30 April 2020

Covid-19 - Shopping



We are now into week 6 of lockdown and things here are plodding along.  If anyone had said to me at the beginning of the year “you can stay home” I’d have been only too happy to do so.

Staying home doesn’t usually mean "not going out except for essentials".  It means, you don’t have work to go to, you can pop to the shops, meet a friend for coffee, go away for a few days and see somewhere new, all the things we take for granted.

Staying home has made me re-think how I do things. Luckily our milk is delivered so that’s one less thing to worry about, but shopping has been an eyeopener.  Restrictions on going to the supermarket make it a major task and you have be prepared for long waits and queues outside the store.  Knowing what you are going for is also a must.  A list is essential.

In an attempt to limit social interaction, we have tried to do our shopping on-line.  Not just so we don’t come into contact with other people but also to protect the shop workers.  We used to do a shop at the weekend and if we needed anything during the week, I popped in on my way home from work.  We now try (sometimes unsuccessfully) to get a slot for delivery or click and collect.  We’ve been lucky a few times, even if it has been a two week wait, and we've been able to go to the store and pick up our order.

Once we get it home the new routine of "wiping it down before we put it away and washing our hands after touching it" starts.  All the things we just did without thinking before, but have now changed.  

Will this way of shopping continue after this is all over?

29 April 2020

Crochet Keeps me Sane - Part 4

I became an Instagram follower last year and have found that there are some very talented crochet designers out there.

One such lady is Jen Tyler from Hooks n Tales.  She lives in South Africa and makes the most stunning crochet items I have ever seen.  She really is a talented lady.

After seeing her work pop up on my Instagram account day after day I just had to start one of her blankets.  The problem was, when I looked closely at the pattern I convinced myself that it was too difficult and that I wouldn't be able to do it.
If I had done what you are supposed to do, and read all the instructions first, I would have noticed that she had put a link to her YouTube videos further down the instructions!

I could not have been happier.  It is so much easier to follow when you can see someone else doing the same thing.  Jen also tells you bits about her life in Cape Town, about her cats and of course her noisy neighbour!!


I already had the Woodland Blanket pack by Attic 24 and thought it would be nice to keep the same colour scheme as the stripe blanket I had already made.  In October 2019 I started my new adventure.


I added a  few rows every day.


I just loved the 3D effect.


Steadily she got bigger.


Then I had to square her up.


And add more rows.


I crocheted every spare minute I had.


Luckily the Christmas holidays meant I could spend more time on her.


The whole process was a joy to do.


The different textures were amazing when added together.


I added the last row to the gorgeous border ........


Added some tassels and ........................


in January 2020 she was finished.

I know you shouldn't praise yourself but ...................... I am just so proud of myself for finishing this beautiful project.

Problem now?  What to do next.

To be continued .................................







28 April 2020

Daily Walks - Bidston Moss


This is going to sound silly but I remember Bidston Moss being the landfill site!  Why would you want to walk around that?

Well it seems that back in 1995 the landfill was closed, and as it became a bit of an eyesore on the local landscape, Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority and Groundwork Wirral reclaimed the land and turned it into a nature reserve.

There is a fishing lake with carp, tench and possibly the odd eel or two, a cycle path and walks through the woods up to a viewing point where you can see Liverpool to one side and all the way over to Wales on the other.  It also grows Willow which is harvested and taken to Chester Zoo for the elephants.  



When you're walking around, listening to the birds, it's hard to believe that you are so close to the shipping docks in Birkenhead or the local recycling centre and not out in the country, miles away from the city.

If you didn't know the local area you would have no idea what the area was originally used for.

27 April 2020

One from the Archive


I was looking back on some of my old posts and came across this one from 2009 of when S caught his first fish.

Just look at that face.  ♥♥♥


24 April 2020

National Trust - Chirk Castle


A few years ago hubby and I decided to get a yearly membership to the National Trust.  There are quite a few places locally and in North Wales to go and discover.

One of them is Chirk Castle.  About a 45 minute drive from us and set into the Welsh countryside. 


It was never designed as a family home but was built as a military fortress on the Welsh/English border to keep the Welsh under English rule.  It has been around, in one way or another since the late 13th century. 

In the 16th century it was slowly re-developed by Sir Thomas Myddleton into a family home.  The room interiors are now recreations of previous schemes as designed by previous occupants.  The castle was rented out for many years until, after the Second World War, the Myddleton family returned to live there and did so until 2004.  It is now owned by the National Trust.


You can read all about it here - Chirk Castle


23 April 2020

22 April 2020

Covid-19 - Life in Lockdown



Like many people our lives have changed from the “norm”.  Whatever that may be.   Some things have changed, and some have stayed the same. 

Things here started to change in the middle of March when hubby came home and said he had to work from home for the next 12 weeks.  We are lucky that we have space and he has his own office.  After lockdown was made official on 23 March work didn’t really change for me, I still went every day and did what was needed and occasionally got to go home early.  Once work realised that lockdown was going to go on for a while a rota system was put in place and I now work three days a week.  When I’m not working, I keep an eye on things from home.  Technology is a wonderful thing.

So what has changed and what hasn’t?

Changes:

I’ve started blogging again.  I gave it up two years ago, as I was struggling with life in general, but felt that now was as good a time as any to note down my daily life, especially as life at the moment is so unusual.  I’m not a great writer and don’t use big words, my blog won’t win any prizes but it’s me.

I go out first thing every day for a walk.  Living where we do, I am limited to nature walks but make the most of what is local.  I never used to get time before work, and when I’m back full time I will miss the peace and quite at the beginning of the day.

I do a lot more dusting!  My philosophy has always been “Why dust?  It only comes back”.  I have to admit I like a dust free house so may have to keep this up once lockdown is lifted.

I’m having to cook/bake which if anyone know me at all is not something I generally do.  In fact, I avoid it at all costs.  Hubby’s workday is the same as usual so I feel that if I’m at home I should make dinner.  It’s nothing exciting, just salad and something or a pasta dish that goes in one pan but I’m doing it. 

My ironing basket is empty.  This is something that will revert back to the old ways once I’m back to work full time.  Who am I kidding?  I loath ironing and if I wasn’t so OCD about creases, I wouldn’t bother doing it 😊

What hasn’t changed?

I still get up at the same time every day, make the bed and get dressed ready for the day.  I’m not one for lying in bed till late as I feel I’ve missed most of the day and I’m certainly not one for sitting around in pjs all day.

I still practice mindfulness.  It’s something I discovered a few years ago and after a one-day presentation at work I felt it worked for me.  I write down the things I am thankful for each day however big or small.

Crochet – This will never change.  It really has kept me sane in the last few years.  It sounds silly that making something out of wool can help keep you balanced but it does.  Some people like running or reading.  I like crochet.

I’m sure there are more changes in my daily life at the moment and if I could remember them, I would note them down!!  However, I’ll leave it as it is for now and go and make a lemon drizzle cake 😊




21 April 2020

Crochet Keeps me Sane - Part 3

I have long been a fan of Lucy over at Attic 24.  She really is responsible for me starting to crochet, one snowy day, in February 2009 and I've been following her blog ever since.

In 2018 she blogged about Mandalas and it got me intrigued, but as I already had several projects on the go I put the thought in the "To Do" pile.

Fast forward 12 months and I found myself finishing one project but not knowing what to do next.  I rummaged through my patterns and came across Lucy's Mandala instructions.

After delving into the left overs box I picked out a few colours and set to on my first ever mandala.



Once I'd made one I had to make another.  This time in spring colours.


Sent as a gift.  I hope they liked it as much as I did.


When my daughter-in-law saw them on Instagram she asked me to make one for her Grandma.  Who was I to say no?  Colours were asked for and left overs hunted down.


Grandma was very pleased with her gift.


My next mandala adventure is to attach them to metal rings.

To be continued.

20 April 2020

Thankful for these Ladies



I am so grateful for these ladies at the moment.  They live on Hopewall Farm in Cheshire and are working hard, producing lots of lovely milk.  The staff there are working hard too and deliveries are still on time.


A huge thank you to DiaryPlus for keeping the deliveries going.


17 April 2020

One from the Archive

This time last year we were "helping" with lambing in very windy Yorkshire (gosh it was cold).  To do my bit I offered to look after the pet lambs.

16 April 2020

Today's Happy Things




1.  Being able to sit in the garden.

2.  The dishwasher isn't broken. Phew!

3.  Crochet - Lots of crochet.

4.  Catching up with episode 8 of Outlander.

5.  Baking - Brownies, banana loaf, pineapple upside down cake and tiffin.

15 April 2020

Rock Hunting


A kind hearted, and talented person has scattered over 100 painted rocks and slate over Bidston Hill.  They left a message at the foot of the windmill and invited passersby to see how many they could spot.


Bidston Hill covers 100 acres of paths and woodland. 
We managed to find three on our way back home.  


The challenge now is to find more on our next walk.


It's such a great idea and gets you looking at your surroundings whilst you hunt for rocks.

I just hope people haven't taken the rocks home and have left them for other to find and enjoy.

14 April 2020

Crochet Keeps Me Sane - Pt 2



After finishing my Sophie's Universe blanket I needed something else to keep me occupied.  My friends daughter H loves my rainbow stripe blanket and snuggles under it every time she comes over.

I checked my left over stash to see if I had enough colours to do a rainbow blanket for her birthday and apart from yellow I had all I needed.  I picked a granny square pattern from my 101 Granny Squares book  and set to, making squares.


It took a few weeks but I soon had enough to put a blanket together.


Once it was blocked, I added some tassels and it was ready to be wrapped for her birthday.



Another project completed.   What was next?

To be continued.





12 April 2020

Happy Easter


Happy Easter.

It's not one any of us had planned but I hope it was a good one for you all.

♥♥♥

11 April 2020

Daily Walks - Flaybrick Memorial Gardens

Flaybrick Memorial Gardens started off life in 1864 as a municipal cemetery.  It originally had three chapels but the Roman Catholic chapel was demolished in 1971 and the Nonconformist & C of E chapels were last used in 1975 and have fallen into disrepair.


In 1990 it was designated a conservation area and in 1995 it was renamed Flaybrick Memorial Gardens.


 It is also home to 219 Commonwealth War Graves.


10 April 2020

Crochet Keeps me Sane - Part 1

It's true.  If I hadn't had crochet in the last few years I don't know what I would have done.

It was a tough time and I couldn't really settle to anything.  I tried to pick up scrapbooking again after a few years off  but just didn't "feel it" and I gave away all my stash to a friend who was just starting to make cards.

Crochet was something I could make as complicated or as simple as I wanted.  I started with stripes and found this much more calming than granny squares and having to sew in a million ends.


I did quite a few stripey blankets at first.



and then I discovered Instagram and everything changed.

I kept telling myself that some of the patterns were too complicated and way above my ability as a beginner.  The thing is.  You can't be a beginner forever so I took the plunge and bought a book called Sophie's Universe by Dedri Uys.

The rest, as they say, is history.

I literally couldn't put it down.  I crocheted every spare minute I had and as I started at the beginning of July (and then had several weeks off over the summer) I managed to complete Sophie in 6 weeks.


 She was an absolute joy to make.


The problem now was....I needed to more wool and another project.................


To be continued.


9 April 2020

COVID-19 - Cancellations



I hadn't realised that we had a quite a few things planned in the next two months.

Sadly we will have to cancel/postpone them all until we have beaten this awful virus.

1.  Bodnant Gardens to see the Laburnum Arch.  It really is an amazing thing to see especially when you realise that it is 140 years old.  There's always next year.

2.  Middleport - A weekend trip to the pottery with pub lunches and walks along the canals thrown in for good measure.  We're hoping to go back in the October holidays.

3.  Carentan, Normandy, France for the 75th Anniversary of VE Day.  Sadly this is one thing we can't re-arrange.

4.  Chester Zoo to see the new baby elephant.  Riva will be huge by the time we get to see her later in the year.

5.  Les Miserables at The Lowry in Salford.  A night away meeting up with friends.  Hopefully this is being re-schedules for the beginning of next year but no dates yet.

What are you having to cancel/postpone?

8 April 2020

Feeling Homesick

Millbuies


It's a funny feeling.  Something you can't explain.  It just hits you out of the blue and you don't know where it came from.

Yesterday I just felt sad that we weren't in Scotland anymore.

I suddenly missed the scenic beauty of the local area, the river Spey and the beaches. 

I missed our old home.

I missed our friends.

I wanted to go HOME.

7 April 2020

The Queen's Speech 2020



On Sunday 5 April 2020, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, gave an address to the Nation.  It is only the 5th time she has done so.

It was a speech to reassure and inspire.

Together we are tackling this disease, and I want to reassure you that if we remain united and resolute, then we will overcome it.
I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge.

The full speech can be read here.

6 April 2020

Daily Walks - Bidston Hill

We are allowed to go out to exercise once a day whilst "Stay at Home" is in force.  We should try to exercise from our home without having to travel in the car.

Living where we do, it is quite limiting as to where we can go.  The park is just that bit too far as it the promenade.

Luckily we have Bidston Hill on our doorstep.  This is a place I played as a child, although I remember it being much bigger and open then.


 We even managed to get S to come with us.


We tried to implement our Social Distancing but it's not easy when others think it's OK to let their kids run riot or OK to take a picnic and sit with your friend and drink beer and smoke things you're not meant to smoke!!

Maybe I'm just getting old but surely when we've all been given the same rules to follow by the Government you should follow them?




5 April 2020

One Photo - Twenty Words


It's easy to forget that Mother Nature is still hard at work whilst we are all "Staying Home" as instructed.