Monday, 6 April 2020

A New Kind of Normal

The days have been fairly unremarkable, which makes the remarkable news every day seem even more surreal.  Each morning the baby wakes me with a combination of chatty vocal sounds, or slamming his legs down like a wrestler if he really wants to get my attention.  I feed him in bed whilst Chris brings up cups of tea.  We put the breakfast news on most days, but I don't watch it for long at the moment.  I then tidy up and put a load of washing on, or perhaps do some yoga, while the boys have a cuddle.  We eat brunch, rather than breakfast, as by the time we've bathed the baby and showered and dressed ourselves it's usually getting on a bit.

I like to get out in the garden in the morning, which I can manage whilst the baby naps and Chris keeps watch.  I come back in for a lot more tea-drinking and baby cuddling then before it's time to make some lunch, sometimes squeezing in a quick online fitness class.  In the afternoon Chris might do some DIY, gardening or banjo practice while I'm with the baby.  I can perhaps make some video calls, type emails one-handed or watch an episode of the Antiques Roadshow (the episode at the National Botanic Garden of Wales has a glimpse of Chris - it's in the segment about the Startrite shoes.  Let me know if you manage to spot him!).  Chris then watches the baby while I do another tiny spurt in the garden, before it's the baby's evening fussy time, which means lots of feeds in a row, and time to start his bedtime routine.  We eat our home-cooked dinner while the baby sleeps, and usually manage to watch an hour or so of something on Netflix before I can't keep my eyes open any longer.

That's the ideal day at least...  Some days there is no gardening, no ability to get chores done, no time to write emails or do a fitness class.  The baby doesn't nap, is not easily soothed, won't be put down, feeds non-stop, or maybe needs a complete outfit change over and over again, usually with an outfit change for myself thrown in.  Maybe there are carpets, bedding or upholstery to be cleaned too.  It's usually on days like that on which I hit myself in the face with the hoover (really happened), I have no clean pyjamas left, and every cup of tea goes cold before I manage to drink it.

Anyway, here's what I've been up to aside from motherly duties!

I have channeled my frustrations into some serious weeding.  It's a big task, but I'm making slow and methodical progress.  There are many other garden jobs, including tidying up all of the mess I should have tackled last year (cleaning out pots, mending gloves, oiling tools).  I've also been sorting through all the seeds and bulbs in the shed.  Some are very out of date (2012!), but I've decided that I'll be chucking them all in the garden somewhere.  Let's see what happens!

Spot the robin in the curly hazel!

Rhubarb doing well

The camelia's first flowers

Propagating on the windowsill

Above and below, two varieties of aubretia

Potting on some pea seedlings

Now that we can't just nip to the shops any time we fancy some chocolate, or need a particular ingredient, I find myself obsessing over food.  I always was the kind of person that wants to know "what's for dinner?" at breakfast time, but it's reached a new level.  Still, it's an opportunity to use up whatever is lurking at the back of the cupboards or in the bottom of the freezer.  Things will have to be desperate before I touch the squid.  This week we've made and eaten jambalaya, bolognese, curry, houmous, seaweed oven chips, focaccia, carrot and coriander soup, and some quinoa, pearled spelt and buckwheat salads.  I was elated when I found a year's supply of chutney in the shed which we'd made last summer.  We are also guilty of stockpiling stollen, bought after Christmas when it was 10p.  We bought 12, but mysteriously only seem to have 1 left.  This is a shame as the 'best before' was June, so I've perhaps been a bit frivolous with our resources there!

Shopping wise, we had a supermarket delivery but have been unable to get any further delivery slots.  I've done a bit of top-up shopping from a local shop that delivers, but there have been a few issues - gone-off milk, substitutions I didn't want, being charged for items I didn't have, and some expensive items.  The most amusing was being given a £5.30 pot of marmalade!  It has rum in it, but even so...

This is what a £5.30 pot of marmalade looks like

Taking photos
My favourite activity this week was a bit of fun doing some arty photography.  Rhondda-based photographic artist Lucy J Purrington has created a series of videos on smartphone photography without using any professional equipment.  Worth a watch, the techniques are easy to replicate, and she is also very funny!  I fortunately had a model to help me out.  Here are a couple of my efforts.

I call this one "Trifle bowl"


Of course there are the obligatory photos that a parent takes every day with their baby.  Mainly of me in my gardening clothes or yoga outfit, wearing the haggard expression of parenthood rather than any make-up.  And with a swollen nose from the hoover incident.  Ah well, the baby looks cute!

We're staying home, but are not entirely sure people in our area are doing the same.  There still seem to be a lot of people out on the streets.  Through my friends, family and local news I've heard of tradespeople visiting vulnerable over 70s in their homes for non-essential jobs, arsonists and joy riders, droves of cyclists and motorcyclists visiting the mountains, teenagers meeting up with their friends, children visiting elderly grandparents, and even a street party(!).  What's the situation like where you live?


  1. You both look adorable.

    Delievry is impossible here so we're managing with my doing a shop once every few weeks. It isn't dire, and
    like you, we're getting through some odds and ends of grains we'd forgotten about. I have dried tofu to work with too, so that should be interesting.

    People are largely staying home, but there have been a few blatant exceptions that were quickly closed by the police. Imagine trying to argue that a strippers club was an essential service! Nice try, I guess.

    Hang in there.

    1. It certainly is sparking some creativity in the kitchen, using up odds and ends!
      That's most amusing about the strip club, fair play for effort!!

  2. Lovely to hear how you're doing. Your ideal days sound perfect, enjoying quality time with Otis and Chris, getting stuff done around the house, growing things, enjoying each other's company. Hitting yourself in the face with a Hoover? I knew there was a reason I didn't own one!
    That funnel photo is brilliant, we've been meaning to do that with one of the cats.
    You and I sound rather alike, I'm always discussing what we're having for tea over breakfast!
    We managed to get an on-line delivery with Asda last week, which we shared with a friend, but there was so much missing we won't bother again sticking instead to our well-stocked corner shop. It is all about compromise though, isn't it, we're eating all manner of strange combinations these days!
    I think most people around here are behaving but there's a large gang of men who meet on a wall round the corner every day and drink themselves daft!
    Stay safe and healthy! xxx

    1. What an odd thing to do, meeting on a wall for a drink?! Ah well, for the hard-core drinkers I suppose they think it's essential!

      Do give the funnel trick a try for photos, I had such a giggle doing it - and using all manner of other household objects, from loo roll to trifle bowls! It entertained me and the baby for a good hour. He found it very amusing. xx

  3. Sometimes it's hard to get one's head around the fact that we can keep on living fairly unremarkable, normal lives with all that's been going on. Even more so, now that I only work 2 days a week, and am a lot more at home. And haven't we all got those off-days. I can be quite accident prone, but have never hit myself in the face with a Hoover. Not that I can't see it happening, though. Jos does a supermarket shop once a week in a small local supermarket where it's never very busy, and for top-ups, we use the village shop cum organic food shop. But it's true that one's more thoughtful of food and eat things we wouldn't have thought of before. Love your gardening progress and those arty photos! And oh, damn, I've seen that AR episode at the National Botanic Garden last week. If only I'd known, I would have tried to spot Chris. Stay safe! xxx

    1. There are definitely two completely different worlds of experience in this crisis, those of us at home, and those who are out there working to stop it.

      You are lucky to have a good village shop and small supermarket! We have a massive supermarket a short drive away, but it's been packed (according to a neighbour). Chris had to go out to a smaller supermarket and although it was quiet, there were lots of people not obeying the distancing - even staff!! xx

  4. Hello, thanks for your lovely blog. I came across it as I was looking for something vintage-inspired but I am enjoying it for other reasons. I live in Canada and my family and I are also self-isolating, as are friends and co-workers from the sounds of things. I too wonder how much other people are, though! Your blog posts are very relatable: we are having to wait quite a while for our next grocery delivery so the freezer is being emptied out. Actually, I finally succumb to adding frozen squash into a smoothie today for some added nutrition, and no one else even noticed it! Anyways, I am also spending time in the garden, working on putting in an alternative lawn and breaking the sod without the help of a machine as we are trying to eliminate non-essential trips as well. Good exercise at any rate! Anwyways, love your blogs and pictures. It is nice to see how other people are filling their time :)

    1. Hello! Thank you for visiting, and for your kind comment. It sounds like you are putting some good work into your own garden! My vintage focus is slightly shifted at the moment, partly due to having had a baby, and then also due to the current epidemic. I still try and slip a bit of vintage in here and there and am sure I will do more in future. x

  5. Your days seemed normal until you started to tell about how it's not always as you wish it was :)
    Regardless you have a routine and are getting things done, just at a different pace.
    Here we have been on government imposed quarantine for 17 days. But every 3 days they change something to make it more extreme, for example nowadays Saturday and Sunday NOBODY can be outside. Women go out 3 days a week and men just two and for just two hours.
    I still cannot believe how everything has changed.

    1. Gosh, it does sound as though your country has imposed some pretty severe restrictions. I hope that they work. This epidemic is leaving no part of the world untouched by the sounds of it. Stay safe Lorena x

  6. Aah your family is adorable!

    Have you got milkmen in your area? We're still getting deliveries from ours, and they don't just deliver milk, they do other essentials too. I'd always have imagined the Valleys were an area that still had them. We're keeping our freezer food in case we both get ill at the same time and can't cook, so we're still eating everything fresh. Though we have got through a bit more chutney than usual!


Comments from readers make my day!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...