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.

Update

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.

Update

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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Games

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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Diet tips

To remind myself of help and info collected over time.

January – Preparation. The 7 “P”s of preparation. Prior Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance
Weigh the food not yr body. Kitchen scales are more important than bathroom scales. Learn what the calorie content is. Think before you put the food past your lips.
Measure. Chest, waist, hips. Your chest is over your nipples. Your waist is above your belly button and goes round the small of your back. Your hips are mid way between your belly button and your crotch. Measure weekly. Count inch loss, not weight loss.
Snacking. Here’s a list of snacks around 100 calories. If you are a snacker like me, make an allowance for 2 or 3 daily in your calorie count. To be successful you have to enjoy your new lifestyle.
Apple 80
Banana 100
yogurt 100 or less – choose carefully
hard boiled egg
babybel cheese
30gm sultanas
1 tablespoon mayonaise ( if salad features in a diet, mayo is a must for me)
30gm cream cheese
60gm prunes
2 custard cream biscuits
pack of crisps (slightly more – 127 cals for the cheese and chive ones)
3 crispbreads with marmite or bovril or cottage cheese

Exercise. If you have a LOT of weight to lose – take it steady. The obvious ones are
Park at the other side of the carpark and walk to the office
Take the stairs not the lift (heavy stuff to carry ? Put the stuff in the lift and race it upstairs)
A 20 minute walk at lunchtime burns about 100 calories.

Yoga. I’m a great believer in yoga. It aligns all your insides into the right spaces, helping with inch loss as well as balance, strength and breathing.

Put the radio/music on in the kitchen. A good tune comes on, you can dance, with or without a tin of beans in each hand

Wii fit is waste of time – use it for entertainment but you won’t get fit doing Wii fit activities

I have a sweat dance Wii disc which is better. Choose what you want to dance to and keep going till you reach a target sweat point. Allow half an hour. (I’ve got a zumba disc as well but find the dance one better)

So Throughout January, you have measured your food and learned the calories. So you know how many you are consuming and can make a decision how many less you will stuff into your body. Measured your body, and decided what your ideal measurements are.  planned your snacks, and planned exercise. If you have a lot of weight to lose, your target to loss should be 10% of your current weight. When you have achieved that, take off 10% again. This gradual change allows for it being more difficult to maintain the loss, and helps to keep you motivated. So if you are 100kg, target losing 10kg, then 9kg. No time limits, just working towards that. But focus more on the inch loss, as a good diet will build muscle as well as burning fat, and muscle weighs a bit more than fat.

So in  you are ready to start.

How do you start your diet? Heres some ideas.

Whatever the daily calorie level you have decided, take 200 calories off, on 2 of the days and add them to two other days. This gives you the same calories overall, but allows for good days when you are feeling strong, and not so good days when you need that extra pasty or wine. eg if daily calories is 1800, then it would be 3 days at 1800, 2 days at 2000 and 2 days at 1600. in any order over the 7 days.

Start counting from your evening meal. For me this would be startig at 6pm when i get home from work and have my evening meal. In the morning, the evening calories are deducted and i work with the remainder through the day, but I only have to count to 6pm and then I can start again.This gives you chance to save calories in the morning and through the work day as you can probably be more disciplined in the day, and look forward to starting again at your evening meal.

Some people  restrict the time period that they eat. Eating breakfast as late as possible, and having nothing at all after a meal in the early evening. It does work, if you can avoid snacking in the evening, which is when most of us fall down. But you can also find it difficult to sleep if you are hungry. I’m a night owl, so this diet is better for someone who goes to bed early, and doesn’t feel too hungry generally in the morning.

Portion size

You have probably seen the “percentage plates” – 1/4 protein, 1/4 carbs and the rest veggies. I’m not a fan of veggies. I’ll eat brocolli or green beans or a few carrots, but i dont want all of them together. I think if I have one of them each day,  twice a week, thats me done! But portion wise, I think just having a small plate works for me. And the portion control tip I remember most  is – a portion of  Protein is about the size of a pack of cards. Thats a fish portion or a steak or a quarter pound burger. The potato or rice or pasta etc is the size of your closed fist, so that can vary a little from small to larger people but its an average measure. Then fill the rest of the plate with veg or salad. If theres too much plate, use a smaller one.

Don’t forget the gravy! Now, I overestimate all my calories, with the excuse that I can then ignore the gravy, or the mayo, or the sauce. But the sauce in some rich meals can be high in carbs and high in hidden sugars, so I would recommend either counting the calories in, or only having half what you would normally have, or manage without. Your choice – the calories have to count in the end.

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The Taxman

A few years ago I was made redundant from my part time job. I claimed JSA for 6 months. Then I got a full time job. Around that time, my hubby stopped work due to ill health. At some point, it was suggested that I could claim Working Tax credits.

I filled the form in but wasn’t really hopeful, but because it’s based on the previous tax year, our annual joint income was below the low income, so we did get credits for a few months.

However when the following tax year came round, I didnt claim because I knew we would not get anything. They still sent a renewal form, but it assessed, correctly, that the amount we would receive would be Zero.

Today I have had a letter from the taxman saying I owe them money for an overpayment that they made to me, in the tax year 16/17. I was sure I could not owe them money as I knew they had sent a letter saying they were not paying me anything for 16/17. I even dug out the letter this evening. I checked my bank statements too. And there,  I found that in April/May 2016 I received 2 small tax credits which add up to the amount they are claiming I owe them back.

Well that’s my evening totally well spent! Not. Can I claim compensation? I didn’t ask them to pay me and didn’t realise they had – or if I did, I thought it was still part of the previous year’s money that they were still paying.

I am so glad I don’t have to depend on support. The new Universal Credit payment system still isn’t working properly for some people, and people are accruing debts and at risk of homelessness. Its probably costing more in administration to sort out the mess than will be “saved” at the end of the day.

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