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Staying connected in lockdown

It’s blowing an absolute hooley today, again, so I’m cosied up on the couch with a cup of tea. Perfect.

I am acutely aware that for some folk, right now, this sounds far from perfect and they’d rather be out braving the gale-force winds. My dad for instance. The poor man has been in isolation longer than most of us as he falls into the category of folk most at risk. Here in the UK, they went into isolation first. I’d like to say, I am so glad for that, but I know it has been really hard for him. He is on his own and doesn’t even have the benefit of a garden to go out into for some fresh air, instead, for the last 9 weeks, he’s just had his window to sit at for some fresh air. I suppose it’s knowing that which means I really do appreciate just how lucky Kate and I are, but I can’t wait till we are able to visit my dad and give him a massive hug. The video chats are fun but it’s not the same.

Having a sedate day on the couch today, but we have been far from quiet over the lockdown period so far, and I have been really taking advantage of the garden at every opportunity. That’s the thing about working from home, at lunchtime, I can go pootle in the greenhouse for half an hour, does wonders for your mental health and my greenhouse has never been so organised 🙂

On the topic of fun and positives… Kate and I were having a bit of a chuckle the other night about the lockdown bingo doing the rounds on social media. Basically it’s a bit like normal bingo where you mark off numbers until you have a full card, only instead of numbers, it’s activities you’ve done during lockdown. I’m impressed to say that neither of us has worked whilst still in our PJs and neither of us has had chocolate for breakfast (yet).

The card says done some work in the garden, but I feel this is an understatement. I feel so organised this year, to the point where my greenhouse is overflowing with petunias and sunflowers waiting to go out to their forever homes. We might just have the most amazing hanging baskets this year. If these winds ever let us put them out. And our foxgloves!!!!

What I have been doing though is baking up a storm with bread. I only get to mark it off once on the bingo card though 🙁 Since those first few weeks when we were struggling to get things like bread, I’ve been baking both sourdough and standard bread regularly, as well as flatbreads, pizza and focaccia.

I’m really enjoying the routine of having something to focus on aside from work. Ha, work. I have been so busy with work, proper mad busy. It’s starting to grate a little when I keep reading about how we all have all this free time and I’m thinking seriously!!! But to be fair, working from home does make it feel less full-on, having that chance to go out into the garden at lunchtime, or not having the commute to factor into my day is really making a difference. Poor Kate though. Kate doesn’t have a proper work from home set up and has been working at the dining table for weeks. She’s apparently bought a special pillow to help but it hasn’t arrived yet. We wait with bated breath.

Looking out the window, it’s still REALLY windy…. Do you think I could make it to the greenhouse without being blown away? I want to get the tomatoes all planted up today and into their final homes. I’m putting them into the new quadgrow unit, to let me test it and compare it to the old system. I am not expecting a whole heap of difference, but it will be interesting to see.

I’m going to get some pepper plants and my herbs planted up in there too. Oh herbs…. do you want a funny story about my herbs?

Well, I was super organised this year – quite proud of myself…. I grew all the usual stuff from seed where I could and I have some bits and pieces out in the garden which go year to year with me. I was all set, but unfortunately, a couple of things just didn’t take, but I managed to order a few bits and pieces online, like my french tarragon. I also decided this year to move the herb bed, so everything is all planted out there, looking awesome I must say. Except I only realised the other day, I forgot sage. Completely forgot it! Thing is, we do like a bit of sage. We use it in salads and in pasta etc. Kate did try to grab some from the supermarket when she was doing the weekly shop (because Kate is a key worker and has to go into work sometimes, she is the one who does the out of the house essentials like the shopping) but we’ve had no luck. It’s ok though… another YouTuber recommended an online shop called Urban Herbs. And sure enough, they had sage and loads of other stuff. So a wee internet order and bang, next day perfectly packaged herbs arrived. Except, I got so carried away on their website that what arrived was their boozy collection. A selection of herbs perfect for cocktails. But no sage. I completely forgot to order the sage and instead I ordered a selection of weird and wonderful herbs for cocktails! Doofus!!!! it was funny though. We now have a very full herb bed and 3 pots of mint – all non-standard types including ginger mint, strawberry mint and lime mint. Not to mention the orange thyme and blackcurrant sage (not the real sage). I just need to come up with ways to use them now. If you have a cocktail recipe using these herbs, feel free to send them my way. Please don’t send mint tea and herb tea recipes though, we’re not fans.

So as you can see, we are doing our best to keep busy and keep chipper. And most importantly, really enjoying having the time together.

One thing that has felt a bit sad and disappointing is that as June approaches (really quickly) I’m reminded that I should have been graduating in June (with my Masters in Digital Education). Unfortunately, graduation has had to be postponed until the winter (hopefully), which is sensible, but I am a bit sad. All that hard work and no party at the end. Weirdly though, my dissertation research project has never been so relevant. I looked at hybrid teaching, specifically in the art school area. At the time I never, in a million years, thought that we would suddenly be hit with the necessity to switch to online and potentially hybrid teaching styles, but at least I feel very prepared. If any of you guys are interested in really long and boring academic papers… feel free to pop over to the work side of this blog and have a read 🙂 You are warned though, it’s a tough slog!

Right, I’m off to put some bread into the oven 🙂

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  1. Excellent post! And thank you for pointing out that some of us are working hard (harder?) from home. We have a policy to get up at the usual 6am and shower and dress like we are going into the office (socks are optional though).

    We are also very thankful to have a goos size garden to pootle about in. And yes, the wind is making us anxious here too – restless, wanting to get out and weed stuff (really). and plant stuff. It is supposed to end about 8pm tonight here in the east of England. The good news is that your greenhouse should not lose its roof this time. Win!

    Now onto some ideas for your cocktail herbs. Why not make them into a syrup and use for drinks (alcohilic or not)? Mark Diacono always has some ideas for scented herbs https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/jun/25/grow-your-own-cocktails-mint-mojito-herbs-gardens-mark-diacono Cheers!

  2. Hey Lisa,
    Haven’t heard from you guys in a while. Hope you are well.

    We have the exact same policy as you (I used to be a home worker so got experience). We’re up at half six as normal and we get on the bikes and do the equivalent of our commute before we start work.

    We have the rule about work clothes too, although for us, shoes are optional:)

    Thanks for the link about cocktails…. off to check that out.

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