One Small Cupboard

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I started thinking about how to begin this post and went trawling through the archives of the blog.  What an eye-opener!

This photo is from a blog post in January 2015.  It is one half of the the cupboard in the office/study – the other half is my linen cupboard.  You can read the whole post here if you are interested.

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These are before and after photos from a follow-up blog post in June 2015.  We had down-sized from the 4 drawer filing cabinet to a 2 drawer one.  This also meant that we were able to create an extra shelf using an offcut of melamine shelving.

Fast forward 5 years and after gradually reducing the contents of the filing cabinet, we were able to get rid of it completely and relocate the last few remaining files to the filing drawer of the desk which had remained unused up to that point.

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We decided to add another shelf but also removed the previous extra shelf as the cut edges had never been painted.  There is plenty of space.

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Two shelves in place.

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The contents rearranged and easy to locate.

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The plastic crate on the floor of the cupboard is going to be our evacuation/emergency box.  There will be a few things stored in it but the primary thing is a checklist of what to add (eg: medications) and what to do in specific situations.  The contents and list may have slight seasonal variations and will be reviewed at regular intervals.  My camera is sitting on top of the box.

It is interesting to see the evolution of the organisation of various spaces in our home.  We have lived in this house for almost 15 years which is considerably longer than we have ever resided anywhere else.  There has not been the impetus of an impending house move but we have actually decluttered quite a bit by doing it slowly and consistently.  The blog is quite an amazing record of what we have achieved in the last 9.5 years.

Planning Posts

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Thank you all for your comments and feedback to my last post.  I gave myself the day off from posting yesterday while I considered how I will manage posts and new content in the future.

Three weeks of daily posts has convinced me that it is not feasible to continue this schedule indefinitely.  While there is sometimes plenty of content to fill daily posts there is not always time to create the posts with the detail I prefer to include.

I canvassed the possibility of creating a pattern of posts each week based around cooking, gardening, organising and sewing.  However, I have discarded that idea as I really do not want to lock myself into a regimented pattern.

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So, I will generally be posting every 2 – 3 days on a variety of subjects with no strict pattern but simply based on what is happening, and hopefully, of interest to my readers.

As well as the regular blog posts there will also be content posted on Instagram.  Please follow me @ organisedcastle  Additionally, the Instagram posts are shared to the Organised Castle page on Facebook.  ‘Like’ the page on Facebook and receive notification of new blog posts.

If you find a post that resonates with you please feel free to share with others, either via a link on your blog, Facebook or other social media.

Finally, do you have a blog?  Please share in the comments if you would like me to add it to the blog roll on the right-hand side of my blog.  This is a list of some of the informative, useful and downright lovely blogs that I follow.

That is enough introspection from me.  The next blog post will be back to the garden to show you the progress on our latest project.

See you then.

A Trio of Firsts

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Today is Monday, the first day of the working week.  It is also the first day of June and, here in Australia, the official first day of winter.

It is almost like a new year.  While most people restrict their attempts at resolutions to a new calendar year on the first of January, there are plenty of other opportunities to turn over a new leaf if you choose to look for them.  However, the midst of an ongoing global pandemic may not be the best time to consider starting afresh.  Or, perhaps it is.

I am thinking of ruling a line under the past few months and moving forward.

For almost 3 weeks I have added a blog post every day.  I have never made daily posts for an extended period previously and I have been writing this blog for over 9 years now.  It has been an experiment on several levels.  Could I maintain this level of engagement consistently now that I am retired?  Does self-isolation (mostly) make it easier to write blog posts every day?  Do I want to lock myself into writing every day?  Will I always have appropriate new content every day?  Are readers looking for new content every day?  Could I intersperse blog posts every 2-3 days with Instagram posts on a specific Organised Castle Instagram account?

Dear readers, I am really keen to hear your thoughts on the frequency, length, content and photos of my blog posts.  Also, do you go back and look at older material or click on the related links I sometimes provide?  I look forward to your honest thoughts and opinions.

Meanwhile, I am about to prepare the vegetables for dinner.  We are having one of our favourite cool weather meals – roast vegetables and gravy which I will serve with some green beans from the garden.

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While the oven is on, I will also make a Lemon Delicious and some more Cheese Scones to store in the freezer.  These are great for serving with a bowl of piping hot soup.

Refreshed and Updated

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It is now over 9 years since I began this blog.  There have been some hiccups along the way which included losing photos from the early blog posts.  Some have been restored and others have not.

After some time, I decided that an index was required as the recipes could be difficult to locate.  I created this but it was incomplete and certainly not up-to-date.  I have worked to rectify that but it will be an ongoing project.  The index contains hyperlinks to the posts containing recipes.  You will find the index under the tab labelled ‘Recipes – Food’ at the top of the blog.

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In an effort to make it easier for users to peruse the index, I have created various categories and listed the recipes in alphabetical order.

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There are over 70 recipes currently listed and include some which have been handed down through several generations as well as more recent acquisitions from friends and the internet and some of my own creations.  Many of the recipes are gluten-free or are able to be adapted to gluten-free as I began to eat a gluten-free diet early in 2012.

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In addition to the recipes I have also updated the blogroll on the right-hand side of the blog.  These are a selection of blogs that I find interesting and which have some similar themes to my own.  Blogs come and go so I have removed several which are no longer relevant or active and added others which have captured my interest more recently.  Please feel free to drop by and check them out.

 

An Anniversary and A Virus

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It is now 8 days since my last post and in the intervening time I have passed a significant milestone – the 9th anniversary of this blog.  My very first post was 12th March 2011.

A lot of water has passed under the bridge.  GMan and I have both retired.  We have lost both of our elderly pets.  Our eldest granddaughter who was a 3 year old at daycare is now at high school.  There have been birthdays, holidays, deaths and an assortment of celebrations.  Skills have been acquired, friendships made, issues addressed, gardens planted and recipes made.

However, nothing I have written about is anywhere near as important as the current global pandemic of COVID-19 virus.  Very few countries have been left unscathed.  In fact, Australia has seen a doubling of reported cases in just 2 days – from 150 to 300.

It seems that the best chance we have of ‘flattening the curve’ is social distancing.  In order to do this large gatherings of greater than 500 are banned.  For example, there will not be spectators at football matches.

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Working from home is being encouraged.  Since GMan and I do not have work commitments, we have chosen to limit our social interactions.  This will not only protect us but assist in reducing community transmission.  The more people that restrict their movements the greater the chance that the increase in cases can be slowed.  The primary reason for this strategy is to ensure that our health system can cope with the influx of cases.

If you are going to stay home as much as possible, you need to consider not only your physical needs but also your mental health.  Food and other essential consumable items are important but you need to give consideration as to how you will spend your time.  Naturally, it will depend on your individual circumstances.  We are very lucky to have small acreage so outdoor activity is definitely still an option.  I will be sewing, gardening and cooking.  The focus will be on cooking from scratch and making do with what I have.  Check out this link on the blog.

I am grateful for my relaxing retreat right here at home.

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Whatever is going on and however we deal with it, don’t forget those around you.  Everyone has different needs and priorities.  Just within my smallish extended family, there are people who are elderly, sole traders, single parents, students, homeowners, renters and residents of retirement villages.  Each person is impacted differently.

These are unprecedented times.  This post was written almost 9 years ago.  While this is a very different scenario with the presence of a new virus in our midst, the message remains the same.  Take care of yourself.  Look out for others.  Above all, be kind and considerate.

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Newly Retired

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Blog posts have been few and far between over the last 6 months as I navigated the countdown to retirement.  I had previously managed to successfully combine the running of a household with full-time work but once I could see the end in sight I tended to put several things on the back burner so that I could focus on tying up as many loose ends as possible in my job as well as training my successor.

So, my last day in the office was Thursday 4th July, otherwise known as Independence Day.

I searched for a suitable retirement image but nothing sums it up better than this photo.  We now have the time to explore our own backyard as well as further afield and simply enjoy being surrounded by scenery like the amazing Glasshouse Mountains.

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The past 3 weeks have been an absolute revelation.  You do not have to be constantly busy.  It is OK to take your time.  What does not get done today will be done tomorrow.  It has been a huge relief to feel the pressure fall away.

The first week of retirement coincided with school holidays so we had our granddaughters visiting for a few days and managed some outings and activities with them.

Since then I have caught up on sleep – no more 5am starts, exercised – walking each day and socialised – lunch with school friends, morning tea with cousins and several more lunches planned as well as a gallery visit.

Catching up on appointments is much easier without having to juggle them around work.  Dentist, optometrist, financial planner, tax agent and so on.

On the home front, meals are prepared, rooms cleaned and washing done with the minimum of fuss.  I am doing some sewing, too.

Meanwhile, we are putting the finishing touches to the plans for our next overseas trip.  We leave in a little over 3 weeks and have a couple more train trips to book.

That is only a brief overview but suffice to say that I am not bored.

I plan to share more details of the day to day activities now that life is running at a much more reasonable pace.

Thank you for sticking with me during the very lean blogging periods.

 

Some Statistics & An Upgrade

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It is hard to believe that I have been writing this blog for over 7 years now.  A couple of years after I began I had a hiccup and lost all of the photos.  I had be able to reinstate most of them but a few seemed to have been lost forever.

One post that was affected in this way was my Worcestershire sauce recipe.  This morning I started a new batch so decided to take the time to photograph the steps and I have updated the page for you – Worcestershire sauce.  If you have never tried it, I can highly recommend this homemade version.

As an added incentive, it is budget-friendly.  I used home-grown lemons and homemade chilli powder but spent up big on local organic garlic @ $50/kg.  The final cost was 99c/250ml.  This compares very favourably with the cheapest home-brand version for $2 for the same quantity, Holbrooks brand for $3.60 and I have it on good authority that artisan/gourmet offerings are in the vicinity of $8 – $12 for 250ml.

Apart from over 7 years of blogging, the other statistic I wanted to mention today is that this little blog has 597 followers.  That is not a huge number in the scheme of things but I am pleased that you have found me and hope that you will discover something of interest.  Since many of you have joined in more recently, there are probably many posts that you have yet to discover.  So, in the interests of sharing some of the wealth of information lurking in the depths, I will be sharing an older post each week for Throwback Thursday.

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Blogging Benefits

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I meant to tell you that there would be a break in blog posts as I was going on holidays but I was caught up with final preparations and forgot to do a post.

So, here I am on the other side of the world and just wanted to let you know that I am still blogging, albeit on a different site.  You can follow along with my UK adventures on Somewhere, Anywhere.

We have just spent two nights with friends in south Wales and you can read about it on the travel blog.  This was particularly special because we are friends as a direct result of this blog and a close connection formed as a result of our common interests.

People write blogs for all sorts of reasons – as a diary, to make money, to promote their business and so on.  I started my blog as a way of recording my thoughts and particular interests and hopefully to connect with like-minded individuals and share ideas.

Meeting someone on the other side of the world, whom I regard as a good friend and who I have been lucky enough to meet in person on two occasions has been a real joy. I am truly grateful for her friendship.

You never know what is on the other side of that door………….

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Still Here

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I thought I better make an effort to write something to let you know that I am still here and OK.

Why haven’t I written anything for a while?  Work is busy, but no more so than usual.  I am doing all of the normal things at home – washing, ironing, preparing meals and so on.  There have been a few social activities that have taken up a bit of time.

The real reason is simply that I have not felt like writing.  Several times, I have sat here with every intention of writing but I just feel an overwhelming sense of inertia.  Everything seems quite pointless.  It is difficult to express but I expect it is grief in one of its many guises.  I know it is nothing to what my daughter is experiencing but a challenge nevertheless.

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Please bear with me and hopefully my regular posts will return soon.

 

A Particular Passion

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During the holiday break I have had time to read and post in various groups and forums.  I participate to varying degrees in several groups.  I find that many of them have quite a narrow focus, sometimes to the exclusion of all else.

Some of the topics covered include:

Frugal Living
Zero Waste
DeclutteringMinimalism
Veganism
Upcycling
Buying Nothing New
Simple Living
Plastic Free Living

I dabble in all of these to some degree apart from veganism although we have reduced our intake of red meat to quite a modest level.

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At times it seems that I am not sufficiently passionate about any single topic, however, I feel that they are all inter-related and one aspect can support another.

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Hence, this blog contains posts which cover and wide range of topics and I hope you will find something of interest to you.

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Please let me know if there are particular topics which you would prefer to see more of or less.

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