A week off

I have taken this week off to transition into a new role and while I would ideally have liked to have spent the week at a yoga retreat or luxury spa, those options haven’t been available so I’ve avoided email and zoom for a week which has been almost as good!

Another round of corporate redundancies took place a week ago and another group of people left the company. With each passing day, the farewell emails dropped into the inbox and that was that. By not-so Good Friday it had taken its toll and I was feeling bruised and emotional.

For those of us left behind (as I dodged another bullet) workload simply increases. I have been given a new team and a new challenge, to quadruple the business in the next three years which will be a challenge indeed as all the shops have been shut for the last four months.

And so the final days of my denial/staycation come to an end and next week, my new reality begins.

Let’s hope the shops reopen soon!

Woodpeckers and bird baths

With a week off and a number of beautification projects, I had rashly ordered a bird bath to sit on a random column outside our kitchen window. I had a moment of buyer’s remorse until I saw the first blackbird sipping and then having a full wash in the shallow bowl. First a blackbird then a robin as the garden birds seemed happy to have a splash and a drink.

View from the kitchen

Further up in a tree top was a tap, tap, knock, knock and looking up, a spectacular red, black and white greater spotted woodpecker pecked enthusiastically at the top of a large recently pollarded acer. An exciting sighting for a central London garden!

With window boxes freshened up for the spring and my avocado plantation on the window sill, the lockdown hobbies have kept me going for a while, one project finished.

Window boxes
The Avocado plantation


From a balmy twenty three degrees with sunbathers in bikinis in the park to snow flurries a few days later. From the madness of Londoners in the sun when picnic blankets, bottles of wine and pink skin are all laid out on display to layers of winter clothes being hurriedly put back on as sub zero temperatures suddenly returned. What a week of madness!

I coined a term for this, “snowshine” to capture the week of everything. And of course with typically good timing, I decided to take a week off work. Just in time to wrap up warm again but then again, I managed an afternoon boating on the Thames in a tee shirt so not all bad!

Two weeks in France

Big T departed to France at the end of March clutching a negative PCR test in hand. France had opened their borders to allow travel for work and to reunite with family so with deadlines looming, off he went for two weeks of work, family and house stuff.

Having a house in a country we can no longer visit easily is a little challenging and while we’re hopeful we’ll be able to get to France at some point in the summer, nothing’s definite so Big T has been able to check the house and work in the garden to make sure everything’s ok till we can get there.

In order to get back into the UK, another three negative PCR tests are needed. One to leave France and two more to get into the UK and release from quarantine. At £120 (ish) a test, there are no more bargain flights, no spontaneity and no easy weekend trips. I thoughts about popping over for Easter and instantly realised that the halcyon days of Fridays to Mondays in France are long gone.

He’s due back on Friday unless France gets put on the red list requiring travellers to stay in a quarantine hotel for ten days at an exorbitant cost so hopefully that won’t happen in the next couple of days.

How different life is from two years ago when I could fly to France and back each weekend and this new vocabulary, complete with face masks didn’t exist. A very different life.

What’s new?

It’s been a long time since I caught up on the new and exciting times of lockdown part two or is it part three? I’ve lost count!

As we’re now starting to ease out of the current lockdown (everything’s been shut since before Christmas) there’s a great sense of fatigue and tediousness about everything but with Spring teasing us with intermittent glimpses, I’m hopeful things are starting to improve.

Needless to say, from my last post, I survived the first installation of the Covid vaccine and with twenty four hours of chills, fever and a surreal sense of something not being quite right, I was glad not to have had the real thing.

Vaccines have become political with the rest of the world but especially Europe as the UK has managed to implement a fast rollout. I’m not sure what that means for the second jab but hopefully politics won’t interfere with part two.

Twenty four hours later almost on the dot, I felt much better and the lingering sore arm lasted a few days as a reminder that this was progress, hopefully.

And with progress came travel as Big T departed to France!

V Day Two

I was in and out in four minutes as I had my first vaccination this morning.

The queue was long as uptake was high. All over fifties are now eligible and it seemed like we’d all signed up at once.

It was impressive as we were funnelled through the system. I didn’t feel a thing and barely had time to take my jacket off.

I did feel a bit like cattle or perhaps it was a lamb to the slaughter as we followed the arrows, received the jab and were expelled out the other side blinking in the thin spring sunshine.

And so it’s done and now I’m waiting to see if the flu-like side effects kick in…


It’s Vaccine Day for one of us and having had several conversations about DNA stealing, microchip injections, indoctrination, lemming mentality, vaccine passports and green corridors, the decision to trust the science was made.

I spent five years on a melanoma vaccine so am quite used to the idea of experimental vaccines being injected into me but for others, it’s a new, exciting experience.

By weighing up the pros and cons, the best option being a return to a sense of normality with the possibility of travel thrown in and the worst being death from Covid, it seemed the first option won.

Every person is entitled to their own opinion of course, one’s body therefore one’s choice so whatever choice is made, it’s the right one.

Let’s see how he feels afterwards!

Hope springs eternal

The signs of Spring this week are coupled with the government’s plans for the end of the interminable lockdown. Hurrah, we cheered, the end is in sight as the vaccines continue to roll out. We might even get one soon!

The country is focused on June 21st for the reopening of the pubs. Only four months to go for those who want a pint!

Except for Big T who is now brewing beer in our shed from a kit I bought him for his birthday. It’s a “just add water and yeast” concept so only requires patience. The “pub” is called the Maid of Ale and seems to be quite Tardis-like from the plans to install a pool table and dart board.

With all that comes the bloom of daffodils, buds on the magnolia tree and bird song in the garden so we’re hopeful we’ve turned the corner and things will get better.

And in the meantime, Big T’s brewing stout this week!