it’s done

Sorry for the delay in posting the update.  I promise I did clear up in the time allocated but I have had massive problems with the internet and uploading photographs was not an option.  I think BT has decided to declutter my broadband 😉

So here we are, the upstairs study


And the Barn


We are slowly moving stuff that we need to keep for the new building out into the outbuildings.  Meanwhile The Boss is sourcing building materials and wood, a lot of wood so it is a good job we cleared the outbuildings last year!

Love Gillie x



When I was a student in the eighties and used my own shopping bags, refusing the plastic bags at the check out  I got some rather odd looks.  But now it is commonplace.  It is almost looked down upon to request a plastic bag.  I have yet to get non food retailers to accept my own bags but I am working on it.  Explaining that the newly purchased dress will not self destruct if it is placed in a cotton tote rather than a plastic bag with the shop’s name emblazoned on the side is still a step too far for some shops.  But the time will come.  I am patient.

It’s all about saying no.  Today I practiced refusing things I didn’t want.  The reactions were interesting.

Case one: local co-op.  I refuse the receipt and the voucher automatically printed that gives me £5 next time I spent £50.  Not an eyelash was batted.  It occurred to me to ask if it was possible to request that no receipt and voucher were printed, but I decided one step at a time.  I’ll try that tomorrow…

Case two:  large supermarket whose doors I rarely darken.  However this was an emergency.  I refused the receipt.  The girl on the checkout looked at me and looked at the receipt and yet another voucher telling me how much I had saved by shopping there rather than elsewhere and tried to give them to me again.  Again I refused.  Blind panic set in and she clearly didn’t know what to do.  By now I had bagged up my shopping (in my own bags) and was heading out of the door.  For all I know she is still clinging onto that redundant piece of paper.

We are used to saying no to plastic bags in supermarkets.  Why not say no to:

  • plastic bags in all shops from clothes to DIY
  • receipts you don’t want
  • automatically produced vouchers especially those that tell you how much you saved
  • freebies from make up to pens.  You don’t need them and they aren’t really free.
  • paper napkins
  • plastic straws and parasols in drinks
  • Bags for veg.  Why does you single broccoli have to have its own bag?  Frankly why do 6 apples have to have their own bag?
  • dry cleaners who will not take back wire coathangers

Until we start to vocalise our objections we will keep having unwanted and unnecessary stuff foistered upon us.




I’m still on paper week.  I have a morning routine that, acts of God and teenagers notwithstanding, I stick to like burrs to a dog.

  1.  Get up, dress, drink large mug of black tea and large glass of pink grapefruit juice.
  2. Take Singers to station for school.
  3. Return home and have second mug of black tea.  Check emails/blog etc and have breakfast (fruit and yoghurt/porridge/toast and marmite or marmalade depending on mood and state of pantry).
  4. Read and contemplate Bible verses from New Daylight.
  5. Write 3 things in my gratitude journal.
  6. Complete daily entry in slightly offbeat Keel’s Diary.
  7. Write Morning Pages.
  8. Meditate and Pray

After that I am more or less ready to face the rest of the world and am a nicer person for the rest of the world to have to face back.

Now, your starter for ten.  How many of the above require me to use a pen and/or paper?  The answer is 3.  Actually it is less than I had thought.  Are they necessary – ABSOLUTELY!  Can I do it differently – maybe.

New Daylight

Bible reading notes that I have been using for years and love.  And guess what – available online.  I don’t need to buy a book, I can read them on my laptop or my phone.  Advantage Gillie

Gratitude Journal

Three things, every day, for which I am grateful.  Sometimes I just about manage (1) I am alive (2) my family is alive (3) we have a roof over our heads.  But it is rare that I am that desperate.  Yesterday’s were (1) A beautiful walk home from book club along the lane at 11pm (2) Friends like V and L  (3) The soft wet nose of a dog who wants a cuddle.


I could write these in an online journal somewhere, but no, I don’t want to.  I have a beautiful blue soft leather journal The Boss bought for me from Sorella.  I feel happy just unwrapping it.  I love flicking through the previous entries.  Some repeat time after time, some reflect the position I was in at the time and some make me laugh  “Two perfect poached eggs for supper”!  Deuce

Keels Simple Diary


You have to see it to understand it.  I am on my second volume.  I have been a diary keeper from the moment I could write (a problem in itself – what on earth do I do with all those diaries, especially the mortifyingly embarrassing ones full of teenage angst and unrequited love?)  But when you write in a diary you write what you can remember, what you want to remember and how you want to remember it.  With the Keels Diary you have to fill in the gaps.  So for yesterday I had to answer:

Your day was:   a woodpecker     hip     a heartbreaker

Explain why:

This is engagingly vulgar:

What is for good?

The ideal time frame for SOON: a) not to be worlds apart  b) to be home some time after midnight c) surprising others with an earlier arrival or delivery

NEVER 1. Spit in someone’s face 2. Mess with children  3. Burn a book 4. Always be nice   5. One more time.

I had to consciously think about my day, what was it like?  Why was it like that?  What do I think?

It’s maybe not for all, but I love it.  As a little quirk of my own I write each day in the appropriate colour for the day (synaesthesia – go on look it up!)

There is apparently an app for this.  UGH.   I don’t want to fill in an app I want to write and doodle and use the right colour for the right day (Tuesday is yellow)  GAME SET AND MATCH

Morning Pages

Ha!  This was easy.  I use  I know that Julia Cameron says that it should be longhand.  But I type faster than I write and I think even faster.  Longhand was taking me ages and leaving my thoughts behind.  Anyway I like the little badges I can earn and these aren’t pages I ever intend to read again. They are a mind dump.  Online is perfect  DEUCE

But is it?  Zero waste is about throwing things out.  Neither my gratitude journal nor my Keels Diary are going to be thrown out in my lifetime (unlike those awful teenage diaries).  It is rather passing the buck to my children, but hey they have to make some decisions for themselves.  ADVANTAGE GILLIE

the insidious nature of paper

Monday morning was a bit of a rush.  I was chairing a meeting at 10.00 and there were a whole load of little jobs I wanted to get down before I left.  So I grabbed my Uncalendar and began my to do list.   Then I stopped.  The first written word of the day.


I have a perfectly good phone I could write my list on there.  This is hurting.  I HATE using electronic planners and diaries.  I am totally wedded to the system I have set up for myself using a Filofax and Uncalendar.  I am an organisational freak, I could write an entire blog about how to organise your life, your cupboards.  I am the little girl who catalogued all her books and thought organising her knicker drawer was a good way to while away an afternoon.  I cannot go digital.

I knew this would hurt.  But I didn’t realise how much.  Still, this week is about noticing where and how I used the written word, printed or handwritten and looking at how I can change my habits.  It is not about cutting them all out on day one.  Which is a great relief.

I could change to digital insofar as digital diaries and planners exist.  But first of all they have to be charged on a regular basis, secondly you have to turn it on, scroll to the right page, bring up the keyboard, type it in and save.  Compare that to filofax.  Open, remove pen from pen loop, write, close.


Also I am a very visual person.  I could never use a digital clock because I can’t see the space between the time now and the time I have to be at a meeting for example.  Instead I have to work out that there are 50 minutes between now 13.30 and the meeting 14.20.  Consequently when I open my filofax I can see my week.  I understand what the arrows mean across various days.  I can see the space in my day.  It gets a bit more complicated when I move into the Uncalendar, but I cannot imagine turning that into something manageable digitally and still being able to give me an instant picture.

At the meeting there was an agenda and the minutes of the previous meeting.  Both of these are on my laptop so no problem there.  I was unexpectedly minute taker as well and I did that by hand.  I could easily have done that on the laptop so a lesson learned there.

One of the charities we are supporting came to give us a presentation.  It was excellent – he gave out business cards at the end.  I took one.  Why?  I have his email address, I have his website address with all his contact details.  I didn’t need to take a bit of cardboard.  Lesson Two.

On the way home I dropped off a carpet stretcher we had hired to replace the flooded carpet in Singer Two’s bedroom.  On hiring it I was given a receipt.  On returning it I was given another one.  Why did there need to be two?

I sent a parcel to Ireland and was given a receipt.  I didn’t ask for proof of posting.

It is only mid afternoon and I have already accumulated 4 pieces of unwanted words and paper.  I haven’t even looked at the post yet.