April News

 

So a new month, a new home for us. We got confirmation that we were actually moving on the afternoon of the day before we were expected to move out. Talk about panic stations! Fortunately our mover was able to accommodate us at such short notice. The moving day itself was stressful and very unpleasant, but it’s behind us now and as the saying goes “Don’t look back. You aren’t going in that direction.”

The new house is smaller and cosier. Much easier to keep and certainly kinder to the budget. We did have some hiccups though. The boiler kicked the bucket on the weekend. British homes are dependent on combination heat/hot water boilers. Furnace heating is almost unknown here and few homes are all electric. Thank goodness the plumber we used for the last house was able to install a new one for us on Saturday, just ahead of an about face in the weather from Spring back to Winter. The clothesline snapped and collapsed shortly thereafter as well. I just shrugged and dragged my indoor drying rack outside and carried on. I figured that was number 3 of the “bad things come in three’s”. 

Easter Sunday was the best; sunny and mild. I made leg of lamb for supper and spent the day in the backyard tidying and planting the pots of bulbs I brought with me. We are both dog tired. The past six months have been stressful. Hell the past twelve months have been stressful for pretty much everyone though, hasn’t it. The second COVID lockdown is easing and I feel like we are finding our feet again. Winter is still hanging around a bit; Spring in the sun, Winter in the shade, but the new season will eventually prevail. I have all sorts of plans for the house and garden. The OH has bought a used Toyota Land Cruiser for us to go camping in. Needs a service and a deep cleaning and we can hit the road. Really looking forward to that with a return to Scotland and new visits Wales. 

Where ever you are, I hope Spring is shaping up positively for you! Happy Easter!

 

 

March

After weeks and weeks of jet stream driven wet, windy, miserable days, said stream has moved North and we were treated to a preview of Spring to close out February. I can’t tell you what a difference it makes to your outlook to get a few dry, sunny days, especially now while we are still dealing with COVID and restrictions on-going at least until the Summer. I took the opportunity to get the back yard cleaned up and start preparing to move at the end of month to our new home.

 

Crocuses, snowdrops (now fading) and daffodils are all up, though the daffodils aren’t in full bloom yet. We will definitely know Spring is here when the house martins return from their Winter homes in Africa to their nest in one of the eaves of the house.

When I next post, it should be Easter and the move will be done and dusted. We worked out that we have moved at least eight times in the past 18 years, which is ludicrous when you think about it. We were renting until 2015 and this will be our third and final house buy. The banks start looking at you funny when you get past a certain age, so the OH’s wanderlust will be curbed by financial necessity! That and I’m tired and don’t have the energy levels I once did, despite keeping active. I’ve been struggling with plantar fasciitis, first in the right foot, now in the left, and the old arthritis is making itself felt more too. Lots of itis there which, by the way, means “inflammatory”.  I’m switching to a new family doctor or “GP” (general practitioner as they are called in the U.K.) next month, so I’m hoping he will be more helpful than the present fellow who I think simply has too many patients and not enough time. 

On to Spring!

February: Life Update

February, usually considered the last month of Winter in the Northern Hemisphere.  Snowdrops, crocuses and the green shoots of daffodils are starting to show here in England. I have pots of mini daffodils and fragrant, long stemmed hyacinths on the windowsills to cheer myself up as I count the days until Easter. The first quarter of the year has never been a favourite of mine.

The U.K. is very much at the mercy of the jet stream from late Autumn to early Spring and this year is worse than last for seemingly non stop rain and wind. At the moment, the fields are just inches of mud and icy water, so Winter crops and early Spring planting are going to be affected. I try to restrict the dog’s walks to areas where she can get the least filthy and still be able to free run. The washing machine is going every other day, filled with dirty drying towels and muddy leggings and trousers. Honey doesn’t care; the messier it is, the better she seems to like it.

Adding to the miserable weather, we are in Lockdown 3 with schools closed and travel restricted. I think everyone is hoping that between higher humidity come Spring (viruses don’t thrive in warmer temps) and the vaccination program,  we might be let out for Easter. Last year, when the country went in the first lockdown in March, we were treated to lots of sun and warm temps right into the Fall and that made the whole business more bearable. Maybe history will repeat. Live in hope, die in despair as my late mother used to quip. Certainly no one is looking forward to the aftermath when we do get to the end of this tunnel. My husband and I consider ourselves to be very fortunate that our jobs have been largely unaffected when millions of others have not been so lucky.

Continuing on life in lockdown, there was an interesting post on Ruth Crilly’s blog, A Model Recommends, entitled “This Isn’t The Olden Days”. Its about pandemic parenting and the difficulties of juggling working from home, home schooling and just generally having the entire family under the same roof 24/7. Lots of comments on it relating readers’ experiences as children growing up in the the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. The one thing that stands out from them is that regardless of which decade it is, there was no pandemic. Few people worked from home and the tech we take for granted today was either non existent or not up to current standards. The closest I can think of to what we are dealing with today would be polio. Also a virus but one which mostly affected children under the age of 5. It peaked in the 1950s in North America and then declined and disappeared with the introduction of the Salk  vaccine in 1955 and the Sabin vaccine in 1962. There is a lesson to be learned from those days; authorities quarantined the infected, closed schools and placed restrictions on childrens movements in an effort to prevent spread. But it soon became apparent that these measures didn’t work and vaccination was the only way forward. In any case, how would parents “in the olden days” have handled the situation we have now? Great subject for debate.

We have sold our house (who knew pandemics were good for the real estate market) and are hunting for a new one. We haven’t been in this one quite two years yet, but its a barn of a place and more suited to a family than the two of us, rattling around in it. And with the future so uncertain on various fronts, it is a good time to downsize and tighten up the budget. So far what we have viewed for a potential home doesn’t inspire confidence. One house was so derelict (how they managed to disguise that with the online photos is a mystery), I think the only solution would be demolition.

Life is so complicated  isn’t it and lately it feels like too much of it is out one’s control and in the hands of people who frankly, don’t inspire confidence. I guess the only thing you can do is keep your tiny space in the Universe as secure as possible and hope for the best.

And on that note, here’s to February.