Monday, 6 July 2020

Day 110

Day 110...

Welcome to Monday and my non-working day of the working week!

Well last night we sat and watched Hamilton courtesy of Disney + and wow I am in love with it and want to watch it again and again until I can see it in person. I will admit that initially everything is coming at you so thick and fast and it can feel a little overwhelming but at some point I think your brain just accepts the pace and settles in to enjoy it.

I would recommend for us Brits a little google beforehand as that may help a little with the story arc as I am not as familiar with the founding fathers of the US as perhaps I should be! All I know is that we really enjoyed it, we have spoke about it on and off all day today and the album has been on repeat via Spotify. 

First job of the day was to fetch my weekly grocery shop and this week I had Simon helping me for a change. But as what now seems to be the norm we turned up at the lockers and Marky Mark spotted us and before we'd even got out the car the shopping was there waiting for us. So it was load the car, head home, unpack the car, wipe everything down, wash veggies & fruit, throw away packaging and put everything away - phew!

Must admit the traffic did feel busier again this week, although still nothing like 'old skool' Monday mornings. One thing we did notice was that the various barbers and hairdressers we passed that traditionally do not open on Mondays were all open. The barbers seemed to be adopting a 'walk-in' approach which meant a queue about 5 or so deep at just gone 9am. Glad I have an appointment booked in as I wouldn't want to be standing on the street waiting to get in, thankfully the weather was being kind today!

The majority of the day was then taken up with a spot of gardening. Now gardening is not one of our strong points so we just try to keep everything as low maintenance as possible but a few wet days and warm weather had caused the weeds to start appearing so we decided to have a good tidy around. Which resulted in our courtyard area being cleared of all the moss that had gathered in the block paving and took us a good chunk of the day, but very satisfying to see it all clear.

It was nice to then stop late afternoon and enjoy the sunshine with a coffee on the now clean and tidy patio! And then I attempted to make some more progress with my jigsaw...which I have done...I think...
Oops think I've gone wrong somewhere! as you can see all straight edge pieces have been used but they do not join I have either joined some together wrong or I have not sorted out all the straight edge pieces - argh!

So my next job is to go through this lot as I out-sorted all the pieces with brown/gold in them so I am hoping that I missed some straight edged pieces!!
Lots of pieces with brown/gold like the straight edge pieces
And that was today!

Take care out there, stay safe.

Sunday, 5 July 2020

Day 109

Day 109...

Today has been another lazy Sunday. 

I really haven't done an awful lot today just a bit of pottering around the house, updating my online grocery order ahead of pick-up tomorrow and prepping for this evening's Disney Dream Girls now weekly Disney quiz via Zoom.

Simon has continued with tinkering around with the electronics of his R2D2 build as he masters all the twinkly lights and how they display. I have managed a little more jigsaw time and the outside edge is coming together...slowly!

A while ago I'd discovered a number of photographs from previous Disney holidays that had never been put into albums. And although I have numerous other sets of photographs that are still sitting in the envelopes they came in I had always made a point of putting any Disney ones into proper albums. So having purchased some new albums I was able today to get them all filed away in some semblance of order; they were a mixture of Walt Disney World from 2004 and Disneyland Paris from 2002 and 2006.

The cute thing was that all the Walt Disney World photographs had been developed whilst on holiday as most of them had the place of development as Epcot printed on the back of them. I remember always being worried that taking an undeveloped film through x-ray machines at the airports might damage it and so we used to make sure we got the film processed whilst on holiday. In amongst all the photos we'd taken Disney dropped in a few of their own which I thought was a really cool thing to do...
Just a couple of our 'bonus' photos
We took a short walk out later this afternoon in the sun and the very blustery wind; we managed just under a couple of miles in about 35 minutes and enjoyed a nice coffee with a touch of Kahlua when we got home.

We have a pub very close to where we live and when we walked past I expected to see a busy outside area as we would expect to see on a Sunny Sunday afternoon and was very surprised to see no-one. The car park seemed to have plenty of cars but there were no customers outside where I expected to see them. 

Media reports from last night had showed crowded streets as people enjoyed their first night out in a long while and from the photos it appeared that any social distancing measures were not followed nor were face coverings worn. So yet again strangers are mingling in close proximity to one another with no apparent regard for the guidelines yet I am still not allowed to do the same thing in the comfort of my own home with people I know and care about!

But as we have remarked today the general public are only doing what our government have said...'go out and enjoy yourselves' they say in one breath and then in another they say 'but do it responsibly' and 'use common sense'. So what are we all supposed to do? We can't be blamed for doing something we like to do, for wanting to socialise when we have been cooped up for weeks on end but we need our government to be open and honest, they need to convince us that they have systems in place ready to cope with outbreaks, that track and trace is working, that we are ready to treat all that need treating to the highest of standards and ready to make those tough and necessary decisions quickly and effectively...things that up till now they have not been the best at achieving.

At 6pm UK time I hopped online to take part in our little Disney quiz. It was lovely to see, what are now very familiar faces, to chat a little, to laugh a lot and simply loose ourselves in a daft quiz for a few minutes. A positive to take from these past few months are the new connections made and a slower take on life...the hustle and bustle and the rush has gone and I hope that as we move forward we can do so but at a more reasonable speed rather than rushing through at a break neck speed. Taking things a little slower and appreciating all that is around you can surely be no bad thing.

Take care out there, whatever you are up to and wherever you may be...stay safe.

Saturday, 4 July 2020

Day 108

Day 108...

Here we are at the weekend and with no alarm set I woke up relatively late for me for the first time in ages, and it felt like I'd had a pretty decent nights sleep as well.

So with a very relaxed start to the day we had breakfast and simply pottered about sorting some household chores. 

Simon has, during the day, been tinkering with the electronics part of his R2D2 build as he is now fashioning the 'twinkly' lights. All I know is that this involves LED's, fibre optics, cables, Arduinos and a laptop as he is programming the lights to do different things.

He is loving the challenge of learning something new, testing his programming muscles and creating something as accurate to the original movies as he can. It has been great to see a collaborative effort at times when his programming knowledge is not quite where he would like it to be so he has called upon Ethan to work it out together. The one downside (apart from a section of my kitchen being overtaken) is that every now and then I get asked to look what the lights are doing and because they are so bright I end up with dots in front of my eyes!

We took a little time out today to do a bit more sorting out at Simon's late mum's house as we had furniture to rearrange as well as try to get a little more clearing out completed. We also had some correspondence to sort which took a chunk of my time this afternoon.

So as today was the 4th July I thought I would share some of Simon's artwork with the followers on our Disney Dream Girls Facebook page in order to recognise Independence day. This was just one image that Simon drew as part of his 365 Mickey's project which ran from November 2010 for a whole year. A Mickey a day for a whole year with the subject matter chosen by yours truly.
Stack of 365 Mickey's!
Simon's take on Independence Day, drawn on 4th July 2011 
I then made a point of stopping, and while the daylight was still good, attempted a little more of my current jigsaw...still battling with the straight edge but a few more pieces got joined together!

And today's treat was dinner made by Simon...keto pizza...this is one he discovered a while ago so this has now become something that he makes which means I get a night off from cooking!
Pizza making in progress
So as the pubs, restaurants and hairdressers opened up we have had a pretty regular sort of day. It has been great to see businesses opening and being socially responsible I just hope that all businesses follow this lead and that the public behave themselves and obey the recommendations, but as I've said before only time will tell!

If you are out and about please do so responsibly and take care for all of our sakes.

Friday, 3 July 2020

Day 107

Day 107...

And the last day of the working week for me, and the second of my two days actually in work this week. Could someone please tell the weather the month is July and that it's supposed to be warm and sunny?!! Because at times today it was blooming freezing!

My work day was pretty straight forward, a few emails, little bit of accounts, and some more prep work ready for the new school year in September.

Once home it was shower, change and have a coffee before sitting back at my laptop to respond to a few emails and add to my grocery shop that is due to be collected on Monday.

I then made some keto bread for the weekend; this is a fab recipe from the Diet Doctor website called Golden Sesame bread and goes great with pate, cream cheese or simply butter! And it's keto...yum!

So here in the UK we are about to enter the next stage of our lockdown restrictions easing which sees pubs, bars, restaurants, hairdressers and others being able to open their doors from tomorrow. They will have to operate as 'COVID secure' (whatever that means) and the social distancing rules can be relaxed down to one metre with mitigation. This basically means that if you can't keep two metres apart then you need to be wearing a mask...or at least I think that's what it means?!

To be honest the messaging from the UK government at times is less than clear; there are a lot of 'recommendations' rather than 'must do's' and the whole message around masks is somewhat vague. Apparently if you are on public transport then you must wear a mask, but if you are out and about and might struggle to meet the two metre distancing, then wearing a face covering is probably a good idea and, if you can, try and sit/stand side by side and in a well ventilated space.

So as our pubs and bars open tomorrow it is going to be interesting to see what going to a pub in this new way is going to look like and will it be anything like what we are used to experiencing? For me personally, and I'm not trying to sound anti-social, but I really am in no rush to go out to a mix with people I don't know, that I don't know where they have been and to have to queue to be let in or only be allowed to sit outside, and if I want to meet friends we need to be at least a metre apart and should really, probably...maybe...wear a face mask - sorry but that doesn't sound like a fun night out...I think I can wait a bit longer.

I would much rather have a few friends around to sit in my garden, socially distanced, and have a few drinks, at a fraction of the price, in a much safer environment and enjoy the experience. I am sure over time as things improve and get to be more 'normal' (although I think normal as we knew it is a long way off at the moment) I will venture back out into the world at large but for the time being I will keep on doing what I have been doing as that seems to work for me and mine.

And I will still say that while I appreciate the economic need for these businesses to be able to open their doors and start earning, it does feel rather cruel that we still can't hug people that we care about and haven't been able to see or spend time with over these last few months. I would much rather spend quality time with those I care about than sit in a bar worrying that I might go home with an uninvited guest!

Whatever your plans are this weekend, wherever you decide to go please just do it safely, follow the guidance, wear a mask and most importantly stay safe.

Thursday, 2 July 2020

Day 106

Day 106...

OK so what has today been all about?

Well it was my first day this week in 'actual work' and despite the rain first thing, and a building that felt surprisingly cold for the beginning of July, we were able to get outside later on and the little bit of sun that was trying to get out from behind the clouds was surprisingly warm.

I made some more progress with getting things sorted for September, and the new school year, as well as sorting out some bits and pieces for our 'leavers'. Each year we would normally hold a 'Leavers Concert' and present our leavers with gifts but obviously this year that can't happen. So instead I have collated photos that Molly is going to put together as a 'Class of 2020' type photo. I have also taken our 'Leavers Poem' that we would usually hand out as a scroll and added photos ready for emailing to parents instead.

By the time I arrived home this afternoon the new coffee machine had been delivered and was in use. We had been visited by a local pest control company to sort out the wasps that have decided a good place for them to live is inside our brick work next to the Velux window in Molly's bedroom. We had also had our local dairy deliver our usual weekly order of milk and eggs with some added ice-cream as a special treat. And Molly was putting the finishing touches to this amazing cake...layers of chocolate cake and brownie with a Disney vibe, of course!
After getting home, getting changed and grabbing a coffee I then jumped online to chat with my good friend Michelle to record this week's show for our podcast the 'Disney Dream Girls'. This week we chatted about the character Alice in Wonderland and her presence in the parks.

Once Simon had finished work for the day we drove out to the nearest 'parcel drop' for the two parcels that had not been collected. Not only had they not been collected but now the labels had expired and new labels had to be purchased...thankfully I will be getting refunds of the original labels but this really was not the service I'd signed up to! The first drop-off point was a local supermarket that had a queue of about eight waiting to get into the store so we decided to drive on and go to a different location that was a smaller shop and thankfully with that one we could walk straight in and finally get these parcels on their way!

By the time we got home it was too late to do our planned 'gym' session so instead we cracked on with the evening of making dinner, writing this blog and Simon tinkering with some programming for his fibre optic lights for his R2D2 build. 

And that is where I will end it for today, take care out there,

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Day 105

Day 105...

Well that felt like a day and a half today!

Lots of busy work centered around getting ready for September and prepping paperwork for our new starters, along with sorting invoices...hoping to be well ahead of myself by the time we get to the end of term. There was also some accounts to write up and the usual emails to deal with.

My other, and very important job, of the day was to source a new coffee machine. Ours decided to die on us yesterday after only a few months of use and whilst we will be able to get it returned I decided to get a new replacement straight away...we drink way too much coffee (albeit decaffeinated) to be without a reliable machine...thank goodness for Amazon as a new one will arrive tomorrow!

I made yet another call to the courier company about the two parcels sat in my hall still waiting to be collected and whilst the chap I spoke to couldn't resolve the situation he was so much nicer to speak to than the other customer service personnel of the last couple of days. He took the time to explain to me exactly what the problem was, how they had tried to resolve and the error they had made doing that and then offered me an alternative solution. Which involves getting refunds of the postage so far and printing new postage so that we can then take the parcels to a drop-off point (which is what we were trying to avoid) rather than trust the collection system! Not ideal but at least it will get the parcels out of my hallway!

Eventually I stopped work (about two hours after my official end of day) and decided to take a little time out to attempt some more of my jigsaw. I had contemplated starting in the middle and working my way out to the edge but figured as the edge has no obvious connecting bits to the middle of the jigsaw I would still be left with the edge to finish at the end so I might as well just get it over and done with. I have managed to connect some pieces together...not many...but a few!

And that is me done for the day, another day where speculation is rife as to where the next local lockdown may well be. Well, as we prepare for pubs and restaurants opening their doors at the weekend the old adage about 'only time will tell' will probably ring true. I have no desire to rush into a pub or a restaurant just's not that I don't enjoy a nice meal out or a drink with friends but it's something that I think can wait a while longer yet. I would much rather sit in my back garden with a glass of wine and enjoy the company of an odd friend or two (socially distanced of course) than go rushing into an environment where any chance of social distancing is somewhat suspect and contact with whoever from wherever would be the order of the day.

I am quite happy carrying on as we are for the time being and it maybe a bit boring but I would rather play the long game and take my chances when I am good and ready and not by some arbitrary date the government lays out.

Stay safe out there,

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Day 104

Day 104...

And my first working day of the week and today was a working from home day.

The usual kind of stuff; a few emails, prepping wages as we approach our end of year, a bit of banking and accounts updating as well as getting some HR paperwork sorted.

We took our usual walk out at lunchtime and managed just under two miles in 39 minutes and today's weather while still a bit blustery was much better than yesterday and felt quite warm in comparison.

We had another delivery from an online butchers today as we'd been really impressed with the delivery we had a few weeks back. We calculated that today's order was about 20kg of sausage, bacon, steak, chicken and mince and it must have took me and Molly almost an hour to unpack it all and then split it into smaller portions to go in the freezer. All I know is that carrying it all to my freezer was like a workout!

The ongoing saga of my uncollected parcels continued today. I have had no communication about either of the parcels and they are still sat here waiting collection. I actually managed to speak to the courier in person again today who told me there was nothing they could do at the moment as the issue had been flagged with their agent who has 48 hours to get back to them - what?! So I've paid for a service that has failed, and I am complaining about, but their agent has the luxury of 48 hours to come up with an excuse as to why they haven't been to collect. Really annoying when they report that the agent tried to collect on the due day and claims no-one was home...we have four adults in the house, two of which work from home 5 days a week!! So frustrating!

I have managed to get some more progress made on my latest jigsaw; I have now sorted all the straight edges and have joined all of two together...there is so much brown and gold and swirls!! 
But I have got some other little bits completed...
...I think this will take me a little while!

So today we have the city of Leicester going back into lockdown following a significant rise in cases over the last couple of weeks. I think we are going to have to get used to the idea of localised lockdowns to keep on top of this virus and this particular one brings it home as it's not that far from where we are, it's only about 40 miles away! I just hope that people realise it's in everyone's best interests to just sit tight for the next couple of weeks and stop it spreading any further than it needs to. My fear is that people are tired of being in lockdown and were looking forward to things easing this coming weekend and that might put any lockdown into jeopardy.

As with all of this only time will tell, and all we can do is make sure that we take care of ourselves, do as we have been told and encourage others to do the same. I will stick to my current routines, I will minimise my contact with the outside world, I will wear a mask when needed and fingers crossed we can all get through this.

Take care out there, stay safe.