Monday, 3 August 2020

Day 138

Day 138...

Today has been a busy day!

First job of the day was to take my car over to the garage for a service. Once we'd dropped it off we headed over to our local supermarket of choice (okay it's Asda!) to collect our weekly grocery shop. And yet again Marky Mark was there to greet us!

Back home it was unpack the shopping, wipe it all down, wash the fruit and veggies, throw away as much packaging as possible before putting it all away...and then coffee.

My next job was to finish off painting the remaining pieces of the bench I've been working on these last few days. But first I was able to help one of my older neighbours by taking in her shopping. She is currently waiting on a hip operation but is still able to get out the house, drive and complete a grocery shop...I have tried to convince her to try home delivery or at least a collect service but she is clinging on to being independent. She has only recently started living on her own as her husband is now living in a care home as a result of dementia, which is very sad but having lived through a parent suffering with dementia and the amount of strain that can put on their other half is completely the right thing to do. I have stressed to my neighbour that she must ask for help as we are only too happy to help where we can.

Well the bench is now finished...I finished off the metal work, touched up some of the wooden slats and when I turned it back the right way round I was able to touch up a couple of spots that had been scratched. I just need for it to dry out completely and then it can find a new place to live in my garden.

While I was finishing the bench Simon was busy planning the framework needed for his project to make a wooden surround that will hide our cosplay 'kit box'. He calculated the amount of wood needed, double checked it with me before we headed off to a DIY store to buy said wood plus varnish, screws, wood filler and some decking stain.

Once home it was time for coffee and cutting wood ready to make the frame that the wooden slats that Simon has cleaned up over the last few weeks will be attached to. 
Cleaned up slats all ready to go
We took a short break to go and fetch my car from the garage before we (well...Simon!) completed the job of assembling the wooden pieces.
Caution - Man at work!!
Frame end pieces made!!
The end frame pieces are now made so tomorrow the slats can be attached to make the complete frame.

The day was then rounded out with Simon jet washing the decking in the garden so that tomorrow we can stain like I said it has been a busy old day.

It was great to see that when we were out at our local DIY store that everyone was wearing face masks (although not all staff were but those that were around the store helping customers, stocking shelves etc did seem to be). At the garage, although the staff were not wearing masks, there was lots of signage asking customers to wear them and a supply of disposable ones for customers to use and all the customers I saw were wearing them. Maybe the message is starting to get through? If we want to be able to do 'normal' things again, and do them safely, then we all need to wear a mask - simples.

So whatever you are doing take care, stay safe, keep your distance and wear a mask.

Sunday, 2 August 2020

Day 137

Day 137...

Well today started off very slow after a really rubbish nights sleep. The joys of being a woman of a certain age means I am currently suffering with episodes of night sweats/hot flushes (or whatever you want to call them) which means interrupted sleep...multiple times throughout the night.

But once up and fueled by coffee and bacon my first task of the day was to update my online grocery shop ahead of pick-up day tomorrow. It was then time to get my scruffs on and paint some more of the bench that I've been working on. Today it was painting the black metal work and it is beginning to look pretty good, even if I do say so myself. Tomorrow I will be able to turn it upside down and paint all the bits I couldn't reach today.

It was then time to see Molly off on a little road trip. She is spending a week with her fella, who lives just over 3 hours away. She met him online over a year ago and this week marks their one year anniversary of actually meeting each other in person. After a lot of months apart we have been able to let her fella into our bubble and knowing how responsible Molly is we know that they are being sensible and following all the virus guidelines as closely as they can while at the same time being able to spend some time together.

So we then had the exciting job of checking the tyres on my car as it has been 'beeping' at me every time I get in to say that the tyre pressures aren't right. Turns out just one of them was slightly down in pressure so fingers crossed now that it's at the right level it stays there!

Once back home it was time to add a few more items to my grocery shop before heading back outside to paint some more metal work on the bench. We have also laid some membrane in the garden and have tried a water/bleach combination on our pathways in an attempt to clean them up a bit! Not sure whether I see any difference yet but the patio smelt lovely and clean and reminded me of the clean water smell you get when riding some of the Disney water attractions!

Simon has been busy too, working his way through the pile of reclaimed wood, removing all the old paint and then sanding the planks so that they are ready for assembly and staining. 

And we had our usual Sunday Disney Dream Girls Disney quiz...and I was rubbish this week! Although I did miss the first half because my laptop decided that my microphone would not work...rebooted it and still no joy so had to plug in the microphone that I usually use for podcast recording. But then once disconnected from the quiz my laptop microphone decided to work perfectly fine...go figure!

Another busy and productive day ahead of what should be a busy week. Simon is now on 'holiday' and while we won't be going away anywhere we are determined to use the time wisely, get on top of some jobs, have a few days out and about, hopefully hook up with an odd friend or too and I will finally be getting to visit my hairdresser!

Take care out there, whatever you may be doing, wherever you may be going...just do it safely, keep your distance, wash your hands and wear a mask.

Saturday, 1 August 2020

Day 136

Day 136...

Well I think this post might be quite short and sweet as the majority of the day was spent at our 'other house' sorting out the garden.

As we had good weather again today we made the decision to make the most of it and tackle the remainder of the garden that we had started a couple of weeks ago. We were able to move around a few plants, get rid of the ones that were overgrown and then lay membrane to keep the weeds under control.

We...okay Simon...was able to break up some concrete posts that had been cemented into the ground by the application of a sledgehammer! The garden now looks so much neater and we have now ordered some gravel to be delivered this coming week that should finish it all off and keep it all very low maintenance.

We must have spent a good four hours working on the garden and as we got in the car to go home the heavens opened, we couldn't have timed it better. Once home it was a much needed coffee and a slice of my low carb banana bread as we jumped online and ordered the aforementioned gravel to be delivered as well as a skip so that next week we can clear the house as ultimately we will be looking to rent it out.

Next job was to give the bench I've been working on this week a second coat of stain and while I did that Simon spent some time cleaning up some reclaimed wood. We have a stack of wood that used to be picnic benches that were all painted bright colours and Simon wants to make them into a wooden storage unit for our cosplay kits. He has had to dry out all the wood first and is now working through the planks to scrap all the paint off them to get them back to the bare wood and ready for assembling.

And just to round out the day I made low carb naan bread to go with chicken korma for our dinner tonight.

So all in all a very busy and productive day!

Stay safe out there, keep your distance, wash your hands and wear a mask.

Friday, 31 July 2020

Day 135

Day 135...

Well today has been a tad on the warm side, I think we hit 34 degrees Celsius this afternoon with clear blue skies and sunshine all day.

This morning was taken up with completing the end of year accounts for pre-school. I thought as today is our official last day for the financial year I would get as much done as I possibly could. The great thing was that I balanced both cash and the bank account pretty much straight away which made it relatively straight forward.

Later this afternoon I was able to find some time to prep all my accounting books for the new financial year as well as chat via email with a new parent. The great thing has been that over the last week or so we have had quite a few enquiries for children to start with us this September which has been lovely to see. Ordinarily by now we would be full to almost capacity but the knock-on effect of COVID has seen a much reduced interest in childcare as I think parents simply haven't thought about childcare going forward plus there is still some uncertainty about what childcare and education will look like by the time we get to September.

We managed our usual lunchtime walk completing one of our favourite walks in around 40 minutes. It was a beautifully clear day and it was great to be out in the sunshine.

The majority of the afternoon was spent painting the bench that I had sanded down over the last few days. I was able to give all the wooden slats a coating of stain but it will definitely need at least one more coat and I still have all the metalwork to paint as well.

Last night we were told that certain areas in the North West of England were having stricter lockdown measures imposed because of an uptick in cases. Today our government announced that further easing of the lockdown that was due to happen tomorrow will not now take place, again because of an uptick in cases. The good thing is that masks will now have to be worn in more indoor spaces like museums and cinemas and in a weeks time it will become 'enforceable in law'.

So the question I still have, and have had from early on, is why is it okay to open pubs and restaurants but I can't spend time with family or close friends? Surely mixing with a small group of people I know is much more preferable to sitting in a pub with goodness knows who else while masks are not being worn...Oh I spending time with friends and family in the comfort of my own home/garden means I'm not spending money! And while I appreciate we need to be supporting our economy there are lots of other ways we can be doing that than sitting in busy indoor spaces without any protection.

So however you choose to spend your time, do so wisely and safely, wash your hands and wear a mask.

Thursday, 30 July 2020

Day 134

Day 134...

Well my first job of the day was to head off to the bank to do the job I'd tried to do yesterday. Wouldn't mind but it wasn't even banking for me, it was for pre-school! Although I really enjoyed the 10 minute queue out on the street - not!

On my way home I decided to stop by my dad's as I've not seen him for a few weeks. He's getting on fine and is back visiting the pub most days, although he said it is really quiet when he does go. He's also been able to get to the barbers but like us is not rushing to get back to the gym. For my dad and his friends that all go at the same time it's just not going to be the same as they now have to book their time and only stay for an hour. Previously they would have all turned up around the same time and hung about for as long as they felt like it. So the new rules I think just feel too restrictive for them...and never mind they will need to book in via an app which as my dad doesn't really use a mobile phone would be problematic for him.

By the time I got home it was time for Simon to break for lunch and so we had a lovely walk out in the glorious weather. Once home it was time for coffee followed by setting up ready for podcast recording.

It was lovely, as always, to spend an hour and a half chatting away with Michelle as we recorded this weeks Disney Dream Girls show as well as a special Patreon edition.

It was then time for another coffee sat out in the sun soaking up some more vitamin D before I headed inside to make a low carb banana bread. It uses ground almonds instead of flour and a sweetener instead of sugar. I've reduced the amount of sweetener used and added some more looks pretty decent, so let's hope it tastes good too!
Banana bread fresh out the oven 
So as we progress through the lockdown (or whatever it is we are in at the moment) and we see small rises across various locations within the UK and across Europe it is really hard to know what to make of it all. How concerned should we be? Are we taking enough precautions? Are we re-opening too much too soon? We all want to get back to living life but it feels like we are on a knifes edge between living life and exposing ourselves to an illness that we have no idea how it may affect us.

None of us know if we were to contract COVID just how badly we could be affected, or how we could be exposing those vulnerable people around us to a nasty, potentially deadly, virus. And yet all around I seem to see people getting back to life without seemingly a care in the world. Social media images of people out socialising without physical distancing and very evidently with people not from their household. Maybe I'm being overtly cautious but as far as I knew we were still supposed to be observing distancing with people not in our household or bubble and that while we are being encouraged to get back out and spend it should be done in a responsible manner with face masks, sanitiser and keeping away from each other.

I am quite happy at the moment to go about my life with as minimum contact with the outside world as possible. Queuing to get into shops is not my idea of fun, if I need to go out for something then I will do but I think going out for simply 'something to do' will still be a way off for me. And the quandary for me is that I want my life back to normal, I want to be out shopping, I want to enjoy meals out, I want to hang out with good friends and I want to be going to Disney but I also want to be healthy and those around me to be safe and healthy too. I hate this situation and I am so over it but there is nothing I can do and we can only hope that the powers that be have a plan of some sort to get us through this.

Take care out there, stay safe, keep your distance and wear a mask.

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Day 133

Day 133...

I decided this morning to get some personal admin tasks completed...exciting things like taxing my car and renewing the car insurance! 

Having decided that it is financially better for us to keep both cars for the time being I thought it best to make sure mine was taxed and insured. The insurance proved a little tricky as I was trying to update it online and first their servers were down and then when I did get through their virtual assistant to 'chat' with a customer service person apparently they were all 'offline'...hmm...that'll be another job to try again tomorrow.

A few other bits of paperwork got sorted before I took on the ever so exciting challenge of the ironing pile!

We did manage our usual couple of miles walk around lunchtime and for the first time today we spotted some deer in one of the fields. This was on a route we walk pretty regular and since we started these walks at the beginning of lockdown we have never seen deer before. It never even entered my mind that there could be deer living in the countryside around us. We saw three at the opposite edge of the field we were walking through and we watched them for a few minutes before they wandered off into the hedgerow, unfortunately they were quite a distance from us so we couldn't really get any decent photographs.

This afternoon I decided to nip out to run a couple of errands. One was to drop a poster for my pre-school at a local supermarket who have very kindly said they'll display it on their community board and then the other was to go to the bank. So off I went armed with mask and hand sanitiser. 

I have not done much actual shopping in person so this was the first time that I've really ventured out and about. So with my mask on I first ventured into the supermarket and was happy to see that all the shoppers I saw were wearing masks and even some of the staff were, the girls on the customer services desk in particular.

I then made my way into the town centre and noticed that most people when out and about were not wearing a mask...I kept mine on as I knew I would need it for going into the bank. I know that if you start moving your mask about or taking it off and putting it back on again that you risk contaminating your hands and face and really once on it should stay on unless you are throwing it away or putting on a fresh one. It was great to see that everyone using public transport had their masks on although one of the bus drivers was adopting the 'just below the nose' position - really?!

I came across a sign that said 'One Way Footpath'...although it had no arrows to indicate which way was the one way so I can only assume that because I could read the sign then that was the 'one way'...but looking at the various people walking about it seemed to be a bit of a free for all. And then I got to the bank...the closed bank - doh! Now I don't use a bank very often as I tend to do everything online so it never occurred to me that opening hours might be affected by the current situation, especially as we have moved on somewhat to when we were first put into lockdown. I will confess to letting out a little expletive at my discovery...oh well that'll be a job for tomorrow then. I have now checked the opening hours and will make sure I get there in time tomorrow.

Once home it was time to get my 'scruffs' on and head outside to finish sanding down the bench that I had started yesterday. It probably took me a good couple of hours but it is all now done and ready for painting which I should hopefully be able to get done over the next couple of days.

While Simon and Molly went 'down the gym' I jumped in the shower as I was covered in dust and figured the amount of squatting I'd done to get into the right position for sanding was my workout for the day. I then made a coffee and spent a little time on my jigsaw, which is getting there slowly.

And that was my 133 since 'lockdown' for me began and while we are now working our way out of lockdown I think I will carry on counting the days as 'normal' still feels a long way off. Talks of second spikes across Europe and the US still struggling to get a hold of the virus, I fear we will be living with this for a lot longer than any of us dared to think.

Stay safe whatever you are doing and remember to wear a mask...please.

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Day 132

Day 132...

And the day started with our meat delivery...yep we use a butchers in Scotland and about every 6 weeks or so have a delivery of top quality meat.

It arrives in refrigerated packaging and then we have the job of splitting it in to manageable portions that can then go in the freezer. When the parcel arrived this morning I had to get it over the doorstep by rolling it and then relied on Molly being able to pick it up and get it into the kitchen...just a tad on the heavy size!

All wrapped to keep chilled

And we're in...

So we had angus beef burgers, steak mince, bacon, chicken, sausages and sirloin steaks...I think it's fair to say we are definitely a carnivore family.

It must have took me and Molly about an hour to split it all into portion sizes to then go into the freezer. We have been really pleased with the meat from this butchers (Rendalls) and having a large order delivered every month or so saves me having to worry about getting it on my weekly shop and the quality is great, plus I get to support a UK smaller business.

We took our usual walk out at lunch time and although it was very windy it was sunny and relatively warm and we managed another couple of miles.

The first part of my afternoon was actually taken up with pre-school work as I'd remembered I needed to send my team their wage slips as it was pay day. I then also had a few emails to respond to and took another phone call from a parent looking for childcare starting this September.

My next job was to tackle the bench we'd brought home yesterday as all the ironwork and wooden slats needed sanding down before we can re-paint it and breathe some new life into it. So after a quick lesson on using a mouse sander from Simon I set to and although I didn't get it all done today I am probably about two thirds of the way there. When I looked at the clock and saw it was 7pm I thought I'd better stop for the day!

And that was today...short and sweet and productive.

Take care out there, stay safe and wear a mask.