Friday 31 January 2014

My Month in Numbers 2014: January

Hi you.

We're 31 days into a shiny [if slightly damp] new year ... so how's it been so far? I hope it's been gentle with you.

[I also hope that I'm not the only one who hasn't quite managed to put the Christmas decorations back in the loft just yet too ... tell me I'm not alone ...]

If you've decided that 2014 is going to be the year you give this whole memory-keeping-by-numbers thing a go then you just need to follow the instructions on how to join in with My Month in Numbers ... and I'll be over to read your vital statistics soon after.

And please don't worry about getting things right (or wrong for that matter!) there aren't really many rules to follow and I'm actually pretty patient and hardly ever shout ... so no panicking! OK? OK. [btw: That wasn't shouting ... that's just how you spell 'OK'].

Anyway ... if you're just here to  say 'hi' and to read my numbers ... then 'hi' back at you, now allow me thrust the following under your nose ...

Let's start with the Communal Count questions [where we all document a number based on the same theme]

[a] How many new things did you try? Well, I didn't keep meticulous records on this one, but there were at least 5 which includes:
  1. spending 2 nights entirely alone [but more on that in a minute];
  2. tackling a Tax Return on my own;
  3. supporting a student in a chemistry lab [in my 7+ years on campus that's a new one on me];
  4. eating a hot pork pie [I've had plenty of cold ones ... but never one warmed! Wild and crazy times people! Wild. And. Crazy. Times.]
  5. and ... I dabbled in having vertigo when I lie down. And now, after showing no signs of improving after taking 23 tablets for it so far ... I'm a bit tired of that particular 'new' thing and would happily go back to boring old 'getting into bed without it feeling like I'm boarding a roller-coaster' feeling.
[b] How much did you pay for a loaf of bread this month? Well we paid £1.80 for a large 'Malted Grain Loaf' from Tesco, which makes good toast but ... we also paid £3.20 for a fancy artisan 'Carrot & Walnut' loaf from the beautiful Robineau cafĂ© where I had my birthday lunch. 

Now, let's get onto the rest of the numbers shall we?

8 = the number of days after Christmas 4 friends and I shared our traditional 'fake Christmas' where we took almost 2 hours to open our gifts!
Here's the detritus left behind after our 20+ presents had been opened. Crafters sure know how to make a pretty-coloured papery mess!
7 = the number of 'Only Connect' style quiz walls I created - using low-tech sticky notes - for a spot of post-New-Year-lunch-entertainment:
If you don't know Only Connect [a BBC4 quiz show] and it's fabulous 'Wall' round [where you have to sort the 16 things into groups of 4 linked themes] then do yourself a favour and watch a few if you can; if you're a quizzy/puzzley lover you'll love it.

And, even if you can't find any to watch then you can still play along with all the previous 'walls' online here.

You could even play along with the walls I created ... if I'd kept them somewhere ... I'll go look ....

15 crafters / 2 days / 2 meals out / 1 huge buffet = a crafting weekend away at the stunning Sneaton Castle in Whitby.

Organised by my ever-organising friend Jean [of 3DJean] this was a different kind of crafting break to the cosy cottage weekends we have twice yearly; more people, hotel-style accommodation and a larger work room for a start.

Here it is all tidy when we were just moving ourselves in:
  ... and here it is a few hours later, complete with more people, more boxes, more bags and more 'stuff':
And, after crafting [and eating, and drinking tea] in there all day I returned to my next number ... 
F10 = the room in which I spent 2 nights in. Alone.

As I've mentioned, there were 15 of us in total and, while everyone else paired-up and shared a room, being a bit of an introvert, I chose to stay in a room on my own. As I was going to be spending 12+ hours a day with other people I really wanted to secure myself a portion of empty space too!

So, as it was my decision I really didn't worry about being alone ... until I saw where my room was.

My building joined on to the one where the others were sleeping .... but there was no one else actually in my building!! And, if that wasn't bad enough ... see that dark ominous have-you-ever-seen-The-Shining corridor ...
... well guess whose room was at the bottom of it?

Now , maybe I've seen too many detective dramas in my time [OK, so there's no 'maybe' about it] but it's a well known fact that any woman on their own in a dark building [especially one near an old castle for goodness sake!!] will find herself dead at some point.

It's just how these things go.

So I was pretty convinced that I was bound to murdered at some point over the weekend ... as I  told James over the phone. And, such was the concern from someone who's watched an awful lot of Sherlock over the last few months, he replied:

"Well, if you do then at least make sure to leave behind a clue as to who did it."

Well ... who do you think it is I'm sitting next to while I'm watching all those detective dramas?

However, as you will have surmised, I lived not only to tell you [and maybe even slightly exaggerate on] the tale ... but to do some crafting too ...

3 layouts and 3 mini-albums added to [if not entirely finished]over the course of the weekend. It's not an overwhelming amount of work is it? In fact, I'm certain I spent more time eating than I did crafting.

22 = the number of items of clothing I wore to spend 2 hours outside on a windswept RSPB reserve watching a murmuration of starlings:
murmuration is where the birds fly together in huge groups, making strange and beautiful shapes in the air, before landing and roosting for the night. This was the 4th time we've attended the 'Soup & Starlings' event at RSPB Saltholme and the warm soup half way through was most welcome!
It was an absolutely amazing display this year - the guides estimated there were over 5000 birds which came so very close to where we were all seated: 
 ... so close in fact that at one point a bird flew through the gap between two people's heads!!
It was truly as if the birds knew we had come out especially to see them on a chilly January afternoon ... and they thought they'd put on a bit of a performance for us all.
This is my favourite shot of the day - where if you squint a bit - they formed [almost] a heart shape:   
And with that wonderful life-affirming way to begin a new year ... I'll set my numbers aside for another month.

Now it's your turn.

As I mentioned earlier all the instructions for how to join in the Month in Numbers community can be found on the dedicated page of my blog which is the best place to start.

But for now ... keep up the number-crunching and have a great February.

Julie x


  1. I hadn't realised that watching Sherlock could save your life! I wonder what clue you would have left ...
    My daughter had vertigo last year, it lasted for ages, until she went to the osteopath and had a cranial massage. So if yours doesn't go, book an appointment, it may just help.

    I've joined in again this month here

  2. I am very sorry to hear about the vertigo :(. Is it connected to an ear infection? Hoping they can sort it for you very soon ... Your corridor photo made me smile - we had hubby's family reunion at Sneaton Castle the year before last and I remember it well. Glad you survived :). Glorious photos ...

  3. A witty post as usual. That corridor does look a bit ominous. I bet your crafting weekend was good fun and productive - even if you spent too much time eating. Ha! x

  4. Wow, I love the photos of the murmuring' and what a cool name.

    Glad you survived the corridor of certain death, I know what you mean about watching too many crime dramas and an over active imagination :)

    My new thing this month was making notes for my post as the month went on, so I might get mine done this weekend! Let's see ...

  5. I had the horrid vertigo last year - my sympathies, it is unsettling. Mine went away after 3 months. I've never been wild enough to try warming a pork pie!

  6. I've heard that osteopathy works for vertigo too. I'm sorry to hear about it..not nice at all.

    No, we still have a random selection of Christmas stuff lying around. In fact I took a picture of some of it the other day

    I hope February sees you a lot less dizzy!

  7. I had completely forgotten about our delayed Christmas! It seems so long ago. I am very glad that you survived the 'sleeping along the corridor of death' situation and I love the misshapen heart created by the birds. I have joined in this month and plan to keep on trying!

  8. No, you are not alone with still having Christmas stuff about the place. Vertigo sounds awful. I hope it goes away soon x I love your numbers again, so funny. But I have serious murmuration envy. It is a dream of mine to see the starlings making hearts in the sky. I didn't even need to squint, your pictures are truly wonderful.

    My numbers are here

  9. Only Connect is my favourite quiz show, I get so pleased with myself when I get one right!

  10. Great numbers. Glad you survived to tell the tale. Have you read the scrapbooking mysteries by laura Childs and Joanna Campbell Slan?
    Here are my numbers :

  11. Great post! You always make me smile:) I am joining in for the first time:

  12. it's always a pleasure to read your MIN posts. Glad you survived the weekend. Hope the vertigo disappears soon for you - can't be pleasant!

  13. I just found your blog while wandering the internet last night and find your Month in Numbers quite fascinating! I'm jumping in and have posted my January numbers in this blog post:

    I like your blog and your mixed media work. I'll keep visiting. :)

  14. I've posted my numbers

    those starlings are amazing

  15. So sorry to hear you've been poorly I hope it settles soon. I've had Labarinthitis (sp) which gives you similar symptoms so know how awful it is :(
    Loving the starling photos, they certainly formed a heart shape as part of their dance.

    I joined in again this month :)

  16. Sounds like a very busy, if occasionally unsettling, weekend! Hope the vertigo clears up.

    Here are my numbers

  17. Hope you feel better soon - that doesn't sound fun at all :(

    I love murmurations - wish they had an event like that around here - they could do - we get some pretty spectacular displays.

  18. Oh no, vertigo is awful. I get it periodically, usually starts during the night and lasts for about a day but very debilitating. I have to ring in replacements whenever it happens and I just lie in bed getting increasingly bored as the day progresses. Hope it clears soon for you.

    Those starlings look wonderful, definitely worth putting on those many layers to see!

    And i'm totally with you on booking your own room but not the best location.

    I have joined in this month:

  19. Glad you survived the ordeal, of two nights spent alone down that corridor, to tell us the tale. I love to see the starlings and we are lucky enough to have them do it right over our little town. t this time of year I see them most every day on my post office runs in the late afternoon. I've joined in this month and completely forgot to include my detective drama watching and my reading! Ah well, there's always next month.

  20. I love watching the starlings go up from our pier - such an amazing sight.

    Hope your vertigo is better soon.

    I fell off the MIN wagon for November and December, hopefully I will do a better job this year x

  21. I had no idea about the wall thingie. Cool concept to reproduce it with sticky notes!
    *happy sigh* at the crafters meeting and *drool* at the castle pictures.
    Lol at Jame´s suggestion. Smart man.
    How interesting! The eart shape is lovely. It must have been amazing to watch it live.

    Here are my numbers:

  22. My month in numbers is finally up -

  23. Loved catching up with you today - you always raise a smile with your way with words. Sorry to hear about the vertigo ... especially as it's not alcohol induced.

  24. Finally finished my post!


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