A to Z of a lockdown

Animals – as soon as we were able, we did our bit to support animal attractions that had been forced to close for months. All the animals still had to fed, watered and cared for during lockdown and some came close to having to put animals to sleep. Edinburgh zoo is currently considering whether they have to send their two giant pandas back to China as they’ve had very little income for twelve months.

Baking – I, along with most of the UK going by the empty flour and sugar shelves in the supermarkets, felt a need to bake. Very yummy it was, but unfortunately not good for the old waistline!

Crochet – I’ve never crocheted so much in my life! Lockdown made me feel that I needed to be productive and crochet was one of the ways I did this.

Dog bite – I got bitten by a dog on the beach in Norfolk in between lockdowns and ended up in A&E and on antibiotics.

Exercise – I managed to mitigate the baking a little with exercise. The gym was closed so I found other ways of exercising, enjoying the outdoors when the weather was good and building our home gym for when it wasn’t.

Fur babies – a massive upside to being home so much has been spending lots of time with Olive and Tinkerbell. It’s really comforting to look round during a day of working to see them snoozing on the bed.

Garden – I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve thanked my lucky stars that the pandemic didn’t happen when we were in our tiny flat with no outside space.

Harry Potter – bizarrely Harry Potter has played a big part in keeping me sane over the past year. I listened to all the books on audible and hearing those stories again was strangely calming. When I was furloughed we set the spare room up better for working from home and gave it a Harry Potter theme. I made 3D models and splashed out on Lego Diagon Alley which I love love loved building.

Improvements – we made several home improvements. Apart from the Harry Potter room, we also stripped the wood chip and redecorated our living room, built a catio so our furry girls can get some fresh air, had our loft insulation upgraded and replaced all our double glazing.

Jigsaws – I’ve done loads! My friend sent me this one which I really enjoyed.

Kindle – once I’d worked my way through all seven Harry Potter books on audible, I switched back to my Kindle and I discovered the Seven Sisters series by Lucinda Riley and read the six that are already released. They’re really good. I’ve got loads of books on there so I’m all set for the rest of lockdown.

Lego – hubby bought me Lego Hedwig for Christmas which triggered my Lego joy!

Masks – I was hesitant to start off with because BoJo was telling us that masks didn’t help with stopping the spread of covid, but once they told us we had to wear them I embraced it and made a few. It’s become almost a fashion statement. In Scotland I wore my Harry Potter one when we went to the Elephant House cafe where JK Rowling wrote some of the books and my dinosaur one when we went in search of wee Nessie.

Netflix – along with Disney+, Prime TV and iPlayer, Netflix has kept me entertained. I’ve watched Tiger King, Picard, Safe, Bridgerton, Mulan, Moana, the Stranger, Fleabag, Pete’s Dragon, Inside Out, Brave, It’s a Sin and goodness knows what else!

Online deliveries – many of them entirely superfluous to my needs! I ‘needed’ heart shaped cutters to make heart shaped sandwiches for Valentine’s Day and glitter for us to make Valentine’s cards so we could avoid shops. Our poor postman looked absolutely terrified every time he knocked on the door, which was almost as many times as the Amazon delivery driver.

Pooh bear memes – there have been loads of memes and funnies around. If anyone is yet to see David Attenborough narrating Boris Johnson cleaning a chair in a vaccination centre, I urge you to visit YouTube to rectify that. Anyway, me being me, I was drawn to the Pooh bear memes.

Quizzes – during the depths of lockdown we joined two friends every Sunday evening on FaceTime to do a quiz that their local pub quizmaster had moved online. I’ve been so grateful for technology during this time – I was able to virtually see more of some friends than I did before lockdown.

Rowena – this is my great aunt, Rowena. She passed away in February and I wasn’t able to go to the funeral because I was still in my isolation period after catching covid. I watched it online though, giving me another reason to be thankful for technology. It was hard seeing my family on the screen, but not being able to see them in person when it’s been so long.

Staycations – we were really lucky that we’d booked a foreign holiday at the end of January so we had the memories of that to keep us going, but we still felt the need to get away when we were allowed and we went to Norfolk in July for a couple of nights and Edinburgh for my birthday in September.

Tennis afternoon tea – I had tickets booked for the ATP Tour Finals at the O2 in London in November and that got cancelled so I made us a tennis themed afternoon tea as recompense.

Unbooked holidays – we should’ve been going to Jamaica in May and that was cancelled so we had a non-Jamaican party for two instead with Jamaican themed food and Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff playing all day. We swapped that holiday for Orlando in April this year, but that’s been cancelled too so, unlike the photo below, the adventure doesn’t begin, not just yet.

Virtual tours and shows – tour guides have become creative whilst they’ve not been able to offer physical tours and they’ve moved on line. The tour below took us all round the different Harry Potter locations in Scotland. I’ve also watched several West End shows on line, and Cirque du Soleil and next week I’m going to Iceland (virtually).

Working from home – this was my first day working from home when I actually bothered to get dressed before lunchtime and clearly made an effort with my breakfast. you can see why I had to rearrange the room – it was a bit depressing facing the wall all day.

Xmas – I don’t like shortening Christmas, my Grandad used to say that shortening to Xmas was crossing out Christ, but X is such a stupid letter and I couldn’t think of anything else. Despite the restrictions, we had a good day. We walked in the park in the morning with some family and then my Dad (who’s in our bubble) joined us for the rest of the day, the first time I’ve seen a member of my side of the family on Christmas Day for years.

Yawn – working from home has meant an extra hour of sleep each working day which I really appreciated through the Winter when I normally struggle with seasonal affective disorder and live in an exhausted fog for four or five months. I also appreciated it when I did succumb to covid because it really wipes you out and I needed sleep. Of course there’s no change for our Olive – she’s a gold medal snoozer!

Zoom calls – thank goodness for zoom, teams, WhatsApp calling and FaceTime. They’ve kept businesses going, but they’ve also kept friendships going and families together.

Productive day

I’ve been a busy bee today so I haven’t had time to peruse the loch out the back. By that I do, of course, mean the garden, but you’d be forgiven for thinking it was one big water feature following Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis. Storm Ellen’s the next one so let’s hope she cries her tears elsewhere when she blows over our little island. My busy day has followed a busy week so I don’t have any garden pics which means I’m taking a leave of absence from Six on Saturday today, instead I’m going to talk beds!

On our cruise, we had a ginormous bed. When you think of ships’ cabins, you think bunk beds Royal Navy style, but today’s modern cruise liners have every luxury imaginable.

This was our bed. It’s hard to appreciate how big it was from this photo, but it was almost as wide as it was long and I slept so well in it. Of course, there will have been other factors helping me catch the zeds such as that holiday relaxation feeling, the odd glass of vino and the roll of the ship which makes you feel you’re being gently rocked to sleep, but I’m sure the extra space contributed too.

As an aside, this was my view in bed this morning.

I have straightened the pictures since I took the photo, but as you can see, I was somewhat stuck! I was lounging in bed researching how to earn more Tesco Clubcard points because Royal Caribbean are a reward partner and give you three times the value which you can redeem against a cruise. In case anyone’s interested, my findings were that I should use my Tesco credit card more for every day purchases (and pay it off straight away so as not to get into debt), to use the app rather than the plastic card for double points until the end of February, to give hubby my plastic card now I have the app so he can collect points too, to try to always use Tesco petrol stations and to switch to Tesco mobile once my phone contract’s up. Hopefully we’ll be back on that ship in no time! Anyway …..

Two weeks ago we decided to take the plunge and upgrade our double bed to a king size. Frivolous maybe, given that there’s no guarantee of us sleeping like a pair of infants, but we have both been getting backache recently so maybe a new mattress was in order anyway.

We checked out a couple of bed shops and we actually ended up choosing one from a carpet shop! It felt like it was meant to be because years ago, when my parents and I were moving house in my mid teens, my Grandparents offered to buy me a new bed for the new house and it came from Allied Carpets which was on the very same retail park. We had a new doorbell in the car when we drove in to the car park and as we went over every speed bump it jingled. To this day when I drive in there I think ‘ting’ to myself as I go over those speed bumps.

We chose a very similar bed to our existing double one, just in king size. We have to have a bed frame style rather than a divan (although I was very tempted by the ones which have a television in the footboard) because our fur babies sleep underneath and rush off there whenever anything scary and potentially life threatening happens such as the bin men rattling the wheelie bins or someone daring to knock the front door! It wasn’t loads of money at all, and we got an excellent deal on our mattress.

It’s this one. It should’ve been £1699 (which I would never entertain spending on a mattress – that’s a holiday!) but because it has a small water stain at the top from, we were reliably informed, a leak in the shop (believable given the recent monsoons) it was marked down to £399. Sold!

I need to find out now if there’s a chance that the springs are made using ArcelorMittal steel. The hull and decks of the ship we sailed on, Harmony of the Seas, were built using ArcelorMittal heavy plates which was my former baby. My new role in the company (which I’m really enjoying three weeks in – I’ll likely write something about that somewhen) is bars and rods and one of the end applications is bed springs so it would seem apt if I’m now to be eating, breathing and (literally) sleeping ArcelorMittal bars and rods!

On Thursday the bed and mattress were delivered and today was the first available opportunity to assemble it. Unfortunately hubby was working and I’m impatient, so I did it on my own. No mean feat! We’d decided to put our old bed in the spare room where we previously had a sofa bed, which has been cluttering the pavement outside since Tuesday evening as the highly competent council didn’t pick it up on Wednesday despite already taking the £33 payment (although the scrap man has taken the mechanism!) so I had to (on my own, remember!) take the mattress from the old bed down the hall to the bathroom, take the headboard and footboard off the old bed and man handle all the bits into the spare room, then take all the bits of the new bed (king size, so even bigger) from the spare room to our bedroom and assemble them whilst precariously holding them together risking my bare toes, then heave the king size mattress from the spare room to our bedroom to put it on the new bed. The mattress did not make this easy, but I am far more stubborn than a mattress is unwieldy and I will not be beaten by a rectangle of wool, cashmere and silk! Here it is.

I then had to reassemble the old bed in the spare room and pull the mattress in from the bathroom.

Then I made both beds (it seems we can only have single people to stay currently as we only have one pillow for the spare bed!) and cleared the copious amounts of packaging away.

All this manoeuvring involved pushing/pulling big heavy things halfway down the stairs and then hauling them back up and in the adjacent door to the one from which they exited. There may be slightly less paint on the banisters now than when I started, but hey, the banisters could do with sanding down anyway and I’m not letting minor detail detract from my triumph.

We were slightly concerned that the new bed would take up too much room. Hubby was concerned that Aston would no longer fit in his space …

… but he does.

It actually doesn’t look that much bigger. It’s only six inches wider but I’m sure it will make all the difference (cue all you guys breathing a sigh of relief 😂), and it’s this much longer.

Phew – after all that heaving and hauling I’m ready to go and test how zed inducing the bargain mattress is!

Night night, sleep tight, hope the bed bugs don’t bite.