two wedding blankets I have on the go - they're growing quite quickly but need to stay a secret for quite a bit longer! At least it's the perfect weather right now for sitting on the sofa crocheting an ever-growing blanket!