One Book Behind

You’re on Track

Dear Goodreads

This year I have set myself a challenge of 54 books to read. Shouldn’t be a problem as last year I did manage to read 56 books but  at the beginning of the week and with 17 weeks to go, you keep telling me that I’m one book behind. What should I do? I almost bought Roald Dahl’s, James and the Giant Peach when it was on Kindle’s daily deal; that would have been a nice and quick read.

On Monday, I had finished The Throwaway Children by Diney Costeloe. Published in 2015, and I actually bought it then so I have no idea why it has taken me so long to read. The story is set in 1948 and is about 2 little girls being sent to an orphanage after their mother marries again. Her new husband is violent and does not want them around. I immediately fell in love with plucky Rita, the eldest sister, who cared deeply for her little sister Rosie. Lily, the girls’ grandmother, is another brave character, who tries her very best to take them away from the orphanage. She is told that the girls have been adopted, and hoping that they have been found a home with love, writes them a letter to tell them how she cares for them. Unbeknown to Lily, the girls have been sent to Australia to an orphanage there where they are separated from each other.

I wasn’t sure if I could read the book after the girls were sent to the English orphanage as they were treated so badly. I did though and it was an extremely sad story but one with an ending that was very tearful but also one of hope. This book certainly earned a 5 star review from me.

When I’ve read a harrowing book, I like to look for something which might have a bit of a happier feel. I chose The Last Piece by Imogen Clark. I discovered this author in 2018 and have tried to read all her books. This story is about the Nightingale family, Cecily and Norman and their three daughters plus a 50 year old secret. After my last read, whilst not so disturbing, it was still a thought provoking read. Not the feel good book I was looking for but one I enjoyed. I managed to read it in 4 days so Goodreads, my status now  reads you are on target!

My next read is Dorothy Koomson’s follow up to The Ice Cream Girls, All My Lies Are True. I only started reading last night but am hooked so I think I’m going to stay on track! I don’t think this is going to have the feel good factor either but never mind, it will soon be time to read the Christmas books!

Yours forever reading

Tina

P.S. Was it cheating that I read P.S. I Love You again. I did read the follow up and felt that I had to read it!

I’ve got my mind set on you

Lovely memories

Dear Tony

Another birthday without you. I hope that you are happier where you are and you are enjoying having mum and dad to yourself.

Life is a bit strange here. As well as the restrictions that are in place, there is uncertainty about jobs which of course brings emotional and financial worries. Charities are suffering a lot as events that would be held to raise funds have been cancelled. I’ve decided to set myself challenges and give a small amount of money to charities each month.

For the month of August, I did 10 days of alternate 5k running and walking. I started running about 6 months after you left us in 2016. As well as health benefits, exercise is also great for our mental health. I always think of you when I run. I wonder if it would have helped you if you had taken up something like running.

I actually chose to do this challenge after seeing Macmillan advertising it. I didn’t get sponsors though but gave a very small donation to them. I loved the walks and will continue with the 5k route which took me by our family house, over the bridge as mum would say which led to the park we liked to visit as children, then up to the Green Dragon before returning home. Not a scenic walk but one full of memories. This route takes me around an hour. I listen to the Joe Wickes podcast who always had interesting guests talking about what they turned to to help their physical and mental health. A very interesting listen. I finish off listening to radio 2. I ditched my favourite radio 1 shows long ago but interestingly some of the DJs that we would have listened to now appear on radio 2!

In honour of your birthday, September’s charity is Mind. This is another great charity and one that is in great need at the moment. I have chosen to try to improve my running and am aiming to run 30 miles in the month. I am running 1 mile runs for 3 days, having a day of rest and then running a 5k. So far, and I’ve only run 2 of the 5k runs, managed to improve my times. Now Tony, when I say running, I am actually very slow but at least I can run for a bus now.

I can see how tough life was for you with all your mental health problems. Listening to Joe Wickes asking his guests what they do to keep their spirits up made me ponder how I would answer. One of the first things I like to do is bake. I also like getting lost in a book, playing games on computer such as sudoku and solitaire (can be very addictive!) and cross stitching. Being out in the fresh hour to run or walk also helps. For you, getting out of bed to do these pastimes would have been a major hurdle. Hopefully charities like Mind will be able to continue to help people like yourself.

You are always in my thoughts.

Sleep tight.

Your big sister

Tina x

P.S. I still love the picture of us when I visited you at your school. I can’t quite believe I was actually taller than you for a while!

P.P.S. On my mile run today, I actually did a personal best of 11.13 min/mile!

A good 5k time for me!

Red Velvet, Will you please?

My Mum

Dear Mum

Five years have flown by since you left. It took me a while to get used to my weekends again. My Saturday afternoons had been spent with you. After catching up, there would be a film to watch. It might have been To Kill a Mocking Bird or The Lake House with Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves (Note for Kathryn. We have to watch this film).

One of the things I do like to do now on a Saturday afternoon is bake. You would love eating the cakes I make especially anything with chocolate in. One of the other things I like to do is afternoon teas with Kathryn.

As a family, we have always loved cream teas (just thinking about spreading jam across the scone and topping with a thick layer of clotted cream is making my mouth water – Kathryn, that is the correct way of eating a scone!). Last year, arranging a mum and daughter day out and both not wanting to shop, we went for an afternoon tea and decided to make it a monthly event. We even created an instagram page called onceuponascone. We did manage three teas before Christmas and had a lovely tea in February in Bath. Then lockdown happened. This didn’t put us off afternoon teas. As soon as we were allowed to be together again, we actually made our own. As it was the 5th anniversary of the day you left us, we chose Sunday 28th June to remember you. I had just got a very nice cooker so it was the first time I baked scones in it. They were delicious.

Slowly, we are getting our life back to normal (well a new normal), so we were super excited to start going for teas again. I thought I would share my lovely day out with Kathryn on the 18th August (Richard’s birthday but we didn’t invite him!). Chris had arranged a voucher for tea at Cliveden House in Maidenhead. Chris was also our chauffeur for the day so it did mean we could enjoy a glass of champagne too. Another thing you would have liked Mum!

We arrived early so we could enjoy the grounds and woodlands of Cliveden. It is a National Trust property and the tea included the trip round the grounds. Whilst I was looking forward to the tea, if I lived close to this property, I would have become a member of the National Trust and visited every week. As we experienced some rain, we didn’t get to appreciate it all but what we saw was breathtaking. We loved walking through the rose garden and going down the Yew Tree Steps (apparently 172 steps but we didn’t notice because we were laughing so much as we were in sync with our stepping. We missed Jordan at the point because he would have loved being part of that. Next visit I promise I will let you take part Jordan!) to sit by the Thames. As it was raining, we didn’t attempt the steps upwards.

Anyway, back to the tea. As I said, we are living in strange times and we now need to wear masks in enclosed areas so we had to remember to put them on when entering the hotel. Luckily we can take them off when eating! Chris made sure we had a wonderful view from our table. The champagne was waiting for us so we very quickly removed the masks. Then first course of our tea arrived. As well as sandwiches, we had chilled pea and mint soup (I can imagine you are turning your nose up mum but believe me, it was delicious), gingerbread savoury with cream cheese, cheese and ham croissant and peri-peri beef taco. The best savoury selection I have ever had.

It was then the turn of the scones, one fruit and one plain each. Kathryn did think that we didn’t have enough clotted cream but there was plenty. We had gone a bit posh with our tea (no not PG tips, mum), we had Assam. I think it’s one of my favourites. We barely had any room for the cakes but I do like to try one or maybe two! We had a lovely red velvet sponge cake, a delicious peach melba cake and a rhubarb cake presented to us. We shared the red velvet sponge and peach melba. Don’t worry mum, we took the rest home in a doggy bag, well actually a beautiful box. We also had a complimentary red velvet muffin to take away which I can confirm was very nice.

I know that you would have loved the tea although you wouldn’t have enjoyed going out. If you were still here (I wish you were), we would have definitely shared some of the tea with you.

We are already arranging our next tea which will probably be the weekend of Tony’s birthday. Can you let him know to expect a letter from me at around that time.

Love to Dad.

Love and kisses

Tina x

P.S. Why red velvet and what is red velvet any way, I hear you ask. Red velvet cake is well known in USA from New York’s Waldorf hotel which was built by Cliveden’s former owner, William Waldorf Astor. Red velvet cake is a chocolate cake with a red colour. Traditionally the red colour was due to the cocoa used but most recipes now use a red food colouring paste. I have never tried making this cake but might give it a go now.

Yew Tree Steps

I’m just making plans for Tina

My pink passion planner

Dear Planner

I received you, a beautiful soft pink planner for Christmas, and created my plan for 5 years on the 28th December. I even bought myself a sparkly pink pen to use when I sat down to plan. All looked good until March. Then lockdown happened and life hasn’t been the same again.

I like the idea of planning, I’m reasonably organised but hate lists; they terrify me actually. There is something about putting things down on paper that I don’t like; is it commitment issues or am I frightened to share what I should be doing. Anyway it’s something I want to get better at so I really did have good intentions in January. I had enjoyed setting up my “passion roadmap” for the next 5 years. I actually wrote things I hadn’t shared with anyone; the most surprising one to me was planning to have a cottage by the sea. Although I live close to the sea, and I visit a lot, since a child I have always been excited when travelling to a holiday destination to see the first sight of the ocean. Memories of Bude when I was younger, the sea in Jamaica as Chris and I enjoyed our first evening meal in the outside restaurant (even if I was struggling to keep my eyes open) and last year, the sparkling turquoise sea of Punta Prima. I think the idea of waking up seeing the ocean is a lovely dream for the future.

I would love to tell you Planner, that 8 months after setting out my short term plans, I had completed them but I would be lying. The one I circled in 3 months will always be there forever: declutter! Why can’t I do this job. I need to do this. I’m going to have a good talk to myself about this. The current situation means that some of the other items were not possible: visit my sister in law in Belgium and see more of family and friends.

You will be more impressed with my 1 year plans though I’ve had a change of mind about one: be rid of working from home. Life changed a lot in March and there are a lot of empty offices at the moment. It was something forced on me, something I rebelled about at first but now, I have a work space I like and maybe it’s the way forward for me! 2020 is definitely the year we are allowed to change our minds! Two items that I semi- achieved for the year but still have a long way to go: confidence in riding a bike and driving a car.

When I wrote confidence in riding a bike, I had a bit of a problem. I didn’t have a bike. I soon changed that and on the 5th January, I was the proud owner of an Apollo Elyse hybrid bike. I had a basket put on and enjoy casual rides to the beach and exploring the area. I am so glad a purchased my bike at the beginning of the year as there is now a high demand for bike sales.

Due to the COVID situation, I did find myself driving to Chichester to work in April. It was the best time to get some confidence in driving; the roads were empty. I have repeated it several times now but I still need to work on that one. What I do know is that I can do it!

So Planner, please don’t give up on me. I can say that whilst my plans (and many other people’s plans) haven’t gone as expected for the beginning of 2020, I have created a new roadmap and intend to plan, plan, plan!

Yours hoping

Tina

P.S. Declutter has not made it on my roadmap this time. I promise to write to you before the end of the year and let you know how I’m getting on.

The beginning of the year

The Bare Necessities of Life

Typical subscription box

Dear Home Economic teachers

In the 2nd year of the senior school in the 70s, the girls in our school had lessons in cookery and sewing. Boys didn’t do these classes; they did “manly” things like woodwork and metalwork. We did these classes until we were allowed to choose our subjects in year 4 (for all younger than me, that would be your year 10).

My children have found the fact that you, my home economics teachers, thought I was a useless case as far as cooking and sewing quite strange. Dinners for my children were often made from scratch, lunch boxes always had some home baked cakes in and I also cross stitched them an advent calendar which is still in use. So why didn’t I enjoy my lessons at school and did I learn anything?

I have to say that I was looking forward to cookery but Mrs L, I’m afraid you frightened me. Practical things and me don’t seem to get on and your loud shrieking voice did not help whatsoever. I know that we are all different and some people who have teachers speaking in this way helps them but it just gave me butter fingers. It was with great eagerness that I gave up this lesson. When I do bake now, I do find myself remembering something I learned at school: folding the mixture round and cutting through with the metal spoon and also one of my favourites from school, feather icing. I did have teachers later in life though who helped me with my love of cooking: Delia Smith, Mary Berry, Gary Rhodes and Paul Hollywood. I can produce a delicious roast dinner with crunchy but fluffy roast potatoes, lemon drIzzle tray bakes, a quick microwave sponge pudding and when challenged, bake croissants. I hope that I have also taught my children a love of cooking too.

Mrs S, you were my form teacher when I first joined the “big” school and the following year my needlework teacher. You were a very kind teacher and left us to get on with our own devices. I was always good with theory so can still remember the basics of tacking, back stitch and I think I could get by with blanket stitch if the need arose. However, the sewing machine remains a mystery to me and I still can’t cut straight with scissors. I will never be able to make myself a nightie (our first and uncompleted project for me).

So I did take with away some skills, but just like riding a bike or driving a car, these skills are perfected out of the classroom environment. I was able to find what I loved to do and also find that both baking and my cross stitch is my way of relaxing. This weekend it was so satisfying when I piped butter cream onto a whoopie pie, sandwiched it together with another and it looked like the photo of the recipe. It was also satisfying to eat it too!

I’m never going to be a bake-off contestant; perfection is not me! My whoopie pies were not the same size but what does it matter as long as they taste good.

This is the same for my cross stitch although it always looks neat. The most important thing to me in cross stitch is to have the stitches going in the same direction. The back of the cross-stitch isn’t the neatest but who sees the back. I have seen photos of some really neat backs which could actually be the front. I wonder Mrs S, if you would have expected that.

I would like to share the efforts of my weekend with you both. My completed cross stitch kit, a subscription from Cotton and Twine. I treated myself to it in April fully intending to complete it quickly. Four months later, I finally finished it. I don’t tend to frame the completed projects myself but following the instructions carefully, I’m chuffed with the outcome. I even cut it straight.

I can also share the carrot cake whoopie pie photo too; another subscription box from April. I have been too busy to complete.

So whilst I might not have been an ideal student, I am able to cook and sew. For me, the classroom wasn’t the ideal learning place for these skills but I hope that schools do continue to teach these important lessons.

Kind regards

Tina

P.S. I’m glad I didn’t have to do woodwork or metal work

Stitching and baking

Simply the Best

Happy times

Dear family

Thank you for making my birthday so special. I thought it wasn’t going to be a normal birthday; there wasn’t going to be everyone gathered in our bedroom singing happy birthday before I opened presents. This was a lockdown birthday although due to a lift in restrictions, Kathryn was going to be able to sit in the family garden! Little did I know that what you had in store for me.

As is normal in the Terry household at the moment, we were awake at 5.30 in the morning. I did have a happy birthday sang to me through WhatsApp from Jordan at 6 o’clock. The message didn’t strike me as unusual . With you working and living in London, I have had a few birthdays with you not being here on the day but normally you are here the weekend before.

As is also normal on birthdays and at Christmas, I was spoilt by you, Chris. I couldn’t believe I actually had a brand new, shiny rose gold iPad. One that was not actually second hand! After a few false starts, you even had my games downloaded (my day does not begin until I have completed my daily fix of solitaire, sudoku and wordstacks).

More birthday messages came through from Kathryn before I cycled to the beach with Chris. It was a beautiful morning to enjoy watching the calm sea and views of the Isle of Wight. I was sad that we all wouldn’t be together but I could remember the past birthdays normally enjoying food and the scenery: cream teas in the New Forest, fish and chips in the rain  on Brighton Pier and wave jumping in Fuerteventura. It was certainly going to be different this year with one member of the family missing and family hugs not possible. 

There was a bit of friction at the beach when Chris was trying to make me decide what we were going to eat. Friction and eating are another norm! I was still feeling a bit annoyed that as my birthday was on a Sunday, I couldn’t have my family all here to help me celebrate. I would have willingly made dinner myself with what we had in the fridge. Anyway, so as to not make the day difficult, I followed Chris into the local shops and chose lamb steaks in one shop then a huge steak and merlot pie in another. Should be more than enough for 3 of us and maybe Aaron.

We cycled home and once in, I sent messages to my sister and to Kathryn to let them know that they could come round. At least restrictions had been lifted so I could have them both in the garden.  Within 2 minutes, there was a ring on the doorbell. I was greeted by a happy birthday chorus from you Kathryn and……..

Well I could not believe it; I was expecting to see Aaron but instead it was a sweaty, gorgeous Jordan and bike. He had cycled  for 4 hours 45 minutes from Wimbledon to say Happy Birthday.

Family back together for the afternoon on a hot summer’s day that was simply the best!

Love from a very spoilt wife and mum x 

P.S. Can we do wave jumping next year?

Next time will be about how all intended yearly goals change very unexpectedly 

Flowers from Jordan

Now get to work, work, work

Progression in weights

Dear Jessica

Hope you and your family are well.

I only discovered you in January 2019 and since then you have been an important part of my life. I was trying to lose a stone in weight (again)  and came across your Walk Off the Weight DVD plan. Six DVDs later and after learning how to get YouTube on to the TV, I am hooked.  You are like having a personal trainer: one day I’m doing Hiit cardio and next day I’m doing a fusion walk.  There are so many different routines to try that I can never be fed up plus you never shout at me. Now I know that some people feel that having someone who forces you to work hard works for them. It’s not for me – I would just go and eat cake!

Cake is one of the reasons I do have to exercise and as we are all going through a difficult time at the moment, I’m baking and eating a lot more. Even more this week as it’s been my birthday!  

Normally my day will start early and I will do some exercise before work. It might just be one of your 15 minute walks but I would always try to do something. I would come home and if I wasn’t running (during the winter months I run after work but actually prefer to run in the morning), then I would pop on another routine and exercise again. Silly me thought life would be easier when we made plans to start working from home. Whilst everyone else was scanning the local Sainsbury’s for toilet rolls, I picked up my order of my heavier weights; after all, I was going to have all that time I wasn’t travelling to work (or so I thought).  I was ready to start on a Jessica Smith plan.

On my first day of working from home, our prime minister  announced strict lockdown measures including only going out for one day of exercise. I was going to have to choose wisely but I could work out to lots of your different workouts. My normal lunchtime walk could be replaced by a 15 minute fast fat blast walk.

Did that happen? Well some days it did but not as often as I would like. Well it turns out you do actually have to work very hard from home. You forget to stop for lunch and your 4pm finish stretches to 5.30.  My monthly email would come from you and was so full of encouragement. You understood, as you were also experiencing these uncertain times too, that it sometimes was too hard to do any exercise. I was finding that the beginning of each week even going outside for a walk was an effort. Most weeks I was able to turn it round by Thursday so I did have 4 days of good exercise. 

12 weeks after our lockdown started, life is slowly starting again to what is being called a ‘new normal’ and I’m able to exercise outdoors as much as I want.  I have managed to complete your core week (persuaded my daughter to take part in that) and am running regularly. This week I set myself a target of reaching 20,000 steps a day by enjoying the fresh air by walking and running. Finally finished my 5k runkeeper plan. Not as fast as it wanted me to be but there is always next time. I also opened your yoga stretch for beginners & beyond DVD to try to encourage me to start enjoying the benefits of yoga. It’s early days but I think it could soon become a regular part of my exercise. 

I’ve also decided that I will exercise Monday to Fridays and use my weekends to ride my bike, take long walks or dance and sing badly in the kitchen whilst making dinner. I’m also going to start your Summer of Strength program on Monday. I’m still taking one day at a time though so hopefully I finish week 1.

Once again, Jessica, thank you for all your wonderful workouts.

Stay safe

Tina x

P.S. Whilst walking back through the store with my weights, one of the wonderful workers came out with a trolley full of toilet rolls so there was a lot of happy shoppers!

Next time I will be sharing my birthday whilst on relaxed lockdown

Pretty leggings make workouts easier!

Happy Birthday to You

Happy Birthday Dad

Dear Dad

I wanted to wish you a happy birthday on the 25th birthday without you. Those years have gone so quickly. When you left us, Jordan was a 3 year old toddler and Kathryn just 3 months old. They are all grown up now and making their way in life.

We are experiencing very strange times at the moment so I haven’t been able to see them in the normal way . Recently I have been able to go for walks with Kathryn and she was even able to sit in the garden on Tuesday. Jordan lives in London so for almost 12 weeks, he hasn’t visited. Technology has moved on a lot since 1996: we all have mobile phones now and also the Internet. Honestly how we survived without Google is beyond me. You just ask a question and the answer will appear. Sometimes it is a bit too much overload! I’ve also got a kindle to read my books; an electronic reader which means I don’t have to have a huge book in my bag. The kids are more old fashioned and love the physical books (don’t tell anyone but they might be slowly coming round to owning one!). Anyway with all this technology, we have been able to video call each other, cook together and also have weekly quizzes. It’s not the same as seeing them in person but it’s certainly better than nothing.

You will be pleased to know that as they were growing up, we liked to bake together. You will remember how much Jordan loved his food, his hands would fly up in the air in excitement as he was being fed. Kathryn is a bit of a foodie; she loves all sorts. Jordan has been cooking roasts whilst he has been away; he has promised that he will make one for me when he is allowed in the house again. Although he has been asked to join us, he hasn’t taken part in baking with me and Kathryn on a Sunday. For ten weeks, we have been baking by video call on our phones. I’m sure you would like to know what we have been baking:

  • Victoria Sandwich – Kathryn is an expert at these and I always made these for the birthday cakes.
  • Munchkin Cakes – a bit like jaffa cakes and one of the favourites when the kids were younger. I made a bit of a disaster here – I didn’t turn the oven down. We both thought they weren’t as good as they used to be. Must look at the recipe again.
  • Scones – we love afternoon teas. We baked on a lovely warm day so I was able to sit in the garden with Chris to enjoy ours; Kathryn enjoyed her scones with her boyfriend, Aaron. The scones were delicious spread with jam and then clotted cream. After eating these, I’m not sure if I will go out for a cream tea again! That’s another family favourite.
  • Cheese Scone round – a recipe by Mary Berry which I know we will enjoy baking lots.
  • Lemon Drizzle bites – these were lovely and easy to make. Who doesn’t like lemon drizzle cake?
  • Raspberry and passion fruit muffins – will make these again. So good.
  • Jam tarts – pastry making this week. I don’t think I made these with the kids before. Mum always made them for us when we were children.
  • Cheese straws – we thought we would try something a bit savoury. Both of ours looked different. Very good though.
  • Bakewell tarts – Mr Kiplings bakewell tarts are a firm favourite of us all and remind us of picnics. We used ready made pastry. I think that these were probably the most fun to do and again become a favourite. When Jordan returns home, we have to make these for him as it wasn’t fair he didn’t have them.
  • Small Victoria sandwich cakes – freshly made today. We have loved making them. We normally bake on a Sunday but as I’m celebrating my birthday tomorrow, we did it today.

I am looking forward to when we are all together so we can sample all the baking together. It will be sad that Jordan won’t be here tomorrow to help celebrate my birthday.

I always loved the fact that my birthday was the day after yours. Wish you were still here to enjoy the bakes we have been cooking.

Sleep tight Dad.

Love Tina x

P.S. Love to Mum and Tony. I miss them lots too. Wish Auntie Rose a happy birthday for tomorrow xx

As you can see, baking has been a big part of the lock down. Join me next time to see how I’ve tried to keep fit whilst indulging in the foods I love to eat.

Rule Breaker – Are You Happy Now

Mum with Kathryn and Jordan

Dear Dom

You were not someone that I was familiar with until I saw the headlines in the paper on that Saturday morning and then watched as you did story with Dom in 10 Downing Street gardens. It was quite concerning that we had been told we couldn’t have friends and family in the garden and there you were throwing a garden party!

Anyway I made sure my daughter was settled to watch the afternoon story (we were due to watch Breakfast at Tiffanys remotely of course because those are the rules).

Now I’m not going to go into your story too much but wanted to talk about integrity. The dictionary gives the word as the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles (I did find a meaning that it is a personal quality of fairness that we all aspire to – unless you’re a dishonest, immoral scoundrel). I will let you make up you mind about where I think you lie.

I always believed that my husband and I tried very hard to teach our children strong moral principles from the start of their lives. These included being respectful of others and following the rules. I am so proud of the adults they have become. To this day, they follow the rules but will question them if they believe they are wrong. We all followed the rules that the government set out on 23rd March.

My husband and I have had to get used to each other’s company without my daughter popping in for dinner or my son visiting for the weekend: my son is around 70 miles away in Wimbledon and my daughter is 3 miles away. By following the rules, we have sacrificed our family gatherings but hope we can make up for this in the future. Planned theatre trips have had to be put on hold and sporting events the ‘kids’ were due to compete in have been postponed. We’ve been working from home. Unfortunately my daughter who loves working, has been furloughed. Unfortunately for me, one of my jobs is in payroll and I have had to deal with learning this new skill which is very stressful.

We have missed Easter and bank holiday gatherings. I have wondered if we have followed the rules a bit too much; VE Day celebrations for both my neighbours seemed to include family from other households in their gardens. Are we missing something?

If I had been a journalist at your garden party, I would have asked this one question. When you made your 260 mile journey to Durham, and you might not have stopped, did you actually think what lives you were putting in danger. It wasn’t just the lives of yourself and your family with you but also if you had an accident, you would have put at risk emergency crews and added extra burden to our NHS service. This was the reason why my daughter would not drive her car so she could run longer than her drive or why my son did not ride his bike for 100 km to keep up his training. They used their integrity; do you really think you used yours?

Well Dom, just like Boris, I am bored with the Dominic Cummings story now. I want, which I would have liked to have seen on Saturday 23rd May, is for someone to say that you have made a mistake and that you and the government were very sorry for what has happened. I know that is all I wanted. Instead all the “ordinary people” like myself wouldn’t have felt that they did wrong in following the rules. My family were okay but other parents had to just watch helplessly as their loved ones had to look after their families whilst being ill – they followed the rules and couldn’t help. Others lost family and weren’t allowed to hold their hands in their final moments. Only a few are allowed to attend funerals so the grieving process of so many are on hold.

Please do the right thing, admit you made a mistake and let’s move forward.

Here’s hoping again

Tina

P.S. I can no longer watch the daily update because I do not have any trust in the politicians or experts at this stage. However, the public are actually a lot smarter than you, Dom and we will do the right thing

As I approach my 54th birthday, I’m excited to know that I can now have my family back in the garden. My next post will be about how we still managed to bake together although apart.

Sunday Baking

Letters from my Daughter

Letters from my Daughter

Dear 2020

You are certainly a very strange year.  Although I’m a firm believer that you can start again on any day or month of the year, I still felt a buzz when January 1st came and it was hello 2020.  I certainly never ever realised how strange it would be.  The whispers of this new “virus” which came from China didn’t seem a problem then. January, a month that can seem to go too slowly, actually whizzed past.  I bought myself a bike, attempted to learn to ride again and enjoyed a very lovely Saturday in the lovely town of Emsworth with Chris.

February came and with it the start of birthday season.  How I felt sorry for Kathryn when Storm Ciara hit us on her birthday and wrecked her evening meal plans.  I’m so pleased that the following weekend, we ignored all weather reports and battled our way to Bath to enjoy an afternoon tea.  Yes it was wet and windy but how we now can rejoice that we did actually did go because it would be one of our last afternoon teas for a while.  Next weekend, the weather looked as if it would dampen a trip to the theatre with Chris. It cleared up to allow us to take public transport, enjoy a glass of wine or three and walk to the lovely Kings Theatre.  The next day was blustery but Wimbledon beckoned for a roast with Jordan and Thais.  Apart from the weather and the talk of China, you had started very well.  I was looking forward to more afternoon teas, theatre trips and booking holidays in the months ahead or so I believed….

January purchase

March arrived and suddenly life came to a halt.  The virus from China had finally become a pandemic around the world.  Mother’s Day was the last day we spent together as a family.  Jordan had been working from home for two weeks but was returning to London to be with his girlfriend, and Kathryn, after having a “sleepover” with us, returned to be with her boyfriend.  Although we suspected we were going to face a lock down situation, I don’t think we understood how much our lives would change when the day after Mother’s Day, we were told to stay indoors and not mix with other households.  Keeping fit outside was limited and working from home was what we were being encouraged to do. Now 11 weeks on, I am able to see my daughter if we keep 2 metres apart.  We have devised different family “virtual meet ups” which have been very good (what did we do before the internet and mobile phones) and I have enjoyed getting letters in the post from Kathryn.  The letters have been fun with a few “Kathryn” challenges added to them.

In the last letter, Kathryn told me how she is enjoying writing her blog again.  As she had previously been busy working now that she is a “grown up”, blogging had been put aside.  She is making the most of being put on furlough (a new word I despise), and is enjoying all the things that will hopefully make her a fully fledged “grown up”!  She asked if I would ever get into blogging again.

Well in the two weeks since being asked that question, I have re-read some of my posts and looked at my life. I announced on Monday to Kathryn that I would like to but didn’t know how I would do it.  I think she had been thinking about this a lot as she reeled off lots of ideas.  As is normal for me, I came up with an idea on a walk listening to a pod cast (another of Kathryn’s challenges).  I thought I would write letters to my family, friends and all the people/things that make me happy or sad.  It will be a great way to expressing thanks or basically getting things off my chest!

Finally 2020, I would like to say the last 5 months has been so different for us. There has been a great loss in the world: lives, livelihood and a certain amount of freedom.  I am hopeful that from 1st June it is going to get better.  We will  be able to start seeing our family again and although there will be a new norm, life will be good again.

Here’s hoping

Tina

P.S. I will write to you again!

Please come back and read about how challenging I am finding the rules, the impact of the furlough scheme and ways we have made sure our family have fun together

The family – back to together soon