May 2016 – something new every day

I think I’m doing pretty well so far – I even managed to leave Cambridgeshire a whopping THREE times this month. I’m still not being terribly brave but I have to keep reminding myself that wasn’t the overall point. And actually, if I’d looked at this list a year ago, I would’ve thought it was brave, if not impossible.

I do seem to have branched out into doing more than one new thing on most days. This might be instead of the things I’m supposed to be doing. Oh well!

  1. Went to a gamelan performance (by Cambridge Gamelan) at Clare Hall, which was possibly the only Cambridge college I hadn’t been to. The music was strange and beautiful – I would love to try playing it, and the society’s first taster session is free, but I am not sure I have the necessary sitting-on-the-floor skills. Plus I would just want the AMAZING gongs all to myself. The black gong makes a sound like nothing I’ve ever heard before. Also made my parents do a new thing that they had been meaning to do for ages [see my previous post on how trying to do new things daily can help with getting round to doing stuff]: use their new bus passes and try out the guided bus. They were deservedly pleased with themselves, and they also had their first visit to Caffe Sicilia as a reward at the end of the journey. And my mum tried swordfish, which I can’t quite believe she hasn’t had before. New things just spiralling out of control.FB_IMG_1462305468210
  2. Hosted a guest blogger! Signed up for two new courses on Futurelearn to learn more about mindfulness and CBT, further to my earlier blog post. Bought lots of never-had-before goodies at Ely Food and Drink Festival (ate the yummy scotch egg quiche, courtesy of George’s Bakery). More photos of the festival here, taken by someone who takes much better photos than I do (thank you, Dan).
  3. Tried bresaola. Tasted familiar so perhaps I’ve had it before without realising. Luckily I also cooked with a new spice mix (my za’atar spice rub purchased yesterday).
  4. Ate za’atar spiced food (chicken) cooked yesterday. Created a conditional web form at work (with a MASSIVE lot of help, but still). Went to Curry Club at the lovely Sylhet in Ely. FB_IMG_1462398708411
  5. Sort of set up a Gantt chart. Went to Hot Numbers (the Gwydir Street one – I’ve been to the other one already). Gave someone advice and motivation for a triathlon. (That is sort of true.)
  6. Peeled an orange with an orange peeler. Life-changing.
  7. Gave my sister a tutorial in blogging. (This is me, Jane! Typing! On Maria’s blog!)
  8. Got the train from Woodbridge station (cute station and nice view from the bridge over the tracks). Also single-handedly helped a child do a wee on a potty (the tiniest niece, not a random child). We were both very pleased with ourselves although only one of us got a round of applause.FB_IMG_1462731678551
  9. Went to a reading group. It was at Topping Books in Ely (one of the loveliest bookshops I know) and the book was ‘After Me Comes the Flood’ by Sarah Perry. Annoyingly I hadn’t quite finished it as I am not the speediest at the moment, but I’d read enough to follow the discussion and say a few things. Met some lovely people and didn’t feel as clueless as I expected to. Will do it again, and it has definitely added a layer to my appreciation of the book. Also had my first encounter with petrichor since learning the word (see April’s things). And started the Futurelearn course ‘Understanding Anxiety, Depression and CBT‘.
  10. Bought three magazines I hadn’t bought before. An expensive and grumpy snap purchase at the station when my train was too full to get on it but full of lots of inspiration for future new things. IMG_20160510_201129_kindlephoto-1540527
  11. Went to a play I hadn’t seen before (An Audience with Murder) performed by a theatre group I hadn’t seen before (Waterbeach Community Players). It might be the first amateur dramatic thing I’ve seen where I didn’t know anyone involved in the production but I am still thinking about that one.
  12. Went to Aromi, which I have done once before but not for food. I had this chocolate pizza-type thing (forgotten the name, sadly, and could not finish it!) and a new and very pretty drink, Marocchino. FB_IMG_1463091048096
  13. Tried a new cheese (Saint Vernier). This was an emergency one when my slightly more inspired and interesting plans fell through.
  14. Saw a Pinter play (new) at The Old Vic (new). Brilliant! Had dinner at Canteen (new) – yummy! Had a drink at the South Bank Centre (new) – spilt the expensive bit of it (the tiny bit that made it a large glass of wine, as opposed to a regular). Clumsy oaf (not new).
  15. Started a ‘mood diary’ (as part of one of the Futurelearn courses). Taught myself a new bit of html (how to start an ordered list from a number other than 1 – see Caroline’s guest posts!). Cooked a new recipe from Waitrose Food magazine and tweeted a picture of it to them (griddled asparagus with poached egg, confit lemon and sourdough crumb). IMG_20160515_200609
  16. Shopped in Tiger. Went to The Old Bicycle Shop, which is properly new as well as being new to me.
  17. Tried okra (not sure about it). Went to a new cafe (Espresso Lane). Remembered about the mood diary – oops. It’s actually quite hard to look back and remember what your mood was at a particular time, even on the same day, as it doesn’t necessarily tie in with the facts of what was going on at the time and what your mood should’ve been as a result. You might’ve dragged yourself through a happy thing, or been inexplicably happy during a rubbish thing.
  18. Did some studying on my commute (my Futurelearn course). Train studying: good. Walk studying: dangerous.
  19. Had a mini singing lesson! From the lovely Stef Conner. She didn’t boot me out of her lovely choir.
  20. Saw Richard Herring live. Ate in Ed’s DinerIMG_20160522_221416
  21. Wedding-related new things. Went to a Catholic wedding ceremony. Sang higher than I’ve ever managed to sing in a church, with my new ‘skills’ – still pretty weedy and couldn’t reach most of the high notes but this is the first time I’ve ever sung in a church with a tiny bit of confidence and at least a vague idea of what my voice might do. Went to three new pubs in Hertfordshire. Played charades in a pub. Went to Down HallFB_IMG_1463945664171
  22. Stayed in a room in a B&B on my own. This would’ve been very pleasant had I not been supremely and stupidly hungover. Also held a baby great tit, rescued from the jaws of a cat. Would’ve very much liked to have kept it. Have been assured that it survived but with the reasoning behind this being that it had disappeared from where I left it, I’m dubious. Noteworthy new thing for 2016: heard a cuckoo.
  23. Made asparagus soup. Started the Futurelearn course Mindfulness, Wellbeing and Peak Performance. First time I’ve tried to do two FL courses at once – think I might struggle.
  24. Went to a Drink and Draw event in a cafe (Dr Doodley’s Drink and Draw in Hot Numbers). Next time: press harder! Had a lovely time though and have now bought a sketchbook.IMG_20160524_215357_kindlephoto-205892
  25. Spent an evening listening to podcasts. (Mortified, Judge John Hodgman, Richard Herring.)
  26. Bought some new puzzle books and tried some new puzzles (Suguru, Shikaku – new favourite – and Futoshiki). Inspired by Sarah’s new things.
  27. Pulled my own pint! This was actually on my list but it happened very suddenly! And overhauled my work email filing strategy. I’m quite interested in this second one as I was having a bit of a sad day (more of a quiet meltdown, really) so, looking back, I’m not sure how I managed to do something quite positive and useful (it’s more important than it sounds and I used to have an efficient system that disintegrated when my job changed). My new strategy is slightly more mindful, too, rather than ‘done, done, onto the next one’. Sometimes it seems like bits of me carry on functioning to themselves while everything else breaks. Cheers!FB_IMG_1464386512867
  28. Posted an advert on Gumtree. See ‘I’ve been meaning to do that for ages …‘ – it wasn’t one of my examples but I HAVE been meaning to do it for ages. Think I may have overpriced it.
  29. Did a mindfulness body scan (as part of my course). Was supposed to be making lasagne but 8pm isn’t a good time to start making lasagne for the first time, especially when it needs to go in the freezer by 10pm because you don’t actually want any lasagne because you’ve eaten too many biscuits. The body scan only took five minutes and was similar to yoga relaxation exercises, which I have done before, so I thought I’d better do another new thing – and drew a picture from a photo I’d taken. FB_IMG_1464554034087
  30. Mowed a lawn.
  31. Read a Shakespeare sonnet. I read this one, picked at random. And the commentary. Let’s see if I can fit a few more Shakespeare-themed things into this anniversary year.

22 people were involved in these, some repeatedly – that’s why I can’t list you all, sorry.

I’m expecting a flurry of guest blog posts from Adele, Hazel and Caroline, so watch this space. Grace has taken on the challenge for June…the rest of the year is up for grabs. Join me  – for a month, for a week, weekly, with a theme, whatever takes your fancy!



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