14th July 2020

  • Feeling: Still meh
  • Listening to: Nothing today
  • Watching: Warrior Nun

Woke up feeling tired and drained this morning and it took me quite a while to get going. Work seemed to fill most of the day with calls through from 12:30-5pm without a break 🙁

F got a certificate from school today for “good home working” which was great and we get her end of year report tomorrow. B has been working on machine learning program to break simple substitution ciphers – so it isn’t very successful (best performance is it guesses letters correctly only 16% of the time) – but he’s learning some code and principles which is great.

Spoke to Mum for a long time this evening, watched some TV with D, then got dragged back into some more work (by my own traitorous brain).

Time to sleep now

Stay safe, stay strong

13th July 2020


One of those Mondays when I felt like I needed another day off to recover from the weekend. F woke up very cheerfully (not really in character) and I dropped her at school, while B, D and I settled into work at home as usual.

B got his results from the Junior Mathematical Challenge which he did online earlier this month – and got a Silver (one up on his Bronze from last year) which I think puts him in the top 20% – so very proud of that (although he was, I think, a little disappointed as he reviewed the things he’d got wrong and felt he should have got right).

D was in college later in the day, and I was delivering some online training in the afternoon – so we didn’t see much of each other after 11 until the end of the day.

D finished the latest 1000 piece jigsaw (which means she did the whole thing pretty much by herself) – a much quicker puzzle than the Discworld one!

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Another jigsaw done, now time to do some spotting

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With the deck in the final stages I’d hoped to do a little bit each evening to avoid having to put time aside this weekend – but of course it rained this evening so that nixed that plan.

Instead I made some soda bread at the end of the day (after failing to get round to baking bread at the weekend) for us to try the raspberry jam we made last week – very nice!

Stay safe, stay strong

12th July 2020

  • Feeling: Tired but pleased
  • Listening to: Nothing today
  • Watching: Black Panther (a bit)

The kids woke at 6am to make us breakfast (or brunch as B insisted it was because we didn’t eat it until 9am!) This meant we were all up way too early – but it was lovely to have them so keen to treat us. There was a menu for the “Food Thyme” café with a wide variety of breakfast options…

Thankfully everyone chose waffles to eat – which kept things as simple as possible. F made me coffee (she’s pretty good with this now although I always worry she’s going scald herself on the espresso machine) and we all sat on the deck to eat it – and was an absolutely glorious morning and clearly too sunny for me and B to open our eyes properly!

Most of the rest of the day I spent trying to get the deck completed (while D made impressive progress with our latest jigsaw) I had a break after lunch because it was sooo hot, helped out a little with the jigsaw before watching Black Panther with the kids (although I went back out to work on the deck again so didn’t see it all.) We also had our weekly quiz with my family which was really nice and some great quiz questions from I.

By the end of the day I’d got all the top decking laid – which means just the edges to do – and of course the whole thing needs treating & staining to make it weather-proof. I’m feeling really good about getting this project done – it was several years ago that I first had the idea of putting a deck in this spot, so very pleased to have finally done it and despite a few hiccoughs along the way (including somehow managing to break a tape measure today) I’m pretty pleased with the job I’ve done.

The next steps are:

  • finish the edges
  • treat & stain the decking
  • put up a sail shade (on order)
  • order a table (and maybe chairs – although we do already have some garden chairs)
  • use the spare timber & decking to make planters to go round the end of the deck

That should keep me busy for the rest of the summer!

Stay safe, stay strong

11th July 2020

  • Feeling: Tired out (but in a good way)
  • Listening to: Nothing today
  • Watching: DC Legends of Tomorrow

Woke early partly because I wanted to try and get the deck completed today and partly because we’d ordered some breakfast pastries from Haddie & Trilby. I managed to collect the pastries without a problem, but the deck still not quite finished.

D also baked some peanut butter cookies so we were well served for sweet treats today.

The decking went well with lots of help from B and F, but in the end we just didn’t have enough time to get it finished. Last week the kids promised to make me breakfast once the deck was finished (to eat on the deck) and it seems a shame to leave it until next weekend for them to make good on their promise so I think we’ll breakfast on the partially completed deck tomorrow!

Exhausted now! Stay safe, stay strong.

10th July 2020

  • Feeling: TGIF
  • Listening to: Apple Essential “Sing-a-long” mix
  • Watching: Old Guard

Not sure I’ve been incredibly productive today – I have done stuff, and attended meetings, but really I’ve been looking forward to the weekend all day.

F was at home today as the school is currently closed for a deep-clean on a Friday (none of the communications we’ve had regarding school in September have mentioned this continuing). She had a good session with Liz (as always) and also her tuition from Explore and drum lesson later in the day and also managed to fit in watching Deathly Hallows pt 2.

B had his school work all done by 10:30 and I think was at a bit of a loose end the rest of the day – he downloaded some new visual effects software (Fusion Da Vinci Resolve) and played around with that and seemed happy.

D picked a whole load of raspberries from the garden this afternoon and so I made some jam this evening while the kids watched TV.

We had a Friday treat of pizza from Red Hot Mamma – and as a double treat ate it in front of the TV. After that I split some paving stones up ready to add the final supports to the decking frame tomorrow and then hopefully I’ll be on the final stretch and if we’re lucky we might even be able to sit on the deck by the end of the weekend!

Stay safe, stay strong.

8th July 2020

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

D was up first ready for the Sainsbury delivery, while I slept until about 8. When I got downstairs F was very upset because she felt that D had just been telling her to do stuff since she woke up. To be fair to D had only asked her to do basic things like “put your socks on” and “eat your breakfast” and I think the main issue was that F wanted to read her book rather than get up and go to school. Happily after storming off in tears F came back and apologised to D (and me) which I was really impressed by – F finds it hard to admit she’s behaved badly or unreasonably and for her to do it this morning felt like a real step forward.

I dropped F at school, picked up some purchases from Screwfix, had breakfast before I eventually got to my desk – but after that it was pretty much work all the way through the day with few breaks – and I’m still thinking about work now – it’s been one of those days.

We got a delivery today of a plant – a present from my Mum in memory of Dad. It is a Caryopteris Clandonensis (common name = Bluebeard) Sterling Silver.

It’s currently getting a good soaking in this rain which just keeps falling. It should bloom in August and I hope it will work well in a container on the decking.

After B had finished his school work (just before lunch) he decided to bake some “afghan cookies” – a Primrose Bakery recipe which is a chocolate cookies with cornflakes in them – the results were pretty good.

I had choir this evening, and then D and I watched Marvellous about Neil Baldwin – really uplifting and great performances from Toby Young (who plays Neil) and Gemma Jones (as his mother).

Stay safe, stay strong.

7th July 2020

  • Feeling: OK but a bit out of sorts
  • Listening to: Nothing today
  • Watching: Legends of Tomorrow

Woke up first this morning (not like me), made tea and did a bit of work before taking F to school, and only got round to breakfast once I’d done that.

Was pretty focussed during the morning, although I was struggling with some of the work I had to do it was because the work was hard rather than me being distracted. D went into college for an hour and I’d planned to go into Warwick to run some errands – but she was back just before lunch and I’d still not managed to get that done. I grabbed lunch very quickly and managed to get to Warwick to drop something at the Post Office and pick up some tea from The Golden Monkey (we were running low on Irish Breakfast and it would be a disaster to run out!) before a meeting at 2pm.

I wore a face-covering out for the first time – generally I’ve been in big open spaces when I’ve gone out of the house, but I was aware I might have to queue in the Post Office, and the staff in the tea shop were wearing masks last time I went. I saw other people wearing masks but they weren’t in the majority.

I had a short break from work when F got home from school and watched the start of Frozen 2 with her and B, but then had another call before I finally stopped for the day. Cooked spaghetti and meatballs for tea (this recipe from Nigella which I think is pretty good).

F was in a slightly better mood today although she was still a bit grumpy about doing her 11+ tutoring session this evening – I think it just is difficult at 6:45pm for her to feel motivated to do more school work.

I’m ready the kids Orion Lost at bedtime – an adventure set on a damaged spaceship aimed at kids/young adults. I’m really enjoying reading it to them and its nice to be able to read some science fiction (with a good helping of mystery) to them rather than fantasy (there seems to be a lot more fantasy than science fiction in the kids book market).

Weather is a bit miserable at the moment – but the kids have promised to make me a special breakfast to eat on the deck – once I’ve finished the deck – so some motivation to get this done before Sunday morning!

Stay safe, stay strong

6th July 2020

  • Feeling: Unproductive
  • Listening to: Nothing today
  • Watching: Bake off: The professionals

Today never really seemed to get going. I woke a bit late, took F to school, and started working, but wasn’t able to focus on the things I was meant to be doing.

I ended up spending the day fixing a problem (so I did do work) but not really the thing I should have been focussed on – I was distracting myself with non-urgent tasks.

I think D was in a similar mood to me, and F was pretty grumpy especially after school – I think probably still all tired from the weekend. B seemed OK though.

Got a headache now so going to get some sleep and hopefully will feel a bit more motivated and focussed tomorrow.

Stay safe, stay strong

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.