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Sunday, 17 May 2020

Sunday: Day 68

Just saying, I am isolating still as per that letter, so hope this blog isn’t too boring for the readers.  I’m pleased to say that DH is going out for a walk locally, avoiding close contact and shops. We are learning how to navigate Sainsbury’s online shopping list, I thought I’d purchased packs of 1 litre fruit juice, turned out to be 200ml cartons, substitutes are another problem, a block of mature cheddar cheese was requested, instead we were sent a small pack of grated cheese was substituted, we asked for sardines in olive oil, instead sardines in sunflower oil was listed so DH asked the very pleasant delivery man if the cheese and sardines could be taken back, they were. The other item that was substituted was chocolate but the alternative was so similar it was acceptable.

From time to time I am annoyed with myself for not achieving much, however I have been decluttering old knitting and crochet magazines, found a 10 year old pattern in Yarn Forward for January 2011,



for a girl’s beret, I had the Rowan wool to make two, this is my effort at Lief beret, blue is Big Wool, cream colour, called China Clay, is Rowan Drift. Not easy knitting with 10mm circular needles and such thick wool it worth the effort. Whether Alice likes them will be another matter, at 3 years old she has very definite ideas about what she will wear, or not, she has a habit of taking all her clothes off.

The lockdown has led to small changes in our lifestyle, shopping by post, as I said above using grocery delivery service, learning to use Zoom, following church services on Facebook and using Chromecast to view on larger TV screen. The streamed church services, 9.30 on Sunday to Thursday mornings and Saturday evening prayer has given us a structure to our day, although pleased it isn’t Zoom when we are in pyjamas.

A few years ago we extended the downstairs cloakroom into a shower room, the shower is an electric one, our upstairs bathroom has shower over the bath, takes the hot water from the tank, we had a different system for each bathroom. The downstairs shower was mostly used when the family stayed, DH realised he preferred the spaciousness of freestanding shower so effectively we have our own bathrooms now.

Our dining room is at the front of our house, in normal times we just have meals in there and spend rest of time in lounge/sitting room/drawing room/parlour/back room (what is the correct name?) or in kitchen, now we use the dining  room more, we can look out in the street, feel less cut off, see people, some of whom even admire DH’s front garden. Another change after clearing the larder to use up food lurking at the back we found a packet of ground coffee so we retrieved a cafetière from the depths of a cupboard,  read the rules and I will have proper coffee now on instead of instant. So flavoursome, the feeling of power and style pushing down the plunger is silly and fun.

Oh,  in case you were wondering about present project, just making more cotton face cloths using up yarn, these will be for face washing grandchildren, preferable to using disposable wipes. Picture of one made earlier, just garter stitch, cast on one stitch, increase in front and back of second stitch, knit to end of row, knit enough rows to diagonal of square and then decrease by knitting second and third stitches together.













Sunday, 3 May 2020

Sunday : Day 54.

It has felt a strange few days, Thursday morning I felt so sad and upset, a school friend’s death was announced on Facebook, not from Covid 19, but from a stroke, Medwin had been suffering from terminal cancer, had undergone a leg amputation but battled on. An enduring school memory was her black hair, bouffant, never moving, like a helmet, she was one of those capable organised people who knew what to do, helpful, a mainstay of the South West Pony Association. Medwin’s death is the first of our class of which I was aware.

This was the second death of the week, Pam was a friend through our previous church and children’s primary school, again cancer took her. Another lady who was a ‘character’, boarding school, Swiss finishing school, not really a suburban person but adapted well to changed circumstances, handicapped by inherited deafness, rightly annoyed with me when I became more introvert and stopped entertaining even afternoon tea became too much, let alone dinner parties.

  This will have to change once we are no longer isolated, it is not fair on Ian for he is much more of a people person than me, I was surprised how I enjoyed a Zoom coffee morning yesterday, organised by our church, no raffle, no bacon butties, At the usual coffee morning one tends to just sit at one table so unless an effort is made to walk around one speaks only to the punters on that table whereas with a digital coffee morning everyone in theory can chat to everyone. As has been commented elsewhere it is interesting to see a small corner of other parishioners’ homes, often when watching journalists and others from their own homes the design and decorations are more interesting than their reports.

With that last thought in mind I’m delighted to tell you the sweet pea Attic24 blanket is complete, on the sofa/settee brightening up the dreary furniture. Even after many years I still feel the two settees were too heavy and bulky for the room, but are practical and tough when the grandchildren visit, no risk of fabric stains. They weren’t chosen for that, we thought the higher backs were supportive for our old spines, anyway this is now:-





Once this blanket was finished I started crocheting again as I wish to complete Moorland blanket for Daughter-in-law, however I have realised that crocheting aggravated my right shoulder where I have a rotator cuff tear, have had it on and off since September 2016. In theory it shouldn’t matter, I am left handed but in reality I’m not very left handed, it is mainly writing, sewing and using a spoon, probably because I grew up in a right handed household and learnt to adapt.  Even irons were designed to be used just by a right hander where the flex was in the way, nowadays the flex comes out of the centre of the heel.  I shall turn to completing Ian’s second pair of toe up socks.





























    Thursday, 23 April 2020

    Thursday: Day 44

    A few pictures to illustrate how we are doing at Pixie Towers, the sunshine makes all the difference.


    A rainbow on the ginger jar, we have been pulling the net curtains back, we can see the few folk in the street, the sunshine comes in. Ian made and decorated this jar at the Manor House hotel, it is near Okehampton, we used to holiday there when our offspring were in their teens.



    View of our patio, Ian has been potting up dahlias, he kept them in the garage over the winter after reading up online and in books the best method, so far 22 have emerged from their wintry cocoon. He’s had a move round of pots, planted seeds, some of which are out of date by up to 10 years. My role in this, admiration. Some of the plants were intended for the church grounds, he cannot plant there, it is hoped that the teenagers may continue to do so for him.





    Most exciting, a jolly postman delivered this, I never touch the post or indeed anything that comes into the house so Ian had the pleasure of unwrapping the yarn from Wool Warehouse needed to complete Daughter-in-law’s blanket, my loose tension and change of stitch meant I feared running out of yarn. I can use left overs for making knits for grandchildren, the acrylic is more practical than pure wool.

    Oh, just remembered another good thing, yesterday was my first experience of using Zoom, the broadcast featured Betsan Corkhill about the therapeutic benefits of knitting. I was reminded that stress affects immune system, am still amazed that personally I feel so much better both physically and mentally whilst being confined to barracks, confirms I’m an introvert and not a people person.  I do try when I have to be with people, it is only in the last few years I’ve understood all this, but always it has been recognised that I’m happy on my own. Having said this, I’m so lucky to have Ian around, he understand me so well, we seem to have telepathy so life is good. 🦢






    Friday, 17 April 2020

    Friday: Day 38

    The system that was set up by the government for vulnerable people like me has worked, there is so much media criticism of the handling of the pandemic that I am pleased to announce this. From receiving the paper letter last Saturday, I registered with government Monday, on Tuesday started using Sainsbury’s online delivery webpage, a first time, apparently needed to compile a shopping list first which we did, then all day kept trying to see if a slot appeared for the next three weeks! If didn’t try within the hour had to keep logging in again, felt a bit disheartened considering all the online discussions about no slots. Woke on Wednesday morning about 7, was in the toasty warm, drifting in and out of a light doze, half asleep mode,  when suddenly recalled the previous day’s actions, half heartedly grabbed iPad  to find a choice of slots this week, with different charges according to time of day.

    Woke Ian, logged on, we booked for Friday between 9 and 10 am, today the driver came a few minutes past nine, he was cheerful, understanding that it was our first time, it was appreciated he couldn’t put the deliveries on the kitchen table as I’m vulnerable. Gave me great joy that Ian isn’t worrying about provisions, possibly we may continue with deliveries after our lives return to our normal. Usually I like Waitrose for shopping, however the Sainsbury store carries so much more stock, we went for the Taste the Difference range and organic where possible. We had even managed to add to our needs yesterday evening, now we intend to keep an open list to add items as we think of them. I consider food now part of the way of being healthy, along with sitting in the sun to top up Vitamin D which until today I have been able to do.  

    Pictures taken rather haphazardly of the delivery, ice cream was already in freezer, I think some other items may have been stored away, obviously I haven’t touch any of it yet. 







    Thankfully we are both well, the warm sunny weather has helped our good mood, Ian has been able to garden, old outdated seeds have been scattered in case they still flower, today it has started to rain this afternoon, the water butts will fill and the watering hose stowed away. I’m awaiting Stylecraft DK yarn to complete Daughter-in-law’s blanket, meanwhile I’ve mastered the border of the Sweet Pea blanket so am concentrating on that. 







    Saturday, 11 April 2020

    Saturday: Day 32.

    The texts from NHS Coronavirus keep popping into Messages on my phone, today the paper notification came from the surgery, somehow it seemed more real. More information than in the text, solved the problem of whether I should register my current situation as I have great support from Ian, he is isolating but does go into our front garden, forbidden to me according to the letter. I don’t touch the post, Ian carefully opens the letters and parcels, at first I didn’t realise what he was doing, felt miffed he’d opened May Country Living magazine. This morning our milk was delivered at 3am, Ian went downstairs, bought it in, washed all the bottles, the handle of the crate, it takes time and breaks his sleep pattern. The same cleaning with deliveries  from the greengrocer and the cheesemonger today, these are independent businesses in our local High Street, we will support them in person once this pandemic passes.



    The post brought some paintings from the grandchildren, the rainbow has been put in the front window, the sheet quotes Charlie’s hand, saying “print me, colour me and pop me in your window to bring some happiness and rainbow love to the world”. #windows of happiness.


    Although not as the printed outline of the cross suggests I think the circles of paint are rather artistic, reminds me of stained glass. The children were painting outside, the unpainted sheet in the foreground shows the outline for the cross.



    Work continues on the crochet blanket, today I’ve ordered more 🧶, I think using trellis stitch rather than neat wave stitch has demanded more yarn, also I suspect my tension is a little loose so it is long and a bit narrow, more a blanket for a bed rather than for a sofa. Perhaps I shouldn’t crochet while playing scrabble, no wonder I lost, even by a small amount.



    Wishing all the joy and peace this Easter, we will be gathering round an iPad for the live FB streaming of our church service Ss Philip & St James Whitton. As no one will be in the church building tomorrow Mrs Vicarage posted pictures of previous flora arrangements.


    Saturday, 4 April 2020

    Saturday: Day 25

    Firstly, just want to reassure my few readers that Ian and I are still feeling great, we potter along, we read the papers, attempt the crossword and sudokus, Ian has been gardening, I crochet, we sleep well and long, at least eight hours.

     Just now Ian made two palm crosses, we used the leaves from a palm type tree, the stems grow over our front fence from the neighbour's garden, we used to put the fallen leaves back over the fence as the law commands, we were told not to do so.  The crosses are for tomorrow’s Palm Sunday service which will be streamed on Facebook, a tutorial was posted on the church’s FB page for those who didn’t know or had forgotten how the make the crosses. It was planned that those who wished could join the residents of the care  home opposite the church building to make crosses, it is always a riotous and jolly occasion.



    Last Monday we joined the WhatsApp group for our road, well it is an avenue, in name and fact as it is tree lined, we joined in the clapping on Thursday, today it was suggested we have afternoon tea at 3pm out the front of our properties.



    Garden table and chairs with hidden crochet cushions, on tray teapot with Earl Grey loose tea, Emma Bridgewater mugs, coconut slices, serviettes and cake forks. These in honour of 4 year old grandson who insists on using one when cake is served, at least in our house. All this on the driveway outside garage doors!

    I’d made the cake earlier in the day, old fashioned creaming method to produce this:-



    As we will not be going away for some time I have decided to use up the contents of the tiny travel bottles, we have many small size toothpaste tubes, shower gel,  hand cream which is much need as the backs of my hands are sore with all the hand washing.

    Earlier in the day we had a delivery from the small local greengrocer,  the dozen eggs in brown paper bags had been removed before the photo was taken.




    Even the post arrives early, I think it was around 9am, perhaps before but so much better than around 2 pm which has been the norm for some time here. 

















    Saturday, 28 March 2020

    Day 18

    I must be so unusual, staying home for the last 18 days has been calming, relaxing and enjoyable. There’s a little guilt in that I don’t achieve what’s on our to do list, but so what - the ironing can wait another day, we have enough clothes, one shirt or dress waiting doesn’t matter. Neither of us is going anywhere nor seeing anyone for perhaps months as we are self isolating until it really safe to emerge from Pixie Towers. The blanket for DiL is growing, have been able to sit outside and work on it when the wind wasn’t too fierce.




    Ian reading his new sour dough book, part of a kit from Sous Chef received for his birthday from DD and SiL. My gift to him has had to be postponed, it is to be the Art Pass so we can visit even more places than Kew Gardens, V & A, Royal Academy or National Trust to which we belong already. 

    Much work has been done by Ian in the garden, pots moved around, beds dug, potting up, just tidying up after winter so this was the view when I sat outside in the sunshine. 




    We have been advised not to cut the grass until March has gone, so we won’t, especially as the forecast is for colder weather again. 

    We have been following our church’s FB live video of church services,  evening prayer tonight, tomorrow it will be Eucharist from the vicarage study. One is reminded that it is now “where one or two are gathered in my name” . We are finding it strangely comforting, no distractions whilst the service proceeds yet one can tell that others are ‘in church’ too. Truly our church is not a building anymore but the many who connect online. 

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/story/reader/?page_story_id=1505695996158083

    If this doesn’t work, the FB page is SS Philip & James Church Whitton. There was another first, our vicar was installed virtually as Priest in charge of a neighbouring parish, again this video is online.


    https://londondiocesanfund-my.sharepoint.com/personal/archdeacon_middlesex_london_anglican_org/_layouts/15/onedrive.aspx?id=%2Fpersonal%2Farchdeacon%5Fmiddlesex%5Flondon%5Fanglican%5Forg%2FDocuments%2FVideos%2F2020%2003%2025%20Licensing%20of%20David%20Cloake%20as%20PinC%20St%20St%20Hounslow%2Emp4&parent=%2Fpersonal%2Farchdeacon%5Fmiddlesex%5Flondon%5Fanglican%5Forg%2FDocuments%2FVideos&originalPath=aHR0cHM6Ly9sb25kb25kaW9jZXNhbmZ1bmQtbXkuc2hhcmVwb2ludC5jb20vOnY6L2cvcGVyc29uYWwvYXJjaGRlYWNvbl9taWRkbGVzZXhfbG9uZG9uX2FuZ2xpY2FuX29yZy9FVHBWV1NPajZ3QkZwelhhR3RLY1doY0JqY0dveWp3NmpMWnNGZmdweDNrMXBRP3J0aW1lPUllOXlhbXJUMTBn


    Not sure whether this will work, would be interested to have some feedback. I try and respond to to blogs but Blogger makes it difficult for me, I’m a bit naughty, I read a blog, not only on Blogger think I must go back and comment on that and then don’t.

    We have it easy here, thoughts go out to everyone struggling with isolation and the difficulties caused by this virus.