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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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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