Thursday 26 November 2020

20 in 20 - Weekly Photo #37 - w/c 23/11/20

Look who's here!

Say hello to our granddaughter - Ella Susan, born on 17th November.

Finally we can buy pink!

Now there are 6!

2020 has been a difficult year but for us it's also been full of blessings.

Friday 13 November 2020

Friday's Fave Five - 13/11/20

Thanks to our host Susanne for reminding us to be mindful each week and find five things to be thankful for. You can join in by clicking on the link below:

Living to the the Story

Well we're in the second week of the second national lockdown here so it's been quiet this week but there are always things to be thankful for such as:

1)  Time with Grandson Nathan and his Mummies - yes we're in lockdown but we're in a childcare bubble with them.  Nathan is always so excited to see us.  I love being a grandparent.

2)  A shed!  We've actually had the shed for a few weeks but the installers came this week to assemble it.  They were supposed to come on Wednesday but after a couple of calls to them it turned out they couldn't make it Wednesday and they rescheduled us for the 1st December!  As you can imagine I wasn't too impressed.  Then at 7.30 pm I got an e-mail saying they could come yesterday.  Well of course I said yes and the shed is now up.  Now we can clear out the things that are in the garage and garden room that belong in the shed and that will be a bit more progress!

3)  A chat with my best friend.  She dropped a parcel off to me yesterday and we had quite a chat.  Of course she couldn't come into the house, even though she really wants to see our new home, but she did venture into the garden which can be accessed without going through the house to get a look around the outside.  Yep call me a rule breaker!  We've only seen each other  a couple of times like this since this pandemic began.  Her husband is in a vulnerable group and he also has elderly parents that they've had to protect so understandably they have been very cautious.  We're so looking forward to being able to meet up properly again and chat over a cup of tea rather than the phone.

4)  Food shopping deliveries booked up until Christmas!  Because I signed up to a delivery plan with one of our big supermarkets I save money on deliveries and get priority for things like delivery slots at Christmas.  Today was the day that the slots became available and I got one without too much waiting online.  One less thing to worry about.

5)  The realistic prospect of a vaccine for this horrible virus.  This seems the only way we will get back to anything like normality so I'm just hoping that the reality will be as good as what the trials are suggesting.

Enjoy the weekend.

Wednesday 11 November 2020

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 11/11/20

Wednesday's Hodgepodge is hosted by Joyce over at "From this side of the Pond".  Pop over there to see who is playing and how to join in.  If you do join in, remember to visit your neighbour on the Linky List.  Have fun.

1. It's the 11th day of the 11th month and bloggers often make lists on days like today. Let's go with a list of eleven things you're feeling grateful for today.

  1. I'm well
  2. I have a roof over my head
  3. I'm financially secure
  4. I have a wonderful hubby
  5. I have great kids who have lovely partners
  6. I have 5 gorgeous grandsons  
  7. It's not raining
  8. The prospects for a Covid vaccine are looking more promising
  9. The blogging community
  10. Time to do the things I want
  11. Online shopping

2. What's something you decided to do or act on at the '11th hour'? 

Sit in silence and reflect. I actually had the TV on which was showing the service at Westminster Abbey.  A very curtailed event in the current Covid situation.

3.  Apparently the Kentucky Fried Chicken recipe contains 11 herbs and spices. What's a dish you make that calls for exactly eleven ingredients? Feel free to share the list and/or recipe. 

We do a pasta dish that includes macaroni, sausagemeat and carrots plus 8 other ingredients.  Quite similar to a bolognese in its method but it's really tasty.

4. Something you remember about your 11-year old self? 

Starting secondary school and feeling like a little fish in a very big sea compared to primary school.

5. The 11th of November is Veterans Day in the US of A. This is a day to honor those who have served their country in war or peace-dead or alive-although according to the government's website it's largely intended to thank living veterans for their sacrifices. 

Memorial Day is when we honor military personnel who died in service to their country. 

Share a thought relating to Veterans Day or tell us something about a Veteran you know-love-admire.

My Dad was a veteran of WW2.  He was already in the army when war broke out - he'd enlisted as he saw it as a better alternative to working in a coal mine.  But then he found himself caught up in the war and being one of the many soldiers rescued from Dunkirk.  He saw some horrific things which he never really spoke about but he also saw a lot of places he would never have otherwise travelled to.  Plus it gave him engineering skills which served him well when he left the army.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Really glad to hear this week such positive news about a vaccine for Covid.  We need a way out of this nightmare.

Monday 9 November 2020

Monday - again! 9/11/20

The weeks seem to be passing by far too quickly.  I hope it stays that way though as then our current lockdown won't seem so long.

I'm trying to get out for a walk each day or if it's too wet use my exercise bike.  I've managed everyday since the beginning of November apart from the day we were looking after Grandson Nathan.  However I usually get quite a bit of exercise while we're there - chasing after Nathan and doing a few chores which usually requires going up and down the stairs.  Their house is like our old house - it has lots of stairs!  Not surprising when I get home from there I just want to sink onto the sofa.

The weekend was quiet.  Hubby has discovered Netflix and spends a lot of time watching the TV.  In between the series he has found we did follow the election news from the USA.

Thanks to my American DIL I've got my head around the way the system works even though it does seem complicated.  It feels like this election is going to run and run though with all the legal challenges etc.  I hope it gets resolved quickly.  Clearly whatever the final result is it will only please half the people.  I also hope that despite all the differences people can start pulling together. 

It feels like it's the same as it was here after the BREXIT vote.  Our country was deeply divided but what's done is done.  We can't go back and undo the vote.  I might not like the decision but we have to make the best of it.  Another vote on it isn't going to happen.

At least Americans have another chance in 4 years time if they're not happy. 

But hey, enough politics, don't want to spark nasty comments.

Have a baby pic instead! (or 2 or 3 lol)


Can't wait for the 3rd little one to arrive.  Not long now!


Saturday 7 November 2020

Book Review - Life or Death - Michael Robotham

Life or Death

Life or Death by Michael Robotham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Why would a man escape from prison the day before he's due to be released?

Audie Palmer has spent a decade in prison for an armed robbery in which four people died, including two of his gang. Five million dollars has never been recovered and everybody believes that Audie knows where the money is.

For ten years he has been beaten, stabbed, throttled and threatened almost daily by fellow inmates and prison guards, who all want to answer this same question, but suddenly Audie vanishes, the day before he's due to be released.

Everybody wants to find Audie, but he's not running. Instead he's trying to save a life . . . and not just his own.

I've read and enjoyed a couple of the Joseph O'Loughlin books by this author so when I spotted this one in the library I thought I'd give it a try. It's quite different, particularly being set in America but very good nonetheless.

When Audie Palmer escapes from jail one day before he was due to be released it raises all sorts of questions. Not least is he going for the missing money from the armed robbery that he was in jail for? Of course as with all good thrillers things are not what they seem. The book follows Audie as he tries to stay one step ahead of those trying to catch him and also switches back to the time leading up to the robbery.

A roller coaster of a ride that kept me turning pages and left me wanting to read more books from this author.

View all my reviews 

#SoCS 7/11/20 - Jour(ney) through lockdown.

#SoCS is hosted by Linda - here

Pop over to her blog to see how to take part and who else is joining in.

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “jour.” Find a word containing “jour” or use it as is. Bonus points if you start or end your post with that word. Enjoy!

Journeying through lockdown - again! Yes we're in our second lockdown thanks to the rising numbers of Corona virus cases, more hospital admisions and, inevitably more deaths.

Someone asked me in a comment yesterday what the lockdown meant and I decided to blog about it rather than just reply to the comment.  And then today's prompt seemed rather apt so here we go:

Our first lockdown began back in March 2020. (24th to be precise - I made a note of this.)  Initially it did feel like we were under house arrest.  You could only go to work if you couldn't work from home, no contact with anyone outside your house.  It was awful.  But we adapted.  We had to.  There seemed to be no end in sight as we watched the numbers climb and climb.

Living in London we saw the worst of the numbers.  The awful situations in the hospitals, the temporary morgue built at the end of the road.  

Things didn't start easing until June and then it was only gradual.  I couldn't get a haircut until July.  We didn't go out to eat until the end of August.  Schools reopened in September.  Universities reopened in October and then numbers started to rise again.

A tiered system of restrictions were tried but, as numbers continued to rise a national 4 week lockdown was imposed for England from last Thursday.

Which means we are supposed to stay home as much as possible.  People have to work at home unless they can't.  Only essential shops and services remain open although places such as coffee shops, pubs restaurants etc can serve takeaways.

We can go out to exercise but can only meet up with one person from outside our household.  This means I can meet with my son OR my DIL but not both at the same time.  They can bring the little ones with them though as they're aged under 4.

Schools and universities will remain open but uni students are finding uni life challenging.  Many have been isolating in their halls of residence as corona cases in unis have risen.  One uni in Manchester tried to fence in residences.  Students, understandably as there was no warning of this,  were not happy and protested.  The fences were torn down.  Unfortunately during the protests many students can be seen without masks and definitely not social distancing.

We are constantly being reminded of HANDS, FACE, SPACE i.e. washing our hands frequently, wearing a face mask and leaving space between us. 

Thankfully we can form a childcare "bubble" with one other household so we've done that with my daughter and her family as their second baby is due later this month and we will be looking after our grandson when that happens.  This means we can visit them in their home and even stay overnight when necessary.  But this does mean we can only meet Grandsons Rory and Vinny's parents as described above.  We also cannot travel to Nottingham to see my eldest son and his family.  That's hard when they have a new baby too and they change so quickly during these early months.  I console myself with the photos/videos etc and contact that social media enables and that the baby is none the wiser really as to what is going on.

Our Prime Minister has advised that the lockdown will end after 4 weeks.  I'm not holding my breath on that one but hopefully things will be easier by Christmas.  I think the biggest of the many mistakes the Government have made were allowing households to mix in places like restaurants and pubs where face and space were totally disregarded and allowing unis to open to students rather than doing online tutoring.

Another failing has been in our Track & Trace system which is still nowhere near good enough.  They changed course on this too and now we have an app that only works on some phones - I've recently upgraded my phone and now have the app but my old phone, and that of my husband were unable to download the app.

Testing has also been patchy.  In some areas it's been fine but in others it's proved difficult to get a test and then results have taken too long to be returned. 

Of course this pandemic has been an unprecedented challenge for world leaders and even some of those that seemed to be doing well initially are now battling increasing cases.

Some asian countries (South Korea is often quoted) seem to be doing better but I can't help but think their citizens are more likey to comply with restrictions and instructions than others that see them as draconian and an infringement of their civil liberties.

As an island nation we should have done better.  New Zealand set a good example but we haven't followed it.

For Hubby and me the lockdown is not really that hard.  We have a nice home, hubby is still employed, we've managed to get our shopping online right through this difficult time and we are in a nice area for getting out for a daily walk.  Things could be a lot worse.

Yes I'm desperate to be able to see more of the kids and Grandkids and to be able to give them a hug.  A holiday would be nice but I think it will be a while before I take that sort of journey.

Friday 6 November 2020

Friday's Fave Five - 6/11/20

Thanks to our host Susanne for reminding us to be mindful each week and find five things to be thankful for. You can join in by clicking on the link below:

Living to the the Story

Here are my faves from this week:

1) A walk in the park with Grandsons Rory and Vinny and their Mummy. This was on Monday. The weather wasn't great, we had to dodge a shower at one point, but it was lovely to see them.

Rory is very good at standing on his buggy board.

2) I'm not a great fan of halloween but I did love getting pictures of my Grandsons dressed up for it:

3) A new dishwasher! Ours broke down and the outcome of getting it looked at was that it would be quite an expensive repair, it was quite old and therefore it would be better to get a new one. This was ordered, delivered and installed this week.

4) Walks around the lake. It's still very muddy but it was just good to get out in the fresh air especially as we are now totally locked down for the next month. I posted pictures here

5) Social media. Thanks to WhatsApp we get lots of pics of the new little ones, which we really need, especially of Miles as we can't get to see him. We got these two pics this week:



Aren't they gorgeous? We also had a zoom chat with extended family recently on one of their birthdays which was fun.

Enjoy the weekend.

Wednesday 4 November 2020

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 4/11/20

Wednesday's Hodgepodge is hosted by Joyce over at "From this side of the Pond".  Pop over there to see who is playing and how to join in.  If you do join in, remember to visit your neighbour on the Linky List.  Have fun.

1. How do you define peace? 

Well a trite answer would be to say no wars going on but I'm not sure that's ever going to happen.  For me I'd define peace as when I can sit somewhere quiet and just enjoy the view or solitude or companionship of my hubby and my brain isn't racing around trying to work out how to do 101 things in less time than possible and just enjoy the moment.

2. November 3rd is Election Day in the US of A, but did you know it's also National Sandwich Day? Let's vote, shall we? egg salad or tuna salad? chicken salad or grilled chicken on a bun? peanut butter and jelly or a bagel with cream cheese? turkey and swiss or ham and cheddar? grilled cheese or pimento cheese? roast beef-corned beef-or make mine veggie? 

  • Egg salad
  • Chicken salad
  • bagel with cream chees
  • ham and chedder
  • grilled cheese
  • roast beef.

3. When did you last say (or feel) 'no rest for the weary'? 

Probably a lot of times over the last few months as we packed up and then unpacked our home lol.

4. This time last year, where were you? 

Ha!  Helping my daughter and her family move house and looking after Grandson Rory 2 days a week.  I was probably saying no rest for the weary then too!

5. Share a favorite song, verse, or quote featuring the word 'peace'. 

Well I am rubbish at remembering song so I used google and according to one list the best song about peace is Imagine by John Lennon.  Not a bad choice.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Tomorrow we go back into full lockdown here in England as our covid cases are rising rapidly again.  The confusing thing is, due to our set up, the individual countries forming the UK can do their own thing which means the rules are different in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.  The stupid thing is we're an island!  We should have followed New Zealand's example but then they're led by a sensible woman and not a buffoon!

Tuesday 3 November 2020

20 in 20 - Weekly Photo #36 - w/c 2/11/20

Well here we go again after a long break so a few photos to look at.  Most of them were taken today, a couple are from Sunday.

Today I ventured out for a walk - I'm getting to know the local area around the lake and park close to our house.

I was very glad of these:

It is very muddy as we have had soooo much rain. Some parts of the path are really only suitable for wellies.


We live close to the river Ching which winds through the forest area. This is one of the bridges over it.


Not particularly secure looking but it serves its purpose.


It's not a particularly big river and it twists and turns.

The forest gives way to the open parkland.

There is a play area for children and also a cafe that's still open for takeaways.

And then back to the forest again.

The lake


Another bridge over the river that also seems a bit rickety but at least there are guard rails on this one!


Plenty of squirrels about today.

These fallen trees are an important landmark when heading home - get to these trees and then turn left (or right depending on which direction you've come from) to find the path that leads out onto the road for home.

The circuit from our house through the forest and around the lake is probably about a mile and a half - I keep forgetting to set my Fitbit to track it when we head out. Next time!

Monday 2 November 2020

20 in 20 Autumn Update

Well I've called this an Autumn update as I realised to my horror that the last update I did was back in July!  We have been a bit busy and times have been strange.  I haven't always had the same desire to blog. Not good.  But here goes:

1. Fill out weekly/daily planner
I am still doing this and it does make me feel like I have some control over what's going on. 

2. Garden projects: Get window boxes for front garden plus big planters. Stepping stones for rear garden.
Well of course we stopped doing new projects at our old house once we knew we were moving and now we have a new house to work on.  The garden here is quite a blank canvas of 2 areas of grass.  Patio areas and a corner with raised beds of mainly lavender.

We did manage to get the grass cut a couple of times - it was very long when we moved in, but it has been very very wet!

We've also taken delivery of a shed which will be installed next week, then I can get the gardening tools, lawn mower etc in their rightful place.  Not sure what I want to do with the garden yet but will definitely be making it low maintenance.

3. Plan a lunch date/date night with Nick once a month (theatre/cinema/meal/outing)
Well we did manage to eat out once back in August when the "Eat out" scheme was still up and running but of course now we're facing total lockdown again so I think I need to think outside the box on this one.

4. Eat at 6 new-to-me restaurants
The restaurant we went to in August was new to me - it was a pub close to our old house that has recently been completely refurbished.  It had a limited menu due to all the covid restrictions but it was fine for pub food.  Brings the total of new restaurants visited to 3.  Don't think I'm going to make this target by the end of the year.

5. Complete the A – Z blogging challenge

6. Plan Family weekend for my birthday
Next year?

7. Take up an exercise class
Not happening!

8. Plan a road trip/holiday with hubby.
Hopefully one day!

9. Visit the beach
At some point!

10. Complete my reading challenge (52 books for the year)
I've completed this challenge and am currently at 64 books read.  (Something good to come out of lockdown!) Full details can be found on my Goodreads page here.

11. Keep a gratitude diary
This is a big fail.

12. Blog at least once per week (plus regular memes)
Well August was quite a good month but September and October were not!

13. Take a photo each week and blog about it.
Again the move has scuppered this one.  I haven't posted any weekly photos since the end of August even though I have taken photos.  I will try and continue this again from now and allow myself some slack due to moving house and still give myself a

14. Read 12 books on my TBR pile.  
15. Finish knitting WIP (blanket of squares)

No change during June. (But I am about 2/3 of the way through the 3rd blanket  for the new Grandchildren.)❌

16. Try out a new recipe or do a bake each month 
Nick has taken over the cooking for the time being but the last couple of weeks I have taken more of an active role in planning the meals.

17. Visit/see Noah every month
Well we saw them in August and then we managed to meet the new Grandson at the beginning of October.  With covid restrictions I'm not sure when we'll be able to visit again. 

18. Get damp treatment done in house
Well I guess I could give myself a
✅ for this one.  We didn't actually get the work done but as we no longer have the house it's not something we have to worry about any more!

19. Maintain weight 

Still fluctuating but no significant gains (or losses.)

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.
Things are definitely not going to plan this year!  But I am being kind to myself.

9/20 (45%) - better than July but might be as good as it gets!

Well it almost feels futile trying to carry on with this but I don't give up easily and it's a way of remembering just how difficult this year has been.  Taking on board #20 it's also good to remember that a lot of good things have happened too.  We have 2 new Grandsons who are both doing well.  We have been able to meet them and although we can't see them as often as we'd like they are too young to know what's going on.  It's harder with the older ones but we're doing our best.  We've also managed to complete the move to our new house and have another Grandchild to look forward to before we say goodbye to 2020.