Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Happy Hump Day

Day 378...

And we have the middle, the hump if you will, of the week - Wednesday.

Today was a full day in work for me. This morning we had the judging of our Easter Bonnet competition and the drawing of our Easter raffle. This in turn meant the appropriate social media posts and the advising of winners so that we could organise the distribution of prizes.

I had the usual admin tasks to complete along with some updates to our online learning journal system that we use to communicate with our parents. We enjoyed another sunny day outside with unseasonably warm temperatures, although looks like we are back to normal tomorrow with the forecast being ten degrees (celsius) cooler than today!!

On my way home I was able to drop one of our raffle prizes off at a lucky winners house. Once home it was a quick turnaround to get ready for podcast recording; this meant moving my laptop along with microphone and earphones into the quietest room in the house which happens to be my bedroom. But just as I was setting up I heard a buzzing noise and saw there was a big fat wasp on the window. Now I am not a wasp fan but I was quickly able to open the window but would it go anywhere near the open window? Of course not! I closed the curtains and gathered a few other bits I needed for recording and thankfully by the time I returned the wasp had had the good sense to fly out the open window!

This warm weather is lovely but it has obviously woken up the wildlife; it turned out Simon had three other wasps throughout the day to deal with. Although my encounter last night with something very black, too big for my liking and eight legs was not any fun either. We were just going to bed and I went to open a cupboard in the bathroom; not looking I put my hand out to grab the handle and felt something soft and 'fluffy'...I looked and then screamed and danced around the bathroom! Simon thought I'd trapped a finger or something until I could finally string a sentence together and utter the words 'argh spider!' Not the most relaxing way to go to bed!

Today was rounded out with Michelle and I enjoying about an hour of catching up and recording a podcast episode that will be released this coming Sunday. We chatted about some Disney history, some news and then we looked at some 'easter eggs'; not the chocolate ones but the ones you find in movies. 

And I now have one more day of work ahead tomorrow before finishing for two weeks and only two more sleeps until Molly returns home.

Take care.
xx

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Sunny Tuesday

Day 377...

Today was another gorgeous day weather wise, it started off bright but chilly and by lunchtime it was warm and sunny...such a shame the forecast says we are due sleet and snow this time next week!

But it was into work this morning and I had the usual admin tasks to complete along with some banking and getting organised for the drawing of our Easter raffle tomorrow. This week at preschool is a little more laid back than normal as we wind down ready for our two week break. We are fundraising with our raffle and other smaller things; we have an Easter bonnet competition tomorrow; and all week we are playing games and dancing and making Easter themed crafts.

My afternoon was spent at home and as I arrived at home so did my butchers delivery which meant my first job was to unpack it all and split it into meal portion sizes ready for freezing.

I had a little catch up with one of my elderly neighbours who lost her husband to dementia over Christmas. She is doing really well and was telling me that she and my other neighbour had visited a local park together today to sit and have their lunch...which sounded lovely but how sad is it that that is the most exciting thing we can do at the moment.

I decided to take advantage of the sunshine to top up my vitamin D levels and sat outside with a coffee for a little while before doing some housework. 

Getting up close with nature!
As Molly is returning home at the weekend I thought I'd better give her room a bit of a tidy and dust around as it hasn't been touched for three months. I was also able to get on top of the laundry and actually dry the clothes outside for a change!

This was followed by another coffee  outside while catching up on emails, chatting with friends online and other bits of social media. Although, some of my neighbours were being very productive with their time and were busy gardening which kind of spoiled my chill time in two ways. Firstly it wasn't quite the tranquil atmosphere I was looking for and then second because they were so busy it made me feel guilty for sitting and doing nothing!

I had a strange moment today when chatting with someone; we were outside and they were wearing a mask...and sunglasses. This meant that I couldn't see their eyes it was like talking to a blank wall, I couldn't see (literally) if they were acknowledging me, or listening, or scowling or anything. It actually felt very rude...masks and sunglasses are not a good combination.

We finished the day off with a little trip 'down the gym'. Although, having had an argument with the vacuum cleaner earlier, I discovered that I now have one very sore elbow which really didn't like some of the exercises I was attempting to do! 

So I think it's time to stop writing, make a cuppa and turn on the Netflix!
xx

Monday, 29 March 2021

Monday - Day 376

Day 376...

We are back at the beginning of yet another week. 

And our Monday started as most of our Mondays do with a trip to our supermarket of choice to collect the weekly grocery shop. After we returned home and packed it all away we decided to go out for a walk in the sunshine. 

It was rather blustery and cool to start with but by the time we headed home the clouds had disappeared and it had turned really rather warm. We bumped into a friend who was sat enjoying the sunshine with a coffee and a friend and it was lovely to stop for five minutes and pass the time of day.

After a spot of lunch Simon set to designing a small part for his R2D2 build as he needed a piece to act as a hinge for one of the door panels. Once designed he was then able to set it printing while we popped out to see my dad.

We had picked a few things up for him with our shopping and needed to drop those round as well as some ironing that I'd done for him.

Once home again I was determined to enjoy the sunshine and spent a few minutes sat outside with a coffee. Although this did mean that I could see all the new weeds that had appeared since I'd weeded last week which meant the next hour or so was spent getting rid of said weeds. Although this did mean I got to have a chat with a neighbour as we attempted to put the world to rights! I also tweaked some of my outdoor lights as a few of the individual lights were no longer working so I was able to double up the string so that it's no longer quite so noticeable.

Well it turned out Simon has been chatting with his barber today and has managed to secure an appointment for a haircut...before me!! How very dare he?! Although to be fair his hair is probably in more need of a cut than mine as he is back to wearing a hat to keep it under control. I will have to wait until three weeks after Simon to get mine cut, although it is my colour that really needs doing as I am in danger of being almost my natural colour...and the grey that goes with it!! 

Simon has made great progress with the finishing touches to his R2D2 build and was able to sort the hinge problem he was having with one of the door panels. He has a few magnets to put in place to make sure things are absolutely secure and after touching up the paint in a few places we are now ready to make it look all dirty, which I think will be Friday's job when we are next off work.

Man and his droid!!
Talk has turned to what Simon's next project is going to be...there has been talk of a BB8 build but then DJ R-3X (affectionately called DJ Rex) was mentioned. This droid character appears in the Star Tours ride in Disney parks and also in Oga's Cantina in Galaxy's Edge at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. When Simon mentioned that it could house an MP3 player to play all my favourite music I was sold on the idea!!

Today marked the day when some of England's restrictions began to ease. A day when out of the 1600 plus deaths that we have every day only 23 were 'COVID deaths' and yet we are still in one of the most severe lockdowns and one of the slowest releases from lockdown. We have states in the US like Texas who removed all restrictions and have seen their figures go down. We have countries like Sweden who chose to follow the standard World Health Organisation's pandemic guidelines (as of 2019) and have faired no worse than the UK for deaths but have in fact enjoyed their freedoms and have a strong economy. We need normal back, and freedoms back, but I fear they are still a long way off.

Take care.
xx

Sunday, 28 March 2021

Where Did that Hour Go?

Day 375...

The last Sunday in March and we have now sprung forward into British Summertime which has meant all day looking at the clock and asking myself where has the time gone!

After a rubbish nights sleep for me we had a slow morning that ended with a windy walk managing 3.3 miles in an hour and four minutes. Although the daftest thing we saw today was a young couple who were walking towards us stop and put masks on...now I'm all for following the rules (whether I agree with them or not) but this was just plain daft. We were outside, it was windy, there was enough room for us to pass each other safely, they looked young, fit and healthy, we would have been 'close' for at most twenty seconds...really what was the point? Perhaps Simon and I look infected? Totally daft and completely unnecessary!

We found a local farm shop that had a small van outside selling coffee and decided to grab one; thankfully before we placed our order Simon realised we'd left home without any money - oops! Back home for coffee it was.

The afternoon has been fairly quiet. I had the joy of updating my online grocery shop ready for collecting tomorrow morning. I had a couple of work emails to fire off as unfortunately we have a slight issue with another group that use the same building as pre-school. They are looking to return to regular use of the building as we see restrictions gradually get lifted but their expectations from pre-school were causing us an issue! I also had the very exciting pile of ironing to master as well.

Simon has been working on those finishing touches to his R2D2 build. There are a few more 'decorative' parts to add on before he can start on the weathering process. So a matter of fixing, gluing and spray painting has been his focus this afternoon.

And there we have a Sunday!

Take care.
xx

Saturday, 27 March 2021

Woohoo it's the Weekend

Day 374...

And we have another stay-at-home weekend!

Our Saturday morning was a fairly laid back affair culminating in our usual walk for a coffee...and cake for Ethan. Another 3.6 miles in an hour and ten minutes which brings our total for March to 41 miles walked in 14 hours! 

After a spot of lunch we popped to see my dad; we had a couple of things to drop off with him and it was a good excuse to check-in with him and makes sure he was doing okay. We spent an hour or so with him and gave him another tutorial on how to use WhatsApp in an attempt to get him a little more tech savvy and easier to keep in contact with.

When we returned home our task was to see if we could make some progress on Simon's R2D2 droid build. It was time to assemble the legs and then attach them to the main body. The leg assembly was surprisingly straight forward and took us much less time than I think we were anticipating but the next bit was a little more tricky.

We moved R2 into our living room so that he could be fully assembled in the room that he is going to live in. It was then a case of figuring out just how the legs attached to the body. After a couple of attempts threading bolts through from the leg, into the 'shoulder' section and then into the body we realised that something wasn't quite lining up. Thankfully Simon was able to figure out how all the various pieces connected together which meant that we were a set of bolts missing. But a quick jump online and Simon was able to buy some ready to be picked up from a DIY store just a five minute drive away.

Once we had all the right bolts we were able to get all the pieces connected correctly and with a little bit of balancing and holding into position we managed to attach the two side legs and then the central 'foot'. A little minor adjustment and voila we have a droid living in the corner of our living room...

How cool is this?
...there are still a few details to add and then there will be some weathering as apparently it looks too clean to be in Star Wars!

And with that all done it was time for dinner which was our now usual Saturday night keto pizza which this week included a video chat with Molly and her fella, while Molly helped his mum dye her hair! Random I know, but that did all happen together!!

Today I shared this Mickey with our Disney Dream Girls family on Facebook. This is from Simon's 365 Mickey project 10 years ago...and would you believe it the timing couldn't be more perfect as this is exactly what happens today...
...time to put the clocks forward an hour and spring into British summertime!

Take care.
xx

Friday, 26 March 2021

Finally Friday

Day 373...

And we have reached the end of yet another working week...yay it's Friday.

And my first, and only, actual full day in actual work this week! For some of my friends in education today marked their last day in work and they now find themselves on their Easter two week break...but we have four more days to go next week (ok three for me as I don't work Mondays!)

My work day was spent as usual catching up with admin tasks, prepping the registers for the next term, helping my deputy with a little tidy up, organising ahead for a new starter after Easter and the usual banking. The afternoon was spent helping out a little on the floor and taking photos of a lovely, and sticky, baking activity with the children.

It was then home via a local supermarket as I decided I needed to buy a few treats ready for the Easter weekend and although I'd intended to leave buying till next week my online supermarket of choice were no longer stocking what I wanted. Apparently they were experiencing low stock levels of the traditional chocolate gift given at Easter!!

Once home I had a little more pre-school work to complete. We have an online learning journal system and I needed to authorise some posts so that parents can see what their little ones have been up to. I also wanted to share this afternoon's baking activity on social media and I had some money to count. Each year we send the children home with a certain brand of chocolate covered discs (ok...Smarties) that come in a very handy sized cardboard tube. We then ask parents that once their child has enjoyed their treat that they fill the now empty tube with 'pennies' and return to pre-school. This is a lovely little fundraiser and means that parents can contribute as much or as little as they can afford.

And that was pretty much my Friday and all that remains is to watch the second episode of The Falcon and The Winter soldier on Disney +.

Take care.
xx

Thursday, 25 March 2021

Day 372

Day 372...

The penultimate day of the working week...we have a Thursday!

My morning was spent in work and was pretty standard with the usual bits and bobs of admin and accounts to contend with. I am just beginning to get  ready for when we return after the Easter break and have numerous bits of paperwork to sort; we have one more week of pre-school to go before we have two weeks off.

I nipped to a local supermarket on my way home for a few bits and pieces before stopping off at my dads. I had a couple of bits to drop in for him and just wanted to make sure he was doing okay. I had a little tidy around for him before I headed home for the afternoon.

Once home and shopping all sorted and put away it was time for a coffee and a little sunshine. The afternoon has been beautiful and fairly warm so though I would take advantage and have a little half hour topping up my vitamin D. This then led to weeding as I could see all the little shoots that were popping up since I'd weeded on Sunday. Unfortunately due to the large sycamore trees close by we are plagued at this time of year with the 'windmill' seeds fermenting and shooting up!

The remainder of the afternoon and into evening was spent chatting with my brother online, dealing with a few more pre-school emails and reading an interview with Simon in a retro game magazine called Freeze64...

Cover Art by Simon

Eight page interview with Simon
...Simon had also drawn the cover art for the magazine. The art is actually available as a signed print on his website. His game, Rick Dangerous, which he made back in 1988/89 is a much loved and remembered game and he often gets fans messaging him or publications asking for interviews. It's a fab interview...although I may be a touch biased!

And there we have another Thursday. A day when the government have overwhelmingly voted to extend their emergency powers until October. The emergency powers that were brought in this time last year as we entered the pandemic...powers that will now extend beyond the 21st June, the date that is being dangled as the 'back to normal' date. So, if we're supposed to be 'back to normal' by the end of June why does the government need these 'emergency powers' until October?? Do they not want to give up the control that they have had for the last year? Where is the opposition to this? Why does this not feel right?

I am not a politician but this infringement on our liberties and freedom is wearing very thin and somebody, somewhere needs to do something about it.

Take care, see you tomorrow.
xx

Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Middle of the Week

Day 371...

And we have reached another Wednesday, the middle of the week once more.

This morning was a fairly standard morning in work, with all the usual admin tasks to complete. It's a week until our Easter raffle so I was busy trying to promote that with our parents via email and Facebook.

I left work at lunchtime to head home so that I could jump online for a 'Leaders and Managers' meeting. This is run by our local county council and aims to keep all early years leadership teams up to date with any developments within the sector and within our county.

Since the pandemic hit all our meetings have gone 'virtual' which has actually worked out really well. Instead of our council having to hosts dozens of meetings across our county they now simply host three virtual meetings, all at different times, so that we can pick and choose the time that works best. There is no driving to a venue, no paying of car parking charges or struggling to get parked. I can attend from home, with decent coffee to hand and be able to act on the information shared as it is given. My work day is much more efficient as I am not losing time travelling to and from a venue. It has also meant that rather than having one long meeting every 12 weeks or so we have been able to have shorter meetings every few weeks or when pertinent information has dictated.

After my meeting I went to see my Dad. I had some laundry that I'd done for him to drop off but my main task of the day was to get him 'online' and hopefully a little more tech aware. I have been able to set him up with his own WhatsApp account and hope this will be an easy way for him to communicate with all of the family and we will be able to check-in with him much more easily.

By the time I arrived home Simon was just finishing work and heading 'down the gym'. I was feeling rather tired and drained again this evening but for some reason decided to sort out a cupboard that was filled with random Tuperware boxes...suffice to say the cupboard is now a lot tidier!

I think it must be time to stop today and put my feet up before I fall asleep!

Take care.
xx

Tuesday, 23 March 2021

Whirlwind Tuesday

Day 370...

So it was Tuesday and it was a pretty full on sort of day and as I write this at the end of the day I feel totally drained.

The morning was spent in work and I had lots of banking to deal with, wages to pay, invoices to record as well as emails to respond to and funding issues to deal with. 

This afternoon I headed home to wait for a phone call from my Dad as he was getting discharged from hospital today. As it was I was just starting to enjoy a coffee and he phoned so we quickly got sorted and set off to bring him home. Thankfully the hospital is only twenty minutes away so we had him home safely in about forty minutes. Due to all the current COVID  restrictions we were unable to enter the hospital and instead my dad had been brought down to the main entrance and then left there to wait for us...how uncaring is that?!

After we had got him home I dropped Simon back at home so that I could spend the afternoon with my dad and make sure he had everything he needed and that he was happy he could cope on his own. I will be checking in with him tomorrow and trying to get him up to speed with texting so that we can attempt to keep in touch a little easier.

By the time I got home Simon was just finishing work for the day and as we had not really seen each other much we decided to take advantage of the lighter evening and have a quick walk out. A breath of fresh air was what we both needed and resulted in 3.5 miles in 47 minutes.

Having my dad in hospital for the last few days has really brought home the other side of lockdown and all the restrictions that we find ourselves living with. Not being allowed to visit him, not being allowed to enter the building to collect him, to leave him standing alone outside waiting for us...I'm sorry but that is awful. Thank goodness my dad had the presence of mind to take his phone with him so we could keep in touch because information from the hospital was simply not forthcoming. For my dad he had a short stay and is home and well, but that can't be said for a lot of other people and to endure a hospital stay (or worse) without loved ones around you is, quite frankly, callous.

Take care out there.
xx 

Monday, 22 March 2021

Manic Monday

Day 369...

Well today has been a bit of a non-stop sort of Monday!

So the day started with a phone call from my Dad, which was good. He is still in hospital and after a number of calls yesterday evening I had finally managed to find out a little more about what was happening. It was great to hear him sounding like his normal self and simply wanting me to check a few things at home for him.

So we headed off to my dads house before going to collect the weekly grocery shop as is our Monday normal. Once home I sorted all the shopping while Simon nipped out to a local DIY shop to pick up some large screws needed for some more R2D2 assembling later today.

Then the rest of the morning was spent catching up with our personal financial advisor to chat pensions and money stuff...whoop! Afterward we headed back to my dads house to spend a couple of hours cleaning around for him and getting everywhere tidy as things had been left in a bit of a mess after he was taken into hospital yesterday.

Back home again and this time it was to meet with a flooring company to measure up a couple of our rooms for some wooden flooring. This will be the third company we have tried so far, so we are hoping it's third time lucky. We have resorted to using a national company as the two smaller, local businesses we had tried were very nice and they came out and measured up and promised to provide quotes and sample flooring but we never heard back. I would much rather support the smaller guy but if the customer service isn't there then I'm afraid I'll have to go with the company offering the better service and who actually want the work!

Simon has, during various pockets of time throughout the day, been able to get a little more assembly of R2D2's feet completed. Lots of drilling, gluing and screwing together and fingers crossed he is now into the final stretch of getting it all put together.

Over on the Disney Dream Girls Family Facebook page I have been sharing each day some drawings that Simon did 10 years ago. He had a project called 365 Mickeys, where he drew a Mickey Mouse a day for a year. Today's Mickey from 10 years ago seems to sum up today pretty well...the description was 'Jayne does a lot of running around'!!

So I think it's now time for a well deserved 'feet-up' in front of the TV time.

See you tomorrow, take care.
xx

Sunday, 21 March 2021

Podcast, Weeding & Quizzing

Day 368...

We have another Sunday and another quiet day with a slow and steady start.

Michelle and I jumped online late morning to record a couple of shows for our podcast, Disney Dream Girls. We recorded one show for our Patreon subscribers and then just our regular show ready for next weekend. Michelle has a busy week ahead as she is due to move house so we wanted to get a little ahead of ourselves and get a show recorded and ready for release.

Simon and I took one of our shorter walks out over the fields just after lunch and were glad that we wore our wellies as the ground is still a little squelchy in places.

I then decided to do a spot of weeding thinking it would be a quick 15 minute job...over an hour and a half later and the job was done. We have a couple of very old sycamore trees close to where we live and every year at this time we find the seeds sprouting everywhere and they seem to have appeared literally overnight and were everywhere.

Whilst weeding I received a phone call to let me know that my dad has had a couple of falls this weekend which has resulted in him being taken to hospital late this afternoon to get checked out. So we are now waiting for an update from the hospital as we are not allowed to go in with him because of the current restrictions. Fingers crossed everything comes back okay.

Simon has spent most of his day assembling the leg components of his R2D2 build. A case of joining pieces together and then fashioning wooden blocks to go inside the feet on which castors have been fixed. The big job to do next is to attach the legs to the body which is going to be a tricky one as the pieces are quite hefty and there's going to be a lot of having to hold in place while things get attached!!

The day was rounded out with our usual Sunday Disney quiz via Zoom. Michelle was quiz master and all her questions were linked to the man himself, Walt Disney. I managed to get seven points which wasn't enough to win but was just enough to keep me from being bottom...by half a point!

Take care.
xx

Saturday, 20 March 2021

A Slow Saturday

Day 367...

And we have reached yet another weekend and another Saturday and another day of feeling a bit, well, meh!

Really finding weekends so hard at the moment, the lack of anything to do or places to go is really wearing me down.

This in turn meant a very slow start to the day, although I think I was catching up on missed sleep from last week! After a lazy start we put on our 'walking shoes' and ventured off into the next village for our usual Saturday morning coffee...and cake for Ethan. Another 3.6 miles in an hour and 12 minutes making a March total of 33 miles.

The afternoon was spent catching up on a little pre-school work as I had run out of time yesterday to get it completed. I updated my online grocery shop and then completed the Census online. Simon has also been working as he had had an idea about something he'd been working on yesterday and wanted to get it done. He's also printed a few more final R2D2 parts and answered a request for an interview about video games way back in the 1980's!

And to round the day off we made keto pizza which is fast becoming a Saturday evening tradition. 

Just a short post today as it has been so quiet and there's nothing much else to say...perhaps I'll have more writing mojo tomorrow.

Take care.
xx

Friday, 19 March 2021

One Year and One Day

Day 366...

So March 19th last year was my first day in 'lockdown', my first day working from home and my first day assessing what the impact was going to be on me, my family and my work.

And March 19th 2020 was when I decided to use this blog, that I had set-up in 2012 primarily to talk about my love of all things Disney, to instead record the world according to me during a pandemic.

I know I have said this before over the last few posts but I honestly did not think a year later we would still be 'dealing' with this pandemic and I would still be writing daily posts. But here we are and there is very little I can do about any of it apart from get very frustrated and angry at the position we find ourselves in...and to keep on writing.

Reading my posts from a year ago it is humbling to remember how worried we all were about something that none of us had ever experienced before in our lifetimes. The sense of panic that prevailed fueled by the doom and gloom of the media is palpable when reading those early posts and that stayed with me for quite a while.

When faced with the situation we were we had to assume that those in power had more information than we could possibly have, they had access to scientists who knew what they were talking about and were taking in data from all over in order to make sure that we did the right thing at the right time. But now with a year gone by and apparently little or no progress made through draconian measures I'm not so sure those assumptions were correct. Just because someone has the power does not mean they know the right answer to everything. Do not put them on a pedestal, instead expect them to question, to seek out opinions, to weigh up the options and to make mistakes but to admit to them when they do. They are human (supposedly!) so they will not get it right first time, or even every time, but surely it is better to admit a shortfall and to move on better informed...or it would appear apparently not!

But back to today, it was a Friday and a Friday like most others. A full day in work which was taken up with the usual sort of admin tasks, issuing invoices, amending contracts, updating the banking and sorting raffle tickets for our upcoming Easter raffle to be conducted 'virtually'.

Once home it was time to stop, enjoy a coffee and chill for a short while before jumping back online to do a little more pre-school work. I was also chatting with Molly via direct message on Twitter because for a short while WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger had all 'gone down'!! Crikey a bit of technology doesn't quite work as it's supposed to and our whole world stops!

But now it is time for wine, chocolate and another new Marvel TV series to get engrossed in!

Take care, see you tomorrow.
xx

Thursday, 18 March 2021

Day 365 - A Year On

Day 365...

So today marks one complete year of writing blog posts.

March 18th 2020 was the day I made the decision to close pre-school ahead of any official government announcement. We had fewer and fewer children turning up each day and parents who were understandably concerned, confused and didn't know what was the right thing to do.

At the time, a year ago, the 'panic' around COVID was mounting and with horrific scenes coming out of China and then Italy of overcrowded hospitals and with death rates abroad spiraling the whole nation was gripped in a state of fear and disbelief. What should we be doing? When should we take action? Is the response too slow?

In the preceding weeks the message from the scientists and government officials had been in line with the World Health Organisations approach to pandemics. Protect those most at risk, place some sensible social distancing measures in place, work from home if you can, wash your hands but otherwise carry on with our lives. The words 'herd immunity' were used and for some reason this seemed to stoke the fear levels even more, despite the fact that achieving 'herd immunity' was what had to happen with any virus outbreak.

The day after we closed our doors at pre-school the government announced that all schools and childcare settings across England would be closing from the following Monday. We felt justified in our decision to close our doors and settled in for a few weeks away from pre-school...perhaps we would return after the Easter break or worst case early June. We could not have predicted how this past year would have turned out and how our small, charity run, pre-school would have been affected.

But here we are one year on. England is in it's third full lockdown and we have a supposed 'roadmap' of how we will attempt to get back to 'normal'. We have experienced a tier system and for a short while over Summer a little bit of 'normal' had crept back in but it was a 'normal' that was conditional on masks, social distancing, booking in advance, hand sanitising, temperature checks and more.

Pre-school re-opened in mid-June to a limited number of children and then since September we have been open pretty much as we would have expected to have been. Yes, we have extra measures in place and a few of our routines have changed but essentially the end service we offer to the children is the same...just with more hand sanitiser!

But what a year we have had, a year where we seem to have leapt from one panic to another and with very little rationale behind the actions taken. We have been led down a very blinkered path and anyone who dare raise their head above the parapet and suggest a different theory or approach has been shot down immediately. Those of us who believe in a scientific and evidence based approach find ourselves with little hope for anything assembling a sensible solution and can only see a future that is filled with restrictions and caveats. But I am sure as the days, weeks and months move on I will be able to capture our 'roadmap' to wherever through my blog posts.

Only today we received in the mail a letter and leaflet from our local member of parliament chastising us for not doing enough to get us out of lockdown. Commenting that figures in our local area were not as good as they could be and therefore we, the people, must 'do' better!!  Forgive me for being cynical but first how much of my taxpayer money has just been wasted on producing colour, glossy leaflets and posting them to the tens of thousands of households in my area. And then don't even get me started on the testing of asymptomatic individuals and the risk of false positive rates.

But today was Thursday and today involved work this morning and an afternoon at home. Work was pretty much the usual stuff with prepping invoices and updating banking and sending emails. This afternoon was tackling the mountain of ironing that had built up whilst chatting with Molly via WhatsApp and making coffee to keep me and the boys going.

I received a letter today for my next mammogram in a few weeks time, this will be my second since having my surgery for breast cancer two years ago. I was a little surprised to get the letter as last year's mammogram that should have happened in April got delayed to June because of the pandemic so I had presumed this year's would be in June. But, it is quite comforting that the appointment has fallen at the 'correct time' when there is so much concern about how lockdowns have been detrimental to other health aspects like cancer care.

Simon and I still have sore arms from our vaccines on Tuesday but otherwise we are fine...although I was a little concerned that my sore arm was impacting my ability to pour out a glass of wine earlier...but that will get easier the less wine there is in the bottle!!!

Well, with said glass of wine poured, it is time to stop writing and head off in search of RuPauls Drag Race UK final!

Take care out there.
xx

Wednesday, 17 March 2021

Almost a Year

Day 364...

Well, we have a Wednesday and it is almost a year since I started writing this 'lockdown diary'.

In fact it was a Wednesday afternoon this time last year that myself and my deputy made the decision to close pre-school. We beat the government's announcement that education would close by one day. It was an awful and horrid decision to make but with less and less children attending and parents simply lost as to know what to do for the best we felt we had to take charge of the situation and close our doors. There were tears as we made the decision and I sent out emails and text messages to our parents.

I could not have possibly foreseen the events of the past year; the twelve weeks we remained closed; the effects on our liberties and freedom; the ever changing 'scientific' advise; tier systems; lockdowns and operating from June last year all the way through till now with very little governmental support.

But it was Wednesday today and that meant a full day in work, which meant the usual bits of admin, banking, emails and invoice prepping. 

And after being open since 15th June 2020 we have now been given access to lateral flow tests which can be used (should we wish to do so) from next week. We have also been sent a supply of face masks...450 face masks to be precise...for a staff team of 6...who all work in one room together...who have been working together since June...

Now I don't wish to sound cynical or ungrateful but we have just two weeks left in pre-school before we break for Easter. The use of lateral flow tests and masks in education settings is supposed to be reviewed in time for the Summer term (four weeks away), if they decide that tests and masks are no longer needed then there will have been an awful lot of expense for pretty much no reason. As one of my team put it 'providing masks and tests now is a little like closing the gate after the horse has bolted'!! Whilst it is very nice to finally be thought about we have been open and working for nine months without either of these 'protections' available to us...and we have survived...at our own financial expense!

Having had our vaccines yesterday both Simon and I have reacted differently to them. I was awake for most of the night not really getting to sleep until about 4am but was still able to get up this morning and have a full day in work. There were times I felt a little achy but not enough to stop me and I simply made sure I had paracetamol to take to keep me going. Simon also had a disturbed nights sleep but for him it manifested in muscle aches; he described it as having 'restless leg syndrome' but all over his body. He decided to take it slow today and not do any work; he has felt tired and achy and his arm where he was injected is sore and he can't lift it above his head.

But this did mean that when I got home from work we were able to spend some time together, with a coffee, sat outside in the surprisingly warm sunshine and chat about our day.

Who would have thought almost a year after the world went mad and we entered the first of these bizarre lockdowns we would be dealing with the side effects of the vaccine for the disease for which our lives have been dictated over these past 364 days!

Take care out there.
xx

Tuesday, 16 March 2021

Vaccine Tuesday

Day 363...

Well we have another Tuesday and Tuesday's are now a day of two halves for me; mornings in work and afternoons off.

So into work this morning and it was pretty much the usual sort of stuff; admin bits and pieces, banking bits, submitting data to our county council and sorting more fundraising details.

Then this afternoon I drove home and picked up Simon so that we could both head off to get our COVID vaccine at a local health centre. We had debated quite a lot about whether we should get the jab or not. We have both kept pretty well informed of all things COVID and all things vaccine related. We have taken in all view points and are open to all arguments around the efficacy of both our current restrictions and the various vaccines.

Going back to this time last year the information we were presented with was very scary and the main stream media have continued with this mantra ever since. Ofcom rulings and parliamentary emergency acts have restricted a lot of media outlets from deviating away from the government messaging and emergency powers that were supposed to be temporary are still in place.

But back in March and April last year we followed dutifully the government guidance and the science that was being presented to us. And even as the Spring turned into Summer we tried to keep informed and act as we were being told to. But as the year moved on we became more and more curious about what was happening and began to notice dissenting voices.

Both Simon and I would consider ourselves a little bit sceptical, while at the same time wanting to 'do our bit' throughout all of this. But the longer this has gone on the more and more we find ourselves questioning decisions that have been made and whether the approach taken has in fact been correct and whether what we have done, and been subjected to, has actually caused more harm than good.

So when it came around to vaccines I will admit to being concerned at the relatively quick time in which the vaccines were 'discovered'. I have always been very pro-vaccine and my kids have had all the ones that were offered, Molly has taken part in a study for a meningitis vaccine and I took the flu vaccine when it was offered to me for the first time last year. But the speed to which this set of vaccines were approved has caused me some concerns. Most vaccines would be in stage three trials for a number of years before getting approval but these have all been given emergency approval which means that all of us who take it are basically taking part in a giant human trial whether we want to or not.

When we realised that our local health centre was administering the Oxford AstraZeneca version we felt much more comfortable in going for it. This version uses existing methods of creating vaccines and as far as I understand it the lab at Oxford had been working on a vaccine to combat this type of Coronavirus for a while and were simply 'waiting for one to come along' so to speak. Whereas the Pfizer and Moderna versions are using new technology to create theirs and both Simon and I were more cautious and concerned surrounding the possible long term affects that those versions may present.

So we took the view that as we are both in our 50's and not getting any younger, and it was the version we felt happier about, that we would 'do the right thing' and get stuck with a needle. We are both healthy individuals, neither of us have any known illnesses that would put us at risk of a serious outcome should we contract COVID but we felt that we ought to play safe.

We had a little wait at the clinic as we had arrived ahead of our appointment time and the clinicians administering the vaccine were on their lunch break! But once up and running it was a very efficient service and we were both happily surprised that they let us go through the process together. Within six minutes of our allotted appointment time we were back in the car and heading home. We have both mentioned having a sore arm and Simon has said that he 'feels like he's coming down with something' but other than that we are both doing okay at the moment.

And the rest of my afternoon was spent doing a little online shopping for pre-school, watching a Department of Education video about lateral flow tests within the early years sector and making a keto crustless bacon and mushroom quiche ready for tomorrow's lunch.

So all in all a productive day one way or another.

Wherever you are, whatever you may be doing, take care.
xx

Monday, 15 March 2021

Monday Mood

Day 362...

Well we have a Monday once more...and once more it was pretty much the same as Mondays are at the moment.

I always make sure I am up and about on a Monday just in case I am needed at pre-school, as although it is a non-working day for me I am 'cover' should I be needed. But this does mean that we are up and about to go and fetch our weekly grocery shop early on.

A rarity today as we had to use the actual lockers when we collected our shopping. Most Mondays when we have arrived at the lockers a store colleague has been working and brought our shopping to us, whereas today we had to do it all ourselves!!

Then it was home, unpack the shopping, put it all away before heading out for a Monday stroll into the next village for a coffee. We walked 3.5 miles in an hour and nine minutes, although I did manage to scold my hand with a splash of hot coffee...and it proper hurt!!

The afternoon was a mix of drinking coffee, sitting outside reading, Simon paint spraying various R2D2 pieces and just generally being very chilled out. Simon has managed to, very patiently and methodically, finally spray paint successfully the piece of R2D2 that over the weekend had given him so much grief! He has also masked and sprayed silver some more parts so hopefully it won't be long before the final bit of assembly can happen.

Simon decided to go 'down the gym' later this afternoon while I also did a little workout but in the comfort of the living room; a few bodyweight and kettle bell exercises for me.

And that was Monday...again...

I think it is going to be interesting to read back over all these blog posts to see what actually happened over this past year (almost there!) and just how repetitive life has become. I am very aware that life rolls on but very little is actually happening or has been able to happen. Plus the motivation to actually do anything feels like it has been sucked out of  me. All we can hope for is that we get out of this lockdown sooner rather than later and that we are all able to reclaim our lives, liberty and freedoms back!

Take care out there.
xx

Sunday, 14 March 2021

Happy Mothers Day - UK!

Day 361...

Happy Mothers Day...well it is here in the UK! Always very confusing that different countries celebrate it at different times of the year. Apparently here in the UK it is always the fourth Sunday in Lent...I have to thank my podcast co-host Michelle for supplying me with this knowledge as I had no idea!

Well my Mothers Day started quite late after a disturbed nights sleep but once up and about I had message from Molly and one from her her boyfriend Dan as well as gifts presented by Ethan but thoughtfully purchased between him and Molly.

The card was suitably Star Wars inspired...

...and gifts were suitably Disney...
I had spotted this bag online a few weeks ago but had never gotten around to ordering it for myself...good job I hadn't!
Can't beat a pair of fluffy, silly, Disney socks!
Simon and I decided to take a walk out this morning as the weather forecast for the afternoon was looking pretty wet. Well we wore our wellies and headed out across the fields; which having had some rain this past week were rather squelchy in places. Just as we headed out we felt a few rain spots and Simon nipped back inside to pick up his umbrella which was put to good use as at one point walking across a field the rain and hail decided to come at us sideways so the umbrella shielded us from it a little. But by the time we headed home the weather had calmed down and the walk home was dry and almost sunny. We stopped off at a small supermarket that did Costa Coffee take-out as all the other local cafes do not open Sundays...the only problem being that the machine was 'out of order'!! This did mean that when we got home, and the coffee had brewed, it was really well deserved and enjoyed. Another 4 miles in an hour and a half, taking March's total to 25 miles.

We then decided to see if we could get a hotel booked for a weekend away. All being well hotels should be allowed to open mid-May so we hopped online and managed to get a hotel booked for a seaside get-a-way not long after Simon's birthday. We also have another weekend away booked in July that was actually scheduled for last July but the hotel very kindly allowed us to keep the booking and simply move it a year forward. At least we have a couple of things to look forward to all being well.

This afternoon Simon has been battling with a couple of pieces of his R2D2 build that just don't want to take the spray paint; this can happen occasionally as grease or dirt can interfere with the ability of the paint to adhere to the surface. But he has one piece that no matter what he does just doesn't want to play...more sanding needed to try again tomorrow. 

The day was rounded out with our usual Sunday Disney quiz, although my scoring this week was pretty naff...although that does mean I don't have to set questions for next week! But it was, as it always is, lovely to chat with some now very familiar faces; names on social media that have now become friends.

Take care, wherever you may be.
xx

Saturday, 13 March 2021

Day 360...a Saturday

Day 360...

I am almost at a year of writing this blog, something that I could never have predicted. I thought I would put virtual pen to virtual paper to simply record what we were going through and to keep a record of what life was like. No way could I have foreseen that almost a year later and I would still be writing.

So today was Saturday and the day started off slowly; after a week of mixed nights sleeps I had said to Simon yesterday that I was looking forward to just staying in bed and sleeping this weekend. It was a bit of a flippant comment but said with a grain of truth, and so Simon went out of his way not to wake me this morning. Although to be fair I had woken at pretty much my normal time but had allowed myself to drift in and out of sleep for a short while. There is a point at which I have to get up and move about as otherwise I would have felt that I had wasted a day if I were to spend it lounging around in bed!

So we had a steady morning which ended with our usual walk into the next village for coffee. It was windy, sunny, rainy and even hailed at one point but we made it there and back in an hour and seven minutes. We brought back a muffin for Ethan and I had a treat of a date scone which was very yummy with some cheese!

Simon and I have been discussing whether or not we should take up the offer of the COVID vaccine as we had both received texts from our doctors inviting us to make appointments. Two of my staff were booked in to get theirs today as well as my friend Michelle, and they all received the AstraZeneca version. Having done our own research, read papers and watched videos we definitely feel more comfortable going with the AstraZeneca version as this draws on existing vaccine technology, whereas the other authorised versions are using a new way of creating vaccines that has not seen the extensive trials that other methods have. After our walk we took the plunge and booked ourselves in for this coming Tuesday afternoon!

The afternoon was then spent doing a little online work; I had some updates for pre-school to do that I simply hadn't had the chance to finish yesterday but I wanted to get up straight ready for the week ahead so decided to take an hour of my time today. Simon has been in and out of the garage spray painting more of his R2D2 parts as well as ordering some bolts so that he can start assembling the leg parts and fixing them to the body.

And tonight I was treated to the men of the family making keto pizza for dinner!

Take care out there.
xx

Friday, 12 March 2021

It's Friday!

Day 359...

We have reached the end of the working week, yet again.

Today was actually a full day in work and was taken up with the usual admin and banking tasks. We are also organising a raffle to be drawn in a couple of weeks when we have our Easter Fun week. The raffle will be 'virtual' but we have some fab prizes and hope that we can raise a good amount of cash for pre-school.

Pre-school is a registered charity and consequently we can only survive if we fundraise throughout the year and this past year has been quite a challenge not only to contend with the pandemic but also to raise money. We have been unable to host our normal events so we have had to come up with other ideas and adapt things virtually. We held a virtual raffle at Christmas and were pleasantly surprised with how effective it was and so we are trying the same again with our Easter raffle. All the staff and our committee have donated money so that we could afford some great prizes and hope that the prizes will tempt people to buy lots of tickets, and raise lots of money for us!

After a quick stop at a local supermarket to pick up the essentials of mushrooms, cheese and dark chocolate I arrived home to get ready for a podcast recording session. We hadn't been able to record last week as both Michelle and I had been so busy, so it was important that we found the time this week to get a show recorded.

It was lovely to actually chat with Michelle, rather than just exchange texts as we do most days. And it was fun to put together a podcast and chat all things Disney. Michelle and I met through our love of Disney and have become best friends as a result.

Podcast recording late afternoon did result in a later dinner tonight, and consequently I was a little late writing today's blog, and consequently writing it under the influence of at least one glass of red wine! So perhaps I ought to stop now, put my feet up and eat some chocolate!

Take care.
xx

Thursday, 11 March 2021

A Blustery Day

Day 358...

Well the wet and windy Wednesday kept on going and turned into a very blustery Thursday. So much so that my first thought this morning was to pick up one of my work colleagues who doesn't have access to a car as I think her usual walk to work may have resulted in her sporting a rather bedraggled look!!

The main focus of my morning was to not only get all the usual banking, emails and admin up straight but to find time to chat with my deputy about the cash flow forecasts I'd completed yesterday so that we could discuss and plan a way forward. We had a very productive 'chat' and have a clear vision for where we are going and how we are going to get there.

It was then time to head home as I have just changed my working pattern from having all day on a Thursday off to just the afternoon. And my time this afternoon was spent doing a spot of baking. I have made another low carb banana bread and this time I have added some dark chocolate chips...

...I also made some low carb avocado chocolate truffles, a combination of dark chocolate, avocado, lime and vanilla...
Very, very dark chocolate truffles!
...and these will both be going with me into work tomorrow as a treat for my team and to see what they reckon to some low carb goodness.  

And that was today...our Census 2021 form arrived and we had much discussion about vaccines and whether to opt in or not. Lots to think about and I think I will simply take my time to come to my own conclusions.

Take care out there.
xx

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Wet & Windy Wednesday

Day 357...

Ordinarily I would be in work on a Wednesday but due to a phone appointment this morning I'd taken the day off...well I say 'off' but I actually got quite a bit of work done.

So over the day I managed to complete a vital piece of work, a cash-flow forecast! We are approaching the last full term of the academic year and in April we see changes to the National Living Wage which means that we need a review of all our salaries to ensure that we fall inline with government guidelines as well as being able to reward our staff accordingly. 

I needed therefore to be able to have an idea of how our finances pan out between now and July and how that will in turn impact our return in September. We always need to work between 3 to 6 months ahead of ourselves so that we can ensure the correct funding is received and apply it successfully.

The main reason for being at home today though was that I had a phone consultation with a nurse from the Breast Clinic at my local hospital. It is now two years since I received my diagnosis of breast cancer and although it was caught at an extremely early stage it still meant surgery and radiotherapy. Today's phone call was to check-in with me and make sure I was doing okay and aware of the plan going forward.

Since my surgery and radiotherapy I have had one more mammogram that came back completely fine. I will now have a mammogram annually for the next four years before I get 'signed off' from the clinic. I still get odd twinges and pain in my left boob and the nurse explained today that the pain is a result of the radiotherapy, whereas I'd presumed it was to do with the surgery. Apparently during radiotherapy the angle of the treatment means that the bones get affected and the 'pain' that I am feeling is actually in my bones and can be noticed when perhaps stretching, or lying differently, or getting a hug. Good to know that what I'm experiencing is completely normal and thankfully it is nothing overtly painful to deal with, just more annoying.

I am still surprised by how the experience has affected me, not only the twinges and discomfort, but more the psychological effect. The diagnosis stays with you and even when you think you've got a handle on it it can enter your brain and mess with your head when you least expect it. I think I have a tendency to try and dismiss it because 'it was caught so early' but I have to remind myself that being told you have cancer is not something you can be prepared for. Because I don't want to feel that I'm ever 'playing on it' or 'making a fuss' it can lead to me not dealing with it as perhaps as well as I should, and not recognising that yes I have cancer, yes I had surgery and yes I had 15 rounds of radiotherapy. I need to do a better job of embracing that, accepting it and knowing that it's okay to remember what I've been through and that is now just a part of who I am.

Before lunch we had a chap arrive to do a survey of our windows as we are moving forward with replacing all our wooden windows with fancy new uPVC ones. So today was getting all the final measurements in place, double checking finishes, handles, window openings and spotting any potential 'tricky areas'. Now we just need to wait for a date when all the work can be done.

As Simon finished for his lunch we spent a few minutes showing off his R2D2 build to the 'window man'. As R2 sits in our hallway it often becomes a talking point when we have visitors and Simon is very proud (and quite rightly so) to show it off!

Despite the grey clouds and drizzle we embarked on a quick walk out though the village to simply get some fresh air; a quick 1.7 miles in 30 minutes and a little wet by the time we got back home.

And the other news of today is that I have a hair appointment...well it's booked...for 13th May! So here in England we are hopefully, all fingers and toes crossed, due to see hairdressers, tattoists and shops re-opening on April 12th...if nothing untoward happens! So my hairdresser has done the fairest thing and worked through her appointments in order to re-arrange them. I should have been going blonde again mid-February so it will now be happening mid-May instead and I can't wait to change colour and go extra-short again!

Well the day was rounded out with a trip to the 'gym' for Simon but as I was feeling a bit cold, and quite frankly not in the mood for exercise, I turned my attention to writing this blog instead.

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing take care.
xx

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

A Day of Two Halves

Day 356...

So the first part of today was a work day; my first day in work this week.

It was a pretty busy morning with a fair few bits to catch up on plus the usual emails, banking and general admin to get on top of. But I would much rather be busy and feel that my time has been well spent than be clock watching or twiddling my thumbs.

After finishing work I came home via a local supermarket to buy some bits and bobs that I hadn't been able to get on my weekly grocery shop yesterday followed by a quick stop at my dads to drop off his prescriptions for him.

And then it was home for the afternoon. 

This morning we had had a plumber out to look at our shower as it has been leaking for a while and we had noticed some woodwork that had become damp. Upon investigation it would appear that the shower tray was not as well sealed as it could have been and a very small leak had been happening over time. But hopefully this is now resolved and we just need to let the wood dry out, replace where we can and then fill the hole that is now in the wall! But this did mean that my first job of the afternoon was to clean up after the plumber!

Then I decided to take advantage of the sunshine and take a coffee outside. It wasn't perhaps as warm as it could have been but it seemed a shame to waste the sunshine especially when the forecast for the rest of the week is rather damp! But it did mean that while I sat I was able to WhatsApp with Molly and see how she was doing. She is hoping that as the next lot of restrictions get lifted that she will be able to come home for Easter - all fingers crossed.

I was also able to chat with one of my elderly neighbours who has just had her second dose of the vaccination and we tried our best to 'put the world to rights'!! 

It was then time to cook dinner (low carb moussaka) before stopping for the day. A glass (or two) of red wine, some dark chocolate and feet-up time.

Take care.
xx

Monday, 8 March 2021

Monday Once More

Day 355...

Monday has rolled around yet again.

There was the usual trip to collect the weekly grocery shopping and once home and packed away there were some household chores to do. Simon has been working on his R2D2 build off and on throughout the day; a process of wet sanding, pieces drying, spray painting, more drying and then repeat for numerous different parts!

We did take a walk out for coffee and although it decided to rain while we were out it wasn't too heavy thankfully. Another 3.6 miles in one hour and eleven minutes...total for March so far stands at 16 miles.

After lunch there were a few more jobs to get done; cleaning round, a little garden tidying and sorting out a returns parcel. Simon has spent some time updating his website (simonphipps.com) as he has a new limited edition print up for sale; a piece inspired by a game he worked on in 1999 called Shadowman.

The day was rounded out with a trip to the 'gym' for Simon and a trip to the living room for me to complete my body-weight workout.

So here in England we have seen the return to school for all our children today. Those attending secondary school are having to be subjected to three lateral flow tests before they are allowed to attend and then each week they will have to be tested twice. They will also be requested to wear face masks all day, if social distancing is not possible - all seems so ridiculous and over the top.

The evidence is out there that masks make no difference what so ever, that testing will eventually turn up positive cases because of the false positive rate that comes with any test and yet all these kids want to do is to go back to school, see their friends and try and learn something. 

While some children will take this all in their stride I fear there is going to be a large amount that will struggle. Struggle with catching-up on missed education, struggle to relate to others, struggle to adjust to new routines. There will be those that have missed out on so much because of their home life situations, those that have suffered both mentally and physically and those that will simply slip through the cracks.

It is very easy if you have been able to 'carry-on' during lockdown relatively unaffected to assume that everyone else is like you and not appreciate what it could be like in someone else's shoes. But there are lots of families out there for whom lockdown will have been devastating in all sorts of ways and we will not know the true affects until much further on down the line.

Whatever you're doing, wherever you are, take care.
xx

Sunday, 7 March 2021

Sunday...again

Day 354...

Well today has been one of those days!

I woke up feeling grumpy, irritated and just wanted to curl up and cry. Hormones are just plain rubbish! Your brain logic is telling you one thing but no matter what you do you just can't shift the mood, which in turn makes things all the more infuriating.

But I got on with the day as best I could. There was the online grocery shopping to complete and laundry to sort while Simon did some paint spraying of R2D2 parts.

We took a walk over the fields as it was such a beautiful and sunny day and clocked up another 3.5 miles in an hour and eighteen minutes. There were so many people out and about today obviously taking advantage of the weather and having literally nothing else to do or anywhere else to go.

My afternoon was pretty quiet as I really wasn't in the mood for doing much. I spent some time simply sat outside with a coffee. I read a little, did some research ahead of this evenings Disney quiz and that was about it.

Having our regular Disney Dream Girls Sunday Disney quiz was a little light relief and my online research saved me from getting a really low score. 

But that was the day; a day of feeling 'out of it' and not really in the mood for doing anything which would be hard enough to contend with in the best of times but with the backdrop of lockdown it feels so worthless. We are going through one of the toughest and longest lockdowns here in the UK and I really cannot fathom why...

Take care.
xx

Saturday, 6 March 2021

Finally Banana Bread!

Day 353...

And we have another Saturday in lockdown.

Well the day started with Simon discovering that he'd run out of contact lenses...oops! So a phone call through to the opticians, followed by waiting for a call back resulted in being able to pick up some spares to see him through until his next supply turn up. A little annoying when you pay for a service that is supposed to ensure a delivery before you use up your current supply...but at least he could get hold of some today.

So while Simon nipped into the opticians I went to visit Jon the Community Champion at my local Asda who had yet more goodies for pre-school to support this weeks activities. We are making pizzas with the children by using mini wraps as the base, tomato ketchup and then toppings; a really simple but effective way to create pizzas with our little ones.

So after dropping all the goodies off at pre-school we headed home and then headed straight out again for our now usual Saturday stroll into the next village for coffee. On our walk home we spotted my brother and his wife clearing out their old house; they have just moved into a new place and had the old one to clean before handing it over to the landlord. So we spent twenty minutes or so catching up with them and putting the world to rights.

After a spot of lunch we embarked on a few jobs that needed doing...well I say we...what I actually mean is that Simon completed the work while I 'supervised'! We had a couple of fixes for pre-school to sort and then Simon had an arm for his large digital drawing tablet to fix to his desk so that he can move the tablet into a better position for drawing while also keeping it out of the way when not using it.

While Simon did all the fixing of stuff I decided to make some low carb banana bread...it has taken me until lockdown number three to succumb to making one of these but it had to be a low carb version of course!

We also managed to catch up with one of our neighbours today...it has been so nice today to simply chat with 'other people'! But the sad thing is that their mother is in a care home suffering with dementia that appears to be getting worse...and of course they haven't been able to see her properly over the past year. Although they do have an appointment to visit towards the end of this month that is conditional on them taking a test that comes back negative! But my neighbour is concerned that she could be nearing the end and may no longer recognise family when they do visit. It is so sad that what could be the last year of their life has had to be spent like this especially when it has been recognised that a lack of contact and lack of visitors for dementia patients is causing a detrimental affect to their long term health. 

Then for dinner tonight I made keto pizza with Ethan for the first time. This is something that the boys of the family normally make so I thought with Ethan's help I'd have a go tonight. So easy to make; a base of eggs and Mozarella cheese baked and then topped with tomato paste and tonights toppings of choice - chicken, pepperoni, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, peppers, oregano, chilli flakes and oodles of cheese on top. 

The proof was in the tasting and it was good! Tastes like pizza but without the carbs, what's not to love about that!

Now it's time to take my wine and watch RuPauls Drag Race and maybe have a little dark chocolate with a slice of banana bread!!

Take care out there.
xx

Friday, 5 March 2021

Full-On Friday

Day 352...

So today was a full day in work and one with an earlier start than of late. The knock-on effect of schools being closed had impacted our morning starts which had resulted in later starts since January but as from next week we are back to 'normal'. So an earlier start today has got us back into the swing of things!

So once in work we had lots to do; a review of this weeks activities, changes to our room layout, changes to how our sessions run and looking at the activities for next week.

For me this meant writing two newsletters, updating banking, chasing fees, prepping for new starters, helping with tweaks to the room as well as the usual day to day stuff.

And even by the time I got home I still had work that I needed to complete. So the latter part of the afternoon saw me juggling pre-school work, making some keto bread ready for this evening's meal, chatting with Molly over WhatsApp as I helped her with some admin tasks for her business (Shutter Studios), making coffee (very important), responding to emails and just generally getting ready to stop when Simon finished his working day so we could watch this weeks WandaVision.

It has become a little ritual over these past few weeks to finish work for the week and watch WandaVision and tonight it was the finale and it did not disappoint. Personally I think they did a brilliant job at rounding out the story and giving answers to most questions. I will admit to shedding a tear or two towards the end and then Marvel did the classic 'end credits sequence'...twice!! Not sure what we are going to do now on a Friday evening!!

And that was the day today, a day where it felt like I didn't stop until about...right now!

Take care.
xx

Thursday, 4 March 2021

Today was Thursday

Day 351...

So today was my last Thursday off for a while; we have changed the staffing rota at work which will mean my 'day off' will now be split over two afternoons instead.

The day has been relatively busy though as I caught up with some 'around the house' jobs, did some podcast researching and then had my butchers delivery arrive. 

It must have taken over an hour and a half to simply unpack everything, split it all into meal size portions, re-organise my freezer to pack everything away and then get rid of all the rubbish. But then again when my order consisted of 5kg of chicken, 3kg of minced beef, steaks, burgers, 100 sausages and 4.5kg of bacon it's probably not surprising it took me a little time to sort it all. But I do love being able to get an order like this and know that I am set-up for a few weeks as well as supporting a small business.

As the day moved on Michelle and I decided to delay this weeks podcast recording; both of us are having busy work weeks this week and we are simply running out of free time to not only get the podcast recorded but then edited before we publish it. Better to wait until we are both in the right mindset to produce the type of show that we are proud to put out there.

Simon managed to get 'down the gym' this evening while I did my little workout in the comfort of the living room. I'll always put on some music or something while I'm working out and tonight I decided to hop onto Disney+ and pop on Hamilton; such a fantastic production and I can't wait to be in a position to go and see this in person...some day...whenever that may be!

And we plod on in a world where we seem to have seriously lost the plot. Procedures that were a given over a year ago have been abandoned for lockdowns and mask wearing. Some areas in the world are opening up, some areas are proceeding with caution and places like the UK are having to deal with some of the toughest lockdown measures - why? It's a virus, viruses will do what viruses do, we need to learn to live with it and let it become endemic like we have done throughout our history. I am not denying the existence of the virus I am simply questioning whether the approach to dealing with it has been right. Time will tell and I am sure that over the coming years there will be numerous enquiries, but whether we will ever know definitively what we should have done and whether we will ever get back to 'normal' we will just have to wait and see.

Take care out there.
xx