29th May 2020

  • Feeling: Glad its Friday
  • Listening to: Taylor Swift
  • Watching: Parks and Rec

Almost forgot to write a post this evening!

Been a long week, but its Friday (actually now Saturday) at last. I had a relaxed morning mainly trying (not entirely successfully) to help B with some code he’s writing. Then I went to Warwick to pick up a couple of things. It was so lovely to see Mog and Pauline at Warwick Books and Marie at the Golden Monkey Tea Company – it must be so difficult for small businesses like these at the moment and they are keeping things going – if you are looking for books and/or tea (or coffee or chocolate) I highly recommend them.

Apart from that it was work, and I finally got round to fixing the light switch in our pantry after about 6 weeks of it not working!

Going to keep it short as I should really be asleep. This weekend I’m planning to install some water butts to gather rain (if we ever get rain again) off our roof – so that’s a plan for tomorrow or Sunday.

28th May 2020

  • Feeling: Tired and not so productive
  • Listening to: Nothing today
  • Watching: Bake off: The Professionals

Not been on best form today – quite a lot of work calls which were fine, but I didn’t really get much done apart from that. Called Mum this evening and she told me I should be getting out of the house more for walks etc – which is probably true. Tomorrow morning I’m going to Warwick to pick up some books from the amazing Warwick Books and some tea from the lovely Golden Monkey Tea Co – so that should be a nice reason to get out of the house and get a change of scenery for a little bit.

Also got a really nice treat today from C: Maponimoes – a dominoes inspired card game where each card represents a country and you can only put bordering countries next to each other as you play the cards – can’t wait to try with the kids at the weekend.

F got to sleep very late (for her) last night and was a bit tired during the day – she wasn’t really grumpy but was inclined to get frustrated a bit more easily than normal. F has discovered she has Google Assistant on her Chromebook and has spent a good proportion of the last two days talking to it – although most of the conversations seems to go round in circles and several end with exchanges like

"Go away, you're rubbish"
"I'm sorry I don't understand that"

B seemed in a good mood, and was helpful and pretty good with F all day. In the afternoon he and F tried to use a “3D” pen to make some earrings for D, and F used it to give one of her Lego minifigs a mohican.

B also followed up on yesterdays preparation and cooked pizza for us this evening (with a bit of help from me) – it was really good!

Stay safe, stay strong.

27th May 2020

  • Feeling: Tired but productive
  • Listening to: Nothing today
  • Watching: Great British Sewing Bee

Got up early (alarm at 6, although not out of bed until about 6:40) to get some work done in preparation for a meeting at 10am – it was nice to be up and be feeling productive first thing.

Overall a busy work day for me, D also working hard and kids had quite a bit of screen time. B did some writing (a poem) this morning but F wasn’t in the mood and just sat and listened to some music. B is making pizza for us tomorrow and did some of the preparation today (oven roasted tomatoes!) and got the dough made to rest in the fridge overnight.

The kids did manage some time outside today, as did D – raspberries, strawberries and peas all doing well.

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There is some growing in the #garden

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D has also grown an impressive crop of basil in the house – just right for the pizza tomorrow.

This evening I had virtual choir – nice to see people and chat for a bit.

Checked Bs dough just before I came to bed and it looked like it might escape the bowl if I just left it, so I gave it a fold and shape – hopefully it will be OK with that and rise again for tomorrow.

Stay safe, stay strong.

26th May 2020

  • Feeling: Exhausted
  • Listening to: Nothing today
  • Watching: Hawaii 5-0

Struggled to get to sleep last night and felt completely exhausted today. Tried to work, but didn’t get much done 🙁

D went for a run again this morning

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Poppies & bees, Swans & Cygnets

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It’s half-term for the kids this week, so they were at a bit of a loose end, but they got two packages of treats in the post this morning (from P and my Mum) and they spent quite a while this morning putting together a quiz for tomorrow evening.

In the afternoon the kids watched Paddington 2, but apart from that F was quite grumpy – not really knowing what to do with herself.

Going to go to bed now as I need to get up early to prep for a meeting tomorrow (having failed to do it today).

Stay safe, stay strong.

25th May 2020


I woke early (5am) with a headache and pain in my leg (which usually means I’m dehydrated) so got up, drank some water, and tried to get to sleep again on the sofa. After a while I managed to get back to sleep and then woke again around 9:30 – still with a headache – but felt much better once I’d had a cup of tea and a shower.

F’s hair has been getting a bit long and bothering her (getting in her eyes) for a couple of weeks now, so this morning I agreed to cut it (before I’d even had breakfast) – my first foray into hair cutting beyond my own beard!

Before and After:

The rest of the day was pretty lazy overall. F and I worked on one of the extra features F had designed for the potting bench – a place to safely stand pots while you work:

D spent the morning digging out a very stony bit of our garden (with a bit of help from me) to plant sunflowers out – although they look like they are suffering a bit this evening (I suspect the heat). She also used the potting table for the first time to put a cucamelon plant into a hanging basket.

B and F both had online tuition sessions today despite the bank holiday. F wasn’t keen at all to do her’s but with some bribery (promise she could watch “Thor” – a film we stopped her watching some two or more years ago on the basis she was too young at the time – a decision she is still holding against us somewhat) she did do it and enjoyed it (she always does).

B did a bit more work on his physics engine code project and managed to get a 2D ball moving around the screen with a bit of help from me, and we started to work out how to simulate gravity in a 2D world. In his online tuition B is now working on pretty advance maths I think (simultaneous quadratic equations today!) and it’s good for him to have a project to actually apply some of the maths he knows.

We all enjoyed watching Thor after the tutoring sessions were done, then cauliflower cheese and sausages for tea, and ice creams for me and D after the kids were in bed – all in all a pretty good bank holiday Monday.

Stay safe, stay strong x

24th May 2020

  • Feeling: Tired and like I’ve “caught the sun”
  • Listening to: Nothing today
  • Watching: Stumptown

I woke sometime in the early hours but managed to get back to sleep and then woke again at 7, and finally got out of bed around 8 when I gave up trying to pretend I wasn’t awake yet.

I’d started some sourdough starter off last night to have some to make bagels and pancakes this morning, so I started off the morning baking.

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Sunday pancakes

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More bagels

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Alongside the baking I also worked (with F again) on the potting table project – and we now have a potting table ready for D to use – although F still wants to add some more details like a holder for the pots.

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Pallet potting bench

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D got out for a run again, and we were all going to go for a walk in the afternoon, but then ____ rang having had some bad news (a friend had died suddenly) so I stayed and talked to ___ while everyone else went for a walk.

B wanted to work on a new programming project – to write a “2D rigid body physics engine” (basically a computer program that makes the physics of games like Angry Birds work) – and wanted me to help. This is definitely outside my comfort zone and I’m not sure I was lots of help, but I suggested some basic steps to get started and he gave it a go.

We also had a family quiz again with my family, and I made roast chicken + roast potatoes for tea.

We finished the day snuggled up on the sofa watching TV.

I’m feeling tired this evening but happy that its a long weekend!

Stay safe, stay strong x

23rd May 2020

  • Feeling: Up and down
  • Listening to: Nothing today
  • Watching: Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Been a bit up and down today emotionally, which I think is probably down to being a bit tired. Had some really good moments with the kids, but also got very upset with both of them during the day.

After watching Shop Class yesterday F was keen to make something, and for a while we’ve had a pallet sitting in the back garden which I’d promised D I’d make into a potting table for her – so we worked on a design together and after a bit of planning started pulling the left over nails out of the pallet wood and then started constructing the table.

This project took up most of the day although with lots of breaks, and we’ve not finished yet (the legs still need to go on and F has plans for a “pot holder” on top and some decoration), but I’m pretty pleased with what we’ve done and it was (mainly) really good to work on this with F.

D spent some time cleaning the kitchen this morning and organising plants, and then had a quiet afternoon mostly curled up on the sofa with a book (F and I had contributed to making her morning more stressful than it needed to be – sorry).

Despite being pleased with the potting table project, by the evening I was feeling a bit down after another falling out with F (because I said “No” to some TV), and not really in the mood to do the weekly quiz by C – but I was really glad we did because it cheered me up and I got to spend some time with B who I’d not really seen much during the day as I’d been focussed on the project with F.

Unfortunately I had another “down” dip when it came to the kids bedtime – which wasn’t a great way to finish the day with them.

After flipping channels for at least 15 minutes this evening eventually D and I watched “Birdman” (my choice) which is a film I’ve had on my “to watch” list for ages – it kind of suited my mood as it’s both funny and tragic by turn, and quite an odd movie overall. I quite enjoyed it though.

I’ve fed my sourdough starter this evening and tomorrow morning hoping to have enough to make bagels plus pancakes for breakfast.

Stay safe, stay strong.

22nd May 2020


Pretty good day today. All up a bit late (even D was a bit later this morning). I had a pretty heavy day of work with calls morning and afternoon, but it was all pretty productive. I also managed to make some soda bread this morning.

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Soda bread

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D was also working hard, and even managed to get herself out for a run at lunch.

F created a presentation on parrots and their reproductive habits (!) with more transitions than you can imagine (text appearing on the screen only to be whipped away and appear somewhere else as you eyes desperately chase it round the slide trying to read it). She also declared an interest in doing some algebra so I had a pretty successful maths lesson with her later in the day – which finished with a discussion of “R” and whether people who had already had COVID19 could be re-infected (which seemed like a pretty perceptive question from a 9yo).

B had a Spanish test in the morning, and in the afternoon both kids worked on creating collages on the computer using images made available by the British Library and the instructions in the British Library pamphlet “How to make art when we’re working apart“. Later in the afternoon the kids went upstairs armed with the iPad and wooden swords to “make a film” – we haven’t seen the results yet, but it was hard to tell if they were having fun acting or having a raging argument.

We decided to treat ourselves to a chinese takeaway this evening which we all enjoyed, and then watched “Shop Class” on Disney+ – a show where kids and “Shop Class” teachers (what I think we’d call Design & Technology in this country – basically design and engineering + wood work/metal work etc.) compete to make things. It was good fun, although I think F is getting some pretty big ideas about what we might be able to build at home now!

At the end of the day we’re pretty relaxed and looking forward to the bank holiday weekend

Stay safe, stay strong x

21st May 2020


Slept surprisingly well and everyone except D slept in this morning – both kids struggled to get to sleep last night because of the heat.

Both B and F have music lessons (piano and drums respectively) on Thursday. B had a Grade 1 “mock exam” with his piano teacher this morning – and his teacher said he did well enough to pass – which is great since its taken him a long time to get to this stage – shame he can’t do the real exam at the moment!

F has definitely taken to the drums (we got her a drum kit for Xmas last year) and has a good sense of rhythm. More practice wouldn’t hurt but she enjoys it and its something of her own since none of the rest of us have any idea (although she does pass on her knowledge to me in occasional lessons). Staying with drumming (sort of) we watched the first episode of SK Shlomo’s Homeskool Beatbox Adventures today which she really enjoyed (we saw SK Shlomo at the Cheltenham festival last year and he was great – I’d love to be able to beatbox with some degree of skill and credibility – which I suspect at my age isn’t going to happen!). F immediately wanted to know how she could be part of the “Zoom Room” which is used to get some interactivity going in video.

F also had a session with Liz/Mrs C today which she really enjoyed – she was just overflowing with chat and wanting to share poems and stories she’s been working on – it was really lovely to see and I think was something F needed.

I had quite a full work day, and didn’t finish until 9:30 due to some interviews with people in North America – but because I knew I was going to be working in the evening I tried to take it easier during the day, especially straight after lunch – I was able to take time out and cook bolognese for tea.

And in the garden another rose is open, revealing this beautiful centre.

Stay safe, stay strong.

20th May 2020

  • Feeling: Tired during the day, better this evening
  • Listening to: Nothing today
  • Watching: Great British Sewing Bee

Really hot today, which left me feeling very tired during the day (and even had to have a nap in the afternoon). Although I had some training to deliver first thing, overall I had a quieter Wednesday than usual due to a couple of cancelled meetings – which was a relief.

B had “Food Tech” homework and had to cook something so decided to make pita bread – which was a great success.

Very nice virtual choir this evening, and a chat online with a few choir friends was a nice pick-me-up this evening.

In the garden one of our new roses (a Ferdinand Pichard) is out which is lovely – mainly pink with small flashes of white.


Hoping it cools down a bit tomorrow!

Stay safe, stay strong.