Thursday 31 December 2015

My Month in Numbers 2015: December

You know ... if either of us blink we're going to miss it.

The end of the week ... the end of the month ... the end of the year could easily give us the slip while we're sat here scrutinising the menu in the remaining box of chocolates for something that isn't 'the coffee one' or while we're trying to remove from our chins that elusive bit of glitter that's been there, on and off, since November.

So how about we take this chance to pause and reflect on December before January turns the page on us and starts an entire new year. And how about I throw in a few statistics to help me along the way. Here's my month ... in numbers ...

[If you're new here - hi, you're looking good, all that turkey and tinsel has done wonders for your complexion - if you want to know more about this feature just drop by this page].

The first week of the month saw me spending ...

3 hours 20 minutes in the cinema:
The Bristol Old Vic production of Jane Eyre was brought to the National Theatre from where it was broadcast live into cinemas.

It was a strange, energetic, minimalist kind of production - for example ... this is not just Thornfield Hall ablaze* ... it's the entire set for the 3 hour long production:
Screenshot of the Jane Eyre 'Production Gallery' on the National Theatre site.
****168 year old spoiler alert: it was the mad woman in the attic what done it!

And, at the risk of glossing over all of the merits of the actual performance, perhaps the most impressive element of the evening was the fact that I managed to sit still through each and every one of those 180 minutes.

Well, I say I sat 'still' .... I did definitely sit.

If you like the look of the production [and can face watching the big screen without being able to get up to make a cuppa whenever you fancy] then visit this page on the NT Live site to find out if there are any Encore performances you can catch [simply type in your location and it will find your nearest venue].

Fortunately for you you won't have me jiffling away in the seat next to you.

But then again ... neither will you get to share in my never-ending supply of Werther's Originals and fruity travel sweets. It's all swings and roundabouts.

While we're on the subject of travel sweets ... this is the scene before James and I set off on a trip to Bowes Museum for their Christmas market. Note the temperature ...

16 at 8am on a December morning. 16℃. At 8am. In December!!! 
Because I've been doing this number lark for quite a while now [this is, after all, my 72nd Month in Numbers post!] I can consult my statistical back-catalogue to find that in December 2010 [my first MinN year] we were regularly experiencing temperatures of minus 11! 

And, while I'm not a huge fan of being freezing ... it just doesn't feel right and proper to have warm hands at any given point in time throughout December. Let alone not needing to wear a hat [whoever heard of such a thing?]

We haven't had a single frosty day here yet and there's something to be said for a crisp frosty day to get you feeling Christmassy. All in all it's a good job there've been other things on hand to make it feel a lot like Christmas. For instance ...

I saw 3 reindeer! 
Alas ... they weren't flying over the roof of my house [although I did wave to Tm Peake as he passed overhead in the International Space Station this month!]. Rather they were attending the Christmas market. [Even Santa's helpers need to find those last minute gifts.]

This was also the week I heard 3 people describe reindeer as being like big dogs ... 
  1. The first person was me. When a crowd cleared revealing the pen where the reindeer were being kept my flight or [appropriately enough] flight reflexes kicked in until I realised that they weren't actually big dogs. Phew.
  2. Then, as they walked past the pens, I heard a Dad explaining to a toddler he was carrying that "No, they're not doggies". 
  3. And finally there was this, from a BBC news report about an escaped reindeer: "Warren Porter, who took a picture of Bjorn as he galloped up Carlton Hill, said at first he thought it was a "big dog"". 
And boom! It's not just me who's been fooled into the resemblance! 

Although, thankfully, it's a relief all round that this is just a repeated case of mistaken identity. Because, really, the idea of Santa landing on my roof accompanied by 9 big dogs would certainly have taken the edge off any anticipation I'd had as a child!

[BTW you need to visit the actual story about the reindeer for two main reasons ... [1] the headline is a work of bizarre genius: "Runaway reindeer that escaped from Tesco event recovering" and [2] the look of sheer 'couldn't give two hoots now I'm freeeeeee' in Bjorn's body language as he sprints down the road!]

And now, seeing as it's [almost] Christmas, allow me to make the tortured link from an escaped reindeer stalking along the road ... to another kind of deer ...

It was a 2 deerstalker month: 
Deerstalker No.1 occurred on our festive trip around York [which I wrote more about here]
Then, a fortnight later, in an antiques shop in Barnard Castle, we came across Deerstalker No.2:
And if casually finding another one wasn't enjoyable enough ... check out the label inside this one:
You couldn't make it up could you?! 

Clearly the Gods of Antiquing are also excited about watching the new - Victorian - Sherlock in just one day's time!!

And, now let us glide from one instance of a Cumberbatch to another [entirely arbitrary one]...

In case you're thinking I was in danger of passing up the final chance this year to remind you that I saw him in Hamlet this year [which I may have mentioned ... once or three dozen times] ... then let me share this possibly-Hamlet-inspired car-dirt graffiti I spotted in a car park on the same day ...

Fill in the 2 blanks.[Or should that be the 'To' blanks?]
Surely those 2 wiped-out spaces once read "To be" and "Or not". Surely?

Well ... that is the question.

December was also the month I magically* 'glued' 3 photos together to make my 1st 'gif': 
*OK, so, the 'magic' was actually via and the photos show my sister and I trying to get a decent pose of us in our Christmas outfits where it's a wonder our two large 50s inspired skirts actually fit in the room let alone the shot. Then when I flicked between them in my photo-viewer we seemed to move ... and I was moved to conquer the gif! Et voila. Merry Christmas!

Right ... we're almost there now ... I promise there'll be no further mentions of Cumberhamlet all year ... so let me just squeeze in a few more things before I leave you to 2016 ...

CLARIFICATION: someone new here last month inquired about the nature of the relationship between James and I, which was understandable considering that the post she'd read was all about staff Christmas parties and I didn't clarify that we don't work together. So, for the record:
  1. James is my partner. Not in business, or crime. He's my husband if you will. At least he would be if we'd ever gotten round to getting married. Which we haven't. 
  2. Neither are we co-workers or colleagues. And please don't suggest he's my 'boss' ... it'll only give him ideas. 
And, should you need further proof that one of his roles in life is to keep me happy ... who else could I sweet-talk into dressing in 90s denim for a photo-opportunity? 

Whilst seeking out Christmas decorations in the loft James found his 25 year old denim jacket [And I made him pose in it because a blogger's gotta do what a blogger's gotta do.] 
It's what he used to wear when we first met. And - to his credit - it still fits him, and yet ...

... just because one can wear 1990s denim ... it doesn't mean one should. Not for a second time round at least!

And while we're talking about slightly misguided wardrobe decisions ...

I bought 40 tea bags for 99p and started saving myself 75p per cuppa.
Now, this statistic might sound far too much like maths for anyone in a post-Christmas dairy/meet-induced stupor to care about, so let me give you the salient points:

  • after years of paying for a cup of tea from the cafe at work I realised it would be much cheaper to just bring my own teabags and buy a plain hot water instead; 
  • so I bought a pack of 40 bags from a nearby 99p shop and started keeping a handful of them in a little purse in order to easily take then down to the cafe with me to drop into my hot water.

Which was all well and good ... at first. Until the day I forgot to take the purse out of my pocket and spent the afternoon like this:
As I shared on Instagram
  • Forgot I'd been walking around work with the purse with all my tea bags in tucked in my shirt pocket. #onenormalboob #onebigone
Ah. A mention of Hamlet ... and a boob joke.  I'm ending the old year as I mean to go on. 

And so ... 

As always you're more than welcome to join me in documenting your own days in numbers:

Now I'll let you get back to deciding what to wear, who to kiss, and which resolution to break first after midnight.

And while you're there ... remember to do a little jump tonight ... right as the 2015 rug is pulled out from beneath your feet, take a deep breath, and then dance, dance, dance your way across the new year's pristine floorboards. 

In heels. 

Let 2016 know you've landed ... 

Julie x


  1. Now here's a cheerful romp through some interesting numbers at the end of 2015. Great to see James making an appearance so fully :). (I LIKE the jacket!). Sending warmest good wishes to you both and many grateful thanks for all your lovely and entertaining posts this year ...

    1. Thank *you* Alexa for always letting me know that I'm doing what I set out to: to entertain. It means the world to me!

  2. Happy New Year to you and James and looking forward to reading some more months in numbers (and other stuff)xx

    1. Thanks Helen! It's this time of year I always debate whether to keep the number train rolling for another year ... and, once again, I've decided I am going to. Here's to sharing more tales in 2016!

  3. Hey, I've got a jacket like that somewhere - time for me and James to start a fashion revival!
    Now, I have to ask this. What the heck is 'jiffling'? Is this a northern word that hasn't reached us southerners yet? I'm not sure if sitting next to someone who is jiffling would be a fun experience or a cause to call management and demand to be seated somewhere else!
    Like Sherlock and Holmes, I'm back on the case this month. It's been a while but I think I'm ready to join back in.

    1. 'Jiffling' just means 'fidgeting' ... at least I hope so!! I don't know about it being Northern, I got it from James who's from Lincoln. Now I'm resisting the temptation to Google it ... just in case ...

      The game is on! I'll look forward to swinging by your numbers!

  4. Thanks for all the entertaining posts this year - and the ones that made me think- I still use a bookmark (okay sometimes it might be a tissue (unused) when the bookmark has gone awol) but I am cured of turning the corner of the page. I have just compiled a 'December my month in numbers' and intend to scrap a page. I shall complete one every month in 2016.
    Happy New Year to you.

    1. That's quite the commitment Carole - although I know a few people have scrapbooked a year [and more!] with MinN and am always not-so-secretly envious of the amazing record they have to show at the end of the year!

      Unused, used, it's all fair game when you need to keep that place!

  5. Happy 2016 Julie, thanks for all your entertaining blog posts thru` 2015, looking forward to the New Years posts xx

    1. You're so welcome Irene. It's one of my absolute favourite things to do - so knowing that it keeps others entertained too is a lovely bonus! Happy new year to you!

  6. As always a great post Julie. I loved the story of the reindeer/dogs and the photo of you and your sister. I;ve taken shots that create moving images too, thanks for the Gif link, thats something new to me that I will enjoy and have fun with.
    I's hoped to join in this month but computer problems just make it too much of a challenge so I'll follow Debs line 'I'll be back!' Thank you for all your wonderful comments throughout the year. Wishing you a very happy new year and one that is full of exciting and wonderful things.

    1. It's funny isn't it that we've both probably got phones/camera with video functions on them ... yet there's something much more fun/magical about flipping between still image to create our own flip book!

      Thank you for your unfailing support Sandie - have a great 2016. x

  7. I woke up this first say of 2016 very sad and unhappy. Thank you for your post it has worked it's magic and I feel much better. I am an oldie who always reads your posts, and always gets something from them. I think I am 'no reply', whic I will try to alter. I just wanted you to know the good effect you have. I hope 2016 is good to you and those you love

    1. Hello Gwenyth. I can't tell you how much your words mean to me. I was making New Year's day lunch when I first read it and I had to put everything down and stop to take it in. If there's one thing I've tried to do, throughout my entire life, it's to make people happy.

      When I look back over moments that have made the biggest impact on me it's always the times when I've been most useful/most able to help someone else that stand out. Knowing I'd cheered your day was the best present I could ever have received on the first day of a new year.

      THANK YOU for dropping in to tell me. I couldn't have wished for a better way to start 2016. THANK YOU. x

  8. Thank you Julie. I never read one of your blog posts without laughing out loud - which causes strange looks from those around me but as I get older I quite like being considered strange!
    Love the gif thingy. My camera takes bursts of shots so this would be fab for using those.
    Happy New Year to you and James x

    1. Happy new year [and new profile pic?] to you too Louise! Strange is the new black [I just made that up] but come unto me all who are strange and fancy a giggle, I've got you covered!

  9. Love the denim jacket! Just the other day we were trying to convince TTO that we were once young enough to have been thrown out of a pub in town because his dad was wearing a denim jacket. The challenge is now on, of course. Can he still fit into it?!

    Happy New Year Julie and James! Wishing you all good things for 2016

    1. You know ... if I was being critical ... I might suggest that people wore things on the baggier side in the 90s, which might explain why it still fits. ;-) Wishing you all the good things too [which may not include 90s fashion!]

  10. I like James' denim jacket - he would certainly be a fashion icon over here! I do like your busting out plaid shirt, it too is fashionable, I think plaid is making a comeback although I will claim it never left. My December Month of Numbers is up today - it was a short month of numbers in spite of the Christmas heroics I performed over the 31 days. Happy New Year Julie.

    1. I love my new plaid shirts. Like James's denim jacket I wore them in the 90s and have thoroughly enjoyed wearing them the 2nd time around. Clearly this makes me a hypocrite!

      I've hopped over to visit your numbers now - thanks so much for joining in over one of the busiest times of the year!

  11. Happy New Year Julie. It's always a pleasure to visit. I'm looking forward to Sherlock. My husband decided to catch up on Christmas Day Doctor Who while it was on last night!

    1. Happy new year Fiona! Sherlock's are even worse than Christmases ... you have to wait longer than a year for a new one to roll around!!

  12. Hello! Hello! You know, there aren't very many people that can make statistics 'sexy' and 'interesting' - but, luckily, you are one of those few people!

    Thanks so much for stopping by to say 'hi' the other day (very much appreciated) and for all of the book recommendations!

    I've resolved to work towards 300 comments in 30 days, as one of my blogging aims for 2016, because I have been *so* bad at visiting/commenting during 2015. I thought you might like to know :)

    1. Sexy? It was just teabags in there you know? ;-)

      And yes, I absolutely do like to know you're taking up the #300in30 challenge!! Keep in touch - I'd love to hear another take on the process! xx

  13. Oh my gosh! That makes me sad that I gave away my denim jacket. LOL!
    Although I do have a white one that I still love to wear.


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