Home, after a Luxury Mini Break

The appreciation and joys in being back home after a “luxury” self catering lodge mini break

#1 Your own toilet seat, which does not slide over to the side when you sit down
#2 Your own mattress, which does not have springs that cause actual bruises on your thighs
#3 the knob on your toaster that adjusts the browning level is not missing
#4 you can open your door , without needing to eat a dish of Popeye’s spinach
#5 your cutlery drawer has cutlery in it.
#6 your pan cupboard has pans in it.
#7 your dinner plates are not the weight of encyclopaedia britannica
#8 you have wine glasses!


We paid for what we thought would be something a little bit special. After all it was our first excursion awa y from home since the strict lockdown (we are still only three quarters out – the last level has been put back to mid July)(started this post in June)

Initially, the two bedroom lodge looked lovely. Access was through a n unlocked, but taped up, door with sanitised keys in a sealed bag on the dining table. this was in accordance with Covid regs and cleaning/paperless check in. There was the inclusive bottle of rose wine (Jack Rabbit- my favourite) and all seemed in order, and we were impressed. It was short lived. I spotted grey cup-ring marks on the coffee table. I unpacked the detergent and new cloth and ran some hot water. I started to give the little wooden table a wipe – and from there, the cleaning began! It was FILTHY! Tables, Kitchen worktops, coasters… where do you stop? Even in non-covid times this would be unacceptable on taking on a holiday let accommodation. Other faulty things and missing items added to the irritations.

Insult to the injury – the holiday  was booked especially because it included  swimming pool and steam room. Sessions had to be pre-booked to keep to the government allowed numbers. Fair enough. The steam room was not bookable, even though the pool was open for booking. The changing rooms were closed, so it was expected that you arive ready to swim and leave in the same attire. (The lodge was too far from facilities to walk there)

We did not intend to cook in the lodge. But the on-site “canteen ” was too noisy with “entertainers” on microphones so loud that even children had to cover their ears. So we shopped and bought meals for a couple of days.

The only pans were so badly marked they were unusable: Housekeeping had to bring us new ones. The new frying pan was non-stick but there were no suitable utensils – explains why the old ones were ruined. Housekeeping also – at our request – brought us an extra duvet. Not because it was cold, but to put on top of the mattress as the springs were so uncomfortable. I was actually bruised, even with the extra padding.

Although the location is right alongside the sea, there is no access to the beach, so no sand between to toes for me.  Another disappointment

We left a day early, which was not a day too soon.

Update. We did complain, and got a refund for the night that we didn’t stay.

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Lockdown Exit plan

Boris has now issued his plan for getting us out of Lockdown.

It began this week. On March 8th, schools re-opened. All seniors are being tested in school. These tests have a rapid results process so within 20 minutes or so they can be freed to continue, or , of course, advised if they test positive for the virus.

My daughter who works in a school also has tests twice a week. She had Covid in September, and as she is asthmatic, she had a priority vaccination first jab on 12th February – same day as my hubby who is in the current age group for the jab.

The weather has been a bit grim – usually starting with lovely sunshine but turning cold and dull. We had some snow in February, but it didn’t affect us much. Not going anywhere anyway!

We’ve made a start on the pruning in the back garden, but neither of us is very fit or energetic. The whole of the garden is a daunting project that has to be tackled. Well we made a start anyway.



One hundred and two

Sailed away on the Mayflower

To  America


Rough sea, just drifting

Wonder they made it at all

Plymouth to Cape Cod



September sixteen twenty

The Pilgrim Fathers



Haiku acknowledging the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower to America.

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Shielding again

In a letter from Government dept of health and social care written on 7th January, I was advised that I must again shield myself at home as a protection from Covid-19. As a vulnerable person, I was on a priority list for a vaccine. I could also request a supply of vitamin D tablets.

I had my first Covid-19 vaccination on January 25th 2021. I had the Oxford Astra venica one. The process includes waiting in the vaccine centre for 15 minutes after the jab to check you are ok before you leave. I was fine, but driving home I must report my chest was tight, and my shoulder, underarm, and right into the end of my left boob was painful. I dismissed the possibility of the onset of a heart attack, arrived home safely, and forgot about it. My arm was a bit sore for a day or so, but only as you would expect from a vaccine jab.

All measures for keeping people at home are in place: non-essential shops closed and the furlough scheme extended, schools closed except for children of key workers, and priority shopping slots for supermarket deliveries (although delivery is not free) extended.

I’m attending virtual meetings with my Oddfellow friends and poetry groups on Zoom. We are trying to keep in contact with our sons and grandchildren on facetime and other apps.

I am enjoying some time in my shed/painting studio. Delighted to get this one framed, and now on my dining room wall.

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It’s still all about the virus

Got my shield and my sword

Going nowhere.

Till I get my vaccine.

It’s new year but

It’s still all about the virus

#lockdown 3, January 2021

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Second Lockdown

On November 4th we entered the second lockdown. As South Yorkshire was already in tier three I thought this would not make a great deal of difference. But with non essential shops closed, it did make a depressing feel for the coming season. How will we get through winter? What will Christmas look like. Tonight it is confirmed that the lockdown will end on 2nd December as planned, but then we will see where our area is in terms of the tiered restrictions again.

I had a letter from my hospital reminding me “don’t go shopping, shop on line” which is like the shielding of the earlier lockdown, without calling it shielding. Then a letter from the local council with the same message. Then a phone call from the coucil’s voluntary sector checking I am OK mentally.

I am doing OK. Very well. I have painted two walls, up a ladder, using a paint pad. I have painted pictures with acrylic paints in my shed. I have walked round the park with my daughter or my neighbour, I have baked. I have been so busy I still have things to do tomorrow.

I have shopped on line – not just for groceries, but for Christmas gifts too. Soon we will discuss Christmas plans. We might postpone a get-together till new year, when the kids have been out of school for two weeks.

Vaccination is becoming a reality on the horizon. All done by Easter? Bring it on.

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Second Wave

South Yorkshire was moved from tier 2 to tier 3 – the highest level – last week.

Lockdown without the lockdown

Schools kept open, allowing bubbles to pop to mix and spread the disease all the way back home.

It’s harsh when the first person you know that actually has the virus is your asthmatic daughter and her son. My daughter works in a local high school. There is no doubt that’s where she picked it up. Although it could have come from her son’s school, which closed two of it’s school years the week after he tested positive.

Pubs that serve food kept open. Only in households, only up to six people, and only alcohol with your meal.

You can’t invite someone into your back garden, but you can walk round the park, 2 metres away from them. You can’t have your brother in your house, but the gas man can come in to service the boiler.

There’s no ketchup or brocolli in the shops again.

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More painting

I am finding painting to be theraputic and relaxing. Whether it’s painting things – like wood for the bench – or a picture – acrylic on canvas – I find it very satisfying.

I totally dismantled our old bench and sprayed the metalwork a silver colour. The painted slats were sanded down to the wood (I had help with that) and were then primed with an emulsion and painted blue and white.


My little beach area now has a lovely fresh blue and white deck-bench. The white is magnolia really, but it’s a good effect.


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August part three – the garden

The front garden is looking fairly good.

When we came out of Morrisons (after looking for Lamb and buying salmon) we noticed a rather good outdoor plant sale where we bought a few colourful bits to brighten up the raised bed. And a rosemary plant for our herb department. (this is the first one, LOL)

Anyway, with help form Grandson number one, who had never planted anything from a shop, we planted our bits of colour, and it looks much better. (The centre lilac one was from Markham Grange a few weeks earlier)

Back Garden

As a reminder for next year, so I can appreciate the improvement to the back garden, here is a picture of it at the moment. The rotavator was far too heavy, the lawn roots are still too lumpy and the whole area has been covered in the hope that the summer heat and lack of light will break it down ready for tilling and seeding later. Not sure how much later 🙁

Top soil and manure bags on the old patio at the far end. Things can only get better.

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August part two – at home

We used to like going out for a meal.  Even before the Pandemic lockdown, we had stopped having steak when we went out because a, it’s expensive and b, it is a bit random/hit and miss what will be served up. We have had some raw cow and some shoe leather, and most with burnt dirty grill lines on them.

For a fraction of the price, we can buy steaks from the supermarket and cook them exactly as we like them. The cost must still be considered, but it is our monthly treat. This month, it was accompanied by creamed leeks and sauted corgettes. It was really delicious.

We rarely eat fish. We might enjoy fish and chips occasionally, but I can’t have the batter unless we go to Whitby’s, where they do it gluten free on request.

We went to Morrisons, (to price up some lamb actually) and saw they were selling off some salmon that was on it’s last day for display. It was a bargain not to be missed. After all it is supposed to be good for you, and Jeff had just seen Jamie make a Salmon dish that looked easy and tasty. So we bought two packs of salmon. Just needed asparagus, creme fresh and some pasta. Didn’t find any Lamb.

Topped up the veg with some broccoli, used greek yogurt instead of creme fresh, and used some gluten free tagliatelle. Nommy.


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August 2nd to 8th, 2020 Conisborough, Bramwith and Manvers

Just a little blog of what we have been up to.

We went to Conisborough, intending to look at the viaduct. It was too challenging to make the walk to the bottom, but we had a wwalk across (onto) the top – there are no rail tracks and its all tarmacced. Here’s a view of Conisborough from the top.

You can just see the castle, centre.

Then we travelled through Doncaster, to find a couple of interesting bridges at Bramwith. The first is a swing bridge and the second a lift up bridge. They go over the Dun navigation and River Don, respectively


It was a lovely day. Afterwards we would kick ourselves for missing an interesting aquaduct which is also in the area. We will visit that another time. We just watched some cows.

A couple of days later (having given Jeff’s leg a recovery day) we ventured to Manvers lake, which is close by, and nice and flat for walking. Lake is much bigger than we thought, and we didn’t go very far. Nothing else of much interest there unless you want to fish. Might be busier with boats and water sports when things are “back to normal”. The geese seemed happy enough.


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