Saturday 30 May 2020

I realised yesterdays post

Made me sound a little down in the dumps, not so I am glad to say, after many months of feeling like that last year.

Looking back on this lockdown time, I have made DGD 3 knitted items, 1 dress and another about to be started. We have done hours and hours of family research and managed to take our lines back a few more generations - money well spent.

We have had online dog training for Ruby, done gardening, kept making her food every fortnight, done lots of walking and done more chatting to neighbours whom we already know. Plus out on walks with Ruby, in our very quiet village at the moment, we have exchanged lovely words with other dog walkers who we don't normally meet.

We have adjusted to medical phone calls (no video here I am afraid), queued to get medicine (usually only one or two in the queue), learned a new way to shop and generally kept away from people. That is sometimes very difficult as they don't keep away from me and I have resorted to loud growls at them which generally makes them back off.

We have spent more time on FaceTime with DS and family, and watched our DGD blossom from a 10 week early skinny premature into a bouncing baby. We have also done exercise with them once a week, usually using our Wii Fit.

Exercise with them is usually decided on how tired they are from a larger more robust exercise routine with DDiL's sister and mum.

More pictures from the front gravel garden which could do with rain:

I spent half an hour out there this morning dead heading. A loaf of bread is in the machine and I have got two loads of washing on the line and it is only 09:40.

My mojo seems to be working well, don't know what I was on about!

Friday 29 May 2020

I’m grinding to a halt

I can’t work out whether I just can’t be bothered, have become a bit more lazy or don’t care! The days go by, a few things get done then it’s bedtime.

Today for instance I finally cleaned the sink, bath and toilet, but the now grimy walls and floor still need doing. I put two tomatoes into the garden, made lunch and tea and that was it. Oh, also did a bit of family history. Maybe I do more than I realise. Ah well, must be how things are panning out in lockdown.

Great that we can now meet more people but actually haven’t got more people to meet. Certainly can’t see son and family as a round trip, just the driving part, would be seven or eight hours.

I need just a few summer clothes but aren’t sure whether I want to risk the shops when they open. Not a fan of buying them online as I am in between sizes.

The big question is this, have I had the old virus or not. Have I had it and not known? If I have, then I wouldn’t need to worry about doing things.

The snap fastener machine I sent for arrived yesterday. I shall have a practise, finish off granddaughters dress and post it up. Just waiting on some special strengthening ribbon then I can try another dress.

Thursday 28 May 2020

A few more things growing out back

Rhubarb on the left, bed 2 (plus tomatoes bed 3). The two trees to the right of the tomatoes are small plum trees. The bit of raised bed at the bottom of the picture are bed 1 which has the dwarf runner beans in:
Last year I planted up 5 x 5l vinegar containers. The plants stayed there all over our relatively mild winter and every one is now growing again. The pegs at the back hold the black cloth in place. It sits on our table:
Bed 4 on the patio has radish, lettuce and beetroot just poking through:
The fruit cage has 3 dwarf raspberries, two not so happy gooseberry plants, a blackcurrant which had a major chop last year so hasn't got much fruit and our thornless bramble:

Wednesday 27 May 2020

TV we have been watching

We have been enjoying watching The Last Ship on Amazon. Five seasons free and we have almost finished season 3. It's amazing how invested you get in the characters which probably indicates good writing. However, we have both felt that some of the main story lines have gone on just a little too long. Overall though, very enjoyable.

Madam Secretary is another good programme but we have watched all the free ones we can.

They don't have a brilliant selection of films but we manage to get a good one every now and then. Being a member has been a bonus in the current situation as terrestial tv is rubbish at the moment.

Tuesday 26 May 2020


I started to plant my tomatoes and 3 runner beans into my raised beds. They had outgrown my mini greenhouse and had been hardened off. I still have the capability of protecting them with fleece if necessary:
 Some still waiting to go into the above plus pots.
3 dwarf runner beans:

I do wish we would have some rain. The ground is extremely dry and being on a water meter, I don't like to use the hose. However, I have been having to as everything is beginning to droop.

2 out of the next 3 beans have come up, obviously the 3rd one died in situ.

Monday 25 May 2020

First baby dress

I have made our granddaughter her first summer dress. Mind you, she is growing so well now that it might not fit. As its a trial though, I shall send it up to see what's what:
Laid flat, the bodice measures 11 1/2" across and from top of shoulder to hem of skirt 12". The skirt part of the dress should have measured 15" deep and 5" wider but I didn't quite have enough scrap material. It doesn't yet have any fastenings on the back as I have sent for snap fasteners and a machine to apply them.

Anyhow, I have increased the neck and armholes one cm to make them larger overall and dug out some more material to make another one. Hopefully the machine should arrive by the time I have the second one done and they can be sent up to guage her measurements.

The bodice is fully lined but not the skirt and although I had a few hiccups, for my first attempt I am quite chuffed!

Sunday 24 May 2020

Have people forgotten how to drive?

Leaving our village by car, we approached what I refer to as a dinky bend. That is a bit in the road that sticks out maybe a couple of feet before a turn. You can't just drive straight on near it otherwise your tyre hits it hard.

Obviously the person coming in the opposite direction, and driving way too fast in our opinion for such a narrow country lane, didn't see it. He crossed the white line by about a foot. DB reacted very quickly but we didn't have much wriggle room.

A loud bang shook our car, we braked immediately. The other driver drove off. There was no way they didn't hear or feel the bang. We pulled into a layby and inspected the damage. He must have missed our car by a whisker but had demolished our wing mirror. DB checked for traffic and went to collect the pieces from the road.

This is an all dancing all singing mirror unit so we knew it would be expensive. We hoped they would just need to change the mirror itself but no. The whole unit needs to be changed, they need to remove the interior trim of the door to get to it.

Just under £600.

Another thing we have been waiting to do is change the aerial. It got caught on the uplifted garage door a while back and was ripped out. Just under £400 for that as they need to remove the roof inside lining to get to it.

Blimey. Maybe need to think about a dash cam!

Thursday 21 May 2020


It is 01:17 and again, I can’t sleep. I am so hot and uncomfortable. The bedroom thermometer says 23C, even typing this, with the window wide open, isn’t making a difference.

Ah well, hopefully I will get a few hours somewhere along the line.

Tuesday 19 May 2020

Indoors outdoors...

When I went to bed last night, the outside temperature was 17.9C! It is supposed to drop to 13C and be around 10C for a few nights.

With that in mind, my 3, yes just 3 dwarf runner beans are spending those nights outside to get ready for planting. A few more have been sown but are slow to appear. The dwarf French beans seeds were useless.

Tomatoes, in various stages of size, have been in my open mini greenhouse for a few days, being closed in at night. Now, it is left open to harden them off. All being well, they will be planted in the garden the end of the month.

Slowly but surely the vegetables are moving on. I have raspberries setting fruit on my dwarf bushes bought last year. Another gooseberry failure though, with just a few fruits:(

Most of the rhubarb is at a standstill, though apples for now are doing well as are some pears.

Ah well, time will tell.

Sunday 17 May 2020

Holiday blues...

We should have been on holiday this week with family. We should have been enjoying some prolonged interaction with DGD, but it’s not to be. She is growing well, gone from a skinny premature to a filled out and blooming baby. She now weighs 8lb 10oz, is starting to smile and a few weeks ago, popped out a tooth!

It was hard work adding my three new plants into the gravel garden, it was bone dry despite a good watering. No rain forecast for quite a while. I had shoulder ache for the rest of the day.

Don’t know about you, but I have put on a little weight recently. I am not able to go for long walks every day and have been prone to eating extra biscuits so will have to get on top of it as I feel uncomfortable.

Saturday 16 May 2020

Garden centre visit

Being able to take a short drive out other than to get groceries, was lovely. We saw the common magenta rhododendrons out in full flower amongst other lovely views. The car park was almost full but is very small and is also the parking for a shop.

We joined a queue of 5 people, only a young woman as well us us, protected. First outing for DB, quite strange for him I think. It will be a one off for now.

No grow bags so opted for a bag of compost. No chives but I got a new parsley, some French marigolds to plant with my tomatoes when they go in and 3 herbaceous plants for the front garden.

I also got some new tomato feed and a large tub of chicken pellets to feed all my plants, but not where Ruby can get to otherwise she would eat them! Where she can get I will have to spray or watering can feed them.

When we came out there was quite a large queue. They were cleaning the trollies when they were brought back, and operating a one in one out policy. At the till, we had to push our trolley forward then step back to allow everything to be scanned. Then come forward to pay by card only and leave. Most people kept their distance.

I was still pleased to be back home and won’t venture out again for quite a while, except for food shopping.

Friday 15 May 2020

The Front Garden

is doing its usual lovely late Spring early Summer display:

It all desperately needs a good feed so on that note, we shall pop into a local garden centre (donning protective gear) to buy some feed, a gro bag and a few new herbs if available.

Thursday 14 May 2020

Shopping changes

It was slightly busier this morning, extra workers? Lidl was allowing more people into the shop than the last few weeks and I felt uncomfortable. I couldn’t stay away from anyone due to the numbers but I did have mask and gloves on so can only hope for the best. They also didn’t have several normal food items I needed.

As Morrison’s hasn’t had Yorkshire tea leaves in for weeks, we decided to finish our shopping by driving further to Sainsbury’s. The queue was quite long, again something new, we drove straight out. Driving a bit further, we arrived at Tesco, no queue and not too busy inside. I don’t like this particular shop and got around and out ASAP.

Has anyone else noticed a price increase in food. My total was £48, more than normal for a similar amount of food.

We were glad to get home, put it away, wash hands and door handles, then settle for a drink of tea.

Monday 11 May 2020

2nd wave and another lockdown coming....

Here are the road and underground pictures from today, see here.

Speaks volumes, not only crowded together but hardly any masks or gloves.

Sunday 10 May 2020

Confused and the poor police!

A very confusing Prime Minister speech. As much exercise as we wish, sport with your own household family, drive to exercise and other stuff that didn’t make much sense at all from a policing point of view.

How will they be able to tell who is going where to do what!

We might walk Ruby twice a day but won’t venture out much other than that. We don’t plan on changing much at all for now.

We will wait and see what hell is unleashed from this first stage and how the R changes, which I suspect it will.

Friday 8 May 2020

Tuesday 5 May 2020

Today is the day...

When DB took his life, and my nerves in his hands, and trimmed my hair. “On your head be it” he stated ruefully.

My order of a proper hairdressing gown and a rubber neck protector arrived yesterday. I knew what I wanted him to do and as I have always cut his hair, have the proper tools to do it.

Just the top needed a trim plus my neck area.

Well he did it, not bad at all. He found it difficult to hold comb and scissors so I would try and hold the comb for him whilst he cut.

He started on the top, taking 1” of scalp area at a time. A light twist and off the ends came, about 3/4” each time. He tried the normal hairdressing way of holding hair flat in his fingers, but found the twist worked better. Working in sections and perpendicular to my head, he carried on doing just the section above my ears, all around, top, sides and back.

Below that area is short so for now is okay. In front of my ears was combed forward, held flat with the comb and trimmed. The base of my neck was trimmed straight across using clippers but up the sides proved a bit difficult so he just trimmed a bit off using scissors. We will evaluate it in two weeks to see what needs doing.

No arguments either which was good. Well done DB.

Monday 4 May 2020

Face Mask for DB

So far, DB has kept out of the shops or walking in crowds since lockdown due to him being in an at risk group.

When lockdown lifts, he will need to don a mask so I set too making him one. I didn't have a special layer to put inside and once I had cut and sewed the denim, realised it was slightly stretchy.

After a bit of a think, I ironed a glued back stiffener to a 1" strip and sewed it into place over the seam, before adding a nose part and the final inner piece.

Took a bit longer, but overall quicker than mine and we are pleased with the result:
I may need to extend the elastic for him but we shall see.

Sunday 3 May 2020

Front Gravel Garden and Ruby

Thse two pictures were taken 4 days apart, before and after the recent rain:

Doesn't look much different but it is in real life. It has really perked up. Shame about the new window middle bar, the old window didn't have one.

Meanwhile, in the dining room, Ruby was sunbathing by the back door:
I was at the computer, attempting to take this picture over my head so as not to distrub her. She saw what I was doing though!

Saturday 2 May 2020

Cold Weather Lunch

Using my new Pressure King Pro multi cooker (one of the best things I have bought in a long while, so quiet), I used up some leftover and going to seed veg, to make soup. Carrots, potatoes, leeks about to go to seed, tomatoes, lettuce, pearl barley and 4 rashers of bacon:
Frying the bacon in the pot (not the best non stick but okay)
Added all ingredients plus water to cover and cooked for 20 minutes, then left to depressurise naturally:
Two stock cubes and dried thyme added then thickened. We had enough for lunch for two days.

Friday 1 May 2020

Baking - UPDATED

How to substitute baking powder, see here.

There are many banana bread/cake recipes around. I used one sent to me by DS courtesy of DDiL.

I left out the sultana's and added a similar amount of chocolate chips and chopped walnuts. It was lovely:

It will last us several days then I can either get the remainder of date slices from the freezer or bake something else.