Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Hairdressing day

Thank you everyone for the lovely comments on our garden, we are very happy with our efforts thus far.  We've (well, I say We, it's husband who does the work in the veg garden, I just help out occasionally) been growing produce for a few years now, we do grow more each year, we try to ensure we have enough of some things to see us through the winter.  

We are very lucky to live where we do, the house is comfortable enough, the garden is lovely, it's quiet with not much traffic, we have very nice neighbours in this very small rural farming hamlet, and the views are fabulous.  It's not all roses of course, we have no public transport or any services at all within walking distance, so it would be well nigh impossible to live here without a car.  But having to drive to get to shops, doctor, dentist, bank, library etc is a small price to pay.  And it's only a 20 minute drive to get to a gorgeous beach - how wonderful is that?!  We can't go there at the moment, of course, but I'm really looking forward to the time when we can.

When I got up at about 05.15, it was a beautiful Spring morning, pale sunshine and a pale pink, an hour later, there's a heavy mist and it's raining, it's almost like I dreamt the sun!  The forecast is for heavy rain this morning, but it should clear up and be sunny this afternoon.

I shall put a colour on my hair this morning....I've decided I do like the silver so it's staying.  And then I will attempt to cut it a bit more - I might even risk asking husband to trim the back.  All he'll have to do is cut a straight line across the bottom, surely even he can manage that! (she says, hopefully).  At least I'm hardly seeing anyone or going anywhere at the moment, so if it's a disaster it won't really matter!

I've started writing on my food blog again, can't promise to keep it up but will do my best.

Monday, 27 April 2020

Back garden allotment pics

Thank you for the kind comments on my front garden pics yesterday.  My front garden (the front is my domain, the back is husband's) is a work in progress, my eventual aim is for it to be a cottage type garden full of old fashioned flowers and shrubs and roses.  We are very lucky in that our front garden is a sun trap, sheltered from the wind (it's often very windy here due to the fact that the land is flat and open between us and the Bristol channel, some 2 or 3 miles away as the crow flies), quiet and private, there's a large hedge between us and the lane.  Not that the lane is busy, it isn't, other than tractors and delivery vehicles going to the farm at the end of the lane.  There's a noticeable difference between the front and back gardens....the back is much windier, facing North towards the channel, the front being South-facing and protected from the wind by the house and the tall hedge.

For our first 3 or 4 years here (been in this house getting on for 8 years) my focus wasn't really on gardening and I didn't do much to the front garden, other than keep it tidy.  When we first got Betty (we've had her almost 3.5 years now, where has the time gone?) there wasn't much point in making something of the garden, as she just trampled over everything and liked to dig.  She still does actually, but we're gradually getting her out of it.....the SharPei in her means she's extremely stubborn.  I love my garden now and enjoy moving pots around, watching the shrubs I planted last year spring back to life, and making plans for future projects.

We don't sit out in the back garden as it's so windy, so husband has transformed it into more or less an allotment, with fruit trees, raised beds and a large polytunnel.  He loves working on it, although does tend to get sidetracked with constructing various DIY projects.  Still, it keeps him busy and out of mischief.  

The left and right sides of the 'allotment', featuring the shed he built himself.

and zoomed in.  We have 2 Conference pear trees, including a small one we were given last year, 2 cookers and 1 dessert apple, and a Victoria plum (about 7 years old and yet to give us any fruit).  2 blueberries, 2 blackcurrants and a few raspberry canes complete the fruit selection, oh and strawberries which will probably need replacing next year.

And the reason it's so windy at the back....the open flat fields towards the Bristol channel.  The farmer uses this and the adjoining field for animal feed crops, he's just sown maize.  There are sheep in the field to the right behind the hedge.

The header picture is the view to the front, the fields are owned by a different farmer.  The field isn't used for crops but for livestock - sometimes cows and calves, sometimes ewes and lambs.  They're about to put livestock back in for the first time this year - I hope it's cows and calves, the calves are so funny to watch, they leap about and chase each other just like lambs do, only it's funnier watching bigger animals do it.

Sunday, 26 April 2020

Garden pics

Oh what a lovely morning to go walking on the beach.....if only we could! 😭  Still, hopefully it won't be too long now.  I know new police guidelines say we can drive to exercise, so long as we walk for longer than the drive there, but it still doesn't feel right.  And, as Marlene from Poppy Patchwork pointed out, some B&Qs are now open, but our nearest is quite a way away (Taunton, which is about 30 mins drive, possibly a bit less now there's less traffic).  However much I'd like to get more plants and pots, it's a want, not a need, so I don't feel it's appropriate to go right now.  And the infection danger isn't over yet.  Just have to be patient.....although I don't do patience very well.

Some garden pics, now husband has finished the concreting:-

The bin screen he made, which I think looks lovely (would have looked even better if I'd thought to put the recycling box behind the screen before I took pic, duh!).  The clematis montana has been reasonably good this year, but not nearly as many flowers as last year - it was smothered then.

The little acer I bought last year for a couple of pounds, it's coming on in leaps and bounds considering it was just a twig when I got it.  Betty got in on the act just as I was taking photo.

The front corner bed with lots of lush new growth, will look lovely when all the flowers come out.  The hosta front centre seems to put on an inch of growth every time I look at it.

Along the front fence.  Don't look at the lawn, it's more daisies, buttercups and moss than grass.  Not that I mind, at least it's pretty.  Oh, it's also full of solitary bees, which Betty is fascinated by.  Good job they are harmless and don't sting.

Some of the pots I planted up yesterday.   Don't like the cheap plastic ones much but needs must at the moment, just have to use what I've got.

And more by the front door.  The ones to the left of the picture have Mum's ashes in them.  I'd eventually (when lockdown is over) like trellis either side of the door with climbing roses.

And finally, the two roses my best friend got me for my 60th birthday last year, they're strong and healthy and doing really well.

Friday, 24 April 2020

Settling into a new routine

Thank you for all the supportive comments.  It's nice to get things off my chest, I might even do it more often! (you have been warned).

This week of doing differently the things I normally do, has worked out really well and I shall be continuing it.  To recap.....I do all my jobs, housework, admin/banking, any baking, cooking, gardening etc in the mornings, and we've trialled having our main meal at lunchtimes instead of early evening.  Then come the evening it's a DIY job for eating - we each sort out our own meal, I just have something light like cheese & biscuits or toast, husband does himself something a bit more substantial.  So my afternoons now are free for me to do whatever I want - I've been cardmaking mostly (put several photos on my card blog), sat in the garden a few times, played with the dog, had a long chat with my sister yesterday.  Having a defined structure to the day feels good.

Husband has finally finished all the concreting in the front garden, he's worked hard on it.  I shall be very glad when restrictions ease and I can get to a garden centre to buy some more pots and plants, it all looks a bit stark and bare at the moment.  I have space for lots of plants in containers now and will enjoy filling it, when I can.  I'd like mostly perennial flowering shrubs in pots, but a few tubs of bedding plants too.  Oh, and Spring bulbs, I do like to have pots full of bulbs.  I want the front garden to be full of colour.  All the perennial shrubs I planted in the borders last year are bursting into life again, it's going to look really good this year.  I'm sticking to a pink and purple theme.  The two rose bushes I was given by my best friend for my 60th birthday last year are doing really well, looking exceptionally healthy with lots of bushy leaf growth and buds.

This morning I'm going to make a rhubarb and apple crumble and a tea loaf (both husband's request).  As it's Friday (had to look at my phone to confirm what day it is!!) we'll have fish, chips and mushy peas for lunch.  And then this afternoon more cardmaking.  

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

A little rant

Everything is annoying or upsetting me right now (have you noticed?!).  What is it about the current situation that makes people (real life and on the internet) think they can tell me where I'm going wrong, what risks I'm taking (by going shopping when I have NO CHOICE!, or getting a (one off) delivery when I should leave them for others more vulnerable - damned if I do and damned if I don't!).  What I should or shouldn't be doing, even what I should (or shouldn't) write on my blog or whether or not I should even blog?  Or offering me 'helpful' suggestions and advice....which I haven't asked for?

It's MY life, nobody else's, other people don't live their lives like I do, I don't tell other people what they should be doing.  As for people telling me that I should keep blogging because it helps to get comments from others, or that I shouldn't write about certain things - both comments I've had (and not published) recently - in case they haven't noticed, this is MY blog, MY life, and I will write what I damn well please, and it's up to me to blog when I want, or not at all.  As I've said before, if you don't like or agree with what I write, then don't read it.  What's so hard about that?

We all cope with this current terrible situation in different ways, I don't tell other people what they should be doing or how they should cope.  3 members of my family have had (and recovered from) the virus, other family members are dropping like flies from illnesses other than C-19.  It's been feeling lately like every day brings some different bad news.  Husband's prostate op has been postponed until next year, and probably late in the year according to his phone consultation with his surgeon - understandable in the circumstances, but a nuisance all the same.  His foot operation has been put off indefinitely.  My referral for physio for my arthritic hips is also on hold, I can't have a scan until I've been seen and assessed by the physio (so not in the foreseeable future), I'm having no treatment other than paracetamol.  

So if anyone else thinks they can tell me what I should or shouldn't be doing (where do they even get the brass neck to think they have the right?!  Especially if they don't even know me, or even if they do!) - they're likely to get an earful.

Right, now that's off my chest.....(turned into a big rant!)

I've changed the pattern of my days.  For various reasons we have decided to have our main meal at lunchtimes instead of early evening.  This means I can prepare and cook the meal, do the necessary housework (as little as possible, other than cleaning!), washing, etc, all in the mornings.  So in the afternoons I can do cardmaking, or a bit of gardening (which mainly consists of weeding or a bit of pruning right now, in the absence of any open garden centres for getting new plants etc), or just sit outside or lie on the bed and read a book.  It's working out quite well.

Monday, 20 April 2020


My Mum had 2 sisters and 1 brother, she was the eldest of them.  Her youngest sister, my adored aunt Sylvia, died on the 5 July, Mum on Christmas Eve.  Now the middle sister is at end of life with cancer, doctors have said it will be within the next couple of days.  An unhappy and odd coincidence that all 3 sisters will have died within months of each other, each with different causes of death (and none from Covid-19!).  That leaves their brother, who has Parkinsons and other health problems, he's deteriorated rapidly in the last few months.  I was shocked at how much he'd gone downhill at Mum's funeral, in the 5 months or so since I'd last seen him at Sylvia's.  When he passes, that means that, other than his wife who is fine, thankfully, I will be the eldest remaining member of my family.  That's a very daunting, sobering and scary thought.

I'm not blogging very much lately because I have nothing much to write about, and am not in a good place.  Days consist of housework, washing (at least it's been good drying weather for weeks now), cooking, a bit of gardening (can't do as much as I'd like as I need more plants and containers).  I go for dog walks with husband when my arthritic hips and back will allow me.  I'm doing a fair bit of cardmaking.

Have just made a fish pie for dinner today (cod and smoked mackerel).  Will make an orange drizzle cake and some dog biscuits later.  Did a bit of admin and banking, can't do any more until some post I'm waiting for arrives....the virus situation is delaying things.  After a bit of chivvying from me, husband says he's going to finish the last bit of the concreting in the front garden in the next few days.  I just wish he would finish one job at a time rather than having a dozen on the go, none of them ever get finished that way.  

Thank you all so much for the lovely supportive comments, it means a lot to me to know that people understand.  I have no need to go shopping this week, thankfully.

Friday, 17 April 2020

never again

Well, shopping in Morrisons was downright awful.  I thought it wouldn't be busy as it was raining.....wrong, 15 mins queueing in the rain.  In the queue were several groups of people....clearly not bothering about the 1 person only rule.  One man (in a group of 4) was coughing continually.  The man in front of me was chain-smoking roll-ups whilst waiting in the queue, the wind was blowing his smoke straight at me.  For 2 pins I'd have gone home, it was only knowing I'd have to go out again tomorrow (when it would be even busier) that made me stay.

Inside the store was busy and hardly anyone was observing social distancing, it was so stressful.  Couldn't get several things on my list...after getting a few substitutions, I just gave up with the rest - if they didn't have it, hard luck, we'll do without.  There was an even longer queue to get to a checkout, snaking all round the front half of the shop.  

And the worst thing of one aisle a youngish man (half my age), clearly oblivious to anyone around him, WALKED RIGHT INTO ME - LITERALLY BUMPING INTO ME.  He didn't even step back, he just looked at me and laughed.  He soon moved though when I told him to 'F... off!'.  Yes, rude I know, but I was so shocked and stressed by then.  I was shaking and in tears by the time I got back in the car.

I'm not going to Morrisons again, I do like the shop but some of the customers (and some staff as well) just put me off.  It'll be Sainsburys from now on, people just seem to be nicer in there and both staff and customers observe the rules.  And before anyone jumps on me, this is my blog and it's my opinion!

Light at the end of the tunnel

Scarlet mentioned in a comment yesterday that driving to exercise is legal - thank you for bringing that to my attention, Scarlet, I see it's been widely reported in the papers now.

However, ironically, not only is it raining today, I've just discovered that our favourite beach is closed.  It's privately owned by a small chalet park (the chalets are all in private ownership under the auspices of a management company who runs the park) and they've made the decision to temporarily close not only the park, but the beach too, for safety reasons, on their website they are asking people not to go to the beach.  Fair enough - I'll keep checking though to see if they reopen the beach in the light of the updated regulations.

We were just about to buy an annual season ticket for the beach car park before the lockdown started, obviously we'll wait now.  If you buy a season ticket you get a 10% discount off the price the following year.

Got to go shopping for fresh veg and dairy today, which I'm not looking forward to, shopping is not a pleasant experience right now and I'm so relieved when I can get back in the car.  Will go after lunch, it's not so busy in the afternoons and hopefully the rain will have kept some people at home anyway, I doubt people will want to queue outside when it's wet.

Thursday, 16 April 2020

I bloody hate lockdown

I'm really struggling with lockdown, missing seeing, talking to and hugging friends and family in person, as I'm sure we all are.  And being unable to go to the beach when the weather's been so good is awful.  I love the fact that we live within a few minutes' drive of the beach now, whereas for many years previously we lived in the middle of the country, a lot of miles from any beach.  But it's not much consolation when we're currently not allowed to drive to the beach.  It'll be one of the first places we go when lockdown ends.

We had to go and collect our prescriptions yesterday, on the way back we stopped off at my best friend's house to collect something, we didn't go in, the box was left for us at the end of their drive.  My friend stood at the top of the drive, waving.  It was horrible, I felt like a leper, I was in tears on the way home.  I know it's necessary for all of us, my friend's family are shielding due to serious health doesn't make it any easier to cope with though.

Made some more cards to keep myself occupied, they're on my card blog.  There's no washing in the laundry basket, all the hoovering is done, bathroom and kitchen cleaned along with door handles and surfaces, fed up with cooking and baking stuff for the freezer (it's full up now anyhow).  I suppose I could sort out my wardrobe - again - and the bedding boxes under the beds.  But then I'd have to find somewhere to store the bags of anything I chuck out, as we can't currently take it to any charity shops.

Saturday, 11 April 2020

Thank you

Goldensunflower, I just want to say thank you so much for your lovely words.  Your kindness (from a stranger) brought tears to my eyes, for reasons I can't tell you.  And thank you to everyone who has been so kind and uplifting.  

Happy Easter, I hope we can all get through this and stay as safe as we can. xx

Friday, 10 April 2020

Good Friday apparently

I've just seen my hairdresser friend and neighbour and had a chat - from a safe distance (about 3 or 4 metres) over our garden gate, she was coming back from dog walking.  Told her I'm going to attempt cutting my hair tomorrow so she'll have a bit of a mess to sort out in a month or so!  She laughed.  She said if I'm desperate she's willing to cut my hair in her garden, with us both wearing masks....I declined, I'm sure I'll manage, it'll only be a trim, nothing drastic.

The pollen count apparently is the highest it's been since records began in 1951....I can vouch for that, my hayfever is the worst it's ever been, antihistamine tabs and nasal spray aren't really touching it.  I'm sure (well, I hope) it'll go soon, I always get it early in the season then it wears off, grass pollen doesn't usually bother me.

So I've been staying indoors most of the time, doing some baking (cheese scones, bread and rolls and mini light fruit cakes), the odd bit of housework (it is odd for me to do much housework!  😁😂  other than cleaning door handles, surfaces, banister, kitchen and bathroom more regularly now).  I've also made quite a few cards, some of them I've put on my card blog....when I remember to take photos of them.

The days are just blurring into one another....husband put the recycling out early this morning, completely forgetting it's Good Friday so they won't be coming, so had to bring it in again.  Just checked on the website and they should come tomorrow.  We don't leave the stuff out overnight as if it's windy it gets blown down the road, or animals disturb it, and the binmen don't pick it up off the road.

Didn't sleep very well last night (usual thing, stuff on my mind oh and I was too hot), so I might get what I need to do done this morning and then lie on the bed and read this afternoon.  Husband's grass cutting this morning, then is going to cut the hedge this afternoon, that'll keep him busy, he likes to be outside.

Thank you for all your supportive comments, I've calmed down now.  In future comments like that one won't even be mentioned, let alone published, they'll just be binned straight away.  How complete strangers think they have the right to tell me what I should or shouldn't be doing I don't know, bloody cheek.

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Mind your own damn business!

I had another snidey comment, which I'm not publishing (it was anonymous, of course, bloody cowards!) on my blog today, to do with shopping.  The commenter objected to the fact that we were having a home delivery grocery shop.  In the past 3 weeks we have had ONE click and collect shop and ONE home delivery, both of which I ordered 2 or 3 weeks ago....not that it's anything to do with anyone else.  And if the poster had bothered to read one of my previous blogs, they'd have seen I said that I'm not having any more home deliveries, as I prefer to leave them for people who need them most.  This despite the fact that we both have health conditions putting us at risk, and husband would be very ill indeed (if not die) if he caught the virus.  On the rare occasions we go shopping, he stays in the car whilst I go inside alone.  I have diabetes, 2 liver conditions and a weakened immune system, but I am relatively healthy and am 9 years younger than my husband, who is 69 and has heart failure, amongst other things.

I'm getting a bit fed up with random strangers, who don't even know me, judging me on what I write ON MY BLOG.  They pick on one thing which gets up their nose, without taking any notice of anything else I may have said.  (Funnily enough, I know people in real life who do that too - choosing to get all arsey about one thing and ignoring everything else).  

I repeat, this is my blog, I can write what the hell I like.  I can (and do!) also LEAVE OUT anything I choose not to tell the world and his wife.  I don't expect everyone to agree with my opinions all the time, I read lots of blogs and don't always agree with what they say, but - and here's the thing - I WOULDN'T DREAM OF TAKING THEM TO TASK AND TELLING THEM!!  I just keep schtum.  Because it's the polite thing to do.  

This terrible virus is bringing all of us (well, most of us) together and bringing out the best in people, by and large.  But in a few cases it's having the opposite effect.....some people think they can have a go at complete strangers and tell them what to do, without checking their facts beforehand.  And then there's the truly despicable idiots who think it's funny to spit at nurses and accuse them of spreading the virus, or who lick their fingers and wipe them on foodstuffs in shops.

If you don't like what I say on MY BLOG, then don't come and read it.  And mind your own damn business!!

I don't feel very well today at's not virus symptoms, I have terrible hayfever, general malaise caused by my liver disease which flares up every now and again, and an anxiety attack and severe palpitations, not helped by the self-righteous holier-than-thou commenter (thanks for that!) and other things going on in my life right now.  So I think I'll have a few days off of blogging. 

Keep safe everyone.  

Shopping - what passes for excitement

Thank you for comments.  The neighbour's daughter was round again yesterday....she came on her own this time though.  Even if they think they're virus-free, they may not can have (or pass on) the virus without having any symptoms, apparently.  And none of us knows who the people we may see have themselves been having contact with, or where they've been or what they've touched, any of us could pick the virus up from anywhere.  It's literally impossible to sterilise absolutely everything we touch.  We can only hope we stay virus-free by doing what we can to stay safe.

We have a shopping order coming today, on checking the order online this morning it appears there are about 8 or 9 items missing, and I also forgot to order 2 or 3 other things.  Well, I placed the order about 3 weeks ago, so it's a bit difficult to think of everything I might run out of at a future date.  So I think we might have to physically go shopping tomorrow or Friday to see if we can get the missing stuff.  As before, husband will stay in the car whilst I go in the shop.  I do make a point of keeping my distance, but have noticed not everyone else does and I've had to back away from people who've got too close.  I guess if you're engrossed in your shopping list or not paying attention, it's easy to forget.  Also, it's hard to actually pick an item off the shelves when people are standing there, it's a case of having to wait until they've moved away.  Shopping is definitely not a pleasure right now, even if it is the only thing that gets us out of the house and garden at the moment, other than dog walking.  We will need to go and collect prescriptions next week, we have to order them 5 working days in advance now, which is a bit of a nuisance to remember.

The last couple of days I've felt like a caged animal, I'm really missing going to our favourite beach.  Dunster beach is my mental wellbeing place, it calms my mind and blows the cobwebs away, Betty loves it too.  It's such a pity we don't live in walking distance of it....actually, nobody does really, you have to drive to get there (unless you're a dedicated walker).  It'll be probably the first place we go when restrictions are lifted.  

I'm also missing contact with people, especially my best friend.  

Monday, 6 April 2020

Hayfever, Boris and baking

Yesterday wasn't as warm as it should have been, there was a strong wind keeping the temperature down.....must have kept the pollen down too as my hayfever wasn't too bad.  However, my nose and eyes are already itching like mad this morning, and I haven't even opened the front door yet, let alone gone outside.  So it will definitely be an indoors day today.  I didn't sleep very well, things on my mind again, so don't have a lot of energy today.

So Boris is now in hospital - not surprised, he looked terrible in his video on Friday.  I hope he survives.  If any of you are suffering, or have relatives who are (like Cherie), I hope you all get through it safely.  A second one of my nephews came down with it, he seems to have come through it ok as well as the other nephew and cousin's husband, thankfully.  

Husband is doing well with concreting the path, he reckons he'll finish it this week.  So then I can get on with rearranging all my pots and getting the garden towards how I want it to finally look.  Will need to get rid of the old wooden companion seat which is falling to bits - as we can't take it to the tip, I expect husband will just chop it up for now and put it in a garden bag.  2 or 3 of the neighbours have wood burner stoves so they might want the wood.  I'd planted some dahlia tubers in a big pot and noticed yesterday something (could be Betty for all I know) has been digging in the pot, the soil had been disturbed and was scattered on the ground around the pot.  Wouldn't surprise me if it was Betty, she does like to dig.  

Going to bake a couple of things today, husband asked for some cheese scones and I'll make a batch of Mary Berry's chocolate fork biscuits for the lovely kind neighbour next door.  She knows I use a lot of eggs and twice recently she's brought me a box home from shopping, without me even asking and won't take any money for them, bless her.

Speaking of neighbours, one of the households here doesn't seem to get the idea of isolation, they're having regular visits from their daughter and young grandchildren.  It's not that they're old or vulnerable - they're not at all, they're only in their 50s and perfectly well.  Must think the rules don't apply to them.  But when you get the likes of Government ministers, footballers etc. who are flouting the rules by visiting their 2nd homes, or having parties, is it any wonder?

Sunday, 5 April 2020

Staying in on a sunny day

It's already quite warm out, although still a bit of a breeze....however, the pollen count is forecast to be very high today so I doubt I'll be outside.  My hayfever, which varies in intensity every year, is worse this year than it's ever been, don't know why.  I'm allergic to tree pollen, mainly birch....I don't sneeze very much, fortunately, my main problem is the itchiness - my eyes and nose itch so much I could tear them off my face.  My eyes get very red and stream as well so, along with a drippy nose, I constantly look like I've been crying.  Just as well I'm not really seeing anyone then!  I do take hayfever meds but they're not really helping much right now.  Oh well, at least I haven't got the virus.

So I'll stay inside cardmaking instead.  I started yesterday, going through all my cardstock and choosing about a dozen, then folding them ready for designing and topping.  I completed one card and started another, I have a few more designs in mind.

Husband made a lovely screen yesterday for the bins, he just needs to fit it now, for which he needs a post and hinges, he's ordering them for delivery.  He's doing a bit more to the concrete path today, he does it in sections, 2 or 3 feet at a time.  He thinks he's going to run out of something or other, stones or sand, I don't know which, so will have to have that delivered too, I suppose.

On the subject of having stuff delivered....I have a grocery order due for delivery the latter part of this week.  I need to delete a couple of things I no longer need, and add another couple - at the moment though it's proving impossible to get on the supermarket website, it just keeps saying try again later.  I've tried late at night and early morning, as well as during the luck, guess I'll just have to keep on trying.  Shopping is a nightmare at the moment isn't it?  Getting a home delivery slot is like trying to find hens teeth as most are now reserved for the really vulnerable (quite rightly), and actually going into a shop is a nerve-wracking experience.

The heart failure charity I belong to, on husband's behalf, wrote to the Government asking for heart failure to be put on the 'extremely vulnerable shielded' list, as an HF sufferer who gets Covid 19 is likely to be very seriously ill (the comedian Eddie Large, who had HF, died a few days ago having contracted the virus).  The virus can also make HF worse, apparently, so even if the patient survives the virus, they'll likely be more incapacitated afterwards.  The charity said yesterday that an announcement will be made in the next few days.  So if HF is put on the list, we'll be in definite isolation for another 12 weeks.  It's all very worrying, but I try not to think about it too much.

Changing the subject, I need a haircut!  I have my hair cut every month, my friend and neighbour H from 2 doors away is a hairdresser, so am very fortunate....however, obviously she can't do it at the moment.  It's about 6 or 7 weeks since I last had it cut and it's getting so long and floppy on the top, whereas I like it short and spiky.  I think I'm going to have to cut it myself....I have done it before, it'll only be a trim, nothing drastic.  A friend suggested I get husband to do it....erm no thanks!  He's so cackhanded and accident prone, I wouldn't let him near me with scissors.  He's lucky, he just shaves his head with the electric clippers and I do the bits at the back he's missed.

I've put a gammon hock in the CleverChef on slow cook, I'll shred it later and we'll have it with homemade parsley sauce and veggies.  I'll do a carbonara with the leftover meat tomorrow.

Saturday, 4 April 2020

The Bodycoach and Marlene's quiche

Thank you for comments yesterday....and I shall leave it at that for the sake of my blood pressure.

I'm conscious of the fact that I've put on a bit of weight - partly due to not going out much during the horrible wet and windy winter we had, and now of course the stay at home except for essentials guidelines.  Plus the fact that I've been making more cakes (at husband's request, although I do eat some as well) and we've had quite a few carby meals lately, using up things in the cupboard and freezer.  My bad back and very sore and stiff arthritic hips mean I can't do much in the way of exercise anyway, even walking (or just standing!) is too painful sometimes.  However, I do need to keep mobile or it'll just get worse.

Joe Wicks, the Bodycoach, is very popular on YouTube right now, as everyone must know (unless you've been hibernating recently), he's doing a 30 min workout primarily aimed at school kids every weekday morning.  Well, 30 mins is too much for me in my unfit overweight state - plus I'm not 12, bendy and energetic.  But he also does a 10 min workout aimed specifically at seniors, so I gave that a go this morning.  I managed it surprisingly well, and it certainly got my heart rate elevated.  So I will endeavour to do it, if not every morning, then several times a week.  It's a start.

Oh, I keep meaning to say to Marlene of Poppy Patchwork.....I made your Mallee quiche the other day, using up some diced gammon and asparagus stalks (I'd used the tips for something else), a sliced leek and cheese.  It was delicious, and set nicely because of the flour.  Thanks Marlene, I shall be doing this regularly and doubt I will ever go to the trouble of making a pastry case for a quiche again.  Marlene's recipe is here

I took a photo but for some reason it didn't come out!   (user error, I expect).

I'll be pottering in the garden today, and keeping Betty from sticking her nose in the cement bag and generally getting in Daddy's way - she does like to help!

Friday, 3 April 2020

Garden stuff

Today's going to be reasonable, according to the weather forecast - sunny with cloudy spells, not exactly warm but not too cold either, a bit of a breeze but nothing strong.  Tomorrow is forecast to be a bit warmer (the wind coming from the south) but quite a bit more wind, so I won't want to be outside, I really don't like the wind.

I want to get on with the front garden, but it's a question of getting husband organised to finish the concrete paving - he's been concentrating on the back garden and digging over his veg beds.  The thing is, that's not really a priority right now as he's got no seedlings ready to transplant out into the beds, it's too early for that anyhow.  So I've asked him to get on with the front garden over the next few well as finishing concreting the paths, I want him to make a screen for the bins, something he could do easily, although he does need to buy some supplies.

The state of the front garden is really irritating me at the moment.  Due to the layout of our house, the front garden is where we spend most time when the weather is good, it's sheltered, a sun trap and private, it can't be seen from the lane.  I love my front garden and am gradually filling it with cottage garden plants.  I'm also acquiring and planting up lots of pots - I need them all to break up all the concrete.  (Just to recap, I got husband to get rid of some of the lawn and lay patios and increase the size of the paths, so it cuts down on work - mowing especially - as we get older, concreting was his choice).  I've got lots of planted up pots now, all clustered around the front door whilst I wait for him to finish the rest of the work.  

I know he has to take it slowly, I don't have a problem with that - especially since now he has to do it alone, whereas before a neighbour friend who's got plenty of experience with patio and path laying was helping him out....can't do that now with the Covid restrictions.  I can't be much help to him as I'm having such trouble with my back and hips at the moment.  The problem is actually getting him to do the work, rather than him disappearing into the back garden or his polytunnel all the time.  He's been doing what he wants - I want him to do what I want!  We've had a chat about it and he's going to get on with the front garden over the next few days.
I want to move all my pots into their final positions, probably playing around with layouts until I'm satisfied.  We also want some new garden furniture, as our wooden companion seat is falling to bits, I've seen some I like.  But I can't do all that until husband has finished the concreting and built the bin screen.

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?