Now it’s all getting a bit same-ish …. but I’m not complaining – we’re doing our bit by ‘Staying at home’ … to ‘Protect the NHS’ and ‘save lives.’ But by way of journal, rather than repeat the same activities that I’ve been mentioning for the last 5 weeks, I thought I’d just portray our Lockdown life by way of photography.
Just a few ‘funnies’ to mention – I’ve had a couple of mishaps since my last blog. Firstly Steve and I were having a bit of a kitchen dance on Wednesday evening (following a family Birthday zoom session and a few wines) and I managed to get my feet all tangled and ended up on the floor – not very dainty! In slamming my foot on the ceramic tiles I managed to damage a couple of toes – possibly broken or at the least badly bruised …. and painful. We did laugh though 😂
And then on Monday of this week, I sat to admire our gardening at the front of the house …. unfortunately the fence I chose to use as a chair gave way underneath me and once again I ended up on my bottom, painfully! Must do something about this Lockdown weight!
My third funny was the receipt of a dodgy email asking me for $2,000 otherwise they would expose all the seedy videos of myself in compromising positions that they could access on my computer. I was initially shocked by their descriptive language … but then it became hilarious …. and into the trash bin it went.
On a political note, there’s still no hint of possible lockdown release – despite daily question bombardment from the reporters. The politicians are keeping tight-lipped about any future plans to ensure no weakening at this point, risking a second wave. Every day this week has brought good news in terms of a decrease in new cases and deaths.
And Boris is back!! Not that we’ve seen him present the daily update yet – I guess he’s saving his return for the day when news of normal life resuming can be announced. Having said that, his fiancée Carrie did have a baby today – so I guess he’s been busy!
And then finally today we got out for a walk … my toes still a little painful but they managed 5 miles in my walking boots!
You gotta love Milton Keynes – beautiful walks are so accessible. I think this Lockdown is going to give many of us a whole new appreciation.
Missing everybody. Can’t wait for hugs ❣️❣️❣️❣️❣️❣️❣️❣️❣️❣️
Over the weekend we heard that we are now allowed to drive to a destination for walking. The guidelines state that the distance you travel by car should not exceed the length of your walk. So we chose a suitable destination and set off excitedly, expanding our horizons. Unwittingly we did travel a little further than our walk turned out to be – but what’s a mile or two between friends. It was not our intention to break the rules, we had a fabulous walk and appreciated every minute of what felt like a newfound freedom.
We drove to Drayton Parslow – Steve was familiar with a 6 mile circular walk across fields and farmland, through a couple of villages. It was clear blue sky and sunshine but a chilly wind, especially when walking across exposed areas, but being experienced ramblers we were layered up and ready. It was amazing to be in unfamiliar landscape.
Our first step into the route involved climbing over a stile into a field with horses. I love horses and am normally not nervous of them … but then I’m not usually in the same field as them. Being aware of ‘social distancing’ I had decided it was not a great idea to stroke said equine friends. As it turned out, one of the horses felt most put out that he wasn’t getting any attention … and so trotted closely behind us, neighing, all the way to our getaway stile. It left me feeling heartless though – he just didn’t understand the lockdown rules!
It was another stunning countryside walk, appreciating nature – wild flowers, red kites, kestrels, butterflies, sheep, newborn lambs, cows, horses, blooming hedgerows – feel so lucky. Also some fabulous examples of countryside living – much house envy!
This is certainly a sheep farming area – we walked through field after field of them. And so many newborn lambs – all frisky, under the watchful eye of ‘Mum.’ And the Mums were certainly keeping a close watch on us as we walked near them, heads jutting out, eyes locked on our every move … the little ones oblivious.
Getting towards the end of our walk we were faced with walking though a field of cows. Although pretty experienced in doing this from our coastal walking, it really is NOT my favourite thing – too many stories of cows chasing heard. This ‘herd’ were tucked into the far end of the field, nonchalantly grazing … but not for long. As we progressed through, their heads popped up one by one and then in one large group they started heading towards us. As they started to block off the stile we were aiming for I started to let out a few shrieks (as I do). Steve leapt to my protection by doing his farmer bit, making himself tall, waving his arms around and shooing. I moved as fast as my little legs allowed me (without running, as I didn’t want to invite a chase) … and we got speedily over the stile in one piece. I think they’re just lonely – everyone’s missing interaction!
Finally found ourselves back in the beautiful village of Drayton Parslow and wandered back to the car, spotting ‘For Sale’ houses along the way.
So good to travel a bit further afield today, such a treat. Driving back home we passed a police car …. immediately felt guilty for some reason – all prepared with Garmin evidence if necessary. These are strange times – you feel like a fugitive.
And got home just in time to join in with a family Zoom – 7 out of my 8 siblings on board today – Maureen, Margaret, Pete, Caroline, Geraldine, Shane and me + visits from other halves! We hardly came up for air … but got knocked out after 40 minutes … (Zoom not extending anymore unless you pay) .. probably a good thing, we’d still be there now!
The week since Easter has drifted by with no punctuation – each day can be so similar with nothing to define a difference. Trying hard not to get to a Groundhog Day situation by introducing new activities and varying the daily routines.
Of course we are fortunate in having retired in recent years, so do not have to address new working methods or indeed face concerns over employment stability. Like the majority of the population however we still face financial uncertainties imposed by this pandemic … but like everyone else we have to soldier on and hope for the best. It could be so much worse.
We recognise and highly praise the work of our key workers, especially those on the front line. And we’re aware that many people are working from home. So trying not to witter on in self-piteous style about filling up each day, not being allowed out, missing the company of others. But even for us old retirees that are used to having unlimited free time, the lockdown measures definitely make each day seem different and we’ve learnt to highly value the normal life we have. In some ways daytimes seem longer and yet there’s a horrible sense of life passing us by. I guess this is down to not being able to be with those you love and doing many of the things that you love doing.
Even with aims for varying each day, a certain new lockdown routine reigns. The day starts with exercise and breakfast, followed by housework then lunch. Afternoon is all about ‘activities’ and this is where some variety kicks in. By 5.00pm (4.00pm at weekends) we are sat in front of the TV for the Coronavirus update from Downing Street. Dinner follows – and trying to experiment with new cooking ideas plus using up store cupboard items, minimising supermarket trips. And then into a chilled evening – either listening to music and drinking wine, writing up the blog or getting engrossed in a film, travel documentaries or Netflix box sets. Occasionally we resort to a game of Scrabble – gave Steve a bit of a hammering last night … so not sure when we’ll next be playing!!! (2 x50 bonuses in one game – a first for me)!
So, exercise this week has included regular running for Steve, yoga and YouTube workouts for me, and two walks together. Although many people ridicule Milton Keynes for being a concrete new town, we are blessed with the most wonderful countryside on our doorstep.
Afternoon activities for me are varied … and am building new things into my regime. Always thinking up ideas for my blog and have been trying my hand at some poetry writing. Started online piano tuition a few weeks ago, at the start of lockdown. Also using a book and keeping up with daily practice …. and love it. Can play Fur Elise (with both hands) and can play the chords and sing along to ‘Imagine.’ This week I got out my paints and attempted some watercolour art – end result was rubbish but I lost myself in it for hours. So with these creative activities plus baking, soup making, reading, crosswords and lazing in the sun, there’s certainly never a dull moment.
Steve tends to spend most of the afternoon in the garden – either pottering or horizontally relaxing … weather dependant. I’m thinking of introducing some new activities soon (as so much is free right now), such as photography tuition and Spanish lessons – things we can do together! ❤️ Not quite like travelling but hey ho!
Thursday evening clapping for key workers has become a focal point of the week. As well as paying our respects with gusto we spend an hour chatting with our neighbours and raising a glass (or two), whilst obeying social distancing. Our next door neighbour is an NHS consultant so is always able to update us on frontline practice.
And then a huge huge part of new lockdown living is keeping in touch virtually. Using Zoom and FaceTime to regularly chat with family and friends – it’s such a life line. Sometimes wonder if this is the future … will we ever get to hug each other again! Sending and receiving messages also helps to feel part of the world and knowing about each other’s lives … and the hilarious posts and videos continue.
So no complaints … just being patient. Above everything just longing to be with and hug my loved ones. But completely agree with the extension to lockdown announced this week. The media keep pushing for plans and date for ‘release’ but saving lives is so much more important than the economy – there is no comparison.
Be patient. Stay home. Support the NHS. Save lives.
Started the day off today with a beautiful sunny 5 mile walk – across farm fields, open landscape, pretty bloom laden paths, through villages – stunning. And SO good to be out.
Had a great zoom session with Caroline, Pete, Barbara and Geraldine – all getting to grips with technology!! Feels incredibly valuable to see family at the moment, albeit virtually.
At 8.00pm joined our neighbours in clapping the NHS and keyworkers. Sensibly distanced we had a beer and a chat for an hour or so – then went our separate ways.
Day 18 of Lockdown. 10/04/2020. (Good Friday)
The passion of Christ
King of the Jews
Jesus was mocked
The stations of the cross
Kissing His feet
All of us
Toasted hot cross buns
Oozing with butter
Fish for dinner
No fuss, no frills
Day 19 of Lockdown. 11/04/2020. (Easter Saturday)
Extended the zoom net wider this morning – our family chat brought in Maureen and Shane this time too. It definitely keeps our spirits up being able to see and talk to each other. Hope we can continue to virtually meet up even after this isolation nightmare has passed. Once you learn to not talk all at once it’s great! How Mum and Dad put up with 8 of us rabbiting on, God only knows!
Another blue sky warm day so enjoyed relaxing in the garden, preparing blog, exploring some poetry writing … oh and made a small Easter cake for Steve and me. SO weird not having a houseful this weekend. ☹️
Ended the day with an amazing Zoom Quiz – set up by Alice’s housemate Mel – such a fun thing to do. We’re not discussing results however!!! 😗
Day 20 of Lockdown. 12/04/2020 (Easter Sunday)
Tuned into Easter Sunday mass – St. Barnabus cluster. Also received an amazing Easter choral piece from our church choir.
Then it’s a day as normal, no guests to entertain, no gifts to share, no Easter hugs. But we’re safe and well and for that we are blessed.
Why Eggs at Easter?
Fertility, Rebirth, New life
Christ has risen, Empty tomb
Post-Lent treats, Fasting is over
Hard boiled eggs to use, not waste
Staining eggs red – the Blood of Christ
Mary Magdalene at the tomb
A shared tradition – Christians and Jews
Passover food and Easter fayre
Easter egg hunt, Easter Bunny
Rolling, tapping, hop-egg
For giving and receiving?
Cadbury’s cream eggs, cute Lindt bunnies
Baskets and straw lined birds nests
Having a relaxing time in the garden, yet another sun-filled day. Looking forward to catching up with Tom, Jess, Alice, Emma and John later (via Zoom) with a glass of bubbles.
Thought I’d start this blog off with another poem I’ve written, related to our current style of life. Getting the creative juices flowing!
Time to reflect
Time to pause, Time to think
The missing hurts SO bad, We know now what we had
Our family can’t be near, We realise what’s most dear
Time for hugging, laughing, kissing
Without a doubt that’s what we’re missing
So, make a pact to always be, In close contact with family
It’s time to reflect
Time to pause, Time to think
A life of compulsive shopping, Should we think of stopping?
We’re managing with less, And still can eat and dress
And play, walk, read, enjoy the sun
So many things that amount to fun
It’s memories not things, That gives our lives their wings
It’s time to reflect
Time to pause, Time to think
And thoughts of our dear Earth, Could this be a rebirth?
People are becoming more caring, The ozone layer’s repairing
Pollution, carbon emissions all reduced
Will it return? Will we be seduced?
Will we go back to those old days?
Or can we hope for more considerate ways?
It’s time to reflect
Day 10 of Lockdown. 02/04/2020
Started off as a fairly ordinary day in our new routine – breakfast, 5 mile walk, piano practice and messaging friends.
At 8.00pm we joined our neighbours at the edge of our gardens to clap for the NHS and other keyworkers. Ended up chatting with our neighbours for a good hour – Don and Jeni. Felt so good to have a chat and laugh for a while, albeit at a distance.
Ended on a very sad note as we got news of our very dear friend, Ebram, losing his beautiful wife, Aneesha, to Covid-19. They have only been married for one year. To lose your life to this devastating virus at the age of 27 is cruel beyond measure.
Day 11 of Lockdown. 03/04/2020
Not a great night’s sleep – tried to wake myself up with a High Intensity workout. Steve went on a 9 mile run. So, exercise ticked off for the day.
A bit of a down day for me. I know everyone’s going to have some of these along the way. My heart feels so heavy in thinking of Ebram in his grieving. Haven’t managed to make contact with him but praying he’s not having to go through this alone – another cruel factor of Covid-19 requirements.
The first Nightingale Hospital opened today in London. Capacity for 4,000 ICU beds – an amazing feat to set up in less than 2 weeks. As always, listened to the 5.00pm Downing Street update on the Coronavirus. We have absolute respect for these MPs who are handling this crisis and reporting so extensively. Boris Johnson remains in self-isolation with persistent virus symptoms. As of today, there have been 38,168 cases to date in the UK and 3,605 deaths. Sadly, there is an increase in the number of NHS workers contracting the virus, including deaths. Still concerns about the lack of testing and insufficient supplies of PPE for keyworkers.
Steve did get his steak night tonight while I had some fish (good Catholic girl). Dinner turned into a continued talking (whilst drinking) session. Feeling bruised by yesterday’s news of Aneesha we took the time to talk about all that is special to us and our thoughts on ‘what if’ it happened to us. It may seem maudlin but there’s no harm in opening up about your feelings right now. And so the wine flowed!
Day 12 of Lockdown. 04/04/2020
A pyjama day for me – the first one in Lockdown … in fact, I think I’ve only had a handful of these in my life.
(1) Feeling the affect of too much wine consumption last night.
(2) Still feeling a bit low
(3) My calves were killing me from my HIIT session yesterday
So lots of TV and reading … and that’s about it. Early night.
Day 13 of Lockdown. 05/04/2020
A beautifully sunny day and warm. Threw myself into a huge sorting task in the morning – study cupboards, drawers and paperwork now all neat and organised.
Feeling more jolly today – kept myself busy. Garden time, lots of reading, online piano lesson followed by a home spa session – thank the Lord for the invention of ‘Flawless.’
Steve cooked a roast beef dinner – incredibly delicious. Enjoyed some of our favourite red wine – Amarone – and shared a couple of hours with Tom and Jess over FaceTime. Many laughs. 🤣
Boris Johnson was taken into hospital today.
Day 14 of Lockdown. 06/04/2020
Ventured out to the supermarket today – Sainsbury’s. Surprisingly there was no queue – all very civilised. New lines on the floor to help with the 2 metre distancing. Also good to see that the checkout staff now have screens up to protect them. I had such a lovely chat with the lady who served me at the till – I think we’re all clinging on to any new people we can get to talk to! And everyone’s being SO friendly.
The rest of the day drifted by with all the usual activities. Some garden time, some housework and a bit of Netflix indulgence – have got hooked on a series called ‘Safe.’
Boris moved into Intensive Care Unit today.
Day 15 of Lockdown. 07/04/2020
Filled another day of lockdown. YouTube exercise, housework, piano practice (making progress on my 4 chords), relaxing in the garden doing crosswords (keep that brain ticking) – never a dull moment … and we are incredibly lucky with the weather. 😎
Dominic Raab is now deputising for Boris Johnson – on the 5pm Parliamentary Update, some reporters really pushing him on his level of decision making. Although they’re talking of ‘green shoots’ the daily UK death toll is still rising. Donald Trump reported as saying ‘there’s light at the end of the tunnel,’ even though the USA death toll today was over 1,800.
Day 16 of Lockdown. 08/04/2020
A bit of a sneaky lay in today – how am I ever going to get back to normal hours!? Then the usual – exercise, late breakfast, housework, piano practice, loads of phone calls and messaging. Love receiving all these funny messages and videos – creates a lot of mobile pinging! Started on my blog – even wrote a poem about reflection.
Two great zoom chats today – (1) Geraldine and (2) Alice and Mel. Zoom is the best thing ever in these difficult times. 💕
Onwards and upwards … this was part of our school motto back in the day!! 🤣
Today I ventured out to do a Sainsbury’s shop – my first supermarket trip since the lockdown. It’s quite a spectacle when you arrive – a long queue stretching right round to the back of the building because everyone is firmly positioned 2 meters apart. A member of staff stands at the front only allowing entry as a customer leaves – one in one out! So it took a little while to get in but once inside you can whizz round – (1) there’s hardly anyone else in there and (2) there’s not a great choice on the shelves.
Sad as it is, it was quite a treat to see a few different faces and make the odd exchange. Scrubbed up well when I got home.
Read today that over the next few days we are entering the absolute height of the crisis – the days when high numbers of people will get infected … so will definitely be lying low for a while.
Hit a pile of ironing in the afternoon and indulged in some old ‘Watercolour Challenge’ episodes on the TV …. am banking some tips to help me in my soon to start watercolour painting hobby. Have dabbled a little over the years – now feels a good time to get really stuck in.
Being the weekend, Steve and I enjoyed some nice wine while we battled it out over the Scrabble board. It’s going to seem so weird when we can all go out again or have friends/family round.
Day 6 of Lockdown. 29/03/2020
The clocks changed last night – had a sleepy Sunday lay in and stayed in my pyjamas till the afternoon.
Still managed to fit in some cleaning (sacrilege on a Sunday!), made some carrot and coriander soup, enjoyed a few phone calls and FaceTimes, continued the photo sorting and even had a bit of a TV fest.
News reports today are suggesting that this social-distancing may continue for 6 months – seems hard to face but what can we do … a day at a time!
Day 7 of Lockdown. 30/03/2020
Another day of our new routine – fruit, yoghurt and granola for breakfast followed by exercise. We haven’t walked for a few days – today the weather was a lot cooler so we thought we’d attempt it – probably wouldn’t be so many people around. And we were right – so much more manageable now – enjoyed 5 miles and it was fabulous to be out of the house for a while.
The rest of the day was spent indoors, keeping busy. Trying our best not to snack too much between meals – drinking so much more tea and coffee and, with the extra time for baking, it’s hard to resist a little treat each time.
Thought we’d be sensible (getting one ahead) and do an online shop for 2-3 weeks time – tried every supermarket, none of them have any slots for the foreseeable future – the country’s gone mad!
Day 8 of Lockdown. 31/03/2020
I woke up at 10.00am, having slept for 11 hours! It’s quite ridiculous how long I’m sleeping at the moment. Steve had been up and run 6 miles before waking me with a cup of tea. I still managed to fit in my hour of YouTube exercise once I dragged myself out of bed!
A couple of firsts today. (1) Alice introduced us to ‘Zoom’ and we had a great catch up. (2) I had my first online piano lesson – enjoyed learning some basic chords – now I need to keep up the practice.
This is how I’m mentally getting through this Lockdown – trying new things and filling each day with different activities. I’ve still not heard from the NHS in regard to my volunteering duties – maybe they consider me too old!!
Day 9 of Lockdown. 1/04/2020
April Fool’sDay – the only prank I came across was one my brother Phil posted on our family WhatsApp group – and naturally, me and my sisters fell for it big time!
Our spirits are being lifted and our sense of humour kept alive at the moment by the amount of funny videos flying around on WhatsApp and facebook – some of them are just brilliant. My favourite one so far has been the Peaky Blinders one – but then it does have Cillian Murphy in it after all.
Despite not surfacing till 10.00am (again), I managed to fit a lot into the day – a YouTube yoga session, made another batch of carrot and coriander soup, baked a fruit cake, another online piano lesson and went for a short walk around the neighbourhood.
But the best thing of all was at 5.00pm, myself and three of my friends, Tina, Anne and Gina, had a ‘Zoom’ virtual meet up … and it was fabulous. A little stressful at first until we all got the hang of it … but we didn’t do bad for a bunch of over 60s! We all had a drink together too – it all got quite giggly.
Sadly, more disturbing news today – UK daily Coronavirus death toll has doubled – 581 in the last 24 hours, and this is now expected to keep doubling over the next few days. Also, more than 1 million people have had to apply for Universal Credit to see them through this difficult time.
And news that this year’s Wimbledon has been cancelled – this is the first time in years that I had got tickets to go – so disappointing but fully expected.
Talking to family and friends, I think we’re all in agreement that this crisis is making us appreciate what we do have ….
I appreciate having a garden
I appreciate having lovely walks on our doorstep
I appreciate having each other for company …. but equally appreciate having a big enough house to get some ‘alone’ time 😘
And lots more. Really believe this is going to be a huge time of reflection for many people and hopefully help us all put things into perspective.