5th July 2020

  • Feeling: Tired out
  • Listening to: Nothing today
  • Watching: Lucifer

Woke even later this morning – not until 10. Everyone else was up but they didn’t seem to have got very far with the morning either, so I don’t think I’d missed much.

After breakfast I was determined to get back out and working on the deck, so with the kids helping I measured and cut all the noggings for the deck. Fitting them was a bigger task than I’d expected and took me most of the afternoon. Partly this was because some of the joists were too close together to fit a drill in properly – which resulted in a broken drill bit and me having to put quite a few screws in by hand – which slowed me down. By 4pm I’d managed to get all the noggings in place. Unfortunately I still need to add some additional supports under the joists – so not quite ready to lay the decking boards yet – but almost there.

The kids have been planning me a nice breakfast on the deck once it is finished so they want me to have done it by next weekend!

While I was working on the deck in the afternoon, D took the kids for a walk and also was busy in the garden and discovered a grasshopper on our hydrangea.

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Found a cricket in the #garden

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We had our weekly quiz with my side of the family later on and then a fry up for tea (thanks to D for that inspiration) and a nice evening watching TV.

I’m vaguely aware of the changes to lockdown going on outside our little bubble (in both senses) but so far they’ve not impacted on us. B definitely needs a haircut and I was going to cut it, but I’m wondering now whether we should try to get an appointment at the hairdresser – but B isn’t keen (because he’s worried about Covid-19) – and while part of me sympathises, it also makes me think it would be good for him to get used to going out again.

Stay safe and stay strong out there especially as we try to adjust to the more relaxed conditions we are living in.

4th July 2020

  • Feeling: Tired but not stressed
  • Listening to: Nothing today
  • Watching: Courier

Woke up around 9am but still feeling completely exhausted – which left me quite grumpy for most of the morning. I think the decking project was also stressing me out a bit – despite making a good start last weekend.

I decided to try an origami project to distract me, and while it isn’t perfect I’m pretty pleased with the dragon I made following a YouTube tutorial by Jo Nakashima.

After I’d done that, and asked D to check the weather forecast, I’d run out of reasons not to get on with the decking, so I asked B to come and help me and we got the tarpaulin off and continued to work on the frame.

We spent quite while trying to get the basic frame level in one direction while sloping in the other (so water runs off the finished deck) which means we spent a long time working on it without so much obvious progress. However, by the end of the day, we had got all the joists in the frame.

The plan for tomorrow (assuming it stays reasonably dry) is to put in the “noggings” which are short pieces of wood that run between the joists to add support – we’ll need to fit 14 I think so quite a lot of cutting and fixing tomorrow. I don’t know if we’ll get to the actual decking boards tomorrow – I hope we might at least make a start.

B was a complete star working with me on this – he stuck with it the whole afternoon and really helped me – it was great to work on the project together.

Meanwhile D was doing an amazing job tidying upstairs in the house and getting lunch and tea ready as well as finding time to bake a cake and finish her book – quite amazing.

F was a bit bored I think. Unfortunately I wasn’t really up to having her help me as well as B (having one of the helping is great, having two helping tends to be stressful). F did come outside a few times (she had no interest in helping D tidy up) but spent a couple of hours in the afternoon watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 – she’s currently on a bit of a HP kick having just listened to the Philosopher’s Stone as an audiobook while also reading the Half-blood Prince.

We finished the day with C’s quiz. It might be the last of these as life returns to a more normal pace. C has offered to keep going if people are interested, and I think a few people are – but even in the last few weeks there have been more people missing the Saturday evening as they have other committments and from today people may start spending Saturday evening in the pub again! We’ve really enjoyed the quizzes and very grateful to C for hosting them each week.

Watched a really crappy film with D this evening (trying to be Die Hard in a London multi-storey carpark!) but now feeling tired but pretty happy with what we’ve got done today and much more relaxed than when I woke up this morning.

Stay safe, stay strong.

3rd July 2020

  • Feeling: Tired out
  • Listening to: Hamilton
  • Watching: Hamilton

Too tired to write a long entry this evening, but the main excitement of the day was the long awaited film of the Hamilton stage show came to Disney+ and we all watched it.

The kids know the soundtrack inside out and can sing and quote extensively from it, but we’ve not seen the show in the theatre – so this was our first chance to watch it.

It is (unsurprisingly) fantastic. Well worth watching not just for the lyrics and music – which are amazing – but also the minimalist set and clever dance and movement of the cast. Great to be able to watch it on our big screen.

Stay safe, stay strong

2nd July 2020

  • Feeling: Tired out
  • Listening to: The Unthanks
  • Watching: Vagrant Queen

Didn’t sleep well – various things bothering at my brain (nothing really important, but just small things that are stressing me out). Woke up too early and slept on the sofa for a bit, then came back to bed about the time I should have been waking up and tried to sleep some more – leaving me quite grumpy (I had to apologise to B later for shouting at him).

So a slow start to the day, D walked F to school while I got up late and eventually managed to get to my desk about 10am – just as D was leaving to go into work for a couple of hours.

B had a call from his form teacher today and I talked to her for a bit as well. It was really nice for B to be able to talk to her – a bit of a shame he hasn’t had more direct contact with the staff over this period – but I guess realistically B hasn’t need any specific support and he’s been getting on well with his work.

I had a busy day work-wise – setting up various things for one project and delivering part of an online course in the afternoon.

But the really exciting news of the day is that we finished our jigsaw this evening (despite F’s best efforts to stop us by hiding a piece in her pocket!)

Stay safe, stay strong

1st July 2020

  • Feeling: OK
  • Listening to: Crossing the bar
  • Watching: Nothing really

Almost forgot to write this today and it’s late so will keep it short.

F’s ankle was still sore this morning, but she was keen to go to school and she was able to put some weight on it, so we thought it would be ok (as she pointed at – she has to sit at her desk all day anyway). After school she hobbled home with D until it started raining heavily – and then suddenly she was able to move a lot more quickly!

B did a nice collage for his school art lesson and cooked tea (chicken quesadilla) for his FT homework.

I had a slow start to the day, and didn’t get a huge amount done in the morning, but worked hard in the afternoon. In the evening I had choir which was good fun as always.

Falling asleep as I write this, so going to stop now

Stay safe, stay strong

30th June 2020

  • Feeling: Low level stressed
  • Listening to: Sk8er Boi
  • Watching: Staged

Didn’t sleep well – things buzzing round my head all night waking me periodically. I think partly my mind worrying about work and partly worrying about getting the decking right. Also – I can’t believe it’s the end of June! D went for a run first thing this morning and I was still asleep but the happily the kids got themselves up and dressed and so no rush when it came to getting F to school.

I was delivering some training today – another course that I teach regularly moving to online delivery for the moment. This was via Adobe Connect which made a change from Zoom. Overall it went well and the people on the course seemed engaged. I guess everyone has adapted a lot more to being part of an online gathering and it was easy to get people talking in the online forum (despite them not having met before or being able to see each other) – much easier than my pre-pandemic experiences. Second half of the course is on Thursday, and I’ve got material for another course to prepare by Friday – so lots to do.

D was in work again for a couple of hours – she said the college was busier than previously. B is finding ways of getting his Blender obsession (Blender is software for doing 3D animation and effects) into his schoolwork and today he used it to do work for PRE (Philosophy and Religious Education) and English.

F managed to hurt her ankle this evening – I think she just turned it while dashing around upstairs – hoping that it is just a minor sprain and will be OK by the morning.

D made chocolate brownies this evening with added raspberries from our garden – yum! And in the garden her peony poppy is flowering – it’s a beautiful dark purple colour.

Talked to Mum for a good hour this evening – she’s been able to have a few visitors which is really nice for her. Then did a bit of the jigsaw – it feels like we are just coming to the final stretch (most of the credit should got to D)

Stay safe, stay strong x

29th June 2020

  • Feeling: Low level stressed
  • Listening to: Alanis Morrisette
  • Watching: Bake off: The professionals

Got up early to do some work first thing, although that meant I flagged later in the day.

F told me rather forlornly this morning that it “wasn’t quite as exciting going to school this week” – which I think was as much to do with the rather grey skies outside as it was to do with actually going to school. Of course she had a great day in the end, the highlight being a debate on whether “humans should be allowed in the sea” (I think not literally just allowed in the sea because the debate had obviously encompassed fishing and pollution). She was against and explained some of her killer arguments to me on the way home (“the fish have been in the sea for millions of years before humans even existed” and “ultimately it doesn’t matter if humans die out like dodo’s and dinosaurs”)

B had a busy morning as he was doing the Junior Mathematical Challenge as well as his usual school work – but we won’t find out how that went for over a week (and sadly there is no opportunity to do the usual follow up events this year because of the pandemic).

I’m feeling a bit stressed this evening, but I’m not really sure why – I think maybe I just need a break from work in the near future. D has to take some holiday as well and I guess that going away in the UK could be possible now – although the announcement this evening of an extended lockdown in Leicester makes us wonder how predictable things might be over the next two months.

Apart from that nothing very exciting today – but hopefully tomorrow I’ll take delivery of the remaining things to complete the decking project so if it manages to stay dry this weekend we might have a finished deck by the end of Sunday (maybe).

Stay safe, stay strong.

28th June 2020

  • Feeling:  Tired
  • Listening to: Nothing today
  • Watching: Parks and Recreation

Woke up around 8 and got up to make tea and to get some bread going (as D had mentioned I hadn’t baked in a while) – I didn’t manage to get it done for lunchtime in the end but we have a loaf waiting for us tomorrow now.

I was feeling a bit lethargic first thing, and so rather than start on the decking straight away I did some more jigsaw and then F and I sat on the sofa and read to each other.

Eventually I worked up the energy to go and tackle the next stage of the decking project. I’ve reached the stage of the project that I find stressful – measuring and cutting and levelling – and I spent a long time trying to position and level paving stones to support the deck frame – it seemed to take forever and by the end I still wasn’t happy I’d got it completely right. Extra stress when it decided to chuck it down with rain – only for a few minutes in the end, but still a rush to get tools and timber out of the rain.

This is where I’d got to by 4pm. It doesn’t seem a lot of progress for several hours of work, but it’s as far as I can go until I get a delivery of supplies (hopefully Tuesday) – and by 4pm I was tired out!

While I was working on the deck, D took F and B out for a walk (they also got caught in the rain) and the kids prepared a quiz for my side of the family in the afternoon.

D made some more progress with the jigsaw – but C, who has the same puzzle, messaged me earlier to say she’d finished it, winning our informal competition to see who would complete the puzzle first. We’ve still got a way to go!

Stay safe, stay strong.

27th June 2020

  • Feeling:  Relaxed
  • Listening to: Nothing today
  • WatchingInception

After two days in a row waking early, I slept in today and only woke at 9 – the last to be out of bed (although not by much – no-one was awake before 8).

I felt quite tired this morning, and it was raining (and thankfully much cooler), which gave me an excuse not to start work on the decking project straight away. Instead I returned to a jigsaw D and I started weeks ago but then had not returned to. I decided I’d complete the edges (and I literally just found the last edge piece this moment) and both D and I worked on the puzzle throughout the day.

It was very relaxing to just work on the puzzle for a bit, and hopefully we’ll do some more tomorrow.

Yesterday F was trying to get herself setup to borrow e-books and audiobooks online from the library (she enjoys listening to things but we don’t have a lot of audiobooks so she wants some more variety). Yesterday there was a problem with the online service and she couldn’t get it to work – but happily today it was all working and she got setup and spent some time reading an e-book (Phoebe and her unicorn) and listening to an audiobook (Tom Gates).

Having declared he was going to take a break from his animation/special effects work, B (predictably) changed his mind and did some more work on adding special effects to video clips of his cousins – he’s even managed to teach me a little of how Blender works.

Fs Kung-fu instructor had arranged a call this afternoon to talk about resuming classes. I joined the call, but D and I don’t feel its the right time for this kind of class just yet. I really want to see what happens to all the indicators after the additional relaxation of the lockdown on 4th July – which for me means waiting for at least 2 weeks after the 4th to see what the impact is. Although some of the other parents felt the same as us, some were very happy for the classes to resume as soon as possible – which brought it home to me how varied people are in either their assessment or acceptance of the risks involved.

After lunch the rain had stopped and I had a bit more energy so I decided I’d make a start on the decking. I managed to lay the landscaping weed suppressant fabric, get the gravel down and check the level in anticipation of putting the outer timber frame down (maybe tomorrow if the weather holds). I’m a little limited as to what I can do tomorrow because I’m still waiting for the timber preservative (for cut ends of the timber) and some joist hangers which won’t come until next week.

I’ve done a bit more than this picture shows, but as my mum immediately quipped when she saw the picture, “looks better already!”

In the evening we had our usual quiz and then (after some initial upset) some nice time watching TV with the kids before bed. Hope tomorrow is just as relaxing and productive.

Stay safe, stay strong.

26th June 2020

  • Feeling:  Hot (again)
  • Listening to: Now that’s what I call music mix
  • WatchingThe Saint

Woke early again (before 6) because of the heat. I thought I’d have the house to myself for a bit, but both the kids woke early as well and were downstairs not long after me. Unusually this meant D was the last up, but she then braved the heat to go for a run.

I managed to get a good chunk of work done before 9 and despite flagging a bit mid-morning, by lunchtime I’d been pretty productive. Unfortunately in the afternoon the heat and early start caught up with me and I didn’t get a lot done and was quite grumpy at times. It was too hot to be out in the garden for long, but D and I caught a bee busy at work in the afternoon.

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Fuzzy buzzy bee meets my delphinium

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F has been complaining that we’ve made Friday’s too busy because all the things she was previously doing on weekdays have been moved to Friday now she is at school Monday-Thursday. This only actually means 2hrs 20minutes of scheduled time for her, and the biggest issue for her today was boredom (and the heat and tiredness didn’t help) so I think her sessions with Liz, Explore and her drum lessons were probably the most enjoyable parts of her day despite her complaints.

We really noticed during F’s session with Liz how her brain races ahead of her explanations when she’s doing maths leaving us often confused. I’m not sure how Liz copes – it drives us potty with both kids when they are already three steps ahead of any explanation they are giving us about their work!

B did his school work in the morning and then more work on animation/special effects projects in the afternoon – he can be a bit obsessive when he’s got a project like this – which is exactly the same as me.

The forecast for tomorrow is cooler although the likelihood of rain and thunder seems to have dropped considerably. I’m hoping it will be cool enough and dry enough to get going on the decking – although I’m still waiting on delivery for some things that I need so there’s only so much progress I can make at the moment.

Stay safe, stay strong, keep cool