31st July 2020


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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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:

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

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!

26th July 2020

  • Feeling: OK
  • Listening to: Nothing today 
  • Watching: Bringing up Baby

Slept in properly for the first time in a while today. Didn’t wake until 10am, but got up pretty much straightaway. D was already up but the kids, although awake, were both reading in bed.

My plan for the day was to work on the area around the deck – which we’re planning to cover with gravel and put planters and pots all around it. We had the gravel delivered last week, but first on my list was to make three planters out of the decking board off-cuts. I’d envisaged making all three planters in a day, but actually only managed one – I really made life difficult for myself by deciding to do mitred joints at the corners which would look nicer if they were perfect, but to be honest I’m not sure I’d do that again (except obviously I now have to do it for the other two planters to keep the look the same!)

Once I’ve got the other planters made and the gravel down we are going to plant these up with herbs to have a little herb garden around the deck, as well the flowers and plants we already have in pots.

We had our weekly family quiz in the afternoon and then I watched the rest of Bringing Up Baby with F. Its such a great film and F was in fits of giggles througout. After F said the only thing they needed to do to improve it was “add subtitles, and make it not in black and white” 🙂

D has been sewing face coverings this afternoon & evening Рespecially one that is small enough for F and just some extra ones to have with us. We need to remember to take these with us when we go out from now on (for example we had to have one to go into the takeaway caf̩ at Hidecote yesterday).

After the kids were in bed D gave my hair a long overdue trim – now I just need to tame the beard as well!

Stay safe, stay strong x

25th July 2020


Woke up not feeling great – tired and aching (both head and my left leg which I’ve had some trouble with over the past few weeks). We had booked tickets for Charlecote Park at 10am, so it was pretty much just getting up, having breakfast, and going straight there.

We had reasonably nice walk around the deer park at Charlecote, and it didn’t rain, but it did feel a bit close and so it wasn’t particularly refreshing. By the time we got back home my headache had got worse, and I was feeling like just slobbing on sofa for the rest of the day. Luckily because we had tickets booked for Hidecot at 2pm and we were meeting up with my mum and E & family I wasn’t able to give into that urge, and instead I took some paracetamol, we had lunch, and then we headed off.

Hidecote and seeing my mum, sister, brother-in-law and nephews and nieces was just what I needed. Even though it rained a bit and was generally quite damp, it really lifted my spirits – and I think that went for all of us. Lovely to see everyone and also to see the kids all chatting & playing.

Hidecote was looking lovely

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Pretty flowers at Hidcote

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Both the National Trust properties were well organised. Charlecote is big open spaces and so no problems with distancing there. Hidecote is a little more restricted and felt more crowded, but the one way system (which isn’t that different to the route you’d typically follow anyway) worked well and for the most part it didn’t feel like you were on top of other people.

We spent about two hours at Hidecote and then headed home. I was feeling much more relaxed, if still a little tired, and watched the first half of Bringing up Baby with the kids while D got dinner ready.

A good day, topped off by the fact that my choir’s latest virtual/lockdown singing project was released this morning. Miss seeing and singing with this lot so much.

Stay safe, stay strong.

24th July 2020

  • Feeling: Demotivated/Deflated
  • Listening to: Nothing today 
  • Watching: QI

Found it hard to get motivated today and ended the day feeling a bit deflated. But just a week to go until we’re on holiday 🙂

Had a big bag of gravel and some trellis pieces delivered this morning. The plan for the gravel is to go around the edge of the deck and to lay a new gravel path at the front of the house. The trellis is for one of the roses (a buff beauty) we planted last year which needs some support.

At lunchtime I went to pick up some books from Warwick Books – really good to see Mog and Pauline there, and I came home with a bumper haul of books. One of the books was a “quiz master” book for F, and she spent some of the afternoon quizzing us (mainly exposing our areas of ignorance, although occasionally letting one of us shine with our knowledge – still wondering how on earth B knew that Gordon Sumner was Sting’s real name).

This afternoon I had my head down for work calls while D took the kids to the park for a bit. Kids prepared a family quiz for Sunday then watched a film (Animal Crackers).

Tomorrow we have a proper day out planned with two National Trust properties on the list – first Charlecote Park which is our nearest NT property and a regular destination for us, and then somewhere we’ve only been a couple of times before, although it’s not that far away, Hidecote – which is an arts and crafts-inspired garden and very beautiful.

23rd July 2020

  • Feeling: Tired
  • Listening to: Nothing today 
  • Watching: Stumptown

Been just really tired all day – woke up tired, had to have a nap at lunch time and tired again this evening – just tired!

Apart from that work and more work today – a call taking up the majority of the morning, and working through issues all afternoon. D was in college this morning and had a long call with her colleagues this afternoon so she was also deep in work all day.

The kids did a pretty good job of keeping themselves busy. B is still deep into special effects and computer modelling – he’s been trying to learn how to motion track facial features today. D and I encouraged him to try to have a plan for some kind of outcome from what he’s doing rather than just learning for the sake of it – but he seems happy to just work on doing something all day and doesn’t seem to feel the need to have some bigger motivation than just learning how to do something – which is fair enough.

B has started his “read a pile of books as high as myself” project and has done a life-size outline of himself to record his progress – this was up to yesterday:

F really liked the idea of having a lifesize drawing of herself and after a few false starts she completed the drawing today – of herself wearing headphones (because she likes music), wearing a waistcoat (because that’s her favourite outfit), on a skateboard and eating a tuna melt.

In the afternoon B and F worked on a screenplay, and although it was rather a difficult experience for me listening to the process, they did work on it together for quite some time without any serious fallings out – which is impressive and unusual. I did have to tell B a few times he should speak to F in a nicer way, but F told me “if I can deal with it, you don’t have to get upset” – she doesn’t need me to fight her battles for her!

Take away pizza for tea (Basement Brown’s for the kids, Red Hot Mamma for me and D). And now time to sleep I think.

Stay safe, stay strong

22nd July 2020


Sainsbury delivery this morning – the days of struggling to get a delivery slot or getting basics like flour delivered seem to be a thing of the past – although oddly haven’t been able to get any Oyster Sauce from Sainsbury’s for the last two weeks (which is the secret ingredient in my bolognese recipe).

I got grumpy with D when I found she’d thrown out kiwis that I had mentally promised myself I was going to make into jam – I think the grumpiness really stemmed from the fact that I immediately felt guilty that I hadn’t actually got around to said jam making. In a fit of pique I rescued them from the food waste and made them into jam immediately – although I’m not entirely sure I want to eat it now!

I also (after quite a long break) made bread this morning which was a much more successful affair. Two loaves made with white spelt flour, which crackled nicely when they came out of the oven.

We had lunch outside on the deck again (tuna melt bagels which has turned into a Wednesday lunch staple for some reason over the last few weeks).

I spent the afternoon on work calls, and then in the evening was one of the “special guests” at our last “virtual choir” session (for the moment at least). It was great fun and nice to be able to chat with Seb (our choir leader/conductor/MD) and Rosie (chair) on the call – and then to others afterwards at our “virtual pub” which we have on Zoom. Whether we will be able to rehearse in person in the autumn, and if so with what restrictions, we don’t know – but we do know that as soon as we can safely sing together we will do so.

Stay safe, stay strong