Lockdown 9

17.5.20

There is an obvious return of life in town. Without doubt more cars parked in the square, people in shops, people walking with their children and trains (very few) arriving at the station. I have been out a little, mostly to the shops. I actually drove 25 minutes to another town to do my shopping last week. I have also seen a few friends (at a social distance!). Hopefully, if the weather does what it is supposed to do this week, there is a possibility of sitting outside with a cuppa and tried the latest bake -rhubarb and custard cake. I sat outside with friends last week and after about 20 minutes it definitely felt a bit chilly, but we stuck it out. We are allowed to travel up to 100k but if it is out of the department we need to complete the attestation form. We can leave the house with a declaration now. The government issued face mask has arrived. I now have a couple – one home made and one manufactured. I find them a bit irritating to wear, but I’m getting used to them now.

With time on my hands, I’ve embarked on some elder flower drink production. I love elder flower cordial and some time ago came across a recipe for it. So easy. Elder flower is growing through my hedge, so I’m giving it a go. Also, a friend posted a recipe for elder flower champagne – I’m brewing that too! In for a penny……….IMG_20200515_174559

The garden is beginning to look more like a garden; only taken 6 years! If only the grass didn’t grow and the weeds went away. For me, it’s just trying to keep it tidy. I’m trying to add in a few small features. Main aim at the moment is to get the pagoda at the bottom of the garden done. Do you know, I had moved into this house for a few weeks before I even noticed it was there! Shows how observant I am. (It was winter when I first saw the house; well that’s my excuse). I’ve reached the point where I’ll need help to make progress with it now. Chain saws and trailers come to mind, neither of which I have.

IMG_20200516_162323

A discovery: I have had in my mind to use a fabulous 1960’s light that I found in the grenier some time ago. Further investigation* has shown that this light is actually a designer piece and worth some money. So plan B: it’s too good to put in the garden, it doesn’t go with the house style and so I am going to sell it and buy a nice light for the pagoda. * this is the link/details I uncovered when researching the maker.  https://www.vntg.com/128009/raak-hanging-lamp-in-mouth-blown-glass-with-drops-nl-1960s/

Raak

Offers anyone???

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lockdown 8

5.5.20

 

Am I looking forward to May 11th and the gradual release of lockdown? Yes and no. It will be nice to have a bit more freedom back and to be able to go out without a piece of paper (the latter no-one has asked me for). I’ll be able to go shopping back at Aldi and not have to pay the rip off prices at the local supermarket. Also, I might be able to manage to see one or two people with social distancing. I’m not however, going to rush into this; I’ll be keeping myself in relative isolation until I am satisfied the risk of infection has passed.(Too many asthma scares leave a scar).  Like many, I will be glad when the day of ‘no new cases’ are reported. My business doors remain closed until the end of June, then I will reconsider.

Necessity of sending birthday cards, proved interesting. I have negotiated my way round Moonpig and Funkypigeon and managed to find a couple that I liked. I must say though, 99% of what those sites have to offer, is not my taste. Some are really grim. Still, it gave me a solution to not having to go to the post office.

In the light of having a video call with my *brother and Dad, during which I saw my Dad enjoying some chocolate (only allowed if given by *Nick because of choking dangers, therefore prohibited by carers), I ordered him some chocolate drops. This back-fired as it seems the drops were more like chocolate chips! Too small and too risky. No doubt they will get eaten by someone – won’t they Nick? I’ve ordered some different chocolate now.

All Eymoutiers residents have received a letter from the Mairie offering us face masks, which will be delivered as requested. I guess this will be because masks will be compulsory in some places when the lockdown is eased. I sent my request back via a scannned document and haven’t heard anything as yet.

The railway track maintenance train rudely woke me up this morning! It actually ran through yesterday with trucks of ‘gravel’, so they are obviously gearing up to having things in place and being ready to go when they get the green light to operate again.

I spent the weekend tarting up my hallway. Some paint, floor and staircase renovation. Bit of a killer job on the old back and shoulders! But now done and definitely looks better.

I received a lovely surprise phone call from a former colleague, really great to chat and catch up. I’ve also called a few long lost friends in recent weeks too – funny how people still sound exactly the same as they did years ago!

Some time ago, I ordered some plants online. I was beginning to think they wouldn’t arrive and I contacted the company. They assured me they would come – and they have! I bought them with the idea of getting some perennials in my large planters. I hope they grow quickly as they look a bit small and sparse at the moment! I think that now I have done my house jobs, I will now turn my attention to the garden. I’ve been putting off some projects, not encouraged by the heavy rain showers, but the forecast has improved, so I’ve no excuses now!

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Lockdown 7

26.4.20

I’ve cracked it! Bread! I’m a member of a baking group on Facebook; following someone’s post about baking Dutch oven bread, I was inspired to have a go. Be prepared – the proving takes 24hrs!. But it also uses plain flour, you don’t ‘knead’ (ha ha) strong bread flour. Only straightforward mixing required.   Yum yum.    IMG_20200426_084522                            https://joyfoodsunshine.com/easy-no-knead-bread/

Update on my help from the government – I re-read the information and decided that I think I qualify after all. I’ve applied, so it’s now a wait and see time. It looks like they will match my earnings from March last year, for March this year. I’m guessing my business will be one of the last to get the go ahead to return to normal. To be honest, even when that happens I’m not sure I will have the confidence to open my doors to guests. I may give myself some extra time.IMG_20200426_091434

We have received letters from the Mairie since the start of this pandemic, very clear information indeed. My friends, who live in a small village near Lac de Vassivierre, received face masks, personally delivered by the maire. How’s that for service? One area that I really need to get back to normal is the re-cycling/tip. Where does all this plastic and packaging come from? And I’m only a one person household!

It may be that the email I received from Ryanair, about my July flight, is a sign of a return to life. They messaged me to say there would be a departure time change.

The grass is growing like billie-O. I need a goat. Or preferably a donkey. I love donkeys. I digress. It’s been warm and damp (thunderstorm last night). Ideal weed and grass growing conditions. Roll on the return of my gardener!! On the plus side – I notice the damsons are already forming on the plum tree. = jam   🙂

Sadly, Louise spent her 30th birthday in lockdown. The present I ordered actually arrived on the day, so that was a small bonus. The card arrived late. She is now back in Suffolk – hooray! The job hunting begins!

And I couldn’t resist taking a picture of my neighbour’s beautiful wisteria. As their garden sits just below mine on the hill, I get a fantastic view of it over the top of their pergola. IMG_20200425_140652

We’re not through it yet. Stay safe xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lockdown 6

16.4.20   Captain Tom – what a hero!

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-52303859

 

And so it continues……………. lockdown has been extended until May 11th.

It’s all very quiet, but lovely to hear the  birds singing, children playing in their gardens and even distant cattle mooing. We’ve just had a couple of days of very high winds, I’m surprised there are still flowers on the magnolia tree. The perfume has been amazing.

The bin men are still collecting rubbish three times a week. I also noticed yesterday that some ‘council’ workers were working; there was a guy on a ride-on mower and the little chap who sweeps the town square was out with his cart and brush (wearing a mask – the man not the cart!). A reduced version of the market is on again this morning.

I tried click and collect shopping at a store a few miles away. I don’t think I will do it again. Funnily enough, I felt quite exposed waiting for my order, with which there were a few problem items, so that took time faffing around. Also, I asked not to have substitutions (I’m fussy with vegetarian ingredients) and they seemed to have missed that instruction. So, all in all, not very successful.

For once, my garden is looking tidy! Not manicured, but tidy! It’ll never be manicured. I’ve upcycled an old apple picking ladder. The idea is to fill the pots with bright flowers, when the garden supply place reopens. I also made some wind chimes,they look nice, but they don’t chime much!

It doesn’t look like I qualify for the government small business support. I don’t earn enough. In response to this, I may hold a couple of events when things get back to normal. Coffee mornings and high teas??

Stay safe everyone x

 

Lockdown 5

9.4.20    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODTAATrM1Fs

I can’t speak for other places, but the beautiful sunshine here does not seem to have brought everybody out onto  the streets. It’s all very quiet. No surprises, lots of messages from friends and my lovely neighbours phone. Louise is on her way home to the UK from South Korea as I write. Ironically, having tried to talk her out of going in the first place, I’m really not sure that now is the best time to come back. Out of the frying pan into the fire syndrome. However, she was unable to travel to Japan, so I think it was a wise decision in the end. I’m glad she chose the no stop option, as I didn’t think airports were the best place to be hanging around for 2 hours or so.  It seems my Dad is also OK in his flat, with his carers looking after him. Not ideal, but safe at the moment. It’s such a worry though.

On the downside: bread. Or rather lack of. I am now officially giving up on making bread. The shortage of bread flour continues. I had enough for one bake and I also have some wholemeal. I used them both and thrown everything out for the birds. Actually, I could probably have sold it to the army for ammunition. So rather than waste any more time, effort and precious commodities, I’m giving up. It won’t be a bad thing in the long run, as I eat too much bread anyway.

So, jobs ticked off the list:

  • wallpapering of the room complete as far as possible. I can’t do any more until rules allow me to call the plumber and plasterer back
  • repainted the letter box
  • spruced up some iron cauldrons that have been in the garden for donkey years. 4 out of the 5 are damaged, but they’ll be fine when the missing leg is propped up and they are filled with bright flowers (when the garden centre reopens)

Looks like lockdown here is set to continue. No end in sight yet.

 

 

 

 

 

Lockdown 4

1.4.20

It would seem that all the trains have now stopped running. Along with a conspicuous absence of white aeroplane trails through the sky. Cars are few and far between. Shopping is fine, I ventured to the supermarket yesterday, it was well stocked and I found everything I needed. Louise will be back from S.Korea in a few days time, hopefully. She will have to do her 14 days in isolation. I will be glad when she’s back.

Part of me wonders “is this the world’s way of pressing the reset button?”  I read that air pollution had significantly reduced; the water in Venice’s canals has cleared, bringing back fish and dolphins; the ozone layer is repairing itself. I haven’t read about crime rates, but surely they must be reduced?

Maybe people will be nicer to each other when life returns to normal. Let’s hope.

Maybe people will have found new skills; perhaps there are those who have found out they can cook!! You don’t need to go to the supermarket every other day and buy ready meals. I have managed surprising well, even started to use up stuff in my freezer. The de-frost will have to be planned next!

Maybe parents and their children will talk and have better relationships.

Maybe sharing and co-operation will improve.

Maybe people will realise how much they have abused the planet and ourselves.

Maybe we will get our priorities right.

Maybe there will be less greed.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…………   woodwork now 90% painted. Might start wallpapering on Friday.

white bfly

Lockdown 3

25.3.20

white bfly

 

So, life continues in peace and quiet. I hear from people that they are keeping busy and I’m beginning to think now would be a good time to buy shares in a paintbrush company! I too have done some painting, nothing drastic, just refreshing some scuffed areas. The big lorries can still be seen passing through the town. Their life must be so much easier with fewer cars on the small roads.

Update on my birdwatching: greater spotted woodpecker has been at least 3 times now.

Last year I resolved to crack bread making; whilst I am an OK baker, bread has always failed me. Soda bread is fine -ish but anything else isn’t! Now is the time to get some practice in. I had a go yesterday, looked good but taste was a bit lacking and texture a bit dense. Maybe because it was wholemeal, just white next I think. Watch this space. The biscuits however are far too more-ish.

Whilst most of us remain well, I was saddened to hear of the death of a friend. Unfortunately his immune system was weakened by ongoing treatment, but the coronavirus was too much to bear. I am both shocked and upset. Please take great care everyone. Stay safe.