Sunday, 26 September 2021

Weekly Blog - W/E September 25th 2021

The week started in it's usual quiet way on Sunday. I took the dog out for a walk in the morning. It was our local Jumble Trail event, whereby lots of people have stalls outside their houses and sell stuff they don't want. I stopped off at a stall selling plants near the park and bought four small plants that the lady had grown from cuttings. Three of them are trailing plants, but they are all very cute. I've already got lots of house plants, but I can never resist getting more when faced with a good selection. The trouble was, I then had to carry them along on the dog walk, but they got home safely in the end.

On Monday, I woke up and was ready early, so I decided to head off to the gym, dropping into a local Lidl on the way to do my grocery shopping. The whole experience was a nightmare, it was far too busy, with people taking a ridiculously long time to get through the checkout and I was getting really stressed and frustrated, as I was booked in to do my first Zumba class in over 18 months with my favourite instructor at 10am.

In the end, I got there with just a minute to spare. I took it steady in the class and was pretty careful not to over exert my knee after my injury earlier this year. I really enjoyed it. All the steps came back to me and it was great fun. I'm so happy to be back dancing again. At times I thought I never would be. I can't wait to go back again next week.

In the afternoon, I had a little more grocery shopping to do, so I headed off to ASDA. There were a few things that I couldn't get at Lidl and I ended up throwing a few extra things in the trolley for good measure, mainly because of all the hoo ha around supplies of CO2 running out. I also went to Poundland, but didn't spend much this time, and the Card Factory for cards for a few upcoming events. My last stop was B&Q, as I needed some beading for OH to properly secure the glass in the vestibule cupboard. I ended up treating myself to a couple of decorative plant pots whilst there, as many of my plants are outgrowing their pots and I don't have big enough pots to house them.

I also completed a little job that I'd been meaning to do for a while on Monday. Whilst tidying out the shed a couple of weeks ago, I found my old Brother label printer. It was a bit dirty, the batteries were dead and I had no tape for it anymore, so I was going to donate it. Then I decided to take a look on eBay and found that you could get tape for about £3 or £4 a roll, so I sent off for some. I got some new AAA batteries (it takes 6!) and I was in business. I used it to re-label a set of drawers in the craft room and they look great. It felt good bringing something back to life and making use of it.  I'm not sure what I'll use it for next, as I don't want to label everything in sight, but I'm sure I'll find other uses for it in the future, maybe re-organising our family photos, my fabric collection or something similar.

On Monday night I boiled up some homegrown beetroot to pickle as it was starting to shrivel up a little. It made 2 and a half jars, but there's still quite a bit left on the plot. I'll either have to save a few more jars or buy some more before I can harvest and process them.

Tuesday, I was back at work. It was a busy day and we were focussed on getting more autumnal clothing into the shop, as we've been having some success lately, selling coats in readiness for the weather changing. As they sell for more than the average item, it has been boosting our sales totals this last couple of weeks.

Wednesday, was my day off and I stayed close to home all day. I wasn't feeling too good for most of the day, so had a nap in the afternoon. I booked an eye test for next week which is long overdue, postponed due to us having Covid.

We also finally booked a cottage for a week in Whitby in October. I'm quite excited about us having a week away. It's so nice for us all as a family to get out of London for a while and it will probably be our last chance before Christmas to do so, as work will get busy and LB will probably be working again in the lead up to Christmas. 

Talking of LB, she headed out to a nightclub with friends in the evening and I found it hard to sleep anticipating her return, which was incredibly late. As a consequence, I was shattered the next day going to work.

In spite of not having slept, Thursday at work wasn't too bad. I was a bit grumpy through tiredness though, which wasn't good. It was one of those rare for me days at work, when I just wanted to get through the day and get home to bed. We had a good day sales wise though which helped.

On TV, we've been watching Manhunt - The Night Stalker this week, which was a really good dramatized series depicting real life crimes. Horrible crimes, but a very interesting serialisation of the investigation that led to the eventual arrest of the perpertrator.

On Friday morning after a very good night's sleep, I went out with the dog for a long walk. I then stayed home in the afternoon, sleeping for a couple of hours, as I'm still catching up on sleep from earlier in the week. 

In the evening, OH, LB and I headed out to our local Mall, to a Tapas restaurant as a family treat. I hadn't been to the Mall for months, in fact, I can't remember the last time I went. I wanted to take a look in a couple of shops there and needed to pick up a few groceries for the weekend whilst there too. 

To be honest, it wasn't a pleasant experience, way too busy. I'm always reminded how I'm really not missing anything by not going very often. The meal was very nice though, we all thoroughly enjoyed it, but I don't know how people afford to eat out regularly. I think I've become so used to being quite frugal, that the final bill always shocks me.

Saturday, I was back at work, but needed to go in for 10am, as the Shop Manager had taken a few days off. I noticed a long queue for the local petrol station on my way in. I'm hoping we can manage to get hold of some petrol in time to go on holiday in a few weeks time.

I got in to work in a little early and spent the time vaccuuming the shopfloor, before continuing downstairs into the stockroom and office and doing these rooms too. Sometimes, I just need to get to grips with the mess and make the environment a nicer one to work in, before I can get stuck into the day's work. It helped that there weren't many donations waiting to be processed. We had another great day of sales today and even bettered our recent best last week.

I was able to leave early, due to having started early and the return of the Shop Manager, so I rode my bike home mid afternoon, instead of in the evening when it is starting to get dark. It made a nice change to be home earlier. I watched a bit of Strictly tonight, but then OH and I started watching the film Molly's Game on Netflix. (I say started, as it was a long film at 2 hrs 20 mins.) We've still got the last hour to watch.  OH needed to get to bed early as he was running the Hackney Half Marathon in the morning.

I can't believe that we're now nearly in October. Where does the time go? Hope you had a good week.

Sunday, 19 September 2021

Weekly Blog - W/E 18/9/21

This week started out being a bit more productive than usual. On Sunday, I finally got around to starting work on something I've been wanting to do for a while, namely making some alterations to one of the first home made quilts that I ever made.

I made it probably 8 or 10 years ago for LB, and I used quite a few purple fabrics as it was her favourite colour at the time. As she no longer uses it, we now use it to cover the sofa, to catch any dog hair when the dog jumps up or sleeps on there.  I decided recently that I would like it to fit in more with the decor of the room, which is largely dark blue, hence the makeover.

The binding was quite faded, bobbly and coming unstitched, as I'd used a pretty cheap polycotton fabric, so I removed it and then found a fabric in my stash that would cover the purple fabrics on one side. The other side has a floral fabric with a dark blue background, so that can stay, but a navy white polka dot was found for the other side. I'm keeping it simple with just one fabric on each side this time around.

Anyway, I pinned the replacement fabric into place, but I've yet to sew it into place and then do the quilting across in rows. I'm intending to bind it using an old navy fitted sheet that needs throwing out, I'm hoping there'll be enough fabric for the project. It's the most appropriate thing I've got to use and it will save it all going into landfill or buying anything new as I don't have anything else suitable in my stash. It felt nice to work on a sewing project again, it's been a while.

My Cherryz order had been delivered to my neighbour on Saturday, so I collected it on Sunday afternoon. It meant that we were well stocked up on quite a few things and the weekly shop did not need to be so big as a consequence.

I started reading a new book this weekend, called Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck. I've read a few of his books in the past and have always enjoyed them. I'm enjoying this one so far too. In it, he documents his travels around America in the early 1960's in a truck, with his poodle Charley.

I popped down to the allotment with OH later whilst on the dog walk and harvested some raspberries, whilst OH dug up the remainder of the potatoes. The growing season is soon coming to an end. I know OH will secretly be glad to put the allotment to bed for the winter.

On Monday, I decided not to go to a class at the gym. I'm going to start back next week and try the Zumba class with a friend. Instead, I walked the dog and then headed off to do the weekly shop. First stop was Home Bargains, which I haven't visited in quite a while, maybe 6 weeks or two months or so. I needed a few toiletries and other bits and I also decided to start collecting items for the Samaritan's Purse shoe box that I send every year. I found quite a few good items for the age group I'm collecting for, but I do still need to collect a few more bits.

I then headed to Lidl and unusually for me to Sainsbury's this week, to get everything else we needed. There are definitely gaps on the shelves in most stores now. It's very strange to see them, but I'm sure we'll just get used to it. It will probably get worse still in the lead up to Xmas.

Tonight, I splurged and purchased a good quality waterproof reflective jacket for cycling to work this winter. The one I ordered is super reflective, so I'm excited to see what it's like when it arrives. It was £75, which is a lot for me to spend, but it will be worth it to be properly seen and protected from the elements this winter. Nights are already drawing in and it is starting to get dark as I cycle home from work now. As I've not actually spent too much money so far this month, there's definitely room in the budget for it and it's better to buy it now before I need to start thinking about Christmas. 

Tuesday I was back at work. It was a rainy day, but I decided to risk it and ride my bike in regardless, as I can't stand the thought of wearing a mask for an extra 2 hours when I catch a bus. I was okay for 2/3 of the ride in and then it began to rain a bit heavier before easing up again, so I got a bit wet. Hopefully, I'll have my new jacket by the next time I get caught in the rain.

Work was okay. Everyone had helped with the donations and they were significantly reduced, which was great and freed me up to take clothes out of the shop which had been in too long and start to replenish the rails with new stock. It's the first time I'd done this job for almost two years, as one of our volunteers generally does it, but he was off for a few days. I really enjoyed it, as I always get satisfaction from this particular job.

On Wednesday, I had a quiet day at home. I went out with the dog, and then later in the afternoon I sat and binge watched a new series on Netflix called On the Verge. It's described as a 'dramedy' (i.e. comedy drama I presume). It is about a group of 40/50 something women living in Los Angeles and their work, families, friendships. I'm really enjoying it. It's just nice sometimes to have some down time on my days off and an occasional day on the sofa binge watching Netflix usually hits the spot for me.

Thursday was another good day at work. Although the weather is still pretty good, we decided to get some autumn/winter clothing into the shop in readiness for the weather to change. As we have bags and bags of seasonal stock put aside, we didn't want to miss out on people looking for coats and things for the coming season.

Talking of coats, my new waterproof cycling jacket arrived on Thursday, so it was there when I got home. It fits okay, a little large if anything, but I'd rather it be more roomy than too tight. I'm happy with it and I am looking forward to wearing it next time it rains and seeing how waterproof it actually is. Apparently, it is made from recycled plastic bottles, so it feels good to buy something that is helping to recycle waste.

Friday was another homey type of day. I had a nice walk with the dog in the morning and then pottered a bit at home in the afternoon, watering house plants and doing some financial stuff. I had to head out to do a very small top up shop in the afternoon and I decided to go to Lidl, as I had a £10 voucher that needed redeeming.

I also spent some time this afternoon looking for holiday cottages near Whitby or Scarborough for another week away, this time with LB coming along, which will be our first family holiday with all of us present this year. 

We were thinking of going to France, as we don't want to leave the dog with anyone, but the vets that OH has contacted don't seem interested in helping us get a pet health certificate and our usual vetinary practice doesn't have a vet who is qualified to sign them.  Anyway, we've more or less decided to go to Yorkshire again and combine the break with visiting family. It will hopefully be the week of my birthday, so I'll be very happy not to be at work that week. There are quite a few properties available, but some are quite expensive. OH says he doesn't mind splashing out a bit for a good one, as it will be our main family holiday this year. I'm feeling quite excited about it.

In the evenings this week, OH and I have been watching the three part documentary series about the Cardiff 5, called A Killing in Tiger Bay on iPlayer. It was extremely interesting and I'd recommend anyone to watch it.

On Saturday, I woke up early and was ready for work by 9 am. As OH was walking the dog, I decided to go into work early, rather than twiddle my thumbs at home, so I worked virtually the whole day rather than from 12 noon. It was the busiest day we've had since before Lockdown, so there was plenty of work to do. Things are picking up in Central London now and almost getting back to normal footfall, which is good.

I was glad to get home in the evening. After supper, I watched a documentary on Netflix about US Music/Film producer David Geffin which was really interesting. Worth a watch. I didn't know much about him before watching this, but he has done some amazing things in his career.

So here we are at the end of another week. They are flying by very quickly at the moment. I'm starting to think about Christmas, especially with dire warnings about shortages of certain foods. I might start picking the odd thing up each week in the weekly shop.

Hope you had a good week.

Saturday, 11 September 2021

Weekly Blog - W/E 11th September

This week has been about getting back to normal after having the virus. I took it easy on Sunday as I was tired after working on Saturday. I spent most of my time just reading, walking the dog, watching TV and YouTube.

On Monday, I decided not to go to a class at the gym, I'll go back in a week or so when I'm hopefully feeling a bit better. I did do a grocery shop in the morning and then spent the afternoon working my way through the mound of washing that LB is behind with. She had gone away for a night to visit a friend outside of London, so I took the opportunity to get into her bedroom and get some of it done.  Luckily, I could dry some of it outside on the line, the rest was dried inside.

In the evenings lately, we've been watching a short series called Mrs Wilson on Netflix. Only three episodes long, about a woman who was bigamously married to a man who worked for the British Secret Service in the 1940's and beyond. It was based on a true story and I quite enjoyed it. We're also watching the new series by the writers of In the Line of Duty called Vigil and we're enjoying that too.

Tuesday I was back at work. I'm still doggedly working my way through the donations, which seem to just keep building up when I'm not there, so it feels like I'm just treading water most of the time. There's nothing I can do about it, I just have to keep chipping away.

On Tuesday night, we watched a film on Netflix called Worth, starring Michael Keaton, about how the US Government compensated the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001.  A really good film, well worth watching and a very timely reminder of this terrible event around the time of it's 20th anniversary.

I had a nice productive day off on Wednesday. I placed another Cherryz order, did a bit of laundry and then took the dog on a leisurely walk in the morning, before heading off to ASDA and Poundland to do a bit of top up shopping. I picked up a prescription and got some more lateral flow tests en route. I mainly needed to buy things I'd forgotten to get on Monday or that we'd run out of since. 

I hadn't been to Poundland for over a month, so I enjoyed having a mooch around. I always manage to spend around £30 when I go there. On this occasion, I bought a dress and some leggings which accounted for nearly half of what I spent. I noticed lots of empty shelves in ASDA, which they seem to be disguising by moving things around and making some changes to the store. Call me cynical, but I suspect it's more about hiding the shortages as a result of reduced deliveries. I haven't struggled to get anything really yet, but you can start to see that there is less choice available in some aisles. I'm not going to start stocking up though. 

Later in the afternoon, I headed out to meet a couple of friends from the gym at our favourite Persian restaurant. On my way there, I stopped off at the bank to get some cash out and dropped into Primark to buy some new bras. I'm really enjoying wearing some that I bought there a few months ago, which I find really comfortable and supportive, so I bought a couple more whilst I was passing. I can now get rid of the uncomfortable ones that I've been hanging onto.

When I got to the restaurant, it was so nice to catch up with my friends and do something social after the last few weeks of self-isolating and staying away from people. We had a lovely meal and a good catch up on each other's news and we're thinking of doing the same thing on a monthly basis, rather than every 3 months or so, which will be nice.

Thursday, I was back at work. I was super pleasantly surprised when I got there, to see that the donation cage that I work on was virtually empty, with just a few bags left to sort. I couldn't believe it. One of our kind volunteers had worked very hard to clear it, bless her. I am in her debt, as I didn't seem to be getting anywhere with it. At least now I can try to keep on top of it.

I still had a few bags to process, so I did that and then I was able to process some of the clothing on the pricing table, which has been sat there for a good while. Things are now starting to look clearer around the clothing section, which is good, but we did have some electrical problems with the steamer today, so we couldn't use it, which was a bit annoying. I now need to try to process piles of other stock when I get the chance, such as the shoes and bags and scarves, which are currently piled high. We're getting there slowly, but there's always so much work still to do. It's just the nature of the job.

On Friday, I had a quiet day at home before OH and I headed out in the evening to the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall to watch pianist Pavel Kolesnikov perform Bach's Goldberg Variations.  We stopped for a bite to eat on the way, nothing super special. I had a salad and OH had a sandwich. OH had booked us seats in a box, which was a treat, so there were only 4 other people in there with us. The performance was very good. We really enjoyed it. We stopped for a drink in a pub in South Kensington afterwards, before heading home on the Tube. I rarely travel on the underground these days, so it was strange for me travelling all the way across town.

Saturday I was working. I spoke too soon about keeping on top of the donations, as there had been another avalanche of them all stacked up both inside and outside of the cage. In addition, I found out that the steamer was kaput, so we're currently waiting on a new one being delivered. It's very difficult without one, as many items need steaming before they can be put in the shop. I did my best to work through as many donations as I could, but there was still half a cage when I left work. I'm starting to feel a bit overwhelmed if I'm honest. 

It's been a mixed week this week, with some nice social events for a change, to break up and distract from the working week. I'm glad to get to the end of the week though and have two days to just relax and do my own thing.

Hope you've had a good week.

Saturday, 4 September 2021

Weekly Blog W/E 4th September 2021

With three days left of self-isolation, this week got off to a quiet start. It being a Bank Holiday Weekend, it was very quiet in our neighbourhood. Both sets of neighbours were either away or out for the day, so I took the opportunity to get out into the garden and get some fresh air. You just don't realise how much you take it for granted until you're couped up in the house all day everyday.

I had a big pile of dirty plant pots from this year's seedlings and pottings on and I'd been meaning to wash them for a while. I was waiting for a sunny day, but in the end a cloudy, grey one sufficed. It felt good to get them all clean and tidied away, ready for next spring and just to spend some time outside.

As it was almost the end of the month, I did some month end paperwork too. I haven't spent as much money this month, mainly because of the virus, which is one positive outcome at least. I can hardly believe that we're now in September, which in the shop means the start of the run up to Christmas, believe it or not.

OH decided to purchase an electric bike on Sunday. He's been thinking about it for a while. It's for all of us to use; me for work, him for getting about town when necessary to meet clients, LB if she wants to use it. It folds up apparently, so is easy to take to meetings, on public transport, etc., although it's too heavy for me to carry. It's quite exciting. I'm wondering how much time it will shave off my commute, but I'm a bit wary and will need a bit of practice before I head off to work on it. 

Bank Holiday Monday was another quiet day at home. LB was working again. OH and I decided to clear out the garden shed, which was another long overdue job. OH did most of it, as I was too scared of coming across scary big spiders. We managed to reduce the amount in there by quite a bit and created a pile of stuff to take to the tip. Another satisfying job done and ticked off the list.

I spent most of the rest of the day reading, finishing off another book. I had to break the news to my Manager on his return to the UK, that I was off work with Covid. He seemed pretty chilled about it. The weather here has been cold and grey all weekend. It suddenly feels very autumnal.

Tuesday, was my last day of self-isolation. I can't wait to burst out of the house tomorrow and take the dog for a walk. This will then be followed by a a grocery shop, as we're running low on a lot of things. I wrote out the shopping list in readiness today. I also had a chat with my Manager. I should be returning to work on Thursday, all being well.

The electric bike arrived today and OH set it up and charged it ready for me to try it out. It's exciting, but also a little scary.

I emptied the ironing basket today, in readiness for heading back to work and then spent most of the rest of the afternoon reading. Looking forward to getting busy again.

On Wednesday, I was finally out of self-isolation. I took a lateral flow test before leaving the house and was happy to see that it was negative. First job of the day was to walk the dog. It felt so nice to go out for a walk with her for the first time in 10 days, breathing in fresh air, throwing the ball for her. I think she was happy that I was out and about with her again too.

Later, I had some lunch and then went out to do a grocery shop, as we were running out of food. I wore a mask and  gloves and was very careful not to get too close to anyone, as I felt very conscious of having had the virus recently.

When I got back I felt quite tired. I spent the rest of the afternoon binge watching Marie Kondo's new series on Netflix. There were only three episodes, so I watched them all. I didn't get around to trying out the electric bike as I didn't want to go out again. 

On Thursday, I headed back to work. I took my bike, as I couldn't face wearing a mask on the bus. My legs felt a bit wobbly at first, as I hadn't done any exercise for two weeks, but it didn't feel too bad. Work was busy, there were lots of donations to sort and clothes to price. It'll probably be a couple of weeks before I get caught up with the backlog. I did my best for my first day back, but didn't overdo it. I'm going to take it steady, as I still feel pretty tired after having had the virus. It was good to get back though.

Friday, I was off work again and all I had to do was walk the dog, do the washing up, do some banking, a bit of laundry and try out the electric bike. I did all for the first four things in the morning and then I felt really tired and spent the afternoon in bed. I guess it was the previous day returning to work catching up with me.

Saturday, I got up and got showered and ready to go back to work again. I was feeling less tired today, but I still decided to take it steady. As quick as I'm clearing the donations, more are coming in. I don't personally care. I can only do so much, hence we'll catch up when we catch up. 

I'm starting to feel like I'm getting back to normal, which is a good thing. It's been a horrible few weeks, but at least I should now have some natural immunity for the next few months, on account of having had the virus and I should be unlikely to catch it again for a while.