Monday 29 November 2021

Starting a new week

You can really tell that it's November in my little corner of the world - dog walks are now shorter, more layers are worn and the walking boots are in regular use in preference to trainers.  Funny how the weather never bothers Coco though, she's up for a walk any time of day and any kind of weather.  One of the benefits of having a layer of fur I guess!

It was a nice social kind of week last week, the kind of week that I used to take for granted so it was even nicer to meet up with friends that I hadn't seen for a while.  One friend I had dinner with on Thursday has had a 'Long Lost Family' moment and discovered that she actually has three half siblings that she previously knew nothing about.  Can you imagine the shock? It would seem that her mother had had quite a secret history before settling down with her dad.  

It was nice to get glammed up to go out for dinner with three other couples on Saturday.  The thing that links this group is that our other halves all play badminton together on a Tuesday evening.  But the weather was horrendous that day and it seemed very weird to go out wearing a sparkly sleeveless top and trousers but have to wear a thick padded coat, hat and gloves to survive the walk from the car park to the restaurant!  Isn't it hard to motivate yourself to get all dressed up in the evening when you've been sitting around in comfy joggers and a warm sweater and socks all day.

The sparkles came out again on Sunday as it was our Zumba class's pre-Christmas party, we didn't get to have one last year so we all kept our fingers crossed that it would happen this time.  It was so much fun, there was live music (the female singer does an Adele tribute act and had such a brilliant voice) and of course as we are all Zumba dancers we were dancing all afternoon!  My feet didn't know what had hit them, not only wearing proper shoes with heels for the first time in I don't know how long, but two hours of almost non stop dancing.  

So here we are today and there is another meal out - this time for lunch.  There needs to be some serious healthy eating for the rest of the week!

But first a trip to the car dealership to start the process of choosing a new car.  The contract on my Mini finishes in March and the time between ordering and car arriving is currently about three months so I need to make a decision.  Who am I kidding?  There's no decision to be made - I will get another Mini, I love them!  My only query this time is do I go for automatic or manual?  I normally have manual but Paul has an automatic car and I'm tempted to do the same. 

I'm so pleased that we organised our pre-Christmas 'events' early this year as I'm sure I'm not the only one who is feeling a bit suspicious about the prospect of more restrictions as we move into December.  We seem to be working our way through the Greek alphabet of variants far too quickly!  

Saturday 20 November 2021

Me on Saturday

 The week coming should, in theory, be more 'normal' than the last one.  Having said that, we did have a good week last week, just not very normal!

The childminder was in isolation so I spent every day except Friday looking after Rosie which was lovely but reminded me that at 63 I do not have the energy that I used to have!  We went into town on Monday and bought her some very trendy patent chunky boots, almost identical to a pair her mummy has. 

Tuesday we went to a nearby garden centre which always has lovely Christmas displays and we chose a new decoration for her to hang on their Christmas tree.  She did have her eye on the Mummy bear model in this display but we managed to talk her out of it.

Wednesday was spent mostly playing games at home. Thursday we went to do the weekly shop - for some reason, sitting in a trolley and being wheeled around Tesco is very exciting in the eyes of an almost three year old!  I've clocked up so many steps this week - walking up to school pushing a buggy to collect Leo at the end of the day has really helped with my grand total.

Friday is the day that Rachel doesn't work so I had a day off!  Boy did I need it!  We went to Chelmsford to have a look around the shops and unexpectedly managed to get a few Christmas presents (and a new dress for me!)

I was so tempted to get some new decorations but realised that I have quite enough at home already.  Oh all right, confession time, I do seem to have come home with one new tree decoration to add to my collection!

So after a busy week, we have a little touch of normal over the weekend.  A meal out at a local Italian restaurant this evening with a group of friends that we always used to see for a pre-Christmas meal in pre-Covid times.  One of the couples who moved slightly out of the area we haven't seen for two years so we will have a lot of catching up to do!

Then on Sunday - social event of the year, drum roll please ... Rosie will be celebrating her third birthday!  We are invited for lunch (which Rosie assures me will be cake, followed by cup cakes) and so are Jon and his family.  Our first time together as a family of 10 - We are going to make the most of it just in case we are suddenly plunged into lockdown again!

Have a good weekend!

Sunday 14 November 2021

All boostered up!

 Over 50 ✅ Six months since our second vaccination ✅ that's all we needed to qualify for our booster jab on Friday.  Once again everything ran very smoothly and apart from a sore arm, there didn't seem to be any other side effects.  Fingers crossed it keeps us safe.

Last week saw the big climate change conference in Glasgow and naturally it has been on the news constantly.   It makes you think of what ways you could do your own part to help.  For a few years now we have got our gas and electricity from a company who boasts that they use only 100% renewable energy.  We try to be mindful of the amount of red meat we consume and we aim to have at least one vegetarian meal a week, fish and chicken twice a week.

This week we have taken one other small step.  We've signed up for a milk delivery service from a local independent dairy.

 No more plastic containers for our milk or fruit juice!  Although we always used to put them in the recycling, it feels good to be reducing that plastic usage.  It does take me back to my youth!  I grew up in a small town where there were no supermarkets and the local shopkeepers offered a delivery service.  I remember the baker arriving at the door with a basket of freshly made bread, still warm - why does fresh, warm bread taste so much more delicious?  Orders for general shopping were delivered by Mr Negus, who would stop and have a cup of tea while mum unpacked the shopping and gave him back the bags he had brought it in.  It was a much slower, more social process but so much more personal.

As I brought the milk bottles in on the first delivery day I was taken back to being about seven years old and being made 'milk monitor' at school with my friend Nicky.  Every child was given a small bottle of milk at break time and it was our job to collect up the silver bottle tops and flatten them out to be saved and sent to Blue Peter.  There was a campaign to raise money to buy a guide dog for the blind by sending in milk bottle tops.  It was a very important job, and Nicky and I took it very seriously!  

When I was little, we had 'whole' milk, not semi skimmed or skimmed and the cream of the milk would settle at the top of the bottle.  Sometimes if we didn't go and get the milk in off the doorstep in time, cheeky birds would peck through the foil to get to the cream!  Even though we don't have whole milk now, I still found myself shaking the bottle before I poured out the milk.  Old habits die hard!

We have another busy week of grandchildren caring this week.  R's childminder and her husband both have Covid.  Naturally my first thought when I heard was 'poor things, I hope they only have it mildly' but it was swiftly followed by 'oh no, this is definitely going to impact on me!'  So wish me luck - four days of looking after Rosie are on the horizon!  Sometimes retirement does not seem to be going the way I thought it would 😉

Monday 8 November 2021

Me on Monday

 I'm hoping for a slightly more relaxed week this week!  There was an awful lot of extra bits of childminding thrown into the mix last week trying to help free up some time for Rachel to settle into her new job.  

I also thought I may have succumbed to 'that' virus on Friday.  I didn't feel brilliant first thing, I had to de ice my car to go out first thing and I just couldn't get warm again.  We went to Cambridge mid morning but as the time went on it felt like my legs didn't have the strength to walk very far.  After a couple of hours I said to Paul that I thought I needed to go home.  Had I worked too hard at Zumba on Thursday?  Had the excitement of finally getting my hair cut been too much? (I'd first booked it for the week I caught Max's stomach bug, rescheduled it for the following week, then Sophie went into labour early and I was on Max duty, so I was holding my breath that it would finally happen 3rd time lucky!)

Coco had a hair cut

So did I

Blue skies in Cambridge just before I decided I needed to get home!

I took a lateral flow test as soon as we got home, which was negative, spent the rest of the day on the sofa with a hot water bottle feeling very cold and achy.  Dreadful night's sleep, felt a bit warmer but still achy, another lateral flow test, negative again.

Fortunately I woke on Sunday feeling a lot better, and we had our 'official' PCR test in the morning so that will surely confirm one way or the other.  I'm hoping that the fact that I was feeling a lot better within 48 hours means it was some other kind of virus but you can't help but wonder can you?  We have our booster vaccinations booked for Friday which was surprisingly easy to book for a convenient time and place.

Bearing in mind the two negative tests and the fact I was feeling back to normal, we had Rachel and family over for lunch on Sunday, the first time in weeks, and they brought Daisy with them.  Coco was surprisingly relaxed with her so maybe they will be friends in time!  Or maybe she was still chilled from her radio listening on Friday and Saturday night.  She is very scared of fireworks and someone told us that Classic FM were doing a Pet's Classics playlist all evening.  Now, was it pure coincidence or did it help?  Because she slept through the fizzes and bangs going on locally!  Of course we had to watch Strictly Come Dancing with a background of dog calming lullabies but it was worth it to keep her cool, calm and collected!

So in theory this week is a week of two halves, one half looking after grandchildren and the other half getting my car serviced, Zumba, drinks with friends and Covid boosters.  Of course, if that PCR test comes back positive it will be a whole other story!

Monday 1 November 2021

A sentence a day in October

 Chilly days, queues for petrol, rumours of shortages in the shops for Christmas - October, this is not a good way to start!  However, the end of the month brought some very happy news ...

Day 1 Rachel had to go away overnight for her work so we had Leo and Rosie here for a sleepover and left James on his own to cope with a mischievous puppy overnight #shesleepslessthananewbornbaby

Day 2 Feel so tired ... you know that song 'there were three in the bed and the little one said 'roll over'?  That was us last night (with Paul sleeping soundly in the spare bedroom on his own)

Day 3 Cleaned the outdoor table and chairs ready to be covered and stored for the winter - autumn is definitely here

Day 4 A day for doing chores, popped into town to buy a birthday present, practised drawing cute animals for the 'design a baby vest' part of Sophie's baby shower at the weekend #notanartist #notachanceofwinning

Day 5 Had Rosie here for the day - had a quiet day mostly spent playing with her baby dolls, Rachel discovered that her boss no longer wants a part time PA; due to his forthcoming partial retirement, a full time employee is required and she cannot offer full time hours, so job hunting begins.

Day 6 Jon and Max came here, took Max over to Rachel's to meet the new puppy, Coco came too and does not seem impressed!

Day 7 Zumba in the morning which was so good today - monthly Covid test and blood antibody tests in the afternoon.

Day 8 Went to a friend's house for coffee in the morning, tidied up a little in the garden in the afternoon

Day 9 Sophie's Baby shower was so lovely, we went to a really nice pub and had our meal sitting outside - counting down the days now!

Day 10 Sunday was a glorious warm, sunny day and I spent a lot of time in the garden tidying and mowing both lawns #nowfeeltired

Day 11 Ordered my Christmas turkey from the butchers - sat with Rosie and Daisy in the afternoon while Rachel and James went to school to look at Leo's work ready for his parent's evening on Thursday, I had totally forgotten how lively and chewy little puppies are - one hour was enough!

Day 12 Rosie came for the day - it's so lovely now that she is old enough to have a longer attention span to play nicely in role play games.

Day 13 Max came here, I had to pop out for an hour to keep Rosie and Daisy quiet while Rachel had a zoom interview.

Day 14 A busy day of helping out with dog sitting while Rachel was on Zoom interviews, Zumba class, popping into town to collect an order, baking a lemon and poppyseed cake, collecting Leo and Rosie from the childminder and then giving Paul a lift into town as he was going to see the new Bond film with friends; Coco and I enjoyed a quiet night in on our own!

Day 15 Two ex-work colleagues came for a cup of tea this afternoon, it's nice to keep in touch even though we don't work together any more

Day 16 Ordered an Indian takeaway and had friends over for the evening 

Day 17 Jon, Sophie and Max came for lunch but Max was definitely under the weather, he didn't eat any dinner which is unheard of, and after a nice long walk around the park and meeting up with Rachel, Leo and Rosie (James was home with the puppy who still isn't old enough to go out for walks) he seemed to be starting a temperature so they left early.

Day 18 A day of catching up with chores, then popped into have a coffee with Rachel and Rosie - and of course Daisy! Finally finished the baby blanket

Day 19 Woke at 4.30am with awful stomach cramps, didn't feel particularly well all day #thanksforsharingthegermsMax

Day 20 Jon and Sophie moved into their new home - finally!  Popped round in the afternoon to help build a big boy bed for Max and to reassemble Jon and Sophie's bed, at least they can all sleep comfortably tonight.

Day 21 The stomach cramps are back, and worse than before, spent the day feeling sorry for myself but then got good news that Rachel has been offered a new part time job!

Day 22 Felt a bit better, started knitting a scarf that Leo asked me to make for him

Day 23 Painting of the staircase has begun - in preparation of a new carpet being fitted on Thursday.

Day 24 A bit of a lazy Sunday, Paul went to have a swim in the new leisure centre that has been built in town - he was very impressed - and I carried on knitting the scarf!

Day 25 Paul finished doing the paintwork, had Leo and Rosie here for an hour while Rachel had an opticians appointment

Day 26 Washed my car in the morning so naturally it then rained about an hour after I had finished.

Day 27 Had Max here for the day, he brought his overnight bag just in case his mum went into labour during the day but it wasn't needed.

Day 28 That overnight bag was needed today! - Max's baby sister Olive arrived at 3.30 pm, nine days early.

Day 29 Felt emotionally and physically shattered!  Sophie and Olive were discharged from hospital late afternoon and Max was introduced to his little sister.

Day 30 Had my first cuddle with Olive

I think it's fair to say that I am smitten!

Day 31 The clocks went back an hour today - we had a quiet day and recharged our batteries after such a busy, eventful week!

Here's how the month looked, 1 Second Every Day

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