Tuesday 30 June 2020

Day 104

Day 104...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take care out there, stay safe.

Monday 29 June 2020

Day 103

Day 103...

Here we are at Monday once again and the now familiar routine of me and Molly collecting our weekly grocery shop.

Another quick turnaround of arrive at supermarket, greeted by the lovely Marky Mark, load up the car, drive home, unpack the car, wipe everything down, wash veggies and fruit, throw away packaging and put everything away! Then coffee!

My task this morning was to then figure out why the two parcels that should have been collected last week are still sat here waiting. Both parcels were due to be collected by the same courier company but on different days; I have had no communication about either of them and the information that I can access online tells me nothing other than that they haven't been collected...err...I think I know that much!

The system directs you to use an online chat to resolve any queries...problem is the online chat is not a real person and can basically tell you no more than you can find out for yourself by looking at your online account. Being very aware that most companies are encouraging you to look online rather than phone at the moment I had really tried everything I could think of before finally giving in and phoning.

Only to be met with an automated phone system which involved me either shouting information into the phone or using the keypad when instructed but only to be told that the information I entered was incorrect and then when I finally heard an option to speak to a real person their system hung up on me. I then tried for a second time and this time I was able to jump over the hurdles first time and finally speak to a proper person who promptly told me exactly the same information that I could see online! Then she said 'someone has tried to collect today'...err...no they haven't! We have had somebody in the house at all points since the first day of 'scheduled pick-up'...I should have taken these to a drop-off point instead.

Then I was put on hold while she 'tried to contact the courier' only to be told that she couldn't but if she took my email she would get back to me. I will admit to not being very happy about this and had a little moan...albeit a polite and restrained moan! I have also tweeted said company twice today in an attempt to get a resolution. I wouldn't mind but we have this company deliver to us all the time so I'm not sure why a collection is causing them (and me!) so much trouble.

The afternoon saw Simon tinker about with Arduinos, fibre optics and 3D printing, Molly has launched her very own Etsy store - Shutter Studios and we took a walk out in the grey and the wind. Typical British weather has done a complete about turn from temperatures at the end of last week around the 30C/90F down to 13C/55F; I started the day wearing shorts but by lunchtime I was in jeans!!

I also made a start on my latest jigsaw, a 2000 piece Disney one...that has a border that is all the same and lots of golden/brown pieces that represent picture frames...

...and still more to sort through before I can even attempt getting the outside completed!

Today has been a mixture of highly frustrating when trying to resolve the parcel problem (which still hasn't been resolved) and the complete opposite of being calming while jigsaw piece sorting. I guess this kinds of sums up what we are all going through at the moment. Times when we are really frustrated by the actions of others or by 'rules' that stop us from doing what we want, when we want countered with times of calm when you realise that there is nothing to do but accept and carry on.

Stay safe out there,

Sunday 28 June 2020

Day 102

Day 102...

So we decided that we would make the most of today and rather than have a lazy Sunday we would set to and get some jobs done.

Today's job was to make a start clearing out Simon's mum's house. His mum passed away at the end of last year but because of probate and then delays due to Coronavirus we had not been able, nor compelled, to get down there and start clearing out.

Thankfully his mum lived close by so after only a couple of hours we had managed to get down there, pull out a load of weeds and fill the 'brown' (garden refuse) bin. We were able to go through some of the more obvious and easier drawers to clear out which resulted in the recycling bin being filled before we then went through the wardrobes. We must have filled about 20 black bin bags full of clothes, handbags and shoes.

We decided to drop all the bags in at a local clothes bank with my first choice being the hospice in our village, but knowing that their collection bin can be rather full we decided to try a couple of other locations that were on our way home first. And while these locations had various clothes banks for different charities they were all overflowing with donations, so we headed to our local hospice expecting to see the same scenario there and began researching where else we could take the bags and when. But when we got to the hospice we were pleasantly surprised to find a pretty much empty donation bank and we were able to leave all of the bags there. All the clothes were in really good condition so hopefully they will be able to generate a little income for the hospice which I know will have been struggling these last few months.

The afternoon was then spent doing a little online research as we have some ornaments and memorabilia that we would like to dispose of so just needed to figure out what we have and the best way to deal with it. 

I was able to add to my grocery shop ahead of collection tomorrow as well as add to my local dairy delivery as this week we are having a treat of ice-cream; lots of lovely flavours to choose from and although I don't indulge I do let the 'kids' from time to time.

The afternoon was rounded off with what has now become our usual Sunday Disney quiz via Zoom as part of the Disney Dream Girls podcast that I co-host. This week Molly and I set twenty questions and I think we did a pretty good job mixing some tricky ones in with some relatively straight forward ones.

And that was our day, another in this strange new world. Another as we attempt to get things up and running in some shape or form. We have things that we had hoped to achieve this year and whilst not all of them are going to happen we can perhaps get back on track with some of them...small, tentative steps to start and let's see where this takes us.

Take care out there, stay safe,

Saturday 27 June 2020

Day 101

Day 101...

I keep debating whether to rename these posts and drop the daily count because I am now back at work and therefore my personal 'lockdown' has sort of ended...but then again it hasn't because I am still faced with all the other restrictions that everyone else has. So I think while these times continue with life not being 'normal' I will carry on with the numbering.

After the blistering heat of the last few days it was definitely much cooler today and the morning was very grey and quite wet at times. Although that didn't stop us getting out for a walk later on in the day but we kept to just a couple of miles so that we weren't far from home should we need to make a dash for it...thankfully it stayed dry while we were out.

The first half of the day was catching up on some jobs around the house; the ironing pile was more like a mountain and I figured I really ought to make the effort to get it tackled while it was cooler. Simon had some work he wanted to get on top of so we both made the best of the morning. I also had to chase a certain courier company as they have failed to collect two packages over the last few days and typically all I could do was to raise 'tickets' with them and await their reply!

This afternoon has been a bit more chilled. Simon has spent more time tinkering with the electronics for his R2D2 and mouse droid builds, as well as little more 3D printing.

We had some time chilling outside with a coffee while the sun was shining and I had chance to peruse my latest cookery book purchase...
Beautiful for a short while before the clouds and rain blew in
Latest purchase

Mmm chocolate, coffee & walnut cake recipe
...this is a lovely book full of low carb recipes; tasty recipes that anyone who wants to lose weight or simply be much healthier should take a look at. I have been low carb/keto for 6 years now and wouldn't go back to my old habits. I lost weight, kept it off and most importantly love the food that I am able to eat, after all bacon, cheese, butter, cream, meat, green veggies, berries and dark chocolate what's not to love!

And by taking a little time to stop and enjoy a coffee we had to chance to chat and plan what we want to do over the next couple of days. It is very weird still at the moment as there is nothing that we can plan to do as such. I really don't feel ready to venture out to the shops if I can avoid it, I have no desire to visit 'insert name of beach/garden' if they are going to be rammed to the gills with people and there is nothing I need to shop for that I can't get online.

I know that some are planning trips away now that we have 'travel corridors' being brought in or simply booking for locations in this country but the pessimist in me says to just bide our time and make sure that we have reached a place where cases are in decline and we are not likely to be hit with another lockdown. The fear at the back of my mind is that as we start to open up we could be doing it all a bit too quick and cause more problems going forward. And if the packed beaches from this week are to be believed then who knows what we might see in a week or so's time.

I think for now I shall be like the tortoise and take things slow, steady and measured and see what happens!

Take care out there, stay safe,

Friday 26 June 2020

Day 100

Day 100...

WOW! I'm not sure when I started writing these daily posts back on the 19th March I ever thought I would reach Day 100 but here we are!

Another day in work for me today and it was a fairly quiet, steady sort of day just keeping things ticking over and thinking forward about our new academic year starting in September. We need to enroll more children onto our books so a small team effort today saw us update an existing banner to advertise our place availability.

In other news I was contacted by my hairdresser this morning to see if I would like an appointment when she reopens. Although I really do need my hair sorting out I can survive for a few more weeks and practically speaking I can be flexible with my dates and times once we have finished for the school year on the 17th July. So I am happy to wait and let those that are more 'desperate' to get in first, but as it is I now have the date of the 4th August on my calendar and I am quite happy about that. Just need to think what style I want to go for as this is the longest my hair has been in a pretty long while; although I know by most peoples standards it's still pretty short!
This is long by my standards and is in danger of showing my true hair colour!
Once home this afternoon I had a little 'me' time sat with a coffee in the sunshine; which considering the weather forecast was for rain and thunderstorms was pretty good going...not a drop of rain seen all day.

I've spent a good chunk of this evening trying to figure out why two parcels that I have waiting to be collected are still sat here waiting to be collected and have gotten increasingly frustrated at the courier company's website as it seems to contradict itself and gives no easy way to get in touch or help to point me in the right direction - argh! Thought collection would be the easy option but obviously not!

And with that, and a glass of red wine I shall call it a night and see what tomorrow brings!

Take care out there,

Thursday 25 June 2020

Day 99

Day 99...

Well we had another very warm and sunny day again today and one where I was at work for the majority of it. A pretty standard sort of day with lots of emails, banking and forward planning.

It was then home to get changed and showered before settling down for an hour or so to record a couple of podcasts with my fellow Disney Dream Girl, Michelle. We recorded one show that will be released on Sunday and then another special edition just for our Patreon supporters.

By the time I had finished recording Simon and Molly had headed off 'down the gym' so I decided to tidy round and get things prepped for cooking dinner once they were all worked out.

Yet again today I have been stunned by the reports of people crammed together on British beaches because the weather has been so good and yet despite still being in the middle of a pandemic. I simply cannot fathom how people would want to visit somewhere so crowded under these circumstances. Our chief medical officer has warned that while it is only natural to want to get out and enjoy the sunshine that we should do it responsibly and following social distancing guidelines (which is still at 2 metres for at least another week) because after all the 'virus is still in general circulation'.

I think for those of us who have followed the governments instructions and guidance to the best of our abilities throughout the last few months seeing acts like this feels like a proper kick in the stomach. All the hard work that we have put into keeping ourselves and others safe could be thwarted by the actions of these people. One beach was declared as a 'major incident' among fears of safety and the danger that it could become a 'super spreader' event.

I know, from my own personal perspective, that I shall be avoiding all places like that. I have no desire to be rushing out to the pub or a restaurant or anywhere else where the risk could be increased. I would rather take my time and feel confident that businesses have got a handle on what they are doing, that we have seen no further spikes in case numbers and that the transmission rate is coming down. I still feel that the old saying of 'slow and steady wins the race' applies to all of this and that it could be our rush to get back to 'normal' that could be our downfall.

Take care out there, stay safe.


Wednesday 24 June 2020

Day 98

Day 98...

Another day working but it was a day of two halves.

This morning I worked from home and after responding to emails and completing some banking I went over my cash flow prediction from yesterday to make sure I'd accounted for everything and I was still happy with my proposals.

Then this afternoon I went into work specifically to chat with my deputy manager about our plans for the upcoming new academic year starting in September. Normally by now we would have completed our long term plan and be busy organising new starters to come and visit us but this year it's all a bit different.

Our new regulations mean that we cannot have visitors in pre-school as they would be 'breaking our bubble' of staff and children so this means using social media and chatting with new parents over the phone instead. The big unknown at the moment is what September will bring in the way of new or amended regulations, which makes forward planning a little trickier than normal.

One side effect of the lockdown is that our number of new starters for September is very low; I think this is a combination of parents genuinely not thinking too far ahead (I think we are all a little out of sync with our previous lives!) and then there is also the financial impact of 12 or more weeks of reduced, or no, income.

The knock-on of lower numbers of children unfortunately has a direct impact on the number of hours that I can offer my staff to work and that has been my focus the last couple of days. A balancing act of being fair to my team while ensuring I have the correct number staff working at any given time in relation to the number of children in attendance as well as making sure we can financially afford to do what we need to do! But I think I have got there...fingers crossed.

As my day had been split in two we decided to take our usual walk out this evening instead; it was probably a good idea as it was a little cooler than it had been at lunchtime although not by much...my car read 34 degrees Celsius (thats's 93 Fahrenheit) at one point!

A lovely way to finish out our day; we are truly blessed to have this gorgeous scenery on our doorstep and this has been one positive to take from these past few months. We have slowed down our pace of life, been forced to venture out where perhaps before we would have been too busy doing something or going somewhere and we now have a greater appreciation of our surroundings and our time. Much better to spend the time together, connecting and enjoying the countryside than running headlong into life and not appreciating what's right there in front of you.

Take care out there,

Tuesday 23 June 2020

Day 97

Day 97...

So back to work today and it's been another busy day.

A mix of accounts, banking, emails, purchasing and the ever exciting cash flow forecast; which probably took me the biggest chunk of the day. In fact I was determined to finish around 3.30pm and when I looked up it was almost 5pm - doh!

We took another lunchtime walk of a couple of miles and met a surprisingly large number of people out and about; can only presume the gorgeous weather today had brought everyone out.

So after work I made a point of stopping, grabbing a coffee and sat out on the patio and soaked up some more vitamin D before getting changed and off down 'the gym'; a bit of a warm one tonight but still managed to get a little done!

Last night I managed to complete my latest Disney jigsaw...
Disney Villainous - Jafar
...I then had the sense to look up the measurements for my next challenge...2000 pieces...

...which was a good thing as it will be too big for my puzzle board. But the advantage of living with a prop maker however does mean that I have been able to 'borrow' a large piece of 'foamex' (poster board that is used for all sorts, and most of our Mandalorian armour!) to be the base for it's completion.

And then today our government have announced the next phase of lifting restrictions which come into affect from 4th July. The announcement comes with a tone of 'the public must adopt common sense' which could mean anything if we are honest! It also allows the social distancing of 2 metres to be dropped to 1 metre + but with mitigation - what? Why didn't they just say get closer then 2 metres and you must wear a mask?

Once again an announcement has been made that leaves a lot of us asking questions; hairdressers can open but tattooists and nail bars can't; we can see people from another household in our own homes but we can't hug them but we can see multiple households just on different days!! We can now go to a hotel, have a drink in a pub, we can go to a theatre but they can't put on a live performance, casinos are to remain closed but bingo halls can open - really?! 

So yet again it will come down to us as individuals to assess the amount of risk we want to take and yet again the one thing we probably all want to do the most (or should do!) is to give those we love and care about a hug but we can't. It was heartbreaking here at the weekend when Molly had her friends around, they were all brilliant and obeyed the 2 metre rule but you could just see they so wanted to give each other a hug. And there's Molly with her fella...he can now visit and stay overnight but has to remain socially distanced - really, what the heck is that all about! Molly is not a happy lady tonight and to be honest neither am I!

Whatever happens in 10 days time let's hope that everyone adopts some common sense and we keep this virus at bay, otherwise there will be spikes and we will all be locked down once again.

Stay safe out there, take care,

Monday 22 June 2020

Day 96

Day 96...

The start of a working week, but for me Monday is no longer a working day, although the amount of stuff we seem to get done in a day it can feel busier than being at work.

Me and Molly had the weekly grocery shop to pick up this morning and this was the first time going out on a Monday morning for about 4 weeks and the difference in traffic was noticeable. And whilst it was no way as busy as a Monday morning was before 'lockdown' the amount had definitely increased.

Although our first obstacle of the day was navigating down the lane from our house, which is a single track lane, as there were 3 parked vehicles cutting back trees...it was a bit of a tight squeeze to say the least. But once out and about it was collect the shop, get back home, squeeze past the tree cutters again, navigate too many parked cars where our garage is, unload the shopping, wipe it all down, wash the veggies and fruit, throw out as much packaging as possible and put it all away - phew!

We managed to sort a few more of our Ebay sales out today which did involve a trip to the post office; which turned into way more of a stressful trip than it needed to be...a small shop, a queue and quite a few shoppers meant keeping socially distance felt like a games of Tetris!

After lunch we took a walk out over the fields, enjoying the sunshine and blue skies; we managed 3.3 miles in an hour and seventeen minutes. It was then home for a much needed coffee, sat on the patio soaking up some more vitamin D. Managed to get some more of Ted Naiman's book The P:E Diet read and am starting to learn about the exercise approach (my least favourite part!).

After half an hour or so of doing some jigsaw I was 'kicked' out the way so that Molly could use the space for her Monday evening kickboxing lesson via Zoom.

Simon has spent a chunk of the day getting the mouse droid he is building ready for movement; this involves using an RC car as the base. Slight problem is that the first car we bought simply wasn't powerful enough so a new one was ordered and it arrived this morning. Simon decided to test it before doing anything else with it which turned out to be a really good move as it had only moved back and forth across our kitchen floor a couple of times before white smoke started to emerge from it! A quick phone call to the seller and a new part is on it's way; fingers crossed it solves the issue. Simon has then spent the afternoon modifying the base of the droid to fit the wheelbase of the car!

And that has been day 96...waiting to see what the latest government proposals are tomorrow to move further in the easing of the lockdown...interesting times are ahead.

Take care

Sunday 21 June 2020

Day 95

Day 95...

Another Sunday and today it was Fathers Day.

A steady start to the day and then all of us took a walk to see my Dad and spend some time with him, with a little gift of some posh chocolates. The nice thing was that as Dad is part of our 'support bubble' now we could all go inside and sit down together and have a catch-up.

We joked on the walk home about how the sky kept coming over a bit grey and that 'it better not rain'...well less then a few minutes walk away from home the heavens opened. The boys were a bit ahead of me and Molly so we made a quick dash and sheltered under some trees and hoped that the boys had made it to a bus shelter a little ahead of us. As we stood there the rain started to come through the cover of the trees and so as it eased a little I suggested we make a break for it. We ran to the next bit of cover and could see that the bus stop ahead had a couple of cyclists sheltering but not the boys so we decided that as we were now pretty wet that we would just make a run for home. The positive out of this was that I discovered I can still run if need be and was quite pleased with how long I could keep going for! As we approached the small lane to our house Simon appeared in the car as he'd grabbed the keys and came out to pick us up! But suffice to say we were all absolutely soaked through to the bone!
Looking slightly bedraggled!
The afternoon saw us packaging up some more of our Ebay sales and then getting very confused as their system is refusing to let us create a postage label...we can sort the postage using another courier just annoying that the one they advise you to use just doesn't want to work and for no sensible reason why!

And then we had what is now our usual Sunday evening Disney quiz via Zoom hosted by the podcast I co-host; the Disney Dream Girls. This week I hadn't set any questions and although we had a bit of a rocky start with the first round of questions me and Molly ended up doing quite well...in fact we won! And my prize...is to set the questions for next week!

Take care and see you tomorrow,

Saturday 20 June 2020

Day 94

Day 94...

And it's the weekend and at least the weather decided to get a little more Summer like as it is officially the start of Summer! 

After a slow start it was sorting out a couple of helmet sales with Simon; one in the post to the UK and the other out to the US. We also had a few Ebay items that sold successfully this afternoon so that will mean more packaging to do once the payments have been received.

Simon spent some of the afternoon fixing his 3D printer after it had stopped working a couple of days ago. Diagnosis was that the hot bed had failed so he ordered a replacement which arrived this morning and sure enough new hot bed installed and a working printer once again. He has also been messing about some more with electronics for both his R2D2 and mouse droid projects as both will need combinations of flashing lights and noises. Apparently this involves programming an arduino...I would have jumped in and helped obviously but thought best to leave it to Simon and a little help from Ethan!!

Molly received the prints that she has ordered for her Etsy store today and they look lovely...won't be long before the Shutter Studios store will be open for business! Here's just a couple of the prints...
'Squad Goals'
'Don't be a prick'
I've managed to get quite a bit of my jigsaw done today at various points and we have had our first socially distanced gathering in our back garden...well I say we but actually I mean Molly and four of her friends. The great thing was we had disposable plates and cutlery left over from Molly's 18th birthday party last year so a little impromptu get together ended up having a tiki bar/luau vibe going on...we even had hawaiian leis as well!

And as all the girls were socially distancing outside I found myself as chief cook! The great thing was that all the girls brought something and had a lovely few hours listening to music, chatting and catching up on the last few months. The weather at times came over rather dark and threatened rain but thankfully the majority of the time it was dry, sunny and warm. We opened up the garage just in case there was a downpour so the girls had somewhere to shelter and I think they only dashed there once and not for too long!

So a Saturday that had hints of normality to it and I suppose the further we get into the easing of restrictions the easier we will find it all and the more accustomed to it we will become. Although I think at the back of my mind will always be the wonder of whether or not we are truly getting on top of this virus or whether we are going to see further outbreaks...and only time will tell.

Take care, stay safe 

Friday 19 June 2020

Day 93

Day 93...

So my second full day back in work but the last working day of the week.

So as we mark the end of the first week of being reopen I think things have gone pretty well. We are taking things steady and not expecting too much of us or the children. 

The children who have returned have all taken being back at pre-school in their stride. They know about the 'virus' and that we have to keep our hands clean and not to get too close to one another and they seem to be very accepting that that's just how things are.

As for my work I feel that I am pretty much where I want to be; I have sorted more funding paperwork from this year and got prepped for next year; I've updated diaries; I've got up straight with the banking and I've chatted back and forth on email with parents. So all in all a good work day.

And my team, as always, have been brilliant and rose to the challenge and got on with the job at hand; I trust they all have a glass of something ready to enjoy tonight - Cheers ladies xx

Once home my new routine sees me change all my clothes and jump in the shower, the only problem is that it leaves me feeling very relaxed and so when Simon suggested 'going down the gym' I decided to opt out and carry on with my jigsaw instead. Although I have also managed to answer a couple more work emails and sort out my online grocery shop!

And there is my day, done and dusted, today when apparently the UK has moved to alert level 3. This means that the virus is 'in general circulation' but that there can be a 'gradual relaxation of restrictions'. Which is a little confusing as the government have been having a 'relaxation of restrictions' for the last few weeks while still at level 4. Apparently the scientists set the 'alert levels' and then the government look at what the scientists have said and then decide what they will do in relation to restrictions...so left hand, right hand... Maybe it's just me but the scientists might know a little more than the politicians but all I know is that for the average lay person it's very confusing and misleading. I get the distinct impression that most people don't really know what they should or shouldn't be doing right now. And as I've said before on these posts the fact that I can't sit next to my bestie and have a coffee or that Molls and her fella can't get together but I can go shopping for shoes or professional football matches can happen all feels out of whack. But hey that's just me!

Whatever you are doing, please take care and stay safe,

Thursday 18 June 2020

Day 92

Day 92...

And what a wet and miserable day it has been today...and my first full day back at pre-school as well.

The day went fine, and actually at some points dragged a little...it's always a strange day when you can't get outside with little ones because of the weather. But I managed a skype meeting, a transition phone call with a local primary school, set up a plan to sort a leavers memento, updated the banking and got on top of my filing.

It was then home to get changed and have a coffee before hooking up with my good friend Michelle to record our podcast; Disney Dream Girls. We chatted about the Disney parks re-opening and what going to a theme park in the near future might look like and whether it's something we would be doing. I have to say with all the restrictions likely to be in place; no shows, masks to be worn, no character meets, social distancing on rides and restricted numbers in the parks I am really not sure it's something I want to experience just yet. It's not a cheap affair going to Disney whether that be just over into France or to further afield like the US so if I am spending a good chunk of money then I think I want to be able to get the full on experience and not one where I might not be even able to get into the parks!

I was able to spend a little time moving jigsaw pieces around while Simon worked a little late this evening and then it was a low carb chicken parmesan for dinner.

And that was today...we are still in some form of 'lockdown' but I have completed my first full day physically in work...91 days of working from home! I remember making the decision to close and it wrecked me having to do that but I also knew it was the right decision at the time. We have opened and tomorrow will mark the end of week one but we only have about a third of the children attending and we are having to adapt what we do and how we do it. We have no idea how long this way of working will last nor what the implications are for the next academic year starting in September. 

And my question still remains in all of this we have work, we have football, we have small support bubbles for single person households but when will we get to see, and hug, those friends and family we care about and have not seen for such a long time now?

Stay safe, take care,

Wednesday 17 June 2020

Day 91

Day 91...

So day number two of working from home this week and it has been pretty much non-stop.

I updated our website with the latest newsletter, issued emails confirming places for September, issued start dates for new children in September, updated all the various documents that I use to keep track of everything, uploaded learning journals, made phone calls and prepped the staff time sheets - phew!

And in amongst all that we found time for another couple of miles out walking over the fields and although when we started out it was a little grey and misty by the time we got home it was beautiful sunshine. Later this afternoon me and Molly popped over the road to our local farm to stock up on eggs and although we heard thunder while we were out we only felt a few raindrops thankfully!

But not long later the sky got darker, the wind picked up and more thunder rolled in followed by torrential rain (for my Disney friends it was almost like being in Florida!). It must have lasted for about an hour so I thought I would do some more jigsaw only to be hampered by the lack of natural light because it had become that dark.

Once the rain had cleared I then had the lovely job of sorting out the lying water as we had a couple of grates where the water would naturally drain away that were covered in leaves and silt. So it was boots on followed by 20 minutes of clearing out grates, sweeping water away and then washing down the paths to get rid of the film of silt that was left. Simon even had to sweep out the garage when he went to complete the next phase of a helmet order he is currently in the middle of. And there you have the Great British Summer weather!

So another busy work day for me and tomorrow I actually get to go into work for the last two days of the week. 

And on the news front it would appear that everyone is getting excited because professional football (soccer for my American friends) has started back today...whoop! (said with heavy sarcasm). I know a lot of people will be very happy about this and I appreciate that there will be chance to see a lot more football on TV than normal which is great if football is your thing...but it's not mine. And to hear todays press conference from the UK government I couldn't believe just how much fuss they were making of it. I appreciate it's a very British pastime but you would have thought it was the biggest, most amazing thing ever to have happened in the entirety of everything...okay I may be exaggerating just a tad but you get my point. Professional footballers who get paid an extortionate amount of money can mix and get up close and personal but I still can't sit next to my bestie to have a coffee - again priorities!!!

Take care,

Tuesday 16 June 2020

Day 90

Day 90...

As pre-school is now back open I had my first of two days working from home this week. And it was hit the ground running to get lots done; two newsletters, one new policy, invoices issued, text messages sent, spreadsheets updated, emails sent and responded to and online funding adjustments submitted - phew!

We still managed to nip out for our daily walk at lunchtime and managed a couple of miles in just 40 minutes. Later this afternoon as my work for the day was finished I was looking forward to some time sat out on the patio enjoying the sunshine but the weather seemed to have other ideas. No sooner than I had my coffee made the skies got darker, the thunder rumbled and then the rain came! So instead it was back inside to spend some time working on my latest jigsaw.

This evening after Simon finished work we went 'down the gym' for a little home workout. The decision to buy a few pieces of basic gym equipment has proven to be a great success and we have managed to get out at least twice each week of lockdown. 

And that was my day, a fairly straight forward and productive day. I am still concerned by the amount of people photographed very close together at shopping outlets and I just hope that we don't see a spike in cases in a couple of weeks time. One location has even had a petition to close because of the numbers of people that turned up; the report I read was criticising the management company for allowing too many people into the shopping outlet location. Customers commented that inside the shops everything was fine and social distancing was being adhered to but outside of the shops there was just no way that any sort of social distancing could be maintained. The shocking thing to me reading this report was that hardly anyone was wearing masks and that one of the quoted customers was a GP, who you think would know better! I know if I'd have turned up and seen that many people squished up to next to each other I would have done a quick about turn and headed home.

Like I said yesterday I am in no rush to get shopping and put myself and those around me at risk, I will survive for the time being with online shopping and look forward to when I can see my friends up close and personal and Molly and her fella can be reunited long before I venture shopping.

Take care, stay safe.

Monday 15 June 2020

Day 89

Day 89...

Or is it? I have returned to work today so I did think twice as to whether I should carry on with the same numbering of days or what? But figured I'd carry on as we are still in some weird state of normal.

So yes, today was back to work day. Ordinarily I don't work Mondays but as today was the first day pre-school re-opened after 3 months having been closed I wanted to be there to support my staff. And everything was fine. 

Parents arrived on time, followed social distancing and adhered to our new 'rules'. Children were happy to come into pre-school without parents and seemed not to be phased by a different set-up to normal. The children impressed us all with their knowledge of 'the virus' and they knew that they couldn't get too close to each other and that they have to 'wash our hands lots'.

I spent a couple of hours getting my desk up and running; typically the laptop seemed to want to run on slo-mo and it took two changes of batteries to get the mouse to work; paperwork from home was returned to its rightful place and documents copied and filed away. By lunchtime I was home and adopted what will now be my new routine on arriving home after a day at work...work clothes in the wash and me in the shower!

After lunch we took a walk out over the fields and discovered a new route that took us 3 miles in just over an hour and 10 minutes; and after a grey and misty start to the day we were blessed with glorious sunshine and a very warm afternoon.

When we got home it was time for a much needed coffee and some more time out on the patio enjoying the sun, in between checking work emails. I even managed to find time to complete the border of my latest jigsaw - boy was that one a challenge and a half?!
And today was the day that we saw non-essential retail shops open up in England and if the media is to be believed some people had queued from early this morning just to get into certain shops. I must admit that I have no desire to get back out there to retail shopping just yet; I'm sure I will eventually when I actually need to get something and I can't get it online but for me shopping is much more of a social event. It is something to experience with friends or family; to be enjoyed; to take your time over; to stop for a coffee or lunch and perhaps if you're lucky enough to pick something up that you hadn't even realised you needed. I'm not sure I'm ready for queuing and a strict regimen of what and where and with whom I can go!

There has also been talk about the potential opening up of hospitality and hairdressing on the 4th July, coupled with a review of the two metre social distancing rule. Now don't get me wrong I am looking forward to getting my hair cut, and perhaps even a colour, but I am much more interested in when we can get to spend quality time with friends, family and loved ones. To me the most important thing at the moment is to be able to reconnect with friends and family and to see relationships flourish, I would much rather Molly be able to meet up with her boyfriend than get my hair cut...but hey that's just me...priorities and all that!!

Take care out there, stay safe.

Sunday 14 June 2020

Day 88

Day 88...

Today started like a typical lazy Sunday with a struggle to get out of bed!

But once up and about it was straight down to our supermarket of choice to fetch our 'collect' order. Me and Molly have this down to a fine art and were a little disappointed as we had to wait for our shopping to be brought out to us! Once home it was the usual routine of wipe everything down, get rid of as much packaging as possible, wash all the fresh food and then pack everything away.

By the time that was done it was make a coffee and settle down for a couple of hours of drawing as it was another online Dr Sketchy's Nottingham; hosted by the ever lovely Scarlett Daggers and poses by one of our most favourite burlesque performers Anna Fur Laxis. Now I am not an artist by any stretch of the imagination but I will happily have a go...nothing fancy just pencil and paper...here are a few of my efforts from today;

Afterwards armed with another coffee I thought I would spend a few minutes sat outside on the patio; as I sat down there was a rumble of thunder...I think I lasted about five minutes before the rain started! So back inside and I decided to start a new jigsaw...this is another Disney one from their Villainous range and based around the villain Jafar.

Slow progress is being made...have you seen how similar all those edge pieces look?! Although I did get a new jigsaw delivered today as well, ready for when this one is complete...and yes it's another Disney one...but this is 2000 pieces - eek!
And then to finish out the day there was another Disney Zoom quiz hosted by the podcast I co-host, Disney Dream Girls. I had set five questions all relating to Disneyland in Anaheim and then we had some music and movie related questions. Between me and Molly we didn't do too badly but the most important thing was that we had a good giggle and enjoyed the opportunity to chat with people from all over the world.

And that was today...a lazy Sunday that turned out to be not that lazy after all.

And tomorrow we re-open pre-school for the first time since the 19th March.

Take care out there,

Saturday 13 June 2020

Day 87

Day 87...

Hello to the weekend...just in case we'd forgot where in the week we were!

A very slow start to the day, simply had no energy to get up and get moving. But once up and about Simon decided to sort through some old bits and pieces and get them up on Ebay while I got caught up with the ironing - exciting stuff!

The afternoon saw us take a walk to see my dad and because of the new 'support bubbles' we were able to actually go inside his house and sit on his sofa and enjoy his company in comfort!

After we had returned I decided to tackle the last pieces of my current jigsaw, resulting in a completed Snow White's cottage...
...and I now have the next one all lined up and ready to go...
Today was a good post day though...I received two items. One was for pre-school which contained a cheque for £200 from Asda as we had been lucky enough to take part in their green token scheme at our local store. This is a scheme where three local causes are chosen and shoppers get to choose which one to support by way of dropping a green token they are given at the checkout into a slot of their choice. The great thing is that all three causes benefit. This money will be put to really good use by our pre-school.

The second letter was from Derby hospital, and was one I had been waiting for, this was the result from my 'surveillance' mammogram that I had about 10 days ago and thankfully the results were 'normal' - phew! I will still have mammograms for the next four years before I can receive the all clear but getting through this first one is a great feeling.

I have felt a bit out of sorts at times today. I seem to be struggling for motivation to do things, lacking the desire to get on with something. I think because things are still so uncertain and it's no longer a case of just doing things on the spur of the moment or just popping somewhere to get something my enthusiasm has taken a knock. I find myself in a 'why bother' state of mind and I know I need to shake this but I also know that that is easier said than done. I know I have days when I can be more motivated and days like today when I'm not and I know that this is okay but it can feel draining.

We find ourselves apparently moving out of lockdown but we still have so many things that we cannot do and so many things that feel contrary to what we want to do. Because of the worries around the economy the focus is on getting that back up and running but this feels at the expense of personal things, like meeting up with friends and loved ones. It's hard to understand that professional football is starting up again but Molly can't yet meet up with her fella - feels all out of whack to me! And the greater the emphasis on these type of things the harder it is to deal with not seeing those that we love, care about and are missing.

I would love to be able to meet up with friends for a coffee and a catch up, I would love for Molly and her fella to get to spend some quality time together and I am happy to do all of this when it is safe to do so. But when these means watching society at large start moving, more cars on the road, more sporting events happening, more shops opening and even me going back to work it all feels very at odds with the things in life that are important.

We all want to be out of this and back to normal as soon as we can and all we can do is just hope that this is the right approach and we don't regret the time we have not been able to spend with loved ones.

Take care,