Sunday, 31 May 2020

Wanderings Lately :: April & May 2020

Life in lockdown. April and May two months in lockdown. I've never spent so much time at home, not seeing friends or exercising. What a strange time this is. I'm fully working from home, which I am very luck to be able to do. I'm also extremely glad we decided to go for a flat with a spare room which has become my office and means I can leave work in there and not have it permeate into our kitchen or living room. Although we did so at the expense of any outside space so we've had to use other opportunities to go to the local park for a walk, or wander across the road to the churchyard. I've also started running again, and have tried to keep up a few bike rides here and there.

We've barely left Wandsworth, venturing only to Putney for a long walk or slightly further afield on bike rides. Just as we were beginning to take bike rides together Victor's bike got stolen so that was a bit of a downer. Hopefully we will be replacing it soon and then be able to cycle out together again.

This period of life is full of much uncertainty, the unknown of when we will be able to return to work again, when we will be able to visit friends and family again and when things are eased, which businesses will have survived?

As we go into June, some of the rules are being relaxed. For the first time in two months I have made plans. On Tuesday I have organised to meet my friend in a local park to sit two meters apart and chat in person. It's only something small, but at least it's something!

Here are some photos from our lockdown life.





Puzzles; I started doing puzzles again before the lockdown but since we got shut inside I have definitely completed more than I would have otherwise. Currently more than half way through the Tube map one.


I finished a 30 day yoga course online between March and April. I haven't managed to keep it up, but I am pleased I completed the first 30 days. Since then I have started couch to 5k once more and have been getting out some mornings to enjoy some exercise in the fresh, cool morning air.






Cooking over the Easter weekend - Victor made Beetroot Soup and when we finally got a new oven (our other one caught fire!) we had roast lamb.






A very quiet Covent Garden and Oxford Street on a bike ride in early April.



Still baking, although less than before because there is no one to eat the things I make!


A very empty Tower of London on a recent bike ride to town.


My window boxes have started to bloom, and again, due to my lack of other plans I have been able to dedicate more time to tending to them so I'm pleased to say they are still doing well!



The story of no flour in the supermarket! Although other items are now pretty much back to normal in the supermarket, flour has remained in scare supply. So when I went in and there was bread flour I bought a packet. 


And swiftly made some Chelsea buns. I remember learning how to make these at school. One of the things we made in H.E. that was actually interesting and nice to eat. I enjoyed making them so much that I made a second, third and probably fourth batch by myself at home. Since other things we made at school were the likes of coleslaw and sandwiches the day we learnt Chelsea buns was a particular highlight!


Been such a lack of other plans that I was able to finish Tomb Raider, which Victor bought me to play at the beginning of lockdown in March. Time well spent?


On our semi-regular walk to Putney, we decided to stop at a local small business that re-opened in May to help support a local business and also experience another small step to normality.



Early on, when we had just moved into our flat, I took a photo of Victor which is still one of my favourites. I've been attempting to recreate it with our new look furniture now that we're nearly a year in. I haven't got there quite yet but this was a recent attempt.



We don't have a garden but have wandered over to the churchyard across the road some evenings to sit in the sun and enjoy some time outside.


Another lockdown purchase was a sewing machine. It hasn't arrived yet - due to be dispatched in June but the sewing kit arrived quickly and I've now also received my first fabric orders. Soon to have all the gear, and still no idea.


This was Boris' infamous announcement - 'go out, don't go out, go to work, work from home, don't travel on public transport, travel to work.' Clear as mud.



Before the bike theft we had gone to Battersea Park with a flask of coffee to enjoy some time outside. Hopefully we'll be back on two wheels again soon.


Friday, 3 April 2020

Wondering Lately :: March 2020

I've changed the title of this month's retrospective since there has been a distinct lack of wanderings. March was a bit mental, wasn't it?!

I did, in fact, do some travelling right before we all stopped going out. It was quite a hectic beginning of the month preparing for that work visit, and then a strange week in Nigeria. I got back on the Saturday, went to work on Monday and then was told to work from home Monday night. So the Chocolate Guinness cake I made for my colleagues on St Patrick's day was destined not to make it to my office.

Since the 17th March, I have been working from home and have not ventured further than a walk to Putney. I've now stopped watching the news - except for listening to one bulletin in the morning. 

Most of my summer plans have already been cancelled. Netball in Spain is off, as is our annual club tournament and the entire summer league. One consequence of that is incredibly long nails which I've painted since I have time on my hands in the evenings now.

I'm missing cycling to and from work each day, as well as netball. One daily walk is not a substitute for that. Victor and I have been to the park to throw around a netball and kick a football back and forth but that still isn't the same.

It's strange to not know how long this situation will last, or how many people in the end will contract the virus. All we can do is stay sensible, follow the advice and recognise what a privilege it is to be able to work/stay at home during this pandemic.

Nigeria


I was given my own pass in the High Commission, which I took advantage of to enjoy lunch in this small outside 'garden' area. The weather was a bit cloudy but lovely and warm.


The situation in Nigeria meant that I was not permitted to walk around the street on my own, which was weird as I have always gone off to explore places independently before. This meant that my day was very regimented. I had breakfast in the hotel, a driver came to collect me at a set time, then would pick me up at the end of the day, where I would spend the rest of the afternoon and evening in my hotel. The food wasn't that great at the hotel and the options limited. Thankfully by the end of the week I was able to go out with a few of the people from the High Commission (see below!)


This is the face of someone who is so happy to be having a meal outside of the hotel. The food was also pretty good.

Lockdown



Since going into lockdown, I have started a 30 day yoga journey. Currently half way through. It's a good way of keeping a routine as I do the classes before I start work, and I'm enjoying doing more yoga practise as I've always been a bit sporadic with it in the past. Maybe I'll be able to do an unassisted headstand by the end of this?



How is it possible that the postman couldn't deliver this, I has literally been in the house for 3 solid days when this was delivered.


Uninterrupted kitchen time = baking my own bread.

One day the message on the podiums changed from a coronavirus info webpage to 'Stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives', people weren't really getting the message before then.




Since we're going to be in a lot more, I thought it was about time to spruce up our window tubs. I hope these flowers last a while!


One long bike ride I took, which passed by Fulham football ground which is seemingly undergoing a facelift. The area along the river was very busy with everyone taking their one spot of exercise per day and all having the same idea. The riverside path was lovely but I don't think I would venture that way again.


I managed to complete this puzzle - the pink edges were SO HARD! I have another one ready from my birthday but I don't want to bust that out too early!


This wasn't the greatest start to working from home.


Zoom has become a big part of both my work and social life.



All staff meeting was interesting...

Sunday, 15 March 2020

Wanderings Lately :: February 2020

February, my favourite month! Victor and I had our first trip abroad together this month, to Tallinn which was great fun. We also took a trip to Manchester to see Chelsea and Andrew and meet Hugo for the first time. I also spent a long day in Birmingham to watch the Netball superleague starter, where all the teams play their first match over the whole day. Fab full day of netball.

The mornings and evenings started to get lighter, which was also a nice change. Cycles to work were still pretty chilly though!

Birthday



Victor bought me two of these Emma Bridgewater plates (and a vase), which I was super excited about and have enjoyed eating all of my meals off! For my birthday we got a waitrose meal deal which was delightful!






Wonderful few days in Tallinn, wandering around the beautiful old town. We had some delicious food in fab restaurants. Our air BnB had a sauna so we took advantage of that as well.

On one of the days sleet was forecast so we decided to go to the Seaplane museum near the harbour. It was really interesting and focused not only on planes but on seafaring vehicles. There was a big submarine we got to explore and Victor managed find a plane to fly! 

Netball



Went to watch the Netball Superleague. Such a great day of netball - shame they confiscated my water bottle and ran out of food on the food stall at lunch!

Heading up north





Despite the terrible forecast we actually had lovely weather whilst we were in Stockport. So this allowed us to really make the most of the weekend. We visited a nearby National Trust property to walk around the grounds (free) and had lunch in an airport pub where we could watch the planes come and go. We had a curry on the curry mile and explored the AVRO heritage museum which is on the same estate as Chelsea and Andrew's new house. Victor was in his element as we got to take a tour of a cockpit. Absolutely lovely weekend away!

Sunday, 2 February 2020

Wanderings Lately :: January 2020

This month has very much dragged along, I don't always agree that January feels like the longest month but for this year it seems to have gone on for ages. Christmas seems such a long, long time ago!

Thankfully the days are definitely getting longer, and although the mornings are still dark I've enjoyed a couple of cycles home in the twilight. Spring might be a way-off yet but some signs are showing. I noticed today that the tree in front of the church opposite has blossom already appearing on it's branches. It's been interesting to watch the transition of those trees from bountiful summer to sparse winter. Nice to see life forming once more.

January has been a hectic one at work, as I straddle two roles and things jumped forward a few steps in the yearly application cycle. Looking ahead, I am hoping for a few work trips in the spring, although nothing is ever guaranteed.

Quite glad to get January out of the way, the start of the year always has such promise but January also has such grey, miserable weather and sits in a shadow of Christmas. What does it really have going for it? Bring on February - the best month!


New Year's Day walk. It was nice to get out in the new year for some fresh air and a muddy wander through a local nature reserve before heading back to work and routine.


Making use of a Christmas present from my Nan. Shortbread made using an old fashioned mould. I've made a couple of other batches since this one too!


After new year, our Christmas tree just about made it to the 6th January. 


It wasn't fun trying to get it out of the living room though...


We were finally able to cash in Victor's Christmas present from 2018. A trip down the slide at the Olympic Park. It was fun, but I wouldn't rush back.


Celebrating Burn's Night with some Cullen Skink. A traditional smoked haddock chowder. The recipe wasn't great, but the soup was still delicious!



A visit at the end of the month to the Chelmsford Museum was very enjoyable. Lots of info on local well known people, who had made an impact in different areas. One I had not heard of before was Edward Bawden a "storytelling artist'. He'd illustrated for lot of famous novels, poems and short stories, plus designed things like wallpaper and tiles. He had a very distinctive and pleasing artistic style.


Randomly there's a bee hive in the museum. They looked a bit slow and had quite a few dead bees inside - I suppose because of the time of year - but it was fascinating and quite relaxing to watch them all buzzing around inside. The local honey on sale was £6 a jar though, so I decided to pass on buying that to try!