Saturday, 30 May 2020

The Distancing Diaries - Day 70 & 71



Yesterday (day 70) would have been my Dad's 91st birthday, he was born on 29th May 1929 and died five years ago, in 2015. A man of mystery & intrigue, he wasn't one for idle chit chat and kept himself very much to himself. Only when we were clearing the parental home did my brother & I discover that, in 1957, he attempted to sail from the UK to New Zealand, was shipwrecked off the Spanish coast and ended up making the front page of The Times. You can read more about him HERE.


 The day got off to another early start and, after putting the free book chair outside (with a couple of further additions) I was watering the patio plants at just gone 6am, noticing that a couple more Oriental poppies had graced us with their presence. 


After my final Wii Fit session of the week, I dyed my eyelashes & brows and had just caught up with Blogland when Jon got up. We ate breakfast and we sat outside in the sunshine with a mug of coffee.


Is it just me or, after ten weeks of being surrounded by familiar things, something new seems rather a novelty? Like the soap I opened yesterday, I'd bought in Goa back in the days when we could travel freely.


Jon's plan for the weekend was to make Jacob a new pen and, as we also needed compost and, as a certain someone who shall remain nameless, had trodden on our ancient watering can & wrecked it, a replacement watering can were added to the list. Today would be the first time in over two months that I'd been in the car and six weeks since I'd set foot in a shop - how exciting! I thought I'd wear my repaired dress by way of celebration.


We drove to B&Q (a DIY superstore on the outskirts of town) but saw that there was a long queue snaking along the side of the building. While we're not exactly short of time neither of us really wanted to spend an hour standing in a queue on a bleak retail park next to the motorway so we drove to the small garden centre up the road from us. Mercifully there was no queue and the shoppers were adhering to the designated route marked out on the floor. I'd considered buying a few plants for Jacob's enclosure but they didn't look very inspiring and, as it would involve picking each pot up to read the planting labels (something we're not supposed to do), I decided it would be easier to make do with what I already had at home. We managed to tick the wooden fencing and compost off the list but there was a distinct lack of watering cans - so we paid and drove back arriving home to discover that all the books had been taken and the chair was empty.

While Jon drew up a plan for the tortoise pen I went online and searched for watering cans, stumbling across one on a builder's website (I've no idea how I ended up there) for just shy of £12 and, as they also stocked something else we needed, we qualified for free delivery. Hooray! I stripped off to my bikini, slapped on some sun cream, grabbed the kitchen knife and weeded between the cracks in the patio, then moved all the pots and swept the whole lot.


After a break for noodles, I got out the bedspread and my book and prostrated myself on the lawn .
The Alienist - if, like me, you loved the BBC's Ripper Street then you'll enjoy this!
Like the crazy fool he is, Jon set to work on building the new tortoise enclosure, in the heat of the midday sun.


Once the enclosure was up and secure, Jon took apart the old tortoise run and moved Jacob in. The planting could wait until tomorrow.



We spent the rest of the afternoon lazing in the sunshine with the lads and a couple of bottles of beer for company. 


Jon prepared tea - salad with his homemade spelt bread....



I watered the plants again and browsed eBay, as luck would have it, this gorgeous 5metre length of Anokhi block printed fabric had just been listed for an absurdly low Buy-It-Now price. Of course, I had to have it. 


We visited the Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing on our travels last year HERE, I still get palpitations when I look back at our photos.


Later we drank rum, watched a couple of Antiques Roadtrips we hadn't seen before and a programme where Mark Tully travels by train across Pakistan to the Afghanistan border.


On Saturday (day 71)  I got up at 6am and saw a handsome fox the size of a German Shephard running around the lawn hotly pursued by Stephen. I swear he gets dafter the older he gets. I made tea and brought it back to bed. I read, Jon dozed. When we got up at 8am I stripped the bed and threw everything in the washing machine and put the houseplants in the bath for their weekly soak while Jon made sausage sandwiches.


Lockdown nail paint of the week is Barry M's Pistachio.


After breakfast, I pegged out the washing, watered the patio plants and sorted out some plants to go into Jacob's new pen whilst Jon went out for supplies (namely prawns, Frank's run out). Once he returned and he'd had to coffee to get over the trauma of a trip to Farmfoods and the dodgy clientele it seems to attract, we started to plant out Jacob's enclosure. 


 Jacob is a Hermann's tortoise, a species that hails from the rocky hillsides and beech forests of the Mediterranean so any plants we've seen growing in the wild on our travels in Greece are perfect for his new home. 


Luckily for him (and us!) we'd got plenty of suitable plants already growing in the garden, no need to splash the cash in the garden centre.


To simulate the rocky terrain we moved a few rocks from various parts of the garden and the old washing up bowl we used to take camping with us before we upgraded to a fancy pop-up one was filled with rocks and gravel and sunk into the enclosure so he can immerse himself when he gets the urge.


To imitate the forest floor I shredded the trimmings we couldn't fit into the garden waste bin from Jon's epic hedge cutting session earlier in the week.


When I sold the parental home the first thing I treated myself to wasn't an it-bag, a mini-break or a pair of designer shoes, it was a garden shredder. I'm never right, am I?


Ta-dah!


Here's to the next 45 years, Jacob!


After an hour spent dozing in the late afternoon sunshine, I brought in the washing and made the bed whilst Jon prepared tea, cheese & jalapeno bites from Farmfoods, a salad of green peppers, cherry tomatoes and cucumber and some potato fairies (is that just a Walsall thing or does anyone else call them that?) It was soon demolished, we hadn't eaten since 8.30am.


Tonight's plan involves several cheeky glasses of rum. We've bloody earnt it. I thought we'd be watching Canadian crime series Cardinal but it doesn't start till next week, instead, we've watched part one of a two-part documentary on the Jonestown Massacre. 

Stay safe, stay fabulous and see you soon!

67 comments:

  1. Hello Vix! How did feel your first outing? You looked great for your first trip out of the house! Jacobs pen looks great! an love that you "shopped "your own garden. I keep doing that, the trouble is I am so into gardening at the mo I would go mad at a garden centre so I am not going, (still staying home as much as poss) I cheat when I do my pavers got a proper edging dooberlacker? but admire your patience doing it with a knife! Great score on ebay hmm if I do go back to ebay will be good this time. You mentioned your Dad, I know how you feel and to be honest I think that's when I got into ebay when I lost Dad hmmm, anyway will stop rambling and thank you so much for another peak at your lovely lifexx

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    1. Hello! I can't say I really enjoyed the first outing, all that standing in line, waiting for the people in front to inspect every blinking thing on the shelf and not feeling comfortabel picking plants up and reading the instructions - what a strange new world it is! Mind you, it was nice wearing clothes and clogs, I've been barefoot and semi naked for days!
      I didn't know you could get a proper paving gadget, how behind the times am I?
      Shopping and getting lost in the wonderful world of eBay is marvellously therapeutic, I can totally understand why you got a bit addicted. It happens to the best of us.
      Take care and thanks again for such a lovely comment, you come across as a lovely and funny person, I've a feeling we'd get on really well in real life. xxx

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  2. Had my first outing the other morning too. We went to the bank and cashed our check from the Feds. No, we didn't go in, we used the old school tube thingy. Isn't gardening fun? This morning I took 3 ferns, turned them into 6 ferns and planted them under the insane, where the heck did those come from palms. You look cute as a button, I looked a hot (really hot) sweaty mess( and it was 9am). I just started watching, on DVD, a Scania cop show called The Bridge. First episode was pretty good.

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    1. Doesn't going out seem strange? How we've changed in three months.
      Gardening is the best, I love making new plants out of old ones and looking at a patch of garden thinking it'll just got a prune a bit of that and end up three hours later sweaty, filthy and with a whole new space!
      The Bridge is fantastic, Saga is possibly my favourite character ever. xxx

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  3. Vix, most exciting - your reader Josephine actually lives here in my city! She found me through your comments - what a wonderful community this is. :)

    Loved your adventures, building Jacob's new pen. You both did a wonderful job on it - it looks zoo-worthy, and I hope Jacob properly appreciates his new home. What a laugh - Stephen chasing a fox of that size!! I have never seen a fox (we don't have them here).

    I have never heard of "potato fairies" - is it just sliced and roasted potatoes?

    I am going to check out that story about your dad. I just bought my mom Storyworth for her birthday in May (give it a Google, it's really cool) and am hoping for some good family stories from her - but I'm sure nothing that exciting.

    Sitting in the sun with some beers sounds wonderful. Enjoy Cardinal - despite being Canadian, I've never seen it, but I see it on the cable channels all the time. I read The Alienist when it came out - wow, that must be 20+ years ago!

    Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy your rum! L will also be cracking his Kraken rum! (It's his favourite, I think because of the kraken on the label - he does like dark rum).

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    1. Hello, Sheila! I saw that lovely comment Josephine left on your blog, wouldn't it be wonderful if the pair of you get to meet up and go shopping together? I hope it happens!
      Fancy you not having foxes. We aboslutely love our foxy visitors especially when the vixen brings her babies out. Stephen's always tormenting them despite the males being five times his size, there's never any nastiness they just all run about in a state of crazed excitement with Frank sitting on the doorstep watching in abject amazement.
      Yes, sliced and roasted potatoes are what we call fairies. Our local chip shops deep fry them.
      I've just Googles Storyworth, what a brilliant idea! I wish that would have been around when my grandparents and parents were alive, there's so much now that I wished I'd have asked (or remembered). Thank you so much for reading the blog post about my Dad, we found out so many things about him in his last few years, including visiting him in hospital and listening to him speak fluent Igbo (one of the languages of Nigeria) to his male nurse who was moved to tears by someone knowing his native tongue. How and why he knew I'll never know but he was fluent in many languages!
      Cardinal is fantastic but I realised that it doesn't start till next week - I was over eager. Storyline aside the Canadian scenery is spectacular.
      Hope your weekend was fab and that L enjoyed his Kraken - I love it toom, both the taste and the packaging! xxxx

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  4. Jacob's pen is fabulous! What do the cats make of him? He must look like a moving stone to them. I went to the garden centre today too, so exciting! I was the only person wearing a face covering, which surprised me. I went late afternoon so missed all the hordes of people too. I really enjoyed being in the car, driving along a lane, the breeze on my face! You spot such good buys on eBay, I never find much, but I must admit I do get bored looking through the cross. I am shocked at how expensive second hand books are on eBay, I am used to charity shop prices! I do enjoy reading your lockdown exploits, your energy is incredible.

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    1. Hello Carole! Thank you, it was high time Jacob had a better enclosure but we've never had the time to do it properly before. The cats are prettyy ambivalent towards him unless we bring him in if there's a risk of frst and we plonks himself in their bowls of Felix, then they're most upset!
      That was really sensible going to the garden centre later, we should have done that with B&Q. It was a real novelty being the the car and seeing different things after 70 days in the same place.
      Ebay isn't great for books, I did get a few good secondhand ones for Jon's birthday last year on Amazon although I try to avoid using them if I can possibly help it.
      Thanks so much for reading and commenting. xxxx

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  5. Tony and I are mystified. What are potato fairies. We've never heard of them? We both are full of admiration for that tortoise run. Does he hibernate or do you keep him somewhere warm through the winter?

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    1. I wondered if it was just a Black Country/Walsall thing! In the chip shop they're deep fried potato slices although we do ours in the oven.
      Jacob's out in the garden from April to the end of October, we bring him in if there's an overnight frost forecast, the rest of the year he lives in a box in the unheated utility room. xxx

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  6. The first outing is so big, I found. But I now like to spend time at home too lol. Vix, looking at your photo in shorts and a bikini - you sure have destroyed any stereo types about age - good on you. And without following any accepted notions and the latest advice about what to do to look and feel younger. xxxxxxx

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    1. It was! I was up stupid early, I couldn't sleep for all the excitement! I much prefer staying at home and I think, if I need anything new, I'm just going to order online instead. It's a lot more straightforward!
      thank you for those kind words. I never really think about my age, I always feel like me in a bikini! xxx

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  7. I've been enjoying your lockdown posts hugely, although I haven't had the time for a comment before now. Keep up the good work, all of you.

    I'm also curious about Jacob and how you acquired him. As a longtime fan of the 18th-c. naturalist Gilbert White and his tortoise Timothy (who was discovered on a postmortem to be female), have you been able to determine Jacob's gender for sure? And how did you and Jacob get together? Details when you can supply them, please!

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    1. Lovely to hear from you!!
      On 14th April (blog post days 24 & 25 of lockdown) I posted a photo of me and Jacob when I first had him in 1975. My Grandparents bought me & my brother a tortoise each although poor Marcus's ran away after a year!
      He's definitely a boy, we had him checked over at the vets many years ago and he's grumpy & always needs feeding - definitely a sign!!! xxx

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  8. Hi Vix thanks so much for your great posts throughout the lockdown. They have been so interesting! you are so busy and fab. I do have to disagree with you though, you most certainly are right! (I know what you mean really) I laughed out loud when I read that comment. I have never heard of, "potato fairies" I think they are what we call tattie slices in the North East. I love to hear about the boys and Jacob and your clothes are just wonderful you always look stunning. Keep safe all of you and please keep posting xx

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    1. Hello, Shelagh! Lovely to hear from you. I was so excited when we sold the house, I gave my brother half and went straight off to Argos to get my shredder!
      I wonder why it's only Walsall folk that call them fairies, they're even listed on chip shop menus as "Potato fairies"!
      Stay safe! xxx

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  9. Brilliant post, just love reading about your days in lockdown.
    So interesting about your Dad, that is very special.
    Well done to Jon, Jacob's new home is super.
    Love to you.
    Pam in Texas.x

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    1. Thanks so much, Pam! Much love to you in Texas. xxx

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  10. Just loving all of your blogs...and also loving that I can tell you so now!!.You and Jon are a lovely couple and best wishes to you both,xxx

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    1. And I really appreciate you poppping in and leaving a comment, Debi! Much love to you. xxx

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  11. I see the covid hasn't slow you two down. I hope you keep us posted on tortoise and recall people having pet turtle growing up. But in Hawaii when we there saw quite a few tortoise, and they sleep though all the tourist

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    1. If I keep moving maybe it won't catch me! I live in hope! xxx

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  12. Wow, a shipwreck, your dad was lucky to live through that, Vix!

    Jacob's new pen looks great. Does he live outside all the time? I'm sure he'd be okay in summer but do you have to bring him in your home in winter? X

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    1. I know, he was a dark horse!
      Hermann's tortoises hibernate in the Winter, we'll tuck him up in his box at the end of October, put him in the unheated utility room and he'll sleep until the Spring. Nice life, eh? xxx

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  13. It is so inspiring. We must learn entertainment ourselves in such bad times... Keep going. Anyways we are going to reopen from Monday and hope everyone will enjoy.

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  14. Your Dad was quite the Adventurer, oh, the Stories I'm sure he could have told! Your Garden is always amazing and Jacob, how previous to have a Beloved Pet so long!

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    1. Precious I meant, I'm too tired... LOL

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    2. Thanks, Dawn! It's a shame he never spoke of his adventures when he was alive but I suppose that generation never did. xxx

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  15. Stephen is such a brave boy! And how lucky for Jacob to get his own little estate. In the world of reptiles, he's a lucky boy. And I am assuming you have accurately determined his gender...

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    1. Stephen's a crazy cat considering his advanced age!
      Jacob's definitely a boy although even if the vet was wrong there's little chance of baby tortoises, there isn't another for miles around! xxx

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  16. Jacob's new home looks so authentic, he's going to love wandering about in there and you will know where he is too. How lucky to find some Anokhi fabric, I am hoping everyone has had clear outs during lockdown and there will be some nice new things emerging soon on eBay. I would get a shredder too if I had a garden the size of yours! The blue smock dress looks very pretty on you. Although those queues snake around the car park at supermarkets, they move surprisingly fast and people seem to chat more these days - nothing else to do when standing there! so it hasn't been so bad - I have only shopped about 4 times during lockdown and have actually found it quite exciting! Interesting about your dad, I would frame that paper clipping..

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    1. Thanks, Betty! We're really pleased with his new home. It's funny but neither cat has been in to explore yet, they're so unobservant!
      I was so excited when that Anokhi fabric popped up. I'm glad I didn't spend my money on plants in the garden centre now, I must have known in the back of my mind that there was an Ebay treat awaiting me!
      That's one lovely thing to come out of lockdown, everyone has missed human contact and even the most reserved people are chatting to strangers I hope that it continues.
      I've only been to the corner shop twice and the little Co-op once in 70 days. I think I've lost the will to shop! xxxx

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  17. gorgeous new pen for jacob - the zoo can take inspirations from you! well done to use the plants you already have - bonus points that this plants are not sprayed with unhealthy chemicals.
    the BW is always wrecked too when coming home from food shopping - and i´m so very thankful i do not have to go myself.
    you look so very beautiful in your blue sundress and orange clogs! and the anokhi fabric is fabulous - what will you make out of it? any plans already?
    i´m weeding the strawberries, spraying (with mild, home made stuff) & pruning the huge rambler rose because of mildew, working my way thru the compost heap - moving the contents off the pallet box to a new place where it can ripening un-disturbed until next year. thankfully not much watering because of some rain.
    xxxxx

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    1. Thanks, Beate! A new pen for Jacon is something we've been meaning to do for years, it's a real sense of achievement finally getting it done.
      You've got a good point about the chemicals on shop bought plants, I hadn't thought of that. Transplating our old plants makes a lot more sense!
      I think Jon's already hoping for an Anokhi scarf and a sarong, we'll be fighting over that fabric.
      You sound like you're going to be very busy in your garden, I can't wait for a blog update! xxx

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  18. My dad is very quiet but I love him very much, I am a bit of daddy’s girl. I love well made products, I buy a lot of my household items from muji as they are so well made, not cheap but well made. I love Jacob, I would love a tortoise but Paul thinks milo would have its life!! Which would be about right,
    I am so glad you got out at last, I hate ques mind you I go to the busiest train station in the world which always sets my anxiety off!! And I live near shinjuku crossing which is always nuts, so you think I would cope NOT! I always shop local as some of the mom and pop shops are still are round and are nice and quiet as is the subnade I use.
    I fabric is fab. I am not a quick reader like you, it takes me ages to read a book, I am reading the bookseller of Kabul at the moment, but it’s hard going. Take care and keep safe.

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    1. Hello Alison! It must be really hard being so far away from your beloved Dad.
      I've never been in Muji but I remember loving things I'd seen in magazines that they stocked. I love great quality things, too - I'd rather do without until I can afford the perfect thing than compromise with cheapo tat.
      Tortoises are brilliant although Jacob was driving me mad when i was planting out his enclosure yesterday, he's obsessed with my feet and keeps trying to mount them. I think, at the grand old age of 45, he's finally reached sexual maturity. God help us!
      I didn't enjoy my outing, so much fuss having to stand back, follow arrows and not pick things up. If the chazzas ever reopen it'll be hell trying to shop in them with these new shopping rules, Ebay's much easier!
      I can sit for hours at Mumbai train station, I absolutely liove the places but at the moment I'd be with you, anxious and twitchy and wishing I was at home.
      I really enjoyed The Bookseller of Kabul, my reading had slowed down but the sunshine alwaus makes me power through them. I've got to slow down, it'll be hell if I run out of books!
      Much love to you, stay safe! xxx

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  19. Hi Vix, I‘ve been reading for years. Quite fascinated because our lifestyles are so different. I absolutely love the Distancing diaries, you seem to strike such a good balance between productive activity and leisure and I have been getting so many really good tips about books( A rising man being the latest) and TV shows( race across the world, just started on series 2). Thank you so much.

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    1. Hello B! How lovely of you to comment, I really appreciate you making comntact after all these years.
      I hope you enjoyed A Rising Man, wouldn't it be an excellent TV series? Race Across The World was absolutely thrilling, both the spectacular places the contestants visited and watching their relationships develop under pressure. Much love. xxx

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  20. The Alienist is a good read , far better than the Netflix series and im tapping my foot waiting for the next series of Cardinal

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    1. I wondered what the TV series was like, I shan't bother to try and find it online.
      I thought Cardinal started last night, I was devasted to turn to BBC2 and see Michael Portillo and his terrible trousers! xxx

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  21. Lovely new pen for Jacob! I love the new fabric too.
    I really appreciate reading your lockdown diaries: they always cheer me up
    Take care
    Norma xx

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    1. Thanks so much, Norma! I don't think Jacob's noticed his new home yet, tortoises take a while to notice anything!
      Lovely to hear from you. xxx

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  22. Your dad sounds like an amazing man. He had an interesting life. His attempts to reach New Zealand from UK must have been quite an adventure. The oceans are a dangerous place, nothing like our relatively calm Adriatic sea.

    Jacob's new home looks fantastic. He looks very happy there. He looks like tortoise we have around here. I haven't seen one in a while, though.

    Your blue dress is beautiful.

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    1. I know, what a daredevil he was. Life must have felt very mundane after a mispent youth lije his! xxx

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  23. Chuckling about the soap thing, I’m alternating soaps in my morning shower so that it’s a different experience. Daft but it helps.
    I love to hear the stories of our parents, they had far more interesting lives than a lot of us today. I’m not including you two in this category as you’ve always got a good tale to tell.
    Although we go out to our favourite place of Todmorden market I am jittery and we don’t hang around. My mum isn’t happy to go out yet other than for her walk and to the local shop. I’m hoping to get her in
    I read my journal last night from when I started it at the beginning of all this and was amazed at how much has happened. I’m far more open with my writing in there than on my blog. It’ll make for some interesting reading in years to come.
    Stay safe, looking forward to your next post xxx

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    1. Those little indulgences make all the difference to our lives at the momebhnt, don't they? I've got on more of those Himalaya bars which, judging by how long the first one lasted, take me up to January 2021 - I hope we'll be able to fly by then or I'm stuffed!
      Did you read Sheila's comment about the present she'd bought her mum, called Storyworth? Google it, it sounds right up your street!
      I didn't enjoy my foray to the garden centre on Friday, it seemes such a faff and an effort to buy two things. If the last few months have taught me anything it's to make do with what I've already got and if I need something to order it online.
      I don't blame your mum for being reluctant to go out. Home's much nicer! xxx

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    2. I’ll look up Storyworth Vix thanks.
      One thing that I can’t see me doing is going in the charity shops when they reopen. I’m very nervous doing the things we do now, like going to market. I think it’s going to take some time before a lot of us regain our confidence in the outside world xxx

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    3. I can't see how it'll be possible to browse when we're not supposed to touch anything. I was ecited about visiting the garden centre but all that hanging back, following arrows and not being able to pick up the plants and read the instruction labels made it a real pain. I think I'll be ordering a lot more online, at least that way you can make a carefully considered purchase instead of feeling under pressure as there's a queue of people waiting to pass. xxx

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  24. Jacob's new pen is palatial! I hope he appreciates it and makes use of his pool...

    What a fabulous find the Anokhi block printed material was - you were obviously meant to find it. And the new watering can looks cool. We have one of those but it's sprung a leak. The garden shredder was a genius idea; I didn't even know they existed - how useful!

    Your Dad was definitely a dark horse - I bet you were shocked when you found out about the aborted sailing expedition. Did you know he was interested in sailing? Parents and secrets eh?

    Congratulations on your first trip out. If I'm going to be touching things in shops I wear disposable gloves but it's hard to shop and not touch. I don't bother with disinfecting packaging but I do wash my hands thoroughly every time I come in from being out somewhere.

    I've got the same book but haven't yet read it. I know exactly what you mean about the soap. I use soap rather than shower gel and always ask for nice soaps for Xmas and bday presents. Opening a new bar is always a joy! Simple pleasures.

    Stay safe.
    xxxx

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    1. I keep putting him in his pool to teach him to appreciate it, he's discovered the clump of rocket I planted in there now and he's loving having a ready supply. He'll be as self-sufficent as us soon!
      Those shredders are brilliant, easy to use and really reduce the amount of waste that goes in the brown bin. The chippings it produces smell wonderful, shame you can't bottle it.
      Dad had a boat when we were young, our summer holidays were spent sailing around Devon, although Mum stayed on the beach with a fag and a book. She was never an outdoorsy-type! We had no idea about his two attempts to sail to New Zealand or about his time in Canadian Air Force!
      I was really frustrated with my first shopping expedition, it seems such a palaver all this avoiding touching, following arrows and 2 metre distancing.l I know it makes sense buy I think I'll be ordering online if I need anything again!
      I do love soap, I always stock up in India but was delighted last time I went to Johal's back in April to discover that they stock Mysore Sandalwood Soap, my favourite! xxxx

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  25. Jacob's pen is perfect, I love how you've been so thoughtful about planting and have incorporated a bath.
    Nothing beats new garden tools! I'd have gone for the shredder too, we use ours all the time then mulch the garden with it.
    The story of your Dad's shipwreck is a amazing, even more so that he never told you about it.
    Potato fairies are new to me, what are they?
    Thank you so much for the book offer, likewise if you ever fancy anything you've seen me reading I'll pop them in the post to you. xxx

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    1. Thanks, Sally! I think I still need a few more ferns which should be easy enough to sort out, the garden's full of them!
      I do love a garden tool, that shredder really does help keep the rubbish to a minimum.
      In the Walsall chip shops they're potato slices - occasionally battered - and deep fried, the home version is oven baked. You get a lot out of one potato!
      Thanks for the kind book offer! xxx

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  26. Wow, your Dad was really quite the adventurer, and a dark horse too! I always have a bar of soap on the go and generally use it alongside shower gel. My current Argan oil one is on its last legs, and I can't wait to start using a heavenly smelling handmade one I got from that Dutch lady who bought so much of my stock back in February. Your repaired dress looks gorgeous on you, and what a treat it got with that outing to the shops! It must have felt strange going outside of Stonecroft's confines after such a long time. We went on our first nature walk since way before lockdown, and even that felt a bit scary at first. So glad we did that, though, it was utter bliss. You both did a fabulous job with Jacob's new pen! And how lucky you were to get your hands on that Anokhi block printed fabric! That shredder sounds exactly right, and might be the thing for us too. Our garden waste is only collected a couple of times a year, and never at the right moment, as far as we're concerned. Love that last photo of the lads! xxx

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    1. I know, an international man of mystery. All the ladies in his care home were convinced he was Walsall's answer to James Bond!
      I do love a nice bar of soap, it's something we often buy when we're travelling, the range in normal shops is very sparse here.
      I'm delighted to hear that you've been on a nature walk and even more escited about the blog post!
      Shredders are the best, they really do help keep the waste down and the mulch is such a good weed supressant. xxx

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  27. He's a very lucky tortoise is your Jacob.Stephen Squirrel made me laugh running after the fox-cheeky monkey-and Frank and his prawns!Jon is very good to fetch them for him x

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    1. All three of our boys are spoilt! Stephen Squirrel chasing the fox was hilarious, the fox could have sat on him, he was huge! xxx

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  28. I'm envious of your soap. I'm down to my last bar of sandalwood soap and after that I guess we'll make do with Pears. Our import stores aren't getting imports at the moment.

    Jacob is one lucky fella. I hope he appreciates all the care you give him.

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    1. I promise to send you some Mysore Sandalwood saop as soon as I can get to a Post Office! I was thrilled to discover that Johal's stock it for nt much more than I pay for it in India. xxx

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  29. Jacob is indeed a fortunate tortoise! His new domain offers everything a Hermann's might desire of an outdoor environment, and one can see him grinning with delight (almost).
    The fashion for silence about one's adventures is disappearing along with the remnants of the Greatest Generation. However, one suspects your father might have had more than a few tales to tell that were officially filed away. Some such men made reticence even at home a habit for very good reason. Perhaps some day, you'll follow the "Who do you think you are?" trail and discover who he was before he was "Dad."

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    1. I think he's just noticed his new enviroment and he's certainly happy - thank goodness!
      I'd love to know more about my Dad, how he knew so many languages and why he used to go awol for weeks on end. Maybe one day! xxx

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  30. Isn't Jacob a lucky boy!
    I love the image of a German-shepherd-sized fox being pursued by a daft cat!
    Your dinner looked tasty as does Jon's bread! Oh dear, re the watering can! We bought a new one last week too!
    That's so exciting about the Anokhi material! New as well. Why on earth did they buy it if they weren't going to use it!??!!

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    1. I know, he's such a silly cat!
      How funny that you needed a new watering can, too! I'm going to keep this one under lock and key to stop a certain somebody trampling it with his size 10s!
      It is strange how someone would have bought that fabric and sold it for a fraction of the price although with so many of us unable to work they're probably having to sell off everything they can find to keep afloat. xxx

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  31. So interesting reading about your dad's trip. you are so lucky it was documented somewhere. Jacob sure will be housed and exercised in style!

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    1. Thanks, Sam! We were fortunate to stumble across those cuttings and photos, I don' think we'd have believed it if we hadn't seen the proof. xxx

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  32. I find it rather sad that we often don't know much about our parents lives before they became our parents until after they've died. That is so cool about your Dad's trip!

    Very impressed with Jacob's new enclosure - he's going to feel like he's moving up in the world with fancy digs like that. Apparently we have a gray fox in our neighbourhood, but I've never seen him, this was heresay from a neighbour. Stephen is either very brave or rather foolhardy to be chasing one round the backyard.

    I watched the series "The Alienist" on Netflix and then read the book. I enjoyed both and like you, my entertainment seems to run to the rather dark and twisted side of life! I haven't watched Ripper Street yet so I will check it out.

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    1. It's such a shame, isn't it? I wonder whether that will change with a younger generation? When we were children asking your elders lots of questions wasn't the done thing. xxx

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