Day One in the Home Office

Well, what a surreal situation we find ourselves in. Completely unprecedented. A little over three months ago, few of us had heard of Corona Virus and the term COVID-19 hadn’t even been coined, yet now it’s all we can talk about!

Yesterday I was told that everyone in my office would be working from home as of today, end date unknown! It felt quite emotional as people started to leave at the close of play, almost like I was never going to see them again. It’s also quite disconcerting leaving somewhere not knowing when you’ll be back. I couldn’t take everything, but I needed to make sure I took everything I could possibly need to do my job for however long this lasts.

This was me leaving! I couldn’t decide whether it felt like Christmas or like I’d been given my P45!

My desk plants are succulents so need minimal watering, but they do need a drink every couple of weeks, and this will most likely last longer than that, so they had to come home with me. The one on the right is highly poisonous to cats so that’s had to go on a high up shelf for the fur babies’ safety. The money plant has joined it up there for its own safety given that Tinkerbell has a penchant for chewing plants!

I’ve brought my mouse and headphones home, but not my keyboard, and after a day of home working today, I think that may have been an error. The problem is though, I don’t have enough USB slots! I may have to arrange to pop into the office to get my docking station. I’ve even brought my chair home because, if this ends up being months of working at home, my back will not take sitting on a hard wooden chair.

This morning I took advantage of being home and having access to an oven to make banana pancakes for breakfast so I could save my healthy extra B for lunchtime.

Yummy! A great start to the day.

This was me all set up and ready. I’ve never been able to hang my headphones on the hoover before!

My new colleagues were furrier than the usual lot!

All things considered, it wasn’t too bad an experience, but I may feel differently in a couple of weeks when I’m going stir crazy. I managed to get most of the systems that I need to function, and managed to motivate myself to get things done. The fact that I’ve only been in the job a few weeks will work for me and against me. It’s hard because I don’t know the job very well yet and now I’m having to do what I can on my own, albeit with remote support. Incidentally, the main reason I moved jobs was because I felt isolated and now look what’s happened! Can’t be helped though. There are definitely positives too. I’m going to have time now to go over some of the processes and make notes to really learn the job. We don’t have any choice about any of this, so we’ll all just have to make the most of it.

Speaking of making the most of it, I’ve been very amused today by various memes and jokes doing the rounds, and I thought I’d share the best of them with you.

I think we’ve seen some of the worst of human nature over the last few days – I’ve heard of toilet roll being snatched out of a child’s hands, supermarket staff being abused and,possibly worst of all, unscrupulous people offering to help out vulnerable people while they’re social distancing and then ripping them off.

There have also been many examples of positive behaviour, for example leaflets being posted through doors offering genuine help if needed and dog walking companies slashing their prices for those in self isolation. What struck me about all these memes, was that even in this worrying situation, we’re retaining out sense of humour. Clearly, given the state of the supermarkets and pharmacies, we’re not all keeping calm and carrying on, but these little funnies give me hope that we will.

For my part, I plan on continuing with life as normally (and sensibly) as possible, whilst washing my hands multiple times a day (all the while singing happy birthday to myself twice!) and I plan to make the most of the extra time I have at home because of my new thirty second commute and evenings and weekends in. Tonight I took part in an online quiz run on Facebook by Hashtag quizzes which was fun. It’s running every night at 8.30 on their Facebook page if anyone fancies it. I’ve written a list of all the things I can do to occupy myself. There’s blogging, gardening, crocheting, knitting, cross stitching, mosaic art, colouring, reading my Kindle, reading magazines (which I’ve stocked up on), stripping woodchip, jigsaw puzzles, word puzzles, Les Mills on demand, walking (whilst keeping two metres distance from anyone) and, of course, Netflix. It will be fine for the vast majority of us.

On that note, I’m off to watch episode three of The Stranger. Keep safe folks and I’ll see you on the other side!

Alternative Six on Saturday!

I was a really busy bee yesterday. I spent about five hours cleaning, tidying and generally organising ready for some friends to come over in the evening so our house is now sparkling, then I went over to Coventry to get my nails done.

… I went for green with glitter this time and I’m a little bit in love with them!

By the time I got home I just had time to have some tea before everyone arrived so I didn’t have chance to write a Six on Saturday post, even though I had managed to squeeze a photo mission to the garden in. Not to worry, it just means I’m not limited to six things to tell you about today.

First of all I’m going to wish our Welsh friends a very happy Saint David’s Day.

More and more daffs are popping up in the garden now and they do make my Winter-battered heart sing with hope. These ones are in the corner of my birthday planter.

There are definitely signs that Spring is in the air I the garden, apart from the daffs. My friend gave me a Crocus bowl for my birthday back in September. I planted the bulbs and then left the bowl in the dark garage as instructed. I have to admit, I had completely forgotten it was in there until hubby saw the bulbs sprouting and mentioned it to me. I took it out to the light and it’s gone from strength to strength.

There’s lots of new growth appearing around the garden.

My Hydrangea is growing little cabbages at the end of its arms.

My Dogwood is looking beautifully red and is growing lovely limey leaves.

And my Pink Damask in my birthday planter has got pretty big already. This dies down completely in the Winter and then shoots up in the Spring ready for its big blousy pink flowers in the Summer.

There’s actually some pink already doing its pretty thing out there. In the front my Camellia’s gearing up to flower already and I’m going to start appreciating it from now on because once those beautiful flowers bloom, they don’t stick around for long.

In the back the Pieris is already starting to develop its pink tips ready for the full on sunset that it will impress with soon.

And my sale table Erysimum which must surely be the most stoic plant in the garden, determined to shine even through Storms Ciara and Dennis, is waving a couple of flowers above its foliage.

Gorgeous!

The lawn is a little unruly because we weren’t able to give it one last mow at the end of the Summer because, would you believe it, it kept raining, and I noticed yesterday that the fox run is visible.

This reminded me to check the garden camera to see what the wildlife’s been up to recently. This was a mission! I hadn’t checked it since before Christmas so there were more than four thousand photos on the memory card. It took me hours to go through them all and get rid of the blurry ones, the hundreds of pigeons and the ones that were apparently triggered by the invisible man! Do you know how many actual decent photos I was left with? Twenty! I’ll just show you the best ones.

Bit blurry this one, but look at the date! Looks like it was the pigeon Christmas party!

Just Mr Fox enjoying some chips …

… and a squirrel chowing down on a prawn cracker.

We got another hedgehog too! So pleased with this one.

Finally, how do I know it’s Mr Fox and not Mrs? I’ll just leave this here!

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.