I’ve got four birthdays to think about, all of them are this week.  It feels like Christmas has prematurely come round again, before I have had time to properly recover from it.  I like to give two or three small packages to the children, so they have fun going through the present bag.  Adults are simpler, more often than not, one piece of gift wrap for them covers all.

Ho hum….here I am again, only eight weeks after the last festive blast cutting up gift paper, wrapping up presents and raking through the cupboard for some bags to put them in.

Brown or white paper bags can be quite  good as gift bags, those you sometimes get in food shops with paper handles – they look like ears have been attached –  making sure, mind you, that there are no tell-tale signs of their original use.  The trouble is, it’s too early in the year to have any.  My alternative would be a plain bio-degradable plastic carrier bag, if I have one. These days, getting a carrier bag of any sort, let alone one that I can use as a gift bag, is rare.

Like lots of people I recycle the festive gift bags I have received at Christmas time.  Really, I can’t see any reason why I shouldn’t use them at anytime, even if they are glittery tree, Reindeer, snow-flake,  bauble and star adorned festive gift bags.  After all, they are bags; if it looks like a bag and acts like a bag, then it must be a bag……………………I cannot think of any good reason why I shouldn’t use them for all sorts of occasions, can you?

Gift Bag

Gift Bag


This morning I did the ironing.  Before that, I fought the gale force gusts and pinned laundry on the rotary drying line.  I learned my lesson a long time ago, don’t go chasing the whirly line, grab it and bring it back to me…where I am standing, not quite where the wind doesn’t blow, though in a better place from which to pin up the washed garments.  

P1000003 Washing blowing

The first load did quite well, it is now folded and waiting to be ironed. The second load got pulled in when it looked like serious rain was descending. It soon passed so…………out I went and pinned  up that load again on the rotary drying line.  It’s getting dark, time for  finally rescuing the laundry.

I’ve also been making up parcels this afternoon. February through to early March is a busy time for family birthdays.  I admit it, I am glad the job is done and dusted.   Making up all the birthday parcels in one go is a bit of a marathon; there’s a lot to be said for my habitual pattern of spacing out the task.

The reason for getting all these jobs done, is, I am trying to cover in advance as many tasks as I can, as I am expecting to be a lot less mobile than usual after the end of this week, jut for a short while.  I will be under orders to put my feet up and rest for the first two or three weeks.


With that in mind, I have checked out the laptop computer, which, has not had a great deal of use for a while. It’s now updated and firing on all cylinders. I do prefer a tapping keyboard rather than a digital touch one  on the  tablet computers. The digital touch screen keyboards do not work well at fast typing speeds.  No amount of auto correction sorts out the gaps and gobbledygook that regularly appears.

I’ve got some books waiting to be read; there are a couple of films on DVD I have not yet watched and horror of horrors, I could even get into the habit of watching daytime T.V.  I wonder if that’s enough to keep me glued to a chair. A bit of wriggling about should keep numb bum at bay for some of the time  The doctor said that there is about six weeks recuperative time after the job is done, then, I should be able to stand on my own two feet.




As an exercise in reminding myself of the value of tables, I manually drew one some years ago and wrote it up with birthdays for family and special friends. Christmas is a demanding time and is what it is. Unless a birthday fell at Christmas, the festival did not come into the equation.

When I had finished filling in the various boxes with names and dates, I was very surprised to see which was my busiest month of the year for birthdays. Call it illusory, call it a blind spot, call it what you like……for some unfathomable reason,(if reason there was) I was sure that my largest group of birthday greetings were in a different month of the year. But, there it was, written in my own fair hand with all the details, all of which had been checked. There was no getting away from it, that particular period was where I was likely to be busiest greeting people and making up some parcels, especially for the children, who had birthdays at that time.

The next step was to progress to spreadsheets. It was not difficult to resist that temptation. I have a friend who does one at Christmas time. She totals up what she spends on everyone, with a separate column for what is spent on her children so, she can see the distribution of the spend.

What I have done though, is create a computerised table, much like the one I manually drew up. I added an extra column for Christmas gifts/greetings and suchlike. This is because I can then use one table for both purposes. I also note birth dates in the name column. Some people receive both birthday and Christmas greetings. I save the tables from year to year, as yet, I have not decided for how long. Like address books, some names disappear over time. I have found the tables incredibly useful to check back with, as, for example, I nearly gave the same gift to someone, two years running.


This is a month for birthdays, the youngest being aged 6. I won’t embarrass the others at the upper end of the scale.

My sister-in-law is the first one of the month and is a Valentine’s baby; we focus on the birthday. I have a large book for her which will take some concentrated reading; that shouldn’t be a problem as she is a keen reader. I don’t normally buy books for people, but the one chosen is a big hitter and I thought I’d risk it. There are one or two other gift items to join the book.

A good friend has a birthday two days later; She’s into arts and craft, gardening and croft farming. I found a lovely large box of threads and universal sewing machine accessories. I had put by some delightful sets of chopsticks in raffia cases as well. However, I am going to look at a couple of pieces of handmade pottery tomorow from a range I know she likes, then decide if the chopsticks set off the pottery.

The youngest one was relatively easy, I found just the thing to annoy her parents when I was on my travels in December 2005 – a bubble blower and all the bubbles come out of a big box that requires a very strong bubbling solution. :>

Hubby is next: for the first time ever, I have been low on ideas. I have booked for us to go out for a meal with a couple of friends, but that is nearly a week before the birthday so I have to dream up something for the day itself. I have one or two token items and tonight I got some inspiration online and ordered a large road atlas to replace the tiddly little thing that he has in the car. The road atlas he has is one of those with a spiral spine which cuts through the very bit of road you want to travel through, every time, without fail. Even he has some expletive moments with it. It has got to go! Anyway, it is more than three years old. As a last resort, I think I shall have to consider one of the standard standby items – a thermal vest. Now how exciting is that… 🙄