LD 7

The clocks went forward on Saturday which means an hour less to fill!

A walk to get supplies with hubby, feeling much colder and windy.

Returning hone it wasn’t long until we had hailstones, sunshine, more hailstones, then more sunshine.

We filled the afternoon with clearing, as much as we could in the old dining room. Everyone mucked in, maybe reluctantly and Kevin did a grand job of saying farewell to books.

It’s still got lots in it, but we’re getting there.

Paper to be stripped next at some point.

Dinner was bolognese for some and prawn and chilli for others! Impromptu caramelised bananas for dessert and before we knew it time for bed!

Ruby doesn’t look terribly happy here: she’d had a shower as she’d caught and eaten( outside) another mouse.

LD 6

Yesterday my husband and I were due to attend his club’s annual dinner on HMS Belfast, but due to CV it was postponed. An email was sent through on Friday that if possible still dress up and take photos! What a lovely idea!

I had booked afternoon tea to be delivered earlier in the week so the challenge was on.

In the morning breakfast was melon balls for me then onto my tasks: bread making, picture arranging and a walk round the garden.

Andrew’s mother-in-law has written a book about the ribbon boys rebellion ‘Bone and beauty’ – (which I love as Bone is her maiden name). It arrived yesterday from Australia, and I had hoped to take it with me next month to get it signed.

An amazingly talented woman, I’m thrilled for her and will enjoy reading the fruits of her labours. No doubt her family are rightly proud of her too.

By now the afternoon was with us and time to get ready for afternoon tea. The five of us all made an effort which was lovely.

Scrubs up well!

Even the cats joined in!

After tea a few changes into something more comfortable and we played a, on occasion, heated game of monopoly. The afternoon swiftly moved into the evening, and what a lovely way to spend it!

LD 5

Yesterday meant my first journey in the car since Monday to actually go to work! I did wonder if I would be stopped at any point and had my letter ready if I was challenged.

Whilst no students arrived it was a very busy morning in school with staff, emails, phone calls to deal with.

Students and parents alike are very appreciative of all the staff efforts over what is an incredibly difficult time: it’s the uncertainty that puts me off kilter, but we are almost through week 1, and whilst it may be extended by Thursday next week we are half way through!

So far so good with all those I know and love still safe and long may that continue.

Hope everyone has a great weekend, weather is set fair, although chillier but the sun does make me feel better.

LD 4

Yesterday was a mixed bag. Work took precedence for the morning, with things to sort from the meeting the night before.

Then a zoom call at 4pm with the rest of SLT.

Cross stitch for an hour with the gorgeous natural daylight.

Dinner time and just overwhelmed by the day. At 8pm we were to clap for the careers and those working on the ‘frontline’. It was amazing to hear the clapping.

Today I gave to go into work, hope I don’t get stopped!

LD day 3

Last night I was a part of a conference call for a governing body meeting. A bit different and the way forward?

I hope not……..in my opinion.

We have a chocolate cake to devour, to choose our dining experience for this evening and a smattering of routine chores, whilst checking emails, messages re work and zoom at 4pm.

Working from home is more exhausting than being at work.

An early morning walk to clear my head was a good start, with some laughter once home.

Awaiting today’s ministerial conference re self employed workers and what this could mean.

Hope everyone has as good a day as possible. Stay safe:stay home xxxx

Lockdown 2

In some ways it felt just like a weekend, us all here enjoying a late breakfast. A FaceTime call from Australia and an exchange of the global impact on us all was the indicator that this was different.

Three out of the five of us here logged on to the internet, which has slowed massively.

Issues with set ups for some, phone calls, WhatsApp, and emails flying around. My computer in the office off, meant no access until it can be switched on today.

The weather is delightful, another twist of irony as it cannot be enjoyed as it would be customary to. I took the opportunity to prune the rose I have in memory of my dear friend Sian. Hopefully the blooms and scent later this summer will arrive when we are through this terrible pandemic, and will signal a more normal life once again.

I bought a cross stitch wood nymph about 5/6 years ago for my new bedroom, which is to be redecorated again, but it will help to wile away the hours at this time.

Georgina continued to strip the upstairs wall, a job well done, and crossed of the ta da list.

I found a photo from a holiday a few years back which gives hope of how and where we can look to be when this dreadful pandemic subsides.

Dinner was cooked by Joe, with the others helping to clear up: I could get used to this!

The shopping was delivered with a bit of a hotch potch of not available, and the substitutes, but that will be the last for sometime as there are no slots to book for the next three weeks.

Let’s hope that the tide will start to turn from the up curve stage we currently are at.

Today will be more of the same, we’ll look to buy a puzzle, and decide who will be the ‘shopper’ to go out and buy what we need. Decision for today is what to eat and choose a room to blitz, although I will have to keep my inner monkey in check, as I will struggle with the time to do stuff and that others won’t be on the same page.

I hope everyone is getting by and that this three weeks, possibly longer, will feel like a short interlude in time for us, and that this will also provide us with a different perspective and appreciation for mankind.

Draconian measures 1

So after a surreal day at work with 3 students in, the PM has introduced far more stringent measures and its lockdown: only can go out for food shopping, medical, work if critical and exercise.

These will be testing times and I will look to work from home until Friday, when I’m rota’d to be in.

Three weeks initially, and hopefully this will reap rewards so that the next few weeks after will be easier as long as we still keep with the previous measures and not just cavalierly go back to ‘normal’.

I’ve never experienced anything like this in my life time, and we’ll see how we fare with humour, discovery and no doubt an argument or two!

I’ll dust off the games, cross stitch and start a ta da list!

We’re globally on this journey together.

It’s life, but not as we know it….

These last few weeks have been extraordinary. The daily challenges faced, the communication updates and the stark reality now of changes that may become more of the norm – I hope not though.

With schools now ‘closed’, but still open for certain students, structure will need to be maintained. As we approach the end of the financial year I have a year end closure to complete and a new budget to finalise: although as we face such uncertainty what this will have to cover is anyone’s guess.

Last weekend my sister and I visited our parents in Scotland, this was booked before the CV crisis and we decided to still go as we were unsure as to when we would see them again.

It was surreal not to hug, kiss and leaving without any planned visits was so, so hard. They are both over 80, so, vulnerable and will be self isolated, possibly for many months. This will be hard on us all, but we have family nearby and FaceTime so contact can still be maintained.

We went to Cromlix Hotel, owned by Andy Murray last Sunday as an early Mother’s Day treat and Judy was there enjoying a relaxed Sunday. Food was superb and the service impeccable

It’s strange to think this will be a last outing for the foreseeable future.

Since I first went abroad 40 years ago, I have travelled extensively: it’s hard to contemplate that air travel too has been curtailed. My trip to Australia in April no longer happening. My eldest lives there with his wife and I was so looking forward to it, he too has been unwell but fortunately had a negative test result for the dreaded ‘Rona.

How fortunate we have been that we just accept that we can travel anywhere, anytime, that we can visit theatres, go to gigs, eat out, entertain, etc.

Now for an indeterminate timeframe we cannot. This will have an effect on us all in some way. My daughter lost her job on Tuesday, so we are impacted early on. We are lucky though, this will have far greater ramifications on the sick, elderly, homeless, those with young families, those with mortgages and rent to pay.

Social distancing and self isolation will affect our mental wellbeing. We will have to be resourceful to cook store cupboard meals, play games, talk to each other, watch the television with subtitles to read, listen to music, appreciate our gardens and stay in contact with loved ones with virtual hugs.

Air Pollution is lower, the Venetian canals are clear, and dolphins where they haven’t been seen for sometime: these are a few benefits for the climate and globally.

Whilst we are in the eye of this pandemic, perhaps we can view this as a realignment, a line in the sand to regroup, refresh mankind, our world.

If we follow the advice, take heed of the ever changing proclamations, we can develop what we have for the greater good.

My wish for those that I know and love, is that we survive this with little detriment to health, wealth ( and by this I don’t mean only monetary wealth) and happiness.

Life has changed and in a relatively short space of time, but hopefully by 2021 we will be able to meet each other, travel, hug, as we used to, but maybe at a less frenetic pace, content with what we have and who we have around us.

A sixth of the year done

Two months down in 2020 already, which means March is here and spring!

We’ve had so much wind and rain this last month: I can’t imagine how those families are living with flooding or the immediate likelihood of it. Having experienced a flash flood whilst pregnant over 30 years ago, to live with that fear and reality must be heartbreaking.

We had a few days away last week staying Royal Tunbridge Wells and visiting Hever Castle and Charles Darwin’s home. Both very different but enjoyable. Hever is do pretty with the Italian Gardens put in by the Astor family beautiful, even in February.

Darwin’s house definitely felt like a family gone, but it was surreal to walk in the footsteps of him and I was overwhelmed by it and learnt a lot about the man and his family.

It’s always good to getaway and recharge the batteries. We started a list of places to travel to: some realistically achievable, others a pipe dream. Kevin put it that we are assembling a squad from which we will pick a team!

It was lovely to get home and whilst we were away Georgina hosted her first dinner party for her girlfriends.

This last month we have entertained, watched some great and not so great rugby, and experienced frustrations along the way.

Our sofa was delivered on Friday and with a few tweaks the room is almost complete!

Next month is full of trips and events and hopefully less rain!

February half term 2020

I always enjoy working when school is closed as it is so quiet: not true this time… contractors, builders, perspective suppliers, fire alarms going off, and across the road tree surgery!!!Despite this its great to go in later and leave earlier: the mornings getting lighter and the evenings stretching out.

I’ve worked on GDPR, the budget, staffing projections and infrastructure changes. I hope that students and staff are happy with the works that have been carried out too.

Of an evening/afternoon I’ve been busy with cooking, cleaning, sorting things out in the house, made cards and calls long overdue. Caught up with a couple of friends and made plans for the coming months too.

We return to a six week term up to Easter, which will fly by especially as I have a two day stay in Royal Tunbridge Wells and four days in Arbroath coming up!

It’s not what we have, but who we have in our lives that matter…….

Yesterday we enjoyed a wonderful afternoon with our niece, nephew and their son, great to chat, laugh and enjoy time together.

Joe was here for a short while and Nina for longer and I was grateful that they were with us.

Just after they left Nina came downstairs to say that Caroline Flack had died. Caroline was an actress, a successful tv presenter, and winner of SCD. She had enjoyed celebrity and non celebrity romances, with many lines written about wrongs, rights and most recently, the troubled issues before Christmas.

This resulted in her stepping down from her job and no contact with her current boyfriend.

These last few weeks must have impacted further on her, very probably, fragile mental health. I have no doubt that friends and family were there, but it’s what’s going on in your head that makes it so hard to cope.

She was beautiful, had money, was good at her job, had worked hard to get there, and their are so many others that aren’t famous that take their lives daily too. It is vital that we all have/find inner peace.

We must all think twice about what we write, and say to others. We need to reflect on how that would feel if we were the recipient of those words/actions.

We never truly know what is going on in other people’s lives, how some wear a mask to cope, nor how some find the strength to carry on whilst others take a permanent decision, chosen in despair in a temporary moment. (Accredited to Susie Susie).

No one deserves to feel that alone.

There should be no blame apportioned to anyone.

Life is a precious gift, we need to respect differences, embrace life with all it’s facets. Life can be tough, throw curved balls, but it can provide a rich and varied sweetness if we stop searching for perfection, be content, don’t compare, accept that we can change how we react and feel about things, just be, enjoy the seasons, our friends, and family.

I have just finished a course of counselling, provided by my workplace as whilst my work wasn’t impacted, I knew from summer last year ( longer to be honest, but kept dismissing it) that I was struggling with a variety of things. It was a rollercoaster which midway through were tearful, gut wrenching sessions, but I have realised that I can’t save/rescue people. That we are captains of our own ship. By reflecting on a few key questions I now write down what I feel: cathartic on its own, but also a point of reference. I feel I’ll always have these struggles but I have love in my life and my family see the signs before I do and help me.

Social media can be great and we can make friends with people we may never meet. We can be supportive, non judgemental and enjoy sharing experiences and ideas.

The picture perfect photos are a snapshot in time, not real life and I know that, but for some that is the reality they seek and it can be devastating when that isn’t so.

The evening ended speaking to Andrew and Lis in Australia, hearing their news and Kevin updating them on the roads being dug up! I am so looking forward to seeing them over Easter ( Andrew and Lis-not the roads)

A few more photos of special people, not exhaustive as some don’t like their picture being taken

January blues…..

Apparently Monday was the worst day of the year, but in an effort to be positive I ignored that and will concentrate on what is good – and there’s plenty!

A busy two weeks with a goodbye to a loved one, and news of another extension to the family!

We celebrated Kevin’s Nan’s life and although a select gathering there was much love from all there for someone special. The eulogy was delivered with only one waver and I hope I did her proud.

It was great to be together and to share a moment or two to reflect.

Progress in the house is less frantic, but with weekly tasks we are getting there.

I did a 2 hour modern calligraphy course which I now have to practice for fluency, which hopefully will provide a release and a new strand for my card making.

Georgina and I have enjoyed cooking together and this is where the new kitchen space is coming into its own.

Work has been busy and with a planned trip to Scotland in March arranged I’ve taken the plunge to ask friends to dinner.

I don’t want to be as busy as last year as I want us to enjoy quality family time together. I haven’t been successful in the Wimbledon ballot this year, but who knows, that may change, fingers crossed.

I have a big birthday next year and I want to kick it off this year followed by a year of treats ( a few big, but mostly small) so a list is a must to begin preparations.

Yesterday we went to London to see Uncle Vanya, a Checkov play. Now I’m not going to lie one of the reasons to see it was a certain Richard Armitage in the cast. The cast and staging were brilliant and even though set over 100 years ago, in many ways things haven’t changed: people’s hopes and dreams, life, love and searching for a better one.

A quick trek across London to meet friends to celebrate Burn’s night: what a treat it was. The address to the haggis, food, whiskey and company were all excellent!

Lots of conversation and talk of big birthdays and travel, places still to see, things still to do.

The coming week work wise is manic for us both, and we are also looking forward to the start of the 6Nations rugby!