In order to do something different each week of the year, I have a list of challenges to undertake...

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Week 21 - Clean the Car

I reckon that there are two sorts of car owner in the world - the first category is those who clean the car on a Sunday, never miss a service (probably at the main dealer), check tyre pressure and fluid levels regularly and generally treat their pride and joy with respect. The car will be perhaps 3 or 4 years old, and they keep an eye out for scratches which they get fixed, so that the car keeps its value. They may even have a name for their car, and imbue it with a personality.

The second category is those who treat the car as a tool - a means to an end. They grumble at the running costs and put any essential servicing through the local grease monkey garage. They don't check under the bonnet unless a light on the dashboard comes on. They turn up the radio to drown out any inconvenient noises that the car might make, and realise that at ten years old, its resale value is negligible - and as for the odd scratch or dent, well, that's life, isn't it?

I fall into the second category, and as such, cleaning the car is the same level of priority as painting the shed. It has to be done every couple of years in order to stop it becoming a total eyesore, but it's a vile job which is to be put off for as long as possible.

But that's what the 52week challenge is all about - doing things that are different. So today, the banana car got the clean of it's life - outside a wash, rinse, alloy wheel scrub, window wash and e-cloth dry. Including sills, door frames and wheel arches.

Inside, the inventory included a lumphammer, pencil, plant labels, pair of secateurs, pliers, wire (thick and thin), string, drill, towels, two sticks of rhubarb, bradawl, sweet papers, parking receipts, a desiccated radish, two old bathtowels, a couple of rubble sacks, a potato sack, an umbrella, road atlas, cassette (no case), cd case (no cd), paintbrushes (1 for fence painting, 1 tiny thin one), 4 hooks, a 'car box' including tow rope, windscreen de-icer, 3-in-1 oil can (but no jumpleads as my brother has borrowed them), a miscellaneous round token, presumably for a parking barrier.

All that lot was cleared out, and the mats too, and I vacuumed all the inside, polished the dash, washed, dried and de-smeared the windows. Useful gardening things went back in (confined to ONE small trug which fits in the boot), along with the umbrella and the 'car box', but that's it.

Now it doesn't quite feel like I'm driving my own car.....

Week 21 Challenge: done!

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Week 20 - Make Alterations to a Garment

Most clothes that I buy, I tend to wear as they come from the shop (with the exception of maybe turning up trouser legs) - I assume that I am the size and shape that Marks and Spencer decrees that I am.

Of course our bodies are all slightly different, and I am not the same uniform size and shape as everyone else who buys the same size dress in M&S - which means that I go round in clothes which more or less fit and suit, most of the time.

This is a shame as all it would take for the standard size garment to fit and 'hang' better is likely to be an easily do-able tweak - maybe a dart, maybe move a button, maybe shorten a skirt an inch - well within my capability.

Armed with this knowledge, I have this week attempted to make an alteration to a knitted dress. The dress is fantastic in all respects with the exception of the neck. I put the dress on, and I magically grow an additional number of chins. The turtle neck transforms me into Velma from Scooby Doo - not a great look.

So after a certain amount of wrangling with a pair of scissors and darning needle, I have turned the turtle neck into a crew neck - a huge improvement.

So that's my week 20 Challenge - done!

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Week 19 - Read a Classic Novel

Despite being brought up in a library (mum was the librarian at a local small branch library, so school holidays were often spent there) and consequently becoming an avid reader with thousands of books at my disposal; the Classics have more or less passed me by.

One reason for this being that our 'O' level Eng Lit book was Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge - a more turgid and depressing read for a teenage girl you could not hope to find. This has served to put me off anything that falls into the category of 'school set text', which many of the Classics fall into.

Another reason is that there are so many contemporary authors who write pacy thrillers/whodunnits; absorbing travelogues; sci fi/fantasy and block busting page-turners that I just don't always fancy having to concentrate hard on a style of writing from a couple of hundred years ago.

But with mum, my colleague (also a librarian) and my big sis collectively being appalled that I haven't read any Proper Books combined with a break in the sun to fill, and - the clincher - being able to download many Classic titles onto the Kindle for free, I thought I'd better give it a go.

Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice was suggested as a good yarn, so it came with me on holiday, and I took myself back two hundred years to Regency England to gossip with the Bennet sisters, visit the Netherfield ball, flirt coquettishly with the gentlemen and watch Elizabeth and Mr D finally get it together. Ahhhh!

I've not seen the adaptation on film/TV, so I was going in blind, so to speak, and it did take a little while to get my head around Ms Austen's looooooong sentences and slightly unfamiliar phrasing and vocabulary, but I must say that it was well worth the effort.

An excellent tale!

So that's my week 19 Challenge: done!

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Week 18 - Swim in the Sea

Living smack bang right in the middle of England, I don't get to visit the seaside very often. If I want to go to the nearest beach, it's a toss-up between Western-super-Mare to the southwest, Prestatyn to the northwest or Hunstanton to the east - all a good couple of hours drive away.

Mind you, even if I was closer to the sea, I'm not sure how tempted I would be to dip more than a toe into the water - memories of our family holidays in the north of Scotland and the compulsory annual swim (a sort of ordeal-by-sibling) in the North Sea at Primrose Bay has put me off a bit.

More recent holidays abroad in warmer climes have therefore been somewhat of a revelation, and as a fairly confident swimmer, there is nothing that I like better than bobbin' about in the briny - provided that it is off a sandy beach, under hot blue skies, sheltered from too much breeze and with other swimmers not too far away.

And such an opportunity presented itself to me last week, and I enjoyed a great deal of splashing around here:


So, apologies for the delay, but here is my week 18 Challenge - done!