Thursday 31 March 2022

Day 744

Day 744...

We have had a mixed bag of weather today from a light flurry of snow first thing to heavy snow to blue skies and sunshine and then back to heavy snow and then repeat.

Typically the snow decided to show itself just as I decided to pop out for a quick Lidl shop. I was due to meet my brother and his wife later this morning so wanted to nip out and get the little bit of shopping we needed out of the way.

By the time I'd got everything I needed (all of 10 minutes) the weather had changed from grey and very snowy to bright blue skies and sunshine! And that pattern continued for the rest of the day.

I met my brother and his wife at my dads house mid-morning and we set about getting some more cleaning done. They had brought a carpet cleaner with them and made headway with that while I concentrated on the kitchen. Unfortunately my dad had not been as diligent with the cleaning as he perhaps should have and so consequently there is a lot to do but we are getting there slowly. Unfortunately we weren't able to get all the stains out of the carpets but they all look, and smell, fresher now.

This afternoon we had an update from the coroner who has confirmed that because of the circumstances around my dads passing, and following the post mortem today, certain tests are now needed. It is going to take 8 weeks for the results of these tests to be known and then it is highly likely that an inquest will be needed. But we do now have an interim death certificate and his body has been released to the funeral home so that we can start to make arrangements.

Before we knew it the whole day had passed us by, and as I arrived home Simon was heading down our gym. I decided to leave him to it as I still had a few things that I needed to do as the coroner had emailed over some forms that needed signing, scanning and returning. I am in work all day tomorrow so wanted to make sure I actioned stuff tonight so as not to hold anything up.

So Thursday is done and dusted and I will see you tomorrow.

Wednesday 30 March 2022

Day 743

Day 743...

Well the main focus of today has been paperwork; my dad's paperwork to be precise.

I was due to be off work today anyway and so it seemed to lend itself quite nicely to begin sorting through the boxes of paperwork that we had found at my dads. I had thought that my dad was an organised sort of fellow but it would be apparent that over the last few years that has not been the case.

I brought home numerous files, boxes and even a drawer full of 'stuff'. I quickly discovered that not all the paperwork related to my dad as a good portion of it related to his parents who have long since departed this world. But there was also a lot of historical paperwork relating to my dad as well and whilst it captures moments in time I think myself and my brother will need to go through it all in more detail and decide what should or should not be kept.

I did manage to find more up to date and relevant pieces but the 'filing' system left a little to be desired as often things would appear in multiple places. But I've started to pull out some key information so hopefully we can start gathering it all together to see what we are dealing with.

I was also able to go through my dad's address book and make contact with as many people as I could to let them know of his passing. It was a little difficult to figure out who was who and which details were still current so I ended up sending a text out to whatever numbers I could find as it was the simplest and quickest thing to do. There were a few numbers that I did try to call but the numbers were no longer valid. 

My brother has also been using the power of social media to track down relatives that we have lost touch with over the years but that we felt would like to know. We've had to rely on our own memories of names and places and just hope we can find the right people. But so far we have done pretty well and we have had some lovely comments back from people all expressing their sadness at losing such a lovely man.

Later this afternoon I decided to pay another visit to my dad's house to see if we'd missed anything and sure enough I found yet another box file hidden at the back of a drawer! And it turned out this missing box had some of the more relevant stuff that I'd been looking for!

I then had a lovely chat with my good friend and podcast co-host Michelle as we debated whether to record a new show or not this evening. I've been busier today than I'd expected and as we both have lots on for the rest of the week we have agreed to wait until the weekend to see if we both have enough spare time free then.

And I think that has been today and I think we have a new Marvel TV series to watch in Moon Knight!

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday 29 March 2022

Day 742

Day 742...

As you can imagine the last few days have been a bit busy and at times a bit of a blur, so let's see where we are.

Let's start with something positive...over the weekend I received a very special parcel from my favourtie band White Lies. Well to be more precise it was from their newly created 'Official Fan Club' of which I am now a member, and as a member I received an official fan club t-shirt and pin badge. But I also received a very special signed photograph which was produced for just the first fifty people to sign up to the fan club and I received number 35!!

On Sunday here in the UK it was Mother's Day and my two amazing 'kids' did themselves proud, they even brought a little tear to my eye. Even with Molly living away from home they had coordinated their efforts and did very well...

...a box of 12 Milky Way Midnight edition; these are a US chocolate bar but probably my favourite guilty indulgence, although I think these will last me a good amount of time!
A Disney colouring book to help me create a little chill out time...and talking of time...
...a Mickey shaped wall clock for our new study/craft room. I was one very lucky lady to received these goodies.

Yesterday things were a little more sombre as myself, Simon, my brother and his wife spent the day together at my dad's house. We had a lot of cleaning to do; my dad had not kept the house as clean as he could have and despite numerous offers of help from both myself and my brother he had been adamant that he 'was on top of it' but evidently he had not been. Plus following the circumstances of his death there was a lot of extra, and not very pleasant, clean up to contend with.

We spent almost the full day there trying to get everywhere as clean as we could as we know that we will have to be spending an amount of time there over the next few weeks and wanted to make it as pleasant a place to be as possible. My brother and I also got distracted going through belongings and items from our past as well as looking for any relevant paperwork that could help us with sorting my dad's estate.

I had thought my dad was a pretty organised sort of guy but having brought home a ton of paperwork it would appear that his organisational skills may have gone downhill in the last few years. Plus it would appear that he liked to hold onto stuff and I think we will find there is a lot of 'stuff' that is no longer relevant and we will then need to decide what actually needs to be kept and whether there is anything we'd like to keep for sentimental reasons. For example we have already found a telegram that my dad received for his birthday in 1944 from his dad who was serving in the army at the time!

During the course of the afternoon I received a call from the coroners office as unfortunately there will need to be a post mortem which will take place later this week and will determine whether an inquest will be needed. Today I received a phone call from our chosen funeral home and we have an appointment next week to discuss how we wish to proceed forward.

After a full day at my dad's house we went home for a coffee before deciding to head to our local Ikea with our plan for our new 'study/craft' room. We had chosen a combination of kitchen cabinets and work surface to build a storage and working area and wanted to know whether what we had planned was actually doable. Suffice to say we came away with the majority of the cabinets and the remainder along with the work surface being delivered later this week.

Fast forward to today and I had a full day in work as we continue to work our way through different aspects of my job as it gets handed over to my deputy. We are still working towards my last day at work being in late May but are very aware there is still lots to go through.

On my way home from work I called in to see a close friend of my mum and dad to let them know about my dad although it turned out they had already heard. But we spent some time chatting about both my mum and dad and catching up with each other's lives. Once home I started the process of going through some of my dad's paperwork with my main aim being to find the names of people I need to contact to let them know what's happened. I have a few names that I recognise so I think tomorrow may be a day of phone calls.

With that the day was rounded out with a quick gym session before stopping for the day.

See you tomorrow,

Monday 28 March 2022

Day 741

Day 741...

Okay guys this is going to be another day without a post.

It has been a bit of a busy one so I will aim to fill you all in tomorrow.

Take care


Sunday 27 March 2022

Day 740 - Dad

Day 740...

Today's post is going to be different to my usual daily chronicling of events and will explain the lack of a post from yesterday.

Saturday did not turn out as expected at all. And without going into too much detail we lost my dad. It was unexpected and the circumstances around his passing compounded the loss.

He was a fiercely independent person who did not like asking for help or even admitting that he needed help and ultimately that spirit did not do him any favours. As we get older we want to retain our dignity, our independence and our own self-responsibility but we have to acknowledge that it is okay to ask for help and support along the way. But now is not the time for 'should haves' and 'could haves'; he is no longer with us and we have to learn to accept that, remember him and celebrate his life.

Losing my mum seven years ago broke my dad and every day since her passing he has struggled. He had some days better than others but in the main he was lost without her. And as my brother said in a social media post earlier today that was testament to the love that they shared and the bond that they had. My dad was lost without her, he had lost the driving force in his life and he never recovered from it.

Over the years he had tried to carry on by going to the gym a few times each week, by visiting his favourite pub each day for lunch and the occasional meal out with his 'gym buddies'. Unfortunately for my dad the two years of the pandemic did not help his situation, being cut off from the world affected his mobility and the activities that were keeping him going. 

He has simply existed since my mum passed but at least they can now be together. We have gained another star to look down upon us.

But we have lots of amazing memories to remember him, and my mum, with. Numerous holidays together, visiting Vegas, his love of Elvis, birthdays, Christmas's, teaching Simon DIY tricks (or bodges!), helping me with the kids when Simon worked away, Dad's (and Grandad's) taxi service, his speech at our wedding and 'Magnum P.I' dance moves, welcoming Simon into our family even if he did chase him with a pair of scissors threatening to cut his long hair and always calling me Poll or Polly (I know not why).

He was a warm, kind and generous soul, and will be missed by all who knew him.

Portrait painted by Simon in 2005

Miss you dad, but I know you and mum can be together once more.


Friday 25 March 2022

Day 738

Day 738...

Another busy day and another short blog post I think.

It was another full day in work which to be fair is the norm for a Friday as that is my only contracted full day. The day was split in two as we were hosting a 'parents to pre-school' event this morning and then the afternoon was spent catching up on all the normal work stuff.

We had a number of our existing parents attend as well as a few new parents who have expressed an interest in their child joining our pre-school. It was a very productive morning and it should see a handful of new children join us after the upcoming Easter break.

For the remainder of the day it was back to transitioning my role over to another member of staff who will be picking up some of the more 'admin' based duties. We still have a fair bit of work to get through but I'm sure over the next couple of weeks we will make headway ready for my last few weeks after the Easter break.

I had a quick stop at our local Lidl on the way home and tried to make it as quick a shop as possible; Friday would not be my day of choice to go shopping but unfortunately needs must!

Arriving home it was a quick change of clothes, followed by re-locating of my laptop into a quieter room and making a pot of coffee before hooking up with my podcast co-host Michelle online. It was time to record a Disney Dream Girls episode for release this weekend, which I think was a nice distraction for both of us!

Recording done and it was keto pizza making time before finally stopping and putting up my feet! See you tomorrow.

Thursday 24 March 2022

Day 737

Day 737...

Well it's a little late in the day as I start to write this blog post so it might have to be short and sweet!

It was another full day in work for me as myself and my deputy manager plodded our way through yet more transition of my job role. We had lots of varied things to look at today from wages to cash flow to contracts to emails and the list could go on.

The aim at the moment is for the handover of my role to be complete by the end of May. At that point I will step away from work but be retained on kind of a 'consultancy' basis until the end of July. This means that should I be needed I would be able to go in to work and provide assistance and guidance.

Going further forward I have agreed to stay involved with the pre-school and remain as part of their committee. As a small charity the pre-school is guided by a committee made up of volunteer parents and staff so I will be able to provide my insight and guidance from afar and help ensure the longevity of the pre-school that I have helped nurture over the past twenty years.

I had a quick stop at home for a catch-up with Simon and a coffee before nipping out to see a friend as her husband had very kindly donated a few items from his business for pre-school's upcoming Easter raffle. It was lovely to see her, to catch-up and sit out in the sunshine as it has been a lovely, bright and warm day!

Back home I had a couple of small work related jobs to get done before Simon finished work for the day and we headed down the gym. Although our 'warm-up' today was a little unusual as it involved breaking up a very larger cardboard box into smaller pieces to fit into our recycling bin. We had taken delivery today of a filing cabinet for our new study/craft room and consequently had a lot of cardboard to dispose of!

And that was my Thursday, time to stop I think so I will see you tomorrow.

Wednesday 23 March 2022

Day 736

Day 736...

The middle of the working week and this Wednesday was another full day in work for me.

Today's challenge was to look at our cash flow forecast! Although, as is the way with my job, it took us a little while to get around to it as we had phone calls, emails and just general bits and pieces to deal with before we could get down to the main objective of the day.

With a day at work done I headed home to be greeted by Simon and a freshly brewed pot of coffee. I had a few little jobs to get out the way before I stopped for a few minutes to put the last few pieces into my latest jigsaw...

...just love this piece of artwork. 

And with some time on my hands I decided to get back to scanning our old photos. So picking up an album from late 1995 going into 1996 I was able to scan in 95 photos using the Photomyne app. I then edited the photos to ensure they were all cropped properly before uploading them to my laptop. Now begins the lengthy process of updating the details for each individual photo. 

But thanks to my past self it would appear that all the photos I've scanned in are annotated on the back of each one. Some have the date and details of where it was taken and even who was in the photos while others simply say 'Spring 96'...but I suppose that's better than nothing!

Wednesday is done and I will see you all tomorrow.

Tuesday 22 March 2022

Day 735

Day 735...

A Tuesday once more and another full day in work.

I have ahead of me three more full days in work which is not my normal contracted hours but at the moment the hours are needed to help transition my role. So today it was another full day of taking my deputy through some of the work that makes up my job. And today it was the ever so exciting (sarcasm here!) and very necessary calculation of fees and the creation of invoices.

It took us a full day to work through everything and yet again re-iterated to me just how adept I have become at these various tasks over the years and simply 'get on and do' without giving much thought to what goes into getting the job done. 

A lot of my work is kind of 'rinse and repeat' and we have decided that the word of today was 'plagiarise'. Because I have been doing this job for a lot of years there are many, many occasions where I simply refer back to previous iterations and plagiarise my own work to create a more up to date and relevant version.

Arriving home I found that Ikea had delivered our new sofa bed and that the coffee was ready and waiting. I did a little more work online as well as deal with a couple of my own jobs before taking a few minutes, with a second cup of coffee, on my jigsaw; almost complete now!

It was then time to head down the gym, but before we did that we had to relocate the new sofa bed from our hallway to our upstairs was a nice warm-up prior to the gym session. With a little brute force and ingenuity we managed to get it upstairs much easier than I had anticipated and it now sits very nicely in the room...

And that was Tuesday, see you tomorrow.

Monday 21 March 2022

Day 734

Day 734...

We had a plan for this Monday and it involved Ikea!

But first we had to take the mattress that we'd rolled up yesterday to our local recycling centre. With that done and an empty boot we headed over to Ikea.

The plan was to check out the sofa bed we'd seen online as well as looking at various storage solutions and cupboards. First the sofa bed; a little smaller than we'd thought but it was smart and easy to convert from a sofa to a bed and will fit into the room with ease - win!

Second the storage solution. We have a lot of arts and crafts material that are currently living in some clear plastic Ikea boxes and what we needed to find were cupboards, or similar, that these boxes would fit into. So as we walked around we found the same boxes that we have and tried them out in various cupboards and storage units to see where they fitted best. It confirmed that some of the storage we looked at online yesterday was not quite big enough for them but then we found a cupboard that worked surprisingly well. More ideas to take away with us for our planning.

Having settled on the sofa bed we set off to find it in the warehouse section to see what size the packaged version was. Well, we looked at it and tried to imagine it in the back of our car and I don't think either of us thought it would fit. But, after speaking with a store colleague we were told to buy it, try it in the car and if it didn't fit to speak with customer services to arrange a delivery. And sure enough that was exactly what happened. We now have it scheduled for delivery some time tomorrow.

Back home it was time for more planning of our room and more 'SketchUp' designing using the dimensions of the new cupboard that we'd found while exploring Ikea. Thankfully lunchtime came around and gave us a break from planning!

Mid-afternoon we headed into Derby as I'd got a beauty appointment and it was an excuse to partake in a coffee and yet more discussions on the plans for the upstairs room! And when we arrived home guess what we did? Yep, more discussions, more ideas and more 'SketchUp' designs!

We think we may have arrived at a potential solution that actually involves using kitchen units and kitchen worktop. We will be able to have an extensive L-shaped work surface, with plenty of cupboard space, even making best use of what would have been a dead corner space. The worktop would be deep enough, and sturdy enough, to house a 3D printer for Simon as well as being robust enough for whatever crafts we decide to pursue. I think this means another trip to Ikea next Monday to check out kitchen cabinets!

And before we knew it the afternoon had disappeared. So while Simon took 45 minutes on the exercise bike I took the time to calm my mind with a little 'jigsawing'...and relax!

OK, I think that is it for today so I will see you tomorrow.

Sunday 20 March 2022

Day 733

Day 733...

We have another Sunday and it started off as is the norm with collecting the weeks grocery shopping. But with that out the way we then had the day completely free.

Having used the fire pit yesterday to destroy some old paperwork we had the messy job today of clearing it of all the left over ash. Once clear it revealed just what a poor state our fire pit is in...I knew it had a hole somewhere but hadn't realised just how bad it had gotten...

Hole number one...

Hole number two!
We still have some stuff we need to burn so I am hoping it lasts us long enough to get that cleared before we can finally get rid of it!

Simon had a little updating of his latest art piece to do as he has also just received a request for a private commission and so wants to get his current project cleared so he can make a start on that. 

As the day was bright and sunny, with just a little chill in the air, we decided to take a walk out in search of coffee. Just two and a half miles from our house is a local garden centre that we very rarely visit, if at all. Our idea of gardening is to keep everything simple and as low maintenance as possible! But at this garden centre they have a lovely cafe which I have been meaning to visit for a while and we were so glad we did today. It is a lovely space, beautifully presented and they serve a local coffee called 200 Degrees which is fabulous. They also sell some high protein, low sugar cakes made by a local bakery called Sweet Rebellion, who I'd only recently become aware of so it was chance to give one of their treats a go.

Peanut Caramel creation - yummy!
It was then time for the return walk of another two and a half miles, so hopefully the extra calories taken in will have been off-set by the walking!

Back home and the next phase of our upstairs bedroom re-imagining took place; the 'let's get rid of the mattress' phase! Thankfully Simon was able to roll up the mattress and with some nylon rope, and a little assistance from me by sitting on it he was able to get it tied up into one big roll. It was then squeezed into the back of the car ready to be disposed of tomorrow at our local recycling centre. And with an empty car we will then be heading in the direction of Ikea to buy a sofa bed to replace the aforementioned mattress!

And with that exertion out of the way it was time to settle down with a coffee and chill; I had my jigsaw to continue with and Simon had his digital art. We then have a plan to start re-watching the Star Wars movies in preparation for the new Obi-Wan Kenobi TV series that starts in May. I made the mistake of commenting that it's been a while since I've sat and watched the movies, so I inadvertently gave Simon a good excuse to get them out and re-watch them! May the force be with me!

See you tomorrow.

Saturday 19 March 2022

Day 732

Day 732...

Saturday has been busy and yet relaxing at the same time.

We enjoyed a slow start to the day as we had no specific plans and no where to be. I decided that as the weather was dry, sunny and pleasantly mild it was the perfect time to have a bit of a shed sort out.

To be honest there was a very good reason for venturing into the garden shed because hidden away were some boxes that belonged to preschool. When we had moved premises just over two years ago I'd taken the old paperwork to my house for storage as we had no where for it to go at our new premises and it wouldn't be needed. Two years on and with my looming departure, coupled with actual storage space now available at preschool, it was time to dig it out and get it ready for taking to work.

But because the contents of the boxes were old files I first needed to go through each box and determine what we needed to keep and what needed to be destroyed. By the time I'd finished I had 5 boxes full of paperwork and 1 empty box. Simon set up the fire pit and despite a bit of a breeze was able to get all the old, and no longer needed, stuff destroyed. It did mean that we both smelt rather smoky by the time we'd finished which necessitated a shower and all our clothes going in the wash!

But not only did we get the boxes sorted but we also cleared out the shed of a few other random bits that we had accumulated and no longer needed. We now have a much emptier and tidy shed...otherwise known as our Christmas decoration storage unit!!!

After a shower and a spot of lunch we decided to see if we could start planning out the bedroom formally known as Molly's room that is now going to become our study/craft room. We know that we need a sofa bed in there as it will double as a guest room and I also want a filing cabinet so that I can reorganise all our paperwork and only keep what we actually need rather than what we have at the moment!

Using Simon's design and technical skills we loaded up 'SketchUp' onto my laptop...okay I said 'we' but what I actually meant was 'Simon'! We were then able to put all the relevant measurements of the room into 'SketchUp' so that we could begin to play around with how we wanted it to look.

It was then a case of going through lots of websites, although mainly Ikea, for various different solutions for storage, work surfaces and a sofa bed. We then needed to take all the measurements for the various items that we found and put them into the 'SketchUp' model. After a few hours, lots of web searching, mind changing, re-measuring, estimating and planning we think we may have reached a design we are happy with. We wanted to be able to make best use of the space available whilst ensuring we still have sufficient storage but also making it an appealing place to be. First draft is done and a filing cabinet has been ordered, so we will see where we go from there.

And with all that I think it is time for some food and to catch-up with some TV.

See you tomorrow.

Friday 18 March 2022

Day 731

Day 731...

And we have reached Friday and the end of my working week!

My fourth full day in work in a row...which is not the norm for me! And today I was working with a new member of our team who will be taking over some of the administration type tasks that make up my job.

One thing I am realising, as I pass on my knowledge, is just how eclectic my job can be and how each day is always different from the day before. I may start a day with a plan in mind but this can often get derailed as the day unfurls. But we had a good day today and made steady progress, all ready to get back at it again next week.

Once home, and with coffee poured, I needed to do a little online research ahead of podcast recording. I needed to find some interesting Disney history facts, have a look at the news happening in the Disney parks as well as listen to some music by todays guest Tom Ameen. It was then time to hook up online with my podcast co-host Michelle to record this weekends Disney Dream Girls show. We had a great time chatting and as always Tom was a lovely guest to have on the show and talked passionately about his love for music, and especially Disney music. He has a new album being released on 1st April and Michelle and I have had the privilege of being able to listen to the tracks already.

It was two years ago on the 18th March 2020 that myself and my deputy made the horrible decision to close pre-school because of the Covid outbreak. We were faced with scared parents not knowing whether to send their children to pre-school or not, we had staff worried about what it all meant for their safety, there was panic and scary stuff on the news and we were all simply confused, worried and scared. We took the decision to close one day before our government said that schools would close and for the next 12 weeks we remained closed. As a small charity pre-school, operating out of a shared building that was classified as a 'community room', we could not have opened even if we had wanted to as the emergency laws put into place forbid community rooms from being used by anyone. 

Looking back now I remember how scared and nervous we all felt and how emotional it was to take that decision to close. There were tears as myself and my deputy made the decision but at the same time relief that a decision had been made. We were blessed with very supportive parents who even bought us gifts of wine and chocolate as we embarked on a very surreal few months. We could not have envisaged that two years later we would still be dealing with the effects of the 'pandemic', that it would have been drawn out for as long as it has despite science saying otherwise. 

Two years on and I am even more sceptical and challenging of anything that the 'main stream media' are want to tell us. After two years of being fed mistruths I find myself extremely cynical and distrusting and now seek greater information and question what we are being told. I no longer watch the standard news channels but instead prefer to use the internet to discover differing viewpoints in an attempt to uncover a more balanced view and hopefully one closer to the actual truth. I will confess that I don't like what these past two years have done to our lives; the questioning of those in power, the distrust of those supposed to be looking out for us, the lack of accountability of those in charge and the feeling that life will never be quite what it was two years ago. 

But onwards and upwards we must go. We are fortunate living in England that most of our restrictions have been lifted and we are able to go about our lives pretty much as we used to. But there are still a few that remain so fingers crossed we can get everything back to normal sooner rather than later.

Happy weekend, I will see you tomorrow.

Thursday 17 March 2022

Day 730

Day 730...

Thursday once again and the third full day in work this week for me!

The morning was taken up with more transitional stuff with the main focus being on staff time sheets and all that is involved with paying the staff.

This afternoon I had an online network meeting to sit through. I'd hoped from the agenda that had advertised the meeting that at least a couple of the items would be of use to us. But unfortunately I was proven wrong! I stayed online for the full two hours but not really sure what I managed to glean from it...if anything!

I had a quick stop by our local Lidl on the way home and while using the self check-out I became aware of someone stood rather close to me. I looked around and there was an elderly gentleman who was looking for someone to help him. I think he may have locked onto me as I was wearing my pre-school uniform which may have made me look like I was working at the store. I tried to explain that I had to pay for my shopping first before I could help him but he seemed very confused. Before I'd managed to finish my checkout an actual store colleague came along and was able to help him out. It was just very sad to see someone so very confused and who just needed a little help.

Back home and I had more pre-school work to complete, a couple of emails, some documents to scan and some personnel bits to go through. Before I knew it Simon had finished work and we were off down our 'gym'. We are now incorporating 'dead hangs' into our workout and today we took the approach of hanging for a couple of sets of shorter time lengths. I managed two sets of 30 seconds and I think our aim over the next week or so will be to build up to three sets each.

So there is Thursday...see you tomorrow.

Wednesday 16 March 2022

Day 729

Day 729...

The middle of the working week and another full day in work for me.

The morning was more of the current 'same'; the transition from me to my deputy. Yet more 'stuff' to go through and it seems to be a case of we start on one thing and that leads to other things that we hadn't intended on covering! So lots of going off on tangents...all good tangents and needed, just not perhaps in the order we had planned on covering them.

This afternoon I provided cover for one of the team so I was able to turn my attention towards our current fundraising efforts. We are holding an Easter themed fun week in a few weeks time and as part of that we are having a raffle. The staff have all donated some cash towards the creation of a couple of appropriately themed hampers plus we have some chocolates and a couple of soft toys but we could really do with a few more prizes. So this afternoon I fired up the email and tried to think of as many places as I could to request some help with donations and already we have had a few responses offering up some goodies!

The remainder of the afternoon was spent at home but still involved more pre-school work as I carried on with the 'sorting' of more online folders. I am being pretty ruthless and getting rid of lots of very old documents and only keeping those that I think may be useful to have going forward. Yet again confirming that I can be a bit of a hoarder without even realising it!!

And that was Wednesday...all work and now time for feet up!

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday 15 March 2022

Day 728

Day 728...

Tuesday and the first working day of my week and it was a full day in work today.

Over the course of the next few weeks I am aiming to work as many hours as needed so that we can transition my role over to that of my deputy and other members of my team.

This then meant a full day of going through various bits and pieces from new starters, to funding figures, updating spreadsheets, submitting claims and more. But it was another productive day with more planned for tomorrow.

Back home, and with a coffee waiting for me, I decided to get on with a little more pre-school work as I am having a bit of a spring clean of all our online folders. A chance to go through and see exactly what we have and decide whether we still need it (I am a tad guilty of holding on to things for longer than needed!) or whether things are actually up to date and correct. I have generated lots of different documents over the years and some will only get used occasionally and therefore may not reflect current practices so these all need a little tweaking.

When Simon finished work for the day we popped out to the gym, aka our garage, for a weights workout. As a little bit of fun we have started to time how long we can sustain a 'dead hang' from the pull-up bar. Now Simon has mastered pull-ups where as me not so much...but hanging as a dead weight from the bar is something I can manage. Today Simon managed 1 minute 40 seconds and I managed 1 minute which I don't think is bad going at all. The exercise is supposed to help improve your posture, strengthen your back, shoulder and lat muscles as well as improve grip strength.

And that is Tuesday all done, so I will see you tomorrow.

Monday 14 March 2022

Day 727

Day 727...

So we are now back into our usual routine of Monday's being our non-working day of the week and as I have four full days in work ahead of me we made the most of the day.

We headed off towards Derby with the intention of grabbing a coffee after making use of the jet wash at the garage next door to the Starbucks to get the car looking clean once more. We had to wait a little while for the jet wash to become free and while waiting I got a text to say that the shoes we'd ordered yesterday were ready to be collected...about an hour earlier than we'd expected. Well done, Next!

So with a clean car we took a short trip to pick up the shoes followed by driving into Derby for the aforementioned coffee and a trip to the cinema. We have a lovely cinema called The Quad which is an independent cinema and also a charity that supports various art and cultural exhibits. We enjoyed a coffee in their cafe before settling down to watch The Batman.

The great thing was that we almost had the cinema to ourselves; I think there were just three other people in the audience. We only had to sit through a couple of trailers for other films and thankfully no adverts before the movie; I always hate having to endure fifteen minutes of adverts before even getting to the trailers never mind the movie. And as The Batman was almost three hours long we appreciated the lack of pre-show 'stuff'.

Simon has always been a Batman fan and while I've seen a few of the movies over the years this was not something I'd considered a 'must-see' but having heard a few very positive reviews we decided to give it a go. And boy were we happy that we did; such a great film. Very dark and broody with great performances, some brilliant action sequences and lots of call outs to the source material.  And the three hours seemed to whizz by.

We took a quick detour on the way home to check out a sofa bed that we had found online as that needs to be a purchase for our upstairs room as we convert it into more of a study/craft room. Back home and Simon jumped on the exercise bike for a little zone two training while I sorted some more jigsaw pieces.

Monday done, see you tomorrow.

Sunday 13 March 2022

Day 726

Day 726...

Sunday was another steady day and once we had completed the mundane task of fetching our weekly grocery shopping we headed out to Nottingham.

We had a mooch around the shops, stopped for a coffee and paid a visit to an art gallery.

The shopping involved the mandatory visit to Primark which resulted in a couple of Disney (what else?!) purchases...

We also managed to find a new pair of shoes for Simon although buying them proved to be rather tricky. We found them in House of Fraser but when Simon went to find a member of staff to assist him there were none around...absolutely no-one to be found, no-one at cash tills, no-one anywhere! They were obviously not interested in ours, or anyone else's custom! Thankfully the single shoes on display were in his size so he was able to try one on to see how it fit. We had a quick look online and knew we could buy them elsewhere for the same price or maybe a little cheaper. Once home we looked around, ordered a pair and will be able to pick them up from our local Next store tomorrow!

Our visit to Nottingham Contemporary art gallery left us both feeling a tad underwhelmed. In fact I would say that the items for sale in their shop were more interesting than the displays themselves. When we got to the final display and were told we needed to remove our shoes to look around we about-turned and walked out. There was nothing about the display that said to us it was worth walking around in our stocking feet for. A great way to turn people off from experiencing art!

Over the course of the day we have been talking more about what to expect when I walk away from my job at pre-school and what I would like to be doing with my time. At the moment while I am still working trying to think beyond is proving a little tricky and has confirmed that I can struggle to visualise more than a few concepts in my head at once. I can be rather singular focused and unwilling, or unable, to think beyond what I know is happening now and the near future.

I have a habit of organising my brain around what I know has to be done and when that has to be done and as a by product of working in education I visualise my time line in 'term dates'! These are habits that I will need to break myself out of going forward and learn to recognise that I will have the time to discover whatever it is that I want to discover.

Having watched a couple of YouTube videos of late and chatting with Simon I can see that I will need to make myself a list of all those things that I think I would like to try, those things that I haven't until now had the time to devote to trying or those things that I have dismissed as 'I can't do that'. I will have time to experiment and learn new skills and figure out how all that will feed into the next stage of my life. But for now I have to learn to think about what I may like to do, make a list and get excited for what may lay ahead.

See you all tomorrow.

Saturday 12 March 2022

Day 725

Day 725...

Well after a busy end to the week we have reached Saturday and today has been slow in comparison.

The morning saw me helping my dad out by collecting his prescription from our local chemist. It did make me laugh to see the three people ahead of me all wearing masks, although all who came in after me were not. I listened as the chemist consulted with a member of the public about an eye condition they were concerned much for patient privacy! The shop itself was insanely warm and myself and another customer commented to each other about the heat and how that wouldn't help with the spread of coughs and colds! I think we may have forgotten our common sense over the last couple of years!

I then spent the remainder of the morning at my dads, catching up with him as we haven't seen each other for a few weeks. As I'd tested positive a few weeks back I obviously didn't want to risk spreading the cold that I had to my dad, even though my symptoms were very mild. But I did what I would have done, positive or not, and what I have done in years gone by and stayed away from an elderly relative while I wasn't 100% - again common sense I think!

While I'd been out the house Simon had managed to use the time to complete the art commission he'd been working on this past week. After a spot of lunch we decided to head down our 'gym' for a weights workout as we'd missed our usual Thursday evening workout as we'd been having fun at the White Lies gig instead.

With the workout done and then my ironing completed we were able to take some time to stop and relax. Simon started his next piece of digital art and I began putting some of my latest jigsaw together. The outside, straight edge pieces, took a little longer than I would have liked mainly because most of the pieces were the same colour!!

And with keto pizza made and eaten all that is left to do is see if we can catch up with this week's RuPauls Drag Race.

See you all tomorrow.

Friday 11 March 2022

Day 724

Day 724...

Hello Friday and welcome to the day after the night before.

Last night we had an absolutely fantastic time seeing White Lies play at Rock City in Nottingham. They were, as always, brilliant. We were able to secure a pitch pretty close to the front of the audience and we had an unobstructed view of the stage for the whole gig.

They had a young band called Vlure as support who knocked it out of the park. Full of energy and performed as though they were in front of a massive arena audience. Their lead singer even came into the audience to get up close and personal. It was a great way to start off the evening.

White Lies played a mixture of new and classic songs and killed every one. The atmosphere was phenomenal and the ticker tape finale during 'Bigger Than Us' was a perfect ending to a cracking show. Please indulge me while I share some photos...

And I know it was a great concert because I don't think me ears have stopped ringing since, my voice was all croaky until late morning and I can feel it in my feet and legs!!

So after the excitement of last night it was with good fortune that I had today off from work. Having worked some extra hours, and having a few more extra to work next week I have had today off in lieu. It has been a quiet day, although at times infuriating.

I've been able to help my deputy out at work with a few questions that arose over the day. I've done a few household chores. I nipped to our local Lidl to pick up a few bits and bobs, although note to self; do not visit Lidl on a Friday morning when it's relatively busy and filled with mainly older people who are more than happy to meander around the store (in their masks!!). Nope, I want to be in and out as quickly as possible grocery shopping is a 'must do' not a social occasion! 

But the ongoing saga of the day, and the thing that has been rather infuriating, has been waiting for my butchers delivery to arrive. Everything was looking rosy with an expected delivery time between 9.10am and 10.10am. By 10.20am nothing had arrived but I wasn't overly concerned so I went to Lidl hoping the delivery would arrive by the time I returned - nope!

So I jumped online and followed the delivery link only to discover that my parcel was back at DPD's depot because 'your parcel was refused, as the contact name was not recognised' - err what? No-one had been to the house so how on earth could the parcel be refused? After much searching on their website I found an online chat option...but no-one responded! So I downloaded their app and again tried the online chat only to be told that I wasn't connected to the internet when I knew that I was - argh! My next option was to contact the butchers online to see if they could do anything.

At that point in the day Simon broke for lunch and so we decided to take a walk out. It was grey and a bit blustery, but it was dry and so we took our usual route of 2.4 miles in 44 minutes. As we walked in the door my phone started to ring and it was DPD calling!! Turns out that contacting the butchers was the best thing to do as they had chased the delivery for me.

I was told by DPD that they had tried to deliver my parcel but that we had refused it because it was not in our name. Okay so where do I start with that; first it is in our name but more importantly no-one had attempted a delivery at our house. To which I was told 'but our driver said...' At that point I reiterated that we had not seen their driver but that we have a very similar address to ours in the next village and that they might want to check where exactly their driver had been! I was then told they would go away and investigate for me...nearly four hours passed by and no return phone call as I'd been promised but then there was a knock at the door and low and behold my parcel was delivered. Thank goodness for that!

This then meant the end to my day was sorting 5kg of bacon, 100 sausages, 1kg of steak mince, 1kg of chicken, burgers and a few steaks into meal sized portions for the freezer. While I did that Simon finished work for the day and took some time out to complete his zone two training on the exercise bike. 

And with all that I think it's time to stop for the day and see you all tomorrow.

Thursday 10 March 2022

Day 723

Day 723...

Today it will be a relatively short blog post as I am writing this at the end of my working day and before I get ready to head out for the evening.

It was a full day in work as I ended up working extra this afternoon to cover a member of staff who was off. This also meant that the afternoon was spent attending an online 'leaders and managers briefing'...not the most exciting of meetings!

But the morning was filled with the usual sort of stuff plus I was able to update the router that we use as our provider had sent us a new one with our renewal of contract. So when we had a lull in proceedings I was able to swap one out for the other and then go around all our bits of technology to ensure they could all connect to the new router. I thought I'd remembered everything until this afternoon when I went to print something and couldn't understand why the printer was refusing to work and then I remembered that as it's wireless it too would need its connection updating. But all being well by the end of the day everything was working as it should.

It was then home for a coffee and time to get changed and do my make-up ready for going out later. We have tickets to see White Lies at Rock City in Nottingham, this will be our third time seeing them since November. And the last time we saw them at Rock City was back in 2019 when we had VIP passes...

VIP meet and greet February 2019
...and while there's no VIP this time around I am looking forward to seeing them turn it out as always. Plus we have been so lucky to see them in a small venue doing a stripped back gig in Bournemouth last November...

...and then again at an even smaller event at Rough Trade in Nottingham a few weeks back as part of their album launch.

Me and Harry!!!!
The last time we saw them in a full concert was in December of 2019 at The O2 Acadamy in Brixton as part of their anniversary tour to mark 10 years since the release of their debut album. 
December 2019 - Brixton
They are such a great band live and we are looking forward to another fantastic gig...I will report back tomorrow.

See you later.

Wednesday 9 March 2022

Day 722

Day 722...

We have reached the middle of the week and as is the new normal for me at the moment it means a day at home.

I had a few minor tasks that I wanted to get done this morning. First I wanted to do a little re-organising on my laptop as I seemed to have an inordinate amount of webpages bookmarked and whilst some were still useful there was more that were not. So I set up a couple of new folders so those that I do want will be easier to find...hopefully!

Next I took the time to do a little research on leg exercises. I was pleasantly surprised that the ones I currently do (and some I used to do!) all appeared in the most a result a few more bookmarks were added!!!

Throughout the morning I was able to get up to date with the laundry and a few more household chores before stopping for 20 minutes to complete my latest jigsaw.

As it was a lovely sunny day Simon and I were able to take one of our lunchtime walks. It was a little windy but felt deceptively mild and we did 2.4 miles in around 46 minutes; it was lovely to be out in the fresh air and blow away a few cobwebs.

After a spot of lunch it was back to the laptop but this time it was for shopping. I needed to place an order with the online butchers we use (Rendalls) as we are running scarily low on bacon...but not to worry delivery is all booked for Friday!!

Next on my shopping list was a new jigsaw. I used to have a massive collection of jigsaws but decided a couple of years ago to streamline my collection, some were sold and some were donated. I kept a few Disney ones and a couple of Christmas ones that I'd not completed and since then I've adopted an approach of do and donate! This however means I have no jigsaws to do...which obviously meant I needed to buy one. Thanks to Amazon I've found a Disney Parks Disneyland map jigsaw which should arrive sometime tomorrow.

Before I headed out the door for my hairdressers appointment I thought I would get ahead of the game by prepping for this evenings dinner! How organised am I?? But it paid off as after a couple of hours at the hairdressers I returned home with new hair and within 20 minutes dinner was served.

Wednesday is done, TV awaits and I will see you tomorrow.

Tuesday 8 March 2022

Day 721

Day 721...

Think this will be a short post today.

As I am stepping down from my role at pre-school I am now working a full day on a Tuesday so that myself and my deputy can spend some quality time together!! There are lots of things that I need to hand over and we are finding that things are taking a little longer than we would perhaps like but we are getting through stuff in plenty of detail.

My job role can be quite varied and will often change on a day to day basis and the transition process we are going through is highlighting that aspect of my work. But we are making progress and that's what is important.

After a day of talking I was thankful to walk into a freshly brewed pot of coffee and time to switch off by focusing on my jigsaw for a little while.

When Simon finished work for the day we headed down our gym for our usual Tuesday night weights workout. Afterwards, Simon was then able to spend a couple of hours carrying on with the art commission that he had started yesterday.

And Tuesday is done! See you tomorrow.

Monday 7 March 2022

Day 720

Day 720...

Today was a stay at home kind of day as today we had the flooring laid in our upstairs bedroom...the room formerly known as 'Molly's bedroom' and soon to be our study/craft room.

This gave me the opportunity to catch up with a few online based jobs; not very exciting but unfortunately needed. 

With the impending changes to energy prices I had received emails from our energy companies of choice advising of the extortionate increases that will be coming our way from April. These are horrendous jumps in prices. I think we all expect to pay a few more pounds each year but when they are quoting increases of 54% it is horrific to think about. The impact for all of us is going to be so significant and there is nothing we can do about it. So I had a look to see whether there were any better tariffs around to get ahead of the upcoming changes but unfortunately it doesn't seem that there are!

I then ventured into the world of mobile phone upgrades...ugh! It fills me with dread every time this rolls around although I hadn't realised just how long I'd been putting this off. Our contracts expired eighteen months ago and so we have been eligible for an upgrade for a bit of a while. But as our phones are working perfectly fine and enable us to do whatever we need we hadn't been in a rush to upgrade and now I remember why. Too many choices and not enough information made easily available to make decisions. The information to compare models of phones seems to be hidden with just the colour and the camera mega pixel details displayed prominently. Then we seem to have a mixture of 'plan' options from the 'ok I can live with that' to the outright ridiculous! And when prices seem to be going up left, right and centre I really don't want to be increasing any more costs. Having become bored very quickly with searching I decided that the best thing I could do was the ironing! At least with that I could actually achieve something!

Next it was another easy job to buy online a couple of tickets for the next Dr Sketchy's event in Nottingham. This is a few weeks away, taking place on Easter Sunday, but I wanted to get the tickets bought while it was in my mind.

It was then time for more research! We are wanting to attend a food festival in June called Real Food Rocks and as the tickets have just gone on sale I needed to look into hotels. Whilst the event is only about an hour and a half away we have decided to make a weekend of it and book a couple of nights away so that we are not having to contend with early morning and late night driving. But as we now have the electric car I am not only trying to find a hotel close to where we want to be but one that also has EV charging points. As this has proved to be a little difficult I also looked for charging points close to the area that we will be in.

Well after much research I have found one hotel with it's own chargers and another hotel with a retail park opposite that has a number of chargers. I have also discovered a small service station not far from the location of the festival that also has a couple of rapid charging stations. So it's now just a case of deciding which hotel we would prefer (as there is no difference in price), booking it and sorting tickets for the festival itself.

By mid-afternoon the flooring had been laid and the room looks great. We will leave it for a couple of days before we start to move things back into the room. I think our first purchase is going to be a filing cabinet so that we can start to clear our existing Welsh dresser of paperwork as ultimately we will be getting rid of the dresser. The paperwork will then be stored in the new 'study' and once the dresser is no longer needed we will be replacing it with some new cabinets to display all our Disney and Star Wars memorabilia! It's like we are playing one giant game of Tetris!

We then played host to one of our neighbours who needed somewhere to escape to while an estate agent was showing some prospective buyers around their house! And later with a little daylight left I made sure to take some time to move some more jigsaw pieces around. I'm making pretty good progress but as there is so much colour I'm finding it's just as easy to place recognisable pieces into place rather than try and out sort a particular section of the puzzle.

Throughout the day Simon has been working on a commissioned piece of video game art for a contact who produces retro games and needed some cover art producing at short notice.

And then because we had some chicken to use up (thanks to Asda providing products with a pathetic use by date!) I decided to make Keto Chicken Curry Pie - yum!

See you all tomorrow.