Remember, remember the 5th of November…..

As we approach the 5th of November will there be Gunpowder, treason and plot, as we, from that date, return to lockdown for at least four weeks?

I have spent the last fourteen days with my parents to support them at a time of uncertainty and with a few issues, with the groundwork put in by Elaine.

It has been both a privilege and a time of reflection on life during a pandemic showing the importance of social interaction. Their steadfast love and support has always been apparent and it is so easy to be able to give that back in return.

I’d never driven to Scotland on my own and I now have two solo journeys under my belt. It’s lovely to be home now and see Kevin, Georgina and Joe, albeit briefly. Although with the bedrooms all being refurbished it has been like coming home to a building site!

We have had some lovely food, I’ve enjoyed a few walks in the sunshine. I’ve been touched by their enduring love, humour and protection of each other. That doesn’t mean it’s been all sunshine and roses but it has been precious time spent together.

It is now less than 5-7 weeks until we meet our Grandson and we cannot wait! At least we can wave goodbye to 2020 on a positive.

Here we go again….

It’s been a month since writing last and it’s been eventful. My parents have been down to Brighton and returned to Scotland. We briefly saw them, which was lovely. We enjoyed great food as always.

I’ve been creative and even made my first crochet item. It’s made with love and can keep our grandson warm when he arrives in December.

There’s been a lot of cooking with HelloFresh recipes, a visit to the gin kitchen in Dorking and a dip in a hot tub!

We had a lovely walk last weekend, it was great to be outdoors in the fresh air.

We celebrated our 38th wedding anniversary at one of our favourite restaurants, and talking to the owner of how lockdown and COVID-19 has impacted not only on his livelihood but also that of his staff.

We’ve met Mittens, my cousin’s kitten, and Archie, Joe and Nicole’s kitten and been sent a photo of Vinnie, Andrew and Lis’s dog. Also plenty of snaps of our two Oscar and Ruby.

On Tuesday the builders were back to start Phase 2 of remodelling. This time it’s the snug makeover, four bedrooms and tweaking the bathroom. Oh and decorating hall stairs and landing.

Living in Essex we have moved into Tier 2 restrictions, and that is a challenge for us all. I do hope that this is a sharp, short measure and we see rates of infection and death reduce swiftly. This year has been one of the most difficult for so many of us, for a variety of reasons and we have all felt the ripples from the guidelines and restrictions but as long as we can make it through, be kind to one another so that we can look forward to family gatherings, and seeing friends.

Where I work

This year due to Covid we can’t have open evening, so after some negotiation we commissioned a great film maker and director to create a promotional video for our school. I watched it with the Head and an Assistant head on Tuesday and I have to say it was emotional. It brought back the feelings I had 22 years ago when I first walked through it’s doors as a prospective parent.

This is why we do what we do!


Three weeks in …

Autumn has arrived although the sunshine is providing the last vestiges of summer. A return to full school has been busy trying to provide a return to normality.

There’s been a new car, the loss of a much loved pet, a trip to Suffolk and the day to day hubbub of life.

We had our first confirmed Covid positive test and dealt with it with care, understanding and provided an opportunity for us to refine what we have in place.

The next few weeks will provide further challenge but as long as I have my family and friends whether in person or virtually we will get through this

September ahoy

Four weeks have passed as we approach autumn, and a new academic year with all that will hold.

I’ve been busy at work with all the prep for the full return to school for students and staff. This has been a real rollercoaster and my days have been long and the anxiety huge. A flood to one area also provided an additional challenge with an office move to complete too.

I have enjoyed in the last week a trip to the Bombay Sapphire distillery, and a family get together to meet our newest member. After that we have travelled to Arbroath, my birthplace via Barnsley, and Bridge of Allan.

The Bridge of Allan was my first ‘meet’ with someone via Instagram, and whilst Covid made the interaction brief, staying in their holiday let was a lovely mini break in beautiful surroundings.

Arbroath was wet, as was Stirling and the trip to Falkirk, but so worth visiting my parents for the first time in 5 months. We had good conversations, lots of laughter, good food and even a drive out to Edzell and a almost balmy evening. At 85 and 87 time spent with them is precious.

A trip to Glamis also brought back wonderful memories of our children from previous visits, and even though very wet, the staff were lovely and the new way to follow the tour really easy and enjoyable.

Barnsley beckoned again to stay with my cousin and her fiancé: I am so lucky that I have a plethora of cousins who are so hospitable and time spent with them is such fun. We had a delightful Italian meal, our first out out since February. A slightly weird experience but at least it makes the thought less daunting to do again.

We’re on our way home now with a Bank holiday tomorrow, after which September arrives and it will be go, go, go…..,

August 2020: hello, hope and health

It’s been 3 weeks since my last post, and it’s been busy! The summer term ended with shock resignations, plate spinning, risk assessments and teams meetings.

We have four big projects going on in school with toilet refurbishment, building a new repro area, reroofing of one building and a new fire alarm system, which has all the bells and whistles 🤩. On top of this there will be the implementation of all the classroom moves dovetailing with the delivery of some new furniture, recycling some of the better old furniture, cabling and tech infrastructure improvements, whilst all the usual running of the school is maintained.

I felt it was important to take a few days away from the work environment and it has been wonderful. Catching up with friends, cooking, cleaning, crocheting, gardening. My out of office reply hadn’t deterred contact but it has eased the pressure and I return next week with renewed vim and vigour ( hopefully).

Lockdown easing has not been as successful as hoped, with some changes due today now postponed. For many this is frustrating, and the implications for some livelihoods may be detrimental and far reaching. Shopping with a face mask is a small price to pay and I think will be with us for the foreseeable future. Personally I hope our little break to Scotland in three weeks can still go ahead, but we will have to adhere to the guidance/requirements set out.

I’ve signed up to HelloFresh and have so enjoyed the discipline of cooking from scratch: not that I don’t do that usually, but I get lazy, so this has renewed my love of cooking. Out of nine meals only one was a miss, but even with that the sauce was great and I’d do that again.

Today we are visiting Sissinghurst castle and gardens and I am soooo looking forward to going out. We are having a picnic first then an amble round the grounds. This is where Virginia Woolf stayed with Vita Sackville-West so a bit of history too to be enjoyed.

As we start the 8th month of 2020 we start the creep into autumn and uncertainty but hopeful of the new challenges and events ahead.

What a week….

It was my birthday last Saturday and I was hoping to celebrate with a party, social distancing put paid to that, but a few visitors on the day made up for it, and I have already ‘saved the date’ for next year! Especially as it’s a big number!

A week full of highs and lows with the loss of a loved one, loss of a much loved pet ( my sister’s) but the news of a new baby safely delivered was wonderful and joyous; so welcome to Theodore, a son for Daniel and Lizzie, a brother for Bella, and another grandson for Viv and Don. Health and happiness to the extended family and hope we get to meet him soon.

It was so lovely to have people round last Saturday the first real bigish ( within guidelines) social occasion since the kitchen was completed. The food was plentiful and drink flowed. There was good conversation, a smattering of gifts, a cacophony of flowers with time to reflect on how lucky I am.

The week at work has been nothing short of manic, and I see little let up between now and September possibly even beyond. So much to plan and prepare as well as all the usual stuff that is done over a summer break.

Next week brings the mayhem of the end of term. Meetings, buffet ( SD of course!), farewells, adieus, and then back on Monday for a few of us!

I’ve been on two card tutorials recently and have put the new techniques into practice. I’ve also sort of learnt to crochet, as a colleague very kindly offered to teach me so that I can make something for our first grandchild.

With guidelines and restrictions easing we are entering another phase of working towards ‘normality’ although with conflicting information it’s challenging to say the least

Until next time some photos of the last couple of weeks.

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.

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.


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.


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.