Saturday, 17 April 2021

How many miles?

Day 395...

So this Saturday was one of the most 'normal' we have had in a while.

Molly was back at her guitar lessons in person for the first time since before Christmas which in turn meant that we were back at our old spot for coffee. We opted for the drive thru' option as although we could have sat outside it would have been next to a road and a car park and despite the sunshine it was still a tad chilly. But we did get to see one of the regular store colleagues and so it was nice to catch-up with him as well.

After a spot of lunch we decided to head out for one of our walks over the fields. We decided to complete the walk in reverse for a change and notched up 3.56 miles in one hour and 11 minutes; making an April total so far of 46 miles, 198 miles for 2021 and 508 miles since we recorded our first lockdown walk on 23rd March last year - wow!

And while out for our walk we bumped into one of the family's that attend my pre-school, although I think the little girl wasn't quite sure who I was out of my usual pre-school uniform!

The rest of the afternoon was spent drinking coffee outside, chilling, a little book reading (Dr Jen Unwin's Fork in the Road) and Simon doing some more digital drawing. And in among all that I have done a little internet searching for window companies and beauty clinics and have sent off a few enquiry forms as well as messaging a tattooist about my next bit of Disney ink!

Time for some red wine, chocolate and RuPauls Drag Race.

See you tomorrow, take care.

Friday, 16 April 2021

Day 394

Day 394...

Well, we have another quiet Friday. Nothing much to do at all.

There were a couple of jobs to be done around the house and a little online research needed. As we are now in a new  tax year I have the ever so exciting job of completing Simon's tax return and needed to check a few things out before I started. I have plenty of time to submit the return but it's always good to be able to get it done and dusted, but I just need a few more bits of information before I can start. 

Lunchtime saw our usual walk over the fields and it was back on with the coats today as the weather really hasn't warmed up any. But it was another 1.8 miles in 37 minutes and a chance for Simon and I to have a little time together, chat and vent against the world.

My afternoon has been another lazy afternoon in front of the TV! I have managed to finish the Disney + series 'On Pointe' all about the School of American Ballet. It was really quite sad watching the last couple of episodes and listening to the students talk about Spring performances and starting apprenticeships in June while knowing that Covid would hit and scupper all their plans. The penultimate episode saw the performance of The Nutcracker at the Lincoln Centre and just knowing that this tradition was not possible in 2020 and knowing that these students hold this show in such high regard was heartbreaking to watch.

The day was rounded out with watching episode five of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, another Disney + show. We decided to start the weekend off with a cheeky martini while we watched the show; we then nicknamed the drink Marveltini...because we were watching a Marvel show...we thought it was funny anyway!

So now we are ready for the weekend, and whatever that will bring our way.

Take care out there.

Thursday, 15 April 2021

A Quiet Thursday

Day 393...

And we move onto a Thursday...just a few more days of my break from pre-school left before returning to work next week.

But it has been a quiet day today as I have not really had too much to do. I've done a few household chores; some ironing, dusting and laundry but nothing overtly taxing or exciting.

Molly was able to take a driving lesson this morning; her first in well over a year. She had just gotten started with learning to drive at the beginning of last year and was really taking to it when the first lockdown got in the way. When we opened up last Summer she decided to wait a while before resuming her lessons, just cautiously waiting to see how things 'pandemic' wise developed. As it was because of more lockdowns and tier systems she was never able to resume her lessons last year and has had to wait until this week to start over. She has her theory test booked for the end of May so fingers crossed she can get mobile before any more 'restrictions' come our way. I think she had a good lesson today and was pleasantly surprised that she could remember what to do!

At lunchtime Simon and I took our usual 1.9 miles, in 37 minutes, circular walk and found it was a little chillier out than we were expecting. The sunshine fooled us into thinking it was 'jumper' weather; thankfully a good walking pace warmed us up. 

I have taken a little more time for me today and have managed three more episodes of the Disney + series 'On Pointe'. Despite having next to no knowledge about ballet, and having no real interest in seeing a ballet, I am really enjoying this series. Fascinating to understand how the School of American Ballet works, how they have a style of ballet that they follow (didn't know there were styles of ballet!), the work ethic that the students have and from a very young age; very inspiring.

As Simon finished work for the day we headed down our respective 'gyms' and today marked Simon's 99th gym session at home since the first lockdown this time last year. We are lucky that we have enough space in our garage to make our own 'gym' although it has involved some strategic storage so that we can still park our car in there as well!

And that was more day done.

Take care.

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Mammogram Wednesday

Day 392...

And we have reached the middle of another week. I am still on my break from preschool but Simon is back working.

My day started with a couple of small jobs; loading the washing machine, updating the banking for preschool and booking in a collection slot for my grocery shopping.

Late morning saw me head off to my local hospital for my second annual mammogram. It is now two years since I underwent a lumpectomy, followed by radiotherapy, for breast cancer and part of my ongoing care is to have annual mammograms for 5 years.

I was due to have my first mammogram April 2020 but because of the pandemic it was cancelled and eventually rescheduled for June 2020. I had presumed that this year, and subsequent years, that my appointment would now all happen in June so I was pleasantly surprised to receive my appointment in April which means I am on track with where I would have been ordinarily.

Driving to my appointment was a little strange as I realised it was the furthest I'd driven on my own (and it was only 8 miles!) in such a long time.  I drove a route that I know really well through places that I have visited almost weekly for years and years and yet everywhere felt familiar but also strangely different. It's moments like this when the unseen effects of lockdown can suddenly strike you.

But the great thing was that I arrived in plenty of time. I waited until almost my appointment time (as instructed in my letter) and then ventured into the hospital. After checking in at reception I sat down in the waiting area, which was empty, another patient then arrived just after me and almost immediately I was called through. Ten minutes after my allotted appointment time I was back in the car. I can't fault the NHS at Derby Breast Unit everyone has been so lovely, so caring and have always put me at ease every time I have visited. I am so thankful for all that they have done for me over the last couple of years.

As I arrived home Simon was just breaking for lunch so with a change of shoes we set off on our lunchtime walk over the fields - another 1.85 miles in 37 minutes. We were also able to help a family who had wandered up the bridlepath near us in search of Alpacas...we are fortunate to have some Alpacas on a farm close by to us but this family were a little off course but a few directions later and we had them heading in the right direction.

My afternoon turned out to be a very relaxed and, for me, quite indulgent afternoon. I finished watching the last episode of The Marvelous Mrs Maisel which was fabulous, just as all three seasons so far have been; a highly recommended must watch from me. Plus I just love all the glamour of the era (late 1950's into early 1960's); all the dresses and the hats and the jewellery! 

I then started to watch a docu-series on Disney + called 'On Pointe' all about the School of American Ballet in New York. Now I am not a ballet fan, but this series was recommended by a fellow Disney geek so I though I would give it a try. And one episode in and I am hooked!

I then decided to spend a little time outside with a coffee or two and the sunshine. I was able to read a little more of Gary Taubes' 'The Case for Keto' as well as start a new book by Dr Jen Unwin called 'Fork in the Road' all about our food, and specifically sugar, addiction and how we can get past it. I just love learning more about how we are supposed to eat and understanding more about how we can high-jack our best intentions and what to do about getting back on track. Having eaten low carb/keto for almost seven years now I know how well this way of eating suits me and am fascinated with the science behind it and the history of how we found ourselves eating completely the wrong way.

Take care out there.

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

A Quiet Tuesday

Day 391...

And today was Tuesday and it was a quiet day today.

Once up and about I grabbed Molly to be my 'muscle' as I needed to pay some cash into the bank for preschool. As it was 80% coin it was rather heavy and whilst I could lift the bag...just...I needed someone to carry it from the car park to the bank!

Once we were back home I had a few household chores to do...the very exciting laundry and cleaning of the bathroom - whoop! Thankfully I was interrupted by Simon's lunch hour so we took a walk over the fields managing our usual 1.8 miles in about 36 minutes. So far in April we have managed a walk for 11 days in succession making a total of 37 miles in 12 hours.

The afternoon saw me complete a little Disney research as well as find some time to watch the last episode of The Marvelous Mrs Maisel. Although I only got half way through before I jumped online with my podcast co-host Michelle to record another episode of our Disney Dream Girls podcast.

And by the time I'd finished recording it was time to 'go down the gym'. Simon and Molly make use of our garage with a bench, pull-up bar and weights while I stick to the comfort of a yoga mat and my bodyweight exercises.

So although gyms reopened yesterday we have decided to stick to using what we have at home. Back in the Summer last year when the gyms were able to open for a few months we had decided to cancel our membership, save some money and carry on using our home set-up. It means that we can easily 'work-out' whenever we like, we can get there very quickly and not have to worry about finding a car parking space and even when the weather is bad we can still 'get to the gym'. It has worked so well for us that we are going to stick with this approach for the foreseeable future. But it is great to know that for those who enjoy what a gym can offer they are now able to get back to doing what they love.

Take care, wherever you may be.

Monday, 12 April 2021

Day 390 - Lockdown Easing - Stage Two

Day 390...

Today saw the start of 'stage two' of our governments 'roadmap out of lockdown' which means that personal services can resume, non-essential shops can open and hospitality can operate outside only. Although social distancing, masks and track & trace all still yes we can do more but we effectively still have 'one hand tied behind our backs' so to speak.

But as it was Monday we still had the usual morning job of collecting our weekly grocery shop which also involved dropping a few bits and pieces off at my dads as he is still without a car.

We then had the helmet that Simon had made last week to post off before we made our way into one of our closest cities, Nottingham. We decided that we would venture into the city and just see what the day brought, with no expectations other than to have a walk and perhaps grab a coffee.

We were curious to see just how far we would walk on a trip to an urban area and whilst it was a more relaxed and gentler paced walk than our usual countryside walks we still managed 4.12 miles. Thankfully we had a dry and sunny day, if a little chilly at times, and were able to meander around the city and take in the sights and sounds that we have not been able to do in such a long time.

Nottingham City Centre
Enjoying a coffee on a walkabout
The city was quite busy and it was lovely to be back out amongst people and to soak up the atmosphere that a city has to offer. We have loved walking over the fields on our doorstep but it was so good to be back in a city and just wander.

As we had expected there were some shops that had ridiculously long lines and although I would have loved to have popped in and seen what was on offer (especially Disney stuff) we really weren't that desperate! So we walked and picked up a coffee and were pleasantly surprised to see the amount of work being carried out on new buildings and remarked on the changes since we had last visited. 

I remember Molly and I visiting the city last August but it will be over a year since Simon and I have visited together and it was just lovely to be back and doing something a little closer to normal and to simply soak up the surroundings. It was sad to see a large number of shop fronts all boarded up and empty and it will be interesting to see going forward which venues survive and whether these unused shops will ever get filled again.

But we did manage to get a little shopping done...well it would have been rude not to have taken advantage of a special offer at Hotel Chocolat...
And then when we discovered we could walk straight into the Disney Store we just had to have a look around and although there wasn't really anything that took my fancy we couldn't not pick up a Star Wars figure for Simon...
The Mandalorian, already set-up on Simon's work desk.
Although I did get to choose the shopping bag!

Something suitably girly...princesses!
As we came home we stopped by an out of town 'DIY' store to look at some fencing as we need to replace some trellis panels; although we went in with one idea and think we may have left with something different...still in research phase though.

Once home we had a coffee and just spent some time chilling in the back garden as the sun was shining and it was actually quite pleasant. Simon has been doing some more digital drawing and just tonight was lamenting missing our regular life drawing class, Dr Sketchy's, and how we are so looking forward to hanging out with people we haven't seen for way too long now, and giving them a big hug when we do. While Simon got arty I managed a little more reading of my Gary Taubes book 'The Case for Keto'.

And then another almost normal event today was taking Molly to her kickboxing class...the first time since before Christmas! And although they are not allowed any contact at least they can now train in a proper gym kitted out for their sport.

The day was rounded out by making martini's...I had read up that vodka and gin martini's were both good low carb alcoholic drink options and had decided to give them a go! Actually both worked really well and then Simon discovered a Smokey Martini made with gin and whiskey!

Best stop typing now!!

Take care - cheers!

Sunday, 11 April 2021

Another Cold Sunday

Day 389...

So here we are at another Sunday and rather an uneventful one...although no suprise there!.

With nothing particular to do today we decided on a walk out this morning to avoid the rain showers forecast for this afternoon. We walked 5.3 miles in an hour and 42 minutes; it was sunny at times, it was cold and we got caught in a couple of hail showers - just what it should be like in April!! I am really in need of some warmer weather now, if only to make me feel brighter in myself.

We are in this weird limbo land at the moment. Tomorrow we see non-essential retail, hairdressers and outdoor dining open up but all will have with them some form of restrictions. There will be limited capacity in shops, masks will still be needed to go in anywhere and sitting outdoors to have a drink and a bite to eat will require 'checking-in' to 'track & trace'. It all feels just too much. We have had a year of not being able to do anything or go anywhere and with fear messaging pumped at us all the time and now we are just supposed to carry on...but with restrictions.

This is not the freedom that I signed up for. We have 'cases' and deaths as low as they are ever likely to be and yet we are still not able to get back to our normal lives and I fear that those in power like the control they have over us and don't want to give that up any time soon...if ever!

We have record numbers of deaths from cancer at the moment because of undiagnosed conditions and missed or delayed treatment yet we are not hearing the 'news' report that. One cancer charity has said that the amount of money they have lost due to the reduction in charitable giving over the last year is the equivalent of delaying their research and development by 18 months. Something is not right somewhere? The world feels a very strange place to be at the moment, and this does not feel like the democracy we have been led to believe we live in.

So my day has been rather 'down' today, when asked by a friend how I was I responded with 'meh' and that pretty much sums it all up at the moment. I am in a slump, like I know lots of us are, and I am struggling to summon the energy to see the way out of say my get up and go has got up and left would be an understatement.

So with nothing much to do and the weather being rather temperamental I settled down in front of the TV and fuelled with coffee I watched another couple of episodes of The Marvellous Mrs Maisel (just one more to go now) and painted my nails in an attempt to brighten me up. It's the first time I've 'done' my nails in I can't remember how long! And while I got all girly Simon started the marathon watching of the 'Snyder' cut of Justice League...four hours was just too much for me to endure!

And then Sunday was rounded out with our usual Disney Dream Girls Disney quiz and although I didn't win it was a bit of light relief for a Sunday that felt rather 'down'.

Take care, whatever you may be doing.