Half of 2020 complete

Yesterday was apparently the 100th day of lockdown and saw us half way through this year ( and Andrew’s birthday!)

Not necessarily wanting to wish my life away but I hope the next half goes as quickly and that we can begin to get a new normality.

School is up and running for the limited students, but we face the challenge of all to return in September with ever changing advice.

We visited Nicole and Joe in their new home last week and they have almost unpacked and with a few things to finish it will b lovely. They are both well and the baby the size of a pomegranate! Their arrival will certainly make this year a special one for a positive reason.

Certain districts in Melbourne have had restrictions reimposed so Andrew and Lis are coping with that although they were still able to celebrate his birthday. 32 years ago: I just can’t get my head round how quickly that time has gone……

I am sure that this virus will continue with the havoc that it is wreaking worldwide but after a bad weekend a couple of weekends back, I am taking small but positive steps to recover a better perspective and regain some control over how I feel, what I say and do. I want to thank Georgina, Kevin and Elaine in particular for their words, love and support.

LD 81

Another full week with work pressure ratcheting up as we prepare for our first students since March, apart from key workers.

Teams meetings, summer capital projects and the day to day routines that still have to be done whilst sourcing PPE, tape, bins and so much more.

The pressure is immense and hopefully after tomorrow we can see the fruit of all the work put in. Review and revise the risk assessment as we go on this journey.

Still preparing for the GDPR audit mid July, and feeling more confident with lots still to do but three high priorities to complete.

Joe and Nicole moved into their new home on Friday. Joe hired a large truck to take and collect furniture and belongings and we will visit soon once they have settled in. New beginnings all round.

I have also kept up with my walking which I am really happy with. 10 km at the weekend and have now completed 3 non park runs. Those of you who know me will know that I hate exercise in every firm, but with a grandchild on the way I have to get prepared for running around after them!

LD 74

Another fortnight has passed by full of food, cleaning, work and so much more unfolding on the world stage…….

Two weeks ago was half term , but it didn’t feel like it. So much to prepare for and do. Last week there were zoom meetings, teams meetings and even face to face meetings! Preparing for school re-opening is reaching fever pitch and I can’t imagine what next week will hold.

I’ve upped my walking and have 2 x 5k walks under my belt! The weather has changed so no sun bathing for now, but hopefully the sun will ‘come out tomorrow’.

In uncertain times we are still seeing such brutal treatment of persecuted and oppressed people worldwide. BLM has, rightly, struck a chord for so many. How we are as a society must change. Please can we, whilst taking a stance, rallying and protesting, be kind too.

We have friends and family of mixed race, Nigerian and Jamaican who have enriched our lives and that of our children over the years. We need to put pressure, peacefully to work on the way forward so that there is equality, fairness and opportunities to live our lives in harmony.

LD Day 60 ……

It’s been a couple of weeks since my last blog and it’s been full of twists and turns.

Three weeks ago we were given unexpected but wonderful news that our youngest son, Joe and his girlfriend, Nicole, were expecting their first baby. We’ve waited until the 12 week scan to share the news…….. so Baby M is due 3rd December

Thanks to Hanane from colourful bites for the wonderful macaroons.

I cannot express the joy and excitement we all have for this life event. A precious new life in a time of uncertainty is such a positive uplift.

It still seems surreal but it’s been such a boost to family and we all are looking forward to meeting this little one.

Joe and Nicole also secured their first home yesterday and plans are now afoot to pack up to move out in mid June. Such exciting times for them to build their new home together and we wish them all the love in the world!

Work has been manic with the working towards reopening. I won’t bore you with all the ins and outs but suffice to say after the 1st June it’s going to be a challenge: managing expectations as well as everything else.

There’s been lots of walking, talking, sun, enjoying the garden, keeping up with family and friends. My sister in law had a big birthday on Monday and we joined a ‘bunny thon’ via zoom. It’s a long story and not mine to tell as to the bunny 🐰 bit, but Jane loved it, and I’m sure that she can look forward to celebrations planned that were cancelled after lockdown ends.

It’s half term now and the weather is looking great so I’m taking some time to relax and enjoy the break. June will be frenetic but the smile on my face will be huge.

The house remodelling has taken a back seat but I’ve had a canvas made for the dining area and a mirror delivered yesterday was to finish that off. Unfortunately the colour isn’t what I thought but I adore the mirror, so, two cans of spray paint have been ordered!

My cousin Jo is getting her Mum’s flat ready to go on the market so is sorting through photos etc. She’s been posting photos of family and the memories that come flooding back of my childhood are wonderous!

VE 75 years and LD45

Today is a bank holiday, as a nation we celebrate the ending of the Second World War 75 years ago.

Under normal conditions there would’ve been a street party but lockdown has put paid to this.

Kevin and I were due to visit the Bombay Sapphire distillery, now postponed to a future date.

Some photos have been published of how things were 75 years ago and I have posted some here.

How different then from now: we have to stay indoors and follow government advice the same, the ‘enemy’ for now is unseen with no end in sight. We don’t see daily the devastation of our communities in the same way either: today we can’t comprehend fully what impact there will be on our lives and the effect on mental health. The majority of us have our families, either with us physically or virtually. No evacuation, no internment, and no rationing.

We have so much to be thankful for and hope that we have the resilience to get past this. I personally don’t think our lives will be the same again. Could those who survived WW2 have believed how we live now was even possible. The global community will evolve to live with our new normal and thrive.

A few pictures of how isolation has looked for me. I’ve been into work this week everyday, even today, just in case we were needed. Fortunately no one attended, so another day in the garden beckons. I hope everyone has a good bank holiday weekend, reflects on the challenges of the past and those to come, share time with family and friends by whatever means.

Stay safe, follow the guidelines and we’ll be fine. The beaches may be different but we want to be victorious once again!

LD 39

Another week has passed, where I haven’t posted on social media as much as usual.

This last week the weather hasn’t been great and it’s been harder, and I’ve been into work four out of five days, unusual and very tiring. I caught up with friends and work colleagues both virtually and in person- strange all round.

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Peony blooming in the front garden

We moved furniture last Sunday and I’m pleased with the results. Still so much to do, but lockdown has halted the process for now.

We enjoyed good food and another Greek dish from Nicole.

The peonies are blooming and the rain will no doubt make the garden pop.

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The week ahead will provide more information and guidance and this week has been hard having to furlough some staff, prepare pay reviews, review budget so soon into new financial year, look at curriculum budgets, resolve HR issues and still see the school is maintained and ready for reopening to the wider community. My role right now seems lonely and I’m struggling with many things, but at least I have a job, family and friends and the hope of so much to look forward to.

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LD 33

A busy rest of the week with two trips to work, decisions to be made and ensuring that everything just seamlessly carries on in readiness for students and staff return. My role in school is definitely a solitary one and the anxiety of missing something is profoundly felt, but I can only do what I can do and stressing about it won’t help.

Thursday was Georgina’s birthday, which her and Nicole had prepped food the evening before. The chicken gyros and lamb kofta looked and smelt amazing. The stuffed Portobello mushrooms too!

I woke early to decorate the kitchen and Pergola.

Georgina loved it and after breakfast and present opening we went to Norsey woods for a walk. The weather was beautiful as were the sight and scent of the bluebells.

The walk back also provided colour of different shrubs and trees.

I’d ordered a cocktail delivery from a local company, tappd cocktails and they were delivered safely and popped in the chiller.

Joe started the BBQ and we all got ready. The cooking started and the table was set.

The food was ready and even Kevin managed to join us!

The food was amazing, so flavoursome and certainly plentiful. Georgina is blessed with great friends and there were knocks on the door and social distanced felicitations, good wishes and presents. In fact, in light of lockdown, these visits are a testament to how loved she is, a little lady with a big heart and we are so proud of her.

Last but not least the cake and a fitting end to what had been a lovely day.

Work on Friday and a longer than expected foray! Luckily there was enough food from Thursday to sustain us and I enjoyed an espresso martini 🍸 and a quick loiter on the sun lounger.

The weather has been glorious but this is about to change so the next week will really challenge us all.

LD 29 and remembering a special someone

Today marks thirty years since my father in law, John, died. I can’t believe that so much time has passed.

It’s such a shame that we are social distancing, but a hug is in order, with so many memories of the relatively short time I knew John.

He had a real love for life, perhaps erring on enjoying some things too much, but his love for his children and grandchildren was so obvious, steadfast and true.

I remember his laugh, his walk and his easy manner.

His life was cut short at 54 and I’m sure not a day goes by when he is not remembered with love and fondness.

I still can see how full the crematorium was as we celebrated his life. I have never seen, before or since, one so full, all ages, race and denominations coming together.

Our youngest two never met him and that is sad for us and them, and now with great grandchildren he would have been as proud as punch.

Once this lockdown eases we can perhaps reminisce and look through photos and take comfort in a life lived and a reminder that things quickly change but memories remain.

Big hugs to Kevin and Viv today. ❤️❤️❤️

LD 25 and so it continues

Yesterday the lockdown has been extended for at least another three weeks.

I’m not surprised and what is surprising is how relatively quickly the last 3 1/2 weeks have gone. The measures appear to be working so let’s hope that continues.

There are worrying sound bites of social distancing continuing beyond this year and ramifications of coming out of lockdown. I do feel that we will all find a new ‘normal’ after this and for sometime to come be reticent in some things we have taken for granted.

I have been busy with making cards, making calls, checking work emails and trying not to do too much so that I get up to full speed.

I went food shopping too and that was a surreal, almost eerie experience. I was unsure of the correct social mores that had to be observed, but went as I was getting anxious about going out again, and I felt the longer it went on the more anxious I would get.

We all have down days and that’s understandable and important to accept these feelings and not dwell on them, but appreciate that we are ok and this will end at some point.

LD 20 Easter 2020

A few days have passed since my last blog with sunny days enjoyed in the garden.

We’ve enjoyed some great food, with popcorn chicken and beef stroganoff two of the faves.

I tidied a couple of drawers and did the whole Marie Kondo thing: feel if there’s joy in an item, so a few pieces were discarded, with the associated memories.

Joe went shopping and brought back something which was a reminder of Italy last year and did fluffy pancakes for brunch.

Nina and Joe went for a walk in the afternoon.

Saturday was my Mum’s birthday and we were also remembering Andrew’s father in law Tony, at 2pm, as his memorial in Tasmania is now cancelled. We first met Tony and Jen in 2009 and they are such warm, genuine, lovely people. We took them to our hearts, and we have been fortunate to have spent time with them, most recently in 2017. Jen did a wonderful reading and a video montage of photos that he took over the years and it did bring a few tears to my eyes. I still remember his speech at the wedding, just so funny!

I went out for a walk for the first time in two weeks, and Georgina did my nails.

We then called Mum for her birthday.

we could hear her but not see her and it was a bit strange. We’ll just have to make up for it next year!

Easter Sunday arrived and we spoke with Andrew and Lis, a bit of a lazy day followed with prepping for dinner.

We enjoyed a roast dinner with a kinder bueno cheesecake, which was divine. I made Easter bunny napkins for the table which was a bit of fun.

Tomorrow will be the end of the three week lockdown and we will find out how much longer the next stage and it’s measures will be. We are still safe and whilst today is chilly, the next few days promise warmer weather to brighten our days.

LD 16

Another beautiful day, which is helping with this situation.

A made floury rolls and sausage patties, poached eggs and ta da-fakeaway sausage and egg ‘muffins’ for breakfast.

After this I had a fairly chilled afternoon and did some menu planning for the week.

A shopping list was put together and items purchased. So looking forward to Easter Sunday and the kinder bueno cheesecake!

Delighted that garden bauble lights bought last year are still working. Bargain at £1.

Ruby has also had a lovely day out in the garden, chasing insects and anything that moves…..

Have a great Thursday!

LD 15

Yesterday I was meant to be going to Australia, but instead I went as far as the sanctuary of my garden.

Before retreating there I made flapjacks, and focaccia bread for dinner – a first for me.

I tried to pace myself to do as much as possibly to tidy up, without exerting myself too much.

The weather was glorious and it was so enjoyable for all, even Ruby.

I think the fence panels need some TLC so I’ll be checking the shed to see if we have any paint. With Easter fast approaching that’ll give focus.

LD 14

I didn’t post yesterday as despite the wonderful sunshine on Sunday, I had an overwhelming low day.

Not totally sure why, maybe a bit stir crazy, maybe it’s all part of a process, part of realignment of how life and how we live, will be changed for now and the future, or even the realisation that I should be travelling to Australia today. Also it was four years since the death of a much missed and esteemed colleague.

It was Palm Sunday and whilst in no way am I aligning myself to Jesus, but I reflected that we are all having to make sacrifices for the greater good.

My Mum sent me a lovely message reminding me of what I have done, where I’ve been and that I will be able to do so again-it will take time. My sister and family were brilliant in getting me to talk about how I felt, I resisted for most of the day but felt better for it, after the obligatory tears.

Yesterday I was looking through IG and saw Easter wreaths and I started researching how I could make one. I then thought when did that become a thing, why am I feeling compelled to make one?

So I stopped looking and instead thought fondly about my childhood where we boiled eggs, rolled them down hills, used food colouring to die the shells, had egg hunts. Simple pleasures.

Instead, I threw my energies into what we can have for dinner on Sunday, and found recipes for flapjacks, focaccia bread and a kinder bueno cheesecake!

This morning, I feel a lot better than I have for sometime, although sad that I’m not at Heathrow for my flight, but that will happen.

Found these lurking in the veg drawer, so I’m going to see if we can produce our own potato crop.

Have a great Tuesday.

LD 12

Day 3 in bed and it’s getting very boring.

I’ve had lots of lovely food, drink has been supplied regularly and a treat too.

Untold episodes of SUITS watched but not past series 3 yet!

A parcel arrived and it was such a sweet thought from an amazing person who has her own concerns and worries, so that and two FaceTime calls lifted my spirits.

Even had a relatively good nights sleep, but have woken up feeling pole axed again!

Hoping some sun today in the garden will help, as long as I stay 2m away from everyone 🤒

LD 11

Still in bed tired and achy, cough not too bad but rest seems to be what I should be doing, although it is boring, but I’m aware that I am lucky.

The Easter break has started and it made me think back to last year and the upcoming trip to Majorca, and remembered how lucky I was last year to also visit Florence,Venice, Ferrara, Borgotaro and Crete. Wonderful memories made that will sustain me/us now. How glad am I that the boys went to Kilimanjaro and made their own special ones too.

Let’s hope that we can get through this soon and can create a new normal with enjoying the simple things: a chance to hug our loved ones again.

I’m having the mickey taken out of me remorselessly when they pop in the room to provide food and drink, and it makes me laugh, well a wheezy laugh. At least I still have a sense of humour!

Photos are few and far between too!