Thursday, 2 April 2020

Garden stuff and lovely birds

Thanks for all your thoughts on my last post.  I do think it's a bit ridiculous that garden centres have been told they must close - why can't they stay open, if they put the same social distancing restrictions in place as 'essential' shops?  I suppose the thinking is that it will encourage people to go out, when we're supposed to be staying home as much as possible.  As for the garden centres having to bin millions of pounds worth of plants - terrible.  One of you asked why they can't just put the stock outside for people to help themselves....I guess again that would encourage people to go out, the GCs would probably be inundated with people if they were giving stuff away, and you'd get the same greedy people who stockpiled (and then threw food away!!) grabbing tons of plants, instead of thinking of others and sharing equally.

Anyway, after giving it a lot of thought, I've decided that if we have to go to a supermarket to buy food/toiletries, then there's no real reason why we can't pick up some garden supplies at the same time, if they sell them.  Unless the shop itself isn't allowing that, seems every shop has their own rules.   I think I'd rather do that than order online and have stuff delivered.

Something lovely - I noticed yesterday morning when I was standing at the kitchen sink washing up, that a robin kept flying into the shed through the open window.....I guessed it was nest building.  Husband quietly as possible unlocked the shed door and went in to have a look, startling the robin which quickly flew out the window.  He had a very quick look round, he thinks the nest is being built on top of a cupboard.  Since then, the robins (we've seen a pair going in together) have been in and out constantly every few minutes, carrying bits of nesting materials.  How lovely!  I'm dying to go and have a look, but don't want to disturb them so much that they abandon the nest and go elsewhere, so will leave it another day or 2.

Husband said he saw our very first returning house martin a couple of days ago, perched on the telephone wire in front of the house.  So over the next week or 2, we should start to see more and more arriving....they rest, feed and build up their strength for a few days, before starting their nest building up in the eaves of our houses along this lane.  One of the neighbours, a builder, objects and gets up his ladder and knocks the nests off if he sees any being built.....he's a miserable git at the best of times.  Fortunately, the rest of us don't mind the birds at all, I love watching them and listening to the babies twittering madly when the parents come to feed them.  One of the nests is right in the corner of our bedroom window, it's been there for years, the parents reconstruct and strengthen it every year.  Can't wait to see them again.

The only downside of having so many lovely birds flying about is that they often poop on my washing!  Small price to pay for the enjoyment I get from watching them, though.

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Shopping and moral dilemmas

Thank you for comments and welcome to a new reader, Glorious Needlework and Life (from Canada - how marvellous to live in a place where you can pick up deer antlers in a forest!  We do of course have deer here, but I've never seen discarded antlers).

I've been rethinking our shopping.....not that we need much now, it's amazing how this crisis is making us all realise we can't waste anything, and must use up what we already have.  I did initially think we should get our shopping delivered, as both of us have medical conditions meaning we're at risk if we get the virus.  Neither of us is in the 'high risk, vulnerable' category, but I have 3 conditions, husband 2, that put us at a higher risk of being seriously ill if we do come down with it.....husband's heart failure means he's likely to be very ill indeed.  However, the supermarkets now seem to be keeping the delivery slots for those in the high risk category, and rightly so.  We have a delivery booked for the end of next week, and that will be the last one we have.

The click and collect shop wasn't ideal, in terms of what shopping we got.  A quarter of the stuff I ordered was completely out of stock, with nothing offered in substitution.  About another 8 or 10 items were substituted....mostly with things that I wouldn't choose myself.  Eg, I'd ordered 15 free range eggs - we use a lot of eggs and I only ever buy free range, have done for years, they were subbed with 10 caged hens eggs.  I always get smoked bacon, good quality rashers, not the cheap water-filled ones....we got given unsmoked cheap water-filled ones.  There were other subs that I would never have picked up.  I know I could have refused the subs, but didn't because I felt in the current crisis I should just be grateful to have anything at all.

So in future we will be going shopping ourselves, possibly once every 10 days or so, that way if there's something out of stock, I can at least choose an acceptable alternative (or go without!).  I just feel I should be leaving the deliveries for the really vulnerable, or people who can't get out to get their shopping.  A bonus as far as I'm concerned is that shops are now saying 1 person, 1 trolley.....which means husband (as he's the more vulnerable one) will be staying in the car, whilst I do the shopping on my own.  Seeing as I rarely get to go shopping on my own, it'll be quite nice!

Another concern I have, a moral one really, is to do with online shopping for what would be classed as non-essential items.  Just as all this virus stuff started, I was beginning to think about buying more plants and pots for the front garden.  Now of course the garden centres are all closed (isn't it terrible that millions of pounds worth of plants are going to have to be binned by the garden centres?).  Whilst we're all on lockdown, now would be an ideal time to get stuck into the gardening, and I do want to get on with it to make our front garden as nice as possible this year, and I also want lots of pots to break up all the concrete husband is laying.  I know I could order plants and pots to be delivered....but that means somebody has to pick and pack them, someone else has to deliver them, so I'd be putting others at risk as well as myself.  It's a bit of a dilemma.  I've looked at things online but not put in an order, I probably won't.  In theory I could pick up some plants and pots from the supermarket, but again that pricks my conscience a bit, it's not really essential stuff.

What would you do?

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Things aren't so bad

Thank you for all the supportive comments yesterday, today is another day.

I had a lovely long catch up with my best friend via technology yesterday, it did a power of good, I feel heaps better today (thank you M 😃😘).  WhatsApp chats with my siblings too, which was brilliant.  How we would manage without technology I don't know.  Speaking of which, the printer cartridge needs changing....having never done it before, I'm not looking forward to that but I expect it's easy enough, I just need to read the instructions and put my Big Girl's Pants on.

We're very lucky in comparison with so many others, I really need to remember that.  Both of us are in relative good health (we don't have any virus signs, I mean), being on fixed State and private pensions means we aren't affected financially, our landlord has suspended the planned rent increase until the crisis is over.  We're actually saving money by not driving anywhere.....and no days out means we're not spending anything.  We're not totally isolated, going out to walk Betty means we still see neighbours....albeit from a distance, just waving and a brief shouted from a distance conversation.  Husband does go dogwalking with a neighbour and his dog every afternoon, but they keep a safe distance apart (the dogs haven't had the memo though!).  

And all this spare time means we have the opportunity to get on with jobs that have been overlooked or put off.  Husband is now finally finishing off the work in the front garden that he started way back last year - laying a patio and relaying the paths, the bad autumn and winter weather put paid to that and it was half finished and looking a mess.  He hadn't got round to starting again, until I asked him nicely to get on with it 😉

Today I'm making jam - not that we eat a lot of jam, hardly ever in fact, but it's useful to have a few jars of homemade jam, they make nice gifts.  I need to use up the last of our homegrown blackcurrants that have been in the freezer since last summer.

Oh, and thank you to Ann and Lexie for your suggestions for antler chews for Betty.  We have in fact got her those in the past, not recently though and I'd completely forgotten about them.  Yesterday when we went to pick up our click and collect grocery order (waste of time really, so many 'out of stock' and substitutions with things that I wouldn't normally buy, I won't be doing that again), I went in the pet shop and got an antler.  It kept Betty occupied for a full hour yesterday, and it will last for weeks.  The field behind us has been ploughed now....well, they'll be finishing it off today, then seeding it, they grow animal feed in a couple of days she'll be able to be off the lead and running around it again.  

And to make me feel even better.....there was a lovely sunrise today.

Keep safe everyone, and count our blessings.

Monday, 30 March 2020

Missing the contact

I know people keep comparing the present situation to wartime, and saying our grandparents had it worse and they coped.  Well yes, there are some similarities, and I'm sure the war killed a damn sight more people.  

But there's one big difference - during the war, people could meet each other, they could get together and hug and chat and have fun together.  We can't - except via technology.  And that's what I'm missing the most - seeing and hugging friends and family.   It's really got to me the last day or 2 and I've had a few tears.

I'm sure we all feel the same.

Sunday, 29 March 2020

Bit daft, could have been worse

Bit of drama this afternoon - the young family next door, presumably looking to keep themselves occupied, decided to clear out their garage.  The local recycling centre is closed until further notice, so nobody can take any stuff to the tip - the young husband therefore decided to burn what he could.  He did use a purpose-built incinerator bin in the back garden, but was throwing all sorts of stuff in it, piling more on when it burnt down a bit.  It's been very windy today, bit of an odd time to have a fire though.  After a while, they moved to the front garden (our front gardens are very sheltered and much warmer than the back) and sat outside eating their lunch.  To cut a long story short, the inevitable happened and the dustbin fire got out of control, the flames fanned by the wind, and set fire to their big double gate.  Luckily, my husband saw it and raised the alarm with them, he got our hosepipe connected up and between them he and the neighbour put the fire out.  It's a good job the neighbour had the sense to move their 2 cars back out of the way before he started burning stuff, doesn't bear thinking about what might have happened if he hadn't.  I don't think they'll be doing that again in a hurry.

I've done nothing today, too much pain.  Couldn't do any exercise and had to resort to taking paracetamol.  It is easing off a bit now though.  I feel totally fed up and a bit depressed today, hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Dog, shopping, backache

Thank you for all the comments yesterday re Betty.  Yes she does need more stimulation to make up for the fact that she's not getting lots of free-running exercise and we're trying different things.  Part of the problem in trying to keep her occupied is that she's a chewer, she has massively strong jaws and chews/tears apart everything we give her to play with.  Cheap toys last just minutes, literally, before she's torn them apart....even the expensive supposedly tough toys she can chew through.  Not only does she chew it, she also eats it if we don't take it off her in time.  I'm very careful to try and avoid her eating anything (plastic, rubber, bits of cloth) as I don't want to have to rush her to the vets because she's got some kind of intestinal blockage!  We do give her the toys you stuff with treats or peanut butter/pate sometimes, she does like them and they keep her occupied for 20 mins or so, until she's got all the food out of them and then she chews the toy itself.  

Hopefully, it'll only be a few more days before the farmers have ploughed the manure into the fields and seeded them, then we'll be able to take her in the fields again and let her off the lead.  Husband did manage to find a field yesterday that seemed to be lying fallow, so she did get a run....however, she obviously found something to roll in (probably a dead animal or an old cow pat) as she came back dirty and stinky.  It's a good job we love her!

This morning I was up early as usual and went online to my grocery order, I'd ordered it a couple of weeks ago, it's a click n collect slot for tomorrow, it was all I could get at the time.  Having gone shopping last week for fresh stuff and managing to get most of what I needed, I wanted to delete some of it off my order - no point in getting more than we need.  A quarter of my order was listed as out of stock anyway, and I deleted another dozen or so things, it wouldn't surprise me if even more is out of stock when we arrive to collect it tomorrow.  It won't matter though, we'll manage with what we've got, I'm not going in the shop to try and replace anything.

I've got terrible backache this morning, it kept me awake a lot last night.  I know why, it's because I spent a lot of time in the kitchen last week, baking (including some cakes for neighbours) and batch cooking meals and veggies for the freezer.  Standing in one position, as you do when you're making cakes or bread, chopping veg or standing over the stove, has always been a killer for my back.  And my hips are painful too, as I forgot to take my CBD oil last night.  If ever I thought that the oil doesn't work, this proves it does - on the few occasions I've forgotten to take it, my hips are agony the next day.  I've taken it now, and will try and do some gentle exercise today, and then lie on the bed with my cheapo TENS machine pads on my's not brilliant but is better than nothing.  I don't want to take paracetamol as we haven't got loads of them and they can't be bought for love nor money at the moment.  Would rather do without meds anyway.

Mixture of sunshine and clouds this morning, there's a blooming chilly wind though, I won't be doing anything outside.

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Struggling a bit

It's difficult to walk Betty at the moment....well, give her a good run off the lead I mean.  Where we live it's all narrow little lanes, just wide enough for a tractor, with ditches and tall hedges on both sides and laybys so vehicles can pass or walkers can take refuge from tractors, and lots of farms.  Most of the farmers round here don't mind locals walking their dogs in their fields, provided they're not being used for livestock or have newly planted crops.  There is one farmer who objects and orders people off his land, but he's a minority of one.

However, right now the farmers are all getting their fields ready for crops, so they're spraying with weedkiller first, then a few days later it's muck spreading (we used to shut all the windows when we saw them doing that, but now I really don't mind the smell!).  And then they plough it all in a couple of days later, followed by seeding.

And during all this, we can't take Betty in the fields - we don't want her coming into contact with weedkiller obviously, and we certainly don't take her in a field that's been covered with muck - she adores the smell and throws herself down and rolls around in it.  I may be used to the smell now but I don't want it indoors on a filthy stinky dog!  It takes ages to wash it off her, we know from experience, the smell still lingers on her fur for days, and the college grooming salon has closed for the duration of the virus lockdown.

We can't take her to the beach or the Marshes nature reserve either, not allowed to drive to anywhere at the moment.  So that means right now we can only walk her, on lead, along the lanes.   So shes's not getting much proper exercise and is consequently full of beans at home.  We do play with her every day, she loves tugging toys and chases after the toys we throw, but it's chaos - our house isn't very big, nor is our front garden - husband doesn't like her in the back garden because she tramples over all his veg beds and likes digging in them.  So playing with her results in the house looking like we've had a party for toddlers, or big scrape marks in the front lawn where she's skidded across it chasing her toys, and bits broken off my shrubs after she's crashed into them.  She's a chunky little bruiser who creates havoc when she's charging around.  But she does make me laugh, all the same.

Who can resist that face anyway, she's adorable and I love her to bits.

I'm suffering a bit with cabin fever too, am sure we all are.  Nearly a week into lockdown and still weeks to go.  Wouldn't surprise me at all if it turns out to be longer than 3 weeks.  But I guess staying safe at home is better than the alternative.