Monday, 29 March 2021

Lockdown Diary - W/E 27th March 2021

I woke up on Sunday feeling so much better than I had the day before.  The side effects of the vaccine seemed to have abated, although I did still feel a little feverish. Anyway, I had no choice but to get up and get ready, as the dog needed a walk and OH had gone out cycling.

When I got back from the dog walk, it was lovely and sunny, so I decided to replace the connectors and cover on our little greenhouse.  Here's a couple of before pictures:

As you can see from the photographs the cover on the greenhouse was well and truly ripped in several places and some of the connectors split beyond repair. It didn't take long to empty the greenhouse and sweep it all out. I removed the most badly damaged connectors and replaced them with the new ones. They seemed much stronger and sturdier, I wished that I'd ordered more, as I noticed that several other connectors were also cracked. In the end I taped these up with duct tape to secure them for the time being.

The new cover went on pretty easily, although it didn't fit perfectly and seemed a little big for the frame. Better that than too small I guess.  Here's a picture of the new cover in situ:

A definite improvement.

Later, I sent off the Census, that I'd more or less completed the previous week (who wants a £1000 fine) and then did a bit of laundry and some housework that had built up due to my being ill on Saturday. It felt good to get back on top of things and more importantly, to feel well enough to do so. I dread to think what having the full on virus might feel like.

Once I'd caught up on tasks, I did a bit of sewing on my new quilt project. The great thing about it, is that I can do it as I'm watching YouTube, so catching up on vlogs I follow doesn't seem to be as unproductive any more. I continued with it later in the evening too, as we settled down to watch the new series of In the Line of Duty which was good.

Monday, I woke up to another lovely bright and sunny day. I eventually got out with the dog and we had a nice walk in the sunshine, followed by stopping in on the allotment on the way home to do a little bit more digging. Not a lot, as the ground is so heavy that it it quite hard going.  Getting there slowly though. One half of the plot has already been planted up by OH with potatoes and shallots. There's no particular hurry for the side that I'm digging, as we don't have any plants ready to put in yet. It will be mostly tomatoes, cucumbers, kohl rabi and beetroot. It felt good to get a bit more done though. Here's a picture of progress so far this season:

The plot never looks very exciting at this early stage in the season, it's always better when things have started growing, but it's nice to know that we're on top of it.

After lunch on Monday, I decided to do a weekly shop at ASDA as we needed milk and a few other things. This should be my last shop of the month. At least I hope so, as I've been way over budget on food this month, and I just don't know how, although it has been a longer month. We should have enough to see us up until I get paid next week now. I did buy a few bits of food for the Easter weekend too, which I didn't really need to get yet.

When I got back I decided to send some Easter eggs to my sister and her family in Yorkshire, as we won't be seeing them in person again for Easter this year, I thought I'd surprise them with a box of Easter goodies. Hopefully they'll enjoy them. They'll probably arrive a bit early, but better that than late.

Monday night we sat down to watch the latest episode of Unforgotten, the ending was a bit unexpected and will make the next episode unmissable. I was able to make progress on my sewing at the same time again. I only struggle if any programme has subtitles.

Tuesday and Wednesday were much the same. I called a couple of our volunteers on Tuesday to give them some warning with regard to returning to the shop. I haven't heard from my management colleagues yet, not sure if they're even in the country at the moment, so I wanted to make sure there was someone to go back into the shop with me and the volunteers seem happy to join me there thankfully.

I paid another visit to the allotment on Tuesday and dug over a few more rows. I also tidied one corner where a lot of tenacious weeds tend to grow i.e. bindweed, brambles, etc., which then encroach onto the plot if left unattended.

On Wednesday, I completed the decoration of my hoop.  Here's a picture:

It's gone from this.... this.

It looks a lot better and is a bit grippier and heavier which is good. I can't say I've been doing a lot of hooping lately. I need to get more into the habit of it. It was another job ticked off the to do list though.

My new quilt is coming along nicely. I've been working on it quite a lot this week. I will have to put it aside during the day next week and do other things on my list in order to get them done before Easter and going back to work.

On Thursday, I booked an appointment for next Tuesday to take some rubbish to the tip again. We don't have a great deal, just the old microwave, my old sewing machine, old garden chairs, kitchen bin, greenhouse cover and empty paint pots. It's just good to keep on top of the clutter as it builds up.

I also got back to doing a bit of painting of the linen cabinet on Thursday It's fully painted now and  just needs varnishing. I just can't wait to get the project completely finished and crossed off the list now, as it's dragged out a bit.

Friday, more sewing mainly, didn't really feel like doing anything else as it was a bit rainy here.

Saturday, I had a lie in, as I don't do the morning dog walk on Saturdays, so I stayed in bed and read my current book.  Number 9 this month.  Only 27 fiction books left on the book shelf now, but my pace of reading will definitely slow when I get back to work, as I won't have as much spare time.

I decided to get on with the linen cupboard again today, this time varnishing it. I was a bit apprehensive about how it would look with varnish on top of the chalk paint, so I started with the inside of the lid to test it out. In the end I carried on using the varnish although it didn't look so great once on. It will just have to do, at least it will be more hard wearing. I'll post a picture in a separate post.

It was a nice sunny day again on Saturday and we're supposed to be getting good weather for a week or so from hereon in. I'm really hoping we do, and on that thought, there ends yet another uneventful week in Lockdown.  I hope your's has been a bit more exciting.

Saturday, 20 March 2021

Lockdown Diary - W/E 20th March 2021

This week got off to a nice start it being Mother's Day. OH pushed the boat out and bought me flowers, gin and chocolates. The dog got me this super cute card which made me chuckle:

A card, some wine and more chocolates from LB and then she baked a chocolate cake too. I really can't grumble.

I didn't do a lot on Sunday, I thought that as it was Mother's Day, I'd just take it easy. I read for a while, then binged on the first series of Interior Design Masters on Netflix. I've been watching series 2 lately on TV, so thought I'd go back to the beginning and watch the first series too.

I noticed on Sunday that my amaryllis is now growing another flower head, so I chopped off the dying one to enable all the plant's energy to go into the growth of the new one. This one seems to be growing a lot more upright too. Thank you Marlene, for the tip about moving it around towards the sun, I'll make sure to do this if it starts growing outwards again this time.

On Monday, I finally got back to doing my regular exercises, after a week off due to my back, which felt really good. LB was up and out early, as she was due back at college. She'd had a Covid lateral flow test before going back, which had been negative thankfully.

After lunch, I decided to head to ASDA to do a Food Bank shop. I try to donate once a month and I hadn't bought anything for the food bank so far this month, so I thought I'd get on and do a shop specifically for them. I tend to spend £15 to £20 per donation, which isn't a lot, but it's something. One of our neighbours collects for them every week, so it's quite easy to drop the shop into the box they keep outside their front door.

I also bought a couple of non-essentials for me, one of which was a hair waver. I'd been looking for one in Tesco last week and had also earmarked one on the Argos website that was £50, but in ASDA they had a different brand for just £30, so I decided to go ahead and buy it. I bought some heat protection spray too, to try to avoid damaging my hair too badly. I'm now quite excited to give it a go.

I also started to feel like I was missing doing some quilting on Monday, and whilst I know I said that I wouldn't be making any more quilts, I have one more woollen blanket to use as wadding, so I decided to go ahead and make another one. It's going to be hand pieced again, as I much prefer this method, even though it doesn't look as perfect as machine quilted ones. There's just something so therapeutic and meditative about hand making quilts, I just can't resist the challenge of it.  I just love starting new projects. 

On Tuesday, I had a very homey stay at home kind of day. I didn't want to spend any more money, so I avoided temptation online and from going out to any shops. I spent an hour or so on my new quilt project and cut out and pinned a few more quilt pieces, ready to be tacked and sewn together. I like to have a small pile of sewing to do whilst I watch TV of an evening.

In the afternoon, I decided to get on and do some ironing, which I had been putting off for a week or so. To be honest, it had become urgent, as I was wearing my last pair of tracksuit bottoms, so I had to do it really. I watched some TV whilst doing it, which made it a bit more bearable.

Wednesday, was much the same as Tuesday, save that we had some exciting news, we were both invited to book our Covid vaccinations. The timing couldn't have been better. We both booked in for Friday lunchtime, which means I'll have a couple of weeks before I go back to work to build up some immunity, which is perfect. I was both nervous and excited in equal amounts, but pleased it had finally got around to our turn.

On Thursday, I decided to head back to Tesco to buy a microwave, as ours wasn't in very good condition inside and was starting to rust. I'd read somewhere that this can cause radiation to leak out, so it felt important to get a new one. I picked one that had a grill inside, which is useful as we don't use the grill in our oven as it always gets splashed with oil and then smells terrible when the oil burns off it. Anyway, it's a nice compact size, just what I was looking for.

Both the tape for my hula hoop and the connectors for the greenhouse came on Thursday, so I can now get on with both jobs in the coming days. It now feels like time is going by very fast, I'll be back at work before I know it.

Friday was a lovely sunny day, but still quite cold. I had to be up and out with the dog early, so that I was back in time to go for our vaccinations. I had a quick lunch before going and then OH drove us there. It was a pretty quick in and out, save that OH had to wait for 15 minutes before leaving afterwards, because he was driving. We were both given the Astra Zeneca vaccine and it was virtually painless. I took a new to me book to read for the duration.  We both felt fine afterwards, save that I felt tired, but I think that was more to do with waking at 6 am than the vaccine itself. As a consequence, I spent most of the afternoon in bed reading my book and managed to finish it, my 6th book this month.

It wasn't until I went to bed on Friday night that I began to feel unwell from the vaccine. I had a very bad case of the chills and couldn't stop shivering or get warm. OH was okay and fell straight to sleep, but I had a restless night until I covered myself with 3 quilts and a wool blanket, a long night dress, pyjama bottoms, socks and a dressing gown, plus two hot water bottles. I took a couple of paracetamol with some hot milk at 3.30 am and then finally got some sleep.

Saturday, I woke at 11 am and felt a bit better, but tired and still a bit shivery. I stayed in bed for most of the day, sleeping on and off and didn't actually get up until 6.30 pm when I felt much better. A bit of a lost day really, but worth it to get vaccinated against the virus. Apparently, one in ten people suffer from chills as a side effect. I'm obviously one of that 10 percent. Not altogether pleasant, but I'm feeling a lot better now.

Wednesday, 17 March 2021

New Lockdown Quilting Project

This week, despite previous protestations to the contrary, I decided to embark on making yet another hand pieced quilt. After a few weeks of not doing any sewing, I was getting withdrawal symptoms and wanted to start something new. To be honest, I have so much fabric that I need to use for something and quilting is an ideal and very enjoyable use.

As always, I started by deciding what shape the pieces were going to be and I decided that this time around I was going to do something a little different and use smallish slim rectangles, a bit like I used on some rows of my recent new sewing machine cover. I figured, that being small pieces, the project would take me a good long time, as it will be a double quilt, and I quite like the look of the narrow rows. I've not made a large quilt exactly like this before, so it will be interesting to see how it works out.

Here's a picture of the size of the rectangles:

They are approximately 4.75cm x 12.75cm. I then proceeded to cut out lots of paper pieces, ready to start.

The next job, was to choose some fabrics to use. I have such a big stash that this took a while, but I found some pieces that I thought would work and which enabled me to get started. Here's a picture of the ones I chose:

I've gone for mainly ditsy prints, as these tend to work really well when using smaller pieces and when quilting using the paper piecing method.  A couple are from my Laura Ashley vintage collection and others are one's I've picked up over the years, with a view to using for quilting at some point. I've gone for reds, greens and browns, which might sound like a strange combination, but I'm hoping it will work okay. I'm not entirely sure how it will come together yet, I'm hoping that that will become more apparent when I get whole actual rows finished.

I'm aiming to spend an hour or two each day working on the project, for the remainder of Lockdown, and then as much as I have time for once I return to work. I suspect it will take the best part of this year to finish, which should keep me occupied.

I'll keep you posted with progress as it happens.

Monday, 15 March 2021

Lockdown Diary - W/E 13th March

This week started with a bit more painting of the linen cupboard. It's not finished yet, but progress is definitely being made.

On Monday, we had the telecom engineer in to connect us to our new internet provider. Our previous connection had been a bit unreliable at times and was expensive, so OH changed us over to a new one. 

I had ordered some new Chelsea boots on ASOS the previous week and they arrived on Monday.  They are very comfortable. Chunky heeled, as is the fashion at the moment, but will be ideal to wear for work when I go back.  Here's a picture:

Along with many many others, I watched the Oprah interview on Monday night. I don't want to get into a discussion of it here. I hope that eventually the rift can be healed and that as a family they can reconcile, if that's what they want. I don't know what repercussions it will have for the Royal Family, I'm sure we'll find out sooner or later.

On Monday night, I managed to do something to my lower back during the night and found myself in pain in the lumber region. As a consequence, Tuesday and Wednesday, I didn't do too much. Just a bit of housework. I had a chat to the new neighbours on Tuesday, on my way back from a bit of grocery top up shopping at the local shops. They seem very nice. Nothing else of note really happened. I did a bit of reading, and some laundry. We also received a letter about completing the Census, so I made a start and filled in most of it and then saved it, but won't be posting it until 21st March. They did seemed to need a lot of detailed information. I was surprised. Usually OH fills it in, but I did it for once this time, having so much time on my hands.

By the afternoon, my back was feeling a bit better, so I managed to get out with the dog. In the evening, we continued watching the new series of Unforgotten on ITV, which is getting better with each episode.

Wednesday, was a miserable rainy day. I decided to peruse garden furniture on IKEA's website. There were a few things that I quite liked. I placed an Approved Food order in the morning, and also ordered a new cover from eBay for our mini greenhouse, as the current one has ripped badly. I didn't go for the cheapest option, so it should last us a few years. OH is paying for it, as he uses the greenhouse more than me these days.  My Cherryz order finally came on Wednesday too, which was a nice treat.

In the afternoon, I had a work Zoom meeting at 2pm about re-opening the shops in April. It was the first one we've had this Lockdown. It felt good to get some information about what we are expected to do when we re-open. There are just 3 weeks to go now until I go back to work to get the shop ready for opening, so long as the Covid situation doesn't change. I felt a bit more motivated after the call.

Thursday, was a lovely day in the morning. Super windy, but lots of sunshine, so I had a lovely long walk with the dog which was nice. My back was feeling quite a bit better, so in the afternoon, I finally managed to get out and do a big food shop. I headed off in the car to a big Tesco store a few miles away, so that I could use one of the £7 off vouchers and another £4.50 clubcard voucher. 

A few non-essentials found their way into the trolley. I ventured upstairs to where they sell electricals (and clothes), to look for some hair wavers, but couldn't find any. Instead I found two dresses. I originally expected to pay £24 for the two, but realised when I got back in the car that I had ended up paying just £7 for each as they were reduced. They are both the same style, but different fabric designs. I like them both and I will probably wear them with a black short sleeved top or sweater over the top and black tights and boots. I don't have many casual, loose fitting dresses, so I will look forward to wearing these in the spring.

I bought a new kitchen bin for less than £10 too, to replace ours, as the lid was not working properly. One other inessential purchase I made was a plant, a Magnolia Stellata for £8. I've had one of these before, but thought I'd get another one and see if I could keep it alive this time.

I also saw a microwave that I liked in the store. We desperately need a new one, but I only want a small one as we don't have heaps of worktop space in the kitchen. I need to look up some reviews before we go ahead and buy it.

Other than these items and the fortune I spent on food, I just bought a few bits for Easter.  I shouldn't need to do another big shop for the rest of this month now. I'll just top up anything we need on a weekly basis. A very spendy day, some of which was impulse spending, but that's just how it goes sometimes.

On Friday, I had a couple of deliveries. The Approved Food order I'd placed a couple of days before, came very speedily. I was pretty impressed. The new greenhouse cover came too, which was also much quicker than I expected. I'll probably wait for the replacement connectors I ordered to come before I put the cover on and for a nice sunny, non windy day on which to do the job.

Saturday, was a quiet day at home. I started reading a new book in bed which I'm enjoying, number five this month so far. Later, I continued painting the linen closet, whilst OH went out and got some paint and started painting the wall of colour in the downstairs vestibule. 

I still need to varnish the entire linen cabinet, so it'll probably be another week or so before it's finished. So happy to finally be progressing with both of these projects. The final sticking point is what colour to paint the outside of the vestibule cupboard. The jury is still out on this, but at least once the wall is painted we can get some hooks up and hang up our coats again. They've been driving me mad just laid on top of the wooden box I use to store our shoes in.

In the afternoon, I dropped in at the allotment for the first time this year, to dig in some manure. I only managed a few rows, as I didn't want to overdo it having had back problems this week. I weeded the remainder of the bed before leaving. It should take me 4 or 5 visits to dig it over completely, if I do as much as I did this day each time. I enjoyed spending some time there. It made a refreshing change.

In other news this week, I've been filling the hours binge watching a new series on Netflix called The Bold Type about twenty something journos working in New York. It's been entertaining and there are 4 series to work my way through before I go back to work.  We've also started watching Deutschland 86 on Catchup. We somehow missed this series on TV and now the new series Deutschland 89 is on, we're working our way towards watching that.

In addition, I've been thinking about our garden. We'd love to put a garden room across the whole of the bottom of the garden. One that is part garden room, part shed, so we still have storage space to put all our tools etc. It may not happen this year, but I'd really like one at some point and have created a new Pinterest board to collate options and ideas. Can't wait for the weather to warm up so that I can get outside more, but in the absence of it, it's nice to spend time planning what we might do in the garden when it does get warmer.

Hope you've had a good week.

Saturday, 6 March 2021

Lockdown Diary - W/E 6th March

This week began with my deciding to get stuck into some more painting. The linen cupboard on the upstairs landing is the latest project. I had sanded it down several years ago, ready to paint, but never continued with it, so this time around, after having decorated the landing, I was determined to get on and do it, whilst I still have plenty of time on my hands.

Here's a before picture:

I only managed to get the back painted on Sunday, using up the remainder of the paint I'd used inside the vestibule cupboard. I bought another tin last Friday, so I opened it this week and started painting the front and sides. I may then add varnish on top, to make it a more hard wearing finish, I'm not quite sure yet. 

I needed to find a new latch in order to securely close the doors, as the current lock doesn't work and the doors constantly swing open. I found one that I liked on eBay and it came within a couple of days. It cost just £3.24 including postage, which I thought was very reasonable and I think it's really cute. Hopefully it will do the job.

I couldn't remove the old handle, so it will just have to stay in place. I don't think I'm painting the inside, I think I'll leave the bare oak finish in there, as I quite like it. I'll create a post when it's finished, with the results of the makeover.

Monday got off to a strange start. Our neighbours were supposed to be moving out, after 22 years of living next door (only 13 years living next door to us). I could hear the removal men loading up the van outside our bedroom window. Everything was taken away and put into storage and then they got a phone call to say that the sale had been delayed by someone in the chain. As a consequence, they were left in their house for a few days with no furniture. We managed to lend them some mattresses and pillows and some other neighbours lent them some quilts. I think they were very happy to move when they finally came to do so on Thursday.

We weren't particularly close as some neighbours are, but our daughters went to the same schools until recently. It was a strange feeling to see them move out and move on. It's made me feel a little restless, but we don't have any plans to move any time soon. We like living here and there's still quite a lot of work to do to get the house how we would like. Change is exciting though, and I kind of envy them their fresh start in a new to them home, although not the unexpected delay in moving.  

Our new neighbours are a youngish couple with two primary school aged children. It seems like more and more younger families and couples are moving into the street these days, as more longstanding residents gradually move out. It makes me feel a little old, even though we're relative newcomers compared to some households.

Anyway, Tuesday was a very uneventful day. I spent some of it doing some financial paperwork, recording expenditure and savings, etc, which I do at the end of every month. I read for a while too, in order to finish the book I was currently reading, but to be honest, I didn't do much else all day. I received some Tesco vouchers through the post to save £7 and £10 on a £70 spend, which will probably tempt me back to doing some shopping at Tesco in the next couple of weeks as I also have a £4.50 money off voucher to use too. The £10 voucher I won't be able to use, as I did a big shop on Friday last and don't need to spend as much as £70 for a week or so, by which time the voucher will have run out, but I might get to use at least one of the others this month.

Wednesday, was similarly uneventful. I listened to the budget, did a bit of laundry and then I decided to decorate my hula hoop, using the tapes I had bought from eBay, only to find that I didn't have enough of one of them. Who would have known that 4.5m wouldn't be enough to get around a 1m diameter hoop. There's probably some mathematical calculation that I could have done to estimate how much I needed, but I obviously didn't do it, hence running out. Anyway, luckily, I managed to buy another identical roll on eBay to finish the other half of the hoop, but when it arrived, they'd sent the wrong design. I'm tempted to use it anyway, but haven't as yet. I'll post a picture when I eventually do.

Later that same day, I decided to get out my new sewing machine once again and finish off the new peg bag that I'd started the previous week. It was a bit trickier than I anticipated in the end and wasn't perfect by any means, but hopefully it will last a bit longer than the last one I made which had almost immediately ripped. Here's a picture of the finished bag:

One more thing ticked off the to do list, which made it very satisfying. 

I've recently realised that if nothing else, I seem to have become an expert potterer during this Lockdown.  A whole day can pass and I've done very little that is constructive. The days seem to go by so quickly too, all things considered. 

Thursday, our neighbours finally moved. I was pleased for them that everything had finally concluded and they could move on to their new home. I spent most of the afternoon ironing, as a pile had accumulated once again. I had to pop out and buy a few top up bits from the supermarket too.

Friday, was a very lazy day. I spent most of the afternoon reading my latest book. I was quite tired as I'd not slept well the night before. I got a very sad message from a friend later to say her mother had died. It's been a week where very unexpected things have happened really, which has completely thrown me.

The week ended with another lazy day. I spent most of Saturday morning in bed reading. Later I forced myself to start painting the linen cabinet, which now has one coat of paint on the front. It's looking better, but needs another coat and the sides still need painting. I'm such a procrastinator at the moment.  I really need to give myself a boot up the backside this week and get more productive, as before I know it I will be going back to work.

I hope you've had a good week.