Daily Diary: ‘Stay at Home’ Day 3

Here we are, day three of our national ‘Stay at Home’ strategy, and I feel unsettled, out of sorts…

It’s not the being at home bit that bothers me, that I’m always happy with. It’s the not knowing, the waiting for whatever happens next in our global Covid-19 crisis, with no real end-game in sight. The thing is, it does seem inevitable that we all need to catch it at some point in order to gain our herd immunity, so it feels like ‘when’ not ‘if’. I understand the importance of slowing it down, stopping a peak of infection that our health services simply cannot cope with, but the sheer nothingness of waiting… just interminable waiting… is what I’m struggling most with right now.

I can’t help but worry about my family – in particular my two elderly parents both with serious underlying health conditions, who I already haven’t seen since the end of January as I’ve had a succession of annoying colds and things I was trying not to pass on to them for exactly that reason. But what if something awful happens to them and I haven’t even seen them recently? And then there’s my husband’s family currently in self-isolation at home in Louisiana, apparently one of the US Covid-19 hot-spots – right now that feels like a really long way away.

There’s also my own ongoing health to consider – I’m technically bordering on the ‘at risk’ category having asthma, and with everything I catch always going straight to my chest we’re being careful with unnecessary contact. Thankfully I’ve been furloughed from work, although my husband now works in a local supermarket so will be continuing to cover his shifts for the duration. The plan is to come straight in, have a shower and change his clothes before even giving me a hug, so caution is definitely the name of the game for us right now.

But in the meantime I’m trying to count my blessings and stay focused on the positives. We have a lovely home to live in, with our own garden front and back, and we live in a beautiful part of the world that is not overly populated. We always have a well-stocked store cupboard and freezer (an old habit from me living for years in the middle of nowhere with not much transport) and I love cooking, so we’re not suffering through no longer being able to eat out anywhere for now.

And although we now live close to most of my family (who of course we can’t see at the moment), because we lived in London for so long we’re all used to keeping in touch virtually so already have all those technologies in place so feel ahead of the curve in that regard, which certainly helps. So we’re all dealing with it all as best we can, looking out for each other remotely, virtually, keeping in touch and giving moral support as much as anything. As a family we’re currently sharing a strong feeling of all being in this together, and that is strangely comforting in this scary time of global crisis…

Weekly Prompts: Daily Diary

Snakes and Ladders

When we were kids, we used to play the board game snakes and ladders. Taking turns in trying to get from the bottom to the top of the board one square at a time on the throw of a dice, with the help of climbing a ladder or the hindrance of sliding down a snake, depending on the particular square on which you land. Whether you landed on a ‘good’ square or a ‘bad’ square, it was always dependent on the luck of the die.

It was tough, as a child, learning that sometimes luck plays such a big part in your success in life, and that sometimes things are just not fair. But I think it was a good lesson to learn, because in adulthood you cannot always win, cannot always be first or always top of the pile. And sometimes life is simply not fair, sometimes it feels like an arbitrary throw of the dice is all that stands between us and success or failure.

Weekly Prompt: Ladders

Ness Bank

Sometimes I take a random pic (one of many) while out and about where I find the whole thing particularly aesthetically appealing. I’ve no idea why this image appeals to me so much – but then beauty is always in the eye of the beholder. I think it’s the way the trees and the bridge and the river just come together that works so well for me. I’ve processed it in black and white too, and for me the monochrome version looks just as good! 🙂

Weekly Prompt: Aesthetically Appealing

Crochet Blankets and Me

I first learned to crochet as a child, ill a lot and looking for something interesting to do while I was waiting to get better. And oh, there seemed to be such a lot of waiting. My mum and my Grandmother both knitted a lot, but for me two needles and multiple stitches to drop created far more frustration than fun, and instead I found wielding a single crochet hook (thankfully only ever holding one stitch at a time) gave me the practical creative outlet I needed. It used up all their leftover yarn, too, so it was a win-win all round for all of us.

So fast forward several decades and I find there’s still nothing better for me as a winter warmer than sitting on the sofa with a growing blanket hanging off a hook, all draped cosily over my lap. As a result I always have several crochet blankets kicking around the house, all multicoloured, all slightly different, and all made by me over the years. Some are bigger, some are smaller, some are rectangular, some are square, but all are exceedingly simple in design. Nothing fancy, just warm and practical blankets we use all the time.

But sometimes I wonder if I could maybe try to make something else other than blankets, experiment with new pretty (usually meaning fiddly for me) stitches more, try following more complicated multiple row patterns that build up slowly, or maybe even try creating some delicate crochet lace? The older I get, the more I’m finally learning to have some patience with things that take time, so maybe now is the right time for me to explore developing my crochet skills further… Hmmm… 🙂

Weekly Prompt: Home Crafts

Orchids? Eek!

My sister has brought us a potted orchid as a house-warming present – eek!

I’ve never in my life looked after plants that need ‘proper’ care and attention to thrive, all my previous green-fingered experience (whether indoors or outdoors) has been with the kind of robust non-needy plants that require minimal intervention year in, year out, and not only survive by themselves but keep coming back all on their own. Independent plants that you need to be really, REALLY negligent to kill off.

Anyway, I’ve read up online ‘how to look after a potted orchid’ and have found some really good advice and tips on watering and light and warmth, so forewarned is forearmed… And I’m really keen to learn whatever new housewifery skills I may be required to get my head around in my new home plus conservatory and garden, so I may as well start now. All I can promise thus far is that I’ll do my very best to look after my new orchid, and see what happens…

We’ve also been given three dormant hyacinth bulbs and some dehydrated compost blocks in a pretty ceramic pot as another house-warming gift – a DIY grow your own kit – so apparently once I’ve reconstituted the compost and planted the bulbs they need to live in the cold garden shed for 10 weeks before coming in to the house… Hmmm… OK… I’ve never grown hyacinths before, either… Double eek!

Two brand-new-to-me indoor plant experiments in one fell swoop seems like a good challenging start to the new year in our new house – I already have a thriving potted basil growing on my kitchen windowsill and two schlumbergera, but I’ve had them before in the past (long ago, but it still counts) and know what I’m doing (there or thereabouts) so I’m not a complete novice to houseplant care…. Famous last words! Hopefully I can succeed in learning how NOT to kill potted orchids and hyacinths too… 🙂

Cee’s Flower of the Day

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Best

Weekly Prompt: Something New

Christmas Tree Decorations

Putting up a proper Christmas tree this year has been a real treat for me. I know it’s just artificial, but it’s still more of a tree than we’ve ever had before! Our fake tree is about 4ft high and is comfortably adorned with the few choice decorations we brought with us from our tiny flat in London, plus a few extra baubles donated by my eldest daughter.

As we used to put out only a few small bits and pieces every year, just to mark the season, our motley crew of Christmas tree people have only ever sat on the sideboard before, so it’s hopefully a real treat for them to be on a tree too! The miniature (empty) Tabasco bottles are a nod to my husband’s Cajun heritage, and actually came from the Tabasco factory at Avery Island, Louisiana, and make a fun home-made addition to our little collection.

So this week’s smile comes courtesy of our wooden jiggly reindeer, our felt gingerbread man, our knitted robin, our eclectic collection of various jingle bells, our Merry Christmas sign, our Tabasco bottles, and our smiley little fairy, taking her place on top of a tree at long last! 🙂

Weekly Smile

Weekly Prompts: Holday Treats