Saturday 28 August 2021

Weekly Blog - W/E 28th August 2021 - My Covid Diary

This week started with my taking another PCR test. I developed a cough on Saturday, (just as well that I wasn't at work) so I booked a test the following day. In the circumstances, of LB having tested positive, I had no option.

My test result came back positive on Sunday, so I am now officially self-isolating for 10 days. I started off just feeling like I had a mild cold, which then progressed to more flu like symptoms.

The first day, Monday, I spent most of it in bed, firstly phoning around trying to organise what was going to happen at the shop for the week and how the team were going to keep it open as much as possible.  Luckily, some of our volunteers have been brilliant in the midst of this crisis and are taking on extra responsibility for opening and closing the shop.

The rest of the first day I spent sleeping on and off and reading my current book, which was a bit depressing to be honest. I was glad when I'd finished it and could read something a bit more cheerful. Paracetamol and sleep seemed to help.

On Tuesday, after a much better night's sleep, I was still feeling rough, but I managed to drag myself out of bed in the morning, have a shower, get dressed into normal clothes, change the bedding, do a bit of laundry, make some breakfast, do some work on my finances, etc. So that was progress. There were lots of things I could have done at home if I'd felt up to it, but that was about as much as I could manage that day.

Later, I started a new book, which was thankfully a bit more cheerful. I replied to a few work emails and did little else in the afternoon. My sense of taste and smell went this afternoon, which has reduced my appetite, as things just don't taste very nice. 

Early evening I binge watched a series called I AM on iPlayer. It was quite good, but not the most cheerful subject matter. There's still three more episodes to watch at some point. What I really need though is a good laugh or something a bit more upbeat to watch.

I didn't get a good night's sleep on Tuesday, on account of feeling very anxious about having the virus and worrying about how it might develop, but inspite of this, I didn't feel too bad on Wednesday. I had a lazy morning in bed. Still very little appetite, which suits me well, as I'd be happy to lose a bit of weight, although I'll probably just put it straight back on when I my self-isolation is over.

Wednesday, was LB's last day of self-isolation, and she was due to return to work on Thursday. She had no infectious symptoms, just a loss of taste and smell, which apparently can last for weeks. She got given 6 shifts back to back including several late nights. It seemed a bit rotten to me, as she won't get to see her friends at all in the next 6 days after coming out of self-isolation. She was pretty upset about it, as they all go off to Uni in a few weeks. In the end, she decided to leave her job and try to find something closer to home. We're quite happy for her to do this, as all the travelling after midnight from Central London does cause me to worry about her and I end up having late nights waiting up for her to come in.

I spent most of the rest of the day pottering around the house, putting away laundry, tidying around the bedroom, watering indoor plants, pottering in the garden and picking a few dahlias to cheer myself up, as one particular plant is glorious with huge pink and yellow blooms. 

I also placed another Cherryz order, as I had a code for free postage and I won't be getting out to shop anytime soon. I guess it's a sign that I'm recovering, that I feel like doing such things. I only took a couple of paracetamol in the evening, to help get a good night's sleep and that was it for the day, which is progress. I tend to start to feel a bit worse as the day wears on and usually spend most of the evening in bed.

Thursday, I woke up feeling much better after a very good night's sleep. I had a lazy morning in bed watching a few YouTube videos. One in particular was good, it was Dr Hope's Sick Notes with Dr Sonia. 

Dr Hope is a lovely doctor working in A&E in the UK, who recently got Covid himself for the first time, despite being fully vaccinated, and his colleague Dr Sonia is an anaesthetist in ICU. They tell you how the Covid situation is in their hospital and it makes for very interesting watching. If you're thinking that things are getting back to normal now everything is opening back up, just remember it's still out there, as my experience proves. I started watching this channel during Lockdown and still enjoy this kind of video from him.

My own personal view is that the new rules of not self isolating after coming into contact with people who test positive for Covid, especially if you live with them, are risky. Whilst I know that we do have to get back to normal I do feel that it is going to lead to a big increase in the numbers of people testing positive in the next few weeks and months. I don't mean to sound negative, but it's just my experience. I was fully vaccinated and was ultra careful who I came into contact with whilst out and about. I cycled to work not coming into contact with anyone, we are a small household with plenty of rooms to accommodate us virtually living seperately, but some people don't live in spacious accommodation and may not be careful and it's bound to have a knock on effect out there, so do continue to protect yourselves when you are out and about.

Anyway, later, I got up and had a shower. I'm still really not eating much at the moment. I just don't feel that hungry and the taste thing doesn't help. Days are going by slowly, but I'm starting to relax into my self-isolation as the week goes on and I feel better. Hoping all I have to do is just sit it out now.

On Thursday afternoon, I cleaned around the bathroom, changed and washed LB's bedding, duvet and pillows, aired the room and mattress, cleaned around a bit, put out clean towels for her and I will put new bedding on the bed before she gets home late tonight, so it's all clean for her now she's out of self-isolation. I also did some more laundry and opened windows to let fresh air in all over the house.

It was past midnight by the time she got home and fell into bed. I think she was glad that I'd tidied around for her and put a hot water bottle in. It turned a bit cold today.

Friday, I had a slow morning again. I got up and made some breakfast and then took it back to bed which is my usual routine of late. There were a couple of small issues to do with work that I tried to iron out, but it's difficult to get involved when you're supposed to be on sick leave. I don't want to tread on anyone's toes.

My Cherryz order arrived today in two boxes, such was the size of it. There were a few swap outs that I wasn't too thrilled with, but I was glad to have it. 

Friday, was another similar day to all of the above. I'm feeling okay, I still have a cough and loss of taste and smell, but I am otherwise fine. I'm thankful that having had the vaccine, I didn't suffer any seriously bad symptoms. It's been a tough week though mentally. I don't like being confined at home, but sometimes it just has to be be done. 

On Friday night, we watched the last episode of Season 4 of The Handmaid's Tale, which was good.

Saturday and another week ends. Our neighbours on one side went away again today. As a consequence, I'm going to spend some time in the garden this weekend. I haven't liked to go out there, knowing their kids are playing out there. I desperately need some fresh air though, so it's happened at just the right time and there's a few jobs I can do out there.

Today, I made some home made dog food out of some offal I had bought and stored in the freezer a few weeks ago.  It's one time that I was happy not to be able to smell anything. 

Only three more days of self isolation left after today. I'm looking forward to a new week and eventually getting back to normal again.

I know this has probably been a bit of a boring blog, but I hope it gave you some idea of what it's been like living with Covid this past week, although I do hope that you don't get to experience it for yourself.

Hopefully, next week's blog will be a much more upbeat one.

Saturday 21 August 2021

Blog Catchup

It's been a couple of weeks since I last posted and I had every intention of posting last week, but unfortunately I managed to accidentally delete the post and didn't have the heart to re-write it, deciding instead to do a two weekly catch up this week.

Last week, was a little more eventful than usual, as LB was getting her A level results on the Tuesday. I'm happy to say that she did well and got better than her required grades for University next year, which was good. She, of course, went out to celebrate with her friends that night.

The following day our Shop Manager had arranged another shop social gathering after work. I wasn't at work that day, so decided to take a trip to the shop of an ex-volunteer who recently got a paid job with our charity, running another of their shops. It was interesting to see her shop and find out how she was doing in her new job and then we both travelled to our shop to meet everyone for the social. We headed out to a pub in Central London and had a nice evening catching up, as I don't see everyone from the shop, as I work on different days to some staff and volunteers.

The rest of the week was pretty normal, save that our Shop Manager was going on leave at the end of the week, so I was anticipating being a bit busier at work this week and having to take on some of his responsibilities in his absence. What I wasn't counting on was what happened next, which has had a big effect on the first week of his leave.

On Sunday, LB started getting messages on social media to say that a couple of her friends had tested positive for Covid. The particular friends being those she'd been out with the night of her exam results. She immediately booked a test and within 6 hours found out she had a positive Covid test.

The next day, the Covid self-isolation rules changed and people in close contact with someone who'd tested positive were now no longer required to self-isolate, which meant that I was expected to go to work. OH and I booked PCR tests to see if we'd caught the virus too, but both came back negative and after speaking with the acting area manager, I was advised to do lateral flow tests daily, go into work if negative and symptom free, but take extra care around vulnerable volunteers.

Whilst I understand that the Government are trying to get us used to some sort of normality in spite of the virus, I was worried that I might unknowingly pass on the virus to others, so for this week I've been cycling in and working just two afternoons, allowing volunteers to open and run the shop in the mornings and working with just one other fully vaccinated volunteer in the afternoons, who works upstairs on the till, whilst I work downstairs in the stockroom. I don't go up into the shop at all, save to enter or leave and cash up the till. 

Whilst I have been lateral flow testing negative daily, I can't help but feel like I'm a bit of a guinea pig, as we have no idea what implications this change will mean in terms of increased infection rates, etc.

I've probably upset a few volunteers by asking them not to work, even though they were willing, but I had to go with what I felt most comfortable with.  After all I am living with someone who has the virus and sharing a kitchen and bathroom with them.  On any day I could test positive.  At the end of the day, I feel like I've done everything I can to avoid passing the virus on, including wiping down all surfaces I've touched, even when I've been wearing gloves all day, wearing a mask all day as usual and not coming within meters of other volunteers as they leave the shop and I arrive, but only time will tell. I just hope I've done enough.

You may feel I have been over cautious and it will probably have slightly affected the takings this week, but at least we have stayed open everyday and are taking money. I don't see what more I could have done in the circumstances. I am not working on Saturday and instead I am letting the volunteers run the shop in my absence, as they are quite capable and I feel it will be safer. I will make up the time another week.

So that was this week, and I've got another week left before the Shop Manager returns, but I think I will be changing my days to Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with my fellow Deputy working Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday next week, by which time LB will be out of her self isolation period and providing myself and OH are still testing negative and have no symptoms, we can get back to normal. 

It's been a stressful week, but the big positive is that LB is fine, thankfully she has very few symptoms and she is enjoying her self isolation.  She will have to re-organise her second jab, which she was due to have next week, as I don't think they will give it to her if she has recently tested positive for the virus.  All things considered, we've been lucky, the scenario could have been a lot worse. Just taking it day by day and lateral flow test by lateral flow test for the moment.

I hope you've had a good couple of weeks.

Sunday 8 August 2021

Weekly Blog - W/E 7th August 2021

It's hard to believe that we're now in August, it has come around so quickly this year. July seemed to fly past. 

This week got off to a pleasurable enough start with a lie in reading a new book and a leisurely Sunday morning walk with the dog. When I got back, I had some lunch and caught up with watching a few YouTube videos, which is my regular Sunday routine.

In the afternoon, whilst sat at the kitchen table looking out at the garden, I decided that I needed to do a bit of cutting back of some of the growth around the edges of the garden.  Some things were starting to get a bit smothered by a climbing plant that grows over and around the perimeter fence, so out I went, secateurs in hand and chopped away at it. 

I managed to fill the brown garden waste bin, which was timely, as it's our week for garden waste collection this week. I pruned a few branches of the apple and cherry trees which were starting to obstruct the footpaths around the garden, and the hazel bushes and blackcurrant bush too, to tidy things up a bit. There wasn't a whole lot to do and an hour or two's work was all it took. I will probably do a bit more work out there once the brown bin has been emptied later in the week and I have some space to put more cuttings, but it will have to wait until then now.

On Monday, I had booked another class at the gym. This week the instructor that used to teach us Zumba before the first Lockdown, was back and it was the first time I'd seen her for 18 months.  I was able to watch the last five minutes of her Zumba class and I was itching to get back in there, but I just daren't push it, in case I do any further damage to my knee, so I'll wait for a few more weeks before I sign up for that class.

Anyway, it was lovely to see her and find out how her little girl, whom she was pregnant with when she stopped teaching just before the Pandemic hit. She showed me a video of her daughter dancing along to her Zoom classes and she is such a lovely lively little thing. After the class, we had a good chat and it turned out that her young family had had a difficult time during the Lockdowns. I felt for her, but I hope that she's through the worst now.

I enjoyed the Body Conditioning class, then I headed off to do the weekly shop at Lidl and then went on to Home Bargains, for the first time in weeks, to get some toiletries and other things we'd run out of.  Both places were very busy and I was glad to get out of them and get home.

When I got home, I found out that LB had arranged to go for a Covid PCR test later in the day, as she'd had sleep over contact with a friend who'd subsequently received a positive Covid test result. LB had had a cough last week, but a lateral flow test had been negative and it cleared up in a couple of days, so she had continued with her life as normal. 

Although I had no symptoms, as a consequence of all this going on, I took a lateral flow test before cycling in to work on Tuesday, just to be sure, which was also negative.  I told LB to text me as soon as she found out her PCR test result and before I set foot in the shop, I checked my phone to find that it was negative, so I could happily carry on to work as normal. Had it been positive, I would probably have had to turn around and go home to self isolate, but fortunately this wasn't the case.

After this uncertain start to the day, work was pretty productive, although it's still pretty quiet compared to how it was before the school summer holidays started. We'd had a good week in terms of sales last week though, which was very encouraging, but I'm not sure if it will continue into this week.

On Wednesday, I didn't need to go anywhere for once, save for walking the dog in the morning. Wednesday morning walks have now become blackberry picking walks, as I came home with another bag full to make into jam. I just love being able to forage for free food, even in London. Talking of which, I found a great place to forage hazelnuts the other day, if the squirrels don't get to them first. I'll be keeping an eye out for them to be ripe enough to pick.

I got a very welcome email from National Savings and Investments on Wednesday, to tell me I'd won a prize on the Premium bonds. I knew it was only going to be a small one, as the big ones had been notified a few days before, but it was the first time I'd ever won anything on the Premium bonds, so I was thrilled, despite it only being £25. Thousands of people must have been checking at the same time, as it was the first time ever I've experienced a queue to get onto the site. 

Obviously, I'd have preferred the big one (£1million) or even £50 or £10K would have been very nice, but frankly I'm very happy and grateful to have finally won something. I had £1K of bonds for over 10 years and never won a thing, so I cashed them in, then more recently I've bought some more just for the fun of it and it is fun to get an email saying you've won something, even if it is just a small amount. It's now been reinvested automatically into more bonds, so more chances to win!

On Wednesday afternoon, I desperately needed to do some ironing, as I was fast running out of summer clothes to wear for work, so that was the main priority for the rest of the day. It took me about 3 hours, but I managed to virtually empty the ironing basket. There must have been 4 or 5 washloads to iron, but it feels great now it's done and I can pick out my favourite clothes to wear, instead of throwing together whatever random things I could find.

Having considered my current wardrobe whilst ironing, I decided that I needed a couple more pairs of leggings to wear under dresses and skirts whilst riding my bike to work, so I placed an order with H&M for two pairs of 3/4 length ones and a jersey vest dress. I qualified for free postage due to being a member, which was a plus.

On Thursday, I was back at work. There wasn't too much work to do on clothing when I got there, as most of the donations had been processed, so I decided to work on pricing some homewares for a change, which I quite enjoy but don't always get a lot of time to do. I also worked on a few other jobs that hadn't been tackled in a while too, which is always quite satisfying.  Following on from this, I decided to do a bit a cleaning and vaccuuming in the stockroom. Again, this is a job that doesn't get done too often, as other things tend to take priority, so when I do get the chance I quite enjoy it, or should I say I enjoy the results of it.

Cycling home after work, it rained constantly for the whole 50 minute journey, so I was pretty much drenched by the time I got home. At least it was the homeward journey and not the journey into work.

Friday, I had good intentions of getting on with a few bits and pieces I'd been meaning to do for a while, but  in the end the day slipped away from me. I spent the morning walking the dog, chatting to a former collegue on the phone and visiting my favourite local Charity shop where I bought 5 interesting books to read and a t-shirt dress.

In the afternoon, I felt really tired and retired to the sofa for a snooze. Not a very productive day, but it's good to have some days where you just kick back and chill. That's my excuse anyway.

Saturday here was a total washout. Torrential rain from when I woke up to the time I had to go out and get the bus. Yes, I got the bus to work, and am so pleased that I did as it rained on and off all day. As a consequence, it wasn't as busy in the shop, but I managed to keep busy in the stockroom from the donations coming in.

OH decided to drive into Central London to meet me from work. He doesn't do it very often, as he has to pay the Congestion charge now, but I had bought a few bulky items a few weeks ago, that were still at work and I needed him to help me get them home. 

We made a night of it by going to one of my favourite pubs in Bloomsbury, The Museum Tavern by the British Museum, for supper and a few drinks.  The dog came with us as the pub was dog friendly and we had a pleasant hour or so in there before coming home.

We ended the week by finishing watching the series The White House Farm Murders on Disney+. We'd been watching it all week and watched the last two episodes to bring the week to a close.

I hope you guys have had a good week, despite the rain.

Sunday 1 August 2021

Weekly Blog - W/E 31st July 2021

This week got off to a very wet start. Here in London, we experienced very heavy rain on Sunday afternoon, and many parts of London flooded, which was the second such incident here in the last two weeks, as there'd been some flooding whilst we were away on holiday too. Fortunately, we weren't actually affected where we live, but I heard that there were some basements that had flooded a couple of streets away, which wasn't good news for the householders. 

I spent a bit of time watching videos of the situation as it developed. I've never known such flooding in the 25 years I've lived in London, so it was quite shocking. 

On Sunday night we watched the film Tolkein on Disney+ channel which was very good. 

On Monday morning, I had booked to go to a class at the gym for the first time since the last Lockdown. My knee was feeling so much better that I thought I'd give it a try. I plumped for a Body Conditioning class to start with, as it wouldn't be too strenuous and put too much strain on it. 

I saw my friend leaving the earlier class. It was good to see her, as I've seen very little of her for the last six months, so we had a quick chat. The teacher teaching that day wasn't the teacher I'd hoped would be taking the class, but it was okay as she was pretty understanding and told me to take it easy as it was my first class back. I had to avoid some exercises altogether, but got through the class okay and felt much better for it. 

When I got home I had arranged to attend a Zoom class on Visual Merchandising for work, so I had some lunch whilst doing that, as I had the camera and microphone switched off. Afterwards, I was tired after a pretty sleepless night the night before, so  I had a snooze on the sofa for an hour and then spent an hour or two reading before making supper and then getting a very early night. 
On Tuesday, after a good night's sleep, I rode to work on my bike again. I wasn't looking forward to the day, but it didn't turn out too bad, save for having problems with the internet and the card machines not working properly for some of the day. 

I got a lot of stockroom work done, but I ended up having to stay until 8pm to reconile the takings, as using two different card machines had complicated things and I couldn't get it to balance. Eventually I got it sorted, but got home at nearly 9pm feeling completely shattered. 
Thankfully, on Wednesday I managed a bit of a lie in. The day started off bright, so I took the dog out for a walk. I spotted some ripe blackberries on the walk and decided to use a clean dog bag to collect some. I found enough to make another big pot of jam, which felt very satisfying, but we did get caught in a very heavy downpour at the end of the walk. 

I thought I'd lost the dog for a while, as she wandered off in the car park to shelter and I couldn't find her. I was fraught, calling her name and shaking her treat pot, until she eventually surfaced looking wet and bedraggled from behind a bush. I was so happy to see her. I've heard such awful stories of dogs being stolen throughout Lockdown, I'd never forgive myself if anything happened to her. 

Anyway, later I did some laundry and then popped out to Lidl to do a quick top up shop to last us through until I get paid on Friday. 

It rained heavily for most of the afternoon on Wednesday, so I stayed home and did my financial reckoning for the month. My spending wasn't too bad in July, considering that we went on holiday this month, but some of my shares fared very badly this month, which meant that the final figure for my investments actually went down. I don't take this too much to heart, as it always varies from month to month, especially with Covid and other things that are happening in the UK at the moment. 

On Wednesday evening, we all watched a couple of episodes of the new series of University Challenge. It's one programme that we all watch together as a family and we participate by trying to answer as many questions as we can. LB always keeps score and we compete against each other. For once, I seemed to be able to answer quite a few questions on one episode, which is not a common occurrence. It's usually OH that does the best of all of us. It's good fun though, and has become quite a family tradition that we enjoy.

On Thursday, I was only due to be at work in the afternoon, as I'd worked a full day on Tuesday and would be doing the same on Saturday. The Deputy with whom I share a post was on leave for the week, so the Shop Manager and I needed to change our hours a little to cover the shop between us. As a consequence, I had a leisurely morning walking the dog, getting ready and getting myself to work, which made a nice change. It almost seemed like a lot of effort to ride my bike into town for just 4 hours of work. I much prefer to do a longer day when cycling to work.

In other news, this week has been very quiet on our street, mainly due to the start of the summer holidays. Both of our neighbours went away as soon as school finished and it felt like we were living in a detached house for the week. Just a pity the weather was so bad that I couldn't really get out in the garden and enjoy the peace and quiet.

On Friday, it was another intermittently wet day. I did a bit of shopping at ASDA and Poundland and then came home and stayed home for the rest of the day. 

In the afternoon, I read for an hour, in order to finish a book before the month ended and then later I decided to do a bit of work on my current quilt project. I tacked the finished quilt top to the woollen blanket that I'm using as wadding and then trimmed up the edges ready to attach the backing fabric.

I think I've managed to find a fabric that I can use for the back of the quilt in my stash, which means that I don't need to buy any more fabric and furthermore, I can use up some of what I already have, which is even better. I will have to sew two pieces together in order for it to work, but this shouldn't be too difficult and the join shouldn't be visible once it is machine quilted.

On Saturday, I was back at work again. It was perfect weather for cycling in as it was much cooler. The stockroom is looking better than it has in a long time as we've had plenty of volunteers to work on it and the incoming donations are still reduced. As a consequence, today was slightly more leisurely than most days and I could take time to train and talk to a new volunteer who started in the afternoon, whilst still working, of course.

In the evening, OH and I watched a movie about Alfred Hitchcock and his wife on Disney+, which was very good.

A pretty quiet week in many ways, but an enjoyable one.