5th August 2020

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  • Feeling: Good
  • Listening to: Nothing today
  • Watching: Vagrant Queen

Had a lie in today and didn’t get up until 10am. In the meantime D had been for a run and persuaded (somehow) B to go with her – I was very impressed with both of them!

This morning we did a bit of meal planning for when we are away next week and made a shopping list (we also found out that the people who rent out the property also run a butchers so they can provide meat and fresh produce which is great).

In the afternoon I started the next garden project – a new path in the front. I didn’t make a lot of progress (most of the time was spent making space for me to dump the soil and turf I’m digging out) but it was good to make a start.

Later on in the afternoon we went to visit C and N and spent a very pleasant hour and a half sitting in their garden (although it rained!) and just chatting and passing time. Really nice to be able to do that.

Tomorrow I’m hoping to do some more work on the new path and in the afternoon we’ve booked tickets for Hanbury Hall.

Stay safe, stay strong.

4th August 2020

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Was up first this morning – we had to be up early-ish (for a non-work day) because we had tickets booked for Packwood House at 9am. We went straight after breakfast and it was pretty quiet when we arrived (although it was much busier by the time we left). We went for a walk that isn’t in the main grounds, but goes through some small woods. Although the walk was only about a mile we took a good hour to do it because we kept stopping for the kids to play and climb trees!

After the walk, we got a drink from the refreshment stand and went to the main grounds. The house was open, but we didn’t go in, and while the majority of the grounds were open, the formal garden wasn’t, which upset F as she wanted to play hide-and-seek around the yew trees & hedges.

We headed back home for lunch and had a pretty lazy afternoon (introduced F, and ourselves, to “Ultimate Beastmaster” – where you watch people complete extreme obstacle courses – which F is very keen on).

I got a message from Screwfix that some fixings I was waiting for had arrived, so I went to get those and then put up the sail awning over the deck – and with that I think I’m declaring the decking project officially done!

We had dinner out on the deck and after a couple of glasses of wine I’m now feeling pretty sleepy.

Stay safe, stay strong.

3rd August 2020

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  • Feeling: Fidgety
  • Listening to: Nothing today
  • WatchingThe Speed Cubers (Netflix)

Didn’t wake too early today. It was nice to wake up at 9am on a Monday morning and not to feel I was late for work! D had been out for a run already and made me tea.

It was Rakshabandhan today which celebrates the relationship between brothers and sisters, and Ds eldest brother rang her this morning and D and B (who were up first) spoke to all the family (V is the cousin on Ds side of the family who is closest in age to B and they get on well).

After I’d had a luxurious breakfast (which meant having some left over double cream on my porridge) F also appeared (having spent an hour or more listening to a Harry Potter audio book before getting up) and had her breakfast as well.

Eventually I decided it was time to put gravel down around the deck, and B helped me while D did some gardening and F did some spray painting in the garden. We worked pretty quickly and by lunchtime we had all the gravel done, the planters in position and partially planted up and other plant pots back in place around the deck – it looks fantastic (in my opinion at least). The big planters are going to have herbs in (we already have some rosemary and sage in one) and the smaller planter has a Caryopteris x clandonensis (or Bluebeard) which Mum bought us in memory of Dad.

I’m still not really feeling relaxed and feel fidgety when I’m not doing something productive at the moment, but tomorrow we’re going to a National Trust property (Packwood House) first thing (booked tickets for 9-9:30) and hopefully a walk in the surrounds will help me get into the holiday spirit a bit more (although it means an earlier start than today!)

I’m also hoping to get fixing for our sail shade/awning – and once that’s up it really will be the end of the deck project (and I can make a start on the next project which is a new gravel path at the front)

Stay safe, stay strong.

2nd August 2020

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  • Feeling: Tired (still)
  • Listening to: Nothing today
  • WatchingA Suitable Boy

Woke reasonably early again (about 7:30) and feeling it this evening as I’m tired out. It was a beautiful day today – ate every meal outdoors today, although I caught the sun a bit as a result and I’m a bit pink this evening!

The main event of the day for me was a socially distanced choir committee meeting. It was great to see the rest of the committee (although I’m not used to seeing people and interacting for that length of time face-to-face!).

It’s really difficult to know what we can do regarding the choir this autumn and the worse case scenario (not being able to sing together) is depressing and still seems pretty likely at the moment – especially with the local lockdowns in Lancashire and Yorkshire announced on Friday, the slowing down of changes to the lockdown conditions, and general noises from the government about measures that might be needed to stop a “second wave” in the UK. However, we did some good planning and even with the current uncertainty I think we came up with some good ideas we can investigate and hopefully turn into a plan for the autumn.

I got back home to find scones had been baked (yum with homemade raspberry jam) and D and the kids watching Doctor Strange. After that we had a bit more time out in the garden, I played a couple of games with F (the “Rush Hour” puzzle game and a Taboo clone for kids), and took up a little bit of turf for the area we’re going to gravel – although I didn’t actually get to putting any gravel down – I think that will be tomorrow.

We had our family quiz after that (lots of Billy Eilish questions I didn’t know the answers to!) and then tea out on the deck.

I’m not quite in the holiday mood yet, and this evening found myself with “Sunday blues” which would normally be related to going back to work on Monday – I think it’s hard for my brain to accept that although we’re at home I’m not working! We’ve booked tickets for National Trust properties for Tuesday and Thursday which hopefully will help boost the holiday aspects of this week.

Stay safe, stay strong.

1st August 2020

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  • Feeling: Tired out
  • Listening to: Nothing today
  • Watching: Vagrant Queen

First day of holiday so of course I woke at 5am! I was awake for a couple of hours, but as everyone else in the house started to wake up, I drifted back to sleep. I eventually got up at 8am and went to collect some “it’s the first day of the holidays” breakfast pastries from Haddie and Trilby.

After leisurely breakfast I went out to start building another planter from the left over decking materials, while D and the kids walked to Warwick (I hadn’t realised they were going that far, and started to wonder where they had got to before D texted to say they were on their way back at about 1:30). They went to Warwick Books and all really enjoyed themselves – B declared it the best treat ever, and it cheered them all up.

Once they got back we had a late lunch, and in the afternoon D, B and F watched the live action remake of the Lion King while I went back to work. By the end of the day I had two additional planters (plus the one I made last week) and so tomorrow or Monday we can gravel the area round the deck and setup the planters (although I think we’ll need some more earth to fill these).

We had a takeaway (Chinese) for tea. All in all a pretty good start to the holidays – but I’m exhausted now 🙂

Stay safe, stay strong x

31st July 2020

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The hottest day of the year and third hottest day “ever” (presumably with some qualification on ‘since records began’ or something) for the UK – and it feels it.

Despite the heat I had much more energy today (yesterdays lethargy gone completely probably because of all the napping I ended up doing yesterday). I was productive and got through lots of work, and feel I’ve left everything in a pretty good place as I declare myself on holiday for two weeks (although I can’t imagine I’ll actually manage to completely step away from work while we’re at home next week).

F had her session with Mrs C (aka Liz) this morning and was so upset to find we’d said we were on holiday next week we booked in an extra session for next Friday to keep her happy!

B spent the day on the computer – tidying up some code he’d written then trying to create an “air scooter” simulation (meant to be like a ball of air a character (Aang) from the cartoon series Avatar (no not that one) rides around on.)

F watched The Greatest Showman in the afternoon (skipping the Jenny Lind songs as “boring”), and in the evening we all watched the new Muppet show on Disney+.

But now it’s holiday time – looking forward to being away from next Saturday (desperately hoping the current lockdown measures don’t turn into a second national lockdown or affect us or the area we are travelling to), and the plan for this week is to do some work in the garden and around the house. But I think tomorrow I’ll just take it easy 🙂

Stay safe, stay strong x

30th July 2020

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  • Feeling: OK but tired
  • Listening to: Tom Jones
  • Watching: Vagrant Queens

Been absolutely tired out today – it felt more like a Friday than a Thursday. As a result I’ve not got a huge amount done, and left myself with a pile of work to get through tomorrow.

After getting up (late) I went straight into a meeting at 9am (no breakfast or coffee, although D had made me tea) with a review of an online course I helped facilitate. It was a good meeting, but by the time it was done I was ready for breakfast.

D was in college in the morning, and by the time she was back it was time for lunch – we ate outside (on the deck – natch!) but it was baking hot and none of us wanted to be out there for long – still waiting for some fixings for the awning (which arrived a week ago). I chased up the supplier (for the third time) but wondering about just ordering some stuff from Screwfix so I can get the awning up.

After lunch F watched the Jumanji reboot (“Welcome to the jungle”) and I had a nap. I did some work in the afternoon and then some more this evening, but I really haven’t been that productive today.

B and F spoke to their US cousins around tea time (spaghetti bolognese) and then TV and bed.

Holiday feels really close now – just one day and hopefully I can put work away for 2 weeks!

29th July 2020

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  • Feeling: Down and then Up
  • Listening to: Nothing today 
  • Watching: Bake off: The Professionals (the final)

It’s been a bit of an up and down 24 hours. Yesterday evening we got an email saying our holiday cottage had been cancelled. I just felt so down. I immediately looked for other potential rentals but finding nothing appropriate (unsurprising with only 10 days to go before we want to go away) I went to bed, and woke this morning, just feeling crap (although thanks to recommendation from N we watched the first episode of Fort Salem yesterday which was a welcome distraction and looks like it’s going to be good.)

The day itself was mainly work – I’d foolishly agreed to meetings at 8am and 5:30pm as well as several meetings both planned and unplanned during the day – altogether quite stressful although not giving much time to dwell on the holiday situation. We did, however, have to tell the kids about not being able to go, which was another big disappointment for them – and especially B seemed to be upset by it. F was upset but also bounced back very quickly suggesting things we could do in the house to make it seem like a holiday.

Then, just as I was adjusting to the idea of not being able to go away for our vacation, at about 5:30 this evening (just before my last meeting of the day) I found an alternative property that looks great, and while slightly further south west than we’d planned, still broadly in the area of Wales we wanted – I immediately booked it and got a confirmation. I’m so happy and relieved (and desperately hoping that nothing goes wrong this time – B did say we shouldn’t have told them we’d booked something in case something goes wrong).

So now feeling positive again, although slightly bruised by the whole thing. Just two more work days until two weeks off – the first week at home (planning to finish around the edge of the deck and put a gravel path across our front garden) and then a week in Wales (fingers-crossed).

28th July 2020

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  • Feeling: Fed up
  • Listening to: Lily Allen (again)
  • Watching: Fort Salem

Had some disappointing news this evening, and not really feeling up to writing much as a result. Suddenly something we were looking forward to is gone (again). In the big scheme of thing it’s just a minor set back, but I’m a bit fed up with these small disappointments now 🙁

Aside from that a reasonably typical day. Work for me and D, B doing stuff on his computer, F listening to music. In the afternoon F watched The Personal History of David Copperfield – we watched this in Stratford-upon-Avon when it came out and all loved it – F has been asking for us to buy it for a while (even before it was available) and today seemed like a good time so she was very happy watching that.

Going to sleep now and hoping things feel a bit less crappy in the morning

27th July 2020

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  • Feeling: OK
  • Listening to: Lily Allen
  • Watching: Cursed

Woke up first this morning (maybe about the same time as B) and made tea (D is almost always up first and makes me tea pretty much every day, so high time I returned the favour).

F stayed in bed the longest, listening to her latest audiobook (Point Blanc, the second book in the Alex Rider series) and then The Unbelievable Truth. D and I were both working by the time F came down, and B was to build a “non-euclidean 3d environment” (no – me neither) on his computer.

F wrote a new poem for her web page – presented here with some spelling corrections from me:

Change
The change of views
You know you can’t choose
Which way our species will go
Hoping that our minds will grow
To understand Why
Why?

The rest of the day was work for me and D, with B doing various projects on his computer and F happily listening to music and then watching Mary Poppins.

Both D and I are already counting down to our time off next week!, and thanks to a new outdoor table being delivered this afternoon, and some lucky timing, we got an early taste of holiday eating our (orange themed for some reason) tea out on the deck – just before it tipped it down with rain.

Stay safe, stay strong!