Saturday 31 July 2021

Day 500

Day 500...

Wow, 500 days of writing these diary entries. This started out as a way to document the first 'lockdown' back in March 2020 as it was something that we had never experienced before and I thought it would be interesting to record what happened and how we 'coped' with it.

At day 500, and despite England having experienced 'Freedom Day' on July 19th, I am still writing and posting. My entries are now more focused around my daily happenings but as we enter this new landscape of 'freedom' returning I thought I would carry on writing. We may have been granted our 'freedom' but life is still not back to where it once was.

But today was Saturday and the day started with a couple of jobs for Simon and me. I had the online grocery order to update as we are picking it up a day early this week (tomorrow) as we have plans for the coming week. Simon was out in the garage applying gesso to a couple of paintings that we had created years ago but no longer display. Simon is hoping over the next couple of weeks to create some new art physically which will be a change to the digital art that he usually does. We then also had our new door number to install which I think looks rather fetching...

...and really invokes a 'Disney's Tower of Terror' ride vibe.

And before we headed out for the afternoon the post was a good post day as it was my delivery from Hotel Chocolat...

...about every 12 weeks or so I have what they call their 'High Cocoa Curated Selection'; a little treat that I indulge in and have done for a fair few years now going back to when it used to be called the 'Chocolate Tasting Club'. And although they no longer send a 'sleekster' box of different chocolates I still get to experience chocolates that I may not have otherwise chosen myself. 

Our afternoon was then spent in Nottingham having a wander around and enjoying a coffee or two. 

We even indulged a little by sharing a Panettone and some dark hazelnut chocolate!
It was great to be in the city and to be able to wander where we wanted without having to think about masks or 'checking-in'. It was also amazing to walk into one of our regular coffee shops and be greeted by the barista who remembered us and wanted to chat and find out how we must be 18 months since we were last there, how amazing is that for customer service?!

We took some time to sit and watch the world go by and soak in the atmosphere of a bustling city centre...
And we did have a giggle at the way the city centre pigeons had positioned themselves on the sign for the now defunct Debenhams department store...

...such a lovely old building that is now left empty; it will be interesting to see what happens with the rather large space in the months to come. 

As we wandered the city it was lovely to see everywhere busy with people and a good percentage of people had chosen to ditch the face mask which was great to see. But it was also sad to see a lot of shops closed or units with 'for sale' and 'to let' signs...are these another knock-on effect of the last year and a half where businesses have not been able to re-open their doors or have perhaps had to adopt an online only presence? I guess only time will tell before we understand the real impact of the numerous lockdowns and discover just what the economic impact has been on these small and medium sized independent businesses, never mind those bigger names that are having to reduce the number of outlets they have up and running. 

On our way home we stopped by a DIY store as we needed some wood stain for the frame around the garage door that Simon had repaired last weekend. And then once home it was time to order an Indian take-away for our dinner - yum!

And that was our Saturday.

See you tomorrow.

Friday 30 July 2021

Day 499

Day 499...

Well we have had a Friday and my focus pretty much all day has been pre-school work.

We are members of the Early Years Alliance and as such follow their policies and procedures which have all been re-written ahead of the re-vamped curriculum that becomes effective this September. This means ditching all of our current policies and installing in their place these new ones.

But each policy has to be read through and amended to reflect the practices that are actually carried out and are relevant to our pre-school. Well the day started off pretty well and I seemed to be powering through them but things slowed down significantly this afternoon as I tackled some of the longer and more in depth policies. Yesterday I had downloaded 104 new documents and I would guess that as of this evening I have completed about 50 of them!! In an ideal world I'd hoped to get them all completed today but as that hasn't happened I will have to accept that they will get done as and when I have the chance and that as long as they are all updated for September we will be fine.

But we did manage a walk out at lunchtime, and as the weather was a little damp today we went out armed with umbrella's but the only time we used them was walking under trees as the wind blew. But our slightly damp and blustery walk saw us manage 2.45 miles in 46 minutes.

A little after lunch I took Molly out for another drive; the insurance she had taken out on my car ran out this evening so we wanted to make the most of it. 

And around all that it was making coffee, keeping on top of laundry (again!) and pre-school work. But as we reached the end of the working day we had Molly's boyfriend arrive for the weekend and Simon finished work for two weeks! Now what shall we do?!

Well, I shall see you tomorrow and let you know.

Thursday 29 July 2021

Day 498

Day 498...

Well today was Thursday and to be fair it's gone by fairly quickly as I've been heads down getting 'stuff' done.

My morning was mainly focused around more pre-school work. I had the accounts that I'd completed yesterday to transfer over into a spreadsheet and to make sure they still balanced. Unfortunately they didn't and that meant having to go through the last few weeks transactions to find the error; typically the error was in one of the last entries I'd entered! But with that solved I was then able to write up the accompanying notes which detail the expenditure in a little more detail.

While I was doing that this morning I was also keeping on top of the laundry and taking in multiple deliveries. One of which was our new number sign for our new front door...we thought we'd try and invoke a little Disney's Tower of Terror ride vibe with our choice...

When Simon finished work for lunch we popped out for a walk and despite the greyish clouds and wind it not only stayed dry but was warmer than it looked. We managed 2.45 miles in 45 minutes - not too shabby.

My first job of the afternoon was to sort out the butchers order that had arrived into meal sized portions and then find room in the freezer for it all. Next up it was time to take Molly out for another drive and as always she did really well.

Back home and with a coffee in hand it was time to get on with some more pre-school work; diaries to update, registers to prepare, time sheets to create, annual report to write and a whole new set of operating policies and procedures to download and then amend to reflect our pre-school. We have a new...well updated, curriculum coming into affect in September and the Early Years Alliance who we are a member of have updated all the policies and procedures to ensure that they are now inline with the curriculum.

I had already planned to review and update our policies and procedures and was dreading comparing our existing ones to new or updated versions but instead I now have a whole new set to go through,  assess and amend to reflect our pre-school. But this will actually be easier as I can simply work my way through each policy, amend to our 'style' and tweak to reflect our practices, safe in the knowledge that every aspect of the curriculum will be reflected. I only have 104 to go through...wish me luck!

Consequently when Simon and Molly went 'down the gym' this evening I carried on uploading and amending policies. But I am hopeful that I can plow on tomorrow and get them all sorted and then I just need to upload them to our website and then get all the staff to read them before we re-open in September.

More work ahead but I am determined to get all my pre-school work done tomorrow so that I can have the following five weeks off with as minimal amount of pre-school work as possible.

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday 28 July 2021

Day 497

Day 497...

Well I think this will be a relatively short blog post today as once up and about I had a day of two halves.

My morning was spent at the hairdressers and the great thing about heading to the hairdressers is that I am forced to stop for a couple of hours. It was lovely, as it always is, to catch up with my stylist Kim, as I have known her for a fair few years. I decided to have a colour tone added to my ash blonde today and came home with a fresh extra short cut and a splash of purple!


Once home my afternoon was spent working my way through pre-school work, and today the focus was to update the accounts. Pleased to say that the accounts balanced almost first time and the slight error was found within about ten minutes. I was then able to update a few documents ready for the new school year in September. 

But before I knew it the afternoon was done and it was time to get Molly to her kickboxing class, which meant Molly driving us there. And with Molly collected a couple of hours later that was Wednesday all done.

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday 27 July 2021

Day 496

Day 496...

And we have a Tuesday and the first Tuesday of my summer break. Simon is still working but as he works from home we do get to spend some of the day together.

First jobs of the day were to setup an online grocery order for a couple of weeks time as I like to have at least two dates booked in. Then it was time to place a butchers order for delivery in a couple of days time.

I had a phone call from the company who'd installed our windows thanking me for paying for the windows but asking if I could also pay for the front door. To which I said I would love to once the door has been completed as we are waiting for the correct panel to be fitted. Very evident that the person I was speaking to hadn't seem the email I'd sent last week and so promised me they would 'get on it' and I now await their phone call.

Next job of the day was to take my dad to the bank. He is hopefully getting his car back this week but until then I am continuing to help him get to where he needs to be. Although the bank weren't particularly helpful as he had gone in to change his account over as per the letter he'd received only to be told the branch couldn't do what the letter had said they could and that he'd have to phone instead!!

I arrived home just after the refuse collection and so did my good deed for the day by bringing in all my neighbours bins and returning them to their rightful places. And with perfect timing Simon was just finishing for lunch so we headed out for a short walk. All through the initial lockdown we had managed a walk most days but as things have started to get a little more normal we have not been able to get out and about as regular as we would like so we have vowed to use my time at home to get a few more miles under our belts. So today we managed 2.4 miles in 46 minutes.

After a spot of lunch I decided to finish my coffee sat outside on the patio...well a few minutes later I was back inside as it decided to rain. It was at that point that Molly asked when it would be a good time to go out for a drive; so we decided there was no time like the present and headed off out. Molly did great as always and hopefully each time we can get her out and about will give her that bit more confidence.

Back home I had the job that had been looming and could no longer be ignored...two basket fulls of ironing! An hour and a half later and everything was done and I was very hot and sweaty!

While Simon and Molly headed down the 'gym' I had some preschool work to complete. It had dawned on me while I was ironing that today was payday and that I needed to email the team their payslips. So instead of a workout I updated all the relevant files and issued emails.

And that has been today...a productive day I think!

See you tomorrow.

Monday 26 July 2021

Day 495

Day 495...

Well today started a bit slower than intended as both Simon and I were absolutely knackered from the day before but with a grocery shop to collect it forced us to get up and moving.

Once mobile we headed off to collect the shopping but with a stop by pre-school on the way. I had some bits I needed to drop off as well as the refuse bin to 'put out' for collection first thing tomorrow morning.

But with shopping collected we headed home to get it all put away and then we found ourselves with a bit of down time. Simon had a little more work to complete on the wood he'd started to repair yesterday which involved getting the wood filler out. We were also able to help Molly as she wanted some advice with her next craft project that she wants to get underway for her business. She needs to buy a few supplies and just needed a sounding board to make sure she'd not forgetten anything and was ordering the right stuff.

But we were also waiting for our 'wasp man' to arrive. Unfortunately yesterday we had disturbed a couple of wasps nests by accident but thankfully our 'wasp man' was able to get to us today and within a few minutes had dispensed the necessary to get rid of them...thank goodness!

We then decided to head out for a coffee; a chance to get away from the house and just have a few minutes together without any distractions. It is something that we have recognised over this last 16 months or so that we need to find some time that is just for ourselves; to get away from the house and have chance to connect.

Once home Simon was able to sand down the wood filler he had applied earlier and now all that is left is to stain the wood filler so that it blends in with the existing wood frame. We were then in a position to install the 'battle ropes' that had arrived while we'd been out. This is a new edition to our home gym at the request of Molly and meant attaching a metal bracket to the wall. Unfortunately the fixings that had been supplied were a little problematic and after about an hour of trying to install them we decided that we needed a new approach. 

So after dropping Molly off at her kickboxing class we headed to a local DIY store and bought some new, heavy duty bolts and headed home. Within twenty minutes the new bolts were in the wall and the battle ropes were in and working - phew! And Molly just couldn't resist once we were home again...

And with that we have a Monday all done.

See you tomorrow.

Sunday 25 July 2021

Day 494

Day 494...

And we have another Sunday and we had a very lazy start to the day.

But when we finally got moving I had the fun job of completing the online grocery shop ready for collection tomorrow. And while I did that Simon set about a few jobs that needed sorting around the house.

First he is repairing some wood around the garage door and had some expanding foam filler to squirt into the holes. He then decided to look for any more holes that needed filling to make best use of the filler. He found a couple just alongside some guttering just underneath the edge of the house roof...slight issue as by filling in the holes he disturbed a wasps nest!! Thankfully the wasps seemed more confused than angry but I have contacted our 'wasp man' to come out and 'sort' them out!

Next job was to help Molly with a little project she has in mind for her Shutter Studios business that involved resin which Simon is rather adept at using. She has a plan to create some bespoke items with coloured resin that she will then sell under the banner of Shutter Crafts.

Then we had the big job of the day which was to continue with the job we'd started a couple of weeks ago of chopping back some rather well established trees and bushes with an aim to remove them completely. So with hedge trimmer in hand and a pair of loppers we, well mainly Simon, made good progress. We managed to fill two bins and burn a lot of the very dry stuff and although we still have more to do we have definitely made progress.

While Simon did the majority of the gardening I had a little podcast recording to complete. Michelle and I hooked up online to record a special show for our Patreon supporters. And then no sooner than we'd finished recording it was time for our Disney quiz via Zoom, which I was the joint winner of...although this does mean that I have to come up with questions for next week's show!

And with that I am stopping typing as it's late and I need to chill.

Take care.

Saturday 24 July 2021

Day 493

Day 493...

And we have another Saturday and one that started off rather slowly as both Simon and I struggled to get moving this morning.

First job of the day was to get Molly to her guitar lesson which now means letting Molly drive us there. With Molly dropped off at her lesson we headed over to our coffee shop of choice and for the first time since March 2020 actually went inside to enjoy our coffee. Throughout the pandemic malarkey we had stuck to drive thru' coffees but with the easing of restrictions and no longer having to wear face coverings or 'check-in' we were happy, and prepared, to enjoy our coffee inside.

It was so nice to see all the staff without masks and a good proportion of the public doing the same too, we even got talking to another customer who was also enjoying being out and about without the previously imposed restrictions. We also got chance to chat with Joe, one of the store assistants, who we have gotten to know pretty well over the years. He was in early for his shift and came out of his way to sit and chat with us which was just lovely.

Molly then drove us home via our local chip shop to pick up some fish & chips for my dad. As we were leaving my dad's Molly was all set to drive us home when we noticed that the 'L plate' at the front of the car was missing...not sure how we'd lost it but can only presume that the magnetic seal had worked its way lose and it had been lost somewhere on the drive back from her guitar lesson. Thankfully the set Molly had bought has a spare one, but as that was at home we thought it best not to let her drive the short distance home!

Then for the rest of the afternoon we went to visit Simon's aunt and her partner who had moved closer to where we live around a year ago but who we've not been able to see because of all the restrictions. So we spent about four hours catching up on events in our lives, going out for a walk with their gorgeous dog and drinking lots of coffee in the sunshine. We had a lovely afternoon and are looking forward to being able to see more of them from now on.

With a dinner of keto pizza eaten and a glass of wine poured I think it is time to sign off for today.

See you tomorrow.

Friday 23 July 2021

Day 492

Day 492... two of my summer break.

Well I have to say that I probably had the best night's sleep in a long while; I still woke up on occasion thanks to night sweats but not as often as of late and that meant I woke feeling a lot more refreshed.

It was also nice not to have to jump up to get out the house at a set time. The day has revolved around getting caught up on a few general household tasks as well as a little pre-school work. I managed to update the tablets that we use at pre-school to ensure the software we use was the correct version as well as deleting photos to free up the devices storage space.

Just before lunch I popped out for a beauty treatment appointment which meant I was out and about for about an hour. It was interesting to be out in the public to see how the recent lifting of restrictions was translating to the general public. I would say that about a third of people had chosen, along with myself, to not wear masks and it was so nice to actually see people's faces for a change. It is dismaying that so many people still feel the need to wear face coverings that have been proven, time and again, to have little, if no affect, on the transmission of any respiratory condition. At the end of the day if when you're wearing a mask you can smell someone's perfume or cigarette smoke or food aroma's then I think it's good to presume that the minuscule virus particles have managed to get through as well!!

After a little lunch I took Molly out for a short drive so she could get a little more practice in. The rest of the afternoon was taken up with sorting some of my own paperwork out, checking finances and looking at insurance policies - whoop!

As Simon finished work we nipped out to a local supermarket to pick up a handful of things that we had run out of. I was expecting to not find what we needed as the current news stories are all about shortages due to staff getting 'pinged' to self isolate but we must have been lucky as we came away with all that we wanted. Although some products looked a little thin it didn't look as bad as I thought it could have.

And now it's time to stop, enjoy a glass of red wine and settle down to watch this weeks Star Wars The Bad Batch episode.

See you tomorrow.

Thursday 22 July 2021

Day 491...Ink Day

Day 491...

...and day one of my summer break from work. Working in education I am extremely fortunate to get six weeks off over the summer months and thankfully Simon has been able to book a couple of those weeks off too.

But I couldn't have started my summer break any better as today was ink day! I was due to have a tattoo back in April 2020 and this became one of the first victims of the initial lockdown. When restrictions were lifted this time last year I debated whether to get re-booked but with all the uncertainty and subsequent lockdowns I never got the chance.

So this morning I drove the 48 miles to see my favourite tattoo artist Simon Saint Heywood at his studio Acadia Tattoo in Macclesfield. It took me about an hour and forty minutes to get there but it was another beautiful, sunny and warm day and it is a stunning route to drive across the Derbyshire Dales.

Simon has been responsible for the majority of my Disney sleeve along with my Star Wars Rebels tattoo and my Disney Carousel thigh piece and today it was time to add some more Disney...well what did you expect?!

Today's tattoo was inspired by a dream that my Simon had a while ago that involved Peter Pan & Wendy flying together. I wanted the design to represent Peter Pan flying slightly ahead encouraging and supporting Wendy to fly along with him. This very much represents Simon and I; Simon as the ever youthful Peter guiding, encouraging and supporting Wendy (aka me). Providing me with the confidence and self belief that I struggle to maintain but with Simon by my side and pulling me along to achieve what I may not always realise that I am capable of.

A few hours of lying down and keeping still and I was able to take this awesome creation home with me...

...and now I have the ink bug once more and need more ink!!

I arrived back home to a fresh pot of coffee and once refreshed I had to pop out to collect a prescription for my dad. The pharmacy is still adopting a policy of only one person in the shop at a time and so I joined the queue outside to wait my turn and prey that the storm clouds didn't deluge me with rain. Thankfully the rain held off until I was at my dad's house, although it didn't last for very long and the few rumbles of thunder didn't do much to clear the air.

By the time I got home again Simon and Molly were in our 'gym' lifting weights...I decided to give the weights a miss tonight using my freshly inked skin as an excuse.

And with all of that Thursday was done, now it's time to chill and watch this week's RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars!

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday 21 July 2021

Day 490...School's Out

Day 490...

Well it's rather late in the day that I find myself writing this as time just seems to have vanished, but today was our last school day of this academic year so I can officially say 'School's Out!.

So my work day consisted of a little admin but as this was our third Open Day it was mainly spent chatting with parents, new and old. We were blown away by the generosity of our parents with lots of cards, gifts and kind words as we said goodbye to a cohort of our children...and yes there were tears!

But with the work day done and school done for another year I headed home to do a little more pre-school work! I know that contradicts what I've just said but I had a claim to process and a couple of emails to send. Although I will have some more work to do over the summer in the form of accounts and a few updates but they can wait for a day or so.

But with a fresh coffee in hand it was time to jump online with my good friend, and podcast co-host, Michelle to record another episode of our Disney Dream Girls podcast ready for releasing this coming Sunday. As always we have a great time recording but it is also chance for us to connect as friends and share what's going on in each other's lives.

I finished recording just in time to get Molly over to her kickboxing class and as is the norm at the moment she drove us there. Her driving is better than ever and you wouldn't know that you were in a car with a learner driver; just hope she can get a test date through earlier than her booked date in October!

And that was today, our last day in school and the start of the summer break and for me it is also 'tattoo eve' as guess what's happening tomorrow?!!

Take care.

Tuesday 20 July 2021

Day 489

Day 489...

Another very hot and sweaty day and another full day in work for me.

We had our second of three Open Days and so my day was split between time chatting with parents and then catching up on bits and pieces of admin. As a result it meant when I got home it was time to play catch-up!

I was waiting for a butchers delivery to happen today and it hadn't arrived at the specified time and as the afternoon moved on I decided to email the butchers to let them know. Within half an hour of my sending the email the order turned up...typical. The delivery guy had been struggling to find us although I'm not sure why it took until five hours after the original delivery slot for him to call me for directions!

While Simon and Molly went down our gym this evening I carried on with some more admin work for pre-school; another Open Day tomorrow will mean less time getting my work completed and as I need to sort the wages out I figured I'd best get ahead of things tonight!

Only a short post today, it's getting late and although I have things I'd like to write about I think I will leave them until I have more time to put my thoughts together in a cohesive manner.

Until then...

Monday 19 July 2021

Day 488

Day 488...

Well, it has been a Monday and for a change I was in work today. As we are holding Open Days all this week I thought it was only right that as manager I be in each day.

This meant that my work was split between grabbing moments when I could do my usual admin work and then chatting with parents. We are using the opportunity of restrictions getting lifted to welcome parents, existing and new, into our preschool for the first time since March 2020!

These past sixteen months have been challenging and have seen us havjng to approach things in a different way. But we have missed out on lots over that time; missed Christmas concert, missed Leavers concerts, missed Christmas Fair and now two missed Summer Fairs. We have even had to set up our own Crowdfunder in lieu of being able to hold our Summer Fair this year. We can but hope that things will start to get back to something more normal over the next few months.

Back at home it was chance to catch-up with Simon who'd had a busy day involving a trip to Ikea which combined with getting Molly out for some more driving practice.

I then had some emails and admin of my own to sort through before getting Molly transported back and forth to her kickboxing class.

And all while today is being hailed as 'freedom day' here in England but I'm not convinced we are there yet. We have rumblings tonight of possible vaccine passports which could be a gateway to digital ID's and a two tier system. We find ourselves living in a time when our freedoms and liberty feel like they are hanging in the balance and when the majority also appear willing to accept it all rather than recognise the slippery slope we could find ourselves on.

I fear the road ahead is going to be a bumpy one! I started this blog 487 days ago to simply record what being in a lockdown was like and how it would affect us as it was something we had never experienced before. I never imagined that I would still be writing it now and feeling like we are on a knife edge, not knowing what truly lies ahead. So despite it being 'Freedom Day' I am going to carry on with my daily posts to capture just how things progress and whether we will ever get back to our old way of life.

Take care out there.


Sunday 18 July 2021

Day 487

Day 487...

Wow we have had another very hot day again today...not that I am complaining, well not too much! The sunshine and warmth not only makes you feel brighter but is good for your health too.

With a steady start to the day I embarked upon the online grocery shop while Simon fitted our new doorbell which had arrive first thing. Going for a Disney Tower of Terror vibe.... door number should arrive later in the week to compliment.

We then took a drive into Nottingham to have one of our urban walks. As Simon pointed out by walking around the city it keeps his hayfever at bay. All too often walking across the fields where we live results in sore eyes and itchy skin for Simon which obviously doesn't make for a very pleasant experience.

So we wandered the streets and grabbed a coffee before stopping outside Nottingham Castle. 

Our view while we sat

Statue of Robin Hood outside the walls of Nottingham Castle

Chill out time...although rather hot and sticky!
We found a spot in the shade to sit, drink coffee, watch the world go by and for Simon the chance to do a little drawing. For a change to late he went for the old fashioned pencil and paper approach rather then the digital drawing tablet he ordinarily uses.
Simon exercising his manual drawing skills
By the time we got back to the car we'd spent almost three hours in the city and managed to walk around 3.5 miles. Thankfully we'd parked the car in a car park building which meant it was nice and cool for the drive home...and with air conditioning I think the car has been the coolest place today.

We arrived home to a freshly brewed pot of coffee (thanks Ethan) and settled down ready for a Sunday evening Disney Dream Girls podcast Disney quiz. This was the first time in a few weeks that we'd been able to get together and although there was only four of us it was nice to chat with some now very familiar faces.

And to escape the heat indoors I am finishing today's blog post sat outside in the garden in an attempt to cool down. Although high temperatures and experiencing menopause are not a good combination!!

Stay cool and I'll see you tomorrow.

Saturday 17 July 2021

Day 486

Day 486...

Well today has been hot, sweaty and rather mucky!

Once up and about this morning it was time to give the house a proper clean through and get everything back to normal.

We hoovered, dusted and steamed our way through the day. We had curtains to rehang and items to be relocated. It was chance to have a proper clean although this is when I regret having so many Disney ornaments to move, dust and replace. But to be fair I wouldn't have it any other way. Although it does become a rather long job as I have a fair few Department 56 houses which are delicate and the only way to dust them is to use a very small fact I use a makeup brush! So as you can imagine it can be quite time consuming.

But by about 6pm we had cleaned the whole house from top to bottom and both of us were suitably knackered! Time for take-out!!!

And that is where I am going to leave it for today...see you tomorrow.


Friday 16 July 2021

Day 485

Day 485...

Yay it's Friday and the end of the week and it feels like it's been rather a long and tiring week for this household.

My morning was spent in work and at the insistence of my deputy I was told to take the afternoon off as I should have had last Friday afternoon off and hadn't. I hadn't prepared myself for having the time off so it was a lovely bonus to the day. And then I was lucky enough to receive an end of school year gift from my staff...

....ah red wine and dark...very dark...chocolate, I think my team know me pretty well.

But back to work and it was a morning of uploading children's learning journals, writing emails, a little banking and some general admin stuff. 

I arrived home just as Simon and Ethan were having their lunch and just as the coffee had finished brewing...perfect timing. I noticed there were a couple of items of post addressed to me, I recognised one as being for pre-school and then I noticed the other and caught a glimpse of the letter head inside the second 'gift' of the day...
...oh joy! I have no reasonable excuse to get out of it so I'll just have to suck it up and get on with it and hope that I don't get anything that goes on for too long. The only slight annoyance is that the date I have been given is in September and coincides with when the school year begins which means I will miss the first two weeks of the school year...not ideal but nothing I can really do about it.

So once changed and a little lunch eaten I set about the task of getting the house into some sort of order following the disruption of having the windows fitted this week. With Molly returning home later today my priority was to get her room sorted as we'd used it to store a few bits and pieces out of the way.

And as today has been rather warm cleaning around was a rather sweaty affair but I have managed to get three rooms cleaned and restored to a little more like normal. But I think the next couple of days will be taken up with cleaning and getting everything put back to how it should be.

With that I think it's time to stop typing, have a cuppa and enjoy some chocolate.

See you tomorrow.

Thursday 15 July 2021

Day 484

Day 484...

Today was my first full day in work and I started the day with a mission.

I needed to stop by my local pharmacy to collect my dad's prescription so I made sure that I was there for opening. I arrived at two minutes past their opening time to find two other people waiting in front of me and the pharmacy still shut! There was a little banter between those of us waiting speculating that the staff inside were probably still drinking their coffee!

Anyway once opened I was fortunate that the people in front of me were dealt with quickly which was a good job as the prescription that my dad was told would be ready within the hour yesterday lunchtime was not! It would appear that the surgery hadn't passed the information onto the pharmacy until the end of business yesterday...thank goodness I hadn't tried to fetch it yesterday! But thankfully, with it sorted I was pleased to say that I was still able to get to work on time or thereabouts.

And then it was a full day in work and I had lots to do today, so it was heads down to get as much done as I could. As it's the end of the academic year we produce end of year assessments and these all needed checking and uploading to each child's learning journal and this took up a big chunk of my morning. Plus there was still the usual amount of emails and banking to contend with. Then this afternoon myself and my deputy had our 'management' time that we had missed out on yesterday. This means we get chance to catch up, update each other as well as plan forward.

After work I nipped to a local supermarket to pick up a few things before stopping by my dads to drop his prescription off. By the time I arrived home the window fitters had left for the day and all our windows and doors are almost complete. There has been a slight mix up with a panel for the front door and so whilst the door is fully functioning it does look a little mismatched and we need to wait for them to get the correct panel to us. But other than that everything looks great, although we now have the job of cleaning everywhere and putting curtains back in place and more!

I then carried on with a bit more pre-school work as I had a laptop to update as well as photos and video to upload, all of which take that little bit longer than you anticipate them doing. And while I have been busy with work so has Simon as his team have a deadline to meet tonight and so everyone is putting in extra hours to get as much done as possible.

And that was another Thursday...fingers crossed Simon gets to finish work soon so we can catch up with this weeks RuPauls Drag Race Allstars Season 6.

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday 14 July 2021

Day 483

Day 483...

It's the middle of the week and my first working day in actual work this week.

The morning was pretty standard sort of stuff, lots of admin, paperwork and banking. We have some open days happening next week and I am very aware that I need to be on top of my usual work as I will not have the time next week.

But as I had my dad to take to the doctors just after lunch I decided to defer my afternoon working until tomorrow. There was not a lot of success for my dad at the doctors and I'm not overtly happy with how he's been treated so far, suffice to say I have emailed them to see if that generates any more information. 

Upon arriving at home the installation of the windows was in full swing and getting inside was easy as I no longer had a front door!! The lads have worked really hard and are doing a fabulous job, there is still some finishing touches needed and they will be back again tomorrow.

I then decided to carry on with some more pre-school work as I had a newsletter that I wanted to get out to our parents as well as a few forms to update. I think I will be taking whatever opportunities I can to get work completed so that I have as little as possible to do over the upcoming summer break. 

I rounded out the afternoon chatting with my good friend, and podcast co-host, Michelle. We had hoped to record a show this evening but with workmen at my house and lots of school work for Michelle we decided to have a natter and a catch-up and will aim to record later on in the week instead.

And with that it was time for dinner, red wine and blog writing before an evening in front of the TV and the last episode of Loki!

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday 13 July 2021

Day 482

Day 482...

Tuesday once more and the first working day of my week but it was actually spent working from home.

I had an online 'Teams' meeting to attend and so it was easier to join in the fun from home. The meeting brings together leaders and managers of early years settings across Derbyshire and aims to bring everyone up to date with current developments within the early years sector.

One of the benefits of lockdown has actually been having these meetings online. Not only can they be attended from the comfort of my own home, with decent coffee on hand, but there is no getting there and back, no car parking to pay for, no small talk to endure and we have actually had more meetings than we would have had ordinarily. Most years we would have 2 or 3 meetings but by utilising the tech we have been able to have shorter meetings, more often, as and when the need arose, which means we, as managers, get updates that are much more relevant and timely.

Either side of the meeting I had emails to catch up on, a couple of spreadsheets to update and staff appraisals to write and then email out to my team. When lunch rolled around I popped out to see my dad as he had requested some fish and chips from his local chip shop for lunch which I dutifully fetched for him.

Back home and I had a quick catch-up with Simon as although we had both been at home we had both been working and really not had chance to see each other. Simon has a deadline coming up at the end of the week so suffice to say it's 'all hands on deck' to make sure they can meet it.

Not long after lunch I finally managed to get through to my dad's doctor's surgery and have managed to get him an appointment to see a nurse tomorrow, which is much better than the appointment he'd been able to get for late next week.

Then because I know I've a busy few days ahead I decided to spend the afternoon getting some more work done even though technically I don't work Tuesday afternoons. But it made sense to get some notes typed up, 'to do' lists updated, online files organised, emails kept on top of, a banner ordered, my working folder sorted and a newsletter started!

And while all of the above was happening we had day two of our new windows being installed. There is still more to be installed tomorrow but all the straight forward windows have been done and that just leaves some french doors to be installed. But everything is looking good even if there seems to be dust everywhere...I can see a big clean through happening later this week!

As I came to finish writing today's post I saw on Twitter that our government have passed a bill, with only 90 minutes debating, that says all social and health care workers in care homes must be vaccinated. Err whatever happened to freedom of choice, what about those who cannot have the vaccine for medical reasons or on religious grounds. What ever happened to the free and democratic society I thought we lived is beginning to feel more and more authoritarian as time goes on and I fear it won't be long before this sort of mandate is rolled out across more and more areas of our lives. I have nothing against vaccinations and I have had my two shots but I think everyone should have the freedom to choose. I think the young and the healthy should be able to make informed decisions about whether a vaccine that is still effectively in clinical trials is right for them at this moment in time without feeling that they are missing out on work and life opportunities. Where is all this taking us?

I will see you all tomorrow.

Monday 12 July 2021

Day 481

Day 481...

Monday has rolled around once again and today marked day one of our new windows being fitted.

While Simon waited in for the fitters to arrive I headed off to collect the weekly grocery shop. As I returned home I was just rounding the corner when my phone rang and ahead of me I could see the fitters van parked at the end of our road obviously not sure how to find us...perfect timing!

So as I put all the shopping away Simon showed the fitters around the house so they could get on with replacing our windows. 

While the fitters cracked on with the job at hand I popped out to see my Dad as I had some shopping for him. Unfortunately my dad is not very well again and is struggling to get an appointment with his doctor anytime soon. It's so annoying that an elderly man suffering with what I am convinced is an allergic reaction to the covid vaccine, has to wait a week and a half to see a doctor. But with a reduced service in place I guess this is what we are going to have to expect, suffice to say I will be on the phone tomorrow to try and get something sorted sooner.

This afternoon Simon decided to use the time at home to mould a helmet as he had an order from a previous customer to deal with. Being stuck at home I started a little online research into a replacement for our garden shed as we would like more of a garden room that could be a space for Simon's art projects. But this maybe a project for another year when time and budgets allow.

Once our fitters had left for the day it was tidy up time and a good excuse to have a proper clean through of a couple of our rooms.

Before I cooked dinner we took a short walk out to post a letter that I'd meant to post earlier but had forgotten to take out with me, at least it's in the post now. And then it was dinner, red wine and time to chill.

See you tomorrow.

Sunday 11 July 2021

Day 480

Day 480...

Well, we have another Sunday and after a quiet and slow start to the day I find myself typing this later in the day than expected.

The morning was slow and steady and saw me jump online to complete the weekly grocery shop as normal. Simon had the task of attempting to re-assemble the drill that he has been trying to fix. After it had jammed he'd tried numerous ways to 'unjam' it and as a last ditch attempt he'd taken as much of the drill apart as he could but with no luck. So yesterday he'd ordered a couple of pipe wrenches, which arrived first thing this morning, to see if they would help prise the drill apart and by the third attempt the drill was unjammed - hooray! But he still had the motor part of the drill to put back together...with no instructions! The drill sat on the kitchen worktop and at various points throughout the day Simon attempted to put it back together with, at times, rather a lot of swearing and not a great amount of success.

But we had ordered a replacement drill specifically for drilling into masonry which also arrived this morning so we were able to use it to finish off a few bits in the garage. We just needed a couple of hooks putting into the wall so that we could store the garden tools safely and out the way. And with that done the garage re-vamp is now complete.

After a spot of late lunch; last night's left over keto pizza reheated - yum! We decided to do a little gardening; there were a couple of bushes that needed a little pruning and a few dead weeds pulling out as well as some new weeds that needed spraying with weedkiller. And then we decided to have a look the courtyard garden as we had a few plants that had grown rather big and a tad out of control. Before we knew it we had the hedge trimmers out and we attacked them resulting in one of them almost getting completely removed. Both plants are blocking light into the house and so are long overdue cutting back, but I think we managed more than we thought we would have been able to in just a couple of hours.

And as we cleared away all the tools that we'd been using Simon decided to give assembling the drill one more go before throwing it out...and lo and behold he did it! It is, once again, fully functional and all down to Simon's perseverance and logical thinking in being able to figure out how it should all fit together.

Sunday is now done for another weekend.

See you tomorrow.

Saturday 10 July 2021

Day 479...Saturday Chilling

Day 479...

Well today has been a very chilled out Saturday and we have taken the time to simply stop and appreciate what is around us.

After a slow start to the day we had a small problem to resolve...well Simon did. Having been rather busy the last few weeks organising the garage we had been doing lots of drilling to put up shelves and more and the drill had decided to jam. Simon had tried numerous things to 'unjam' it over the last few days but with no success so today we decided that it was time to buy a replacement and with thanks to Amazon we should have a new drill arrive tomorrow.

After that we decided to jump in the car and head to Nottingham to have a bit of an urban stroll. We managed just under three and a half miles in around an hour and a quarter and took in parts of the city we would not normally see. We grabbed a coffee and headed to the Old Market Square where we took a stroll around the street market that was happening there before grabbing a seat to soak up the sun, the atmosphere as well as the coffee!

Back home we spent the rest of the afternoon drinking coffee sat outside in the garden and putting the world to rights. It was lovely to be able to stop and find the time to simply talk.

Then it was time to make keto pizza, pour the red wine and watch some TV.

See you tomorrow.

Friday 9 July 2021

Day 478

Day 478...

Another Friday and the end of the week. Today we should have started a weekend away but due to the current restrictions and impact thereof our weekend away has officially been cancelled.

We were booked to go away this time last year as we had planned to visit the Real Food Rocks festival but as with everything last year this didn't happen! But the hotel were happy to reschedule our booking so we had simply moved it 12 months in the hope that things would be back to normal...but alas that was not to be!

So it was a normal Friday today. And this morning it was time for my team's annual appraisals; talking to each member of staff in turn to discuss their performance...which to be fair was really straight forward as I am blessed with a great team. The afternoon was then spent playing catch-up with emails, admin and banking and before I knew it the work day was done.

Arriving home I just had time to grab a coffee before taking Molly out for another drive as the insurance she had taken out ran out later this evening so we were determined to get the most out of it.

Once home for the day the afternoon seemed to have disappeared and it was time to sit down and watch this week's episode of Star Wars The Bad Batch before cooking dinner. So now it's time to stop and enjoy the weekend.

See you tomorrow.

Thursday 8 July 2021

Day 477

Day 477...

And we have another Thursday as we get closer to what we hope will be the end of lockdown...although I fear that there will still remain some caveats in place and we may live under the 'threat' of 'needing' a lockdown later in the year. I truly hope that I am being pessimistic and that in a couple of weeks life will begin to look and feel more normal.

But this morning it was into work and the first job of the day was to chat with staff about our plans for September, the amended curriculum that we will be working with and our upcoming open days.

After that my morning was taken up with emails, banking, updating some posters for our room displays and completing an application to take part in a local carnival in September. With that all completed it was time to head home with a stop by a local supermarket to pick up a few bits and pieces that we were either running low on or that I knew were significantly cheaper there than where I have my weekly grocery shop from!

Back home and after a chat with a couple of my neighbours it was a quick turnaround to get the shopping packed away, get changed out of my work clothes, drink a coffee and then head out the door to take Molly for another drive. We were out for about fifty minutes and managed a round trip of 22 miles and yet again she is doing so well. We were on some new roads today, in fact roads that I have not driven in a very long while and so they were as new to me as they were to Molly but she handled everything with ease and confidence.

Home again and I came into a pot of coffee brewing (thanks Simon!) so I quickly reheated a slice of keto pizza that I had made yesterday and decided to sit outside to enjoy my coffee. Unfortunately this came to an end rather quickly as today seemed to be the day for ants to be out in force; ants with little wings attached to their backs - yuck! So I did want any sane person would do...boiled the kettle and drowned the horrid things, although I think in the end it took five kettle fulls to make any impact on them.

My next job was to then set up a Just Giving page for my pre-school. This past 18 months have been a tough time for us, we had only just moved into new premises in February of 2020 when we were forced to close because of the restrictions placed on us by the government as a result of the covid pandemic. Then because we operate out of a 'community hall' we were unable to open our doors until our deemed it safe; this meant we were closed from March until mid June last year. And when we did open we were only allowed to open to a vastly reduced number of children which was really sad as we were unable to say our proper 'goodbyes' to those children that were moving onto big school. 

Despite then being open fully from September and all the way through the subsequent lockdowns we have been unable to fundraise as we would normally do and have therefore lost a big chunk of our usual income. Small pre-school's like ours rely heavily on the extra income that we can generate through fundraising, the money sometimes goes to extra resources, sometimes to replace well used resources and sometimes simply to keep us operational. Normally around now we would have our biggest fundraiser of the year our Summer Fair but as we were unable, for the second year, to host this we decided to give a bit of crowd funding a go!

To finish the day it was time for a spot of home workout before a steak dinner and an episode of RuPaul's Drag Race Allstars - not a bad day at all.

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday 7 July 2021

Day 476

Day 476...

Well we have a mid-week blog post as we encounter another Wednesday, and a full day in work for me.

My work day consisted of lots of emails, a little banking, some usual admin along with arranging some open days to promote the pre-school. We are hoping to arrange these for the last week of our academic year once the restrictions are lifted on the 19th of the month. 

Back home mid-afternoon and I had some more work emails to deal with followed by a little research ready for podcast recording later on in the day. I also tried on and off to try and get our hotel booking for this weekend sorted as we need to get some new dates booked preferably...although with no success as yet. I also had a Facebook post to generate on our pre-school page as we had some fabulous photos to share from our Football Funday. The England team is playing tonight and there is a lot of excitement surrounding the match so we decided we would join in the fun with a football themed day which the children thoroughly enjoyed.

Then it was time to record the Disney Dream Girls podcast with my very good friend and co-host Michelle. We had lots of Disney news to chat about and it was lovely to chat all things Disney as well as catch-up with my friend.

Then as I was recording the rain came down really heavy which resulted in two windows leaking water and then flooding outside my front door. So once the recording was done it was wellies on to clear out a couple of blocked drains so that the water had somewhere to escape to. Such a glamorous life I lead!!

Whatever you are doing, take care and I'll see you tomorrow.

Tuesday 6 July 2021

Day 475

Day 475...

And we move onto Tuesday and the usual day of two halves for me.

My morning was spent in work and involved chatting with the team to bring them up to date with our plans for the next academic year starting in September. There was also the usual banking and numerous emails to send and respond to.

Back home at lunchtime and after a quick bite to eat I set about the ironing pile I'd been avoiding! I then had a butchers delivery arrive and had that to sort into meal sized portions to go in the freezer.

Halfway through the afternoon Simon received an email from the hotel we are booked to stay at this coming weekend to advise us that the restaurant, the bar and room service would be all closed and therefore unavailable but that they were happy to recommend local restaurants for us. Now I can only assume the lack of services available is potentially due to lack of staff because of self isolating...just a guess as this seems to be affecting hospitality at the moment. But to not have these facilities available at a hotel seems rather pointless, and never mind paying for something that would no longer be what we signed up for. So we have decided to re-schedule, although that is proving to be more difficult than it should be. The online booking site would not let us change the dates and so I then started a 'chat' with the hotel and despite an initial quick response the chat is now just sitting in limbo as I wait for someone to get back to us!

A quick home workout rounded out the day before cooking dinner and then prepping for tomorrow's lunch as I will be making keto pizza for the girls at work!

See you tomorrow.

Monday 5 July 2021

Day 474

Day 474...

Monday has rolled around once again and it was another day when I wasn't feeling the greatest. I'm blaming hormones and the state of the world!

But we had the usual start to a Monday morning with collecting the weekly grocery shop but once that was done and all put away we decided to head off out to a local country park for a walk around.

We are very fortunate to have a couple of country parks within a twenty minute drive of where we live. Although we decided to avoid our first choice as the necessary parking had to be paid for via an app with no obvious other way to pay. Disappointed with the lack of options we decided to head elsewhere.

As we arrived at our park of choice, Elvaston Castle, the sun seemed to disappear and within a couple of minutes of leaving the car we had to put up the umbrella's. 

Thankfully the rain didn't last too long and we were able to take a gentle stroll around the grounds managing a couple of miles.

We have missed taking walks of late, as life has become more 'normal' we have been occupied with work and little projects around the house which has eaten into our time to go out for walks. Hopefully over the summer when I am away from work for a fair few weeks we will be able to get back into more of a routine again.

Over the course of the afternoon Simon took Molly out for a drive while I re-worked some of the cash-flow forecasting for pre-school as a few variables have changed and I wanted to start my working week tomorrow with the most up to date figures. It took me slightly longer than I would have liked but at least I know that I have all the information that I need to make more progress.

Molly took the driving seat once again this evening as she drove us over to her kickboxing class and she is doing really well. We are really seeing a much more intuitive driving style starting to emerge. She has a test date booked for October, because that was the earliest date she could get, but she is checking the system everyday to see if she can get one earlier. But it would appear that everyone is doing the same trying to make up for all the time lost over the last sixteen months or so.

So the powers that be have announced today that we will see restrictions being lifted from July 19th, providing the data allows. So all being well wearing face masks will be optional, no more social distancing, no more checking in at hospitality venues and the removal of limits on numbers of people at events. Fingers crossed this all happens as I am so over all the restrictions and just simply want to get back to what was a normal life. We just now need to get travel sorted as I am desperate to get to a Disney park...preferably Walt Disney World in Florida but to be honest any Disney park would do!!

See you tomorrow.

Sunday 4 July 2021

Day 473

Day 473...

Going to be a short post today because quite frankly it's been just one of those days where I've not felt in the mood for anything and consequently I've done very little.

There was the usual online grocery order to complete which generated more drama than I care to explain. Suffice to say the credit card security verification system decided it wanted to send me a text to confirm my identity...great not a problem except the phone number they were quoting was an old, a very old, phone number of mine. Consequently that meant I couldn't complete my online shop so on the phone I jumped to have words with my credit card company. In the meantime I checked my information held by the credit card company online and everything they had for me was correct and up to date. By the time I got through to a human being my grocery order had somehow been accepted and a confirmation email received without me having done anything other than the leave the screen open. Then I tried to explain what the problem was only to be told to call their fraud department?? Really?? It's not a fraud it's your system not holding the most up to date information - ARGH!

While I'd been battling the online retail system Simon had been in the garage putting the finishing touches to the section of garage storage we'd started late yesterday afternoon. He was also in a slightly annoyed mood by the time he'd finished as he'd caught his shirt on the work bench and ripped it!

After a coffee to calm us both down Simon, and Ethan, took Molly out for today's driving lesson which involved a stop at a local McDonalds!

But the rest of the day was quiet and very uneventful. I simply haven't know what I wanted to do and have felt very much 'out of sorts'.

But onwards and upwards and I will see you tomorrow.

Saturday 3 July 2021

Day 472...Saturday Art

Day 472...

Well after a particularly rubbish nights sleep (thanks to night sweats!) Saturday morning fnally rolled around.

Before we headed out to get Molly to her guitar lesson Simon jumped online to source some brackets for the garage and to see if we could actually buy them from a DIY store near to where Molly's music school is.

Molly, once again, drove us over to her guitar lesson and once she was dropped off we headed to the aforementioned DIY store. We were able to buy the brackets we needed along with a piece of hardboard so that Simon can construct some storage for some long pieces of strip materials that we have.

We then grabbed a drive thru coffee and had a chat with one of the employees there who we have now become friends with through a need for coffee and a love of tattoos! Molly then drove us home and we took a different route to normal just to mix things up a bit for her and she did brilliantly.

After a quick bite for lunch the next task of the day was for me to collate together some images for my upcoming tattoo. I'd already gathered a few images but liked different parts of each image and wanted these to be 'mashed' together so to speak. So rather than try and explain what I wanted over email to my tattooist Simon offered to work up an idea for me. This meant a few hours sat with Simon at his computer and watching his amazing art skills take three of four different images, plus a little more googling, and create one complete cohesive piece.

Simon in his natural habitat

Can you guess what my next tattoo will be?
I was then able to send Simon's one image plus a few reference pieces over to my tatooist ready for a couple of weeks time...can't wait!

We then used the remainder of the afternoon to put up the brackets we had bought in the garage and were pretty pleased with the results. We just need to cut the hardboard to form a base for the storage and apart from waiting for a tool storage unit to arrive the garage I think is done!

It was then keto pizza time and just as we were cooking we were subject to a massive thunderstorm with extremely heavy heavy that we had water coming through a few of our windows. Thankfully Molly had the sense to check on a window that she'd opened earlier and in doing so discovered another window that was leaking and letting in a rather large amount of water onto our new wooden floor!! We now have a house covered in towels soaking up water and curtailing the amount of water being let in. At least this confirms that our decision to get new windows fitted in a week or so was is the right decision!

Well, I think that's it for today, time for wine, chocolate and TV.

See you tomorrow.