So much for London

L started a cough over the weekend, and spent an awful lot of time pursuing a Covid-19 test. Other L found herself overwhelmed by work, and K was losing her voice (a cold? Too much talking? Who could say?) so we had a Zoom call instead, enjoyed ourselves far too much despite an extremely reluctant LK resisting bedtime with every inch of her being (I had to start the call, then go and be a milk bar, which wasn’t my intention – but after half an hour of concerted yelling, frankly, you’ll do almost anything to just calm things down. Hurrah for the Terrible Twos. They’re called that for a reason). So, we had a lovely time on Zoom, and it was almost as good as seeing everyone face to face, and vastly cheaper.

On the plus side, after several trips to Halfords, in anticipation of going to London and avoiding the Tube, I do have a functional bicycle. With unworn brake cables, a clean chain, and a back tyre which isn’t flat. No idea where I’m going to ride it now, mind you, except, perhaps, to Guides on a Thursday. If I’ve not got too much clobber to carry. And it’s not cancelled owing to Covid-19. My risk assessment is currently a thing of beauty with the District Commissioner, and will hopefully pass muster. Then I’m working out how to do Mixology badge in a Covid-19 safe manner, so that we can get more girls finished on their theme awards.

I am also avoiding screens in the evening. By the time LK is down for the night, and we’ve had our supper, and I’ve dealt with the laundry, then it’s 8.30pm, and I need to go to bed an hour later…

On the plus side, I’ve been tipping food dye into the lavatory cisterns this lunchhour. Only one actually has a leak, to go with the two dripping taps in the bathroom. I’m hoping that N will manage to contact the plumber today (I don’t have his number).



New Normality?

Oh, how I miss my friends. This new normality, in which I haven’t seen my friends for months, except, a couple on Zoom! is beginning to toil. It’s all very well and good N saying ‘Make new friends’, but, really, at 41, it’s tough to do that. He’s got one of his oldest friends living in walking distance, he’s half an hour from where he grew up. My friends are mostly the Other Side Of London from us. The NCT girls are lovely, but I’ve not really clicked closely with any of them, and we don’t have the shared history of years of knowing each other.

I’ve been erratic on my secondhandness. LK is still clothed in secondhand for the most part: me, well. I’ve had a new pair of jeans (having lost 11lbs at the beginning of lockdown, I’m still 4lbs down on where I was, and a slightly different shape again, and the comfiest jeans are the pair I’ve only one pair in that size and style). I could do with some new knickers. I’ve bought some new trainers for running, and gone slightly mad and bought some new socks after a geriatric feetures sock slipped (because it’s shrunk) and I got a nasty blister on my first outing with the new trainers. I was doing fine until I went down a hill and the dratted thing popped. Fortunately, I was only about a third of a mile from home at that point, and had done the distance I wanted, so I just de-trainered and finished off in my socks. Secondhand bras have been mixed blessing – best bought singly rather than in a batch, I feel – I got vastly overcharged on postage for what was advertised as 9 M&S bras, but which turned out to be 4 M&S bras and 5 supermarket brands and one of those was really rather badly stained with fake tan. The seller on eBay is being most unhelpful (i.e. totally silent) about my request for a refund, so I’ll be raising it up the system.

And then I seem to be absurdly sensitive, inclined to anxiety and panic. I’m fed up with waking at about 5am worrying about nothing in particular. I limit my exposure to the news. I don’t go on Facebook at all. I have one group chat on Twitter, but don’t actually look at Twitter. I do follow Instagram. Pretty pictures mixed up with anti-racist motivation. It’s a good combination.

I run – I need it for releasing some of this adrenaline that I’m carrying about. Our lovely sports massage chap is open for business again. I go. He’s diligent, and good at cleaning. I have a shower before and afterwards – it’s five minutes’ walk from my front door, so that’s easy enough to do, and leaves me feeling about as safe as I can be.

I’m plotting a trip into London to see my friends. Mask on the train. Lots of hand sanitiser. Taking my bicycle so I can avoid the Underground. I see the same people day in day out, for a minute – Dave the crossing man (and N likes to bundle past whereas I like to pass the time of day), and whomever we hand LK to at nursery. That’s it. I like my own space, but, oh dear me, I have had Far Too Much of it now.

On the plus side, I’ve nearly finished a Clapotis, a Fugue, and I’m working on Shark Week too. Knitting is going nicely, in between mending nappies (I have been mending LK’s nappies for six months solid now. She’s just not ready for potty training, and I need these things to last just a little longer!).

And, on Sunday, I’m entered into the Farnham Pilgrim Half. Which I am very excited about. Less excited about my 11am start time, which is just difficult, and warm, but, heck. I get to run 13.1 miles on a route which I love, but which I’ve not run to death in the past six months. Which is glorious.


Secondhand Rose?

We are very much Secondhand Rose round here. LK is being clothed, in lieu of Granny going to the charity shops, by eBay. Sandals. Tops. Slippers. A sunhat. A sunsuit (I don’t recommend getting sunsuits secondhand – you can’t see where they’ve worn through, and LK seems to have skin that turns pink at a moment’s notice, unlike mine, which tends to brown easily).

A ‘new’ changing mat (because her first one is held together by so much duck tape, it’s grim).

A ‘new’ potty for downstairs: she is beginning to communicate that she has done, or wants, a wee or a poo. It’s hit and miss. Two nights ago it was miss-the-potty and hit-mummy’s-foot, then tell us she’d done a wee. Yes darling, I know. At least I wasn’t wearing socks.

A ‘new’ set of step stools to reach the basin, as we keep wanting the kitchen stool in the loo and in the kitchen simultaneously. All these things that you don’t need for very long, but which make life so much easier. Being at home all the time means that things we wouldn’t have bothered with at all, are now rather more handy (step stools, frinstance. And a newish mat – if you think, she has 4 nappy changes at nursery 5 days a week, which are now at home, so it’s getting more wear and tear, so it’s hardly surprising that it’s beginning to crack under the strain). I’ve also plumbed the hand-me-downs bags. We are doing well with those. Makes for some interesting outfits, though (the dress was new in the Sainsbury Sale about a year ago).

Managing to sell what she’s grown out of is more challenging. However, two of our NCT friends are having babies in the Autumn, so there’s somewhere to pass these things to. One of them is having twins. I have promised her all the LK stuff for a girl.

I have bought some new, new vests for LK. Baby vests seem to take a beating. Toddler vests, I suspect, likewise. And they tend to come in pale colours, so the beating is very obvious. The new, new vests will arrive in the Ocado order. Why yes. I brag. We have, after the initial panic (the one where I was so worried about feeding both LK and my parents, I sort of stopped eating, as though that would help matters, and lost about 9lbs in 4 weeks), got a reasonably regular Ocado order going again. I’d just signed up for a reserved slot in mid-March, we’ve been customers for about 10 years, if not longer. This seems to have given us a degree of priority: compared to other supermarkets where I’ve signed my parents up but cannot get a slot. Three weeks, we get the food delivered to us. The fourth week, my parents get the slot and we work our way through the freezer. My mother is adamant that my father is not to go to the supermarket, as he’s too congenial, and is also useless at remembering to wash his hands, use hand gel, use anti-bact wipes etc.

Going to the chemist for a prescription is pretty exhausting – I have to reward myself with extremely expensive chocolate (i.e. a bar of Lindor) from the display. Which then sits in quarantine for three days until I can eat it. So, tomorrow, I get the chocolate from Saturday’s trip for inhalers. It’s quite quiet in our large Boots, but there’s always the panic that someone’s going to stand too close, or that someone has touched something. I assume that everything is Covid-19 covered. See the empty carpark. Surreal.

Running, however, is easier. I have sussed getting through the level crossing gates with the buggy – I have a glove, and a plastic bag. Use the glove on the gate, the bag over the glove on the handlebars of the buggy. Sorted. My long runs – no buggy. So I take an old fruit bag, and bin it when I’ve got through the crossing on the way out, and a second for the way home. Easy peasy. It’s taken me weeks to get this sorted out and second nature, though. And people are so kind, wanting to hold the gate when I have the buggy and violate my 2 metre distance. The best bit about a run, and the level crossing, is the crossing guard. We love our conversations with Uncle Dave. He’s the only person we get to talk to other than each other. My god, it’s needed. And we can just pootle up to say hello, stand the other side of the tracks from him, and have a good old chin wag without risk. He’s a very convivial fellow. LK loves him, and waves enthusiastically when she sees him. She’s very disappointed when he’s not on duty. I saw a nesting moorhen on my last run. And a grey wagtail.

Finally, I’ve managed to set up Zoom Guides. 3/4 of the unit are joining us. We do one activity during our 40 minutes, and have to pause to go and #clapforcarers half an hour in. This week coming, we’re making bowls out of old magazines. Next week we’re going to try some backwoods cooking skills. It’s lovely to just have the contact with them. Our LiC is completely leaving me to it – I think she sees this as her get-out-of-Guides card, as she didn’t really want to be in charge of the unit anyhow. After a couple of years of being in the back seat, I’m ready to navigate, if not steer again. And – someone else is doing the accounts (and I hope it stays that way).



It’s the little things

Both good, and bad. They start little and turn big.

Today has involved disaster. N put the cupcake carrier on the hotplate. LK managed to turn the hotplate on. Some time later, we had a hideous stink, a melted cupcake carrier, dried out to totally singed muffins and an extremely upset me. Disproportionately so. Then LK got upset. And lunch turned into a disaster area for about an hour.

Burnt out

N spent naptime trying to remove the carrier from the hotplate. I went for a short, angry, run and achieved a sub 8-minute mile. No idea when I last managed that. N reports most of the carrier is off, and that assuming he’s identified the correct spare part, if he can’t get the rest off, it’s £70 to replace. Plus VAT and postage.

It’s such a little thing, putting stuff on the cooker. But it’s turned into such a big thing. And it could have been huge. There could have been smoke poisoning. Flames. The fire brigade. Hospital. All things we really don’t want.

But, we had a lovely little thing. Yesterday N made me coffee.

Frothy coffee

I felt normal. Proper coffee. With beans. And chocolate. At our superb kitchen table. It made such a difference to my day.


Make do and mend/Me made

N’s socks are disintegrating. This is the problem with using buttersoft yarn for a man who wears, and wears, and wears his socks.


Meanwhile, I made a sweater for LK, from yarn I’ve had for three years.

Yes. The neckline is wonky.

I miscounted the rows on one side of the back neck and only noticed when I took this photo. Life is too short to unravel.

Doesn’t notice.

Besides. She never keeps still.



LK doesn’t like bananas. Unless mashed up in custard. I don’t have the knack of that.

In this turbid time, while I panic over feeding my aged parentals, I give you snippets of good news (I think we have the food covered bar meat, as their local butcher is shutting for the duration. Trying to get an online order is a full time job in and of itself).

  • LK did a tiny wee on the potty this morning.
  • I was correct as to why my code failed, but woefully dumb at locating the problem.
  • I finished a sweater, using yarn bought just after 7/7.
  • I (bad) bought a pair of cycling shorts new in case of total lockdown.
  • The park is empty when we go for exercise.
  • I have lost the last of the baby weight.
  • We have seen an eagle, lots of robins, a long tailed tit, some thrushes and magpies in the park.
  • LK wore 8 bibs at once this afternoon.
  • LK can recognise yellow. And say circle.

Make do and mend

I’ve done some more darning, this time on a much loved and much mended sweater. It’s beginning to be more dark than sweater at this stage in its life. But there is plenty of life left in it yet.

Sweater darn

The darn in the middle of the photo is the one we’re most interested in. There’s something so satisfying about a good darn.

I do need to fess up a bit of a failure. I marshalled at the wonderful Trionium Leith Hill Half on Saturday: I was meant to run it, but after a short, sharp bout of pneumonia about a month ago, I made the sensible decision to marshal instead. There was no way I’d be fit and strong enough to run. But, in addition to my cooked breakfast after the duty was done, I did pick up my tech top. So, while I didn’t exactly buy it this year, as I had paid for it when I entered last year, I do have a new top.

I may also have bought LK some ballet shoes for dancing on Saturday mornings. I have plans to make her a nifty heavy metal tutu from some black net I’ve got kicking about.

Diddy shoes!

In my defence, they are slight seconds. The glue sort of escaped. And she will have no idea. And they are too cute.


Secondhand Rose

I’m wearing secondhand clothes…even my husband’s been married once before!

A video

With apologies to Barbra Streisland, but, Secondhand Rose has been my song. I wear a lot of secondhand clothes. I always have. The jeans in my last post were secondhand from eBay. Today’s jeans ditto. I do a grand line in secondhand coats and jackets, and dresses, and skirts. I used to love rootling round charity shops: now I tend to snatch a few minutes here and there depending on how fidgety LK is in the pushchair. From her perspective, the supermarket is vastly more interesting. More people. More bright colours.

Anyhow. Today is about secondhand bras. Isn’t this a beauty?

99p plus postage on eBay. I discovered I have 3 bras which actually fit me currently (I was a 30C/32B when I fell pregnant, and peaked at at 36D). What inflates, eventually, deflates. And there is very little point in spending money on anything that’s only going to be worn for a few months. However, 3 bras which fit isn’t enough to allow for nipple thrush prevention measures when on antibiotics (wash at 60deg or with Halo, clean bra daily) and a well fitting, comfortable bra is also fairly vital to my general demeanour. So off to eBay and I’ve got a total of 4 bras coming, and spent £11. I have also got 3 larger bras on sale, which look like bringing in about £10. And I can reuse the packaging the incoming bras arrived in for the outgoing bras. Score.

I’m not entirely done breastfeeding. I hope that when I am done, there can be another selling session. I am thrilled, though, that my pre-pregnancy sports bras fit again. My pregnancy/post-pregnancy ones have gone a very funny shade after a 60deg thrush wash. They lost brightness.


Make do and mend

So here is my first try at not buying anything new. My jeans have worn. When I was at uni, I had next to no money. Well. I had savings. I also had a father who checked my savings book monthly and demanded to know why I was taking money out regularly. “Food, books, that sort of thing. Nothing exciting like weed.” I think he was a little disappointed that i has not developed a drug habit. I did a lot of mending my jeans, just to hold decency together.

This time, I went for a nice cheerful blue embroidery thread to sort out the hold. So every time I catch sight of my inner thigh, I am cheered up.

Not too shabby? I do like a good darn.