Friday, 7 August 2020

Eat the frog first!

 I expect you know this saying. In time management scenarios it means do the job you are dreading first, don't put it off. The idea being that with the job done, you will be less stressed and be more productive. 

So there is a new blogger format. I have put off posting, Learning new stuff takes me longer these days. So here I am this morning eating the frog first!

Let's see if I can add a photo....

At this point the font went funny but now it's back!

Let's see if this blog uploads.....

Edited to add: Phew it worked. I'm back! But why was it changed anyway? Waste of everyone's time!

Sunday, 26 July 2020

A week of trying to be normal.

This week we had a visit from my eldest son, his wife and daughter. Aged not quite eight months, Georgina is crawling, pulling herself up and toddling around furniture. She is a very smiley baby and it was a happy visit.

On  Friday Steve had to pick up books from clients so I went with him just for the ride and a change of surroundings. I love to look at gardens and houses as we drive past. It seems some people just have a knack for home making. On the outskirts of the city several flat dwellers had created the most beautiful balconies. Small areas filled with beautiful healthy plants they were a  sight to behold. In one area of the city we were caught in traffic outside three sari wedding shops , all next door to each other. The colours of the silk and the bead work was just exquisite. I'd love to properly  visit the shops before we move but this may not be possible.

Although I am still being extremely careful with regards to staying away from people other than family I do feel ready to go out a bit more. So today we went to the garden centre. Social distancing was well accommodated, everyone wore masks and we felt happy and relaxed to be there. I bought horticultural grit for my propogating, a terracotta pot and a small rosemary plant for my "fiddle garden" I have herb pots around my garden chair where I pick herb leaves and just sit crushing the leaves and smelling them. So Steve christianed it my fiddle garden!

I have completed my first fiction book in a long while.

A gentle lyrical book with vivid descriptions of the natural world. A young 16 year old boy adventures away from home during a post war Summer. He meets Dulcie, a woman mourning a loved one. He spends the Summer working for her. She introduces him to poetry and shows him that he has great potential to learn and travel and be whoever he wants to be. Meanwhile he helps her to come to terms with her loss.  Some of Dulcie's language made me cringe but it was still a good book. Throughout the book, across all the characters there was not a romance in sight, which was refreshing!

It has been a quiet, gentle week. I have very little to show for my week. Steve has taken over much of the cooking. I was always the cook of the house but I can not do it now. I have to say that,  although he has never been called upon to cook, Steve's meals are delicious and cooked much better than mine!

So a quiet week spent trying to get back to some form of normality. Quiet is good. Our new normal is very different. But life is still good.

Thursday, 16 July 2020

Not quite out of lockdown.

We continue to live a near lockdown lifestyle.

Yesterday was our grocery delivery day.

I also order in for my mother, 89 years young and fiercely independent. Up until lockdown she still did her own shopping refusing our help or deliveries. It has taken a lot for her to accept support as she says it is "giving in" and she likes to be independent and not tied down to doing things on a certain day. But life is different right now.

On Wednesday afternoons we drive over to Mom's house with her shopping and for the past few weeks we have been able to go inside for tea and cake which is lovely. On our first allowed visit she asked me to cut her hair which was funny. She said she preferred how I had done it because I had listened to how she wanted it done and then did it for her. Mum thinks her hairdresser does it her own way regardless!

Mom is an avid reader so her order usually includes some magazines and I sometimes slip in a book too.

By the time we got home I was so tired I sat down; reading and watching tv for the rest of the day.

We had a fun hour long phone chat with our youngest son. He lives 100 miles away and has lived alone through lockdown, working from home. We were more than happy for him to come home but he decided to stay at his home and carry on, for the duration if possible, and he did it. I am so impressed by his fortitude and mental strength. He is planning to come home for a week next month. Something nice to look forward to.

Tea was delicious - prawn and scallop bisque with new potatoes, samphire and some crusty bread. I was so exhausted we ate this on a tray, not bothering to leave the sofa! I feel a bit guilty/lazy about that but never mind.

We are concerned that we have both noticed a decline in my health over the past month or so. We both cheerfully blame lockdown, reassuring each other that it is a temporary set back.  But I think we can both see through this jolly facade.

But life is still good. I continue to buy flowers; an orchid this week. It is easier to care for than flowers at the moment.

My love of books continues on my Kindle, Audible and buying real books. I recently added these to my book shelf.

To lose myself in books is therapy and medicine all in one.

I cut the final bunch of sweet peas this afternoon. The plants have produced blooms abundantly this year but they are looking very bedraggled now. Steve pulled them out for me; we want the garden to look tidy as we have some house viewings over the next few days.

And so the days, à la lockdown, tootle happily along. 
I think Cicero had the right idea......


Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Lockdown made me do it!

Normally (I can' t really remember normal times!) Steve and I visit our hairdressers once a month. Our hair grows quickly and we hate to look untidy. Several of my meds warn, "may cause hair loss" but thus far I still have very thick, wavy hair that needs taming regularly. So early on in lockdown I knew that we would have to learn to cut our own hair. So I did some research and put in an online order.

Steve was horrified! "It's ok - the colour is for me," I joked.

 But needs must and all that and we have been cutting each other's hair regularly throughout lockdown. I have to say, we have done a good job; so much so,  that we are happy to continue for a while longer rather than risk visiting the hairdresser. I am supposedly more at risk of Covid and quite frankly, even with all the measures in place, I think a hairdresser's appointment would no longer be the fun experience it once was nor worth the (no doubt, small) risk. 

Cutting our own hair has been an experience. Saying mid hair cut, "I think I'll put my glasses on," does not inspire confidence apparently. Such a fuss about nothing! Steve does not talk about holidays, fashion, weight loss nor put the world to rights as he cuts my hair as he says he can not talk and cut like a real hairdresser can. The look of concentration on his face reminds me of school and teaching the children to read or write! He told our son that he'd never had a cup of tea at the hairdresser's before, though he did have to make it himself! Oh and his new hairdresser was still in her pyjamas (I was saving showering/hair washing/ dressing until after he had cut my hair) which he thought a bit casual! 

My Dad was a hairdresser. He hated it when people chopped their own hair and he had to put it right. Sorry, Dad!

Monday, 13 July 2020

Monday again

The weeks do seem to be flying by.

Monday, bin day. 2020 the year my bin goes out more than me!

I woke to a bright day, with a lovely cool breeze coming through the open window.

It was only 5:30am. Steve was still fast asleep so I quietly read, thinking of all the lovely things I could make for breakfast.

So at 8am I got up and made breakfast burritos. I think the last time we had these our boys were still at school so that's at least 10 years ago. This is the first time I have made breakfast for several weeks. I am out of practise.... I set the smoke alarm off and we had to have the windows open all morning! But the burritos were delicious.

I was then totally exhausted, went back to bed and slept soundly. This fatigue drives me nuts. Steve is working part time now, he has sold his business and will retire early in November so that he can care for me. So I slept whilst he worked.

When Steve finished his work we ate a light lunch of  toasted currant bread, fresh fruit and drank hot tea. We then went to the pharmacy in Sainsbury's for my medicine. Sadly they do not deliver and as they are the only pharmacy in our town prepared to order in one of my newer meds then I must stay with them. This wasn't a problem before Covid. But now this is one of the few occasions we leave the house. So we go together and whilst there we get anything we can not get in our online delivery. I also always buy napkins and flowers to cheer myself. Though I found out a few weeks ago that I can get flowers in my online order. I had then bought several bunches and made up a beautiful arrangement in a vase for my daughter in law who had just given birth. Today I bought an orchid plant in lieu of flowers.

Far more people were wearing masks in the shop. We have been wearing masks whenever we are in shops as I am considered more at risk. It was good to see that more people are wearing them than last month when we were in the pharmacy.

Our tea...

(Where we live the evening meal is called tea rather than dinner. This is a contentious issue in England! Similarly is the mid day meal lunch or dinner? Dinner where I live. Though our house is on the market, who knows what they call it where we plan to move to. )

Chilli salmon, crushed, herbed Jersey potatoes, with a warm salad of samphire, peas, rocket and smoked salmon. It looks a mess but it was very tasty.

And so the day is done. The promising sunny start deteriorated into dense cloud and rain showers but it was a good day. I think I will do some tapestry whilst watching University Challenge or flick through a  cookery book or magazine. A cup of tea and a piece of chocolate sounds good too!

Sunday, 12 July 2020

A sign of the times.

 Steve went to post some letters.  In order to catch the last post he went to the box outside the small local Tesco shop.

"I went into the shop and bought us some treats for when we watching tv later. Oh and they'd just had a delivery in."

I looked in the bag some sweet chilli crisps and a bottle of wine and......?

I shrieked a bit if I'm honest.

"Oh wow, that's lovely. Thank you so much, just what I wanted......"

Flour is rarer than hen's teeth in these parts!

Saturday, 11 July 2020

The day after....

Not surprisingly perhaps, I am exhausted after our day out yesterday. Chronic health issues (Hughes Syndrome, autoimmune B12 deficiency and Young Onset Parkinson's Disease) do affect my energy levels. So today I have slept a lot.

Breakfast in bed was lovely and very gratefully received but meant I just fell straight back to sleep afterwards, the next thing I knew it was 1pm!

I got up and made us spicy Mexican beans and rice with tacos for a late lunch. I then cleaned the bathroom, did some laundry, watered the houseplants and greenhouse plants and looked over my propogating to see if I have roots coming. I can't garden much these days but potted plants and propogating satisfy my love for gardening.

I then made a chicken curry in case Steve is hungry this evening, if not we can have it tomorrow or I can freeze it. Nothing goes to waste here. 😊

It has been a beautiful sunny day here though I have felt a bit chilly. But a bright and sunny day is to be savoured.

This evening I am going to do some of my tapestry hearts.

I just love playing with the colours and I should miss it, if it ever got finished!

And so that was my day; mundane to many but filled with things that bring me joy and contentment.

"Surely it is in the everyday things around us that the beauty of life lies." Laura Ingalls Wilder