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!



Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Wanderings Lately :: October, November, December 2019

Bumper three months of wanderings in this post, closely followed today by a couple of retrospectives... as always, I'm not very consistent with my blog. I'm going to partly blame the puzzle I'm currently stuck trying to complete - as I would usually have spent more of this Crimbo Limbo time writing blog posts!

Here are the last three months of this year, and this decade.

October











Short work trip back to Albania. I was not ill this time, and was staying in a much better hotel. The weather was amazing - very unusual for the time of year.

I posted a montage of all of the electricity boxes on facebook, but Scrooge McDuck here is my favourite. I'm assuming that the artwork on these is officially organised since all of the electricity boxes in the city are decorated with this kind of street art, rather than tagging or hastily scribbled grafitti. It's quite cool, and interesting to wander around to see all the different designs.



Victor and I explored Wandsworth a little more and found Wandsworth Park. We played a round of crazy golf, and enjoyed a walk around the small, riverside park before heading back home. Nice to find more nice places on your doorstep.




Chevening orientation came round again. Scholars that I'd interviewed didn't remember me, and the journey home was a lot more epic than last year! Victor and I ordered our first five guys take away in the evening which was very much appreciated!





I made an attempt at Rosół, Polish chicken soup as a cure for Victor's cold. Needs improvement!






I took Victor for Moules Frites for his birthday. Not the best version, and certain not the nicest restaurant ambience. This next time we have this dish it should be in Belgium! 

November





Work trip back in Moldova. Lovely weather once again and a really interesting conference topic. This trip also included a visit to Milestii Mici Winery - holder of the Guinness world record for largest wine cellar (by number of bottles). My suitcase was bursting on the way back!



Becoming a pro at blood doning - in and out of the chair in around 8 minutes!



Christmas wreath making with Mary. We were disappointed that this was a fake wreath as we had both thought it would be with real foliage. Nevertheless it was fun to make, and I was pretty pleased with how mine turned out.




Started Christmas at the end of November with my Christmas pudding on stir-up Sunday and local Christmas markets with mum!

December





Our Christmas tree was delivered on the 1st December. Our bumper Christmas bauble haul was put to good use. The tree is just about still going strong!



Work Christmas party kicked off December. It took a while to organise but was a fantastic success. The cheese table the shining glory - just came out a little bit late on in the evening!


A Christmassy trip to Edinburgh - and a rainy return meant I was able to get a great shot of the airport sign!



Candlelight carols with Carola. We turned up at the wrong church initially - where the bottom photo was taken. Thank goodness there was another carol service in process otherwise we'd have been waiting around for ours to start when it was all getting underway at the correct church 5 minutes away!


Another general election. Another slightly worse result.



More friend catch-ups with epic table spread!


Finally got my China map framed and hung. Forgot that I still had the pinyin written at the bottom from where I was trying to learn Chinese. I really love this map and the memories it holds.




A christmassy trip to the London Transport Museum. Ongar got a little shout out, which was nice. There was also a lamp from Blake Hall on display. This 'ticket map' was really clever although difficult to get a decent picture. They'd re-created the tube map but with tickets for each station. Even Ongar and North Weald were on there!



Finally Christmas back at home and a really relaxing end of the year in Wandsworth.