Monday 25 January 2021

Me on Monday

 What a difference a bit of snow makes

I wouldn't be able to call myself British if I didn't start the day off by mentioning the weather!  We had our first proper snow yesterday and how lovely it looked.  Of course it didn't last long in any place that a child could slide or make snowballs but it was fun while it lasted.  Temperatures overnight of -4 meant that it was pretty icy underfoot on our dog walk this morning but dogs don't care about cold weather!  I didn't actually take any photos yesterday but this is how things look on Monday around these parts

Clear skies and sunshine probably mean that this light covering that had survived in the local square will be gone by lunchtime 

And this little chap who had made it through the night is probably just a pool of melted ice now

Just when the news is nothing but doom and gloom, Mother Nature reminds us that better times are coming.  It was lovely to notice snowdrops opening their buds in the woodland near us.  Doesn't it lift your spirits to see signs of spring?  

Monday 18 January 2021

Me on Monday

 Three things making me feel brighter today

Fresh flowers.  It's been a while since we've had flowers as we haven't been going out to the shops.  But I had to go into town this morning and pick something up and I quickly popped into Waitrose to buy these little beauties.  Not an essential purchase in truest sense of the word but oh how they have brightened my day.

The figures for our area are coming down.  Still way too high (back in September the number was 16 per 100,000) but finally heading in the right direction.  Just look at that number of vaccinations too - that has got to be cause for optimism.

Check out the crochet!  Growing nicely.  I think I'm about a quarter of the way through, and I'm thoroughly enjoying it.  

I hope everyone else has some bright spots in their Monday.  What's making you smile today?

Friday 15 January 2021

A new year project - I'm hooked!

The beginning of this week did not find me in a good frame of mind.  The bad news seemed relentless, to the extent where I could not bring myself to listen to the 10pm news bulletin.  I was bored, missing family and friends and could not motivate myself.

The following day was a different story all together, I decided that one day of a pity party was ok, but I needed to keep myself occupied to improve my mood.  I'd been thinking about learning to crochet a while ago and buoyed up from the success of the hat, and with encouragement from my friend I put in an order for supplies of wool to make a blanket.  Next thing you know, this has arrived in the post

That's a lot of wool isn't it?  I must admit to a 'what have I done?' moment. But, once I'd started that first cast on row I was a woman on a mission.  I am enjoying it SO much!  Want to see how much I've done now?

Now, my tension isn't brilliant so please don't look too closely but I'm not aiming for perfection, this is just a thing to do to relax the mind (you can't be thinking about Covid numbers when your brain is saying to itself 'three trebles into the same stitch, miss a stitch, double crochet into the next stitch, miss a stitch' over and over again!) and while away a few hours.  In the interests of accountability I will be sharing progress reports, so prepare yourself for more crochet photos.  Unless it all goes horribly wrong in which case the word 'crochet' will not be found in any future blog posts 😬 

One of us had a hair cut this week

Lucky Coco.  My appointment for next week is now cancelled until whenever non essential services can open up again.  Good job I had it cut a little shorter when I went in December - at the time I joked 'just in case we go back into lockdown', little did we know that the expression about 'many a true word being spoken in jest' would be very appropriate!

But the thing that raised my spirits the most?  Spending a couple of hours with Leo and Rosie yesterday. Our daughter had some important financial work to do for her job which needed a lot of concentration, and had to be done on that day or no one got paid this month!  After weeks of working from home every day, her husband had to go into his London office for two days and the plan was for me to collect the children and keep them outdoors on a walk for at least an hour so she could get the bulk of the work done.  When we woke on Thursday it was apparent that the plan was not going to work - we had torrential rain from the early hours of the morning to late afternoon.  Outdoor childcare was not going to be possible.  After much deliberation, R decided that as they had not left the house for over two weeks, it was hopefully safe for them to spend time with us indoors and before you could say 'childcare bubble' I was in the car going to collect them!  It was so lovely to spend time with them, and they were so happy to be back in Nanny and Grandad's house getting all the toys out.  It was just the boost we all needed.  It took every ounce of resolve that I had to take them back home a couple of hours later and who knows when they will be back again.  Now her husband has been into London and potentially brought germs home with him, I know R will not let us see them indoors for at least two weeks! 

The blanket is calling me - I'm trying to do a couple of rows a day, and the added benefit is that if my hands are busy I can't be filling myself up with homemade cake!  

Sunday 10 January 2021

What day is it?

It's amazing how, without the structure of going places and seeing people, the days are all merging into one.  I have a meal plan going for two week periods and sometimes the only way I know what day it is by what we're having for dinner that night!

Anyone thinking I'm super organised is mistaken, the only reason I have a two week meal plan is because we've gone back to food deliveries rather than going to the supermarket ourselves!  And still I can guarantee there will be something that I forget to order.  Last week I was concentrating so hard on the ingredients for the main meals I didn't order basics like apples and bananas!

This lockdown is certainly a time for enforcing differences  to normal behaviour and this was brought home to me on Friday when I 'attended' the funeral of a lady I used to work with.  The congregation participated by watching a live stream of the service on Youtube.  I think this would have amused my friend so much, for someone who didn't embrace 'new' technology (she was 87 and preferred the old ways of letter writing and card sending to a quick email!) to be beamed around the world on the internet.  She was a keen and loud singer in church, although in the words of Morecambe and Wise she would 'hit all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order.'  So the fact that the family who did attend the service could listen to the hymns but due to Covid restrictions not be allowed to join in would, I think, have brought a wry smile to her face.  

It's cold here today.  Freezing cold, as the photos shown above taken on our morning dog walk show.  But we were wrapped up warm and the countryside was absolutely beautiful with the hoar frost clinging to trees and grass.  The ducks on the frozen lake were just standing around, seemingly walking on water, it really was beautiful.  Now home to prepare a Moroccan lamb tagine for lunch, the next episode of Bridgerton waiting to be watched and another day of lockdown to tick off on the diary.  

Friday 8 January 2021

One photo - Twenty words


When it's cold outside there's something very comforting about rock cakes warm from the oven with a freshly brewed coffee. 

Wednesday 6 January 2021

Here we go again!

 I guess it was inevitable - the signs were all around us.  We kept hearing about people we know being taken ill, the positive tests for our county were rising daily.  So it was no surprise to hear that we were going back into a national lockdown.  Sigh.  They are saying for at least six weeks but that is just an estimate.  It just feels worse this time.  Does anyone else feel like that?  Maybe because it's winter and those reasons for going out and exercising aren't so appealing when it's cold, wet and muddy.  Or maybe because we've been through it all before.  This new strain seems to be a nasty piece of work doesn't it?  Oh well, nothing we can do but obey the rules and stay home, do online exercise classes, and eat chocolate.  What?  He didn't say that?  Are you sure? OK, eat healthily to stay well.  

Yesterday when I was out for a walk with Coco I came across this

A 'snake' of painted rocks.  Left over from the last lockdown.  A little weathered, a little washed out but still there.  A bit like I'm feeling today I guess!

Of course there's always one person in the family who is taking advantage of the situation ...

'Everyone is allowed to leave their home for exercise once a day' does not apply to dogs, she's happily flouting the rules and going out twice - once with Paul and once with me.  To be honest, if you were to knock on the door right now, she'd probably go out with you too!

Saturday 2 January 2021

Winter Photo Scavenger Hunt

The first weekend in January finds me confined to home and flitting from thing to thing trying to keep occupied.  I just don't seem to be able to settle to anything today, but then I realised that it is time for the first link up for the Winter Photo Hunt, so here I am!

I stumbled upon the Winter Photo Hunt organised by Eileen via Mary Lou's Blog and having enjoyed the Summertime Photo Hunt, decided to join in with the Winter version this year.

There seems to be a common theme in the last three 😀 

Are you looking for a fun project to do while we are all staying home, keeping safe and keeping our distance from anyone else?  This is perfect - why not join in too?


Friday 1 January 2021

A sentence a day in December

 December - You should be full of social events, entertaining and getting excited about Christmas - given all the restrictions this year, I wonder how different you will be from past Decembers?

(spoiler alert - it was more different than we could have imagined!)

Day 1 Coco went to the groomers, it's so lovely to see her so soft and pretty (until she goes on a dog walk tomorrow and stomps around in muddy puddles)

Day 2 A Covid vaccination has been approved and will be given to the oldest age groups NEXT WEEK! Will be a while until they work their way down to us youngsters (never thought that 63 would seem young!) but it is a start.  

Day 3 Last online Zumba for a while, we are back in the hall next week 💃

Day 4 Started writing Christmas cards, labels printed, stamps and cards bought, just need to write inside them now

Day 5 Delivered our box of groceries to the local Food Bank, decorated Christmas tree, Jon and Max came over for a walk in the afternoon - a busy day!

Day 6 A lazy Sunday - just the two of us (and Coco) lots of jigsaw puzzling was done and a few Christmas cards written - homemade chicken pie for dinner.

Day 7 Started the day with a trip to the dentist which is my least favourite place to spend time - there was good news (I haven't broken a tooth) and bad news (I have to return in the new year for a filling in my wisdom tooth to be replaced)

Day 8 Our doctors surgery is running a flu vaccination clinic (just 'ordinary' flu, not the other new one!) at our local football ground - the organisation was amazing, they are calling hundreds of people each day and we were in and out in under 5 mins.  Register, sit down, arm out, jab, coat back on and back to the car park!

Day 9 Went over to Saffron Walden to pick up Max and bring him back here for the day - it was so lovely to spend a whole day with him.

Day 10 Zumba in the hall - followed by a cut and colour at the hairdressers - that feels better!

Day 11 Tesco food shop in the morning - already getting busier leading up to Christmas - in the afternoon Rachel brought Leo and Rosie here for an online zoom chat with Father Christmas (they still don't have internet at their new house so it's a good job we formed our childcare bubble and they can still come here to use our wifi!)

Day 12 Paul's birthday so we went out for an al fresco lunch with Jon, Sophie and Max - Leo's class has to self isolate for 10 days as a teacher has tested positive to Covid, so they are now confined to home.

Day 13 A quiet Sunday at home and the perfect opportunity to get wrapping those presents - it's a surprisingly time consuming job

Day 14 Baking day!  Went into town to the butchers to make things for the freezer. 30 sausage rolls, a mince meat pie and enough casserole for six took me most of the afternoon.

Day 15 Went into town to pick up a couple of presents I had bought on 'click and collect' then more wrapping of presents in the afternoon.

Day 16 Had Max here for the day, managed to tweak my back moving his car seat from Paul's car to mine and have been in more pain as the day went on.

Day 17 No Zumba for me today, in fact no 'anything' for me today and I'm hoping that getting some rest will help my back which is currently very painful.

Day 18 Back still hurts but not quite so much today, went on a long dog walk as I think that keeping moving is key to key to helping it heal.

Day 19 Christmas is cancelled.  We have been moved to Tier 4 so no indoor mixing at all for us.  Cannot put into words how disappointed we are.

Day 20 Still feeling down about the new Tier system, less than a week ago we were in Tier 2 and now we are in 4.  So many people's plans spoilt.

Day 21 Braved the supermarket at 8am, hardly anyone there - was a totally different story when I came out 40 minutes later, they were queuing into the car park

Day 22 Went out for a walk with Leo and Rosie so Rachel could take an important work call, it was so lovely to be out and about with them, safely in the fresh air.

Day 23 Jon and Sophie came over to collect their presents, had a nice (but muddy) socially distanced walk around the lake

Day 24 Christmas Eve - dropped Rachel's family's presents to them once the children were safely asleep.

Day 25 Christmas Day - how different it was to our normal Christmases but we made it as nice as we could, met up with Rachel and family in afternoon for a dog walk, feeling sad that we weren't able to have the day that we had planned with them.

Day 26 Boxing Day, had a zoom chat with my sister and brother in law, niece and her family, nephew and his family and Rachel.  Jon was supposed to join too, but apparently they all fell asleep on the sofa after lunch #lifewithaoneyearold

Day 27 Went to Tesco to restock up on fresh fruit and veggies, was pleasantly surprised by how quiet it was.

Day 28 Zoom Zumba!  Was so good to do some proper exercise again!

Day 29 A day of jigsaw puzzling, crocheting and a zoom quiz in the evening

Day 30 Oh no, lockdown baking has started again, keep me away from the cake ...

Day 31 New Years Eve - takeaway dinner from our favourite Thai restaurant, a bottle of bubbly and the TV for entertainment - someone, somewhere near us had fireworks in their garden which went on until almost 1am #notagoodstartto2021forCoco

So that's it, not just the end of another month, but the end of a pretty unpredictable year.  While I know that 2021 is not going to see an immediate improvement I really hope that as the months pass our restrictions can safely be relaxed.  The important thing is to keep safe and keep well, this year has shown us what things are really important in our lives and I for one cannot wait to spend more time with friends and family in the coming year.

Happy New Year!