Tuesday 31 March 2020

#WDIIA - Tuesday 31/3/20

Linda (the host of #SoCS and One Liner Wednesday) has been doing posts entitled "What Day is it Anyway" during these strange times. (Click on the link for her site to see more.)

Today it is Tuesday. (Even though it feels like Sunday, every day is beginning to feel like Sunday.)

It's been a really quiet day. I did get some washing done. We did go for a walk. I did manage to finish this:

1000 pieces

And of course we chatted online with Grandson Nathan who's come from this:

Birthday 2017

To this!  He's 3 today!

He's come such a long way and done so well. He's happy and chatty and we love him to bits. I will admit to having a little melt down this morning because of course we're all separated at the moment. I just so wanted to be able to give him a big hug. But of course we chatted online. Thank goodness for social media. This snap was taken a couple of weeks ago. I'm sure there will be birthday snaps later.

So another day is almost done. I'm off now to polish my first A-Z post for tomorrow.

Yes it's that time of the year again. With all this time on our hands I shouldn't have any excuse for lates posts! For anyone who doesn't know what the A-Z challenge is you can go here to find out all about it. Join in. It's fun. Got anything better to do?

Monday 30 March 2020

#WDIIA - Monday 30/3/20

Linda (the host of #SoCS and One Liner Wednesday) has been doing posts entitled "What Day is it Anyway" during these strange times.

It's Monday today and the start of the second week of being locked down here in the UK. We can go out for essential shopping (infrequently) and for exercise once a day but always maintaining social distancing of at least 2 metres.

I don't think we'll be venturing out today - the weather changed over the weekend and there are currently grey clouds threatening rain. Thankfully we're still in our house which has lots of stairs so no excuse for not being active. We can just keep going up and down a few times during the day.

Hubby has taken over the cooking during these strange times. He usually does more of it than me but as I'm keeping household chores ticking over and organising the shopping he agrees it's fair for him to cook. We're managing ok so far. We have a Hello Fresh delivery each week which takes care of 3 meals completely and we were well stocked up to fill in the missing days.

I have an online shop coming on Friday and I spent part of this morning planning ahead and working out what essentials we need - orders are now being limited to 80 items which might sound a lot but it doesn't take long to add up.

I've just done an online walking video to make up for the missing outdoor walk.

We've been in touch with family again - keeping up with the WhatsApp groups is almost a full time occupation lol. But it's lovely that we can keep in touch. We had a video chat with Rory and his parents earlier and witnessed him helping himself to cereal from the cupboard. He seems to be having a growth spurt because he's very hungry!

They have been able to walk in the park most days which Rory loves, Nathan has been taking advantage of getting out in the garden:

Noah has been supervising the working from home!

We're all having to adapt to these strange times!

Sunday 29 March 2020

#WDIIA - Sunday 29th March 2020

We lost an hour today thanks to the clocks springing forward.  Well that was my excuse for not being up as bright and early as I'd intended.

I'd decided I need a bit more structure to these days of isolation although of course I have hubby with me so we're duolating.  We're still on speaking terms so that's good.

Anyway I set myself a few tasks to complete which filled some time.  I also caught up with part of my extended family's school group.  My cousins, who I went away with last year, have created a WhatsApp group for their children and grandchildren to share what they're doing and to try and keep the younger ones occupied.  It helps that several of the younger adults are teachers .  This week they've been learning about bees.

One of the tasks was to draw a bee.  Another was to draw a rainbow as that's a symbol that's being used to show hope and solidarity with our NHS.  The next topic they're going to work on is the human heart.

Well the grown ups were supposed to be taking part too so I did my bit this morning:

As you can see I'm no artist but it did fill some time and it was quite therapeutic as it was a welcome distraction from watching/reading the news.

Combining that with some chores, then dinner and then our usual walk and another day is almost done.  WDIIA?  Sunday?

Saturday 28 March 2020

#WDIIA - Saturday 28/3/20 - Planning Not Planning for the A - Z

Yep I'm planning not planning for the A - Z Challenge.

Nope.  I will be winging it.  (No change there then lol.)

Actually I have tried each year to plan for the A - Z and have had a theme (even the year when I generated random words to write about each day) but things seldom went to plan.  Life tends to get in the way.  Classic example of this was 2017 when our first Grandson was born, very prematurely, the day before the challenge started.

And 2020 has thrown us another huge curveball.

I had an idea for a theme but then we decided to move house so I thought that would be a great theme to use instead.  Then Covid-19 reared its ugly head.  Now we're not only not moving house, we're locked down in our house and will probably be so for the month of April.

I had started to prepare some posts but now I'm going to revisit them.  I'll probably still loosely use the theme of moving but I'll also be putting in some reference to the current state of affairs.  Not sure how well it will work.  I'll just be glad if I manage to get a post done every day.

I think there might be a lot of waffle going on.  Nothing new there!

#SoCS - 28/3/20 - Beside me

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “beside you.” Write about whatever is beside you when you read this prompt. Not when you sit down to write, but whatever is beside you right now. Take note of it if you think you might forget. Enjoy!

These prompts are provided by Linda - go here to check out all the info and see who else is playing. 

Well I sat down to find the prompt and do my post at the same time so beside me at the moment are:

My phone
My iPad
Remotes for the TV

everyday essentials in this crazyiest of times.

Here in London we are in Lock Down.  We can only go out to shop for essentials (infrequently) for medical needs and to exercise (walking/cycling/running) once a day.  Being able to keep in touch with the outside world is vital.

This has been our life for a week now.  (The lockdown came into force Tuesday morning but we had been keeping inside since Sunday.)  It's a strange existence.

I've heard many people say it will be a good time to catch up on some box sets, or do spring cleaning or start a crafting project of some other project that they've been meaning to do for ages and never had the time for.

Sounds great.  So why have I been at home for a week and done none of that?  It's hard not to spend hours listening to the news.  It's also easy to spend hours on the phone particularly on WhatsApp chat goups.  We have our own family group, an extended family group and now one of my cousin's family have set up a group for doing some educational projects with all the grandchildren now they are not at school.  Following all what's going on is time consuming and you don't want to be left behind.

Yesterday there were a few quiz type things doing the rounds which had us all trying to compete with one another.  These always cause a lot of banter.  It's easy to see how time disappears.

It's good that time is passing - as one person noted somewhere (probably on Facebook - another time gobbler) every day we get through is one day closer to coming out the other side.  Or something like that.  I've probably misquoted it but I'm sure you get the idea.

Friday 27 March 2020

Friday's Fave Five - 27/3/20

We are on day 4 of Lock Down here in the UK.  In these difficult times it's even more important to take a breath from time to time and be positive.  That's why this meme hosted by Susanne at Living to Tell the Story is a lovely place to come and share our positivity.  Check out the link above to find who else is taking part.

Here are mine:

1)  Running water.  (And soap!)  We are constantly being told to wash our hands to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and we are able to do that without thinking about it.  Well I've had to think about it in that I'm also using more hand cream to prevent my hands getting dry and sore from all the washing.  I've also taken off my rings and put them away safely so that I didn't keep taking them on and off and putting them down and risking misplacing them.

2)  Being well.  Hubby and I are locked down together and so far we are fine.  There have been a few tense moments but we've dealt with those.

3)  Keeping in touch.  It's really hard not being able to visit family.  I miss them all so much.  But we are able to keep in touch with technology so easily.  And we're probably more in contact now with extended family than we usually are.

4)  Reading to the Grandkids.  I've made a couple of videos of me reading stories which I've shared with the kids.  I think they appreciate it.  Grandson Rory in particular loves looking at all the pictures and videos that we exchange on social media.

5)  Glorious weather and space to walk.  Being at home is not particularly hard for me but it has definitely been made easier with good weather this week and wide open space to go for a walk right on our doorstep.

So far we have been able to adjust to these enforced restrictions without any real problems.  We are definitely fortunate.

One thing I didn't include above but has to be mentioned is our NHS.  Everyone involved in it must be working so hard and it must be scary for them when they are putting themselves at risk every day and they are witnessing the worst of what this virus can do.

Yesterday at 8 pm we joined in with a show of solidarity for our NHS by standing outside our doors or on balconies etc and applauding them as they've been doing in other countries.  It was very moving.

Stay well and safe everyone.

Wednesday 25 March 2020

20 in 20 - Photo of the Week #12 - 22/3/20

This is the aftermath of the forest fire that swept across the area last summer.

A very old Oak tree.
These were taken on our daily walk today.

I am so thankful that we have open space and wooded areas right on our doorstep, especially now that we are in Lock Down.  We are still allowed to take one walk a day and the weather this week has been very co-operative.  Although there are other people about, with such a lot of space it's easy to keep to the safe social distance of 2 m.

The Moving Saga Update #5 - 25/3/20

Well this will probably be the last update for a while.

On Saturday we viewed another 3 properties.  2 were no good but the final one we really liked.  It was definitely a downsize on where we are now but it was actually only about a 15 minute walk away so still in our local area.  We wouldn't have had to get to know a new neighbourhood and the maintenance tasks would have been greatly reduced.

After much debate we made our offer.  There was a lot of interest in the property so we had to make our best and final bid by 3 pm yesterday, giving details of our situation and ourselves.  Yikes we've never done that before!  Hubby and I were just about still talking to one another by the time it was done and I'd pressed send on the e-mail.  (Don't worry, we're fine really but it was all a bit stressful.)

But....we were unsucessful.  Understandably the vendor went for someone who was chain free.

And now we are in Lock Down!

No more going to view properties.

We have advised our estate agent.  We'll keep our eyes online to see if anything is added or if anything we liked and missed previously comes back on the market.  That does sometimes happen.  We'll express our interest if we see anything worth a view so that we can get things moving again as soon as the current restrictions are eased and it's safe to do so.

Hopefully our buyers will be prepared to wait but if we lose them and have to market our house again then that's what we'll do.

In the meantime all this time at home will give us time to continue sorting and whittling down all our stuff, well at least deciding what needs to go.  We won't be able to do much shifting of things while we're locked down but at least we can sort into keep, trash and pass on.  Hmm that might cause a few cross words between hubby and me too! lol

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 25/3/20

Wednesday's Hodgepodge is brought to us courtesy of Joyce at
From this side of the pond 

This was a regular meme up until September 2018 when after 9 years Joyce decided, for various reasons, to give it up.  Now, in these challenging times, she has decided to start it up again.  Thank you Joyce.  I'm sure many, like me, have missed it.

If you want to take part or just see what others have posted pop over to Joyce's page - the Linky List is at the end of Joyce's post and don’t forget to visit at least your neighbours on the list.

Here are the questions:

1. Howdy Hodgepodgers. It's kind of fun to be back, isn't it?  Last time we met was September, 2018. Tell me something big-important-happy-or sad that's happened in your life since that date. Just one thing. We don't know how long this current isolation situation is going to last and we might need to dole out our news bit by bit.

Ha, after the arrival of these 3 in 2017 and 2018 things have been a little quiet!  (Of course we've just been busy adjusting to being Grandparents and loving every minute of it.)

This was taken Christmas 2019.  Not sure when we'll get all 3 together next.

2. Might as well get this out of the way early on...COVID-19. On a scale of 1-5 how serious are you about keeping your distance? Explain. fyi-I didn't create the scale but have seen it several places online. Also fyi-we won't only have virus related questions each week, but for this first one it feels right.

1-Not at all, living normally
2-Cautious but still going out
3-Going out as needed, mostly home or working from home, still seeing friends/family
4-Extremely limited, only going out when unavoidable, minimal contact with people
5-Full lockdown, no one in or out

We're at 4 right now and have been since yesterday.  We can only go out to get essential supplies, for medical reasons or for a walk or run where social distancing is strictly observed.  And we can only go out once a day.  The police have been given powers to fine anyone (on the spot) breaching the rules or being with more than one other person unless you're all from the same household. 

3. Raise your hand if you think you might run out of steam in the cooking department before it's all said and done? What's something delcious you've cooked or eaten in your own kitchen in the past week?

My hand is down.  Thankfully we've been using Hello Fresh for a while now on and off and they still seem to be making deliveries ok.  We also signed up to Simply Cook which is a bit trickier as they provide sauces/spice mixes but you have to get the other ingredients yourself.  Between these though we are enjoying plenty of variety.  Plus I do have quite a good stock of food, including in the freezer.  I also managed to snag a couple of online delivery slots from the supermarket before that got difficult.  Hopefully we'll be ok.

4. What's a television show or movie you've seen recently (it could be an oldie) that you really liked?

I actually haven't watched a lot of TV recently apart from the news.

5. Share something funny you've seen or heard this week.

Where to start?  There are so many pictures floating around on Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram that it's really difficult to pick just one.  Our extending family group is going strong with jokes too. 

How about this one:

6. Insert your own random thought here:

These are hard times but I'm just thankful for our own circumstances where we have everything we need.  Many are not so fortunate.  Stay safe and well everyone.

Sunday 22 March 2020

Review: Crisis in the Cotswolds

Crisis in the Cotswolds Crisis in the Cotswolds by Rebecca Tope
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

"Thea and Drew have been married for a year and are settled in the village of Broad Campden, but Thea is chafing at the domestic routines she is expected to devote herself to, missing the novelty and adventure that house-sitting used to bring.

When a routine burial exposes the secrets of the deceased, Drew finds himself caught in the middle of a family feud, in which he feels he is on the wrong side, and Thea's inquisitiveness and penchant for solving crimes draws her in too. 

With another crisis at Drew's other business leaving him with a profound dilemma and Thea struggling against the charismatic charms of a new man, can their marriage survive this latest Cotswold drama?"

This was a quick pick from the library as the cover matched the criteria for a book club read. It was ok but I certainly didn't love it. There were times when the author suggested that there was humour in the interactions between characters but it didn't come across like that. It's one of a large series but I won't be seeking out any of the others.

View all my reviews

Friday 20 March 2020

Friday's Fave Five - 20/3/20

In these difficult times it's even more important to take a breath from time to time and be positive.  That's why this meme hosted by Susanne at Living to Tell the Story is a lovely place to come and share our positivity.  Check out the link above to find who else is taking part.

Here are mine:

1)  A roof over my head.  I might be stuck with it longer than I'd hoped - there is so much uncertainty and new measures being implemented all the time that our decision to move may well have to wait but in the meantime I'm grateful for the security of a home.

2) Economic stability.  My hubby is a civil servant and although he's now having to work from home his job is secure.  

3)  Food in my house.  We've gone back to having our Hello Fresh deliver which takes care of 3 meals a week.  We've also been trying out Simply Cook which does require you buying stuff to go with the sauce/spice pots they supply and so far we've managed to get the food we need.  Having said that I did quite a big shop just before everything started going mad.  However having a cellar and a freezer meant we are always pretty well stocked and hopefully by the time we start to get low the panic buying will have eased.  I've also got a delivery slot booked for 2 weeks today.  (The earliest I could get!)  Again hopefully by then things will have settled a bit and we should be able to get the minimum of things.  Our son managed to get a delivery yesterday but they seem to have limited everything to a quantity of 1.

3)  Our NHS (probably should have had this at #1)  They're doing a fantastic job and we should all be grateful for them and help out wherever possible.

4)  Plenty to do at home.  I have books, craft supplies, jigsaw puzzles, plus all the prep for moving which we'll still continue with (checked out all our tents yesterday that we need to get rid of) and then of course there is social media for keeping in touch and lots on TV to watch.

5)  Open space on my doorstep to be able to get outside for some fresh air and a walk.  At least while we're still allowed to do so!

PS Thanks to all who sent good wishes for Noah.  Turns out he hadn't fractured his elbow so the sling is off and he seems fine.  Another thing to be thankful for.

Stay safe and well everyone.

Thursday 19 March 2020

Is it Thursday?

Linda has been doing posts entitled "What Day is it Anyway" during these strange times.

I'm pretty sure it's Thursday today.  (But I could be wrong!)  Since giving up work / retiring staying at home I already struggled to keep track of the day and as for the date well thank goodness my watch can tell me that.  Now in these strange times I fear that one day will merge into another and this heading will become very topical.

We are not self isolating but we are social distancing.  So we have been at home.  I'm not even sure when we will see the grandsons & families again.  We're being asked to avoid family gatherings yet we can still go to the supermarket!  And pubs and bars etc have not been told to close!  Yet schools will close their doors tomorrow for an extended spell.

As for our intended move?  Who knows?  One of our viewings for Saturday was cancelled today but then another house that looks promising appeared on the market.  As we haven't been told we can't go we will continue to look and practice social distancing/good hygiene etc as best we can until we're told otherwise.

Today was pretty miserable weather wise but tomorrow looks slightly better so we will definitely be aiming to get out for a walk.  At least we can still do that.  We'll also continue to tackle the To Do list for moving because even if we don't end up moving for a while these things still need doing.  

Today I finished shredding a big pile of old financial paperwork and we also checked out the state of some of the tents that have been stored in the cellar.  They all seemed fine so now I can offer them out to our kids or the extended family.  Hopefully some of them will be taken off our hands and then we can think about what to do with the rest.  Fortunately our son who lives nearby has a garage but no car so if there are things we haven't got rid of that we don't need to take to a new house we can dump them in the garage while we work out how to dispose of them.

Of course we could be here for a while.  What day is it?

Actually I know exactly what day it is - 32 years ago today I was giving birth to my eldest son. A word of advice for expect mothers - if you're given the choice between pushing or forceps - PUSH! Sorry if that's too much information.

Happy birthday Matthew!

Image may contain: 2 people, including Matthew Jakob, people smiling, beard 

There are still plenty of things to smile about.

Wednesday 18 March 2020

20 in 20 - Photo of the Week #11 - 15/3/20

I could be doing a lot of this in the coming weeks!

The Moving Saga Update #4 - 18/3/20

Coranavirus is impacting more and more on our day to day lives.  After Friday our schools will close for the foreseeable future.  We're all being advised to limit social interaction.  This gives me a dilemma.  Should we still be going to view houses if we try and be as cautious as we can - no close contact with anyone, frequent washing of hands?  Or should we just be giving up on the whole idea of moving for the time being?

It's hard because our buyers have already started the process of selling their flat and their mortgage broker is keen to get a valuation done on our property so they can get their mortgage finalised.  I'm loathe to put them to any unnecessary expense if we can avoid it.

Currently we have 3 properties lined up to view on Saturday.  One of them we think is chain free.  The others I'm not sure what the situation is.  My gut instinct is telling me it's no more risky going to view a house that it is to go the the supermarket and we haven't been stopped from doing that yet.  So at this point in time I'm thinking we will go.

Maybe the decision will be taken out of our hands.  Things seem to be changing swiftly.  Last week they were saying that closing schools was not yet required, this week they've announced they will close on Friday.  Many have already closed. 

Wouldn't it be good if we could all go into hibernation!

Tuesday 17 March 2020

A - Z Challenge 2020 - Theme reveal!

#AtoZChallenge 2020 badge

Theme Reveal #AtoZChallenge 2020 badge

Yes I'm a day late.  Mainly because I'm still dithering a bit about the challenge this year.  Months ago I had a theme in mind that I even started doing some work on.  Then we took the decision to move house and I thought I had a perfect alternative theme. 

Now we're unlikely to be going anywhere thanks to the Corona virus.  We're not at total lock down yet in the UK but tougher measures are being introduced day by day so I don't think it will be long before we are.  Currently we have accepted an offer on our house but haven't found somewhere to buy.  We were going to take a second look at a house today and possibly make an offer only to hear that the owners have taken the property off the market.

We have 3 viewings lined up for Saturday but who knows what might have happened by then.  We may find ourselves having to abandon our plans to move for the time being.  It's a waiting game.

One reason for dithering over the A - Z challenge was that I thought I might not have enough time to complete my posts if I was moving house.  Now I think I will be glad of having posts to think about during what will probably be a period of self isolation at some point.  

Anyway, true to my blog's name I'm waffling.  I'm going with moving house for my theme, even if I'm staying put!

Sunday 15 March 2020

Review: Behind Closed Doors

Behind Closed Doors Behind Closed Doors by Susan Lewis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When fourteen-year-old Sophie Monroe suddenly vanishes one night it looks at first as though she's run away from home.
Her computer and mobile phone have gone, and she's taken a bag full of clothes.
As the police investigation unfolds a wealth of secrets from the surrounding community start coming to light. And it seems everyone has something to hide.

For Detective Sergeant Andrea Lawrence, the case is a painful reminder of the tragedy that tore her family apart over twenty years ago. She is convinced there is more to Sophie's disappearance than teenage rebellion.

But is the past clouding her judgment, preventing her from seeing a truth that neither she, nor Sophie's family, would ever want to face?

I enjoyed this book. Susan Lewis is a good story teller. Of course we never know what goes on behind closed doors and people can be very good at hiding things not only from their loved ones but also from the wider community. It's not a book with a happy ending but real life doesn't always have happy endings.

View all my reviews

The Moving Saga Update #3 15/3/20


Which of course is great, but now we have to find somewhere to go.  Not so great, especially with all the problems associated with the Corona Virus.  How do you view a house if you're virtually under house arrest?  Although of course we're not at that stage (yet)  but everytime I have a bout of coughing, which I often do thanks to the medication I'm on, there is the dark thought - "should I be self isolating?"  Difficult times.

Anyway, we have been doing our best to find a new home.  We've seen quite a few now.  Some good, some ok and some definite Nos.

Spotting the definite Nos can be quite easy as in the following examples:

  • The one with half the kitchen in the conservatory and the tumble dryer in the garden. 
  • The one with a question mark over where and when the boundary fence would be reinstated and an extension next door with a window invading your privacy that wasn't on the plans.
  • The one with the tube trains running along the bottom of the garden.
Yes I know you're probably wondering why we even bothered to view these but you can't always tell from the online information that these problems exist.  Yes we knew the trains would be there but it's hard to tell how noisy they are unless you're actually standing in the garden.  Answer, too noisy and too frequent.

The good ones often jump out at you but again it's not always easy.  They can look wonderful online but in reality they can be much smaller and the decoration in need of TLC.  We've also been trying to find out more about the areas we've been looking at.

It's hard because it's such a big decision for us having been in our current home for 27 years.  We've also been used to a big house with lots of rooms and now we're looking at things that are smaller.  But we know it's the right thing to do at this stage in our lives, although we still want enough space for when the kids and grandkids visit.  I'm trying not to hanker after something bigger and I'm gradually getting used to being sensible.  We looked at a house yesterday that would have been great but it was at the top end of our budget and being on a corner plot it would have involved lots of maintenance.  My heart loved the house, my head told me not to be stupid.  I've allowed my head to win.

We have 2 that we think are worth a second look and another couple to try and see.  Again I'm trying to think with my head, especially as one of the houses we'd like to see again currently has 2 large vivariums housing snakes.  I cannot bear snakes.  Rationally I know that the snakes would be gone if we moved there.  Irrationally I would worry about any escapees!  But it was a lovely house and ticked a lot of our boxes.  

The situation with the Corona Virus is also beginning to impact on this process.  Several of the estate agents have started implementing handwashing on arrival and before leaving a property and some have also mentioned the possibility of moving to virtual viewings if necessary.  This will possibly slow the whole process down.  Hopefully we will be able to find a property before our buyers lose patience with us (they have buyers for their flat and are also expecting a baby very soon) but I'm a great believer in that if it's meant to be it will happen.

For now our search continues!

* Not sure how it works elsewhere but here in the UK this means we have agreed a price with the would be purchasers.  Their solicitors will now carry out various legal checks, a surveyor will check out the property and their mortgage providers will also determine how much money they will lend them and how much deposit the buyers will be required to lodge on exchange of contracts.  

Hopefully all that will go smoothly and contracts will be drawn up.  An exchange date is then agreed at which point the buyer makes a deposit which is non refundable.  The solicitors then work towards completing the sale process and everyone moves on completion day.  

There are usually a few weeks between exchange and completion (although it can be done quicker if required) which gives everyone time to finalise removal contractors and everything else associated with moving house.

Friday 13 March 2020

Friday's Fave Five - 13/3/20

It Friday so it's time to look back and find 5 things to be grateful for from the last week. Our host, Susanne, can be found here along with a linky to other bloggers taking part.

Here are mine:

1)  Fine weather with Grandson Rory.  This is a recurring thing for me but it really does make the days easier if we can get out.  The weather has been mixed this week but we did have enough dry spells to get to the shops and the park.  Where we saw these:

They have grown so much since we spotted them as chicks.

2)  Our NHS system.  Poor Grandson Noah slipped and nearly had a nasty fall on the front steps of his house.  Unfortunately, although Mummy prevented him banging his head he dislocated his elbow and suffered a slight fracture.  He's been to A& E (Accident & Emergency) several times this week and hopefully now his elbow is back in place and the fracture should heal in about 5 weeks.  I'm grateful that despite all the pressure the Corona virus is putting on our health system it was still there for our little Noah.

3)  Having quite a lot of supplies in my house.   Thanks to a lot of space I'm able to have a good stock of canned goods, cleaning stuff and things like toilet rolls etc.  Today I've went shopping to make sure I had enough ingredients for meals just in case we find ourselves needing to self isolate.  There were plenty of fresh items but there were no toilet rolls, no pasta or spaghetti and no wipes or hand sanitiser.  I'm very glad I already had a supply of these!  The supermarket was really busy and it was clear some people were really panic buying.

4)  A buyer for our house!  The young couple who came for a second look last week made an offer and after a bit of negotiation we're now agreed on a price.  They have sold their flat to first time buyers so all we have to do now is find a house to buy!

5)  Houses to look at - we're seeing 4 tomorrow.  Hopefully one of them might be "the one" but we'll wait and see.  

Assuming we get to see them all - I received this earlier today from one of the estate agents:

As we are due to show you properties tomorrow, we will be taking extra precaution with regards to the prevention of spreading Coronavirus.

We are requesting that anyone wishing to enter the property will need to wash their hands with soap and warm water upon entering the property. We will be providing individual hand towels for everyone.

Please note, if we feel that anyone is in notably unwell or showing symptoms upon arrival, we have been asked to not allow entry to the property and re-arrange your viewing for a future date. This is a necessary precaution to protect our staff, sellers, tenants and their families.

Following from the Government & NHS Advice, please note we will not be shaking hands upon arrival or departure and as recommend, we asking for all viewers to keep their distance of at least 2 metres from our agents/sellers. 

Of course this is sensible advice but the medication I take often causes me to have a dry cough and Nick is always clearing his throat.   We know it's normal for us but other people might be a wary of us.  Hopefully it won't cause any problems tomorrow.  Wish us luck! 

Have a good weekend all.

Thursday 12 March 2020

20 in 20 - Photo of the Week #10 8/3/20

Look how they've grown!

For anyone who hasn't followed the story, here's a reminder of how they started:

And this is what you get when you're trying to cope with an almost 2 year old and have your phone in your hand and the camera app open!

Sunday 8 March 2020

Review: Something to Tell You

Something to Tell You Something to Tell You by Lucy Diamond
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When Frankie stumbles upon an unopened letter from her late mother, she’s delighted to have one last message from her . . . until she reads the contents and discovers the truth about her birth. Brimming with questions, she travels to York to seek further answers from the Mortimer family, but her appearance sends shockwaves through them all.

Meanwhile, Robyn Mortimer has problems of her own. Her husband John has become distant, and a chance remark from a friend leads Robyn to wonder exactly what he’s not been saying. Dare she find out more?

As for Bunny, she fell head over heels in love with Dave Mortimer when she first arrived in town, but now it seems her past is catching up with her. She can’t help wondering if he’ll still feel the same way about her if he discovers who she really is – and what she did.

As secrets tumble out and loyalties are tested, the Mortimers have to face up to some difficult decisions. With love, betrayal and dramatic revelations in the mix, this is one summer they’ll never forget.

Lucy Diamond is a natural story teller. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Her characters are realistic and they are given depth. It was easy to keep turning the pages. 

View all my reviews

Friday 6 March 2020

Friday's Fave Five - 6/3/20

It Friday so it's time to look back and find 5 things to be grateful for from the last week. Our host, Susanne, can be found here along with a linky to other bloggers taking part.

Here are mine:

1) Time with Grandson Noah! It was too brief, (Saturday afternoon to Sunday afternoon) but I was determined to see him before February ended as we hadn't seen him since the beginning of January.

He's growing so fast. Despite the weather not being great we managed a trip to their nearby City Farm which he enjoyed

2) Goslings that are looking more like geese!

This picture was taken on Monday and the one below on Wednesday.

They are growing rapidly and they all seem healthy.

3) More viewings on our house. We had 2 on Saturday, 2 on Monday, another 2 on Wednesday and one this morning. Tomorrow we have a young couple coming for a second look. In the meantime we are getting out and looking at houses ourselves but we haven't seen anything yet where we've thought we must take a second look. We have 4 to see tomorrow and 2 more next week. More houses seem to be coming on the market all the time so hopefully we'll be able to find "the one"!

4) An evening at the theatre with hubby. We have a theatre close by in Stratford which we are supporters of. This means occasionally we get free tickets for new performances and this often includes welcome drinks and snacks. We saw a new production called "I think we are alone". It was quite a moving piece.

I THINK WE ARE ALONE is a bitter sweet and funny take on our ache to connect with those voices we need to hear again, those arms we need to feel around us and those faces we need to see again. It is about letting go and holding on to what we love the most.

I THINK WE ARE ALONE is a delicate and uplifting play about our fragility, resilience and our need for love and forgiveness.

There was also a Q & A session with the cast afterwards which was interesting.
It probably seems a bit dark from the trailer but actually by the end it was hopeful.

5) Walking in the sunshine. Today was really bright and sunny and I was meeting some friends for lunch so I decided to walk there. I always feel uplifted when I can get out and do that.

Have a good weekend all. We'll be looking at more houses and hopefully catching up with Nathan and his Mummies on Sunday.

20 in 20 - Photo of the Week #9 - 1/3/20

Four for the price of one!  We managed to catch up with Grandson Noah and his Mummy and Daddy at the weekend.  We hadn't seen them since the beginning of January so we just managed to hit my target of seeing him at least once a month!  We didn't have a long time with them, driving up Saturday afternoon and then returning home on Sunday afternoon but we did manage to fit in a visit to their nearby City Farm.  We braved a sudden hail shower but then it brightened up and as you can see Noah was enjoying himself!

Tuesday 3 March 2020

20 in 20 February Update

1. Fill out weekly/daily planner
This is definitely working for me now.  It helps me be more focused.

2. Garden projects: Get window boxes for front garden plus big planters. Stepping stones for rear garden.
Well this might need to be reviewed now we have decided to move but we do have window boxes in the front garden.

3. Plan a lunch date/date night with Nick once a month (theatre/cinema/meal/outing)
Hmm not sure we achieved this in February.  The month seems to have flown by and been dominated by our decision to move.  But then a trip out to explore a potential area for moving to counts right?  We did at least spend some time together away from the house lol

4. Eat at 6 new-to-me restaurants
No increase on this during February - see above!

5. Complete the A – Z blogging challenge
This happens during April - watch this space!

6. Plan Family weekend for my birthday
Not thinking to far ahead at the moment.  Who decided to move?!

7. Take up an exercise class
No progress here.  I seem to be blaming all my failures on our decision to move but it has put other things on the back burner.

8. Plan a road trip/holiday with hubby.
Perhaps after we manage to move! lol

9. Visit the beach
At some point!

10. Complete my reading challenge (52 books for the year)
Somehow I've managed to keep on track with this despite starting 2 books in February which I've given up on.  I did manage to finish 3 though so I'm still ahead of schedule. Full details can be found on my Goodreads page here.

11. Keep a gratitude diary
I've started to include this in my "Daily Planner" book and I'm finding it easier to do. 

12. Blog at least once per week (plus regular memes)
February was never going to be as good as January where I was following a challenge but it wasn't too bad.  One advantage of deciding to move is that it's given me something else to blog about!

13. Take a photo each week and blog about it.
Going to plan.

14. Read 12 books on my TBR pile.
I managed one this month (Secrets She Left Behind - Diane Chamberlain) which I enjoyed.  I also started 2 more (Italian Matchmaker by Sante Montefiore and Little Red Chairs by Edna O'Brien) but gave up on both of them.  I also managed not to add to the TBR pile.

15. Finish knitting WIP (blanket of squares)
Still not started this!

16. Try out a new recipe or do a bake each month 

Managed to slip one in just before the end of the month.  We had a liver dish with Lyonnaise potatoes. Yes I know not everyone likes liver but we do and I did look up a recipe so a ✅

17. Visit/see Noah every month
We just managed this - we were there on 29th February.  Thank goodness this is a leap year or we'd have missed a month and that would not do.

18. Get damp treatment done in house
Hopefully this will be a non-starter now that we've decided to move but if we have to wait too long for a buyer we may just have to get this done anyway.

19. Maintain weight
Moving is stressful.  Being stressed makes me eat.  Enough said?

20. Be kind to myself. Whilst I think it's good to set myself challenges sometimes life gets in the way or I just have days where I really can't be bothered. I need to accept this and not be hard on myself when things don't go to plan.

I think this one is going to be very important over the next few months.

I expected February would not be as great as January and of course this list was written before we'd taken the decision to move.  I'll probably have to cut myself some slack over the next few months but I will also have to try not to use moving as an excuse for not bothering.  

✅ 9/20 Not bad considering all the upheaval.