Saturday, 8 August 2020

I'm Still Shielding (week 21)......

Saturday 1st August

Theatre has of course been another casualty of this pandemic, so the annual Red Rose Chain production giving us Shakespeare outdoors in amongst the trees at Jimmy's Farm just isn't possible. It would normally run every evening for the whole of August plus matinees at weekends. This year it's one night only live streamed to YouTube. Tickets and programmes all sold online, on a pay as you feel basis, to encourage extra donations. 
We were ready. TV placed for best view all round. We can link direct to internet on this TV or we may go through Daughter's laptop to TV. Chairs for six with two families separated the right distance. Table for our picnic. Cushion for the dog. Blankets ready for later. Candles and lighter ready. Picnic made and Hubby has a couple of beers in the fridge. 
And after the event we agreed it was great fun and very cleverly put together knowing the actors recorded themselves alone in front of a green screen and when they played multiple parts they could all be in the scene together, clever! Of course when our picnic had been eaten Hubby disappeared (he's not a Shakespeare fan), didn't spoil it for us and neither did the rain that came down towards the end as we just shuffled forward under cover. 

Sunday Son came over and brought two flat packs. We chose and he ordered as our belated mother's and father's day prezzies. 
Odd watching them work together but apart 😏
It took them longer to unwrap all the plastic, cardboard and polystyrene than to screw them together. Almost a race hahaha. So one either side of the pond and very comfy. 

I had to give Monday's on-your-own-drive coffee morning a miss as I had the district nurse booked to come today to do both the COVID and MRSA swabs. I thought it would look bad to be socialising, however far apart, when she was booked because I'm shielding. Lucky I did as two of them came while my neighbours were still outside chatting. Very pleasant ladies, not pleasant tests but all done now. Phew! 

This one was obviously Hubby's choice
And even he agreed it was really really boring! 

I'll post this now as I'm in hospital and may forget later. Doctor said the operation yesterday all went well. I'm quite sore of course but they are sending people home as soon as possible, so fingers crossed eh?

Stay safe everyone. 

Saturday, 1 August 2020

I'm Still Shielding (week 20)......

Saturday 25th July
Let's start with an update on our garden edibles.
Of course the cherries were finished ages ago and we did manage to eat quite a few before the birds pinched them.
Plums are now ripening and Hubby is picking more off each day, again it's a race but human against birds and insects this time.
Rhubarb is doing well and of course the more you pull stalks off the more that grow, however I love the look of the large leaves so I try not to leave it bare.
Behind the rhubarb are the tomato plants that Son brought over and they are looking really strong now with lots of tiny tomatoes already growing.
The fig has plenty of fruit on it, just one or two ripening each day and I eat them immediately. Mmmmmm both R and I love fresh figs and very grateful other family members don't πŸ˜‰πŸ€£
Behind the fig we seem to have been gifted another quince bush. That's our third and all at very different locations round the garden and we didn't plant any! Is it birds gifts do you think? Sadly none big enough for the kitchen. 
Grape vines have recovered from Hubby chopping them to the ground and the new growth is almost without the funny leaf bubbling problem it had last year.  We don't eat many of these grapes even though they are gorgeous and sweet, because they are really really tiny with a thick skin and full of pips. So when they are ready to harvest I freeze them and at some point they go to a friend who makes them into wine. 
The dwarf apple tree is so heavy with fruit it has two stakes holding the trunk and an extra prop holding up the front. 
Not all good though as the strawberries have only produced these tiny wild sized fruit. 
The gooseberry bush which over the past 11 years has rarely and reluctantly given us any of the small red sweet fruit the label promised. 
And the mint is refusing to grow at all. 

Lovely visit on Sunday from Son and his fiance. We started with the garden table out in the sunshine watching the clouds all the time, and did have to suddenly move it all under cover when it started to rain and jackets/cardigans went on too but overall it was comfortable enough.

Hubby has a couple of new projects...... there was the water flow problem as he's not happy how slow the water comes through the taps so he called out the water board to check there are no leaks beyond our property and as that was all fine he called out our home care insurers to check there isn't a semi-blocked pipe here somewhere. That was all fine too. So Hubby has now changed the stop-cock valves for the tank in the airing cupboard. Two days, lots of wet towels mopping up floorboard puddles and now all watertight again and he's satisfied that the flow we have is as good as it gets.
The other problem is to do with all the doves that like to nest under the solar panels. They cause blocked drains, lots of feathers and lots of noise. A few of the houses around us have recently been blocking off their panels so we are getting more and more birds on ours. But the most recent casualty is the sky dish as we have noticed a bird or two sitting on the LNB box which breaks up the signal. After some Google research he's decided on the next dry windless day he's taking a ladder up there and adding lots of cable ties to it with the ends sticking upwards which hopefully will show them whose dish it is!
What next eh?

Monday's on-your-own-drive coffee morning was rained off and Wednesday was beautiful weather so we only did a short exercise routine then brought out chairs and mugs and carried on chatting. We are a social bunch.

 I've just made mock bagels for the first time. Equal amount self raising flour to Greek yoghurt - mix - divide - shape - bake. They don't actually taste like bagels, in fact not much different to the soda bread but really easy...... although I did need almost double the flour the recipe said. 
And this...

Easy watch for a matinee when it's too hot sitting outside. 

Carry on avoiding crowded places, I have to but still think it's best advice. 

Saturday, 25 July 2020

I'm Still Shielding (week 19).......

Saturday 18th July
 Lovely weather today, not too hot, and we fed the fish about 2:30pm and watched them while we ate strawberries and cream! Very pleasant.

Another now wearable item. This cardigan had taken me ages to knit and it was not comfortable to wear. I'd made up the pattern myself and obviously included some errors as the collar had never laid down and the sleeves were far too wide. So I bravely machine zigzag altered the sleeves and a full seam down the back and cut off the excess (praying it wouldn't fray). Finally taming the collar into a roll and sewed it in place. Feels so much better.

We are both trying to get back into walking round the garden, as I've almost run out of excusesπŸ˜‰ Hubby is on the go all day anyway but I seem to have lots of sitting down jobs. So 18 laps equals about 1.7 miles.

I'm still not going out anywhere but thought I'd make a few masks, trying a couple of different patterns, as I'm sure we'll be needing them for a long while to come.
We both prefer shaped ones (rather than pleated) as they come up the nose more without wire, essential as we are both glasses wearers and this avoids the steaming up. Also I've found strips of Tshirt for around the ears more comfortable than elastic although we'll need to wear them to find out if it's effective enough.

A regular part of our week is quiz night, which we play on YouTube while combining as one team with our Daughter&co on zoom.
This week was a triple zoom screen event with me and Hubby in our house, Daughter's family split with the three girls at their house and the three boys at the club (isn't technology amazing). So even having to cope with the  timing issues of YouTube questions delays, especially tricky on the audio round, we got our best collaborative score yet of 47 out of 50!

Talking of quizzes, we like quite a few of tv quizzes as easy watching time fillers and I'm sure they help keep the brain active. What makes us laugh is how often the same question comes up in a different quiz on the same day we watch, not only are they all recorded sometimes years apart but we often watch in our own catchup time. Well today was even more coincidental, we saw the same contestant in two programs on the same day!

Nothing much else to report on really, nothing bad has happened so that's always a good thing!
See you next week then. Take good care of  yourselves.

Saturday, 18 July 2020

I'm Still Shielding (week 18)......

Saturday 11th July
Last post ended as this post starts with this morning's visitors 😊 so worth sharing twice! 

I had a really long catchup phone call with friendN, I've been trying to get hold of her for days. Turns out they no longer use their land line but it's still connected for the broadband, so I can hear it ringing but they can't doh! Mobiles only in future. So finally getting together I wasn't going to cut it short and dinner ended up a quick one out of the freezer and our Sunday roast was on Monday. Don't think he noticed πŸ˜‰

This programme was a suggestion from our Son. Good to have a story line that's very different and makes you think. A six part drama The Capture.  We both enjoyed it and hadn't guessed all the twists and turns. 

I saw this advertised and thought it perfect for our kitchen sink as the tap there could do with some help. It swivels so the spray can be directed around the sink. I know nothing of plumbing so sent the link to Hubby and he just said if I want it he'll get it, bless him eh? 
 Well it arrived, and doesn't fit the tap we have! 
 But rather than being cross with himself for not checking the details first he's now happy to have another DIY project! So now he's hunted everywhere for an adapter that he knows he has and feels he's seen quite recently, but doesn't know where! Garage cupboards and drawers, multiple tool boxes, two of the three sheds, and all the cupboards in the house, no luck. He even started looking online to change the taps completely. He's settled for ordering another adapter. 

I've managed to save two items of my clothing from the charity shop bag. The shirt was a bit too snug to button up any more and this lacy top was given to me by my lovely friendL, it had never been worn as it wasn't a good fit for her but she'd not got round to sending it back. It wasn't a good fit for me either but the front panel of one made the perfect insert to the other. 

The rest is just the usual pottering around and chatting with friends who are venturing out and sharing their horror stories of what other people are not doing that they should. Which reminded me of the first bit of advice from my first driving instructor..."you have to assume that everyone else is an idiot so you have to be extra careful".

Saturday, 11 July 2020

Not All Together in Isolation (part 17)........

Saturday 4 July - wow half the year gone!
Although there's been a gradual relaxing of the lockdown rules over the past couple of weeks it seems from the media both official and social that today marks the most changes and the country is almost unlocked but still with certain rules and restrictions! Although after relaxing a little Leicester was declared at risk and locked up tight again with the PM holding it up as a warning.

I may have to rename these posts again as there's no more mass isolation. I thought about "I'm still shielding" but I then feel the need to belt out the song Elton John style hahaha.

There was this.....
And this......
Easy watching and a good excuse to sit knitting.

Sunday 5pm we were asked to clap for the NHS 72nd Anniversary, but it wasn't really advertised like it had been before and only a few of the neighbours joined us, but we could hear the bagpipes a few streets away.

Rolls for tonight's burgers and the loaf is rye. House smells amazing...... but I can't get the bloody things out of the tins ggrrrrrr
I talked to them in my stern voice and eventually they came out, and were yummy.

Monday's coffee morning started 10:30am as usual but finished early when we felt the first drops of rain, turned out to be more of a threat than a soaking but we'd said our goodbyes by then. Wednesday's neighbour's exercise session didn't even get started as it was raining and that's how it's been all week. Hubby gets the figits if he's stuck inside and has made a start cleaning windows inside and all the open frameworks.

And a slight delay posting this today (no I hadn't forgotten again) due to lovely visitors arriving this morning to sit in the garden drinking tea with, neither sibling knowing the other was coming,  and Daughter brought pineapple upside down cake yummy!

Saturday, 4 July 2020

Not All Together in Isolation (part 16)........

Saturday 27 June - although doesn't really matter what day it is πŸ˜‰

Been wet on and off and very windy at times but still reasonably warm. Late afternoon and nothing worse than football on TV with canned crowd noise urrgghhhh!
So we watched a film
I was very pleased to see it wasn't just a remake of the original it was a whole new updated story of its own.

Oh dear, Daughter came round with R and E mainly just for a quick escape from their house and it also gives the dog a garden run around. The girls noticed the dog acting weird and running right through bushes and getting covered in bits of foliage...... then she got closer to us and we all realised she'd rolled in something and stank! So we found her some shampoo and Daughter had to give her a full lather up and garden house rinse! The look on her face was obedient humiliation.

Another film this week was Bumble Bee, a more modern transformers story. I found it after hunting through Sky Movies and knew Hubby would love it and I actually enjoyed it too.

Change of tempo Thursday as we had to leave the house, only my fourth outing in 103 days and all of them medical related. I need another operation relating to the recurring bladder cancer. Discussions between consultants decided that Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital could provide the best procedure. So we went to the hospital and saw the same consultant who had also done major surgery on me in 2017.

All went quite well at NNUH, a long chat with the consultant who explained everything and says he's doing this keyhole and robotic, which is a new one for me. Thankfully they managed to arrange my pre-op, ecg, bloods and another long chat with an anaesthetist without too much waiting around. So a long time there but saves us another 100 mile round trip.
Surgery is planned for 7th August and I'll need the covid swab test just before and I'll carry on shielding till then too.

And we were home in plenty of time to join Daughter&co on zoom and take part in the online pub quiz. πŸ‘

And today it's quite grey and very windy, so here's my wonderful lavatera/mallow before the flowers go. Always reminds me of  mum who gave me the first small cutting from her's about a million years ago!

Saturday, 27 June 2020

Not All Together in Isolation (part 15)........

Saturday 20th June and I forgot until the evening that it was my usual day to update you, but in the great scheme it doesn't matter as nothing much had changed here. Let's see how this week unfolds!

Sunday was father's day and both children and all three grandchildren called round. Iffy weather meant sitting undercover (just enough space to stay distanced). Thankfully it stayed dry so the girls juggled and O brought round his new chess set and the dog had sneaky ideas of escape, so in turn we seemed to ask "where's the dog?" and all while eating yummy cake that daughter made.

I really enjoyed this theatre trip, so well done and didn't lose too much of the live theatre by being shown on YouTube. Although I probably shouldn't have started watching it at 10pm as it wasn't far short of three hours long!
Small Island embarks on a journey from Jamaica to Britain, through the Second World War to 1948 – the year the HMT Empire Windrush docked at Tilbury. The play follows three intricately connected stories: Hortense yearns for a new life away from rural Jamaica, Gilbert dreams of becoming a lawyer, and Queenie longs to escape her Lincolnshire roots. Hope and humanity meet stubborn reality as the play traces the tangled history between Jamaica and the UK.

And a film we watched together, Hubby's choice of course. Predictable but enjoyable.

Online shopping has become the normal now, but sometimes pack sizes are not what we were expecting! This enormous box of cornflakes has had to have the box folded and laid on its side to fit in the cupboard. Although I can just see over it when pouring it out it does take both hands! Hahaha

And a pretty lacy scarf finished with the next one already on the needles.
Maybe a start on the Christmas presents stash.... or maybe just keep them for myself πŸ˜‰

Saturday, 20 June 2020

Not All Together in Isolation (part 14)......

Saturday 13 June
There's the gradual unlocking but nobody seems to agree how or when and the school's were told to open with huge restrictions and everyone is arguing and some that have opened have closed again. There have been the mass "Black Lives Matter" protests, some peaceful and respecting social distancing and others violent, destructive, ignorant behaviour which will certainly cause a new peak in the virus. Even the BBC are removing archived programmes which were totally acceptable and even funny in the days they were made but now they may cause offence! I'm quite upset by the world I will have to join soon...... think I'll stay in lockdown for a while yet. 

Saturday was really lovely weather and we enjoyed it even more seeing those we love the most. In the morning Son came over bringing some spare plants, cherry tomatoes and a beautiful bush which I think is an azalea (unless you know different).

Correction: I've identified it online and it's alstroemeria

Then as we were eating our evening dinner Daughter messaged to say they'd like to come over as their neighbour's were having a very very loud garden bbq evening and they couldn't relax even with doors and windows closed! So Daughter and three grandchildren and the dog of course spent a lovely two hours ish with us in the garden.

I'm sure you've realised I have a "can't sit still" kind of Hubby, well now he's decided to repair the wall. A major job of replacing lots of broken bricks with some we had spare and lying around. Finished in one day! 

Locally there's a group called Teapot Project and they gather all the unsold out-of-date food that's still edible and sell on with a pay-what-you-can system and free delivery, saving food from landfill and feeding those economically struggling. This was my fruit and veg box this week. I paid full price of course under their "here to help" category and they keep plenty aside for "emergency" orders.

Hubby has been doing all this work in the garden and so has our next door neighbourA so they agreed to go halves on a skip and now spend their days clearing, sorting and chucking it out. 

Oh my the days really have all merged into a groundhog rhythm and it's now 10:20pm and I've realised it's Saturday and I haven't posted this week's blog......... so let's put that right immediately. 

Saturday, 13 June 2020

Not All Together in Isolation (part 13).......

Saturday 6th June WOW it's June already, hard to believe how time is whizzing by. The mostly wonderful weather has really helped and the learning and using of more communication high tech has meant that as the country is gradually being unlocked many people, especially the vulnerable like me, are happy to stay extra cautious, in fact I'm still not venturing out at all as I've a major op coming up sometime in July.

The weather has been wet and windy nearly all day so Hubby was on a bit of a Saturday film fest......
This film had already started when he 
changed channels and he was mesmerised! 

He'll never be too old for a Disney! 

This one was my choice and we both enjoyed it. 
Free on Netflix

I finally finished all the sewing and edging of the second jacket, tried it on! 
After all the long back aching hours of hand sewing all the pieced together lining it didn't hang right, it was pulling it out of shape and made it quite a bit heavier too. So the lining came out!!!! Then of course all the loose ends of wool, which had conveniently been hidden under the lining, had to be woven in properly. But it was missing something! So I've knitted a belt. 

We've had rain, very welcome rain, so Hubby was straight out there clearing guttering and down pipes...... he really does love the mucky jobs hahaha

Well the usual Monday end of the drive coffee morning happened but the Wednesday neighbour's exercise session was rained off. Thursday virtual pub quiz with Daughter&co on zoom happened though our score was not brilliant and of course the street clapping has stopped now, in fact overall it's been a flatter nothing much happening kind of week. That's ok, it's real life and certainly doesn't need to always be eventful.