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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Isolation/shielding Day 124

I’m not really shielding now.

We have masks. I went  shopping with my daughter. Most people are not wearing masks. The procedures for going into and around shops is fairly well organised and most people are keeping the 2 metre distance. It was so nice to be out with her, and I think it did us both good.

We (hubby and I) bought a car and went for a little run out in it. It was refreshing even though we didn’t go far and he can’t walk round much.


So that takes some of the pressure off the car repair issue. We can now get about, while we sort out the back garden project.

Hairdressers have opened but I haven’t been. My hair has grown quite long and I’ve got used to it. So apart from a trim I might keep it longer for a bit longer 🙂

It’s recommended that everyone in the borough gets tested for Covid but I wouldnt want to make a special trip to get tested.

Government food packages stop at the end of July and those “shielding” will be out of lockdown on “pause”. Well I was supposed to be in that group according to governemnt, but the medication I have (my Golimumab jabs) only put me in the moderate group so I don’t feel too bad about being a bit more flexible. I’ll be glad not to have the Boris Boxes though. Not much in it worth having. Most is not gluten free, and we have enough soup to get us through next winter! I still get priority slots at supermarkets, and that is set to stay until October.


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Back Garden

July 12th

The lawn grass has been killed off. The decking has been removed. So for the rest of the summer we have no “garden”. This is just a temporary situation as we are going to grass all the area.



It looks dreadful and I’m not happy. I just need to think about how lovely it will be when it’s all level and seeded and lush. I’m planning to treat myself to a swing seat which will go at the “evening sun ” end of the garden, on an original patio that was under the decking.

So the rotavator is coming tomorrow. More pictures to follow.

We have had ten bags of top soil and ten bags of manure delivered, to work into the lawn to nourish it. Very heavy, and will be an interesting struggle to get them through the back door and out to the back garden!

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Back to Normal. What Normal?

Well the shops are open, but I haven’t been.

The pubs and restaurants are opening next weekend, but I won’t be going anytime soon. We thought about having a Chinese take away. It was only a thought though.

Learning to slow down, expect less. Potter about. Focus but no rush.

Counting blessings. Health, no major money issues, no job to get back to. All family OK.

Cannot imagine being able to do any of the things I had got used to. Coffee mornings in the small room at Oddbods. Badminton/ping pong at the Centre.

Not sure if i will even get opportunity to set up poetry book readings or attend open mic sessions. Even just travelling anywhere on a bus or train is a bit scary at the moment.

Maybe it will feel different when we get the car back on the road.

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As part of the easing of restrictions, single person households can combine with another household and form a “bubble”. As my daughter is classed as a single person household, she and her children will be allowed to come and visit us indoors. We can even have hugs!

Although I am shielding, we know they have been shielding too, so extremely little risk of any virus germs between us.

Yesterday I made a cherry and pecan cake with white choc drops sprinkled on top before putting it in the oven. Of course, as so often happens with my gluten free flour baking, all the fruit, nuts and chocolate fell to the bottom. Nevertheless, it is very tasty. I made it in 2 loaf tins, so there is a full loaf to share when family visit tomorrow.

Until now, I have been able to go little walks on my own, and then in the last week or two, with one other person at two metre distancing. This is awkward on narrow footpaths – always having to have one behind or in front – not great for conversation. It will be lovely to be able to walk beside one another.

And of course they could stay for dinner too! Hurray!

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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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