And welcome to the weekend...and a nice slow start to the day.
Ordinarily we would have been taking Molly to her guitar lesson but we received a text last night to say that her teacher knows someone who had just tested positive for COVID, and although he had not been in close contact, he felt it only wise to not teach in person today. So that meant no need to rush around and get out the house for a set time and Molly could still have her lesson but from the comfort of home via a video tutorial.
We decided that as the weather wasn't looking too bad we would head out into the garden to continue with a bit of garden tidying. But just as we stepped out the door the rain started...but we carried on as we weren't going to let a few spots stop us, however the downpour that then ensued did put a stop to proceedings and we quickly had to dash inside.
Thankfully after about 10 minutes the rain cleared and we ventured outside once again and this time we were able to hack away at a very large and overgrown hydrangea plant. It has been in the garden for years and has gotten too big, too woody and in desperate need of some TLC. But when we started to chop into it we realised just what a bad state it was in and decided to get as much of the plant out as we could. In about an hour and a half we had reduced it to just a stump. We still need to finish off chopping it all up so that we can get rid of it through our garden recycling bin and to figure out a way to either get the stump out or to kill it off!
But we had to stop there for the day as we had an appointment at a local car dealership to see whether it is financially viable to swap from being a two car family down to just a one car household. We are in a tricky situation as last year we upgraded both our cars and at the time our circumstances meant that having two cars was a necessity. But now 12 months later not only has our personal circumstances changed but the knock-on effect of COVID means that our travelling needs have dropped significantly.
Simon already worked from home before the lockdown kicked in (has done for about 7 years) and would normally have driven to their office once every few weeks or so, but as their office is about 3 and a half hours away that's a fair few miles to travel. But since lockdown this hasn't happened and actually his team have found that work has carried on just fine, if not even more productive now that all of them are working from their respective homes. Everyone is working in the exact same circumstances and their output and communication have improved all round! So with the prospect of Simon travelling even less, me working only a couple of miles away and my working week reducing even further it just seems the obvious course of action to reduce down to one car.
I hate going to car dealerships. It is always such a performance, in fact Simon calls it a pantomime, the back and forth negotiating that takes place and the time it takes to do it. An hour and a half we were there today to be told that we have negative equity with our finance agreements and if we did want to buy a new car we would need to find £130 extra per month over what we ideally want to pay. Suffice to say we walked away saying 'we would think about it'. Long story short the dealership we have dealt with over the past few years are no longer there and the business has been transferred to another dealer down the road and their approach is different. I'm not convinced they are giving us the best deal so I am now doing my own online digging to see if I can find an alternative and better solution.
As Simon said this afternoon, sitting in a car dealership going through some long winded process feels so old fashioned nowadays and really needs to be moved along with the times. We need a much easier, fairer and quicker way of going through this process...I'm sure there's a gap in the market that someone could be filling!
Once home it was time for coffee...much needed coffee. And then the plan was to venture back out into the garden to finish this morning's work of chopping up what was left of the hydrangea plant we had destroyed. But this was not to be as the rain returned, and rather heavy it was too so instead the afternoon was spent with a little jigsaw time for me and for Simon it was figuring out why the Arduino that had worked perfectly last night generating sound effects for his R2D2 build had suddenly stopped working.
Well after much tinkering Simon has an idea of what has gone wrong and new parts have been ordered, which by the power of Amazon prime will be with us tomorrow. I made some more progress with the jigsaw and I now have the help of a magnifying glass so that I can pick out the detail on the box artwork!
We have not ventured out much during the lockdown at all and we have no desire to rush back to doing anything in particular. So being out today was the first time we had been out anywhere specific and whilst all the staff at the car dealership did not wear masks they did all keep their distance. There were perspex shield at their desks and hand sanitiser on entering the building. They had anti-bacterial spray to use on any cars that were being looked at or taken out for a test drive. And the great thing was to see that all the members of the public that were in there all had masks on (us included), although we did spot one lady with the covering under her nose!!
Stories seem to vary from area to area, or shop to shop, as to the public's adherence to wearing a mask. And while it is not the most glamorous of fashion accessories (although mine are all Disney themed) it is not hard to do and if it means we can all get back to something vaguely like normal then it is a small price to pay. People need to stop being selfish, think of the bigger picture and wear a damn mask!
Take care out there, stay safe, look after yourself and everyone else by wearing a mask,