Friday 30 April 2021

Friday's Fave Five - 30/4/21


Friday's Fave Five is hosted by Susanne over at Living to Tell the Story and it's where some of us come together on a Friday to share our blessings from the week.

Here are mine:


COVID-19 Vaccination Programme | Montgomery-House Surgery 

I had my second Covid vaccination today!  Hubby and I are both fully vaccinated now. Phew!

2)  I've finished the A-Z blogging challenge.  Despite having spent so much time in lockdown I was very badly prepared for this and there were several days when I only just got my daily post done in time but I managed to get the last few posts done in advance and scheduled for the right day.   For anyone who hasn't a clue what I'm talking about the challenge involves posting every day during April (except Sundays) working your way through the letters of the alphabet.

#AtoZChallenge 2021 badge


3)  Hubby did his last day at work today - he is now fully retired.  He still has to send all his IT equipment back but hopefully the packaging etc he needs for that will arrive next week.  Leaving when everyone is working from home has clearly presented new challenges to employers.  Hubby had various things that were security issues and sorting out what to do with them caused all sorts of frustrations for him.  It was supposed to be his line manager's responsibility to check them in but he's based in Birmingham.  Also many of their offices (he was a civil servant) have moved to hot desking and moved away from paper usage so they have little or no storage.  Eventually a solution was found but only after lots of phone calls and emails being exchanged!

4)  Dry weather.  We did have some rain on Wednesday but we've had lots of dry weather over the last week or two and sunshine.  It's still been quite breezy so not that warm but it has meant I've been able to get out and walk most days.

I don't think I'll ever get bored of this view:

5)  Time with family.  We babysat Grandson Nathan last Saturday and we had Rory & Vinny and Mummy here on Wednesday.  We also had a good zoom chat with hubby's siblings yesterday.  I love family time.

Have a good weekend all.

Life in Lockdown - Z is for Zoom Meetings - A-Z Challenge 2021

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter Z 

Click here for the A-Z blog to find out more about this challenge.

You'd think by now we'd all be experts at Zoom meetings if we're working from home but judging by the comic stories that keep popping up we're clearly not. Of course it's quite amusing to watch children creeping into view, or someone appearing with a Cat filter on, completely unaware and having no idea how to turn it off.  And as for working out how to use the mute button.  Definitely good to be the controller of a meeting and able to "Mute All" at times.

It also pays to scrutinise your backdrop before going live - your books on your bookcase can tell their own story.  A plain wall or a computer generated background can save a lot of embarrassment.

And just to show I'm not biased I've also used Google Duo, Whatapp video chats, Facetime etc to contact people.  I think the main one I haven't used is Microsoft Teams but then I'm not actually working from home so there hasn't been the need.  Oh and I did dabble with House Party briefly.

It's hard learning all these new apps but they have proved so useful during the pandemic.  Coping with too many people on a video call can be challenging though.  Even with just 4 of us on my cousin chats it's hard to get a word in edgeways sometimes and when we get together with Hubby's siblings there are sometimes 8 screens to follow and it's extremely hard to follow everyone.  It's probably worse when there's actually no agenda and no one in charge.  I've glimpsed my daughter running a meeting and she's orchestrated when people speak and it's much easier to follow the conversation.

I'm sure this way of working will continue but I expect that some people will be glad to get back to face to face meetings too.  I'm just happy to carry on watching the antics of the grandchildren.

If you'd like to read about more Zoom disasters you can click here or just go to google like I did.  (Although beware, some are funny, some are just daft and some can be explicit!)

Zoom Filter Stickers | Redbubble

Thursday 29 April 2021

Life in Lockdown - Y is for YouTube - A-Z Challenge 2021

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter Y 

Click here for the A-Z blog to find out more about this challenge.

YouTube is getting a new logo every week this month – here's why | Creative  Bloq 

I don't use YouTube a lot but I have found it useful during the pandemic.  Need to learn how to re pressurise your boiler - look on YouTube, want to find a walking routine because it's too wet to get outside - look on YouTube.  I've certainly done both of those.

Yesterday we watched Grandson Rory do CosmicYoga following the "We're going on a bear hunt" story.  It was hilarious but a good workout for the little one (and his Mummy).  I was an armchair viewer.

It's also good for keeping a just 4 year old entertained.

I've never uploaded anything of my own and I certainly don't just watch it for the fun of it but it definitely serves many a purpose.  Especially for solving DIY problems during lockdown when you couldn't get someone in to do things for you.

Now if it could solve the problem of the multiplying laundry or the conundrum of what to cook for dinner each day it would be perfect.  Yes I know it could probably show me lots of videos of people cooking meals but I have a hubby who does that for me.  Yes I'm lucky.

Are you a YouTuber?  Is that a thing or have I just created it?

Wednesday 28 April 2021

Life in Lockdown - X is for Xenophobia - A-Z Challenge 2021

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter X 

Click here for the A-Z blog to find out more about this challenge.

Xenophobia - Fear, hatred, or mistrust of that which is foreign, especially strangers or people from different countries or cultures.

Well forget the strangers and other people but the Coronavirus is definitely something foreign and it has created fear, hatred and mistrust  around the world.

What do you call the disease caused by the novel coronavirus? Covid-19 

 I don't think we will ever be free of it but hopefully with the advances in vaccines and treatments we will fear it less.

Tuesday 27 April 2021

Life in Lockdown - W is for Walking - A-Z Challenge 2021

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter W 

Click here for the A-Z blog to find out more about this challenge.

We have done a lot of walking during the past year.  At first it was such a relief to be able to get out of the house and take some exercise.  Before we moved we were lucky to face out onto an open space of land that led to a woodland park.  There were ponds and wildlife and we were able to vary our circuits.  We didn't need the car to be able to appreciate this - just as well as there were periods when we weren't supposed to stray from our local area.

In our new house (we moved in September 2020) we don't have a green outlook.  We face other houses and we're on a bus route.  This doesn't bother us - we figured it would be something that could be useful as we get older and maybe can't be driving or just don't want to walk back up the hill from the shops.  We're not elderly yet but we plan on being in this house long enough that these were things we needed to consider.  Future proofing if you like.

So no lovely outlook but five minutes and we are into woodland leading down to Highams Park Lake.  If we head north from our house we can walk into Epping Forest.

We haven't ventured too far afield yet and during the winter months we didn't get out so much.  Around the lake was soooo muddy. Some of the trees are really old and the pathways are full of ruts and roots.  Wellies or walking boots were essential.

As things are beginning to open up it will get easier to spread our wings a bit - I won't have to panic about hiding behind a tree if I get caught short as more cafes will be open and toilet facilities more accessible.

In the meantime I've been trying to walk most days and do anything between 1.5 - 3.5 miles.  It's becoming easier to do as well so I'm feeling quite positive about that. Hopefully it's becoming a habit!

Sometimes Hubby will join me but I actually enjoy walking on my own listening to a Spotify playlist on my phone and enjoying the views.



Monday 26 April 2021

Life in Lockdown - V is for Vinny - A-Z Challenge 2021

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter V 

Click here for the A-Z blog to find out more about this challenge.

This is Vinny:


He's the 3rd grandchild I've written about who arrived during lockdown and although last alphabetically after Ella and Miles he was the first to be born back in September 2020.  The 22nd September to be exact, the day we moved house.

We had just seen the removal guys leave and were starting to get straight when I got a call from our son that our DIL had been advised to go in and I was needed to look after big brother Rory.

I though I would have at least a couple of weeks to get the house unpacked but no, Vinny was in a hurry and arrived 3 weeks early weighing 5lb 15oz.  He also developed an infection so although Mum was allowed home after a few days Vinny was kept in the NICU for a bit longer.  He was also jaundiced so that had to be addressed to.

He's a very smiley boy and he loves his big brother Rory, who mostly loves him back.  Of course Vinny's now 7 months old and for a little while now we've been having both boys and their Mummy here on Wednesdays to give Daddy a break as he's working from home.  3 days a week Rory goes to nursery but Mondays and Wednesdays are a challenge with both boys at home in a flat and Daddy's trying to work.  It's getting easier now the weather is improving and restrictions are easing because our DIL can get them out more.

It will be all change in a few weeks when our DIL goes back to work and our son will take 4 months paternity leave.  I think Wednesdays here will continue though.  I hope so - I love being able to see them.  One of the hardest things of lockdown was not being able to see family and of course we're still waiting to see our other son and his family.  Soon....


Sunday 25 April 2021

21 in 21 - Weekly Photo #16 - w/c 19/4/21

Don't you love it when there is enough take away left for lunch the next day:

Not the best presentation of leftover chicken korma, lamb bhuna and mushroom rice but it still tasted yummy.  I justified the big lunchtime helping by walking over 10K steps today.

This was only our second takeaway since we've been here but this is another Indian restaurant at the end of our road.  That's good.  But they don't do deliveries, so that's not so good.  It's just that little bit too far to walk it back without it getting cold so it does mean going down in the car and finding a parking space.

Normally it's an eat in restaurant and we're looking forward to trying that when restaurants can open their indoor areas again.  Not even sure if they were doing takeaways before lockdown or if that will continue.  Watch this space.

Saturday 24 April 2021

Life in Lockdown - U is for understanding - A-Z Challenge 2021

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter U 
Click here for the A-Z blog to find out more about this challenge.
This is a bit of a cheat because this was something I copied and posted on Facebook in the early days of the pandemic.  It came up as a memory earlier this month and I re read it.  I wanted to be able to keep it to refer to but of course scrolling back through FB isn't easy so I thought I would incorporate it into a blog post.  It's quite long but it did help me understand how many of us might have been feeling during the initial panic stages of the pandemic, and how long term lockdowns affected us.
This was written by a mental health first aider/therapist called Imogen Wall and is called Pandemic Anxiety 101!......
IN CRISES, WE START DOING WEIRD STUFF: Over the last week I have struggled to sleep, stayed up late into the night reading endless news articles, bought pasta I don’t even like very much, got angry with my mum for not staying home. My spelling is a disaster and I’m definitely drinking more. I’ve been a bit teary, and all I really want to eat is cake, cake and more cake. From what I hear, I’m not alone. 
If you’re having a wobble, you may also have noticed all sorts of weird stuff going on. Are you arguing more, talking faster, struggling to sleep, restless, desperate for information? Or are you teary and overwhelmed, perhaps feeling a bit sick? Struggling to make decisions? Just want to stay in bed? Tummy upsets? Having palpitations, butterflies, headaches? Ranting, picking fights or getting into arguments? Laughing unexpectedly or saying random, inappropriate things? Developing Very Strong Opinions on epidemiology overnight? Or have you just completely gone to ground?
If you are feeling any of these things: good news! You are not going mad. And you are 100% not alone. You are, in fact completely normal: a fully emotionally functional human being. Congratulations! Why? I’ll explain: take a seat and put the kettle on.
WE ARE LIVING IN TURBO-ANXIOUS TIMES. Well, no kidding. We’re in the middle of an unprecedented crisis that has showed up unexpectedly (they do that) and which presents a mortal threat to ourselves and everyone we know and love. It’s frightening and it makes us feel totally out of control. And this is on top of anything else we have going on.
HERE’S THE SCIENCE BIT. When we are exposed to threats and need to deal with them, our brain springs into action. Specifically a tiny, innocent-looking thing buried behind your ear called the amygdala (fun fact: it's the size and shape of an almond). It’s the bit in charge when we are frightened and right now, it’s in full tin-hat klaxon mode. Unfortunately, it’s a very ancient bit of kit. It came into being when threats basically consisted of being eaten by large scary animals like bears. You know that thing about when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail? Well, to the amygdala, everything looks like a bear. It’s also pretty basic, so it really only has two settings. They are ❤ no bear ❤ and BEAR!!!.
SETTING: BEAR!!!. Because all threats look like a bear to the amygdala, it preps you accordingly. There are really only two reactions to a bear about to eat you: fight it, or run away really really fast. So this is what the body gets you ready to do. It’s called the Fight or Flight response (there’s also freeze, meaning you just get paralysed). It does this by flooding your body with chemicals like cortisol, and adrenaline. Your heart rate goes up, you feel super alert, your breathing goes shallow, your muscles are ready for action. These chemicals are also largely responsible for a huge range of other cognitive/physical/emotional reactions like this in my intro. l In a group fear situation like a pandemic, this tends to happen whether you think you're scared or not - anxiety is even more infections than COVID. Your body reacts even if your conscious mind doesn't.
BEAR V VIRUS: Obviously this is all great if you really are running away from a bear. But we’re now in a situation where we’re being asked to do the EXACT OPPOSITE of running away. We are being told to sit tight. Literally stay still. Process large amounts of information, make complicated decisions, and stay calm. All while a bit of your brain is running around yelling BEAR! BEAR! BEAR! This isn’t easy. The result is an awful lot of stress and anxiety. And if you’re anything like me, you end up feeling really overwhelmed and having all sorts of reactions.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS: Anxiety isn’t just mental – it’s also physical, cognitive and behavioural. You will notice all kinds of things: stomach upsets, headaches, insomnia, changes to eating, changes to the way you talk. It’s also cognitive: it’s very difficult to think straight when you’ve got the BEAR! BEAR! BEAR! thing going on – so we also become very bad at making decisions, absorbing information and generally thinking rationally. Which is EXACTLY what we need to do.
SO WHAT TO DO: well, the good news is it is possible to calm down. We can turn the amygdala from BEAR!!! to NO BEAR 😊, and not just by distracting it with cake and tea. Her are some solid, scientifically proven things you can do.
BREATHE. It’s so basic, but breathing exercises are basically magic. They work in minutes and you can do them anywhere. They work because of all the physical reactions the amygdala triggers, rapid breathing is the only one over which we have conscious control. Control your breathing and you are basically telling your body: it’s OK. There is no bear. Your body will then start to dial down the adrenaline and cortisol and all the other reactions will slow to a halt. How to control your breathing? It’s easy – and if you want help just put "two minute breathe bubble" in into Youtube. The golden rules are these:
• In through the nose, out through the mouth. SLOWLY
• Make the outbreath longer than the inbreath – imagine there’s a candle in front of you and it mustn’t go out
• Breathe from the tummy not chest – really make your tummy go out when breathing in.
• Do it for two minutes and see how you feel
Seriously, try it – this technique is used by everyone from top athletes to the US military to help stay in control while under stress. There are all sorts of versions – from yogic breathing to box breathing to 4-7-8. Google them, mess around, figure out what works for you.
CALL A FRIEND: Don’t suffer alone. Call a mate - someone who’ll listen while you have a bit of a rant, or a cry, or a general wobble. Someone you can trust not to judge you and who’ll just sympathise. And if you get one of those calls, just be nice to them. You only need to be kind. You can’t fix what’s going on so just give them a bit of space to rant. And if you’re OK, call your friends and check in on them. Especially if they’ve gone silent.
LAUGH: it doesn’t matter what is funny – laughter is a huge releaser of endorphins. Silly memes, silly jokes, stand-up, rolling around with your kids – videos on youtube. The sillier the better. Also v good for bonding with friends, which will also help you feel less alone.
DO SOMETHING WITH YOUR HANDS. Yes you can meditate if this is your bag, it’s amazing. But if it’s not, and personally I’m rubbish, then trying to start when you’re already anxious is really hard. So do something instead. Cook. Tidy. Knit. Draw. Bake. Garden. Mend things. This is what nice middle class therapists like me call Mindfulness.
TREAT YOUR BODY: We hold stress in our bodies at least as much as our minds. Take a bath or a shower. Put on things that feel good on your skin. Use nice smelling body creams. Stretch. Skip. Do yoga. Dance. Eat healthy but delicious things - fresh if you can get it. All of these will help calm you down.
SUNSHINE. It’s SPRINGTIME amid this horror – enjoy it. If you can’t go outside, open the windows and feel it on your face. If it’s safe for you to go outside (maybe you live in the country) do it, while of course observing social distance. Go for a walk. Being outdoors, connecting to nature, is hugely calming.
STEP AWAY FROM SOCIAL MEDIA/THE NEWS: All it will do will scare you more and make things worse. Turn off the telly and for gods sake avoid the psychopathic digital wild west that is Twitter. Stick to sensible sources like the BBC and the NHS, and limit yourself to short need-to-know bits a day. You’ll feel better immediately.
STEP AWAY FROM TERRIBLE COPING MECHANISMS: They will all translate as BEAR!! to your poor brain. Especially don’t get drunk, especially if you’re alone (BEAR!!), take drugs (BEAR!!), stay up all night reading (BEAR!!), get sucked into conspiracy theories (BEAR!!), pay attention to ANYTHING Boris Johnson says (BEAR!!). See? Stress levels going up already. Breathe.
BE KIND: to yourself and others. Now is not the time to go on a diet. Nor is this the time to start on Proust or makeover your life. You'll probably struggle to concentrate, fail and make yourself feel worse (hat tip Laura Gordon for this bit). Don’t make this more stressful than it already is. Think comfort books, comfort telly, comfort everything. Everyone is wobbly, everyone is going to have a meltdown at some point. Understand that if someone is angry or aggressive, then they are also just scared. And eat more cake. Cake makes everything better.
So, there we go. Hopefully a bit less BEAR!!. Now, that kettle should have boiled by now. Go make a nice cup of tea, sit by a window and drink it in this lovely morning sunshine. We are British after all. And save me some cake ❤.
Well I've certainly had lots of tea during this pandemic and not lots of cake but definitely chocolate.  I feel like I've grown to the size of a bear and have been hibernating.  But spring is here, the days are getting longer, and there's living to be done.

Friday 23 April 2021

Friday's Fave Five & Life in Lockdown - T is for Thankful (A-Z Challenge 2021)

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter T

Well I'm combining two posts into one today - that way they'll both get done and I won't be chasing my tail later in the day.

Friday's Fave Five is hosted by Susanne over at Living to Tell the Story and it's where some of us come together on a Friday to share our blessings from the week.

The A-Z Challenge continues (details can be found here)and today's letter is T so I'm using Thankful for that.

For events from this week I'm thankful for:

1)  A day with our youngest son & his family on Saturday.  They came here and we had a buffet sort of lunch (pizza, quiche salad etc)  Always good to see them.

2)  A day with our daughter and her family on Sunday.  Again they came here and we had a roast dinner.  And cake!  It was Hubby's birthday.

66 years young.

3)  Hubby got a haircut!  That pleases me because I've reluctantly cut it 3 times during lockdown and it never quite met his expections.  He's lucky I didn't invest in some clippers and just shave it all off!  Hopefully I won't get that job ever again.

4)  Our library reopened so I have new books to read.

5)  Our daughter has a new job.  She's been a self contractor for a while now so it's a bit nerve wracking when a contract comes to an end and a new one has to be found but she finishes with her current post today and hopefully will start her new post in the next week or so.

In terms of lockdown I'm also thankful for:

  • Keeping well
  • Getting our jabs (2 for hubby 1 for me so far)
  • Being financially secure - Hubby's a civil servant so his job has been secure - just moved to home working
  • Moving house
  • 3 new grandchildren
  • Being able to keep in touch with family and friends via Zoom, WhatsApp etc
  • Home deliveries for groceries and all sorts of other things
  • Places to walk from home
  • A hubby that copes with all my little anxieties and frustrations
  • A hubby that cooks
  • The blogging community
  • Books to read 
  • Puzzles to do (Physical & virtual)
  • And lots lots more.  

Yes it was hard at times and I've often had to pull myself together but it helps to remember that it could have been so much worse.  I'm thankful that it wasn't. 

Have a good weekend all.


Thursday 22 April 2021

Life in Lockdown - S is for short - A-Z Challenge 2021

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter S 

Click here for the A-Z blog to find out more about this challenge.

No I am not going to waffle on about the advantages or not of being short.  I could of course waffle on about how lockdown has given us all short tempers (well me at least) but I'm not going to do that either.

I did have Social Media pencilled in for today and I could certainly wax lyrical about the pros and cons of that.  I do have Facebook and Instagram, I've retired my Twitter account as it was sitting there doing nothing and I've refused to be drawn into TikTok.  I even had to check the spelling of that which shows how little I know about it.

Short is for short post.  It's past 10pm here and I AM TIRED!

Apologies for not getting around to other blogs or responding to comments.  Just getting the challenge post done is a challenge at the moment.  I was babysitting Granddaughter Ella to day while her Mummy got her hair done.  Poor Mummy Vicky hadn't had her hair done since pre-lockdown in March 2020.  I was happy to help out.  I know how bad having bad hair can make you feel.  Ella had other ideas.  She did not want Nanny today.  She wanted Mummy.  But of course she couldn't have Mummy, especially once her hair was full or foils and colour etc.  So she cried.  And cried.  Poor little thing.  I did eventually manage to get her to take some milk and then I did get her off to sleep.  I didn't dare put her down though in case she woke so I sat with her.

I hoped that when she woke up she might be in a better mood but oh no.  She still wasn't happy.  The only way she wouldn't keep crying was if I walked around with her singing all sorts of nonsense songs.   If I tried to sit down the crying would start again.   As you can imagine this was stressful for all concerned.  Eventually she fell asleep again and I did manage to put her down.

By the time she woke again Mummy Becca was home and I was glad to let her take over.  We were all relieved though when the hairdresser had finished and Mummy Vicky could give Ella a much needed cuddle.  

I was glad to get home to this:

And now S is for sleep - Goodnight.

Wednesday 21 April 2021

Life in Lockdown - R is for Redirection - A-Z Challenge 2021

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter R 

Click here for the A-Z blog to find out more about this challenge.

Well I originally had R down for reading - anyone following my blog will know by the number of book reviews that I love to read.  But I wrote about reading when I posted K for Kindle.

I then thought maybe I'd write about retirement - I've sort of been retired since I left my job back in 2015 although I'm not yet drawing a pension.  Hubby has been part retired for a while now and at the end of this month he will fully retire.  Again I touched on that subject when I did H for Hubby.

So I'm wracking my brains for another R word.  I need redirection.

I think we all need a bit of that right now as we come out of lockdown.  We're going to need time to adjust to whatever the new normal might look like.  For example non-essential shops can now reopen but how many of them will have survived.  Some businesses have adapted and increased their online presence or diversified but others have gone to the wall.  There will be a lot of boarded up shop fronts on our high streets and in our malls.

Some people will be keen to get back out and socialise and will be happy to return to the beauty salons and fashion shops, others like me will be more cautious.  I think visiting family will take priority over shopping.

Of course it will be nice to dine out again but finding the right restaurant might be key.  Some look as if they're taking the guidelines seriously and making their premises as Covid secure as they can, others clearly don't have a clue about social distancing.  I think most people struggle to estimate what 2 metres looks like - they certainly aren't keeping the length of a bed between them when chatting in the park for example.  And yes I know that if you wear a mask you can reduce the distance but lots of people are reducing the gap and not putting a mask on.

As for things like the cinema and theatre well, maybe once we've both had our second jabs they might seem more appealing, but travelling on public transport is another hurdle to overcome.

There's definitely been redirection there.  If you try to plan a journey around London on the TFL site (Transport for London) it will give you walking or cycling options first before giving a transport option.  That never used to be the case. 

Holidays are another thing where redirection will be very prominent for some time yet and the travel industry will take a long time to recover.  Watching the situation in countries like India (which is now on the red list for travel) it's hard to imagine how international travel will feel easy again any time soon.  Especially if countries don't work together to get vaccines redirected to countries that aren't able to produce them theirselves or have the finances to procure them.

As dreadful as it has been here in the UK with so many mistakes made and so many deaths there are worse places to be. On that cheerful note I'm going to redirect myself to bed to read.  I managed to get to the library yesterday so have new books.


Tuesday 20 April 2021

Life in Lockdown - Q is for Quiet - A-Z Challenge 2021

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter Q 

Click here for the A-Z blog to find out more about this challenge.

Well it's late again so I'm racing the clock to get this posted before the day is over.  But it is nice and quiet.

One of the things we probably all noticed during lockdown was that it was quieter.  There wasn't so much traffic on the road, we weren't out and about so much and there were very few planes in the air.  You could hear the birds sing.

Personally I like quiet.  I can be quite happy home alone with no music playing or no TV on although I know that for some people that wouldn't work.

The one thing I have missed is having the house to myself.  Although Hubby has been part retired for a while now there were still days when I was home alone and I enjoyed pottering with no one to interrupt me or need me.  Once we were locked down Hubby worked from home so I've had to adjust to having him here all the time.  In a way it's been good practice for when he retires at the end of this month.  Except that in lockdown all his usual activities were curtailed too.  No more evenings out playing his guitar with friends, or record club evenings.

When Hubby's in the house there is usually noise of some sort.  He'll either have music playing or he'll be watching TV or playing his guitar.  Though to be fair sometimes he does just sit and read.

Finding quiet times for me became a challenge.  Sometimes I'd come down early and enjoy the quiet of the house before he stirred.  Not often though as I'm not a morning person.  Or I'd go out for a walk, although often he'd come too.  I didn't have the heart to say I wanted to be alone but there were enough times when he didn't want to walk for me to not to go stir crazy.

But now there is less quiet as things start to return to normal.  We have the grandchildren here regularly and then the house is anything but quiet.  Of course I love the sounds of the toddlers and the babies.  Conversations with 3 & 4 years olds are never boring.  Challenging sometimes, but never boring.  And the babies might not do much more than "ooo" or "arrr" but the facial expressions are just so watchable.  

And when the bigger ones are tired and irritable the TV often helps for a while and that's a whole other noise.  Some creators of Children's TV programmes have very strange minds.  

Then of course it's time for them to go home and we can restore order in the house, close the door behind them and just enjoy ......the quiet.