Thursday, 31 December 2020
End of 2020
Wednesday, 30 December 2020
Quiet Day and into Tier 4
Today has been a bit of a quiet day and has left me feeling rather melancholic and down.
At this point in a normal Christmas break we would be off doing something, somewhere, even if it was just going shopping or visiting friends. But this year things are obviously very different and while the shops have been open here today the thought of 'going shopping' and having to queue to get into shops and only able to have take-away food and coffee really hasn't appealed to us.
I would have loved to go visiting friends but again this is out of the question and it just kills me that I haven't been able to see people physically for almost a year now.
I did manage to complete my current jigsaw this morning (thanks Paula for my birthday pressie).
This was the first time completing a jigsaw that was made out of very fine wooden pieces and as I was bought another of the same make for Christmas I know what I will be doing next.
After completing the jigsaw and dismantling it to make way for the next one I was feeling very much at a 'loose end' so Simon suggested we go on a walk. So all wrapped up we set off and managed one of our longer routes completing 5.5 miles in 1 hour and 43 minutes. It was rather chilly and by the time we got home the light was fading but it was lovely to arrive home to see all our outside lights twinkling.
And then once home we heard the news that the area we live in is moving into Tier 4 restrictions as of midnight...which basically means lockdown...again. So all non-essential shops, gyms, indoor entertainment, hairdressers, tattoists and nail bars are closed and everyone is to work from home if you can. So yet again we are confined to our homes with no evidence that the measures that we have been following have had any affect what so ever. Numbers of cases continue to rise while using a flawed PCR test and although we keep getting told the number of deaths per day (which is awful) the overall deaths do not appear to be that different from any other year. And yes we are being told that the NHS is under pressure but none of the 'nightingale hospitals' have been opened and every year our poor NHS is always under pressure due to seasonal respiratory diseases. Perhaps if our government had better funded the NHS over the past 10, 15 years or more we would be in a better position to cope. Perhaps if messages about better metabolic health and taking vitamin D were pushed then the public would be in a better position to cope with this horrible virus (and other things) should they be unfortunate enough to catch it.
The further we get into this mess the more confused I get, the more sceptical I get and the more worried I get that we have all been forced into some draconian measures for no reason whatsoever. Either this is an extremely dangerous virus that we are never going to be able to quash or it's a seasonal virus that we need to learn to live with and get on with our lives. But all we can do is follow what those in power tell us to do and take our own risk assessment on the activities that we decide on. I await the documentary in about a year or eighteen months time when we may find out the truth behind all of this.
Whatever you are doing, wherever you are living, just take care.
Tuesday, 29 December 2020
Well today we had to be up and about a bit earlier than the last few mornings as we had our weekly grocery shop to collect...and we woke up to snow!
Now snow in the UK is always a big deal; we don't get it very often and most times when we do get it it is never around for very long. Plus we seem to go into a mild panic and everything seems to stop functioning all because of a light covering of white stuff!
Anyways we had to venture out in it this morning to fetch the aforementioned shopping and thankfully the roads weren't too bad and the snow was pretty light.
Molly had ventured out in the snow with her camera and I'm looking forward to seeing what she has been able to capture. As we returned from fetching the shopping it had started to snow fairly heavy again so I decided to capture some photos with my phone...
...it turned out to be a good idea as not long after these photos were taken it started to rain and then the grey skies turned to blue and the sun came out. Suffice to say when Simon and I went out for a walk later it was icy chilly but rather slushy and squelchy underfoot.
Monday, 28 December 2020
Bank Holiday Monday
Another slow and steady sort of day on what is called here in the UK a 'bank holiday'; this is basically a day that is classified as a public holiday, and is marked by the fact that the banks are closed.
Many moons ago I used to work for one of our high street banks and always enjoyed the Christmas period. We used to work till about midday on Christmas Eve and it would often be worked in fancy dress. We would then be in the local pub by about 1pm which was always such a great time. And on years when Christmas fell over a weekend we would enjoy the bonus of 'bank holidays' by having a break from work of four days! Those were the days!
Now working in education I do benefit from having a couple of weeks off over the festive period, and as Simon's work tends to shut down for the same amount of time it is great to have time off together, and time off as a family.
So today has been fairly standard; a mix of online shopping, ironing, a few odd jobs and more R2D2 building for Simon. But I did decide to gather up all of my Christmas presents and find a home for them all to live so thought I would share some of them here with you.
My good friend and podcast co-host, Michelle, knows me so well...I have a big soft spot for the attraction Mr Toads Wild Ride that used to be at Walt Disney World and can now only be found at Disneyland, so this mug is just right...
|Couple of my favourite chocolate bars!|
|Stormtrooper Bottle Stopper|
Sunday, 27 December 2020
Laid Back Sunday
Well today has been another slow and steady day. We have now entered that time between Christmas and New Year when the question of the day is 'what day is it?'
So after a very relaxed start I set about getting a few minor jobs done; updated my online grocery shop for later in the week and did a little research ready for podcast recording later on.
Simon and I then took a walk out through our village and managed just under two and a half miles in about 45 minutes. But I have never known the village to be so busy...normally we would perhaps see two or three others walking about but today it felt like we were walking as part of a group!
There were lots and lots of parked cars where normally there would be none. So much for a quiet afternoon walk...especially when you have a noisy family walking behind you!!
Later this afternoon I jumped online with my podcast co-host Michelle to record a coulple of podcast episodes; one for our Patreon supporters and the other our usual weekly show.
No sooner than I'd finished recording it was time for our weekly Disney Dream Girls podcast family Disney quiz. This week the questions were all about the film The Princess and the Frog which I haven't seen for years but thankfully Molly had sat and watched it this afternoon and as a result we won! This does mean that I have the pleasure of setting questions for next weeks quiz which we have agreed will be on the live action movie version of Mulan.
So a straight forward, steady, Sunday. Take care out there!
Saturday, 26 December 2020
And it was Boxing Day here in the UK, the day to recover from too much food and drink the day before!
Today would usually have been a day for perhaps visiting people that we had not seen yesterday but obviously this year it has been a quiet affair.
A late start to the day followed by a lazy day of coffee and jigsaw for me while Simon tinkered with his R2D2 build.
Later this afternoon we spent a couple of hours watching the latest Pixar movie Soul, which was just beautiful. I loved it and I cried...maybe that's because I'm a hormonally challenged woman and a big softy or maybe it's simply the power of a Pixar movie.
The rest of the day has been more TV, more jigsaw and more food!
I hope everyone has been able to enjoy the holidays the best way they can. Take care out there.
Friday, 25 December 2020
Not going to bother with a long post today but just wanted to wish everyone Happy Holidays and hope that you have all had as good a day as you possibly could under the circumstances.
Living in a Tier 3 area we are 'allowed' to mix with up to three households (I think!) for today only. Where other areas have had that privilege revoked completley...so sad!
But for us we have done what we have done for the last few years and just had my dad visit and had a quiet family day. Presents, food, a little drink, random tv programs and family.
So we will make the best of what we can this year and hope that the coming year brings a brighter and safer future for us all.
Thursday, 24 December 2020
Another Lockdown Birthday
And it's Christmas Eve but also in this house it's our eldest, Ethan's, birthday.
My not so little boy arrived on Christmas Eve, although my due date had been New Years Day. I was admitted following my routine ante-natal appointment with pre-eclampsia and about ten hours later Ethan was born to the sound of carol singers...singing 'Away in a Manger'...I kid you not! And as Simon reminded me today I gave birth in full make-up, freshly done nails and Christmas earrings!
Well the glamourous birth was then followed by five days in hospital while Ethan recovered from jaundice and I waited for my blood levels to get back to where they should be.
Over the last few years we have developed a tradition for birthdays and Christmas of having Mickey waffles for breakfast and today was no exception...
|Mickey Waffles...served with bacon, sausage, maple syrup and ice-cream|
|All wrapped up for a chilly evening walk|
Wednesday, 23 December 2020
Baking and Present Giving
Today was the first day this Christmas break that we didn't have any critical plans that we had to be up and about for so we had our first 'lie-in' of the holidays. Which after a rubbish nights sleep was much appreciated by me.
So after a steady start to the day we formed a plan; we had presents to drop off at friends, my dad to see, baking to be done and more paint spraying for R2D2.
We decided to brave the grey and rainy day and take a walk out to distribute presents and see my dad. It was at this point that Simon decided to surprise me with his latest, and secret, purchase...a Christmas jumper! Now to put this into context I have a number of jumpers and t-shirts all of a festive vibe that I will wear throughout December but this is something that I have never known Simon to take part in. Simon has always tolerated my love of Christmas and puts up with the ever expanding number of ornaments, decorations and lights each year...which also seem to go up earlier and earlier each year. He has always found Christmas to be stressful for lots of reasons but this year is the most relaxed he has ever felt and he decided to surprise me with his jumper as he knew how much it would mean to me to see him joining in the fun. It is, of course, a Star Wars themed jumper which is as it should be for him and was rather appropriate today as I was wearing my Darth Vader Gingerbread Man t-shirt.
Tuesday, 22 December 2020
So today has been a day of getting jobs done with the first task of the day being to collect the weekly grocery shop from my supermarket of choice.
We saw our usual store colleague, Marky Mark, so it was nice to be able to wish him a 'happy Christmas'. I will admit to this being a bigger than normal weekly shop...think I fell foul of a 'well it's Christmas' attitude while shopping as I'm sure we have more than we actually need!
Packing everything into the fridge was like playing a game of Tetris and woah behold anyone who doesn't put things back in the right place!!
I then had the pleasure of getting all the ironing completed - whoop! Simon has spent the day working on his R2D2 build; a laborious job of masking off all the many, many, many parts ready for spray painting and followed by an afternoon of spray painting all said parts in a silver to get a metal appearance.
The podcast I co-host has created a special Facebook page called 'Disney Dream Girls Podcast Family'; a page where a group of us can get together, swap Disney stories and share what's happening in our lives. This year we decided to set up a 'Christmas gift exchange'; everyone who wanted to join in the fun added themselves to a list and specified whether they wanted to exchange with someone in their own country or from abroad.
I joined in the fun and was partnered with Donna in the US. We chatted online to agree a budget and specify any likes or dislikes. I decided to buy Donna a Disney Key Christmas ornament as she had mentioned she collected the keys and then I included a range of quintessential British chocolate and sweets along with some park maps from Disneyland Paris. Today my parcel arrived from Donna and I was blown away...
|The contents of my parcel - just love that Star Wars paper!|
|This is now hanging on my tree!|
Monday, 21 December 2020
Well we have another Monday and another day of wondering what on earth is happening in this country. Borders closed and self isolation required if travelling to a lower tier!!
So fed up of this now and someone somewhere needs to take charge. The Ofcom restriction on media reporting anything other than the government message needs lifting. We need investigative journalists with the freedom and platform to do what they do best...investigate and expose the truth behind the headlines.
But besides all the doom and gloom we did manage to get a few things done today. First was a small grocery shop and by first I do mean first as we were up and out and back home in time for breakfast!
The rest of my morning was spent completing the accounts for pre-school before heading out to the hairdressers for a cut and colour refresh. While Simon has spent his day tinkering with the electronics aspect of his R2D2 build; making the dome move and triggering sounds in response to a motion detector. Once home I even managed a sneaky bit of TV catching up on series four of The Crown.
Oh and while writing my blog this happened...
Sunday, 20 December 2020
So here we are on the run up to Christmas that has effectively been cancelled for the vast majority of people and to be honest I am more than fed up now.
I have little to no faith in what we are being told and how this whole mess is being handled. We have had numerous lockdowns over the last 9 months yet nothing seems to have had an affect on 'cases'. And today I find out that my best buddy and podcast co-host Michelle has tested positive for the second time.
Today I have felt very despondent; I am concerned for Michelle, I feel a sense of loss for all those who have had plans for Christmas just ruined completely and I can see no way out of the mess that we find ourselves in. The businesses that have struggled all year have now had Christmas pulled out from underneath them and it is hard to see how, or when, they will recover from this.
I will do all that I can, and follow the guidance as best as I can but I am struggling to understand what is happening and why. Why have we not got a handle on this by now? Why are the strategies of the past nine months not being effective? Why are we all suffering in our own ways?
We have all carried on as best we can; we have all dealt with birthdays in lockdown, with cancelled events and holidays, we have put on hold plans, we have stayed at home and now cabin fever is taking its toll.
What about the costs to businesses, to relationships, to poverty, to children's education, to the vulnerable, to those dealing with abusive relationships, to the missed doctors appointments, to the missed or delayed diagnosis of cancers, heart disease and more, to being separated from loved ones and to our civil liberties being taken away from us. What will all this cost in the long term? What will we have lost?
Like I said today has not been a great day for me. The more I read or hear the more despondent I have felt. It was great to get out the house this afternoon for a 4 mile walk to blow away the cobwebs and for Simon and I to put the world to rights!
Once home I tackled balancing the accounts for work and within 30 minutes all was sorted - phew! And then it was time for our weekly Disney quiz hosted by our Disney Dream Girls podcast; this week Molly had set the questions all about the Disney film, Noelle. These Sunday evening quizzes have been a little bright spot each week since we started doing them a fair few months ago now. The chance to put faces and voices to names and to make friends from around the world and just chat about our lives and of course Disney. In a world where everything has been turned upside down it is nice to have a bit of 'normal' once a week.
Whatever you are doing, wherever you are, take care.
Saturday, 19 December 2020
It's Saturday and the first day of my Christmas break...and what a break this is going to be...not!
Okay so let's go through the day. The morning was spent catching up on a few minor jobs as well as doing a little research for podcast recording later in the day. Next we took Molly for her usual guitar lesson while we went for our now usual drive thru' coffee - whoop!
Once home I jumped online with Michelle to record a couple of Disney Dream Girls podcast shows; one for our Patreon supporters and the other for our regular weekly release.
Next we had a new outdoor decoration to sort. Finally after having ordered it in November my new light up tree had arrived...how splendid does this look?!
Friday, 18 December 2020
Today's main job was to be in work to facilitate the building work outside as they needed power and water. This wasn't a problem as I had plenty of admin work to be getting on with that I would have been doing had I been at home anyway.
When I arrived at work the contractors were already there digging out a new pavement. They had been surprised with a much earlier than had been expected delivery of materials so had started work before I had even arrived.
So while they digged and mixed concrete I cracked on with sorting wages and bill payments and attempting to balance the end of term accounts. Well by the end of the day the accounts haven't balanced so that will be a task for over the weekend at some point.
But during the day I had a visit from one of my committee members who stopped by to pick up their Christmas present and then mid-afternoon it was time to call in the troops; by which I mean Simon and Molly.
So the laying of the pavement was taking longer than expected and we still had one more flat packed container unit to assemble as all we had managed yesterday was to get the base into place. So as Simon and Molly had very ably assisted with putting the roof on the first unit they were given the okay to get on with assembling unit number two.
So between myself, Molly, Simon and our contractor Doug we assembled the second unit in about an hour and a half. Thankfully the rain from earlier in the day had subsided and the wind had also died down a bit too. Although we all commentated that while the instructions say that assembly can be managed by just two people we strongly disagreed and were thankful of an extra pair of hands. I will admit to not doing too much; more of a director role, holding of screws and bolts and leaning into a wall panel to hold it in place!
But by 6.30pm we had two container units all sorted and a new pavement laid which will enable us to move items in and out hopefully with ease. I can't thank Doug and Sarah enough for battling through, wind, rain and failing light to get this work all completed for us this week.
Upon arrival at home it was time for a coffee, with a red wine chaser, and to sit and watch the last episode this series of The Mandalorian...we didn't want to chance leaving watching it to later in the evening in case of spoilers on social media and oh boy was that the right decision to make.
The episode was AMAZING! It had all the feels, it was Star Wars in it's finest and yes I cried. I cried at the interaction between a puppet and a man in a helmet, when a show can do that to you it must be doing something right. And then I cried some more!
I won't give anything away but this episode gave us so much more than I was expecting. Simon and I had talked about what we thought we might see in this episode but it exceeded those expectations ten fold. And just when you thought you'd seen it all they gave us a post credit scene that left us wanting to know more.
How they have managed to keep the details for this episode quiet is beyond me and is an amazing feat in it's own right. The team of Dave Filoni (have I mentioned that I've met him?! Check out my earlier post) and Jon Favreau have throughout the two seasons so far encapsulated the ethos of Star Wars and have kept true to all that we love about the franchise and have brought so much joy and life back to something that had not always delivered as well as it could have in recent years. I think these two individuals should be given the freedom and control over everything Star Wars because in their hands it will be handled with the care and love it truly deserves.
Oh and yet again watching this series, and this episode tonight, I have surprised myself with just how much Star Wars knowledge I actually have and can even make educated guesses at which planet they are visiting...what has happened to me!!
Anyway, stay safe out there...and may the force be with you!
Thursday, 17 December 2020
Last Day of School
Today was our last day of school for this term and for 2020. We should have been open tomorrow but our government advised that today should be the last day and to take tomorrow as what we refer to as an inset day.
So I had a slightly better nights sleep last night only waking at 4am and dropping back off about half an hour before the alarm went off! But up and into work for the last day.
The day was taken up with the end of term admin, amendments to registers, updating banking and just generally tidying things ready for a new term in the new year.
We (and when I saw we I mean my amazing team) had the job of clearing our room ready for a fresh start in January. We needed to take down and pack away the Christmas decorations as well as organise all our equipment so that when we return we are in a position to move everything into our new storage units.
And talking of new storage units we have today successfully erected the first of our flat packed container units. Our contractor has done a great job so far and after grabbing a couple of us this morning to move a rather heavy base section he commented that he may attempt putting the roof on today. Now we were expecting the installation of roofs to happen tomorrow and were anticipating the need of extra help in order to lift the section up and onto the part built body of the unit.
I contacted Simon to see if he would be available at all today and thankfully he was happy to oblige. I also chatted with Molly to see if she could help as well as I know how strong she is and she just loves getting her hands dirty. By mid-afternoon we were ready for a roof to go into place so Simon and Molly were called to pop down and lend a hand or two. Well I was blown away as no sooner than they had arrived the roof was on...to the great surprise of us all...it definitely was a case of an extra couple of pair of hands made the job so much easier. We are now all set to hopefully get the second unit erected tomorrow and hopefully a path laid as well.
Once home I took some time to complete some work social media posts as well as update some of our internal records which leaves me in a good position for tomorrow and the completion of the end of term accounts! Although today was the last day of children being in pre-school I will be back there tomorrow to look after our chap doing the outdoor work as well as use the time to complete the accounts and sign off on our Autumn term and the end of schooling for 2020.
And then as I started to write today's post I came across the sad news that actor Jeremy Bulloch had passed way today. Jeremy played the Boba Fett character in the original Star Wars trilogy and we had the good fortune a few years back to meet him at a comic con where we were trooping with the Mandalorian Mercs.
Wednesday, 16 December 2020
Short & Sweet
Well I think today officially started at about 2am when I woke up (the joys of night sweats!) and then couldn't get back to sleep. In fact I think I dropped back off to sleep about 20 minutes before the alarm went off!
But then it was into a full day at work. Issuing invoices, drafting emails, updating banking and more. We have the groundwork happening for the installation of our new storage units and good progress is being made and then we finished the day with our Christmas party. Lots of dancing, balloons, party food and even snow!
So it was a later than normal finish to the work day and after a quick coffee it was back out the door again to take Molly over to her last karate session before Christmas...in fact her next time back at the karate gym will now be next year!
And that was today. Short and sweet as I think I need sleep!
Take care out there,
Tuesday, 15 December 2020
It's hard to believe that I have managed to write a post a day for 272 days, since the beginning of my first lockdown but I am determined to keep on writing if only to see just how long 'this' goes on for.
It was a pretty standard Tuesday of work and home. Work was getting the final jobs for the end of term completed whilst also getting ready for the new term after Christmas.
Once home I carried on with a little more admin work as well as catching up on some personal stuff too.
Molls and Simon headed off down the 'gym' while I carried on 'getting on top of stuff', before cooking dinner.
A short post today because there really isn't that much to report and I guess we are all in limbo a little as we wait and see what will happen with the current tier system and whether or not the rules around Christmas will be changed. Only time will tell!
Take care out there,
Monday, 14 December 2020
Well today has been a bit of a whirlwind kind of day.
Once up and out it was time to fetch this weeks grocery shopping as well as to nip in store to pick up some party food supplies for pre-school. We have a great relationship with Jon at our local Asda, who is their Community Champion, and they have supported pre-school for a number of years now.
In 'normal' times Jon will come out to visit us at pre-school and conduct various activities and the children just love a visit by him. But that obviously can't happen at the moment but that hasn't stopped Jon and Asda supporting us whenever we have asked. So this month we asked if they could help with a few supplies for this weeks Christmas party and they have done us proud once again with lots of yummy goodness for the children later in the week.
With bags full of shopping we headed home via pre-school so that we could drop off the party supplies. A quick check-in with my deputy and I discovered that there maybe a problem with the delivery of our flat packed storage units as there was a problem with the lorry! Thankfully we found out later in the day that the delivery would happen today but not until about 5pm.
Once home and shopping unpacked and put away our next job was to sort out the few Christmas cards that we send along with some postage for a couple of other items. This was then followed by a trip to the post office to get said cards and parcels on their way.
After a quick coffee and bite for lunch we headed off for a two mile walk in just under 40 minutes, and despite some very dark clouds we managed to avoid any rain. Simon then had a few more R2D2 parts to spray paint before we headed over to pre-school.
We had said we would go over to pre-school to wait for the flat packed container units to be delivered rather than have my deputy wait on her own after a full day at work. True to their word the lorry turned up at 4.50pm and it then took about 40 minutes for the lorry to reverse into position, put down its stabilising legs and then off-load the two units. But this now means it's full speed ahead this week with getting them into position.
And then it was time to play taxi service for Molly, getting her to and from her kickboxing/karate class...well it's not a class at the moment...it's just a chance to practice using the gyms facilities.
And there we have Monday as other areas of the country prepare to join us in Tier 3 restrictions and the rest of the country await Wednesday to find out if we stay the same or change...oh and then we get told there's a new variant of the virus! Although they can't tell us what this means...good or bad. So yet again we have fear and confusion at the heart of all that we get told and we are left wondering just what is right and whether we are getting told the whole story or not!
Take care out there,