Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Day 223

Day 223...

Today has been a fairly quiet sort of day. No rush to be out and about this morning so everything proceeded at a fairly relaxed pace.

First half of the day was spent sorting some bits and pieces out online; updating some online stuff, ordering our Hotel Chocolat advent calendars, placing a butchers order for delivery later in the week and just generally getting on top of a list of jobs.

At lunchtime Simon and I took a walk out despite the rain. Thankfully we timed it right as although it rained off and on it was never too bad. Just a couple of miles today which gave us the chance to put the world to rights.

Second half of my day was spent doing a little preschool work as it was payday today so needed to get the pay-slips issued. I still have a little admin work to complete but hopefully that will be a fairly straightforward job for tomorrow morning.

We had a little gym workout this evening; Molly and Simon braved the 'garage gym' and despite the dark and wet night it was surprisingly cosy...amazing what a small fan heater can achieve!

Lots of chatter on social media today around antibodies and t-cells. A few attention grabbing headlines were implying that because antibodies do not hang around after exposure to the dreaded virus that it was all doom and gloom. Thankfully there are enough scientists out there able to shout about t-cells and explain that there is more to immunity than just antibodies. Lots of interesting discussion that I hope will get the investigation and coverage that is needed as I fear too often when dealing with this virus that only those who shout the loudest, or who have the best connections, get to have their ideas heard. I think now more than ever we need to be open to all opinions and thought processes even if that means admitting that previous theories were wrong or have changed because what we are dealing with is new and our understanding must therefore be ever evolving as we get to grips with it all and find out more.

Where all of this leaves us I don't know, we can only hope that those with the know-how and brains are looking into all of the above to find the best way forward for all of us.

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

Monday, 26 October 2020

Monday - Day 222

Day 222...

Here's another Monday and it started as most of my Mondays start with a trip to my supermarket of choice to collect our weekly grocery shopping. 

After the groceries had been put away we decided to go out for a walk over the fields. Although the weather was dry the ground was definitely not and was decidedly squelchy at times! But we plodded on and managed about three miles in about an hour.

We have decided that if we are going to continue on our walks around where we live through the Autumn and Winter we will probably need to invest in some decent walking shoes or boots. Thankfully I currently wear an old pair of trainers so it doesn't matter what state they get in to, but as of this evening they are still drying out from todays little adventure!

After lunch Simon looked at a couple of art commissions that had come his way over the weekend before nipping out for his annual eye-test. He swapped to contact lenses last year and prefers them to glasses but this was just a check to see if his prescription needed changing. Thankfully no real change needed but two hours spent in a busy opticians didn't sound like a great experience. He commented that the staff were doing the best they could but trying to keep socially distanced in a busy shop was by all accounts rather stressful.

I spent the afternoon re-organising the pile of items I am trying to sell online along with all the boxes we have held onto to re-use as packaging. I was fed up of falling over everything so had a good sort through and can now reach a cupboard that had been blocked before!

Molly has been creative today, not only has she been sorting through all the photos that she took yesterday but she found a few minutes to have a go at making chocolate covered Mickey apples...
The day was rounded out with playing taxi service for Molly as she had her kickboxing class early evening before settling down with a nice glass of red.

So we have heard today that the city eight miles away will be going into Tier 3 lockdown restrictions later this week but for the time being where we are will stay in Tier 2. Not really sure what that means, I think Tier 3 means that you can't mix with anyone else outside of your household and pubs can only open if they serve 'substantial' meals...whatever that means. Like I've said numerous times before I think we all have to proceed through life as best we can, risk assessing what we want to do, how to do it and whether we feel comfortable doing it. 

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

Sunday, 25 October 2020

A Photoshoot by Shutter Studios

Day 221...

So as we turned back the clocks one hour last night and can now fully embrace the autumnal season I thought I would change my little icon at the top of these posts to something more appropriate.

The day started with the usual Sunday online grocery shop ready for collection tomorrow, and then we got ready for an afternoon out!

Molly had been asked by my sister-in-law if she could take some photos for her and so our afternoon out was to help Molly with this photoshoot. My sister-in-law runs a small business called China Petals where she makes mosiacs from fine china. She has a small studio space and had asked Molly if she could take some photographs to be used in publicity; some shots of the studio, of her at work and some headshots.

So armed with camera and lightboxes we spent a few hours this afternoon as photographers assistant and driver. Molly did a great job and took over 350 photos which she now needs to go through and edit

Once home we had time for a coffee before jumping online to join in with the weekly Disney Dream Girls podcast Disney quiz. This week I had come up with questions all about the movie Hocus Pocus and my partner in crime, Michelle, had done the same all about the film The Nightmare Before Christmas. Another fun hour chatting with Disney loving friends from around the world.

Simon has been working on an art commission for a contact in the US and some digital drawing for himself as well as a little VR time travelling around an art gallery! All in all, today has turned out to be quite a creative sort of day.

Until tomorrow, take care out there; wash your hands, keep your distance and wear a mask.

Saturday, 24 October 2020

It's Saturday!

Day 220...

Welcome to the weekend and the first day of my week off work.

A relaxed start to the day followed by taking Molly to her guitar lesson which meant we took advantage of a drive thru coffee while we waited. In more normal times we would have gone inside the aforementioned coffee shop but for now we will stick to the drive thru. But the lovely thing was that the staff there still remember us; the knock-on effect of visiting the same establishment at the same time week after week for a good number of years!

By the time we got home the weather had turned quite grey and wet so any thoughts of getting out for an afternoon walk were quashed. But in true gentlemanly style when I mentioned that I needed something from our garage which meant going outside in the pouring rain Simon grabbed an umbrella and braved the elements just as it decided to rain even heavier...must be true love 💘 

I then did something that I never normally do which was to stop, sit down and watch a film in the middle of the afternoon. Well I did have a reason for this; it was all done in the name of research. Tomorrow is our regular Disney Dream Girls weekly Disney quiz and I had been tasked with coming up with questions about the movie Hocus Pocus. I could have just googled it, or read about it on Wikipedia, but instead I decided to refresh my memory and come up with questions myself. 

Literally feet up and movie time!
It was great fun to revisit the film and I am pretty happy with the seventeen questions that I have come up with. Let's hope they are a good mixture of tricky and straight forward!

I had another Disney brown box arrive mid-afternoon with some more Christmassy bits and pieces.

And I couldn't resist getting some Disney Christmas earrings as well...
...and I am in love with the artwork that's on the back of the box of baubles...
The remainder of the afternoon was spent getting a few more Halloween decorations scattered around the house while Simon completed his Star Wars, MSE droid project; this has been on the go for about a year and has not only included 3D printing, metalwork, resin casting but also electronics. You can see more on Simons art page over on Facebook.
There we have Saturday done and dusted, and now it's time for red wine and dark chocolate - I know how to live it up on a Saturday night!!

Take care out there, wash your hands, keep your distance and wear a mask.

Friday, 23 October 2020

End of Term

Day 219...

Today was the last day of the first term of our academic school year. We have made it through seven weeks and four days relatively unscathed and now have one week to relax and recharge.

But the day was pretty uneventful with just the usual type of admin tasks to complete. I, thankfully, remembered to bring some paperwork home with me so that I can update the accounts over the next week.

We spent the afternoon removing all the Halloween decorations, although we kept on finding small plastic spiders after we had cleared everything away. As the decorations mostly belong to me I have the pleasure of looking after them at home and will admit to giving myself a bit of a start when unpacking a bag and thinking there was a spider in the bottom only to realise that it was plastic, of course!

As the pre-school is a registered charity we rely very heavily on fundraising so this week, as part of our Halloween Fun Week, we had been selling some 'Treat Cups', as well as asking parents to make a small contribution to the festivities. By the end of today we had raised £125, which was amazing, and will help go a long way with some new purchases that we are in desperate need of for our role play kitchen area.

This did mean that once home I had to first unpack my car of Halloween decorations before then counting the money that we had collected over the week. But with those jobs out the way I can now enjoy some downtime away from work. Well I say that but there will be a couple of jobs that will need doing but I am hoping these will only take up a small amount of my time this coming week.

I think now, more than ever, it is important to distinquish between work time and non-work time so that you get to enjoy the time away from work and switch off for a while. There may not be much happening, or places to go, or people to see but it is still important to take the time for yourself and find the space to simply chill.

So I have a glass of red...well my second glass of red...and it's time to put my feet up and embrace the coming week or rest and relaxation.

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

Thursday, 22 October 2020

Work & Podcast

Day 218...

Another day is done and another fairly straight forward sort of day.

Work was the usual lot of admin and banking as we had our penultimate day at pre-school before we break for a weeks holiday. We have been having our Halloween Fun Week and as a result should have raised a little bit of extra cash by the time we get to the end of tomorrow.

Once home it was time to grab a coffee and jump online with my fellow Disney Dream Girl Michelle as we recorded another podcast to be released this coming Sunday. Lots of chat about new merchandise released ready for Christmas as well as which Disney Halloween movies we should, or should not, be watching.

I always enjoy hooking up with Michelle we love chatting all things Disney, plus we are great friends so it's great to have an excuse to natter away and set the world to rights. Michelle is due to have an operation next week and so has had to 'self isolate' for the last fourteen days but she has still been able to organise a little surprise parcel for me that arrived today.

How cute is this little knitted pumpkin? This certainly brightened up my day and was really appreciated, thanks Michelle xx

And while I've been writing this post Simon has been driving his mouse droid around my feet making beep and boop noises! The accelerometer is working and is being tweaked for sensitivity as I type!

And that's where I shall leave it for today.

Take care, wash your hands, keep your distance and wear a mask.

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Middle of the Week


Day 217...

So the midweek point of the working week.

And I think this will be another short post today. As the day has been pretty quiet.

I was in work today, covering for another member of staff on holiday, and once I got home I had some data input to complete. I'd realised late on today that I had a deadline approaching for some data input and thought it was for next week but then discovered it is actually tomorrow. Oops! But thankfully all very easily done and quickly input once home.

It was then mum and dad taxi service tonight as Molls had her kickboxing class.

And that was pretty much it for the day. Life rolls on and the news continues to reverberate around lockdowns and tiers of lockdown and restrictions and financial support, or lack thereof, and more confusion. And while I think the majority of us want to do our 'bit' to get us through whatever it is we are going through I think it becomes harder to see exactly what that 'bit' needs to be.

Take care, wash your hands, keep your distance and wear a mask.

Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Day 216


Day 216...

It's been a quiet sort of day...work...home...post office and home again.

So I think this will be a surprisingly short post, in fact I'm really not sure what to write about tonight.

Where I live is still in Tier 2 restrictions and there is much talk about how long that is going to last for. There is still speculation as to whether we will, as a country, end up in some sort of mini-lockdown or circuit breaker as it seems to be called. But who knows?

All I do know is that we seem to go from one uncertainty to another and after seven months or more of this I think we are probably all getting a bit tired of it all. There is now this great conflict between the virus and the economy and an effort to get the balance right between the two, as well as the emotional and social impact that we are all feeling on our well-being.

So as I have a glass of red wine waiting for me I think I will stop there for the day and see you all tomorrow.

Take care out there, wash your hands, keep your distance and wear a mask.

Monday, 19 October 2020

Shopping, Walk and a Disney Box

Day 215...

A pretty standard sort of Monday today.

First job of the day was to fetch the weekly grocery shop with a quick stop-off on the way home to put petrol in the car. Once home it was get everything packed away before enjoying a coffee.

I had a couple of completed Ebay sales so need to find packaging and get them all sorted for posting out. I also had a couple more items to add to my selling list which means that I have almost everything that I need to sell listed. I'm just left with a load of glassware and I have no idea what I've got; just lots of bowls and a few vases none of which are my style and probably date back to anywhere between the 1960's and 1980's! I'm sure somebody out there will appreciate them so it seems a shame to throw them away so if I can't sell them I think they'll get donated to a local charity shop.

We had a small moment of panic this morning when I realised that the washing machine had stopped working but when I realised that the tumble dryer was also not working we knew that the problem was with the electrics and not the appliances. After swapping over a couple of plugs we were able to get them back up and running - phew!

Then it was time for another decent walk, taking advantage of the dry weather and a little sunshine. We managed 3.8 miles in an hour and 19 minutes.

By the time we had arrived home I had had a delivery...always love a Disney brown box day!

Just love the festive detail on the inside!
And yes there were Christmas decorations inside...here's just a couple of them...
How cute are these 'ears'?!
And a classic Disney character getting in a festive tangle
...and I ordered some more yesterday so should have another box arriving in a weeks time - oops!

The rest of the day has been very relaxed and chilled out, with coffee outside, some online browsing and Simon has been exercising his artistic talents with some more digital painting. Check out his Instagram or Twitter to see what he has been up to.

And on the dreaded virus front we have Wales announcing a two week lockdown from Friday, we have Ireland going into a four to six week lockdown and so speculation is rife that we will be heading the same way. We are due to break for a week on Friday from pre-school for what is called our 'Autumn half term break' so there is lots of chatter about this being turned into a longer break to relieve any pressures there could be on the health service. So watch this space to see what actually ends up happening.

All we can do is stay safe, take care and wash our hands, keep our distance and wear a mask.

Sunday, 18 October 2020

Sunday again...

Day 214...

Well it was a slow start to the day but after all it was Sunday and we didn't really have anything planned.

Once up and about I had what is the now usual Sunday morning job of updating my online grocery shopping order ready for collection tomorrow. And while I did that Simon was tinkering with the mouse droid he is building as he is working towards getting the electronics working so that it 'beeps and boops'!

We then got on our walking shoes and set off for a little Sunday afternoon stroll...well we managed 3.5 miles in about and hour and 15 minutes. We took a walk that we haven't done for a while and it was interesting to notice the change in the scenery. We commented that when we first started walking back in March everywhere was just starting to bud and come to life. We have then seen everywhere blossom, get very green and very overgrown and now we are seeing it all start to die back, change colour and are seeing a whole new range of colours emerge. We really are getting to see the circle of life in full effect.

Once home we decided to enjoy a coffee, and a small piece of dark chocolate, outside in the garden. The only downside to this was a few wasps that thought we were fair game! So a little internet research ensued to find out whether there was any particular way to ward off wasps. Well, apparently they don't like the colour red and they are also very territorial. So one way is to make a fake wasps nest as then they won't approach...so thanks to the power of Amazon we have, for £3.00, ordered a fake wasp nest to see whether that will actually work!! I will let you know!

The rest of the afternoon was spent with a little more Ebaying, some online shopping and some more mouse droid tinkering for Simon....and here is said droid...

An MSE droid to name it correctly

So we have working sounds but, as I understand it, Simon wants the sounds to be linked to it's movement and that is what he is currently working on...apparently it involves accelerometers!

The day was rounded out with our regular Sunday evening Disney quiz, hosted by the podcast I co-host, the Disney Dream Girls. Today the quiz was all about the animated classic The Adventures of Ichabod & Mr Toad and we need pretty well...in fact we won! Which means we get to set the questions for next week and I think we have agreed to set them around the movie Hocus Pocus which means I will need to re-watch it this week I think.

While me and Molly were quizzing Simon has been immersing himself in more of his VR games, getting to grips with Vadar Immortal...a Star Wars game...and he's loving it by all accounts.

Another Sunday done and another day where we have managed to stay clear of real world antics...

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

Saturday, 17 October 2020

Here's the Weekend

Day 213...

And welcome to the weekend and our first day in Tier 2 restrictions...lockdown or whatever we are calling it. But to be fair we just carried on as we have been doing because what we have been doing is what Tier 2 is all about anyway!

First job of the day was to meet one of my pre-school committee members at pre-school to take delivery of some special treats ready for our Halloween Fun Week next week. A couple of our committee have taken all the goodies donated to us from our local ASDA and made up some treat bags and sweet cups that we are going to sell next week to raise some extra pennies.

Once that was sorted we then had a little furniture delivery to make as one of the items from our other house that we had tried unsuccessfully to sell was actually needed by our new tenants, they had changed their mind about needing it so we popped by to drop it off. 

Then it was back home to stop for five minutes with a coffee sat outside in the garden. Not a bad day today, a little chilly but it was dry so we took advantage and enjoyed the time and the coffee. And while we were outside we decided to have a quick tidy in the garage so that we can now fit the car back in there as well as sweep up a bin full of leaves.

This afternoon was spent sorting out candles to go with some of the Halloween decorations that I got out yesterday, posting a few more items for sale on Ebay, another coffee sat outside and Simon was finally able to assemble the mouse droid he has been making. This did mean I had a droid moving around the house for most of the afternoon...but just a few more final tweaks and then it will all be done!

Love this decoration, the candle inside makes the ghost in the chimney spin around!
One advantage of today has been that we have kept away from the news and social media and it has been quite nice not to be bombarded with the latest figures and rules and to just 'have a day'. I look forward to when we can have more 'just days' and life can resume and be embraced once again.

But until then please take care, stay safe, wash your hands, keep your distance and wear a mask.

Friday, 16 October 2020

Yay it's Friday!

Day 212...

Last day of the working week has come around once again.

A pretty standard sort of day with the usual admin to complete. This afternoon pre-school got dressed ready for our Halloween fun week next week and the team did a great job of making the room look suitably festive!

Once home I had a couple of emails to send and a few bits to sort out but then found out our prime minister was giving a televised press conference. So, with all the rumours and speculations going about at the moment  I thought it may be worth tuning into.

Well...did I learn anything new? Did I understand anything better? Am I any clearer on what their plan may be?...Err....No. All I learnt was that it was a chance to attack one region of our country who are wanting greater clarity and control before entering into the highest level of current restrictions. We were told about amazing new and quick tests that will be ground breaking and enable us to function so much better but that we don't know when they will be available and probably not for a while yet - oh!

And then, as it always is with these briefings, the finger was pointed at us, the great British public, to pull together and do our bit because that's the only way we will get through this...oh really? So being locked down for 12 weeks from March wasn't enough then? People losing their jobs and their businesses wasn't enough then? Not being able to see friends and family hasn't been enough then? And I could go on.

As a family I think we have been pretty good. All the way through lockdown we stayed home, Simon and I would go out for a walk each day and once a week I would collect my grocery shopping and that was it. When lockdown started to ease I went back to work while everyone else continued to work from home. We continued collecting our shopping and stayed pretty close to home. I have been in a supermarket once to complete a shop and a couple of times to collect something on behalf of pre-school. I have been to my local post office off and on to drop off pre-paid parcels. I have been non-grocery shopping once and only went in one specific shop. I have visited a coffee shop twice indoors but for take-away only. I have visited outdoor cafe's just three times and have visited drive thru' coffee shops perhaps four or five times. We have visited large DIY shops about four times. I have met only two friends, and just one time for each. We haven't been out for a meal anywhere and have had a take-away meal just three times. If I can recall all of this since March then I think that shows that we have been doing exactly what we have been told to do to the very best of our ability and where has that gotten us? Have we made any progress? I really don't know.

As far as I can tell we are now being told that if we don't do as we are told that things are going to be as bad as they were back in March. But is that right? Some would argue that is not the case while others would agree that it's getting bad again. Some would argue that a full lockdown for a few weeks would buy us the time to ease the pressure off the health service and come up with a better working test and trace system as our current one really is not working as promised. But others would argue that a lockdown only pauses things and that once lifted the numbers will rise again and that actually hospital admissions are no different to what you would expect to see at this time of year.

So where does that leave us, the general public? Who should we believe and what should we be doing? I think over the course of the next few days or weeks we will be moved from one set of guidelines to another which will only cause yet more confusion and annoyance. We want, we need, our lives back. We need to be living, to be enjoying, to be experiencing life rather than just going from one day to another not knowing when we will see the light at the end of the tunnel.

And because of all of the above I have decided to embrace Halloween this year and have made a start on decorating around the house. Now this won't be a big affair (unlike Christmas) but I just felt the need to say fuck it lets have a little fun. We don't tend to go overboard on Halloween here in the UK but I have a few bits and so will do my best to invoke a little Halloween fun.

To set the right tone the music had to be right!

Outdoor pumpkin lights

A few decorative pieces

Outdoors....as one of my friends said....one way system must mean it's COVID safe!!
There has been more VR madness in the house tonight as Molly has had her turn and proven to be pretty good on the dance games! Me on the other hand has yet to have a go...I am sure I'll get there...at some point...maybe!

Anyway, just take care out there, whatever you may be doing and wherever you may be. Wash you hands, keep your distance and wear a mask.

Thursday, 15 October 2020

More restrictions...

Day 211...

And it was back in work day today. And pretty much a standard sort of work day.

Once home I had a short amount of time to catch up on a few bits, take delivery of my weekly local dairy order before sitting down to record a podcast for the show I co-host, the Disney Dream Girls.

In podcast recording mode
Today we were very fortunate to chat with the lovely Terri Hardin. Terri is a sculptor, puppeteer, artist and Disney Imagineer and is a delight to chat with. She has some amazing stories to tell and I could listen to her chatter away for hours. It was, as it always is, nice to catch up with my co-host Michelle who is having to self isolate at the moment prior to having a knee operation in a couple of weeks time.

While dinner was cooking I sorted through my Halloween decorations to see which bits would be suitable to take into pre-school for our Halloween fun week next week; I have two boxes worth of stuff to take in so hopefully we will be able to make everywhere look suitably Halloween themed.

We heard at lunchtime today that the area that we live and work in will be going into Tier 2 restrictions as from Saturday. So what does that mean exactly? Well apparently we can no longer meet friends or family inside our own homes (we could only have up to 6 anyway) but we can meet them outdoors and we can still go to a pub or restaurant but only as our household group and the pub must close by 10pm.

It really boggles my mind as to what those restrictions will actually achieve. As far as I understand it a lockdown will not get rid of the virus it will simply help to ease the pressure on our health services; which I am all in support of should they need it. But what I don't understand is how us, as a family of four, cannot invite one or two people of our choosing into our house, but yet they can come and sit in our garden. But at the same time I can go and sit in a pub or restaurant for a couple of hours, indoors, with people that I have never met before and have no idea where they have been or who they have seen. At least at home I will only let into my space someone that I know where they have been, what they have been up to and who I feel comfortable letting in. So yes, I really don't 'get it' and that is the phrase that I am hearing a lot of. We all want to do our bit but we just don't 'get it'; where is the logic? Somebody please explain it to me...in plain English!

So like we have been doing all along, I will do what I consider to be safe and responsible, I will risk assess my movements and the movements of those around me while trying my best to adhere to whatever new 'rules' come into play.

Take care out there, wash your hands, keep your distance and wear a mask.

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Happy Hump Day

Day 210...

Here we are at the middle of the week, or as some affectionally call it 'hump day', and my other day off each week.

The conversation this morning has been focused around the current alert levels and whether a small 'circuit breaker' lockdown is now inevitable and that it will probably coincide with the schools upcoming Autumn break which will see it extend from a one week break to a two week break. I think this is now turning into a very political decision and whether science is truly at the heart of it all is really hard for the general public to discern. 

There are arguments out there that lockdowns are only there to help the healthcare systems cope with higher than normal levels of admittance. That implementing a lockdown at the wrong time will not have the desired effect. That coming out of a short lockdown will just result in another rise in cases after. I don't know...I am not a scientist nor a politician...I do not have access to all the figures and data...but I guess what a lot of us are asking is whether or not the previous lockdown of 12 weeks (or whatever it was) had any effect? What did it achieve if cases are now rising again? Was it handled correctly? Was it implemented at the right time, for the right reason and for the right duration of time? Will this virus simply take whatever course it is going to take (like other virus do) regardless of whatever lockdowns may or may not be put into place?

Like I said I am no scientist I am just another worried member of the public who wants to do the right thing, who wants to do their bit to help society but who is gradually becoming more and more disillusioned with the information and the policies that we are being fed. Do the government know what they are doing? We have scientists with differing views...some more vocal than others and some with more power than others. Are we listening to everyone or just those that are shouting the loudest? Or just those that have the most sway or have the greatest vested interest in a particular outcome? 

Back in the 1950's the 'low fat' heart health mantra was being developed based on the work of a Dr Ancel Keys; he had close connections to the US government and was very good at communicating his beliefs. In the UK Dr John Yudkin disagreed with the 'low fat' message and instead highlighted the dangers of sugar (he wrote the book 'Pure, White & Deadly' in the early 1970's). But which version do we all know about? Which version has the whole world adopted and has now been proved to be wrong? The version pushed by Keys because he had the biggest voice, the best connections and the vested interest. Are we in danger of heading this way again because we are unwilling to take all view points into consideration?

Again...I am no scientist...I do not know what the answer is but surely we need to listen to everybody and then make as best an informed decision as we can. We probably won't get it right first time and we all have to recognise that and accept that there will be highs and lows along the way. But if those that have the power would only be honest and explain to us all what was happening and why decisions are being made the way they are then they may stand a better chance of getting us all on board.

And breathe....let's get back to what my day actually turned out like!

I had another piece of furniture collected this morning and was able to sell another piece to the person collecting at the same time, another satisfied customer. I was then able to pop out to the post office to get my latest Ebay sales on their way.

As lunchtime came around Simon and I took a walk out to get some fresh air and although the sunshine from earlier in the morning had disappeared it remained dry if a little chilly! We were only out for 48 minutes and completed just under 2 miles but it was lovely to get out and blow away the cobwebs!

My afternoon was then fun filled...note the heavy sarcasm here...as I completed Simon's tax return - whoop! Not an overly complicated thing to do just a bit lengthy and laborious and one I'd been putting off for a while, but at least that's one more job crossed off my list.

I tried my best to avoid anything work related but still ended up dealing with a couple of queries sent from prospective new parents.

And as the end of the day came around it was time for the gym, first time for me in a fair while but something is better than nothing. Then I remembered to send Simon up in our loft to fetch down our Halloween decorations, I hadn't realised just how much we had got...

Five boxes of who knows what?!
In years gone by we have hosted numerous Halloween parties but we haven't used these in a couple of years so I'm really not sure what we have got. I do remember using some of my decorations for a pre-school Halloween party last year and that is kind of the reason for getting them out this year. I do have a few pieces that I will probably get out to decorate the house but the majority of what is in those boxes will be loaned to pre-school as next week we are having a Halloween Fun Week. It is the last week of term and a good excuse to have some fun and try and raise a few pennies at the same time. So my job tomorrow will be to go through that lot and decide what goes where!

We have had more VR madness here this evening with Simon playing a Star Wars game and a dancing game; we have now sussed out how to cast the headset to other devices so that we can all see what the person in VR is getting up to. It's all very techy and I am yet to have a go...but I'm sure I will have no choice about getting involved at some point.

So that's today...and who knows where we will be tomorrow...so take care, wash your hands, keep your distance and wear a mask.

Tuesday, 13 October 2020

In Work Tuesday

Day 209...

So as it always is Tuesday is my first day in work each week. Simon and I have been very fortunate over the last year or so to be able to reduce our working week.

Simon's company all work a four day week now and their productivity has never been so good. In fact all the way through 'lockdown' with the added factor of home working they have gone from strength to strength, their communication has improved and they feel more together as a team than ever.

My work day was the usual admin type stuff, updating a few bits and pieces, dealing with emails, prepping invoices and registers for the upcoming new term. We have this week and next in pre-school before we take a break for a week so my focus has now turned to making sure everything is ready for that return.

Must admit I felt very 'out of it' today, not completely sure why but have definitely got that vibe that either something needs to happen or something needs to change. Not sure where that's going to take me just yet but I really feel the need for something to happen.

Once home I had yet another parcel to package up ready for taking to the post office tomorrow morning. I had one of my committee members drop by to collect some goodies ready for next weeks Halloween themed week at pre-school; we have had a big donation of treats and sweets from our local Asda store and we are using them to make up special 'treat bags' that we will then sell as a little fundraiser for the pre-school.

This evening Simon has been playing with a new toy. In fact as I type this he is stood at the opposite end of the room with a VR headset in place; the new Oculus Quest 2. All I can hear is laughs and the odd astonished comment along with dance moves and looking at dinosaurs. Apparently I need to have a go at it...not really my sort of thing but no doubt over the course of the next few days I will venture into the world of virtual reality. I find it a tricky concept to get my head around and not sure I like the thought of being cut off from this world and dropped into another but I will have a go, at some point, and then report back!

So on the virus front we are approaching new tiers being brought in from tomorrow and while where I live is classed as 'medium' and therefore we carry on as we have been doing, the borough council next door is at the 'high' level. This basically means that you can no longer meet with people you do not live with indoors anywhere, but you can still meet up to 6 people outdoors. 

Our opposition party is now calling for a short circuit breaker type lockdown so who knows what or where we will be in a few days time. As I've said before the situation is ever changing, those in power don't seem to have a plan, or at least an effective one, and even scientists don't seem to agree. This just leaves us 'the general public' in a state of confusion and a feeling of hopelessness.

All we can do is take care of ourselves and do whatever we can to stay safe; wash your hands, wear a mask and keep your distance.

Monday, 12 October 2020

No Work Monday

Day 208...

So as usual today was my first non-working day of the week and first job was to fetch my 'click and collect' grocery shop. This is something that I have been doing for years...and years...and not a reaction to the current circumstances, however I am thankful that I can do my shopping this way. 

This does now mean that any little bits of extra shopping that I may have done during the week...you know those 'Oh I just need...' and then you come out with everything but the thing you wanted...are now a thing of the past. And while I do sometimes miss the opportunity to pick something up on impulse it does mean that I have saved money on those 'extra' bits, saved money on petrol, saved my time and we have survived from one week to the next perfectly fine. Just goes to show that sometimes circumstances can have a unexpected positive impact, and one that I think I will carry on.

After sorting the shopping the rest of the day has been focused around a few more Ebay sales and photographing the remaining few bits that I want to try and sell. I say a few bits but we have three lots of tableware and more pieces of glassware than I care to mention, that all deserve a new home, and so it took me most of the day to figure out what we've got. Now I'll be able to start getting it listed over the next few days.

We were hoping to get out for a walk but the weather was not being kind today and most of the day was wet, so the only exercise I got was ironing!

Simon has been getting more of our home video from tape into a digital format; he has now worked through 2008 and 2009. This does mean that we have to sit and watch it all to make sure that the transition from one format to another has worked but that'll be a job for another day.

We have had new measures announced by our government today...I think...we now have tiers depending on which area you live in and how badly affected that area is. At the moment where I am isn't too bad and we are not affected by these new tiers that are being brought in, but we are close to a city that has seen it's rate rise high very quickly so who knows what the future holds.

The message today has been numbers are rising, rising quicker than we would like and we need to do something about it...again. I think the problem for a lot of people will be that we did something about it back in March and April and now all that feels like it was for nothing. Did we come out of lockdown too soon? Too quickly? I don't know and it would appear that the powers that be don't know either and that in the intervening time they haven't come up with a coherent plan or a proficient test and trace system.

So yet again it falls down to us, the average person in the street, to do our bit! I will carry on as I have been doing; washing my hands, keeping my distance, limiting where I go and who I see and wearing a mask when I need to.

Take care out there.

Sunday, 11 October 2020

Lazy Autumn Sunday

Day 207...

Today turned out to be your quintessential lazy Sunday.

A very slow start to the day and so lovely not to have to be woken by an alarm! Once up and about my first job, as usual for a Sunday, was to update my online grocery order ready for collecting tomorrow morning.

While I was doing that Simon has restarted his project to get all our home video off tape and into digital format. He has had this as an on/off project for a while and is something that he can set off running while he does something else. We have taken plenty of video over the years as we have either owned or had access to a video camera going back to the late 1980's or early 1990's.

Simon is able to take old video and transfer it all onto a server so that we can watch it easily whenever we want. I think today's capture was from Christmas of 2008! We have lots to go through but it's great to know that all those memories can be preserved onto a format that won't deteriorate over time and will be there for our kids to look back on in years to come.

We then took advantage of a lovely Autumn afternoon and took a walk over the fields near us...5.5 miles and an hour and 52 minutes later we arrived back at home. This was the first decent walk we have had for a fair while and it was lovely to be out and about in the fresh air, although I suspect I may feel the effects of it tomorrow.

Once home it was time for coffee and one of Simon's signature sweet omelette's, sat outside enjoying the outdoors while the weather allows. I just love these omelette's that he makes full of cinnamon, nutmeg, dash of cream and yummy extra dark chocolate and relatively healthy too!
The afternoon was rounded out with the Disney Dream Girls podcast Sunday Disney quiz via Zoom. This was, as it is always, great fun and lovely to be able to chat with people from all over the world about what we are all up to as well as attempt to answer some Disney questions...some easier than others. This week Simon had come up with some number based questions and only one of them involved Star Wars!

And I think that's where I'm going to leave it for today as I'm sure there is going to be much COVID talk over the next few days as our government are set to announce a new 'tier' system along with rumours of possible short 'circuit breaker' lockdowns and all the while we still haven't got an effect test and trace system...or as I was calling it track and trace! Just goes to show that there is so much information out there that we can't even get the name of the systems that are supposedly in place right!

So as always look after yourselves and do what you can to keep yourself safe. Wash your hands, keep your distance and wear a mask.

Saturday, 10 October 2020

Welcome to the Weekend

Day 206...

A slightly later than planned emerging from my slumber this morning but once up and about it was on with the day.

One of our furniture sales was collected first thing so another satisfied customer. And then the focus of my morning was recording this weeks podcast with my fellow Disney Dream Girl Michelle.

We were both snowed under with work and full of colds last week so this was our first show in a couple of weeks. It was great just to catch up with Michelle and a bonus that we got to chat Disney as well.

We then decided to dodge the rain showers and go out for a walk, which ultimately ended up with visiting my Dad. I haven't been able to see him for a few weeks so it was lovely to spend a little time catching up and to see that he is well and getting on with life the best he can.

On the walk home we managed to stay dry and despite encountering rain it seemed to stop as soon as it had started. The afternoon has then been spent with both Simon and I sat at computers. Simon has been programming the sounds for his mouse droid project. He has been able to find a set of fantastic, authentic sound effects so all I have heard from the opposite end of the room all afternoon is clicks, beeps and boops...oh and the odd swear word when things haven't gone quite right. As I understand it there is programming and Arduinos and accelerometers involved!!

I on the other hand have been placing more items up for sale on various selling platforms. We also had another piece of sold furniture get collected and I managed to sell the buyer another piece to go with the item she was picking up!

Seeing a Facebook memory from four years ago I was prompted to update my car antenna topper! I have a fair few of these and do try to change them to match the time of year or just because I can! So we went from a Mike Wazowski...

...to a more seasonal Stitch as a Vampire..
Nice to have a little bit of Disney with me wherever I may go!

And to round out the day we decided on take-out from our local kebab shop...so while not strictly low carb they are very tasty and packed with lots of meat and salad...we just don't bother with the pitta bread and hey presto we have a low carb version!

Saturday is done, Autumn is well and truly with us so whatever you do take care, keep your distance, wash your hands and wear a mask.

Friday, 9 October 2020

Back to Work

Day 205...

So after the events of yesterday it was back to pre-school and open as normal today...and everything was fine.

We are aware of other children in other schools awaiting test results and I think we are just going to have to accept that this is going to become part of the normal run of things.

I have had to let my county council know, our regulatory body know as well as keeping committee, staff and parents all up to date. I was expecting to be contacted by the UK's 'Track & Trace' program but we heard nothing; I can only presume that as the child was not at pre-school in the couple of days prior to symptoms appearing that there is no need to involve us in the process.

More changes though as we were advised of two children leaving us over the next few months, moving to other settings closer to where they live or where older siblings attend school. It is always sad to find out children are leaving us when not expected as we really do get attached to these children and it stings when our time with them gets cut short.

The rest of my day was spent dealing with the usual administration tasks; updating children records and staff files along with some book-keeping and filing.

I will admit to not feeling quite with it today, just feeling a bit disconnected from everything and I'm not really sure why. There are times when I feel a change is needed, and that has nothing to do with the current virus situation, perhaps I'm just at that time in my life when I need a new direction, a new challenge...I don't know...I guess only time will tell.

Once home it was time for a coffee, a few more emails, responding to some Ebay questions and just generally catching up on things. Molly has had her first Etsy sale today, how exciting!! But as she is currently staying with her boyfriend 190 miles away she had to enlist my help to organise the dispatch of the bought item. Thankfully she is very organised and it was very easy to get all the necessary bits together and get everything sorted for dropping in the post tomorrow.

So there we have the end of another working week and I'm really not sure where that leaves us all as a country. We have possible new restrictions coming into force next week...but it may be different depending on where you live...there's a new job support scheme coming in and all the while we are told cases are rising and hospitals maybe approaching critical levels again.

The longer this goes on I fear there is a danger that we all just lose interest, but I think the blame for this can lie with those in charge who quite frankly do not seem to know what they are doing. We had a long lockdown and numbers went down, we re-opened the country and numbers stayed steady but now they are rising again - so why? Is this just a side-effect of the time of year or something more? But will we ever find out the honest answers?

The further we get into this pandemic the more skeptical I find myself getting. I will always do as I am told and will listen to those in power and try and do my bit to help the 'greater cause' but with forever changing messages, with one rule for us and one rule for them, I find myself questioning more and more. I don't have the answers and the problem is now I don't know who actually does have the answers. Esteemed science people can't even seem to agree so what chance do the rest of us have at understanding or believing what we are told.

I have said for a while now that in a year or so's time there will be a documentary made about this pandemic, how it started and how it was handled around the world and I worry about what we may find out!

But until then I suppose all we can do is look after ourselves, keep our distance, wash our hands and wear a mask.

Thursday, 8 October 2020

Closed for the Day

Day 204...

Well...where to start with today?

So last night I received word that one of the pupils who attends our pre-school had tested positive for the dreaded virus. I had to make the decision late last night to close pre-school today as it was too late to contact the necessary powers that be.

So once up this morning it was on the phone to our Department of Education helpline and while I did have a little wait to get through once I was through the whole process was handled so well and clearly and with care.

Thankfully the outcome was that because the child hasn't attended pre-school in the couple of days before the COVID symptoms appeared we were given the green light to re-open, which we will be doing tomorrow. And hopefully I should be contacted by the UK's 'track and trace' system, which will be interesting to see what their advice is!

We find ourselves on the edge of an area that has seen a drastic increase in cases over the last week and there is talk of much stricter restrictions coming into play over the next few days. As a result we seem to have become aware of more cases locally that are causing various school year groups to be sent into self isolation. Unfortunately this affects the daughter of one of my staff, for the second time, and means she will be in self isolation for her 18th birthday as well which is so sad.

So as I spent my day at home today I still managed to get work done...maybe not the work I would ordinarily have done as most of the day was spent issuing and responding to emails and keeping parents, staff and committee informed of the days developments. I also managed to complete the online part of my first aid course that we are all completing at the moment; a requisite of childcare is that we have to take a first aid qualification every 3 years.

In between the emails and the first aid course I was able to get a few odd jobs done around the house, find time to have a coffee outside with Simon in between rain showers, we had a lovely chat with one of our neighbours and then later on when my dairy delivery arrived I was able to catch up with one of my older neighbours and have a good old moan about the current state of things!

So we enter another period of uncertainty. We have possible new restrictions and a new alert system coming in...possibly...maybe...sometime next week. Why do we have to wait for a seemingly random date for these restrictions to come into place. If we need to do something surely we need to do it now, and not wait for a future date?

I think this is where the problem is at the moment, and as it has been throughout this virus, the messaging and guidelines that we are issued with not only keep changing but are never straight forward or simple to understand. We seem to be in a perpetual state of questioning what we should be doing, where can we go, who can we see, how many people can we see at once and does this apply to everywhere or just where I live? The more questions we have over what we 'should' be doing the more problems we are going to have. How can the public expect to do the right thing if we are struggling to understand what that right thing may be?!

All I can say is please take care, think carefully about what you are doing; keep your distance, wash your hands and wear a mask.

Wednesday, 7 October 2020

Day 203

Day 203...

No work today so I made a conscious effort not to jump up out of bed straight away and enjoy not having to be out the door at a certain time.

Once sorted around this morning I had one more Ebay sale to package up. Slightly tricky as all the spare boxes I'd got were either too small or way too big. So I took one of the bigger ones and fashioned my own box out of it so that it would fit the item I was shipping. It did take me a while to get it sorted but I was very pleased with my results...this is the sort of crafty/DIY job that I would normally ask Simon to do for me so I felt quite proud of my efforts!!

While printing labels I did a little google research on some china that I'd ideally like to sell on as I think it's too good to just throw away. Turns out I was able to date it to the late 1940's, so fingers crossed I can find a new owner who will be able to enjoy and appreciate them. That's been the great thing about selling stuff recently that while we have been able to benefit financially we know that pieces have gone to new homes where they will be appreciated and get a new lease of life.

While internet surfing my browser very kindly informed me that some of my passwords may have been compromised and that I should change them - ugh! Turns out it was sites using a password from way back and were just sites that I'd obviously missed when updating. But a good lesson to us all...pick different passwords and change them regular. 

When lunchtime came around Simon and I jumped in the car to take all the various parcels off to their relevant delivery companies; ended up having to use three different systems in the end as a few were on the heavy and larger size.

The early part of the afternoon was spent doing a little work as I wanted to update a couple of documents while the discussions from yesterday were still relatively fresh in my head. Then I figured I'd earnt a coffee sat outside in the sunshine but no sooner than I had sat down my butchers delivery arrived. 

But I made sure I took the time to enjoy my coffee before heading indoors to sort all the meat out; splitting it into meal sizes and then finding room in the freezer for it all. Took me a little longer than normal as my usual helper, Molly, is away at her boyfriends this week.

And that was my day. We have new restrictions coming in for part of Scotland and even closer to where I live there are calls for the community to not mix indoors with concern that there maybe stricter restrictions brought in by central government. Just feels like we are making no progress with this virus and all the while it looms over us stopping us from getting on and doing all the things that we want, and need, to do.

Take care out there, wash your hands, keep your distance and wear a mask.

Tuesday, 6 October 2020

More Packaging!

Day 202...

So back in work today for the first time this week, and it was a pretty standard day.

A day spent catching up with my deputy manager as we reviewed our current procedures around being 'Covid Secure', re-looking at our staffing levels, organising an email newsletter, updating invoices and processing some banking. 

The work then carried on once I got home as I still had a few emails to write along with the joy of reading a government document to ensure we are meeting all the necessary guidelines.

While I'd been at work we had two more pieces of sold furniture collected and it was lovely to hear how pleased people were with their purchases; it's great to think that these pieces are going to continue to bring joy to people rather than just being discarded.

During the day a number of my current Ebay listings had sold which was great but then meant an evening for Simon and me of packing things. Lots of bubble wrap, parcel tape, fashioning boxes out of boxes and lots of 'fragile' tape to ensure the safe passage of these items. Tomorrow will see a trip to the post office and a couple of courier drop-offs to get these on their way.

And that was day 202 done! 

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