Saturday 31 October 2020

A sentence a day in October

 Another month bites the dust! Spoiler alert, there's ups, there's downs, and then right at the last minute it does not end well ...

Day 1 Zumba! The new patio area is finished and we are so pleased with it, now all we need is a dry warm day to go out and enjoy sitting on it.

Day 2 Today is not that day ... it rained non stop all day!  

Day 3 Started decorating the lounge, am finding little speckles of white gloss paint in random places on my clothes.

Day 4 Rachel and family came for Sunday lunch - with an unhappy Rosie who had squished her finger in the bathroom door before they came #beginningofahorrendousweek

Day 5 An early morning visit to A&E confirmed that Rosie has broken her finger!

Day 6 Looked after Rosie for the day, being ultra careful with her poor finger

Day 7 Looked after Max, was a lovely day so spent a lot of it outdoors at the park or feeding the ducks

Day 8 Anxiety ridden trip to the dental hygienist, Rosie back at hospital to have her nail pierced to release a massive blood blister, then Rosie's doctor rang to say he wants her to go to A&E at a different hospital where they have a plastic surgeon for their opinion on what needs to be done - they were at the hospital from 4.15pm to 11pm so we had an unexpected guest (Leo) for a sleepover Day 9 #longestsentenceever

Day 9 An anxious day where Rosie had her operation to have her nail removed, damage to the nail bed repaired and the broken bone inspected, another night with our sleepover guest.

Day 10 Jon and Max popped over to see us and then Rachel and Rosie turned up to say hello - was lovely to see the cousins together, Indian takeaway at friends in the evening

Day 11 A Sunday to ourselves - there may have been an afternoon nap taken by one of us #itwasme

Day 12 Rosie pulled her bandages off so an early morning trip (5am) to the hospital for her and her mum!

Day 13 An anxious day of childminding Rosie and worrying about her hurting herself

Day 14 My sister popped in for a chat while I was looking after Max

Day 15 New carpet delivered - who will be the first to spill something on it? #whoeveritiswillbeintrouble

Day 16 New chairs delivered, now the fun begins of finding new cushions and throws to accessorise the room!

Day 17 Went to friends for an Indian takeaway - discovered they have just put their house on the market so will be moving away.

Day 18 A quiet day, just the two of us, a nice long dog walk to start the day off well.

Day 19 Caught up with chores, popped into town to collect new cushions for the new chairs - the lounge is now officially complete!

Day 20 Childminding day - plus Coco went to the groomers so is looking particularly pretty.

Day 21 Our day for caring for Max, Coco's pristine white fur no longer pristine due to torrential rain during morning walk, meal out with friends in the evening (have to make the most of going out while we can!)

Day 22 So very tired - Coco had us up twice in the night to go out into the garden, she is not in our good books today!  Not sure how I survived Zumba when all I wanted to do was catch up on my sleep, but I did and even kept awake during my haircut.

Day 23 Invited to friends for a cup of tea in the afternoon - even Coco was included in the invitation which made her very happy.

Day 24 Went to a small local garden centre for inspiration on what to plant around the new patio area, bought a tree which only just fitted in the car!

Day 25 Clocks went back an hour so we are officially no longer in British Summer Time - both our children realised that when you are a parent, this never means you get an extra hour in bed!

Day 26 Another day another garden centre! 

Day 27 Childminding for Rosie and Leo, made some cupcakes - and quite a mess.

Day 28 Childminding Max who enjoyed 'helping' Grandad in the garden planting some of the plants we bought on Monday.

Day 29 Decided to have a tidy up of the toys we have accumulated for when we have the grandchildren over for the day, updating them and donating a few which are not played with to the local charity shop.

Day 30 Someone gave us a bag of cooking apples so I used a few to make Mary Berry's Spiced Dorset Apple Traybake which came out of the oven just in time to have a warm slice while we had a cup of tea - Coco went on a sleepover to our daughter's house while we had a takeaway with two other couples.

Day 31 Awaiting confirmation that the whole of England is about to go back into a month of lockdown 😭

On that depressing thought, let's have a roundup in video form of what we did while we had a little bit of freedom 

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Friday 30 October 2020

Almost Allhallows

 How can it possibly be almost the end of October?  What a year!  We don't have that many young children living around us, they have all grown up and got too old/cool to go trick or treating (however that may happen this year!).  But that doesn't stop me buying a 'few' sweets ready to hand out - just in case.  I am sure that someone (me) will eat them if no-one turns up at the door! Luckily I've only bought sweets that I like 😉

But if it's almost the end of October, then it is also almost time to start the 25 Days of Gratitude posts!

Which will be a challenge in itself as I have given myself an extra rule, that I have to post one photo every day.  Shall we take bets now on whether or not I manage 25 daily posts?  In anticipation of doing this I had a video call with Leslie and Jennifer last night.  Well, last night for me, and yesterday afternoon for them!  It's always interesting to actually speak to someone whose blog you have been following.  I love listening to other people's accents, we don't notice our own do we?  

I hope everyone has a good weekend, I know that those of us in the UK are probably in different kinds of restrictions as to what we can do.  We are currently on the lowest tier, but I suspect we could be about to change so we will make the most of being able to have our daughter and family over for Sunday lunch.  We can't see our son indoors as although he only lives 14 miles away, his county is in Tier 2.  We are also seeing friends this evening for a takeaway meal.  The hosts' son in law is a doctor and I know they are taking things seriously and the husband of the other couple has a lung problem so they are being careful too.  I only feel comfortable being indoors with other people who are following the rules the same as we are!

Take care and keep safe!

Wednesday 28 October 2020

What's your style?

 Well, we went to the garden centre on Monday and I knew they would be full to the rafters of Christmas decorations as well as all the plants and shrubs.  But I think that their idea of interior design may be slightly more flamboyant to mine.

This model village display is wonderful to see, but I don't think we'll be able to replicate it with our small collection of Duplo.

Maybe we should go for a safari scene.  I mean, nothing says Christmas like a life-size tiger in your lounge does it?

Oh that's more like it, polar bears and penguins, a pretty snowy scene.  I'm not quite sure how Coco would like it if we brought home an 8ft animated polar bear to sit in the lounge.  To be honest, the penguin was about her size and I think that would have terrified her too!

Lovely to look at, but none of them made it home with us and while we may upgrade our Christmas tree this year, I think I'll be sticking with our very traditional Christmas decor again this year!

Monday 26 October 2020

Don't be misled


Does this look the face of someone who is feeling sorry for her behaviour during the night?  Or does it look like the face of someone who enjoyed having us up and awake at midnight and again at 3.45am last Thursday just so she could run around the garden?  She, of course, comes back in and settles down in her bed falling asleep straight away.  Not quite the situation for us humans who were bleary eyed, a bit tetchy and in need of a very early night.

The good news is that our tests last Sunday were negative and we had our second ones this week.  But boy does it make you feel guilty, even when you are following the rules!  There are a lot of questions to be answered before you do the test.  Yes we had been out to a restaurant with other people for longer than an hour, but equally, yes we had kept our distance.  Yes, we had been inside someone else's house for longer than an hour, but we had kept that safe distance at all times.  Had we had physical contact with anyone other than ourselves?  Yes, but it is hard to change a grandson's nappy without touching him!  (Apparently, so long as grandchildren under 5 have no symptoms, touching them is ok!) How many times had we been to the shops?  Twice.  Had we worn masks at all times while in the shops?  Yes.  One thing guaranteed to make you keep to the rules is knowing that someone is going to be asking you about whether you've been keeping to the rules!  

It's been a busy and strange week.  Paul's mum's house finally exchanged and completed contracts on the same day and although he hadn't lived there for 40 years, it was still the only family home that they had lived in so emotionally it was a strange day, the last part of the process of dealing with the loss of his mum.  We had our two days of looking after grandchildren, those days go by in a blur.  I had a Zumba class and Paul played badminton, hopefully both those things will still continue even if we go into Tier 2.  I had a hair cut - wanted to get that done just in case they start to close hairdressers again!  We had a meal out with friends, and I don't know if it was because we hadn't been inside a restaurant with other people for so long, but it was such a nice evening.  The food was delicious and it was great to catch up with all the news as we hadn't seen them for ages.  Then we were also invited for an afternoon cup of tea with some other friends and Coco was invited too so that made everyone happy.  It felt that we had been safely sociable quite a lot and the week flew by.

Our attention has turned to the garden as we need to do a bit of planting before the weather turns so we went to a small garden centre near us and ended up buying a tree.  The assistant assured us that it would fit in the car and, after a squeeze, it kind of did but I did have the leaves on the top branches tickling my ear all the way home.

So today we are planning to go to another garden centre a little further away to stock up on some more spring flowering bulbs and a few bits to plant into the raised wooden beds we had built.  This particular garden centre is renowned for it's amazing Christmas department - shall be take bets now on whether or not a few new tree decorations find their way into my shopping basket?

Monday 19 October 2020

Statistically speaking


Well, we are now officially part of the national statistics that we hear about on the Government briefings!

We received a letter inviting us to be part of a volunteer group who would have a test even though we have no symptoms.  The theory being that it gives a truer picture to also test those without symptoms rather than just test those who do.  I had no hesitation in agreeing to take part, in fact I am rather grateful to be tested because if I do carry the virus and am asymptomatic, it is the best interests of everyone I come into contact with to be aware of it.  Someone came to our house yesterday for the initial visit so we have taken our first test and then we will have one a week for the next month, then one a month for the next 11 months. 

Friends of ours had an unexpected wake up call in the early hours of Sunday.  Three police officers checking to make sure they were isolating after returning back from Spain last week!  Our friend's husband had received a text message asking for confirmation that they were isolating, but as it came from an unknown number, he assumed it was a spam message and ignored it.  So that obviously put them on a checking list and what's the best time to find out if someone is staying home?  4.30am apparently!  But it is good to know that people are being checked and the moral to the story is, check if a message is spam rather than just ignore it!

So in the last few days the county next to us went up a tier of restrictions and I'm wondering how long it will be before we are added to that list as well.  We are quite literally on the border line between counties, the river that runs through our town is the county border!  Better make the most of going out and seeing friends while we can!  Not that we do that a lot, but we have just got back into the luxury of being able to see other people (from a safe distance of course!)

Last week went by in the blink of an eye with new carpets and two new armchairs being delivered and so with the indoors looking fresh and new we can turn our attention to adding some planting to the garden.  Today's plan is to go to a garden centre nearby and buy some spring flowering bulbs and maybe a couple of plants to put in pots on the new patio area.  It will be nice to spend some time in the fresh air as I feel that with one thing or another, we have been confined to barracks recently either waiting for deliveries or looking after children!  

Keep safe everyone!

Friday 16 October 2020

Things I learned this week

 After the drama of last week, we've had another busy week.  Funny how you get periods in your life when that happens isn't it?

So, things I learned 

  1. The need for sleep will eventually catch up with you
  2. A phone call at 5am is rarely someone calling just for a chat
  3. When getting a new carpet in the lounge and dining room there is a heck of a lot of furniture to move
  4. I am not of the right strength or stature to shift heavy furniture
  5. We have far too many wine glasses
  6. Looking after grandchildren when you have a new carpet is fraught with concern over spillages and crumbs
After little, bad quality sleep at the end of the previous week I feel like I slept for much of Sunday!  I certainly napped most of the afternoon, and was in bed by 9.30.

But a good, long sleep was not to be had!  In the early hours of the morning, Rosie had managed to pull off the huge bandage around her hand and Rachel was on her way to hospital to get it re-dressed.  Why did she need to call me at 5am?  Because strangely, the hospital car park payment machines do not take card payments and she had no pound coins left after all the visits last week. She knew that I had cashed up some change before our trip to Chichester (for this very reason!) and wondered if I had any left.  This is the problem with becoming a cashless society isn't it?  We are so used to tapping our card to a payment device that there is no need for cash and shops actively discourage you from using money for even the smallest of purchases!

Boy do my back and shoulders ache.  Fortunately our son in law came to help the night before the carpet arrived, but even the emptying of sideboards and bookcases resulted in many trips up and downstairs.  It did however have a few positives in that we came across things that we thought we had lost or had forgotten we had!

So the carpet was laid, we stood back to admire it and then decided to see how much furniture we could get back ourselves.  Then couldn't stop until it was all back!  Why on earth did we buy solid wood dining table, sideboard and bookcase?  Oh how I ache today.

But in returning the glassware to the shelves I realised just how many wine glasses and beer glasses we have.  I mentioned to Paul that we wouldn't be having any parties in the near future so did we really need to put them all back but he rightly observed that we would then have to find a new home for them so they went back exactly where they started! 

So all the furniture is back, glasses and books on shelves, TV reconnected ... and Rosie arrived for the afternoon while Leo and his mum went to the local pumpkin patch as a little mum and son treat for being a good boy while his sister got all the attention last week.  How could I protect my lovely new carpet?  By suggesting a giant picnic for us and her 'babies' and laying spare blankets and quilts on the floor for us to sit on!

Before Rosie's arrival 

And after!

So that's our news from this week.  Who knows what the next one will bring?  Tomorrow the county next to us, where Jon lives, goes up a tier of restrictions so I am sure it is only a matter of time before we are affected too.  The town we live in is right on the border of the two counties, on one street in town, one half is in Essex and the other in Hertfordshire so I'm not sure how they will be coping!

A little ps here especially for Alexa, if you are reading, I cannot comment on your blog posts and I don't want you to think I am ignoring you!  I haven't changed anything on my computer or iPad so I'm not sure what the problem is.  Any suggestions gratefully received!

Saturday 10 October 2020

What a week

 I have been somewhat missing in action this week and apologise for not being up to date with blog reading and commenting.  It has not been a good week for any of us but especially Rosie who got her finger caught in a door on Sunday morning.

This week has involved two doctors appointments, two accident and emergency appointments at our local hospital, one accident and emergency trip to a different hospital 45 mins drive away and one urgent operation.

The only person benefitting from all this was Leo who had two unexpected sleepovers at Nanny and Grandad's house!

Poor little Rosie, and poor little Rosie's mum who was the person who shut the door and is suffering horrendous Mummy guilt even though we all know how quickly accidents like this can happen even to the most careful of families.  

I definitely won't be sharing any of the photos as they are pretty horrible but what first seemed like 'just' a broken finger soon escalated into something worse and she eventually had surgery to remove her finger nail, repair the nail bed and check out the break which thankfully didn't require a pin.

So it's been pretty traumatic here, but she's home again now, with a bandaged hand that looks like a boxing glove (perfect for bashing your brother over the head) and has just accepted the fact that she can't use it and eating and playing with her left hand.  Leo enjoyed his couple of nights with us, we have had very little sleep either due to anxiety or having a small boy sleeping in the same room tossing and turning all night but after a good night's sleep I'm hoping I'll be back in blog land properly again next week!

Monday 5 October 2020

Ta Dah in September


Oh the excitement - we actually left the house for a short holiday this month.  Almost exactly a year since our last holiday. Not quite such a foreign place this year but we enjoyed it just the same.  I've written a few blog posts about the places we got to visit so I won't bore you with them again, but will just say that we really had a lovely time.  Although she'll never admit it, Coco had a good time on her holiday too.  Staying with someone who lives in the same street as us so she was on home territory and I suspect that a lot of cuddling and spoiling went on in our absence.


I've not read many books this month.  I'd already read the title that was chosen by our book club so I chose to read one of the other titles from the list which was The Girl from Widow Hills by Megan Miranda which I enjoyed and didn't guess the twist at the end and then Things We Never Said by Nick Alexander.  I wondered if this would be a sad book to read, but it wasn't, it made you realise that even when you think you really know someone there may always be another side to a story that you don't know about. The last book that I finished on the last day of the month was The Switch  by Beth O'Leary who wrote The Flatshare.  This was a lovely, easy read and although you can kind of guess what the ending will be, it's a good journey getting to it.


I returned to doing my Zumba class in person!  Something that would not have warranted a 'ta dah' moment last year but was a huge accomplishment this very strange year.  Of course in my excitement to get there I forgot to pick up my belly dancing skirt so didn't make as much noise I would normally do on the 'Bollywood' routines!


We went out for a meal four times - all while we were away, it was lovely to relax with a gin and tonic while someone else cooked my dinner for me!

I'm still doing my Spanish lessons on Duolingo, some of the categories are getting a little bit harder now and it's easy to run out of 'hearts' (you are only allowed to make 4 mistakes per lesson which can be a bit stressful if you accidentally press the wrong button and enter your answer before you've double checked it ...

So that's what I achieved in September - did you have a 'to do' list for the month?


Friday 2 October 2020

A sentence a day in September

 I feel that Autumn has crept up on us this month and September went by on fast forward!  It was the one month of the year that we spent a few days away from home.  That was a novelty!

Day 1 Our childminding day for Leo and Rosie, luckily the weather was lovely so we could spend a lot of time outdoors either in the garden or over the park

Day 2 Looked after Max today, had some fun over the playground which was not as busy as the 'big children' went back to school today.

Day 3 Hairdressing appointment - this time I had to keep a mask on the whole time I was there, 2 hours is the longest I've spent wearing one and I have to be honest, I was pleased to take it off!

Day 4 Went to Cambridge and was pleased to see that our favourite place for lunch had reopened but what a good job we got there early as they only have 4 tables now.

Day 5 Woke at 2.30am not feeling great, spent more time in the bathroom than the bedroom from then onwards!

Day 6 40th Wedding Anniversary - not the day we had planned, had to cancel our meal out as I was still unwell.

Day 7 Starting to feel a bit more human again, cautiously returning to 'normal' but still really tired (probably due to lack of food - those extra covid-kilos have definitely gone now #gottofindasilverlining)

Day 8 Looked after Leo and Rosie for the morning, Coco went to the groomers

Day 9 Did packing for our staycation - there is a possibility I may have put rather too much in the case but I blame a changeable weather forecast!

Day 10 Arrived in Chichester for our holiday - our Airbnb Georgian cottage is lovely!

Day 11 Visited Arundel, what a lovely village and fabulous castle dating back to 1067

Day 12 Today we visited the Weald and Downland living museum where they rescue historic homes from up to 1000 years ago, renovate them and place them in a village setting - it's such an interesting place set in 40 acres plus it's where the tv series The Repair Shop is filmed! 

Day 13 A beautifully sunny day so we headed first to the Marina and then to the beach - parked at East Wittering and then walked along the sea shore to West Wittering, a late Sunday lunch was booked at a lovely pub in Dell Quay which was absolutely delicious.

Day 14 Home again, Coco was very excited when we went to pick her up!

Day 15 Back to normal, a day for looking after Leo and Rosie - our first time of dropping Leo off and picking him up from school - it's 30 years since I did the same journey with his mummy!

Day 16 Our day for having Max, when Leo and Rosie found out he was here they insisted on coming to visit too, it was lovely to have them all here - neatly complying with the new 'Rule of Six' restrictions.

Day 17 Went to Zumba - back to the local hall - it felt SO good!

Day 18 Popped into town, on the hunt for a birthday present, so nice to be able to actually go into shops to browse rather than just scrolling through the online shops for inspiration.

Day 19 Did a LOT of work in the garden, clearing the bed where the new patio area will be, moving plants and general tidying up.

Day 20 Rachel and family came for Sunday lunch, weather was glorious so was nice to enjoy time in the garden.

Day 21 We were invited for cocktails in the afternoon to celebrate our friend's birthday, it was probably going to be the last sunny day for a while so naturally we had to go!

Day 22 Our day for childminding Rosie and Leo - on our walk to the lake in the afternoon Leo picked up 43 conkers - what on earth will he do with them all?

Day 23 Had Max here for the day, had some surprise news from the vets that Coco's routine annual check up shows she may have a slight heart murmur which is a bit worrying - lots of extra cuddles this evening.

Day 24 Zumba!  While I was out, there was a delivery of wood ready for the guy to start work on our new deck/patio area on Monday

Day 25 A day for catching up with chores

Day 26 Got my baking vibe on and baked some rock cakes, babysat for Leo and Rosie in the evening

Day 27 Jon, Sophie and Max came for Sunday lunch, thought we would squeeze a family dinner in before any local lockdowns come into force!

Day 28 The garden project has begun!  

Day 29 The first day that we have had Rosie here on her own for most of the day as Leo has now started school properly and didn't need picking up until 3pm.

Day 30 Had Max here for the day, took him to feed the ducks and was surprised to find that a swan and her cygnet arrived as well, I don't think we've ever had swans on the lake before.

Now to the point where we tie it all together - 30 days, in 1 Second Everyday

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Thursday 1 October 2020

25 Days of Gratitude

Well it looks as if, no matter where we live in the world, we will be pretty much staying close to home for a little while longer doesn't it?  There's enough negativity in the world so let's concentrate on all those things for which we are thankful. In collaboration with Leslie and Jennifer, I would like to invite you to join in with ...

25 days of Gratitude

A photo challenge with a slight difference.  

Let's find out a little bit more about each other by sharing our gratitude for things close to us.  The plan is to use October for photographing things and then posting them, either daily on your blog or on Instagram (starting on November 1), or you can wait until the end of November and share them in one batch. If using Instagram, please use the hashtag #25DaysofGratitude so we can see them together as a group.  

Please join us in taking photographs for the following daily prompts: 
  1. Comfort food 
  2. Fresh produce 
  3. Home - you by your front door 
  4. A favorite place to walk 
  5. Nature 
  6. Something in autumnal colours 
  7. Warm clothes 
  8. Weather 
  9. Favourite smell 
  10. Keepsake or memento 
  11. Pet 
  12. Best friend 
  13. Routine or habit 
  14. Coziness 
  15. Surprise 
  16. Morning 
  17. Evening 
  18. Hobby 
  19. Work 
  20. Play 
  21. Warm beverage 
  22. Good health 
  23. Books 
  24. Quiet 
  25. Family 

We'll be having a link up post on the last day of November, the only stipulation is that the photos must be taken between now and the end of November.

I really hope you will join in.  Having just completed the Summertime Photo Hunt organised by Marie-Lou, I can honestly say that these kind of photographic prompts really are good fun.  I can't wait to see what people find to share!