Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Be Kind



Thank you so much to everyone for your comments on my last post, especially to lee and Kate steeper who posted comments which could help vulnerable people to get a home delivery slot at some point.  It was something I didn't already know and could potentially point a lot of needy people in the right direction, so a massive Thank You!

There have been unkind comments on social media regarding people being selfish in queuing at supermarkets and only coming out with a few items.  Personally, I don't want to judge them.  Perhaps they needed nappies or baby milk, both of which are rationed to 2 items in our area.  The lockdown was announced just as people were coming to the end of the month too when money becomes tight just before payday.  Perhaps they simply couldn't stockpile in the way many others did due to lack of cash.  Will we next judge them for filling their trollies as much as they are able with payday now approaching?  Many people simply don't have the cash available to shop as others see fit and do the best they can for their families.  Our food banks are testament to that.  And, of course, we all need fresh supplies of milk and fresh fruit and veg every couple of weeks.

In a world where we can be anything we choose...BE KIND




I'm sorry this post is a bit more downbeat than usual but it was something I just had to say out loud.

Tomorrow's post will be happier, I promise.  Just a thought to make you smile before I sign off:
Take a look at my photo at the top and imagine how my hair will look by the time we can re-open the hair salons!  I will look like the Dulux dog....lol....  How are you coping with your hair?

Stay well wherever in the world you happen to be x

Monday, 30 March 2020

The Perils of Click and Collect

Firstly, a warm welcome to granny j...hello!

We collected the shopping from the 'click and collect' point at Sainsburys at the allotted hour (9am) on Saturday, but it was a disappointing experience to be honest.  Shortages meant that 13 items out of 42 were unavailable including 8 substitutions.  There was no washing powder, gravy granules or (shocked face) NO baked beans!  We are down to one last big tin and 2 small ones.  The worst thing was we were not given a receipt so have absolutely no idea how much we were charged for the shopping.  I shouted the question (from much more than 2 metres) to the young man bringing out the orders who simply said that the receipt hadn't printed out properly.  Great....I'll have to wait and see how much has been taken from the account once the system updates in a couple of days.  I think it will be a while before we risk another similar shopping expedition even if we can get a slot.  I'm living in hope of getting a home delivery at some point in the next 2 - 3 weeks, but I really do appreciate how stretched they are.

I wrote another list of meals that we can make and we should be able to stretch to 3 weeks worth with what we have in.  DD is going to try ordering some washing powder for me in her click & collect order in just over a week's time.  Meanwhile, I have enough to keep us clean :)

Sunday lunch was the bendy veg from the fridge with a veggie sausage for me and a bit of beef stew I found in the freezer for G, served with baby potatoes, a couple of onion rings each, and some frozen baby Yorkshire puddings (not served still frozen, obviously...lol  why does good English grammar desert me in times of stress?...lol)  Pudding was a Magnum lolly; naughty but very nice...

Lunch today will be pizza, I think, and perhaps egg and chips for tea tonight.  I have a lemon so will make a lemon drizzle cake later this afternoon.  Comfort food indeed ;)

Are you managing to get supplies? Are you finding shortages in your area?

That's all for now.  Stay safe wherever in the world you happen to be x




Friday, 27 March 2020

A Happy Day!

When I woke up this morning, after a more restful sleep than the last few nights, it was to a chilly grey morning.  After sitting quietly in my reading corner drinking my morning tea, the sun peeped out from behind the clouds and decided to stay.  I quickly stripped my bed and washed the covers which are now drying in the lovely sunshine....


G has so far managed to lay 4 new slabs so the patio is getting bigger on a daily basis.  There are just 4 more to lay then he can start on other garden projects.....


The bread maker is on too.....

For lunch I defrosted a couple of Quorn fillets which were cut into chunks and simmered gently in half a jar of ready made curry sauce,  served with a packet of microwave rice.  Do you know, I could get used to this instant food lark!  The rest of the sauce is in the fridge so I must remember to use it up within 7 days  (mental note)



Tea will be homemade bread sandwiches with tinned salmon, pickled beetroot and cherry tomatoes.  I usually add lettuce as well but I don't have any.

Like a lot of the population I have been struggling to book a food delivery slot online.  About an hour before bed I checked again, not really expecting to be successful but found a few 'click and collect' slots had been released.  I quickly completed my food shop and we can pick it up between 9 and 10 am tomorrow.  It will be a round trip of almost 20 miles but will be worth it.  I have a feeling that is why I slept a little sounder.  If they have most things in stock I'll not need to shop again for around 2 weeks.  This will give others a fair chance to get a slot too.

Gratitudes

For being able to buy food supplies

For the whole country coming together to clap the health workers at 8pm last night

For another beautiful day

Stay safe everyone, wherever in the world you happen to be x

Thursday, 26 March 2020

The Kindness of Folk

Thank you to all who left lovely, heartwarming comments on my last post.  I appreciate each and every one.

Today's post is one of gratitude and appreciation:

For the retired Doctors and Nurses who have come out of retirement in droves (11,000 of them) in order to help our hospitals care for the sick,

For the volunteers who didn't hesitate to step forward to help the housebound and needy.  560,000 of them at the count this morning have volunteered to shop, deliver supplies or just to be on the end of the phone if someone needs to talk.

For the postmen and women who are carrying on delivering important letters to households across the country.

And for the sensible, caring people who are staying home, as requested, probably losing out financially at the end of the crisis, but still doing their bit to halt this invisible enemy.

God bless you all x

Now....trivial chatter! :) …...Yesterday was spent washing, drying everything on my new whirly line and generally pootling about the house.  We want to lay a few more paving slabs to extend the patio a bit to make it a rectangle of 4 slabs x 5 instead of 3 x 4 IYSWIM but G can only manage to lay 1 slab per day.  In his younger days it would have all been done in a day, but those days of youthful energy are well and truly gone....lol.  We ate our eggs on toast in the garden and by 3pm the sun was so lovely and comforting that I picked up my book, poured myself a small glass of port and read for an hour.  Bliss.....

On Tuesday I made a large Quorn cottage pie of which we shared half with veg and gravy, then ate the other half last night with more veg and more gravy.  We don't have much left in the fridge in the way of vegetables, about half a dozen carrots and a quarter of a cauliflower.  G has eaten the last of his satsumas and we are running a little low on fresh milk too. Tea tonight will be a fish dish.  I'm not sure which one yet as we will decide what we fancy later but it will be one off the list I shared with you.....

How are you managing with your meals?  It's amazing how being stuck at home focusses the mind, isn't it.  Are you finding that you are not as hungry due to lack of exercise?  We are ...

Before the lockdown I ordered some new pyjamas and this is the slogan on the top.  It turned out prophetic don't you think!



Anyway, that's all for now, stay safe wherever in the world you happen to be x

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Food Lists and Planning

So.... we are officially now on lock down.  It's the sensible thing to do.  We are under no illusions but that it's going to be tough but soooo worth it to kill this invisible enemy.

This morning, whilst drinking my early morning cup of tea, I wrote a list of meals which I have the ingredients for already. I found it hard to sleep last night and the idea of writing a list relaxed me enough to get a few hours sleep. I had earlier received an email from the supermarket to say that we are not classed as vulnerable and I am unable to book a slot for my next shop :/  Our meals will therefore be pretty much the same for the next couple of weeks but we don't mind cooking once, eating twice anyway.


I came up with 31 portions, mainly fish, cheese and Quorn products but they will keep us going for 15 days easily.
Breakfast will be cereal with tinned fruit and yogurt (if we have it) or an egg, or porridge.
Lunches will be sandwiches of egg, cheese or tinned salmon (with salad if we can get any, or at least a tomato)

Happier News

It's DD's birthday today and for the first time in 45 yrs we haven't been able to see her on her special day.  We made a WhatsApp video call this morning.  Our lovely GD (aged 15) has turned teacher and written out learning timetables for herself and her younger brother, factoring in PE, lunch and phone/PS time after 3pm!  Her brother's plan has been highlighted in green so that his Dyslexia is catered for.  No excuses now!

Gratitudes

1) For the refuse collectors who were out this morning emptying the bins and recycling bags.

2) For DIY tasks being completed by G.  At last I have a washing line/ whirly thing outside!

3) For technology which allows us all to function from home



Come on folks WE CAN DO IT!

Lastly a warm welcome to Denise....hello!

That's all for now. Stay safe wherever in the world you happen to be x

Sunday, 22 March 2020

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's day!




I just wanted to wish every Mother in the world a happy day today.  I know that different countries have the celebration at different times of the year but in the UK it is TODAY!

Then I would like to thank all the lovely people who took the time to comment on my last post , giving their own lists of Gratitudes and steps they are taking to sit this crisis out.  A warm welcome to Angela, my new follower, as well as a couple more (although I can't work out who you are) Welcome anyway :)

Here the sun is shining brightly and we have the windows open.  G is in the garden pottering about and I have done the ironing with the sun shining through the open French doors onto my back.  I have a supermarket delivery arriving later today.  I have already received an email apologising for the fact that lots of products are out of stock.  There are quite a few substitutions too and NO washing powder.  It doesn't matter, I will take what I can get/am allowed.  No fuss....

For lunch I ate a grilled veggie burger from the freezer on a fresh bun with loads of salad and G had 2 sausage baps.  This leaves 3 buns for tomorrow which we can have with cuppa soup for lunch.  I make a weekly meal plan anyway but it's very strange having to s-t-r-e-t-c-h food to make 2 meals instead of 1.  One person commented that they share a teabag.  Actually it could come to that here as that is one product I will not be receiving in my order!  That's a great tip ;)

Gratitudes

1) For the love of close family and friends

2) For the ability to still be able to laugh at life

3) For the sun on my back today

What have you all been doing today?


God bless you all and keep you safe wherever in the world you happen to be x

Saturday, 21 March 2020

Unprecedented Times...I Will Say This Only Once!

In these unprecedented times I think it important to retain as much normality as possible in our own lives.  Things are far from normal but I refuse to join the scrum in a fight for food.  We will eat what we have or can obtain via supermarket delivery services, try to get a bit of exercise whenever possible, keep in touch with family and friends by phone or video link, and above all try to stay calm. I can craft, catch up on my reading of books, watch a bit of TV, keep the house clean (notice how housework came last on my list? ...lol) and G can do the garden and pop to the allotment unless he is forced to stop. I feel my blog would be pointless without referring in part, at least, to the virus, simply because it has changed so many lives for the worse, but I always want to end on a high note.  For that reason I will post 3 Gratitudes each time I write and try to find some good in every day. There is good out there!



My Small Treasure for yesterday was the lucky find of some forced rhubarb at the allotment :) It was microwaved for a couple of minutes with the addition of sugar to taste and instead of using up my supply of flour & butter I used a packet of crumble mix from the store cupboard to make a delicious pudding which we ate with packet custard.....


Gratitudes:

1)  For the wonderful people who are selflessly carrying on in their jobs helping others in this time of crisis:  NHS workers, Police, Carers, Teachers, supermarket staff & delivery drivers of all kinds, the list is endless. God bless and keep you all safe.

2) For food in the house

3) For the luxury of a hot bath at the end of the day ;)

What would your gratitudes be?

Stay safe wherever in the world you happen to be x




Friday, 20 March 2020

Allotment Cheer!

Firstly, a warm welcome to Lorie...hello!   And Sue...Hi!

I promised some allotment news so I'll just get the boring stuff out of the way first (although you might find the allotment news boring...hmmm....hadn't thought of that before ;)  Anyway, the GC are now off school for the foreseeable future as it's closed until further notice.  They are jubilant to have an extended holiday but not so keen on working from home...lol...it must be done!!

My regular monthly craft fair is also postponed until further notice (unsurprisingly)

G had a phone call yesterday afternoon apologising for the cancellation of his appointment and promising a review in 3 months time.  They need the staff in order to help combat Covid-19. He will be on morphine patches for the next 3 months at least then....

Happier chat following NOW!

G has made a start on the new allotment.  He has begun 2 raised beds, put some manure down and laid bark chippings to make it easier to work around the beds....

We brought the mini greenhouse from our last home.  At the moment it houses an over-wintering Canna plant and odds and ends which haven't, as yet, found a home elsewhere.  On the ground is a metal trellis we were given which will come in very handy later on.....


This is the inherited apple tree, which produces cooking apples, we think. G has given it a light trim but it will need much more work later in the season to get some air around the middle...


There is also a smaller tree a few feet from that and we have no idea what kind it is.  Only time will tell....

We discovered a rhubarb crown when we first took over the half plot in December, so G covered it with bark chippings to protect it. When it began to show signs of growth a few weeks ago we covered it with an old dustbin we found on the plot.  After a week it was putting on a spurt....


As G and I are now social-distancing to be on the safe side, we are hoping to pop to the allotment later today when everyone else has been and gone to see if it has grown enough for some Rhubarb crumble.  I do hope so :)  We will be in the car door to gate, so to speak, and the allotment plots are well spaced out.  I really hope we will be able to continue to go.  G has put in potatoes and broad beans so far and we have loads of seed from a gardening magazine freebie to sort out.

Edit: DD & GC have just popped to the door with some flowers, cards and chocolate for Mother's Day.  It's DD's birthday next Tuesday so the visit also solved the problem of how to get her card and money to her.  It was so hard not to hug but we did the elbow bump thing and lots of blowing kisses instead.  This thing WILL PASS.

If you want a smile just copy and paste the link below to see the lovely Dame Judy Dench's message...

https://twitter.com/i/status/1240249008125337602

That's all for now.  Stay safe wherever in the world you happen to be x

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Battening Down The Hatches...

Firstly a warm welcome to my new follower Carla...hello!

After this next weekend we know that over 70's will need to stay at home as much as possible for a 3 week trial period.  We all know that supermarket shelves are emptied as soon as they are re-stocked so I have had to go against my principles and buy a little extra to tide us over the next 3 weeks.  My fridge looks like this this morning....


There's plenty of veg and apples in the bottom drawer of the above too.


The eagle eyed among you will have noticed the bottle of dry cider in the door.  It's for cider hotpot !!  I'm not going to resort to drinking...yet... ;)  Because G is on so much medication he can't have even a sip of his favourite beer so we have compromised and put cider into a hotpot.  The alcohol burns off during cooking (most of it anyway) and as I only use 1/4 pint in a 4 portion recipe he can have some.   I'm hoping that as it's still cider, rather than fizzy, in a screw top bottle that it will keep for another hotpot in a few days. The freezer was already reasonably full of fish, veg, oven chips, frozen fruit etc which is a relief.

I am still unable to buy bread flour but can manage for a while. We are using every stale scrap we have for toast.   Sainsbugs released 3 or 4 delivery slots for today but I have left them for someone more in need than we are and will just keep checking for a slot around 2 weeks time.

My lovely younger brother who is 64 rang me yesterday morning.  He had woken up at 6am and decided to go to the supermarket at 7am when they opened.  He asked if there was anything I needed and brought me some long-life milk, some pasta and a pack of 9 toilet rolls.  He has to be extra careful because his wife is 76 and has chest problems so he rang the bell and handed me the shopping through the open door.  I couldn't even give him a hug which was very hard for both of us.  As we all know a hug at any time of stress is a comfort but we didn't dare. So sad....

I was due to go with DD and family to a pub on Saturday for a Mother's day treat but we have decided to cancel.  It wouldn't be wise.  I am 70 and Son in Law is 53 but with an existing chest problem.

The GC are off school today.  They don't have enough teachers so they have been given learning packs to work through at home. GD is 15 and will work diligently, GS is 13 and it will be a struggle to keep him off his bloomin' PS !

G's hospital appointment tomorrow has been cancelled (no surprise there) and his visit to the GP yesterday resulted in him having to set up an online account with Patient Access in order to get his medication delivered direct to our local pharmacy.  GP surgery visits are being curtailed for the foreseeable future.

I ordered a green bin for garden waste yesterday from the local council ( it cost me almost £30) and it was delivered at 7.45am by a couple of workers who put the bin by the door, rang the bell and scarpered!  We waved to each other across the street ....lol...

Right...I'm off to the Chiropodist this afternoon.  At least it's a one to one appointment and he will not be too close :/  so I'll pop my library book back at the same time.  I won't get any more because I have some books from the charity shop to read instead and I might not be able to go out to return library ones.

I'll be back soon with allotment news but for now take a look at the cheery sight this morning....our pink road sweeper!  Isn't it fab?


Bye for now, stay safe wherever in the world you happen to be x

Sunday, 15 March 2020

Getting Prepared....!

Firstly, a warm welcome to Carla, my new follower...hello!

With all this talk of over 70's isolating themselves for up to 4 months I thought I had better register with Sainsbugs home delivery in order to find out if they deliver in our area.  Yes, they do...yay!  But...there are no slots available for the 3 weeks you can actually book ahead for.  My goodness, what is the country coming to?  Some friends of ours (same age as us) will be struggling because they rely on shopping being delivered anyway.  My friend J doesn't drive and her hubby is registered blind. If I will be unable to go out either I won't be able to help them.  There will be lots of people in trouble. It's such a worry now.

I have a little bread flour left so I made a loaf for our teatime sandwiches.  It has just finished cooking and the smell is tantalising.  I can't wait to cut into it :)



Changing the subject now, if you want cheering up check out the video which Ilona of Mean Queen has posted.  I wish I knew how to post a link but I don't.  She is, however, listed on my side bar. She is 'Life After Money'.  The music is amazing and so uplifting.  Do check it out....

That's all for now.  Stay safe everyone, wherever in the world you happen to be x


Thursday, 12 March 2020

Empty Shelves & Panic

I feel very lucky that we only live just over a mile away from the supermarket.  Many of the shelves are totally empty of anything including toilet rolls, kitchen roll, pasta, soap (of any description) and, of course, hand sanitiser. Bleaches and antiseptic sprays are very low too.  I always try to buy a replacement of this kind of thing as soon as I open the last one but it's not always possible right now.  I find that I'm having to visit the supermarket several times a week at the moment just to snap up what I need if they happen to be restocking when I go in.  The store management and staff are doing a tremendous job under very difficult circumstances.  There wouldn't be a problem if people didn't panic!  I feel so sorry for people who can't afford to stock up and who have finite sources of income.  Even baby milk has been cleared from the shelves in one supermarket.  For goodness sake....think of others....
 As it stands, food supplies are ok, thankfully.

 I have yearned for a bread maker for yonks now because my skills as bread maker are abysmal.  I can't knead thoroughly enough because it hurts my hands so the bread fails every time.  G offered to use one loaf as a door stop last time I tried!  He has, however, come up trumps and bought me a bread maker.  £49.99 from Lidl....



And I can work it! This was my first attempt: a small loaf.  It was delicious..... so we are ok for fresh bread for as long as I can buy strong bread flour :)


Whilst in Morrisons I managed to snag one of these boxes containing 6 apples and 5 lemons for £1....



One lemon was just turning so I sliced it up along with two more and froze them to put into drinks.  The other two will be used to make a lemon drizzle cake (hopefully, better risen this time!)


How are you getting on with buying your weekly groceries?  Are you struggling to get what you need?

Anyway, stay safe everyone wherever in the world you happen to be.  Hugs x

Wednesday, 4 March 2020

On Stockpiling and Pensioners Kneeling!

Well we've just been down on hands and knees again to get a new gas meter reading as requested by British Gas.  It was like a comedy show with me holding up the lid, G kneeling on a plastic bag in the drizzle to read the (pretty illegible) meter, then swapping places to double check...lol...I hope it's correct!  At least it looks as though we are paying enough on our monthly DDs to cover the cost so far and the usage should be lighter during the coming months.

Today we had a renewal reminder for G's car insurance which has increased by over £35 since last year.  G phoned and haggled and we have saved £73 by reducing the annual mileage and by adding me on as an additional driver.  Who would have expected that? :)  This actually cancels out the increase that I had to pay on mine, which can only be good news.

Sue at A Smaller and Simpler Life has asked if anyone is stockpiling food due to the Coronavirus.  I won't be.  I will buy just a little extra: maybe some tinned and frozen veg, but I'm not going to panic.  G has bought me a bread maker so I will be able to make bread, soup and cake.  I tried making bread by hand on several occasions but I'm hopeless.  I can't knead it thoroughly enough because my hands hurt.  I've already made 2 loaves in the bread maker and they turned out very well.  I stored the leftover bread in a plastic bag after squeezing out the air and it lasted another 2 days.  It made wonderful toast too.

Are you making plans in case of shortages?

I must extend a warm welcome to Amanda, my new follower...hello!  Thanks for joining us :)

Sunday, 1 March 2020

First Day of Spring!


Good news! It's March 1st and the first day of meteorological Spring!  We might still have lots of rain and cold wind to come but warmer weather will be on it's way.   It's been an awfully long Winter and so utterly heartbreaking for so many people who have been flooded. Take heart dear friends!

G and I can't wait to get into the allotment and start planting and sorting out, sharing updates with you all.  Watch this space....

This quote is on my bedroom wall.  I wish it had been embroidered in brighter colours but it will do.  I am focussing on the meaning of it as our lives have been so disrupted over the last couple of years....


Does it have meaning for your life too?

A warm welcome to Sue, my new follower...hello! Sorry this a short post but more will follow as sure as night follows day :)

Stay safe everyone wherever you happen to be x

September Already?

 September already and the beginning of Autumn.  How did that happen? This year, the same as last, has flown by in a flurry of inactivity!  ...