Friday, 27 March 2020

Life on Lock Down - Day 7 and 8



After my usual start to the day, a Wii Fit session & fruit & yoghurt for breakfast, we got dressed and left the house - the first time in a week - as we'd run out of milk. The plan was to drive to B&Q (a DIY superstore) first as we needed some bits and pieces to complete a few tasks but, despite checking their website the previous evening, the store was closed and operating a click and collect service only, we passed Morrisons but there was a huge queue so we carried on to our local Co-op which was mercifully empty. We got milk, bananas and fresh veg (enough to see us through the next week or so) as well as a carton of eggs for a friend. We drove round to his house, knocked on his door, left the eggs on his doorstep and waved at him from the car - it all felt very strange.


Back at home I caught up with blog comments, pulled on my work boots and spent a couple of hours in the garden. The council has - understandably - cancelled our garden waste collection for the foreseeable future but these leaves will be fine in our compost bin.


After lunch, I continued in the garden, unearthing a heap of branches from beneath a clump of ivy which I moved to the wood store, which is now nicely topped up, in time for the bitterly cold weekend we've got forecast.


There are signs of Spring popping up all over the garden, I wish the rhubarb would hurry up and grow, I am desperate to eat it.


Fennel, which is great in pesto.


We already used a few of our chives for a potato salad earlier in the week.


 The wild garlic's gone mad, here's another couple of clumps which seem to have sprung up overnight.


 Rosemary grows like mad and is utterly delicious with roasted veggies.


The redcurrant bush has sprung into life...


And the apple tree is starting to sprout green shoots.


Jon continued sorting out the coal house which hasn't housed a bag of coal for a long time as it's bursting at the seams with junk critically important VW parts. Meanwhile, I sat and read in the sunshine. After showers and tea (roasted vegetables with Haloumi), Jon decided to have another go at placing a food order online and, lo and behold, managed to get a slot for next Wednesday.

Hallelujah! Perfectly timed for our never-had-a-wedding anniversary on 1st April! Isn't it strange how we're delighting in little things like this? We really are living in a strange new world.


I fully expected to be the only residents of the avenue voicing our support for the NHS last night but I was wrong, by 8pm our applause was just a tiny part of the wall of noise emanating from all over Walsall, cheering, drums, fireworks, car horns and people shouting "NHS, we f*cking love you". What an amazing feeling it was, being part of a community after a week of isolation.


This morning (day 8 of Stonecroft's lockdown) I decided to scrub the radiator in the lounge, a pig of a job, after my Wii Fit session.


My daily breakfast: orange, banana, black grapes, blueberries & raspberries (bought from the market last week, before lockdown) with natural yoghurt and a sprinkling of seed and dried fruit mix from Morrisons.

SOURCE

Last night the government finally made a pledge to help the UK's 5 million self-employed. Over a coffee, I dug out my tax returns and did a rough calculation of the grant we should expect in June. Expecting to have to live off our savings the news was most welcome.


After getting dressed I threw the contents of the laundry basket in the washing machine and hung it on the line to dry (I decided our pants weren't really worthy of a photo!) After checking thoroughly for any nests, decided to tackle the ivy threatening to engulf our compost bins.


That's better!


Here's today's gardening outfit. I won this vintage dress on eBay about 15 years ago and the Mary Quant scarf came from a jumble sale - a total cost of £1.09!


Last night we watched another episode of Simon Reeve's travels across America, this time he visited the giant redwoods in California. I reckon the trees in our garden aren't far off those huge beasts.


Look at this naughty boy! Stephen Squirrel digging for victory in Jon's freshly weeded veg patch - I've no idea what he's doing, he comes inside to use the litter tray.


This one's far better behaved than his adopted big brother.


After such a frenzy of activity, I decided that I'd earned the right to spend the rest of the afternoon reading in the sunshine, so I did, although the cold wind soon had me scuttling in for cover. Tonight we're having vegetarian sausages, eggs, chips & peas for tea and, with it being Friday, a glass or two of rum.

Are you all staying at home, keeping well and smiling through these strange times? I do hope so!

64 comments:

  1. Wow, love to see your garden welcoming Spring and also love to see you looking fabulous in your maxi dresses. You rock in them! I do love some color therapy!
    Glad to see that you're enjoying your garden and lots of activity outside, it's so delightful that weather has been so good last days!.
    We also have a daily 'clap for carers' at 8pm and many people go outside their gardens or balconies and play music or sing!.
    besos

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    1. I think the clap for the NHS was inspired by the wonderful show of solidarity in Spain.
      I've been so grateful for a few warm and sunny days, it's made such a difference and kept me motivated. Today we've had snow and horrible cold wind. Onwards and upwards! xxx

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  2. it has been fabulous out in the garden, I started digging over a border and am taking my time so I don't run out of things to do as it's a small garden! Love your gardening dress!

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    1. Jon's told me to slow down so I've got plenty to do over the next few weeks, I keep forgetting that there's no rush! xxx

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  3. I was the same vix , i thought i would be the only one out but it was amazing like you said hearing the car horns , claps and other noises all in the close and down the rd and all over walsall , I've been froze all day ,only just warmed up , i could do with a compost heap xxx

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    1. Wasn't it wonderful? So good to feel some positivity and a sense of community again after all the negativity on the news.
      The last few days have been freezing, i'm going to have to find more stuff to do inside if it continues! xxx

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  4. Aren't chives wonderful? So hearty. They make me happy to see them, as mine are flourishing. My small rosemary plant didn't make it over winter, a bit too small for the cold weather we had. The last day I saw my friend I asked for a cutting of her rosemary plant so hopefully it will develop some roots so I can plant it. Tonights menu is homemade pizza. Glad you got a grocery slot. We picked ours up yesterday, now we are good for 30 days except the odd trip out for milk and veggies for Mom and us.

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    1. Chives are lovely, such a great taste and they look pretty, too! I'm hoping to cultivate some basil now we've got the greenhouse, I love it, it reminds me of Greek holidays!
      Good luck with the rosemary, I think ours thrives on neglect. xxx

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  5. You're so disciplined at getting the day started. I must make more of an effort in the mornings. Happy-Never-Had-A-Wedding Anniversary when it rolls around. My eldest boy, the new daddy, is a freelance video-tape editor and his work has dried up with the BBC stopping a lot of productions. I don't know how they expect you all to wait until June for some money. Doesn't make sense to me. Have a good weekend, my lovely.xxx

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    1. Your poor son. We're lucky in that we haven't paid for any festivals so there's cash in the bank. June is a long time to wait.
      I've always been a morning person, much to Jon's disgust. I leap out of bed in a ridiculously cheerful mood every day and absolutely love my 30 minutes Wii Fit time. xxx

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  6. Lovely that you have a few edibles in the garden already, I have always grown herbs even if it has been in pots, I shall do a few garden posts soon. I ventured out for milk yesterday and managed to get fruit, veg, salad etc and bits for the fridge so we will be good for some time. I had a very similar breakfast, it's a good way to start the day.xx

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    1. Looking forward to your gardening posts - I need all the motivation I can get! xxx

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  7. I'm loving your updates and can't wait to see what you do with your greenhouse when it arrives.

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    1. Thanks, G! It's up, I'm pondering on the next step and hoping it warms up a bit tomorrow so I can play! xxx

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  8. Oh I'm so pleased you'll get some dosh! Julian's in the same position as you; but has a job on he can do from home and his pension; so he said he'd be ok until September - the SE payment news was a bonus for him.

    You have been busy in the garden and it's so good to see all the new life budding/blooming. We must give rhubarb a go. I love it but OH doesn't.

    Loved your outfits especially the ebay 99p bargain - such fab colours and I loved the psychedelic print.

    I have fresh fruit and yoghurt everyday, too, but I have mine after my dinner!

    Stay strong!
    xxx

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    1. I didn't except to get anything so it's a relief that we can put the heating on if we need to!
      Jon hates aubergines and courgettes (which I love) but we both love rhubarb. You'll have to have a bash at growing it when garden centres open again! xxx

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  9. Glad you made it to the shop to get some foodstuffs. The queues for getting in some of the grocery stores here are huge (there was a massive one for the bank this morning), and those stores doing delivery are all overwhelmed and have late delivery dates, like yours.

    I love seeing your garden work, as I'm all brown thumbs. Actually, put me in front of that ivy and one glare from Brown-Thumbed Sheila and it would just wither and die, ha ha!

    Oh, cats, always getting into something! Vizzini has been yowling for our deck door to be open, and then he sits on his "blanket of shame" (for a while, we had to lock him on the deck in the morning to stop bothering us for food at 4am - it worked, he never does that anymore! Anyway, the blanket remains out there), looking at me balefully as if to say, "Well, make it warmer, would you, Woman?"

    Looking fabulous in your gorgeous dresses! I would die if I ever found anything by Mary Quant!

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    1. Some of the supermarkets had hour-long queues - it was a massive relief to see that our local shop was empty and, because they'd limited it to one type of item per person, there was plenty to go round.
      Food at 4am? that sounds like Stephen. He woke Jon at 1.30am this morning as he wasn't happy with the biscuits in his bowl. Arghhh! xxx

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  10. Oh no! Is it really supposed to get cold at the weekend? Nooo, I should have done the gardening and planted out the pea plants today then! Damn!!! I WISH our wild garlic grew like a weed. My mum gave me a tiny plant a few years ago and it never gets bigger than 2 leaves so I've never picked it! Sad! Maybe there needs to be some new compost on that bed. Wish I'd put the horse poo on it in the Autumn!
    Phwoar, egg for tea sounds bloody briliant! I'd love a fried egg though I guess I couldn't taste it! We had Linda McCartney mozarrella Quarter pounders with roasted parsnips and potato and then French beans and kale. I hope our veg will keep lasting- I'm eating not so much each day so I hope it will last!
    You look gorgeous in your dress! CBC and I are wishing we'd picked up a bag of ericaceous compost last week at the garden centre as our Blueberrry needs to be repotted. Wishing we'd bought our raised bed pieces too!

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    1. It's been hellishly cold this weekend here in the Midlands, maybe you fared better!
      A neighbour gave me a wild garlic cutting a few years ago and it's gone wild. i have to keep breaking it up and moving it to other parts of the garden. it obviously thrives on neglect as I never water it!
      The trouble with being vegetarian is the amount of fresh veg we get through, we might walk down to the Asian shop in the morning and see what they've got - combining our allowed exercise and shopping escape. xxx

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  11. I have never seen rosemary grow that big! Mine is a scragly little thing. I spent my day using the vegetable peelings I store in the freezer to make stock, and running my electric dehydrator to save some green beans for later on. Tomorrow's bottling corn relish and jam. This staying home has me exhausted.

    I don't have radiators in this house, but that was always my least favourite job when we did. You made it sparkle though!

    We're set for food but I wish I'd bought some birdseed for the feeders. At least the weather is warm now and they won't starve if we don't have anything for them.

    Hang in there.

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    1. Our rosemary is ridiculous, my Grandma planted it decades ago and it seems to go from strength to strength.
      I'm kicking myself for leaving a brand new dehydrator on the slef of the charity shop before lockdown, I pointed it out to Jon saying that a few bloggers I know use them but left it behind. What a fool!
      Stay safe. xxx

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  12. I've been enjoying staying home and relaxing, maybe a bit too much, my clothing is getting a little tight. I was inspired by all your mentions of the Wii Fit, so today I hunted up an aerobic workout on YouTube. Thank you for inspiring me to get moving without going anywhere!

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    1. Hi Leslie! I'm glad my blog gave you a bit of a nudge! My daily exercise really helps me feel good and optimistic about the day ahead - something we all need right now! xxx

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  13. Green, lovely, green! Im loving the garden pictures. We're still a bit early for raking, but I hope to get out and do some good weeding.

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  14. Hi Vix
    I am so amazed at what I have accomplished around the house this self isolating week!!! Your garden looks amazing and lovely to see your gorgeous cats, our homes are our sanctuaries now.
    Australians don't seem to be taking this self-isolating thing seriously, so many people are out and about on beaches, in shops and markets etc. Our government needs to step up and do more before it gets worse. No wage subsidies here only long queues outside the unemployment offices as so many have lost jobs. I feel what we are going through will bring us all closer together and make us more appreciative of what we have and our amazing doctors and nurses. Best wishes xx

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    1. Hi Vicky, I saw the crowds on Bondi Beach on the news last week. It's been the same here, people are treating the situation like it's a bank holiday rather than a pandemic, driving to beauty spots, having BBQs and climbing Snowdon. I think they're finally getting the message now - thank goodness!
      Like you, I'm hopeful that this horrible situation will change us for the better and be more appreciative of the wonderful men and women who keep our countries going. xxx

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  15. wonderful garden! since 2 weeks we have a rhubarb here too (one of the rescued plants) - and now its showing life - but i learned that in the first year in a new place it should be left without a harvest....
    love the pic of jon in the coal house - resembles the BW in many ways ;-D
    i´m glad that the government will give you some money! thankfully the BW has a home office job anyway.
    we have snow in the forecast! the 1. for this winter!
    xxxxx

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    1. I do love rhubarb. I've no idea where our plant came from, I've got a feeling it's one we rescued from our previous house 15 years ago, it serves us well every year.
      Our chaps, they think everything will come in useful one day, don't they? They're probably right! xxx

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  16. Phew! Here we are at last.."Friends..Romans..Country..! HeHe! :).
    Well..l was up and about early, breakfast..Full English..or should
    l say..Full Sicilian..same thing..except on a bigger plate!
    Popped into town, just the Post Office, buy a paper, only buy a
    paper on a Saturday, as l like the TV Mag..then straight back
    home..cup of lemon tea, Earl Grey, with honey of course...
    Now! lets see whats on the PC..

    Oh! Stephen Squirrel..Bless!x Hope he fertilised the soil for
    Jon..after all that digging! :).
    I'm afraid l live up to my Birthsign..Virgo..so even my shed is
    up together, clean and tidy..in fact a couple could move in,
    when ever they like..Oh! hang on..NO! They could'nt, what with
    this two metre thing..! :).

    AND..This morning l've been round and put all my 13 clocks on
    hour..don't laugh..l've got 17 calendars to do next Tuesday...
    13 pussy~cats ones, a Godfather calendar, a Lady Ga Ga calendar
    and two wildlife calendars...Closest l get to a 'date' these days..
    As the man said.."There it is"..!
    Ognuno si prende cura di te, Dio ti Benedica...And in English...
    Everyone look after yourselves, God bless...
    ☕ 🍰 ☕ 🍰 ☕ 🍰 ☕ 🍰 ☕ 🍰 ☕ 🍰 ☕ 🍰 ☕ 🍰 ☕

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    1. I'm giggling at your 13 clocks, Willie! I thought we had it bad with nine! 17 calendars? You won't be bored next week, will you!
      Liking the sound of your day! xxx

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  17. I think many gardens are getting some much needed attention just now. I wish I'd thought ahead and been to B&Q before the lockdown, however.
    Your breakfast looks amazing. X

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    1. Thanks, Jules! I'm kicking myself for not getting paint and compost before lockdown, much more useful than pasta and hand wash! xxx

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  18. The clap for the NHS was amazing wasn't it, I too thought we'd be the only ones outside but everyone took part and it felt like a great community moment.
    I'm loving your blog posts, I find your energy very motivating. It's really important to find some purpose isnt it.
    It's quite grey here today and very cold but I think I'll still try to get into the garden, it's so therapeutic!
    Have a lovely weekend. xxx

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    1. It really was moving to be part of the Clap for the NHS, wasn't it? When you keep reading about stockpiling or the idiots descending on beauty spots and beaches it goes some way to restoring your faith in human nature.
      It's been so cold today, snow at one point! xxx

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  19. As a volunteer I've come to know many of the doctors, nurses and support staff at the regional hospital. It's startling to see their familiar faces on newscasts -- and alarming to realize that the reason Dr. X no longer has a beard is the requirements of fitting a N95. My garage is not so well stocked as Jon's treasure cave, but somewhere there's a box of masks and safety goggles that can be used by hospital housekeeping. (Yes, we're that concerned about having adequate PPE on hand for those who do the cleaning up.) I'll be tucking in a note of personal support for whoever gets it. Hope our community can devise something like your clap for the NHS: it's frustrating not to be able to offer more support.
    And speaking of support, one hopes that whatever the self-employed sub you receive in June arrives as predicted! Your efforts to keep up our morale deserve reward and recognition!

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    1. I read that beards aren't good, a lot of the British paramedics ahev removed their since the crisis started.
      That's so lovely to donate your stash to the hospital and the note of support is such a kind idea. I think the Clap for the NHS on Thursday night reduced a lot of the staff to tears. xxx

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  20. I think easier for those who have pets to go though the lock down. It was nice of you to help your neighbor.
    Coffee is on

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    1. I agree, pets are great company even when they get you up at 5.40am! xxx

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  21. I'm so glad that the self employed are getting financial help, I won't qualify as I'm unlikely to stop working (with luck), but it's great that help is there.
    I didn't hear any NHS clapping, we're too remote, but it was nice to see so many social media posts showing how successful it was.
    I've just used my greenhouse chives to pep up an omelette, I can't wait for everything else to start growing. I'm keeping everything crossed that the sun will return as soon as possible.
    Glad you got some milk (and a food delivery slot).
    Stay safe
    xx

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    1. That's brilliant that you're still able to work. The vintage selling friends who sell online have called it a day, nobody is buying (understandably) and trips to the Post Office don't really warrant essential journeys.
      It's been bitterly cold this weekend, not gardening weather at all. I'm hoping we can crack on next week. xxx

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  22. I did manage to go outside the other day. I live on a corner and the porch goes around 3 sides of the house. Lasted about 5 minutes, thank allergies! It's been very pleasant and warm here, but, no princess, I stay inside at this time of the year anyway. Still no news from the University, wait and see mode is still in affect. Take care

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    1. How strange that the university haven't been in touch, very frustrating.
      Are your allergies to do with pollen? Not nice at all, I don't blame you for keeping inside. x

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  23. Good to hear that you were able to find everything you needed at the Co-op, and that you were able to shop in relative peace. Jos simply refuses to join the early morning pensioners queue at our regular - bigger - supermarket, shopping at a smaller local one instead, which makes every effort to make you feel safe. I'm loving both of your gardening frocks, but the old psychedelic £ 1 is my absolute favourite. We've been hacking away at the ivy as well, it's amazing what it has been hiding. I've found ornaments I completely forgot about! Your breakfast looks suspiciously like mine, only without the orange. As for the coal shed, I had to laugh and show Jos the picture. He says it made him happy to know you have a shed as bursting at the seams as ours! I'll have to take a picture for the blog! xxx

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    1. I don't blame Jos for sticking to the smaller shop, far more civilised and well thought out.
      I really enjoyed hacking down that ivy, I always feel bad about pruning as I like things to look rustic but that corner looks so much lighter and the robin appreciated my efforts as he was able to dig around for worm without being hindered by unruly roots. xxx

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  24. Well you really put me to shame Vix.I'm finding it difficult to adjust as I didn't realise how I relied on my usual routine which consisted of a drive first thing each day to the countryside.I last went out for a walk last Sunday and haven't been shopping for over a week I will venture out next week.My 4 dogs are rescues and aren't good walking on pavements.Yesterday morning I realised that I had been lolling on the sofa for ages watching "Everyone loves Raymond","Frasier" and qvc. The dogs were sprawled out too.I think I will be at least a stone heavier if I don't get a grip.I'm a vegetarian but not vegan now for 40 years but as I'm a rubbish cook it's usually chuck it all in and hope for the best in a big pot or roasted stuff.You live in a paradise Vix x

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    1. That must be tricky,Flis, if your dogs don't like pavement walking. A massive disruption for both you and the canines.
      I was pleasantly surprised by how quiet and orderly the Co-op was on Friday, I didn't expect to get any fresh veg so was very happy. Good luck with your quest for food.
      We're all allowed a lazy few days, we've got a few weeks of lockdown, of we did everything now we'd be bored in a fortnight! Take care of yourself xxx

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  25. You're still looking ravishing thru self-quarantine, it inspired me to actually get dressed Today in clothes rather than Daytime Pajamas and Night-time Pajamas! *Winks* I even did my Dreads in a Bun and put on Jewelry! *Gasp!* Your Garden and the Trees and Ivy are magnificent! When we lived in England and Wales I remember how Green it was, living in a Desert now for so many Years, I do miss Greenery, but I don't miss the Cold... so it's a Trade-Off of sorts. I'm also hopeful our intense Desert heat will kill off this nasty Viral Organism by next Month... since by April we will always hit triple digits and that should fry just about anything Viral!? *All Body parts crossed!* No wonder you stay svelte, your dietary regimen being so healthy and delish looking/sounding!

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    1. How decadent, day and night time pyjamas! I'm glad you felt able to get dressed and do your hair, it really does improve the mood.
      What a contrast from the UK to the desert! Wouldn't it be nice if those evil germs could be fried to death? It would be an excellent excuse for me to ramp the central heating up! xxx

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  26. LOVE your gardening dress and am envious of your abundant growth of rosemary. We were blessed with a mild winter so I am seeing some of my herbs return.

    We are being told not to wear jewelry as it harbors germs, but I just can't bring myself to totally go with out. Your stay at home fashion commitment is inspiring and it's one of the things that make for a great break from all the pandemic news.

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    1. Thank you! We're lucky with the rosemary, I usually have to cut it back a couple of times a year so we can see out of the kitchen window.
      On lockdown I don't suppose we've got that much chance of harbouring germs as we're not touching anything other than the stuff we already own. I did wear gloves on our shopping trip last week and threw them in the machine when we'd unpacked and wiped everything down.
      I couldn't give up my bling! xxx

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  27. Another day of good jobs done! If everyone is half as active as you, we'll have a nation of very ordered and clean homes and gardens by the end of this! X

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    1. The Deputy Chief Medical Officer mentioned something about a six month time period, I won't recognise the place (or me!) if that's true! xxx

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  28. You have a beautiful garden. I know I'm always saying that and repeating myself but well. I love both of the dresses you wore- the first one you wore for the gardening and the second maxi with vibrant colours is gorgeous as well.
    I'm glad to hear that UK government is promising to help the self-employed. Yes, the situation isn't easy for the self-employed right now. We as teachers will probably have our salaries reduced as well. There will be a lot of salary reductions for sure.

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    1. Thanks so much, Ivana, I've never been so glad of my garden until now. It's so good to have some outdoor space and not to have to worry about other people invading!
      I'm sorry that your salary will be reduced, we have some lean times ahead. Take care. xxx

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  29. You and Jon have been busy! I love seeing your garden. I’ve also been spending lots of time in the garden too, planting and reading. I noticed the first signs of my sunflowers growing this morning which I’m so excited about.
    How nice that your community applauds the NHS! X

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    1. I remember your sunflowers from previous years! I used to grow them in my first house but for some reason they always fail at Stonecroft! xxx

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  30. You are one of the most productive "Isolators" I've seen! I wish I had a garden to focus on right now.

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    1. I've never been so grateful for having some outside space! x

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  31. Your garden's looking lovely! I swear mine is now neater than it's been in years. I feel so bad for people stuck in flats; loads of people have been really snippy about people who went to parks etc., but anyone with a room in a shared house must be going loopy by now.

    Did Stephen Squirrel leave the dirt outside? One of my cats has a gift for putting muddy prints all over the bed.

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    1. Walsall council has just announced that they've been forced to shut the Arboretum after people failed to observe the rules, I feel desperately sorry for all those who live in high rises with no access to any green spaces because a few idiots spoilt it for everyone.
      Stepehn Squirrel never wipes his feet, he's a disgrace! xxx

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  32. Vix, you mentioned wild garlic above. Probably a really daft question but is this just from a garlic clove you've stuck in the soil? Or something else? I know it grows, well....wild, in the countryside :)

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    1. No, a garlic clovce planted in the soil is cultivated garlic, you eat the bulb. Wild garlic is a different species, you eat the leaves and it grows wild. x

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