Surprise surprise 😀❤️

Days 50-59 of Lockdown. 12th-21st May 2020

So another nine days of Lazy Lockdown living has drifted by. And I know I am getting lazier … I can tell by the snug fitting of my clothes. At the beginning of this Lockdown I was like ‘a man on a mission’ …. each day crammed with a variety of activities. Now, I get up later, get started on things later and finish earlier. I still manage daily exercise and one or two different ‘projects’ but I have slowed down tremendously. Maybe it’s not such a bad thing … even in retirement, Steve and I have continued to live life at quite a pace – and I’m sure we’ll return to that as soon as it’s allowed. So for now, I’m going to learn to be more chilled, there’s always tomorrow!

To address the weight issue however, I have returned to a little running and have upped the workout sessions by switching to Joe Wicks – that really gets the heart racing. Longing for my fitness classes at Shenley Leisure Centre to start again, hate working out alone!

Walks

Still enjoying some fabulous walks every few days. Never tire of being out and about in the countryside and around the pretty walking paths we’re so fortunate to have. One walk this week though got a little hairy at one point for a couple of reasons.

(1) We were quietly ambling along a deserted village road in Upper Weald when we were nearly knocked off our feet by a speeding Mercedes being pursued by a wailing police car … as far as we were able to see that chappie had no intention of stopping.

And (2) … just up the road from that incident our faithful Ordnance Survey app told us to turn left onto a footpath, so taking us off the road. Having been nearly run over we jumped at that chance. At the stile it seemed a little ‘unused’ but we carried on…. and then it just got more and more overgrown – no trace of a footpath … but of course, we just carried on. The last couple of fields we had to plough through before reaching civilisation, the grass was practically up to our waists – God knows what was lurking below. The obvious things lurking were nasty nettles, thistles and all things prickly – our legs were being torn to shreds! And not a dock leaf in sight – we had to resort to spittle!! Oh the joys of rambling!!

There’s always one!!
Some farmers are really kind
Local walking paths in MK

Sewing face masks

Have turned my hand this week to making face masks – these are my first two attempts – they’ll be winging their way to Manchester for Alice and Mel. Happy to make for anyone ‘in need.’

Zoom calls and quizzes

Zoom calls have become such a way of life in Lockdown – having to keep a diary these days for Lockdown appointments! It’s not the real thing but is an amazing substitute when you miss people so much. And loving the quizzes – questions are getting fancier and fancier – dingbats, ‘Have I got news for you,’ Logos, anagrams. Never win but love the fun we have.

Garden visitors

Steve is still keeping a close eye on our feathered visitors – this week’s been all about the Finches – Goldfinch, Greenfinch and Chaffinch …

A return to House-hunting

We’re waiting to see if the offer we had on our house still stands after Lockdown but now that the Estate Agents are back in operation we thought we’d start to take a little mooch around … but only viewing if the houses are empty. Looked at one yesterday in Grange Farm – the Estate Agent goes in first, opens all the doors and anti-bac cleans all the door handles – but we were asked not to touch anything. Well, it’s something different to do!

And more garden visitors ….

The very very BEST thing of all this week was some truly special visitors … all entertained in strict Lockdown style, in the garden. Now that rules have relaxed a little we thought of meeting up with Tom and Jess in a public place – but then we thought what’s the difference between that and our garden. And so, we planned for them to come over on Sunday for a socially distanced barbecue. And as a surprise, Alice drove all the way down from Manchester to join us and, bless her, drove all the way back afterwards. It’s hard to describe how complete it made us feel to have them here … although we weren’t able to physically hug we were together, talking, laughing, feeling close. A perfect afternoon. ❤️

And I made cake for our visitors …. coffee and walnut 💕

Lockdown life is really OK …. we can do this! ❤️

VE Day celebrations, lockdown style 🇬🇧

Day 44 of Lockdown. 06/05/2020

Steve started fixing up the VE Day bunting and banners today. Had hoped that by Friday we might be able to celebrate with family or perhaps have a street party with neighbours … but that looks very unlikely. We intend to mark the occasion nevertheless.

And the best thing to happen in weeks … a visit from Tom (socially distanced of course). How special it was to spend an hour with him in the garden … strange not being able to exchange hugs but it meant the world to have that short face to face time. I even managed to bake him a lemon drizzle cake to takeaway – felt great to be able to do that ‘Mum’ thing!

Day 45 of Lockdown. 07/05/2020

Another beautifully sunny day – we enjoyed a fabulous countryside walk around Whaddon, Nash and Beachampton. 5 miles of pure pleasure.

Day 46 of Lockdown. 08/05/2020

🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧. 75th Anniversary of VE Day 🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧

Sadly we had to spend the day alone … Lockdown rules still applying. We paid tribute to the veterans though in our quiet way and reminisced about the war time stories we knew. We listened to Vera Lynn and to Michael Ball singing with our new hero, Captain Tom. I made scones and we had a scrumptious cream tea in the afternoon, once again enjoying a day of sunshine. After a lovely zoom call with Alice, Steve got going on our first barbecue in Lockdown – it felt like a real occasion even though it was just the two of us. We sat out in the garden till late evening … naturally the wine flowed!

Days 47 and 48 of Lockdown. 09 & 10/05/2020

A couple of quiet weekend days … it doesn’t ever seem like the weekend at the moment … all days roll by in a similar pattern. The weather had taken a drastic turn, from baking to chilly, so we were forced indoors.

I got stuck into sewing scrub bags for the NHS – have joined a local sewing group. It’s been great to dust off the sewing machine – am really loving it. If anyone reading is in MK and has old pillowcases they’re wanting rid of, please let me know – they’re so easy to convert. This assignment of bags are going to Woodhill Prison.

And Steve continued to explore with his camera ….

Of course, we were all waiting for Boris’ announcement on Sunday evening – the roll out of the easing of Lockdown plan – a road map as it was being called.

To say we were left confused is an understatement and I’m not being political. Changing the ‘Stay at Home’ message to ‘Stay Alert’ leaves the decision making very much down to the general public … and really, as a whole, are we up to that? Do our Covid-19 figures allow us the freedom of choice? Are we inviting a 2nd wave? It’s OK for Steve and I as we’re retired – we can just make the decision to continue staying at home and staying safe. But those who need to return to work, possibly the children and teachers returning to school, public transport use gearing up … I pray that no-one is forced into anything before there are safe enough practices in place.

Day 49 of Lockdown. 11/05/2020

Yet another stunning walk today. Having planned to coastal walk and travel in these our early years of retirement, naturally we were a little disappointed that we had to bring our plans to a halt during this pandemic. Having said that, we feel incredibly fortunate that we have packed so much in to the last few years, our experiences have been unbelievable … and the timing SO fortunate.

Discovering our local area of countryside during this Lockdown therefore has brought us amazing pleasure. Not to get too philosophical but the simplicity, availability and beauty of nature is incredibly empowering during this strange period when we feel deprived in other areas of our life. I just hope that in being reminded of the impact of simple and natural elements, that we don’t forget.

…. LEST WE FORGET ❤️

Rambling robots … and some flirting 😉🐦

Day 38 of Lockdown. 30/04/2020

My very first go at ‘Scan & Bag as you go’ …. it was brilliant, highly recommend 😊
Our Thursday evening neighbourhood clapping for the NHS and Carers ❣️

Day 39 of Lockdown 01/05/2020

Steve’s morning run recorded on Strava
My morning exercise c/o YouTube
We had a brilliant family quiz organised and hosted by Alice – donations to NHS ❣️

Day 40 of Lockdown. 02/05/2020

Another great zoom chat with my chums – Anne, Tina and Gina. We decided to show each other our face masks. Anne has a handy stock left from a recent visit to Japan. Tina has a pretty home-made one with handy pocket for disposable tissue. Gina has a super protective yet terrifying black number! And mine is a simple decorating mask. Don’t we look fetching!!? 🤣
A beautiful sunny day today – Steve out and about in the garden with his camera x
Friday night is steak night … but this week it was deferred to Saturday!

Day 41 of Lockdown 03/05/2020

My first ever attempt at trimming Steve’s hair (or anyone’s hair come to that)! Not bad I thought 🤔
Steve had run in the morning so I went out for a walk alone. Met this little guy in the woods. Am used to seeing them robot-ting along the streets but as it followed me uphill through a deserted Shenley Wood I got a bit spooked. Stepped aside to let it go past. Noticed it had written on the side “Hungry? Can I help you?” …. well, don’t mind if I do! 😉
One of the beautiful cottages in Shenley Village
Our bovine neighbours in the Toot in Shenley Village
And back home …. ❣️
…. to find Steve making turkey soup

Day 42 of Lockdown 04/05/2020

Another beautiful walk around MK today … exploring the city’s network of bridle paths
Chestnuts in full bloom
To mix it up a bit, took a stroll across Abbey Hill golf course on the way home
…. and bumped into another ‘Starship’ near home

Day 43 of Lockdown 05/05/2020

Got tucked into my home-made Dorset Apple Cake – apple, sultanas and cinnamon … so yummy with a dollop of cream
Received these amazing biscotti treats with a Wine Order this week – morning coffee takes on a whole new meaning!
5.00pm daily update – not so great today – high death numbers, testing not reaching targets, UK death tolls now the highest in Europe. Can’t see a let up anytime soon 😘
Lots of flirting going on in the garden though …. 🤣

The photos say it all …..

Days 29-37 of Lockdown. 21-29/04/2020

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.

Bird watching in our garden
Photography
Baking
Exploring new recipes
Piano tuition
Painting
Gardening
Steve fertilising his lawn ….
… and then relaxing 😎
Getting out the sewing machine to attempt some NHS scrub bags!

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 ❣️❣️❣️❣️❣️❣️❣️❣️❣️❣️

Further afield …

Day 28 of Lockdown. 20/04/2020

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!

Getting creative … 🎨

Day 21 – 27 of Lockdown. 13th-19th April 2020

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)!

Listening to Classic FM top 100 countdown on Easter Monday …. it was a long session 🤪🍷

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.

Our local woods – Shenley Wood
Spotted in our local wood 😀

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.

The paints are out …

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.

And, get creative …. 🎶 🎨 💃🏽 🧁 🤸‍♂️ 🤹‍♂️

Easter weekend in isolation …. 🐣

Day 17 of Lockdown. 09/04/2020. (Maundy Thursday)

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)

Good Friday

The passion of Christ

King of the Jews

Jesus was mocked

Jesus died

For us

The stations of the cross

The crucifix

Kissing His feet

We repented

All of us

Toasted hot cross buns

Oozing with butter

Fish for dinner

No fuss, no frills

Just us

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?

For Symbolism?

Fertility, Rebirth, New life

Christ has risen, Empty tomb

For tradition?

Post-Lent treats, Fasting is over

Hard boiled eggs to use, not waste

Biblical?

Staining eggs red – the Blood of Christ

Mary Magdalene at the tomb

Religious?

A shared tradition – Christians and Jews

Passover food and Easter fayre

For children?

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

Easter eggs

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.

A time for reflection 💕

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!! 🤣

The lockdown days are rumbling on ….

Day 5 of Lockdown. 28/03/2020

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.

Support the NHS

27/03/2020 Day 4 of Lockdown

Yesterday evening at 8.00pm, the Nation came out onto their doorsteps, balconies, into their gardens and hung out their windows, to collectively clap for all our Carers. It was amazing to be part of something so historic, demonstrating the population’s appreciation for those on the frontline. It looks like it might become a weekly thing – we’ll be there … so incredibly grateful.

Steve was up early to run 6 miles this morning before too many walkers set out on the local paths. I took to YouTube for an hour of low impact cardio with ‘Team Body Project’ – the instructor is particularly easy on the eye … plus it’s a great workout!

Then the rest of the day whizzed by with some household chores, making the most of the great drying weather – washing everything – a bit of chill time reading in the garden, making phone calls and FaceTime calls to family plus embarking on one of those ‘to do list’ items that is always postponed – sorting through old photos. Will this ‘isolation’ see us reach the bottom of our lists – impossible!!!

Oh and I signed up as an NHS volunteer. Discovered that you can be a volunteer from the safety of your home – making phone calls to vulnerable people. My application is being processed – am awaiting instructions.

Today’s big news – both Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock (the Health Secretary) have contracted the Covid-19 virus and will be going into self-isolation.

Our lovely friend, Tina McGreal, dropped us round some fresh vegetables and some bread – very kind, thanks Tina.

Friday night is Steak Night in the Rose household – but not tonight – pizza, salad and a bottle of red … what’s not to like. It’ll be beans on toast next Friday!