Monday 27 April 2020

What I've done in my 4 weeks of lockdown - Gardening

I'm supposed to be going back to Dubai on Monday, but flights with Emirates are cancelled indefinitely. Part of my trip home was to organise a move from the villa to an apartment and finish sorting through our belongings to see what we were shipping in May back to the UK

My aim on this trip to the UK for 4 weeks was to visit family and finish the decorating in the house and order new carpets, ready for when the furniture arrives.

Well none of that happened, including the decorating, no point rushing it now and besides the weather has been excellent so I've been spending most of my time in the garden sorting it out.

When we got our house back after 9 years of tenants the garden looked like this

We had a lot of work completed in the house prior to me returning the end of January, but the outside had been neglected other than having all the waste removed left behind by the tenants.

The garden currently looks like this

I've had the windows and conservatory cleaned and gutters emptied, new fence panels, shrubs and trees dug up and removed, borders tided, path and patio reclaimed, garden levelled and reseeded, repairs made to the sheds and cleaned, compost bin emptied and a new one started, lawn mowed (well strimmed actually as I don't have a mower) seeds planted and bedding plants ordered from a local nursery.

Compost bin emptied

New compost bin started

Garden waste bin delivered from council and sorting through contents for composting, general waste and filling the bin for collection. 

Guttering and panels repaired

Peas and tomatoes planted out

New border dug

Paving slabs from lawn removed

New grass seed 

DIY plants pots from recycled tins and bedding plants in

I was working on the garden from Day 1 of lockdown for 4 weeks. I've also done a lot of crafting, letter writing and started on redecorating the house. I'll show you all that in another post next week.


Sunday 26 April 2020

My Sunday Photo - Learning something new in lockdown in isolation

During lockdown there's a lot of talk on Social Media about taking this time to learn a new skill and if you don't then it's discipline you lack, not time.

Well that works fine for me. I'm on my own during lockdown. I don't work, all my kids have flown the nest, so I have plenty of time on my hands to learn something new.

But I haven't been learning anything new, I've been gardening, decorating, watching TV, reading, cooking, cleaning and mostly just staring into the abyss.

Whilst I spend a lot of time on my own living as an expat for the last 9 years, the last 5 years without kids, I don't really like being on my own, I'm just used to it.

I'm grateful I'm in the UK and back in our family home, even though I'm rattling around in it, with only the furniture from our one bed flat. I have a garden and a couple of camping chairs. I've ordered food online for my mum and I shop around every 7-10 days for myself. I walk the dog daily and I have a good friend and neighbour who picks up dog food for me as I don't have a car and we have regular door step (maintaining social distancing) chats.

Being on my own as I'm used to, is a very different experience to  being in isolation. When I'm in Dubai and my husband isn't working away, I only have to entertain myself during the day and I go out to malls, the dog park, for a walk, coffee and the opportunity to meet other people to chat with.

In the UK I'm usually running around visiting family, sorting out finances, bills, banking. I rarely stop and I get little chance to rest. It's always all or nothing in my life.

So in an effort to keep myself occupied and learn something new, I've investigated learning a new language, free online courses, returning to the OU to finish the final unit for my degree I had to give up 9 years ago when we moved abroad, but that's all I've done, look into it. I get distracted with searching for our dream home and cat videos on youtube.

So what have I been learning?

I've decided I'm a creature of habit, I miss my trips out for coffees, but I've learnt how to use the coffee machine we have at home, putting £3 in a pot every time I have one and so far saving £99. 

I've been learning how to occupy my time, all 16 hours of it, every single day. By pacing myself, setting a time limit to the decorating and gardening, ensuring I put everything away after each activity and keep up with the washing up after each meal, read 2 chapters of a book at a time, alternating activities from just sitting to moving around the house, ensuring I eat healthy and have regular meal times.

But what I'm not getting on with is this

I'm learning I don't have the patience for activities that serve no purpose.


Saturday 25 April 2020

One Daily Positive - Week 17 Back to the decorating

I seem to have switched my weekends back into Dubai mode, doing little on Friday on Saturdays, this makes it easier for me and Peter to keep in touch as he's really busy during the week with work, so I find it easier to occupy my time.

I've been going through my dads things recently and have been scanning stuff from his football career with Barry Town FC to the club for their records. Found a letter from Aston Villa inviting my dad to play in goal for them against Stoke in 1960. However my dad didn't make the team line up for the day and this was 5 years before they had subs in the game. As a Birmingham City fan, I now appear to have gained an awful lot of Villa fans after I tweeted the photo out.

If I don't get up, breakfasted and dressed straight away I tend to lounge around in my pjs and whilst I rest, I don't feel tired at the end of the day and keep waking early, feeling tired, so I need to stick to a routine to keep me motivated.

110 Sunday Cleaned the bathrooms, got dressed and spent the morning putting the bedding plants in, washing and repotting seeds, followed by walking Bob to the local shops as I'd run out of milk, picked up some magazines and sweets to post to my mum and some ice cream for me. Took myself off to bed for an hour and slept, hoovered, had dinner and watched Grease. Random calls throughout the day. Spent the evening writing letters.

111 Monday Lifted the hall/landing carpet, sanded down woodwork and repainted, sadly I don't have enough paint to finish the rest of the doors and skirting boards, spent time in my craft room painting rocks. Wrote some more letters, starting with one to our grandchild to read when they're older. Spent the afternoon lazing in the garden.

112 Tuesday Lacking motivation to do anything today. Got dressed and finished painting the walls, relaid the carpet, cleaned everything up and started a new project, papier mache a balloon. Bob and I walked to the postbox, we seem to go most days. I had a lovely surprise through the post from a twitter friend of a felting kit. Sanded down the rest of the woodwork and hooverd up, my house has never been so clean.

113 Wednesday I had to call a plumber out for the waste pipe in one of the bathrooms, as it came loose, he fixed the guttering and the over flow on the downstairs loo. I sorted through our finances while he was here and caught up with blog posts. Used the last of the paint to finish painting the downstairs loo and main bathroom. I managed to track down some paint through a facebook group Dean commented we should practice social distancing, doh!, anyway I thanked him for his time to make the comment. I walked with Bob to collect it for free, which was a bonus and let I Dean know we'd safe distanced on the handover. Dean's reply on the facebook group was 'just trying to help you protect ourselves' The guy I collected from is called Paul and a proper painter and decorator, offering me some handy tips. Sat in the garden for the afternoon blogging, remade the bed, cooked dinner and watched some TV and made poms poms for a rug.

114 Thursday I did nothing all morning, it's the 7th anniversary since we adopted Bob, I wrote a couple of letters, walked Bob to post them. Resumed with the painting, one door, frame and bathroom skirting boards took 2 hours, the earliest Emirates are flying is July 1st, so I've plenty of time to finish the job. In the evening I started a jigsaw puzzle, watched Children in Need/Comic Relief and joined the dwindling numbers of neighbours for clap for the NHS.

115 Friday Another slow start, a zoom call with a twitter friend and whatsapp chatting Ramadan Kareem to all my friends in the UK, Dubai and Egypt for a couple of hours, left over fajitas  from last night for lunch, assembled the new mower and did the lawns, finished painting the walls in the bathroom. Walked with Bob to the local shop to buy milk and some goodies, it was a bit stressful as one woman didn't know how to social distance and I ended up yelling at her to back off.

116 Saturday I prepared the main bedroom for painting, mowed the lawn, sat in the garden with a coffee and the cat. I decided to let her out for a bit now each day, so far she's only left the garden once, but was at the neighbours over the road. I've painted all the woodwork, walls and the radiators, just leaving two doors and a small amount of skirting board to do tomorrow as I can't get all the carpet up in one go, without shutting myself in the room.
I spent the evening registering 25 facilities in South Africa with a Christmas gift giving charity.

On the blog this week:

Darren was back with #MySundayPhoto this week so I linked up with a post on what I've been doing in the garden during lockdown

How I'm dealing with lockdown

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Friday 24 April 2020

Post Comment Love 24th - 26th April 2020

I was supposed to be packing ready to return to Dubai on Monday, but that's not happening now or for the foreseeable future. Both my husband, Peter and I reached the conclusion we probably won't see one another again until September.

I had to sign a mandatory form upon leaving Dubai on March 24th to agree to a two week isolation in a medical facility upon my return, so until they allow tourists back in, I won't be returning. Although Peter could return to the UK and work from here, there are unanswered questions about his work visa, should he not be able to return within 6 months.

We're used to spending 2-3 months apart on a frequent basis, and I was due to be away for 5 weeks, however this is different as we don't have an end date to work towards. We chat several times a day on the phone.

Anyway all is good, I've been occupied with restoring the garden and redecorating the house and have been quite creative with using what I have around the house to do some fun projects also, which I'll share next week.

Hope everyone is keeping well.

Stephanie and I would love to know what you've been up to this week.

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Tuesday 21 April 2020

Personal reaction to Covid-19

It's strange how family and friends around the world are experiencing the reactions to Covid-19 and how their governments and their neighbours how people are responding.

This isn't a post about government response or how the spread is being handled, the rights or the wrongs, it's about day to day living.

Dubai closed schools on March the 8th initially for 4 weeks. Within 2 weeks social distancing started, a week later attractions and meeting places were closed down and by week 4, Emirates stopped flying and the borders were closed. A week later a curfew was in place between 8pm and 6am and now you are only allowed to leave your house for essential work and supplies., you must apply for a permit online first.

I arrived in the UK on March 24th, the day before the UK went into lockdown, around the same time as Dubai did, but in a different way.

When I left Dubai on the 24th as a citizen I had to sign a mandatory agreement to go into 14 day isolation in a medical facility upon my return. The previous week, Dubai authorities had closed the E gates. On arrival in the UK, I walked through passport control as usual, through the electronic gates and out.

There was a woman meekly asking if people wanted a leaflet, it offered advice on self isolating if you'd recently visited the countries on the list. The UK, Heathrow T5 missed a valuable opportunity to check where people had travelled from prior to their arrival from Dubai, we were a full plane of passengers in close proximity to one another for 7 hours. No one checked which countries I'd travelled from.

I practised self distancing from my friend who collected me from the airport and kept me safe over night before I made a journey using 3 trains across the country to get home. I had a carriage to myself as the staff on the platforms were advising people to do this.

The second week in March I'd spoken to my son in Australia who made the decision to stay put as he has a job in transport, a car, a flat and a girlfriend. The PM advised no one was to leave the country and some airlines announced they would no longer be flying out of Australia from March till June 14th.

My husband and our 4 boys all are key workers, husband and youngest child can work from home, the other 3 are still going out to work each day. I made the decision to return to the UK as we have a disabled child in the UK, she's not at risk from the virus health wise but she does live in a care home and we were concerned as to what would happen to her should the staffing levels drop, at least with me being here, I could have her home. She requires 24/7 care and supervision, to the extent I would have to take her to the bathroom with me and she would be a risk in the kitchen when I was cooking, but I wouldn't be able to leave her in the front room unsupervised, but I'll manage if I have to. I also came back as the weather is heating up in Dubai and it won't be long before I wouldn't even be able to sit in the garden, also my MIL was house and pet sitting and wanted to get back to her own home.

I've managed to get an online shop for my mother, my niece and her family live in the same town so have been able to pop up with additional supplies when needed, but they're not wanting to go out with 4 small children unless they have to.

I've been to the shops 3 times now for essentials, thankfully I'd stockpiled back in February before I returned to the UK, not because of the virus, but because I knew I wouldn't have a car on my return. All I needed to do was stock up with meat and fruit and veg. I'm also walking the dog on a daily basis but only for a short walk, incase we go into further lockdown like Dubai and I won't be able to take him out.

I've noticed neighbours walking their dog twice a day or taking the dog out in the car to go for a walk, people are going out everyday to pick up food for that evening, rather than just shopping in one go when needed. whilst I appreciate there maybe reasons for this, I'm seeing similar comments being made on social media and in local fb groups. I'm not intending to shame, but I don't think a lot of people have really grasped the size of this pandemic and that it's worldwide and affecting people of all ages.

There seems to be an assumption that as the stores are open people can go in them. I've heard people moan the queues are too long and they're not prepared to wait, people who have visited 3 stores in one day to get a particular brand of food, people over 70 going to the shops daily as it's 'their slot time for shopping' despite having relatives that could shop for them.

It also amazes me how many people seem to think this lock down is personal, that it is only happening like this in the UK and that other countries are managing it better, that the government is at fault for it's spread, that they SHOULD have been told earlier to stay indoors. People were acting with anger at the train station because their train was delayed or cancelled, people are acting in disbelief that this is actually happening but following the guidelines, some blatantly ignoring them, some say it's a government conspiracy.

I appreciate I am fortunate that I don't have to worry about my income, I don't have children to home school, I'm healthy, have a garden and I have more than enough things to do to keep myself occupied with renovating our family home after 9 years of tenants.

I'm following all the guidelines, washing my hands after handling the post, wiping down the bin and door handles for the refuse collectors and the people who deliver the post. I'm using only one pair of shoes and one coat when I go outside and keeping them separate. I'm washing everything that comes into the house and carry wipes, gloves and hand gel with me where ever I go and using it.

My positives:

Getting more work done than I anticipated
Saving money by not going out for coffee everyday
Learning new skills such as tackling a plumbing job and making repairs
Reconnecting with old friends
Grateful for the video online calling services that are blocked in Dubai

My negatives:
Missing my husband and no idea when we'll see each other again
Whole days go by without a real life person to talk to
No one to make me a cup of tea in the morning
No one to cuddle other than the cat and dog
The silence is deafening

Sunday 19 April 2020

My Sunday Photo - Gardening during lockdown

We got our house back from tenants after 9 years back in December. There's lots of work to be done and I had most of the major work carried out in January/February.

I returned to Dubai in March then arrived back on the 24th to finish the decorating ready for our furniture to arrive May/June.

Well all those plans to finish our relocation came to a halt the day I landed and I have no idea when I'll be able to go back to Dubai to sort anything out.

Making the most of the lovely weather we've had, I decided to tackle the garden as I now had the time to focus on the outside.

This was our garden as it was returned to us

I've fixed the sheds, replaced the fence panels, reclaimed the paths and patio from the lawn, dug new borders, levelled off the lawn, dug up the paving slabs and reseeded it all. Emptied the compost bin and started another, made repairs to the sheds and mowed the lawn.

I had a delivery of bedding plants from a local nursery yesterday, which will inject some much needed colour into the garden later today.

I think you'll agree it's looking a lot better now.

Saturday 18 April 2020

One Daily Positive - Week 16 The silence is deafening

Started the week with a wobble. The silence is deafening now. My usual conversations are at the local coffee shop and don't usually contain more content than what I want to drink. I'm not sure if it's loneliness or boredom. I'm on my own for sure other than the occasional chat with a neighbour over the fence and I'm used to the lack of verbal contact with the family due to voice over internet being blocked in Dubai and I guess everyone is just getting on with their lives.

If you ask someone how they really are, you really don't want the reply to be 'lonely or sad' A virtual cuddle just doesn't cut it, does it?

I can always find plenty to do to occupy me physically, but I struggle mentally at times.

It's funny how food has become my main focus after keeping myself well. I plan the week around round times and have to decide a day in advance what I want to eat to ensure it's defrosted in time. I'm also trying to only visit the shops every 10 days or so.

103 Sunday I made some dog friendly, chocolate animals for the cat and dog. Pottered around in the garden and prepared a few things to do later in the week, finally got dressed, did a wash, read some of my book, took Bob for a walk, ate the last bit of fresh food I have in the house, sat down at 2.30pm to watch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I had chicken curry for dinner, had a bath, watched more TV and went to bed.

104 Monday Baked a chocolate cake for child 5's 21st birthday tomorrow. Obviously he can't have it, so it's Gluten Free for me to enjoy. I had intended to deliver him a shop bought cake and take him out for dinner, but that can wait. Painted some tin cans with gloss paint I found in the shed, after poking holes in the base, ready to put some flowers in and hang from various trees. Found, washed and spray painted some pebbles for another project, walked Bob, had to buy some milk and posted a small parcel to my mum and a couple of change of address letters. Had an early dinner, bath and sat down to watch TV and blog. I ordered some bedding plants online from a local nursery.

105 Tuesday Not a birthday child 5 will forget in a hurry, he's 21 today. I lit 21 candles and sang happy birthday to him over facebook messenger. I spent the morning on facebook uploading pictures of my son over the years, caught up with blog comments, sat in the sun drinking coffee. I had planned to food shop on Thursday but the thought of it was making me anxious so I just decided to go today, queues were short, I noticed pasta and toilet roll back on the shelves. I also noticed people seem to think the virus can be spread through eye contact and smiling. I'm getting fed up of walking out onto the road without any acknowledgement. Spent the evening watching TV.

106 Wednesday Out in the front garden sorting through the garden waste after the bin was emptied this morning, I soon refilled it and sorted through the rest for compost, sieved soil, washed stones and put them back in the garden and have at least one more bin to fill before this waste is gone. Strimmed the front lawn and killed some weeds. Walked Bob, spent the rest of the afternoon and evening in my craft room, blogging and watching TV.
I hatched a flamingo

107 Thursday Strimmed the back garden and tidied up and potted out some peas I've been growing, it took me much longer than I thought, took Bob for a long walk, a different route to normal, he pulled all the way. Spent some time in my craft room, clapped for the NHS, bath and bed.
The view from the railway bridge.

108 Friday Pottered around for most of the day, sorting out the craft room, moving boxes and looking through more of my dad's things. I ran the hoover round and cleaned the bathrooms, there's only me here, but we've got 4 bathrooms and I've managed to use them all. Took Bob for a walk and enjoyed a roast dinner. I have no idea what day of the week it is anytime, but it felt like a Sunday.
My dad's collection of match day programmes from his professional playing days as a goalkeeper.

109 Saturday I did sod all, all day, other than walk Bob and eat and my bedding plants were delivered. The day was long and most of it was spent on the sofa, but I'm good with that.

On the blog this week:
Confusing loneliness and boredom

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Friday 17 April 2020

Post Comment Love 17th-19th April 2020

Hope everyone had a good Easter. I'm known in my family and circle of friends as being super organised. As an expat relying on an unreliable postal service, I prepare for events well in advance and back in February I'd put together parcels with gifts ready to post on my return to the UK in March. Although the post offices were open and my self isolation had finished, I decided it was not an essential trip so I repacked into post box sized packages. This meant I had 4 Easter eggs, sweets and craft activities and seeds and bird feeders that I'd put together for my niece and great nephew and great niece to occupy myself with.

I've created a little garden in the conservatory, planting up seeds and I've finished all the work I can do in the garden without help to move heavy pots.

It was our youngest child's 21st birthday on the 14th. I hadn't had chance to get him a special card and had planned to send him a cake. So I baked some Gluten Free brownies for me, put candles on them and sang to him over messenger. I'd posted his card, banner, badge and balloons so he knew I'd made an effort and when all this is over and Peter can get to the UK, we'll take him out for dinner and sort a gift for him them.

Stephanie and I would love to hear about what you've been up to this week.

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Monday 13 April 2020

Life in lockdown during Covid-19. Mistaking loneliness and boredom

In January this year, my husband and I began a long distance marriage. We've been living abroad for 9 years, with only 2-3 years before Peter retires and issues with our tenants in our family home, we decided I would return to the UK with the cat and dog and prepare for our eventual full time return.

I will travel month on month off between the UK and Dubai, ensuring I met the visa requirements for Dubai, 1 visit within 6 months. For the UK, 193 nights per year.

Well life never works out as planned and I returned to the UK on the 24th March, the day before Dubai closed it's borders and the UK went into lock down.

I've written often in the past about loneliness and how isolated I feel living as an expat, especially when Peter travels as much as he does. I'm a do'er, a planner, a get stuck right in and make the most of every situation and take every opportunity that arises.

The day before I left Dubai, Emirates announced the suspension of all passenger flights and on arrival in the UK I received notification my visit back to Dubai on April 27th till May 27th was cancelled. In hindsight I've done the right thing coming back to the UK, although my family think I should've stayed in Dubai with Peter. We have no idea when we'll see each other again in person.

Peter works in hygiene in the food industry he is busier than ever. I already feel my life has been put on hold by living as an expat and juggling family life in the UK, it was impossible for me to work.

Life for me in Lockdown hasn't changed much.

I spend 10 hours a day on my own, when Peter isn't travelling. 10 hours everyday, without kids, a job and friends, it's a lot of time to fill every single day. I make sure I go out everyday for a coffee, a walk. When I'm in the UK Bob and I walk for hours, stop for coffee a bit of shopping and home. In both Dubai I can spend the whole day without a verbal conversation with anyone other than 'I'd like a latte please' and 'thank you'

I am lonely and bored in Dubai, especially when the summer comes making it almost impossible to leave the house in the heat. In the UK I spend my time with family and friends, people are more inclined to chat here, dog walkers, other coffee shop goers, random people in the supermarkets.

I have plenty to do here in the UK with our home and garden. Thankfully all the major jobs were completed in January, all the stuff I need to finish painting and for cleaning has been bought. Back in February before Peter returned to Dubai, I made the most of the car hire and did a huge food shop, dog food, cat litter, washing liquid etc. I have enough to keep me going for several months.

I've got a pile of books, DVD's (one of the things the tenants left behind) I have basic tools to carry out simple repairs and enough tools to sort the garden out.

I have boxes of my late fathers belongings still unsorted, I have crafts to do and seeds to plant, things I'd bought for family and friends for easter, that I won't be posting now, including 4 small easter eggs and a selection of jelly sweets to snack on. I can still walk the dog for the time being and food shops are every 9-10 days.

I have regular video calls with family and friends, and several times a day with Peter. I'm confusing loneliness with boredom and boredom with loneliness. I have plenty of things to do in the UK. I'm surrounded virtually with family and friends, something I don't have when I'm in Dubai due to voice over internet being blocked over there and I don't have much to do when I'm in Dubai other than walk round the malls and go out for coffee and the occasional pub quiz or dinner out.

Has much changed for you?

Saturday 11 April 2020

One Daily Positive - Week 15 nothing changes

This partial lockdown has had very little difference on my life other than on a day to day basis I can't just pop out with the dog and have a coffee, just to get out the house and see people, whether I'm in Dubai or the UK.

The last 2 weeks have made me realise that when I do go for coffee, other than the brief chat when ordering, I still sit there on my own, I return home having only spoken to the barista.

Whilst walking Bob, taking a coffee with me, I've chatted to more and more people than ever, neighbours, random strangers.

Every time I have a coffee I put £3 in a pot, I've saved £63 since I've been back, plus the money I would've also spent on just picking up a few pieces while I was out.

I actually quite being on my own, but when I choose, not 24/7 some months whilst Peter is away travelling.

As we're all in the same boat, I don't miss going out, jumping in the car and driving to see the kids or my mum, of course I do miss them, but normally my visits are spent in the car driving here, there and everywhere. I don't miss that aspect of the visit.

I'm calm, chilled, relaxed. I'm sleeping well for the first time in ages. Apart from remembering to pay bills on time, I have no other stress on me and I'm quite enjoying the peace.

96 Sunday Woke to a glorious summer day, seriously hoping people don't go out, I'll keep Bob local on lead today as I'm aware there will be more people taking exercise than usual. Its full lock down now in Dubai, only allowed out for essential food and medical supplies and masks and gloves MUST be warn at all times. I did some gardening and washing, an early bath and in PJ's ready for the Queens speech and spent a couple of hours catching up with blog comments.

97 Monday I dug the paving slabs out the back garden and a slab of concrete, I'm assuming the previous tenants put a rotary line in, filled the holes in, will have to wait for grass seed. Emptied the compost bin and started a new one. I then finished cutting back the prickly shrubs in the front garden, the side gate is full of waste now for the tip. Took Bob for a walk and started my batch cooking, tonight I made chilli con carne, grateful I bought extra storage pots on my last trip here. I started colouring in some Easter decorations I'd originally bought for the Things.

98 Tuesday I cooked a chicken curry, and a casserole enough and a beef stroganoff, beef stew and a beef casserole, providing me with 14 meals in the freezer for the next 2+ weeks. Out of milk so took my trolley to Morrisons about 1.5 miles away. I walked past a corner shop, 2 petrol stations, lidl and the co-op. I know from experience that their range of Gluten Free products is sparse, even though I still have some bread and a cake mix, I thought if I'm going to the shops I should stock up on some extras. I bought tinned fruit and frozen veg to make my trip worth while and I won't need the shops again for another 2-3 weeks, other than milk which I can get at my corner shop. I managed to get 2 slots online for my mum, one for Saturday, the next April 27th. That took a lot of pressure off me.
The dog broke.

99 Wednesday I stayed in bed till 1pm, my anxiety levels were high after shopping yesterday, I decided to be kind to myself. I then reseeded the lawn, walked Bob and picked up milk from the local shop and a packet of sweets and some magazines to post to my mum as they're not available with online shopping. I had post and a phone calls that cheered me up and I spent the evening making elephants for the Things.

100 Thursday Usually I'm at my most productive in the mornings, but I found I was going to bed earlier each night, then wide awake around 4am, so I'm taking the morning easy, in bed with breakfast and reading some magazines before I post them to mum. Washed Bob and took him for a longer walk than normal to dry him off, more cars and people out than normal. Sat in the garden reading in the sun most of the day, tidied up the craft room, decorated another elephant, wrote some letters and continued binge watching The Good Fight on Amazon Prime after dinner.

101 Friday I did nothing all day other than read, write and blog. I didn't eat properly, was bored at the end of the day and felt like I'd achieved nothing. Had video calls with child 2, 2a and 2b and child 5 which cheered me up.

102 Saturday Can't find my motivation. Plan today was to sand woodwork in conservatory, fill holes, clean and paint, but I discovered I only have 1/3rd tin left for the woodwork and I need to prioritise the upstairs first so I can get new carpets ordered as soon as we're out of lockdown, so I spent the morning watching the end of The Good Fight. I finally did what I could in the conservatory and cleaned inside the window and door frames on the bottom floor. I spending the late afternoon and evening looking through stuff of my dad's sorting out what I was keeping and what I am going to sell.

On the blog this week:
Absolutely nothing, how's your blogging going?

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Saturday 4 April 2020

One Daily Positive - Week 14 Getting out in the garden

This isolation is no different from when I'm in Dubai other than the fact I can't go out for coffee whenever I want, usually once a day. With the weather hotting up in Dubai, it won't be long before it's too hot to sit out in the garden and I'd be stuck indoors all day. Peter is busy working from home and it's not slowing up as he his job is to provide chemicals to the the food and beverage industry. We both think I've made the right decision to return to the UK, despite not knowing how long it'll be before we will see one another again.

I've got plenty to do here with the house renovations and the garden as well as writing letters to various care homes for Postcards of Kindness and to family and friends.

However there are some noticeable differences, I can still walk Bob daily here in the UK, people are friendlier than ever, although I do feel like a social pariah when we leap out of each others way. My neighbours are chatting through windows, over fences, people are stopping to look at the rainbows in my windows and we're asking one another if everything is OK. The phone doesn't stop ringing, post is coming through the door and voice over internet isn't blocked here so I'm chatting more with my friends than ever before.

On Tuesday whilst out walking Bob, there was an old lady at her window, waving frantically to me, she managed to open the door, I asked if she was ok, she said she hadn't seen or spoken to anyone since her food was delivered last week and she thought I looked friendly. She lives in a retirement block, but the communal areas are out of action, they're organising food and prescriptions to be delivered but there is no one on site. I've said I'll walk past the same time every evening.

89 Sunday Day spent in pjs, watching TV, sorting some paperwork, reading and eating junk food, big mistake, felt miserable and bloated and didn't sleep well that night, won't be doing that again. Walked Bob out to post some Easter goodies to family and friends. I'd bought everything back in February and already had the stamps. I only posted what would fit in the letter box to save a none essential trip to the post office and I now have 4 easter eggs, seeds, bird feeders and bath bombs to use for myself. Did mums food order over the phone. I'd booked a slot for her over 2 weeks ago and had just added the minimum spend to secure the slot.

90 Monday Spent the morning sorting through what I actually have in the house for things for me to do over the coming weeks/months. Wrote some letters and decided to make the trip to Waitrose to purchase Gluten Free foods, fresh fruit and veg. There was a 45 min polite queue. I was surprised at how many people were just popping in to pick up food for tonights dinner. I had my 'old lady' shopping trolley and a large bag to carry home with me, some 2 miles. I was out for 4 hours in total. We celebrated Pushkins 11th birthday with cake, cards, decorations and gifts.

91 Tuesday I spent the day writing letters to family, friends and Postcards of Kindness, picking a home from the website for each letter of the alphabet and I've enclosed a Stamped addressed envelope so they can write back without the need to visit the post office. Walked Bob in the evening and had GF pizza, sweet potato fries and beans for dinner and a glass of wine, finishing the bottle I started last week. Mum called in the morning and a friend in the afternoon and I spoke to MIL and child 5, both doing well.

92 Wednesday Started the day hoovering and did the ironing. I'd been saving it for best.  Then I went out into the shed to pot up some seeds, using the one bag of compost I'd bought in February and repurposing the recycling as seeds trays. I then spent the afternoon/evening in the dining room or cat cafe as it's been renamed and caught up with blog comments and scheduled some posts.

93 Thursday Had breakfast and then spent the morning blogging, commenting and sorting through photos on the laptop. Took Bob out for a walk before lunch time and found somewhere I could let him off the lead. More time in the garden, edging the borders with house bricks I collected from around the house. Joined in with the clapping and felt emotional again.

94 Friday Planned my meals for the day based on use by dates, did some blogging, opened and ate half an easter egg. Took Bob back to the field with his ball, he found some fox shit to roll in and eat and wouldn't come out of a stream he found also. I placed some teddy bears in the windows and finished off a pair of giraffes I made with RedTedArt that have also gone in the window.
This used to be a border, I removed all the shrubs back in February and have levelled it our ready to seed.

95 Saturday Finally enough clothes to put a wash on, also washed the towels, highlight of my week so far. Wrote thank you notes for the postman and rubbish collectors and did some blogging/commenting. Phone and skype calls planned this evening. The rest of the day involves a dog walk and hopefully it'll warm up enough to finish the last bits in the garden.
I'm shattered but pleased with the work in the garden so far.

On the blog this week:

Why I don't like hearing news on Social Media

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