End of Lockdown

From June 1st there is an easing of the lockdown rules. Some children will go back to school, people can meet in groups of up to six. Track and trace will help prevent the spread of the virus.

No mention of easing for those of us “shielding” though.

Common sense must prevail. I will shield myself from obvious risk,  but will do isolated outings. I am gradually increasing my daily activity, though apparently still not enough to burn the calories I am eating! I won’t manage to lose weight that way! Diet to reduce weight will follow shortly. When I have eaten the ice cream and biscuits. And the cake I am about to bake! The exercise is good for muscle tone and longevity of health but does not do much for weight loss.

The weather has been amazing. I have made some improvements to the front garden, and brightened it up a lot. It’s like sunshine. I like painting.

Before: still pretty good, considering the inovative pipes/tubes have been in probably best part of 20 years. The ball/globe on the centre feature is the second one. The first was glass, and broke when grandson no 2 threw a stone at it “to kill a creepy thing” when he was two.



The sun was so bright you can hardly see the yellow of the newly painted bench.

Final push today: top coat on the bench and the centre green tubes.

My first trip out (when I can and when we have transport) will be to garden center for some plants for the centre column and some decorative glass or pebbles for the top of the little tubes. Maybe some lighting to follow…  although painting butterflies on the tubes was suggested so I might look at transfers too.

Hope to see my daughter and grandsons tomorrow – in our garden – at a distance. I know it should be from Monday, but we had already planned this, and all of us have been isolating. Will be more risky when kids are back at school anyway. 🙁


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Isolation day erm.. 60, or thereabouts

It’s very strange how some basic grocery items are just so difficult to find on line.

Toilet rolls were the first “Panic buy” but that has resolved itself. But trying to get cornflour, beef stock cubes, and frozen broccoli is a real challenge. So I have had to resort to multiple on-line shops to try to cover these and other things I would like, although not essential. Like caster sugar and brown suger for baking.

I have three shops available (that have given me priority slots). Asda, Iceland and Tesco.

They all have their own quirks in the way they let you know what they have got or haven’t got, and how much you have to spend to get either a small delivery charge or a free delivery

Iceland order.
Managed to get a priority slot at Iceland. Minumum order £25 (and charge £2 for delivery unless its over £35)
Well I ordered steaks, stew meat, salad items, mushrooms, frozen broccoli and two packs of batteries (because there was an offer on.)
It only came to about £17 so I added a bottle of wine. But they were two for a tenner so I added another.
Despatched today with a note of whats unavailable. So they are only bringing the wine, one pack of batteries and the spring onions. I could have carried them in one hand. Oh and a substitute for the frozen broccoli – cauliflower again! Costing me £2 delivery and 50p for the bag.
Glad the wine’s coming though. Cheers!

Added the missing items to my Asda slot. Was notified that the frozen broccoli, cornflour, jam, gluten free crackers, stock cubes and rum not available.

Tesco (not coming till next Friday) – I added quite a few gluten free items and (up to now) feel hopeful for the cornflour and broccoli. I will add more later in the week. It’s not our usual supermarket choice but it’s good for gluten free items and the only place I can get tagliatelle pasta.

I probably won’t bother ordering from Iceland again. The wine is nice though.

I’m worried that in my efforts to secure these elusive items I will have forgotten basic things like milk bread and eggs. We did end up with 40 eggs and 20 pints of milk  two weeks ago but mostly we are doing ok.

Number of deaths from Covid currently 34000+

Some school classes are going back to school on June 1st although teachers, unions and some parents are opposed to it. Unless a vaccine is “found” we are stuck with this virus and I think we will just have to learn to live with an awareness of it for a long time. The flu virus of 1918 apparently lasted 2 years. So although we are “over the peak” for now, I imagine we will be living “on the brink” for a good while longer.


Cauliflower & broccoli cheese, with sunday left-over veg added.

Made buns for VE day. (8th May) We had tea and snacks outside the front gate, social distancing from the neighbours. Buns went down well. Many people had many beers. Loud music was involved. Some social distancing was questionable.


Made a very nice chicken and mushroom casserole. (I only mention this as I am not the main cook. But Jeff’s knee has been much worse this week and I’ve taken over a few dinner slots)

Made apple pie and custard. Jaffa came down (to the gate) on Friday evening to take half of it home.

Made banana bread again to use up  the over ripe ones. We ate one, froze one, and I have wrapped one for the boys to take home.


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Isolation day 47

Well! Where did that go?

Official Lockdown started 23rd March, although I was already taking distancing seriously from 17th. With no transport, the first problem was shopping/supplies. Tobacco was needed, and Jeff went a walk up to little Tesco. His knee was already swollen and painful after his previous walk to get milk, but the Tesco walk finished him off.

It’s been the longest time – but new challenges have been interesting, frustrating, and sometimes just boring.

At the end of week 4 – (week 5 for me) I got the official letter from the government advising I should shield at home for 12 weeks. Downside – no more walking up the street to drop things off at my daughters, and walks in the park (2 metre distancing, of course) Up side – it means i am now on the “priority” delivery lists for supermarket online shopping. And I get a weekly “Boris box” of “essentials” delivered. Unfortunately I couldn’t get an Asda delivery slot until 11th May. The Boris Box does not take my gluten free dietary needs into consideration: cereals, pasta, biscuits and bread had to be donated out of it. I was grateful for the rice and fresh fruit and veg. I can’t believe anyone would use two jars of expensive dolmio sauce and a full box of Ready Brek in a week, but if I ever get desperate for milk, I will have a good stock of UHT to fall back on.I had a follow up call from the local council which was very caring, but they can’t specialise the boxes for my diet.

Regarding the delivery slots: so far Iceland have been the best organised. They email me on Tuesday, telling me the time they will release slots, I book and order on Thursday, and it’s delivered on Saturday. They don’t have everything in stock (same everywhere) but at least there’s a routine which helps mentally. And at least now i finally got a slot with Asda, they will apparently hold the same slot every week, automatically, unless I change it. Which I might do, as Monday seems a daft day to get main shopping. Although, lets face it, one day is much like another so it doesnt really matter. We are just old school – focussing on the “weekend shop” and “Sunday Roast”.

Neighbours have been kind, and before the deliveries were set up they have fetched bits for us. Our daughter’s part time partner did a couple of great shopping trips for us too.



The weather in April was exceptionally fine. Lovely sunny days made it easier to enjoy the outside space of the garden. Last week we cut down the conifers at the front garden, so I can now see anyone coming down the path.


Uncle Larry got COVID_19 and died last month. Of course we were not able to attend a funeral. We lit a candle and I wrote a poem. He was loved by many, a veteran of the war with many friends.

Jeff arranged a large meat order including a beef rib, for delivery for his birthday, which he cooked on the griddle plate on the BBQ.

We now have enough chicken breast portions ,  and pork loin steaks to last twelve weeks, and joints of pork and full chickens for the next five Sundays.

I placed a veg order which included a 20kg sack of red potatoes. So we won’t starve.

Next week Boris will tell us an outline plan for coming out of lockdown. Some people seem to think we are already out! We are over the crisis point for NHS but the virus will not be going away any time soon.

I’m enjoying a bit of baking, as well as the usual gluten free bread. I made a simnel cake at Easter – something I had wanted to do for years. I’ve made apple pie with Boris apples, A crusty top on a meat and tater pie with some puff pastry I had in the freezer, and some scones just because I really fancied scones.



I have been watching videos on You Tube on making no-sew face masks from old tee shirts, and have made three. Th important thing is to not be complacent about masks; they must be laundered after each use. Not sure how no-sew versions will hold up in the wash.

So it’s now May. My twelve week isolation won’t be up for another five weeks, at least, anyway. But I hope before then that Jeff will at least be able to start making arangements to see what can be done with the car.

Looks like I will be having an isolated birthday too.


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Isolation day 5

Saturday 21st March 2020

Well first the good news.  The test for COVID-19 for my grandson came back today – and it’s negative. He came home from hospital, and although he still has a cough and bit f a temperature, he is mostly OK

So my virus count of people I know personally is still zero.

Government restrictions have moved swiftly on since Tuesday. Bars restaurants and all public meeting places were told to close at the end of business yesterday and will not be allowed to reopen until further notice. School children attended their last day yesterday – for some, an unexpected end to their school life, or junior school life. There are to be no GCSE or A level exams this year.

Other national events – all sports and Eurovision song contest, are cancelled.

The Queen has de-camped to Windsor.

On a more personal level: Caravan holiday for Easter cancelled/postponed. Trip to Liverpool at end of March cancelled. My poetry talk on 26th March Cancelled. Tour and talk at Chapel on the Bridge cancelled. All activities at local community centre – yup – cancelled until further notice.

The car broke down – well, it failed to start – on Wednesday so now we have no vehicle. And as we can’t go socialising, and there’s hardly anything in the shops, it won’t matter too much if the car is out of action for a week or so too.


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Staycation Isolation

Yesterday Boris Johnson advised an extreme reduction in social contact is needed to slow the spread of COV_19. I’m in a vulnerable group as I am immunosuppressed so I am staying home/away from outsiders and family. Apart from Hubby, who will buy supplies and de-bug himself on his way back. Shopping trolley handles and the steering wheel on the car etc. I will be anti-bac-ing all hard surfaces, door handles, fridge/freezer.

I was not sure what to call this post. I just thought it might be theraputic to log the day to day occurrences over the next few weeks. It’s four weeks to Easter, and only three weeks to a caravan holiday already booked with our daughter and two grandsons. When I decided to start this post, I planned to do a daily count of  people I know personally that have the virus. (or that we suspect have it, as no-one is now being tested for it. Sounds like, if you have the symptoms, you most likely have it.) I hoped I could start it off, today, with a zero count. But an hour ago my son gave me the upsetting news that his three year old son has a high temperature and can’t stop coughing.

So my count midday today is (unconfirmed) ONE.

Update 6pm He’s now in hospital and being helped with a nebuliser, awaiting test results.

The inconveniences of missing social engagements is far outweighed already by concerns for my family. We all need to stay positive through these strange times.

I will still go for walks on my own, for the exercise and fresh air and the sunshine and vitamin D. I will be having frequent hot drinks. In fact I will do that now. Off to make a coffee.

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Winter trees

I seem to have taken a fancy to photographing trees. We have a lovely park nearby, where I like to take photos on a regular basis through the seasons but never really thought about printing them or putting them anywhere, so they might as well have a page of their own on my website. Might be boring to some, but might become a page of interest as the year progresses. Todays walk seemed to be all about trees that were leaning over which gave my photos a different slant (ha ha seee what I did there)

Here are a couple taken on a recent walk through the village.


I live on a tree lined avenue. There is a tree right outside our gate.  It has its disadvantages. Sap falls on the car in summer, attracting wasps. It’s really difficult to clean off. Leaves fall in autumn. Twigs fall in winter! But I always wanted to live on an avenue, and still love to see the street from the end when I’m out walking. It looks its best in the snow.

Here is that love-hate tree

I photograph the one below a lot. It’s at the end of (out of) the back garden. I like the shape of it. I have better pics of this, and it looks better in summer.

You might also notice that I really like blue sky. I like it so much, I have been known to photogragh just sky, just blue. Even better if there is a really warm sunshine and deep shadows of palm trees on sand. Ah well. Roll on summer.

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Update to my Website

Hi All.

Welcome to my website. It’s not a new website, but I am revamping it due to changes on my poetry site.

I’ve already added my gallery, where you can see the sort of photographs I love to take.

But I have removed the poems, as they are now on my dedicated poetry site at www.yorkshirepen.co.uk


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Staycation 2018

Day One

This is day one of my 8 day staycation.

A lazy start. I prefer “a relaxed start” – just looking at my twitter account, which I’d not viewed for weeks. Therefore by the time I’d caught up with the tweets that I had missed,  I had forgotten what I wanted to say!

I’ve got a fair bit going on today though. Yesterday I had a text from my GP surgery reminding me of an appointment today which I have no memory of booking. Turns out it’s a blood test “review”. I’ll take my Otoscopy referral with me, see if they can clean my ears so I can have the hearing test.

I’m booking myself some treats,at Waterlily courtesy DH for my birthday. Swedish massage and a facial, maybe, with attention to my eyebrows. No-one notices the eyebrows on other people, but it’s a personal thing when you feel they aren’t right, so having the opportunity I might as well try it.

This evening, we are attending an award ceremony. My grandson, age 10, has been involved in a school journalist programme for BBC. We will see his video report and see him rewarded in some way.

It looks like  the lovely sunshiny weather will continue to the end of the month, which will suit me very nicely with this time off, a family weekend and joint birthday celebrations.


A great event at the BBC School Report Awards evening. My Grandson (and one other student) won an award for best News Anchors. We are very proud.

Although it was late, I managed to compose and post a new poem on my other site, Yorkshirepen about the data breach at the doctors. It wasn’t my appointment today at all, it was my Sister in Law’s.

We ended the evening with an excellent chinese takeaway meal from Taste of China   at my daughter’s. Stayed a bit late then remembered we had not brought the car and had to walk home. 🙂

Day 2

Had a great first hour, updating my website and adding new poems.

Had my hair cut and styled at the Beauty Emporium. Find them on facebook here

Early lunch now, then off to see our poorly DIL who’s had an op.


Well we had a lovely afternoon. DIL is a bit fragile and sore but it was lovely to see the family. We had a great time playing with our grandaughter, age 4. We had a fish and chip tea fom the mobile chippy, and a good run home, snapping picks of the sunset through the (rather dirty) car windscreen.

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One of the great things about being a granny is playing games with your grandchildren. I love board games, card games and word games, and it’s lovely to have the young ‘uns to play with. It’s interesting to see their skills and logical thinking develop. They’ve got better at accepting  losing too. And it gets harder for me to win!

One of the first games we played was Rhyme Robbers. (Orchard toys)If you have a card that rhymes with one on the table you can say the words (there are pictures too) and collect the cards. But if your card rhymes with the top card on someone elses pile, you can “rob” all their pile. It’s good for learning rhyme, but tough to accept your collection being stolen from under you. Which in itself is a lesson, and great fun when you can steal it back.

Lotto/matching picture games and shopping collection games worked well but could be a little too long.

Simple card games with pictures to begin with – snap, old maid, happy families are old favourites. Then with standard playing cards, Donkey, Beat your neighbour and Fish were next. We had a memory pairing game which for some reason in my childhood home was called Pelmanism.  There seems to be a sudden leap in development, between having no memory of where a card might be, to total recall. And as the kids get better, I hope mine remains keen enough to keep up with them.

Update – I now have a pelmanism “app” on my tablet. Different size grids can be chosen so great for all levels. Isn’t the digital age wonderful?

Other card games we have progressed to is Sevens. This is the younger one’s current favourite, though he still needs to learn some logic skills. The older one loves Pontoon/21s but it’s not my cup of tea. I quite like 15 card brag though.

We have a drawing game called Telestrations. This is a hilarious game of Draw/pass it on and write  down what it is and pass it on, Draw and pass… etc. Even Grandad joins in this one, although young one can’t read his writing, which creates even more fun and chaos!

They both like Charades, but need ideas of what to mime. At Christmas I got a game for all ages which has mime, sound, action, and forfeits. It’s called What a Performance  by Orchard toys.  It has a board game structure, a dice, a spinner and card denoting whether you mime, without speaking, or make a sound, without any actions, or perform an action. The reverse of the card has a hidden code with a forfeit instruction if the task is not done or guessed correctly. The code is revealed with a magic coloured lens. An amazing amount of play value in one box for all ages. I hope our younger ones will enjoy this one too, when we see them.

Some games have a structure, and rules, and create the best way to play. You would think this would be true of snakes and ladders. Go up the ladders and down the snakes. But with imaginative minds this game can be turned on it’s head. What happens if you go down ladders and up snakes? What if you start at the top and try to win by sliding down the snakes to get to square one? See how this alters the pace of the game.

On a recent visit to my brother, I was introduced to the game of Rummikub. This is a great strategic number game and I have been amazed at how quickly my  grandson aged 10 has learned the game. The 8 yr old joined our most recent game, and although he struggled with the rules and structuring to start with, he swiftly caught up with the idea and was able to play along very nicely. They would both love to play scrabble – one of my all time favourites. But I find the speed (lack of) and length of (lack of)  words that they use a little tiring. We have the childrens version but thats a bit repetitive. I will have to give them a chance at the proper game again soon. Hopefully they will have progressed beyond Poo and Bum soon.


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New Year, Again!!!

Resolutions 2018

  • Play more music. I have lots of music but I’m rarely in the house  on my own to play “my” music.
  • Make my lunch the night before. I’ve set an alarm on my phone. So far it’s working well.
  • Get back into lunchtime walking twice a week. 20 minutes before eating. Not found a route yet. Get in touch with Andrew.
  • Lose about  10% of my body weight. By end April.
  • Sing. Starting new choir on Thursday.
  • See my neices more. Arrange to meet up – Meadowhall?
  • Look into volunteering opportunities, focusing on helping homeless. education.
  • Keep fit and healthy
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