My week … the one with a holiday.

This feels a bit like a school writing project, what I did on my holiday but its so lovely to be able to write a post about a holiday. The government Covid restrictions eased on Monday which meant that we were allowed to stay away from home in England if in self catering accommodation and in our household bubble. At present no hotels or bed and breakfasts are allowed to open. Mr S had been able to book a property for 4 nights as soon as the road map was published, which we could use as a base to visit our parents and to give us a few days to simply do something a bit different than the stay at home message we’ve had for most of the past year.

We stayed in a small hamlet near Wells in Somerset. Our accommodation was beautiful, it was on an old farm building, the milking parlour, which had been renovated to such a high standard. It was the best self catering accommodation I have stayed in, full of everything you might need and more and in immaculate condition. The wood burner feature in the lounge was stunning, but with such good weather we never needed to use it. The ceilings were so high and the beams gave a very cosy feeling. The property also had an adjoining games room, where we enjoyed table tennis and table football in the evenings. The children loved the large trampoline in what wasn’t really a garden but a meadow and they had lots of room to roam and run safely. In addition to the meadow, we had a patio where we managed our first barbecue of the year, toasting marshmallows over a barbecue is always going to be a fun thing to do.

When we arrived we went straight to Wells as we had a food collection organised. We had the time to walk around Wells and it was such a beautiful city. We stopped at a café in the square and it all felt very relaxed and open with the tables laid out across the plaza. The square was full of people meeting up and there was such a lovely atmosphere and buzz on the first day of shops and outdoor cafes, restaurants and pubs reopening. There are some unexpected effects of the government guidelines and this shift to outdoor living is nice (but yes, you need the good weather) I am still to work out the correct clothing for this new outdoor life, in the good weather we’ve had you want to be wearing spring colours and styles but also need the warmth of winter layers.

One of my favourite activities of our holiday was hiring bikes in Cheddar and cycling the old railway line, the Strawberry Line. I was impressed by the children as some parts were on road (through the picture perfect village of Axbridge) and they coped really well and safely. We did around 12 miles in total and it was a beautiful way to explore the countryside and enjoy a gorgeous, blue sky day before returning home with freshly locally grown strawberries.

We met up with my parents at Cheddar reservoir and walked its perimeter, I am discovering with outdoor meet ups that by walking and talking, everyone feels a little warmer than simply sitting with a flask of tea. We walked the reservoir and then did stop for a little cake and cup of tea. By walking people get individual time with each other and its nice to share conversations after that you didn’t hear at the time. Unfortunately, by the time our visit ended I was feeling really, really rough, I knew I had a migraine coming on and despite the painkillers I couldn’t shake it off and then ended up in bed for the next 24 hours, with excruciating pain and vomiting, not the best day of my holiday. On the day I stayed in the cottage, Mr S and the children continued with their booked trip to Wild, a wildlife park near Bristol and enjoyed seeing all the animals. I do like giraffes so my daughter did send me a photo of one so I didn’t miss out.

Fortunately, by the final day, I was feeling a lot better and after packing up we drove through to my Father in law’s garden for a picnic lunch and a quick trip to the park for the children. He has shielded for the best part of the year and lives alone so it was so good to see him looking so well and relaxed. He has had his double vaccination now and is beginning to venture out a little more with friends. Our visit was the day before his birthday and it did feel that we were able to celebrate this year. It was a different celebration to our previous big family get togethers but at least he had family with him this year, as last year’s birthday had been hard for us all.

Its surprising how refreshed you can feel with just a few days away from home, doing something different. it was the first time the children have stayed in a rural self catering accommodation, they’re used to resorts and holiday parks, but seemed to enjoy the ability to just run around and play. Our next holiday is back to a resort with pools and activities but I think this break was just right for the restrictions we are under.

My week … the one with lots of walks

This week has seemed really long and sometimes times a bit tedious, I know I’m not fun mum when my reply to what are we doing today is always we’re going out for a walk. Its simply one of the things that we can do in lockdown and we do try to mix up the routes. Interestingly, the toughest and longest walk was also one of the highlights of the week and thoroughly enjoyed by all of us. We had a rare warm, sunny morning which definitely lifted everyone’s spirits and of course we had a little snack stop so were fuelled by Easter chocolate. We did have a day this week when both children had planned activities, Little Miss went to the farm and Little Man had a football tournament. I took our daughter to the farm and after the farm, we drove to the nearest town for a walk and picnic along the river. Although cold, it was bright and we were dressed up warmly to enjoy being outside, however only 20 miles away the boys had snow and hail. There was strange weather this week, sometimes it was lovely, other days bitterly cold and grey.

I have been feeling a bit bleurgh this week, just a cold which I can’t seem to shift (I’ve done my LFT tests twice as required for work and it isn’t Covid) Its not stopped me doing anything but I have enjoyed a few afternoons on the sofa whilst the children played Nintendo which is so unlike me. I’ve watched a couple of films and my favourite was Military Wives, it was a film I wanted to see on release but it came out just as lockdown 1 started so I never got to see it at the cinema. It was a lovely, feel good film and the perfect tonic. In the evenings, Mr S and I have been watching This Is Us, season 1. It is brilliant, how did I miss this when it was first released in 2016? We could be watching it for a while as we’ve got 5 seasons to watch and at one per evening (and for the last few nights we haven’t watched any as its the Masters golf) that’s a tv commitment! By my calculations, 81 episodes at approx. 5 a week is 4 months viewing sorted.

As well as the films and series, I’ve had a little extra time for reading too. I read Gretchen Rubin’s Outer Order, Indoor Calm. Its not an instruction manual but offers some good observations on clutter and order with some really useful tips. After all this time in lockdown, my house is pretty well organised and clutter free at present. However I did sort some of the children’s clothes out this week to get ready for the spring and summer. They’ve both had a bit of a growth spurt so I need to buy a few extras this summer. I think with last year’s lockdown, I got the most out of the previous summers clothes, which may explain why some of my daughter’s shorts now look indecent! I also read Tracey Thorn’s book on growing up in suburbia in the 70s and 80s, much rings true in the book and its an entertaining read.

Nationally the news this week has been the death of the Queen’s husband, the Duke of Edinburgh at the age of 99. I was in my neighbours garden (its the only way we can see people) with the radio on in the kitchen when we heard the national anthem and the news, its funny how those ‘where were you’ moments stay with you. The BBC radio stations went to rolling news and sombre, respectful music and normal programmes were suspended on the national tv channels for news and tribute programmes. For me, his legacy will be the Duke of Edinburgh’s scheme which I participated in as a teenager, it was a fun programme and a positive experience (and on one of our camps, the boy I fancied kissed me!)

Next week sees our first holiday for 603 days (yes I worked it out) After 3 holidays being postponed due to Covid restrictions, we are finally away to a cottage in Somerset. Its our base so we can visit our parents, outside and at a social distance, and just enjoy a few more activities as the next stage of the road map is introduced.

Here’s to a happy week.

My week … the one with my 2nd vaccination.

It was another busy week in which Easter suddenly seemed to appear. I do prefer a slower build up but we broke up on Maundy Thursday and it was such a busy week at work that Easter thoughts were put to one side. Fortunately, I was pretty much planned and prepped up for Easter at home (thanks to lockdown weekends) so when it came I was ready for our little traditions, I just would have liked a little pause to relax.

I began this week by decorating the house for Easter, I love the spring feel to the house with the pastel decorations bringing extra colour and warmth inside. In the past year, I have made more of our window displays to share with those who pass by. This week, I overheard a little girl, pointing out our window display to her mum and her excitement made my day. The other Easter tradition for this post is the trip to the local bakers on Good Friday for freshly baked hot Cross buns. Little Man and I went to the bakery on Friday morning, the queue was 10 deep but the delicious buns were worth the wait. The queue was chatty and friendly, so actually added to the trip.

The very welcome highlight of the week was the second Covid vaccination I received on Wednesday at work. We were a little worried about the side effects, as a few colleagues had suffered on the first round, but I took some paracetamol an hour before and some before bed and I was absolutely fine. No tripping dreams or hot sweats and shivers this time. I enjoyed helping to make a thank you display for the staff from the local surgery whom came in to our school to do the admin and administer the vaccines. They have been so helpful and supportive and it was nice to be able to recognise their work.

I have been trying to be a little creative this year however I am also really busy at work and don’t quite have the enthusiasm and commitment to try a big project at present. I bought an adult colouring book and have found it quite helpful to switch off by doing it and listening to my music in the evenings. The book is full of quotes either from Gretchen Rubin, author of the Happiness Project or happiness inspired quotes.

I recently picked up Marathon Mum on a Kindle deal after reading recommendations. It was a fantastic book, primarily its the story of the author Rachel Brown and how she created a running community from her own difficult life story but is also full of inspiring stories of the women she helped. Its a story which makes you just want to put your trainers on and run. Its also one of these running books which isn’t really about running but living the ‘bigger life’

My final sparkle could be about living the bigger life. I was a huge aha fan as a teen and Hunting High and Low is one of my favourite albums ever. At the start of 2020, I noticed that they were playing the album live in a big concert not too far away from home. I ummed and arghhed about getting a ticket and in the end I didn’t and did feel a pang of regret. However due to Covid, the concert didn’t happen and now it has been rearranged for 2022 which was advertised this week. There was no hesitation in buying a ticket this time, and I was able to get two good seats and am so excited to see aha again. Its lovely to have something to look forward to after the past year.

Its holiday time now and very excitingly, government guidelines relax a little further on April 12th and get to go away, Its brilliant to be planning happy events.

My week … the one in which we finally changed the oven lightbulb!

Its a tongue in cheek title this week, but this has probably been the dullest week of lockdown 3. We are so close to a loosening of restrictions but still subject to them, its frustrating. I also had to pause on my running after a silly injury last Sunday so had even more time at home. I have already pretty much decluttered and sorted every drawer and cupboard in the house, so the oven lightbulb really was about the only thing left to do, its been broken for so long, that I get excited every time I see it working now. At least I had work to keep me busy!

Planning for Easter

I tried to use my additional free time in getting ready for the coming weeks, planning for Easter and our cottage getaway. I’ve created my Easter menu and also sorted outdoor things to do near where we will be staying in Somerset. I also sent off the Easter cards and sorted a little gift for my parents. I try to be a thoughtful present buyer and after browsing so many sites, including my favourites, of Etsy and Not On The High Street, there was nothing that excited me to give as an Easter gift. I then got inspiration to look at Fortnum and Mason to see if they had any special Easter nibbles and was able to put together an Easter package for my parents, with a special seasonal blend of tea, Easter biscuits and some other treats for their Easter Sunday tea. It was more expensive than I would normally spend but tbh this year I’ve not spent much money and sometimes you just want to do that wow moment for someone. I knew that my mum would be beside herself to receive a parcel filled with goodies in the iconic eau de nil packaging and to be able to provide that little spark of joy and delight was worth every penny.

Reading

This week upon my colleague’s recommendation, I have been reading Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott. Like a few management books I’ve read, it could easily have been précised into a paper rather than a book but the concept is really interesting and makes you reflect on communication.

“When you think of a fierce conversation, think passion, integrity, authenticity, collaboration. Think cultural transformation. Think leadership.”

I had to discuss an area of development with a colleague this week and decided to trail some of the suggestions. It was a really useful conversation and I do think it went better thanks to the model created by Scott.

The surreal

I took a slightly different route to work and was surprised and amused to meet a giraffe, not just a life size giraffe but one wearing a bobble hat too! Geoff the giraffe, because of course I’ve named him and created a personality for him, really made me smile and was just the start to the day I needed, if not a little surreal for a Wednesday morning.

And finally

I’m hoping this week will be a little calmer at work and a little more exciting at home. Its a 4 day week (although I work 5 days in 4 so have to still calculate what I’m working) and on Wednesday (fingers crossed on supplies) we have our second dose of the Covid vaccine. We’re planning a surprise for the team from our local medical practice whom are leading the clinic and its such a nice thing to be preparing. Its also Good Friday this week so hot cross bun day, nothing beats freshly baked buns from the local baker on Good Friday morning. There is a little excitement in the road map out of Covid restrictions next week, Monday sees the return of the rule of 6 and then the big countdown to April 12th and more freedom.

Have a safe week.

My week .. the one with Mothers day.

I am late in writing this post up so it is an update on the past fortnight, rather than one week. To be honest each week seems pretty similar these days and there’s not a great deal to write about. I didn’t write last weekend as I felt a bit rough, I’ve never really been affected by hormones but as I’m getting older I do have a few days each month of bad headaches, irritability and just that bleugh feeling.

I also just couldn’t express my words for what was happening last week. As many commentators noted in a week which started with International Women’s day and ended with Mothers day, the kidnap and murder of a young woman in London allegedly by a police officer and the aggressive policing of a vigil in a park, many of us were questioning again how women are treated in a society. It was all so depressingly familiar, for this generation Sarah Everard will be what Suzy Lamplugh was to mine, women quietly getting on with their lives and killed randomly. Suzy Lamplugh’s family and friends started a charity in her name and I do remember all female undergraduates at my uni being given a rape alarm by the charity for our safety and knowing how to carry keys in a hand to be used as a weapon if attacked. This ‘normal’ 30 years ago is still the ‘normal’ now although the rape alarm has been replaced by technology in mobile phones. Its a situation which makes me sad and then so angry, everybody should be able to walk down a street at any time of the day without fear.

We started the Covid home testing this week for my son and I, my daughter has 3 tests at school and will then bring her kit home too. Its just a little too surreal to even comprehend, twice weekly tests being reported to a government website, you simply couldn’t imagine that this is where would be this time last year. I’ve lost count of the tests I have done now, they have become part of my routine and its a relief they’re only twice a week now as for a period I was doing them everyday at work. They don’t get any more comfortable or easy, sticking a swab down your throat and up your nose is never pleasant, but key to keeping everyone safe.

Life has been so quiet, that its back to writing about running. I have a new pair of trainers! They are very bright but as I explained to Mr S, no one ever really looks at my feet and at half the price of a more neutral colour of exactly the same model, I would be crazy to pay silly money for a different colour. I do own more trainers than proper shoes now. At the beginning of the fortnight, I passed the 200 mile marker of my Lands End to John O’Groats challenge and the postcard was of Blaise Castle in Bristol. It actually brought back some wonderful memories, its somewhere we often take the children when visiting family as its got one of the best children’s play park. I also attended a friend’s wedding reception at the castle. It coincided with the Bristol Air Balloon Fiesta and it was so beautiful to be in the castle gardens and watch the balloons fly past, just one of those magical moments in life. It is surprisingly fun to track yourself on the route of this challenge and remind yourself of places you’ve been and memories you have. So far I’ve been reminded of family holidays in Cornwall, a weekend away with friends in Devon and thinking of other friends as I pass the towns where they now live.

I have been watching a new series on television, Bloodlands. It is your typical gritty police drama and as it was written by Jed Mercutio of In The Line of Duty fame, I had high hopes. It was a bit of a slow starter but by the end of episode 2, I was hooked by the twist and I’m still indignant by the end, so unexpected and sick. Line of Duty starts this weekend and I can’t wait to get gripped by it all again.

Last Sunday was Mothers day and we had a lovely, simple day. My flowers were delivered to me on my day off, so had blossomed beautifully for Sunday. I had lovely cards, although it always me makes me smile that my son signs every card with his first name and surname initial. He has a very popular name and despite always having been in a class with less than 14 children, there is always at least another with the same name. It was a very quiet day, the normal Sunday routine with a walk in the morning to a local landmark and chilling in the afternoon. I got exactly what I wanted, special time with my family.

As I started at the beginning, there is a lot of monotony in life so that’s all for the time beginning, I am busy working on another post about the past year. Its strange trying to piece the bits together, life is different to what it was last year and for us has changed permanently in ways I wouldn’t have predicted. I look forward to writing it up.

My week … the one with World Book Day

Another lockdown week and another week closer to nearly a year under restrictions. I think this coming anniversary is leading to a lot of reflection on how life was just before lockdown, the time when we could still do the little things. There is anticipation and anxiety about the coming months as we all look forward but worry that our hopes could be dashed again. Positively, Mr S had his Covid vaccine this week. We didn’t realise until recently he was classed as vulnerable because he has epilepsy. Its the kind of thing we’re pretty relaxed about as he takes his meds daily and hasn’t had a seizure in the last 20 years. However when we had that knowledge it did make us a little more aware, so his vaccination was a big relief. With the schools going back next week, we have been receiving the home tests for the children, it is going to be a strange experience testing and reporting the results. Certain parts of daily life have a surreal twist at present.

This week has been the last full week of home schooling, Little Miss is back in on Thursday as her secondary school introduces a phased return because of the testing. I have done my last day of supervising home school and am looking forward to her returning to school, she needs the social connections and real life experiences which can’t be replicated at home. I agreed with the closing of schools in January for all but key worker and vulnerable children but am pleased she is now going back to school. Our son has attended his special needs school throughout the lockdown, which was the correct decision for him, it is much smaller and felt safe. The rate here in January was off the scale and now as our daughter returns, the school’s large catchment area is all white on the map meaning the virus is suppressed. I did have to order some new school shoes this weekend, in fairness they needed replacing at Christmas (long story, I hadn’t bought her new shoes in September) but I had a little feeling that there might be a delayed start. Fingers crossed the shoes come by Thursday or she’ll be wearing a pair of my black flats. On the theme of education, I received my post graduate qualification certificate for my recent Uni course and the right to have a further acronym in my professional signature. The course was held regionally and it feels odd to have a qualification from a University that I have never visited. In a different year, I might have been able to pop in when visiting family in the same city. I’m not sure what I would have done, a drink in a student bar, bought new stationery in the student shop, browsed the library, I think I would have felt pretty old!

Its been World Book day this week, which is always one of my favourite days of the school year, I love seeing everyone dressed up and the special themed activities and events. I did think I had dodged the dressing up this year but two days before, we got the message from our son’s school to say that it was fancy dress as a character in your favourite book. Little Man’s favourite book is one on the history of World War 2, so he dressed up as soldier in camo gear. Fortunately, he has loads of camo clothes so this was pretty easy and he has a WW2 helmet too. One of the advantages of starting a new school this year is that it was also the same costume as 2020 ! Last year, we were sent home a class photo of the children in their fancy dress, little did we know that it would become our son’s leaving photo as one of the final occasions when the class were all together. As part of World Book day, I joined in my school’s paint a potato competition. Sadly I didn’t win a prize despite my anonymous entry but it was nice to do something a bit lighter and fun for work. I also had a go at a children’s book quiz on the BBC website and got full marks, I was dead chuffed! On the topic of reading, I am really enjoying my new book She’s Come Undone, it was recommended on a podcast and has me hooked.

My running has continued a pace this week, I’ve passed the 200 mile mark on the Lands End to John O’Groat’s virtual challenge. As a little treat for the evening long runs, I have a shower bomb from Wideye on my return. They are amazing, I discovered them via an online friend on Instagram and they smell and feel delightful. Best of all, whilst they are only a small company, one of their two stores is fairly local to me, so when shops reopen I’m looking forward to having a little mosey around the shop and to try a few more products.

This week there have been a few signs that spring is coming, I’ve noticed the crocuses and daffodils on the grass banks and some blossom dripping from tree branches. However the best sign was when I took Little Miss to the farm on Saturday and we got to meet the new lambs, born on Monday. They are so sweet and absolutely captivating.

Looking to next week, it’ll be strange to have both children back at school by the end of the week. Having finished my Uni course at Christmas and home schooling since then, I haven’t had ‘me’ time on my day off for a while. I have no plans this week for my day off, sometimes its just nice to see a day flow spontaneously.

My week … the one with the home made pasties

Its quite difficult to write an interesting and original weekly round up, as in lockdown, life is pretty much the same every week, work, home, run, read. I’m watching little tv as it all seems a bit dull and we’re quickly working our way through the Marvellous Mrs Maisel, season 3 now, which never disappoints. I’ve become far too interested in the weather, the time the sun rises and sets (in fairness its to help plan runs in the light as I can do more varied routes and I’m now walking to work in the light too) the tides and this week I learnt about the last winter new moon, who knew that it was a thing? I really need to get out more , if only we could…

The road map out of lockdown was announced this week, it seems pretty sensible and measured and gave us all some hope for the summer. It seems we will be able to go on our UK holiday in May and I am so pleased that parkrun now has a return date too, hey its still 14 weeks away but there is a date and some promise of brighter times ahead. Mr S also got his vaccination letter this week as he has an underlying medical condition and he’s booked in for next week. I’m so impressed by the vaccination roll out, as of today over 20 million jabs have been given, an amazing testament to our nhs and volunteers.

With not much on tv, I have been reading in the evenings and this week its been Motherwell by Deborah Orr. Its slightly uncomfortable reading as I recognise a few stories in it having been played out in my childhood too. But it is also giving me more of an understanding of the social, cultural and economic environment my mum grew up in, as she grew up in a similar Scottish town to Motherwell.

One of the things we have been doing in lockdown is cooking, its gone from cakes and bakes to meals and on request today, Little Man and I made home made pasties for tea. Little Man’s primary class did a project with a local café and created their own pasties, he’s remembered it well over the years and wanted to repeat his filling of chicken, bacon and cheese. We made the pasties from scratch, including home made pastry, hey its lockdown we have the time! His pasty did look delicious (I’m veggie so didn’t try it) and he loved it, so one happy boy at teatime tonight with his hand made pasty.

So its another lockdown week to follow, the last full week of home schooling for Little Miss, although her school has a staggered start the following week and she won’t be returning on March 8th. Here’s to a happy and relaxed week.

My week … the chilly one

It has been so cold this week, that I seem to have spent the week wrapped in a blanket throw at work (thanks to Covid ventilation rules and open windows) or under my cosy blanket on my sofa at home. We’ve had the icy weather and the wind chill factor but only a few little flakes of snow, see the flower photo above. The iced plants photo was taken this morning on our way to the farm, it was a spectacular sight.

Lockdown 3 continues with little more than work and home. We have a new game, a locally themed version of Cluedo which has been fun to play. I don’t know how but its the first time I have ever played Cluedo, I’m up on the rules now and have developed my own strategies. I definitely play to win.

Lockdown has brought some really random experiences. On Monday’s Scout Zoom meeting, Little Man did armpit cooking. It was as gross as it sounds and I didn’t try any of the chocolate fudge they made as I had seen how it had been prepared! Tonight, Little Man and I watched the final of the Masked Singer, such a random, bonkers programme but entertaining and harmless fun on a lockdown Saturday night. I correctly guessed one singer but am still very taken by Morten Harket aka Viking from a few weeks ago. I’ve seen A-ha in concert three times and although we’ve all aged a little, he could still be my bedroom wall pin up, 30 years later!

I did feel quite mature and adult this week as I needed to do some tax research. I’ve got part of Mr S’ tax allowance transferred to me now as he is no longer working and I needed to calculate all my allowances to check the figures of my new tax code. The HMRC resources were helpful and I think its the first time I’ve ever understood tax in all my working life. I’m not sure I would have investigated this fully if we weren’t in Lockdown, but it was genuinely refreshing to do something different and useful.

We have continued to watch the Marvellous Mrs Maisel, which is my favourite tv of Lockdown 3, it gets better with every episode (we’re now on Series 2, episode 6) However, this week I have also spent lots of time reading the Midnight Library by Matt Haig, a perfect story for this time. The story is simple, albeit with a bit of quantum physics to fully explain the plot, in which a woman takes an overdose and on the edge of life and death gets to live many versions of her life by making different decisions at key points in her life. Its very clever and life affirming and had me in tears at the end. By chance, as I finished the book, my playlist was playing Elbow’s One Day Like This, beautiful synchronicity. This is a hard period but perhaps one day we will look back at how it helped to reframe our lives.

Its half term next week, again a very strange week with none of our normal activities. Holidays and weekends feel like a game of lockdown bingo at present, board games, walks, baking, special dinners, family film, Nintendo Switch etc… Tick them all off to get house!

Have a happy half term.

My week … the one with humour

Its a been a really difficult month and there is still the sadness permeating our community following the Covid outbreak which saw us go from the virus suppressed to the second highest category in 6 weeks. It feels wrong to suggest that this has been a humorous week, but due to my reading and tv watching, there has been some carefully placed wit and humour hidden among the melancholy which is lockdown 3. I’m also lucky enough to share a socially distanced office with a great friend and colleague and among all the worry and angst of recent weeks, we had a real laugh out moment, where we were both nearly crying with laughter. When life has been so rough, you do actually cherish those unscripted funny times. Its the little moments which make life at present.

I’ve read …

A few months ago, I picked up Adam Hill’s Best Foot Forward on my beloved Kindle 99p deal of the day. I swiped it by accident after finishing my last book and having read the first page I was hooked. Its witty, thoughtful and full of brilliant stories and a testament to hard work. Its one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read recently.

I’ve watched …

We’re now on series 2 of the Marvellous Mrs Maizel and its only improving with each episode. The mix of family life and its dynamics, a woman’s role and the most stunning costumes is a winner. As if it couldn’t be any better, the action is now also in Paris and I get to see the beauty of 1950s Paris and lots of French dialogue to listen. It is my ideal of blissful tv.

I’ve admired the sky…

Lockdown 3 is work and one daily exercise a day, there’s not much variety in life and you do look for the little things. In the photo are 3 scenes from my daily exercise this week, a clear night sky full of stars, a rainbow peaking through the drab day and a beautiful dawn. Of the three images the night sky was the one which filled me with such awe, I hadn’t really noticed the sky on my run, concentrating on the pavement and not falling over in the dark (I’m clumsy) but when I returned home and was stood in my garden just looking, it was overwhelming just making you feel so small in the universe. I had also listened to Tim Peake’s Desert Island Discs and his words on space seemed to resonate with the beauty of the night sky.

And finally

Its one more week until half term. We’re decorating our daughter’s bedroom so we’ve been choosing paints and thinking of new ways to update the room for a teenage girl. This means Mr S will be busy decorating and I need to think of some ways to keep us amused at home. After nearly a year in lockdown, it’ll be a challenge to come up with new ideas.

My week … the one with a vaccination and a merit.

This week I have been bursting with happiness as events unfurled and after all the anxiety and worries of the past year, its an amazing feeling.

I had two brilliant things happen to me on Wednesday afternoon within minutes of each other. Firstly I had my first Covid vaccination and then I received the email informing me that I had passed my Uni course with merit. Walking home from work on Wednesday, I was sobbing big fat, happy tears.

I recognise how lucky I am to have had a Covid vaccination due to my profession. I work with vulnerable young people and initially staff were not on the list for priority vaccinations, simply because our provision is so specialist its a bit of an anomaly which didn’t really fit into any category. Unfortunately, we have had a couple of difficult weeks at work and Public Health England who became involved in our case, authorised our gp to vaccinate all staff as a priority. I have nothing but praise and thanks to Public Health England and our gp surgery whom have all been so supportive and helpful in our current situation. I have never been anxious about my personal health, if I were to contract Covid, I am fit and healthy and it would have simply been inconvenient with the 10 day isolation for all the family. However, I was very aware that some of the young people I work with are medically very vulnerable and the consequences could be far more serious. Since last March, I have been so careful, I couldn’t be the one who brought the infection into work and put the health of vulnerable others at risk. After being so aware of every risk, the vaccination brought such a feeling of relief. We were fortunate that the gp brought a team to vaccinate the staff onsite which made it quick and convenient for all. I was helping at the vaccination clinic and it was one of the most positive and uplifting experiences I’ve done in such a long time. Everyone was just so grateful to be having the vaccination and it gave me the warmest, fuzziest feeling of happiness. I had the Astra Zeneca vaccination, I had a few minor side effects, a bit of trippy night’s sleep resulting in hot sweats and shivers but quickly felt fine again. The elation at having the vaccination hasn’t diminished, I am just so incredibly thankful to the amazing scientists and medical professions who developed the vaccination in such a short period and are administering it to us all.

After finishing the clinic, I quickly checked my email as I was expecting my Uni results and was shocked but delighted to see that my mark meant that I had not simply passed my course but with merit. Its been a big part of my life over the past 15 months (it was extended by 3 months due to the pandemic) and there were many times when I had feelings of self doubt and questioned my ability to complete the Masters level work (let alone with all the additional challenges of a pandemic) Its one of my proudest professional achievements and I now have a new qualification in my professional signature!

With the vaccination and results, Wednesday 27th January was one of the best days.