Saturday, 28 March 2020

LOCKDOWN WEEK ONE!

So right from the start of the week, I knew things were going to change. 
I worked Sunday, Mother's Day and it was horrible. Restrictions were in place and people were being asked to remove items from their trolleys, so that stock could be replenished and item levels improved. A vast selection of customers were confrontational, argumentative, non compliant, rude....


I came home exhausted, tearful, felt sick, dreaded going in to work on Monday. And I was right to be worried, it was physically and mentally exhausting. I ended my 8 hour shift, half an hour late, questioning why I was putting my life at risk and that of my family, for some extremely selfish individuals. 


Whilst I was at work, the Prime Minister put the country into LOCKDOWN!
Hopefully now people would start to treat this Virus with the seriousness it demands.


I had a much needed day off on Tuesday - the good weather very much welcomed by us all. I joked that you'll be able to tell who worked during the pandemic because their uniforms will be really faded from continually being washed.

Wednesday evening at work was much better. I had intended to go into work, saying I wasn't cut out to be a runner/supervisor, just put me back on a till out of the way but improvements were being made and in reality, there are only 3 of us left out of the original 10 to do the job!!! I don't get paid any more than any other colleague to do this role, so was seriously questioning why I was putting myself out there, to be shouted at, when I could just be like everyone else, just hide behind a till. However customers were now lining up to come in, restricting the number of customers allowed into the store at any one time. Only every other till was now in use and social distancing measures were being enforced. Strict restrictions on food items were being lifted, with 'sensible' shopping now being encouraged. 


Thursday was my normal day off. Jeff was still teaching remotely via the wonders of technology from his study, waking Sam at 9am every morning with his dulcet tones. Sam, who should have spent this period of time revising hard for his A Levels, is now living his best life doing nothing. Sophie was still having lectures this week and has assignments to do. She, like Jeff will have the next 3 weeks off for the Easter break but will go back into full study/work mode mid April. I've still been trying to keep up with my yoga and healthy eating. You'll either come out of the lockdown the fittest you've been in years or 2 stone heavier!!


One of the things you are allowed to do during lockdown, is go out for some daily exercise. I've just been going for a walk around the block, often with Sophie, taking the opportunity to get some fresh air and break up the day. It's become a much needed 'head space' clearing time too.


It's sad that all these beautiful Spring sights will be missed by those that can't/aren't allowed to go out but the bird song has gone up in volume, the air feels cleaner and without all the cars on the roads and people everywhere, life has slowed down. We spend a lot of time together at home, as a family anyway, so there isn't to much adjustment needed. It's just the nice things/outings/trips we had planned, for the various milestone birthday's this year, that'll be missed or have to be postponed.


Being a 'key worker' is hard both mentally and physically. I'm very aware that I'm putting my health at risk and that of my family, by having to go out to work and mix with other people daily. But I am nothing compared to those working on the front line in the NHS, keeping so many alive and helping others fight off this horrible Virus. It was emotional listening to the nation applaud the NHS Staff on Thursday evening. I hope they do know that their efforts and hard work are appreciated by so many. I think the Government should go further and pay those putting their lives at risk, double pay or reward their hard work when this is all over. I can't even begin to imagine what they are having to deal with/ cope with/process on a daily basis.


We are lucky to be alive, we are lucky to have a chance to survive this pandemic but only if we do as we are told. If selfish individuals continue to ignore the advice/rules/sanctions that have been put in place, we could be living like this for a very long time.


So, like the beginning of the week and my Mother's Day celebrations, we end the week with Jeff's 51st birthday celebrations! I secretly knew we'd be okay in lockdown, as I had Jeff's soap and chocolate birthday gifts, stashed away upstairs in the cupboard.


My yummy, calorific, chocolate brownies were the cake of choice. Everyone's favourite and thankfully I had all the ingredients to make it!!

Happy Birthday Jeff x

Hope the coming weeks are okay for you all, I'm guessing we'll all slot in to a new 'norm' as time goes on. Just stay home, stay healthy and safe and let's all look after each other xx

Saturday, 21 March 2020

Corona Virus just got real!!!

Corona Virus just got real!!!
Anyone else feel this too?

Last week was odd, an eerie feeling in the air, a week where you constantly listened to the radio for updates, always refreshing your social media channels for news, at work the guidelines changing daily, awaiting phone calls from Sophie for an update to her Uni life! Will exams go ahead or not for Sam? Will my holiday plans be cancelled (that one seems slightly trivial now!!)


At work we have been changing what we do daily. As a 'key worker' I'll still be going to work as planned, even more so now, to cover absent colleagues who are now self isolating for 2-12 weeks. Our team of supervisors/runners, of which I am one, has halved. Yesterday I worked my normal shift, went home for 2 hours, had something to eat, then went back in until 10pm. 


The shelves are stripped bare due to selfish stock pilers, so now new rationing has had to be brought in, to which people aren't happy - 2 of a type of item as of yesterday! Most shoppers understood, weren't necessarily happy but accepted why these restrictions had been put into place, others were angry, argumentative, horrible individuals, who thought by demanding to speak to a Manager, they'd get their own way!! Overruling the lowest of the low 'shop worker', who is now one of the countries key workers!!!!


I spent part of my day yesterday marking out the floor with tape to illustrate to customers the importance of social distancing! Did they take any notice? NO! They are predominantly selfish individuals thinking only of themselves and what they can get.


I am honestly shocked, given the measures that are being imposed on a daily basis, how many people really are not taking this seriously. The old and vulnerable who should be self isolating, are out and about shopping, chatting to friends on a daily basis. Yet many young people who have seen their whole lives come crashing down around them, with the cancellation of exams and school, are being made an example of for not staying in. We are all doing this so the elderly, the vulnerable, those of poor health or underlying medical conditions, have a chance of quite simply 'living' and not 'dying' from this awful virus.


We are doing this so are hard working NHS staff aren't overwhelmed by vast numbers of people needing specialist care and equipment to keep themselves alive. They are putting in all the hours to keep the system working and it needs everyone to play their part. Just because you don't have it, you don't know someone who has got it, doesn't mean there's not a chance of that very quickly changing. Take on board the guidelines seriously!


 On Wednesday I brought Sophie home from Uni. That's it, her Second Year done, over, no summer exams, no summer ball, no saying goodbye. Everything has moved on-line, only overseas students remain who haven't managed to get home. All assessment will be done remotely via online tests, papers etc and abruptly her year ends and she finds herself home until at least September.


On Thursday Sam came home from school saying A Levels are cancelled. Exams over, Year 13 over, school over, forever!! No exams, no end of year finale, no goodbyes and the prospect of socially isolating himself from his friends for the foreseeable future. He's had tears, he's been stressed, he's worried about the unknown. He's worried about what grades he'll be given, as he's only just started to apply himself and put in the work over the past 6 weeks. He's worried that he's not applied to a university this year, as having a gap year and will this all impact when he does apply the following year. He's worried he now won't get a gap year job, be able to travel, enjoy his year out. So much for these young people to process, when the actual virus is yet to show it's self in their immediate world.


Jeff is still working. Most pupils have gone home, given the majority are from overseas. He's still in next week teaching remotely, via online methods.  He will then get the Easter holidays but the school have a Community Group who are out supporting the local community during this difficult time, volunteering, getting supplies, walking dogs etc. 



Like many I have had the radio on, BBC news updates, Boris's update every evening at 5pm but I find Boris waffles and says very little, and on the radio they just talk and talk and it just ends up being noise. I've found getting a daily round up via the @simplepolitics Instagram account the most informative, a bullet point update of the days events. 


I'm determined to keep a daily routine during this period of time. An extra 30 min lie in, then a coffee followed by kitchen yoga. I've persuaded Sophie to join me, think Jeff will too once he breaks up and if he's not out on a run. We're following a 30 day course on Amazon Prime. I need it at the moment for both my mental and physical health and it sets me up for the day ahead. 


Food will be a little imaginative as the days go on and I hope they won't realise but I will be rationing certain elements of a meal, just so things can stretch further. Huge positive bringing Sophie home, was her pasta stash I'd given her at the start of the year, which she'd forgotten about and found under her bed! That should keep us going for a while!!


The best thing I've seen for days is that the sun is set to make an appearance. That should lift everyone's mood and although a cold wind today, it's been lovely to see blue skies and sunshine.


So tomorrow I'm back in work after a much needed day off today. I'm in at 8am, no Mother's day lie in for me! I suspect I'll be running/supervising on my own due to the staff shortages, so I'm hoping people will be nice! 


Just please remember to stay home if you can. Don't come to the supermarket as a whole family, don't idle down the aisles. Take a basket, buy the necessities and then go home. Keep your distance, keep your movements to a minimum, don't be selfish, think WE not ME and although this isn't affecting you yet, you have no idea when it could.

Keep safe and think of others too x

Sunday, 15 March 2020

Corona Virus uncertainty.


 Life is funny isn't it? I'm very much an organised, routined human being, very much like to know what I'm doing and when, with things to look forward to but this Corona Virus and the uncertainty that comes with it, is certainly throwing me off course. I'm not worried about catching it, in fact I'd rather get it over and done with. It's the vulnerable and elderly that it affects more we're told.


At work I am in the firing line. Everyone is going to the supermarket, everyone is touching everything. I have to touch everything, the food the customers have touched, the money, the bank cards. They cough and sneeze in the queue, then hand me their money!! Not sure what would happen if someone tested positive at work, would we all have to self isolate?? Jeff of course works in a
 school full of International students and with exam season approaching, Sam is worried exams will be delayed, Sophie thinks everything will be done 'online' and they won't get a summer term or a summer ball! but who knows...... no one, it would seem. So we all sit and wait and listen to the advice of the experts, where the UK advice seems to be different from every other country. 14 weeks is the length of time they're talking about, 3+ further months of not knowing what is happening.


Sam and I went to Bristol yesterday, maybe we shouldn't of gone, it was eerily quiet first thing but got busier as the morning went on. People wearing masks, Boots was the busiest shop by far with people trying to buy paracetamol and cough sweets in preparation. The selfish, stock-pile buying at work is something else! Loo roll, hand soap, tinned food, pasta, paracetamol, hand soap/sanitiser... as soon as the shelves are re-stocked, they are empty.


We have no idea how long this situation is going to last. My trip to Florence is up in the air, it's 10 weeks away. Do we go, will we even be able to fly, will our flights be cancelled or are we able to change our flights. The way things are going I think we'd be better to wait a year, do it this time next year, we've only waited 27 years to go, one more won't harm! But we'll just have to wait and see and try not to fixate on the news totally and take sensible measures to keep ourselves and those more vulnerable safe and looked after. 

Monday, 9 March 2020

Reading bound!


It's been a busy old week but a hint of  nicer weather every now and again. Corona Virus is continually on the news and at work we have empty shelves due to some panic buying. Who knew loo roll would be in such high demand!?! I just hope my sister and I can still travel to Florence in late May.


I've tried to get out and about when it has been a dry day. Always looking for positive signs of Spring, even on the greyest of days.


Had a fab day out in Reading on Saturday. It meant an early start from Castle Cary train station but my sister and niece got the train from Bath and we all arrived within 10 minutes of each other.


It was lovely to spend the day with Sophie and for her to show them where she lived and the Uni campus etc. We just about all managed to squeeze in to her tiny room!


I got the train home around 5'ish and was treated to a low, setting sun most of the journey back. It was lovely to see Sophie and the realisation that in under 3 weeks, I'll be driving down to collect her and bring her home for Easter. Sam continues to be working hard, finally he seems to be doing proper study!! Jeff continues to be busy at work and all the extras that go with a busy school. I'm keeping up with my 'Start Over' eating well and doing daily yoga and have lost 5lbs during the first two weeks, happy with that. Slow and steady progress and 11 weeks until we go to Florence, if we're allowed to travel!!


Saturday, 29 February 2020

Farewell Feb!

You've been a soggy old month and as always, I'm glad to see the back of the winter months, inching ever closer to Spring and some brighter, sunnier days. 


The month has jogged on by pretty quickly. I've been working, no holiday as such, just a day off in half term/reading week when Sophie was home. Sam of course passed his driving test and has taken over the school run, which has freed up time for me to do daily yoga! I'm feeling focused on eating well, exercising, drinking more water. Well, I have been for a week but I'm feeling in the right headspace to tackle those few unwanted pounds! Sophie came home for reading week and it was lovely to have her home. Jeff is as busy as always, work, refereeing and now teaching himself Spanish! Highlight of the month for me was getting a new fridge freezer, a sign of getting old!!


The rain has not stopped and as it's a Leap Year, we've endured an extra day of it. The blue sky days have been few and far between but they're always worth making the most of when they come.


Daffodils are still generously dotted around the house to cheer things along.

Here's hoping March is a little drier, brighter, warmer, sunnier month. I'm off to see Sophie next weekend with my sister, then meeting with a friend later in the month and before you know it, Sophie will be home for Easter and Jeff and Sam will be on holiday again. I hope it's a quick month, not wishing time away, just want the weather to improve x

Saturday, 22 February 2020

Blink....

.....and you miss it!!


The half term week has been and gone! 
I spent the first half of it working, just as well given the weather has been appallingly wet and miserable. We did still go to Cardiff on the Wednesday as planned but it was a thoroughly soggy day.


Sam drove there and back, very confident on the motorway. He had intended to go and explore but it was so wet, he pretty much stayed under the cover of the shopping Mall like us. In fact, after our lunch we headed home. Sophie and I had planned to go to Bath on the Thursday but didn't bother due to the rain.


On Friday my new fridge/freezer was delivered.
Our last one had served us well but 12 years on was on it's last legs. I had already booked the day off, so it all worked out great with the delivery timings etc.


Jeff and I finally got around to seeing 1917. Not my sort of film at all and I left feeling exhausted, as it was so stressful to watch. Yes, it gives you huge respect and an understanding of what they went through in the war but it was a hard watch.


Sophie and I booked tickets to go and see 'Waitress' when it tours next year. We also booked tickets to see Mamma Mia again in the summer. Love having things to look forward to x


Sam has had a mixed week. Time with friends, a party, motorway driving lesson, a day trip to Cardiff and a tutor session and the sudden realisation that his exams are only 12 weeks away and he has to start doing some proper work! He needed his shocking mock results, followed by an uncomfortable Parents Evening to kick him into gear. His Physics tutor sessions are beginning to build his confidence and a little more self-belief that he can achieve and do well, if he starts putting in some work. It's hard to motivate yourself when you don't know what you want to do but I keep reminding him that he could enjoy a great Gap Year or spend next year retaking. Only he can decide whether to put the work in now and enjoy next year or do very little and have to repeat it all over again!! 


Jeff has been busy learning Spanish. He's been teaching himself and felt confident enough, to actually sign up to speak to someone this week. It's all on-line via Skype but it's giving him the opportunity to speak 'proper' Spanish! I joke that as long as he takes me with him when he elopes, he can happily continue!!!


Anyway, I must sign off and taxi Sophie back to the train station. It's been lovely to have her home. It's only 2 weeks until I visit for the day with my sister and so it's only 5 weeks until she'll be back for Easter. Here's hoping she brings the sunshine home with her. This time last year, I drove her back and we sat outside enjoying a coffee in lovely warm sunshine. We are due a good dose of warm, continual sunshine after this grey, wet, cold, miserable winter.

Saturday, 15 February 2020

Half term begins

I feel we've needed half term to come....


......it's felt a bit of a slog this last week.

The weather's truly awful, one storm after another, wind, rain, dark, miserable days....I'm not a fan!! Sam has realised, I believe, finally, that he needs to do more work in preparation for his A Levels. The Physics tutor sessions are going well and you can visibly see him becoming more confident again. Jeff is helping him with his Maths and he's pretty secure with his Chemistry, so here's hoping with this new found work ethic, he can turn things around in time.


He's been off driving solo! He's got a motorway lesson booked in for Monday, so depending on my nerves, I may let him drive to Cardiff on Wednesday, or at least a chunk of the journey there.


I've just been head down working. There is no overtime due to an over spend at Christmas, so just my normal hours which have increased slightly. I'm now in charge of emptying and filling and checking the self scan tills once a week, so have an earlier start, to get it done before the store opens to the public. A responsibility I wasn't looking for!!! 
I made use of the 11am film showing at my local cinema on my day off on Wednesday, with free coffee and biscuits. It's a great resource and I watched a lovely film 'A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood' with Tom Hanks and Matthew Rhys. A film I wouldn't have gone out of my way to see in an evening but a feel good film, I'm glad I've seen.


I picked up this one on Thursday!!

Sophie's got a Reading Week, so has come home and lovely it is too! She's a couple of assignments to do but can have a good go at them whilst I'm still working. We're off to Cardiff for the day on Wednesday, not specifically for her job during her Placement Year but an excuse to familiarise ourselves with the shopping there! No other specific plans, just a few relaxed days with her at home.


Yesterday was Valentine's Day.

It was fun at work watching all these guys buying flowers, chocolate etc So many looked so far out of their comfort zone!! Jeff and I just exchange cards. I think we were pretty in sync with each other this year. He's learning Spanish, so I did have to 'google translate' what he actually wrote inside his card this year. Maybe next year we should go somewhere Spanish, so he could practice his speaking skills!!!