Friday, 17 February 2017

Five On Friday

Hello Friday!  Hello blog readers too!

I hope that you have all had a good week and that the weather has been kind to you wherever you are.  It has been odd here lately, last weekend we had snow, although it didn't last long and it was so cold that I didn't rush out to photograph it I am afraid.  Then this week it has been warmer again.  Very odd!

This week my five follow on from the chatter, so first up with the chatter, and then the five - because it will not make sense otherwise!

Last week I missed Five On Friday because we had had my father in laws funeral and although I had some other posts ready to go last week and for this week I didn't have the wherewithal for Five On Friday.  I hope you understand - I am sure you do.  I did still stop by and read your posts though.  That is also why comments have been thin on the ground.  I am sorry I have been absent, but I know that you understand.  Sometimes you just need to go and hide don't you!

It has been a tough time as you know and I don't want to go on about it, because that will not help anyone, least of all me, but the funeral wasn't particularly pleasant - not that they ever are - and I am struggling to deal with the issues that arose, although some wonderful friends and family have really helped.  I am grateful to be so blessed.

Anyway, the thing is that it has been a rubbish time - to end all of the other rubbish times that we have been dealing with.

I know that things will get better and, trust me, for me to know that is a big thing.  So I am good with that.  I know we will come out of the way that we - I! - feel right now.  The thing is right now I am stuck with this oddness, and not knowing what to do with myself.  For the first time in a long time, I am still problem rich, but also with lots of time on my hand.  Usually I am problem rich and time poor so I don't have time to think.  It isn't good having problems and yet time to think about them.

Speaking to two different people I realised two things.  I don't know what I do "normally" because it has been so long since anything in my life was "normal" or "what I used to do".  Speaking to another person I realised that it was probably 10 years ago that my life was "normal" so now I don't have any "normal" or any idea what that might be.

The world is suddenly my oyster, I have no one to take care, no responsibility other than for myself and Hubby, I can do anything, but I have no idea where to begin.  I need busy, I need things to do.  Yes, I totally get that I need to take some time to work things out, to grieve and all of those things, but I know myself and I also need things to do.  What I really do not need is time to sit and think - over and over and over and, well, you get the point!  It does nothing good for my mental health.

The thing is that I am stuck with where to start.  What shall I do?  I have a friend looking into one thing for me, we used to work together at a charity and although I don't want to go back to what I was doing, she is seeing if there are other opportunities.  I have looked around for some - non aerobics! - exercise classes, but at £10.00 a week that is not a goer right now so I need to keep looking.  Yes, I have my yarn, but I need people and I need to be out of the house.

All of this long waffle brings me back to my five things.  This week I have five questions for you.  Can you make some suggestions, classes I could look at, things I could do, things that Hubby and I could do together with our time and with each other more importantly.  What ideas do you have?  Tell me everything you can think of, don't hold back, you never know, it might be just what I am looking for - or what someone else is looking for.

Can you help  me to figure out how to fill that gaping hole of time to stop my brain aching so hard!!!

I think that I had better round it up there and call this post to the end.  My five things!

1. Suggestions for exercise - what do you do?  I don't want to do aerobics classes - do they still exist in any case, I am not sure I could take lycra and legwarmers!

2.  Suggestions for volunteering - again, what do you do and why do you like it?  Inspire me!

3.  Suggestions for other group activities to look for to join and why.

4.  Suggestions for things that Hubby and I can do together at the weekend/evenings - just us as a couple.

5.  Suggestions for things that Hubby and I could do with other people - so that we can both meet some new people and try new things with other people.

6.  Suggestions for any other out of the house things that I could do.

If you have websites, details of specific organisations that would be wonderful.

Thank you all so much for your help!

Thank you all for listening, I am sorry about the glooms, I really am.

I do hope you are all well and happy, I will see you again soon.

Have a great weekend, love each other and be just a little kinder than you need to.


p.s. I am of course linking to Five On Friday, see the posts here or via the links in my sidebar.


  1. I think it will take a while to get back into the swing of things and discover a new 'normal'. I admit I'm a bit of a loner. I do go out to lunch a couple of times a month with friends, but I'm an introvert and find it really difficult to get out there and do things with others. I'd love to find a crafty group...if I could get up the courage to go!

    As for the questions - for exercise I walk. I found a really cheap treadmill so if weather is bad I walk on that otherwise I walk around where I live. I find it really refreshing just to pop in my headphones and listen to some music or a book and mainly daydream for a while. It's a great way to start the day!

    At weekends hubby and I try to visit new parks or lighthouses - the only things of interest around here. You're pretty lucky living in England with a bunch of gardens, castles and houses around to visit. It's only something we've been doing since I stopped working as before I worked on Sundays. It's really good to get out together. We've visited some beautiful places and had a really good time.

    I don't think you're being gloomy - glad you're posting again and slowly finding your way again. Have a great weekend. I'm off to think about my Five on Friday post.

  2. Well, you asked for it! :) I think a good place to start is with walking. I'm sure that in England you have many lovely trails and places to walk. Make it an adventure to see new things. Because I'm old enough for medicare in the U.S. I have an option for a program called silver sneakers at many gyms in our area. This is a class designed for older folk with good movement, stretching and muscle challenges that are good but not overwhelming. No one is dressed to kill in these classes. Are you and hubby connected to a church at all? There are so many good things to do and volunteer for at our churches. My girlfriend volunteers at a thrift store/charity shop that raises money to feed the hungry. I hope you find a good niche for you. On the subject of normal...I don't think normal is an option anymore. Things change so quickly.

  3. Hi Amy, It looks like you have been through it a bit. I lost my father last year and my Grandfather three months prior to that and I too had far too much time on my hands and tried many things to fill it. I started with rug making as I had one my father was going to do and greatly enjoyed it which then lead my on to rag rugging even more enjoyable. I have coloured, and sewn and baked all in a bid to fill my time. One thing I have done and I have even gotten my Aunt to do is join Rock Choir. It is great fun singing all manner of pop songs and meeting new people young and old, male and female have you ever considered doing something similar? As for exercise I got a fitbit and have been counting my steps pushing myself a little more each day and have even joined a local group who meet once a week to take a walk in the park which is actually quite fun. My other all time favourite thing to do at the moment is go to my local theatre and see as many and varied things as possible. I am still looking for new things to fill my time but hope you get lots of ideas from people and all the best.

  4. Personally the things that helped me are wool, blogging and walking but you do all that already. I'm not keen on joining groups but there' the U3A, WI, Ramblers, Wildlife Trusts, schools often need volunteers or governors, there's often a list of volunteers needed in your local library or even volunteer centres like the one in Wokingham. Your local garden centre might be taking people on soon with all those plants coming on line soon. I'm sure something will crop up. 😊

  5. Yoga. Volunteering for local wildlife trust, rspb, butterfly conservation, soup kitchen, how about adult education classes? There's a wealth of stuff out there. I do so understand the need to fill your time positively. Xx

  6. Forgot to add- local knitting/ sewing/ quilting/ crochet classes. There are loads about x

  7. You are in the same state as I was when I retired ! Big question what to do with my time ! Unfortunately it takes time to get used to have time ! It's a complete reorganisation of your personal life. I started with painting courses once a week, then Yoga, then I met more and more people with the same interests. We started to visit exhibitions, went out for lunch, I started to travel, because my husband doesn't want to travel anymore etc etc. You have to found out what suits the best for you.

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  10. My suggestion would be to join your local Ramblers group - walking is so much more enjoyable with company, and it often culminates in a Pub for lunch and a chat.
    My husband works for the CAB, they are always looking for volunteers, and it is very rewarding.
    Book yourself a holiday to a place that you have long wanted to visit, then buy a book on where you are going so that you can plan what you will do when you arrive.

  11. Care homes and hospitals are always on the look out for people to visit and help in many capacities particularly fundraising. There is a local group of mixed ages that walk together once a week, taking it in turns to plan and lead the walk. Maybe join a craft group and learn a new skill, or go back into education there are lots of free courses available, photography maybe. There may be a local gardening club that you could join. A local paper is always good to buy and see what is going on. Hope that helps and that you find something to fill your time.

  12. Hi Amy, I am repeating what other people have suggested like walking - is there a walking network group in your area? We are lucky to have one here that organises walks for all abilities from short strolls to longer distances. which is currently in the process of changing to Nextdoor is a good way to make contact with people and groups in your local area that do a range of things. The Red Hatters ( is a ladies group whose motto is Live,Love,Laugh may be worth a look too. I hope you find a new 'normal' soon but take your time. All you have been through will take time to heal. Take care, look after yourself and enjoy exploring new adventures for the future.

  13. I was in the same situation when I lost my partner. I discovered the 'Meetup' organisation and would suggest that you look online to see if there is one local to you. It's not a club, but a facility to meet like-minded people for whatever event(s) is being organised. You can view all events and participate only in those that interest you. Some Meetup groups are free but some ask for an annual subscription.

    My local group organises walks, coffee mornings, photography events, book groups, theatre and cinema trips, table tennis, pub evenings, meals out, garden visits, swimming, visits to art galleries, and I just pick and choose what I want to go to. It suits me because I don't have to go to regular events and commit to a certain day each week unless I want to. I've met lots of new people through this and friendships have developed outside if the group events. It's definitely worth a look.

  14. Gosh so many people have suggested so many great ideas. Walking would be top of my list. Maybe more national trust work, they have so many sides. Hope you feel a bit brighter in yourself soon. B x

  15. Hi Amy, so sorry that you're going through these tough times. Have you thought about a community choir? You get exercise for your lungs as well as getting involved socially with a group ... usually really nice people and there's no pressure on you to be good or bad as a singer... a lot of them in England run events as well. Take care

  16. Hello dear Amy, what an interesting post for Five on Friday!
    I'm sure your English readers have the best ideas about volunteering and other activities... As to exercise, nothing helps me as walking or cycling.
    I hope you will find ways to enjoy this new phase of your life, perhaps after a refreshing break (a travel?).
    I also hope this doesn't sound too superficial, but my mottos in life's storms are "Keep calm and take photos" (do something you love) and "... and polish the nails" ("invest" in your well-being).
    Big hugs! xx

  17. Oh, I'm sorry you have had a tough time. I do understand your post and all your emotions more than you know. We took care of our parents for several years and I lived by a schedule - my girls were in school too - so, it was a busy time. When they passed on, my girls were off to college, my days were not filled with a schedule - it was hard to adjust. I can tell you that, "this too will pass." Now on to the questions:
    1. Walk - it's free
    2. I love visiting the Nursing Home - do you have those in your country? The elderly love the company and sometimes I take crafts to do with anyone who wants to join in.
    3. I enjoy a ladies Bible Study. You like to read, maybe find a book club, or start one.
    4. My husband and I play cards, go for walks, put puzzles together, work on our little farm, we work in the garden, go thrifting, go to movies and he helps me repurpose things and use the saw...
    5. My husband doesn't like to...maybe I will read the other's suggestions to help me
    6. We bought a canoe and in the Summer enjoy exploring the streams, rivers and lakes by us. We love to explore off the beaten path little towns in our state - often times finding local cheese factories and little shops.

  18. Have loads of ideas, let's meet for coffee, will email you over the week end my friend xxx

  19. Amy you sound desperately sad, I am so sorry. I think you'd enjoy yoga (no lycra required). Check-out the local notice boards for classes rather than gyms and leisure centres (better value). Walking is free, as is cycling if you already have a bike. I have a spare one if you are passing by anytime soon you are more than welcome to have it. You could start giving crochet classes in your house, I am sure you could round up some friends to get you started. Have you checked local colleges for courses that you and your husband could do together? Photography maybe? Or you could start a lunch/dinner club either as a volunteer or for a fee. This is very sociable. I used to go to an Italian lunch club where we got a three course meal and two hours of Italian chat. I paid good money for it and loved it. I imagine there are plenty of people who'd enjoy a meal and company and you'd be great company. x

  20. I swim. I read. I visit museums and art galleries. I explore new towns and villages that I've never been to. I birdwatch. I paint. I write. K and I recently sat listening to music (because we normally watch TV). I recently took up furniture restoration - nothing too adventurous, but it's fun. Sorry I can't be more creative, but it's your life and your future. What do you WANT to do?

  21. I was in similar predicament when I first retired. All this time and how do I fill it?
    I joined my local library book club. Also, went to lectures the library had monthly.Another stimulating talks were held at the Probus club (not sure if in England) Physical activities include
    Swimming and water running at local pool. Volunteering at a primary school listening and helping younger children read one on one.Also, local live theatre groups want ushers who can see performance for free.
    Universities will often let seniors sit in on lectures for free if there is a particular interest.
    Meet up groups can provide interest groups is:cooking walking or any soial outing you want to participate in.
    Before you know it your time will be filled with things enjoy, even if it for a season then you do other activities

  22. I know that feeling. Suddenly, particular responsibilities are wiped away and you're left, well, in limbo, I suppose. You've already been given lots of excellent suggestions and I'm not sure I can add to them. Maybe join a walking group with your mister, take a t'ai chi class (no lycra involved and often councils or NHS groups offer these and other activity based classes for free, so it might be worth looking into what yours offer locally), join a book club (great for meeting people and reading outside your literary comfort zone (our library service organises these in every branch), volunteer at your nearest RSPCA (they're always welcoming of volunteers for dog exercising and generally helping to care for all their rescued animals) or perhaps consider offering to befriend older isolated people through AgeUK. I'm sure once you start looking, you'll find lots to interest you. Good luck.

  23. OH sweet Amy, big hugs. We all need to grieve and heal in our own ways.
    I volunteer on the BOard at our animal shelter. IT is a huge committment. I am ready to have a new way to give
    I was a cat mom foster. watching a mom have kittens and raise them was soooo fun
    Fireman and I like to kayak and canoe.
    I love my new knit group. takes me half an hour to get there but I like it
    Fireman and I have also done animal transport once or twice.
    We like to cook for a party of friends.too

    Good luck . big hugs

  24. oh and Amy our NICU always needed cuddlers to hold our sick babies

  25. You've had some wonderful suggestions from the comments above. I think you should just enjoy having some free time, be gentle with yourselves and take time to discover what you would like to do in the future, everything will fall into place and you will find the things that you want to do. Plan days out and holidays, perhaps you could join those local authority run Health Walks, a friend of mine did a course and became a leader of his group and also now does history walks. Take care:)

  26. Hugs to you dear Amy for this has been such a long period of struggle but I do hope you see light now and indeed seize those new opportunities to live your own life!

  27. It will take you time to get back to normal and you may find you have to build a new normal. I second what many of the others have said, join a walking group or a local history group and because singing always makes me happy, a choir of some kind. A big hug to start your weekend.

  28. I'm so sorry you've had such a rough time of it. I might gently suggest one thing at a time rather than throwing yourself into several activities at once. Looks like you can take your time and see what you like and don't like to do. You do seem to have lots of great suggestions above as well.

  29. 1. Suggestions for exercise - what do you do? I don't want to do aerobics classes - do they still exist in any case, I am not sure I could take lycra and legwarmers!

    Walk .... except for shoes (which you probably already have), it is free. Walk outside. Walk in the mall. Walk, walk, walk --- you'll be amazed how much it lifts your mood. (Ask me how I know this --- willing to talk in private email if you want details.)

    2. Suggestions for volunteering - again, what do you do and why do you like it? Inspire me! I knit for charity (chemo caps and preemie hats. It lets me do a hobby I love, but also know I'm giving a little wooly hug to someone who may need one. I haven't found an "in-person" volunteer job yet here in Jacksonville, but you might try reading the newspaper to someone at a nursing home, or reading to children at your local elementary school. Kids not your thing about giving time to your local animal shelter?

    3. Suggestions for other group activities to look for to join and why. The only group activity I do right now is my bi-weekly knit group. I ♥ those ladies even though I've only been going for a couple of months. No knit group in your area? How about starting one of your own, either IRL (at a coffee shop or library maybe?) or a virtual group on Ravelry.

    4. Suggestions for things that Hubby and I can do together at the weekend/evenings - just us as a couple. Walk along in a nice neighborhood and make up stories about who lives inside, go to the library, work on a puzzle in the evening with a nice cup of tea, play cards, look for free music or drama programs at your local college (or high school).

    5. Suggestions for things that Hubby and I could do with other people - so that we can both meet some new people and try new things with other people. Volunteer with an organization that supports a cause (i.e. church? political party, if you are so inclined? a homeless shelter? or your local Red Cross unit? What are your talents as a couple, build on those talents to help someone in need.

    6. Suggestions for any other out of the house things that I could do. Clean up your local park, volunteer at a local community garden?

    Know that you are in my prayers for answers. I think you'll find a LOt of support out here in blogland. Several of us have gone through major life changes --- in our case, Steve recently retired and we moved from a semi-rural house to a big city apartment.

    Being happy is a matter of taking things day-by-day and allowing yourself to "feel all the feels" without guilt. My dad once said to me ---- this too shall pass. While I did not appreciate it at the time, he was so right.

    Hugs sweet lady ----------hope things are looking up soon.

  30. Amy, you said you would consider crazy so here's my suggestion. Write down as much info as you can, such as how much time you could dedicate, types of companionship you're looking for, things you're interested in or like doing (sewing, crafting...for me I like rocking babies) and list how much money you can spend ($5 week, or does it need to be free?) Once you have your list made, look it over and (now this is the crazy part) stand in front of a window at night and read your list to the Universe. Put it out there that this is what you are interested in and then state you will accept whatever the Universe brings you. Then put it out of your mind, get on with your life, and be open to opportunities that pop up for you. It will work, I promise. You will find things you never expected, but they will be perfect for you.

  31. I know I already left a comment, but wanted to add that when I had a back operation with fusions and bones cut and used to repair, I was left at home by myself a lot while hubby traveled for work. I decided to pick projects to do, like painting the front room etc. I would tell myself each day that all I had to do was just half a wall, or just a fourth of a wall depending on how I felt that day. Once I got started, I usually was able to do a lot more than I set out to do (like the whole wall section) and the exercise helped me to heal. Good luck.

  32. I'm so sorry for your loss, but we won't dwell on that. I want to thank you for all the enjoyment I get from the Five on Friday. Without you, it wouldn't exist. I look forward each week to seeing how the rest of the world lives. I see sights I'd never have known, heard about things to eat I never knew, and experienced the closeness the Five on Friday bloggers have with one another. So thank you, Amy, our lovely link-up lady for all the joy we share. You'll find your new path. Give it some time to unfold.

  33. Wow, your readers have some fine ideas! I share the feeling that I should be doing something more. I tend to be introverted but I miss being inspired by people so I would like to get involved in something meaningful. Before we moved I volunteered in a library. Every weekend I look online to see what special events are going on. Sometimes there's not much in the winter, so we go to a museum or art gallery or a thrift shop.

  34. Your readers have shared wonderful ideas. It took me awhile to get back into life after my hubby died. Six years later, I'm still finding my way, but it is coming! I walk for exercise. It is just about the only exercise I can do with my bad back and I enjoy it. Read! Book Clubs and groups at libraries. Craft classes, crochet groups. Cooking classes! I volunteered at the museum of fine arts for years and switched to the zoo recently. I need to book mark your post and all the great ideas! Give yourself a big hug. Be gentle to yourself.

  35. Wow, you have opened up quite a chat line here Amy! I loved reading what everyone has suggested. I too enjoy walking as it really clears my head to be outside and gets me moving. Since you love dogs and don't have one, maybe your local shelter accepts volunteers to walk their dogs? My daughter used to do this, and it was an enjoyable Saturday morning for both her and the dogs. We even ended up adopting one of the dogs! Walking for exercise is one of the best things you can do for low-impact exercise. I was just thinking this week that I'd like to get my husband out for evening walks again like we used to do. An hour or so does the trick. Lots of others have suggested things in your area for meeting up with people. My local knitting shop has a drop-in time a couple of times a week just to knit and chat together. It could be a good jumping off point. You really enjoy your work with NT, maybe something again along those lines since you are very interested in history. My husband and I make a day's outing going to the art gallery in the big city and having a nice lunch afterwards. You have so many historical places to visit over there that could be fit into day trips or if a little further afield, make it an overnight trip staying at a B&B. It's the making new friends that I always struggle with, so I'm afraid others suggestions in that quarter would be more helpful.

  36. I'm sorry, Amy, for the difficult times you've faced and continue to face. For exercise, nothing beats walking - it's good for body and soul. You have so many lovely gardens to visit in England, perhaps they will appeal to you. Are you no longer volunteering at Basildon?
    My husband and I enjoy walking together, but sometimes going alone is great, too. Dancing or cooking classes?
    As someone else has said, what do you enjoy? What would you do to make your day a good one?

  37. AMy, my friend, so sorry that this has been such a tough time. It always is and you have to muster through it, but it is hard isn't it? I think you will gradually resume what is the new normal. I like all of your questions, I think you and hubby should take a cooking class together, or what about dancing? Are you still volunteering at Basildon? I know you love doing htat so much.

  38. Hi Amy, I just came across your blog so you won't know me (yet), but my heart went out to you when I realised the latest of what you have been through. Mainly because I've been there myself - helping care for my mum (with whom I'd always had a very difficult relationship) when she had Alzehimer's, and then the double-whammy of my mother-in-law having a devastating stroke and taking a lot of responsibility for visiting her and making sure that her care (in a lovely care home) was good enough - both lots of caring overlapping for several years.
    I guess what I have learned since that all came to a sudden end (two years ago exactly now) is that it took me far longer to recover than I would have predicted, and much longer than it took my husband. 'Recover' both physically and emotionally, as by the end I was totally drained in both ways. A year or so for me of giving myself space and time to do what I wanted, and to refuse commitments I felt unable to handle. A year to figure out what it was I actually wanted to do with my life (I'm now 61 and fortunate to be retired for the past year).
    Echoing what some others have suggested, both my husband and I love to walk, together and separately. So that is one thing we've done a lot of. I love to crochet and knit, and also gardening and cooking, so all of those have figured too.
    On the volunteering front, shortly after my mother-in-law died I began volunteering at our local City Farm. For me this brings together most of the things I'm passionate about - growing food, making beautiful outdoor spaces for ordinary people, but most of all 'growing people' - a lot of what we do is provide safe space for people who've been through or are going through tough times to do something enjoyable and useful in the outdoors with others.
    The thing is that we are all different and want and need different things, so my advice would be to take your time, figure out what you love doing, what gives you joy, discard the suggestions that don't feel right for you, but maybe try out one or two things that you could be curious about.
    Above all, this is time for you (two) and you shouldn't feel bad about taking it with both hands and enjoying it. Life is for living.
    With all my kind thoughts, Deborah

  39. I am so sorry for your loss of your father-in-law and the problems that cropped up as a result (I totally understand...when my father-in-law died there became a rift between my hubby and his younger sister, when before things had been good between them. It's often about the money! Sometimes it's about who took care of the elderly person, and who didn't. Sometimes it's both) Anyway, I hope things get much better for you. Not being in England, I don't know what is available there to you for volunteering, but I do know that because you are creative, I'm sure some of the things that worked for me might work for you as well. Pregnancy Centers always need baby things (and the Mom's sometimes need maternity things); foster children need clothing; children's homes as well; homeless need blankets, caps, socks and gloves; cancer patients need caps and also a kind word; veterans hospitals and homes need ditty bags, socks, lap blankets and again that kind word; nursing homes need the same. There's also something, I've forgotten what it's called, that is about the size of a placemat that has "busy fingers" things attached that Alzheimers patients can worry with their hands. Just a few ideas for we who sew, crochet and knit. Anyway, whatever you decide to do, I am sure you will find some wonderful fulfillment and joy from your efforts. Hope all gets better for you in your part of the world!

  40. Amy, your thoughts on "normal" really hit home with me. I plan to read your post again and all the wonderful comments! This could not have come at a better time. One idea I'm pondering is volunteering at my local elementary school either in the library or classes to help children with reading. Keep your chin and thanks to all you and your lovely readers!

  41. I'm also going to suggest walking... You can do it on your own, or together. You can do it in a group with other people. It needn't cost anything, the fresh air and exercise make you feel better, it helps you keep fit... In fact it is win win all the way!

  42. everyone has left wonderful suggestions Amy, I hope they help and you are feeling comforted by everyone. I bought an exercise DVD, no lycra required at home x


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