dear diary :: destination unknown

Well, our road map for the immediate future is laid out before us and we should be ready to go…..but with the destination unknown I am feeling much more cautious than Boris to set off and therefore may not be relaxing the ‘stay at home’ message quite so quickly; in fact I will be still adhereing to Nicola’s message a little longer before I switch to just being alert.

I have never been a political blog and don’t intend to start now – and I do appreciate how difficult it must be to navigate your way through such a minefield as this, but I do feel that I would have handled things a little differently – a much earlier lockdown for one, and the cancellation of the two big mass gatherings that took place even as there was devistating news coming out of Italy and Spain which should have rung alarm bells back then. And now the plight of the care homes – another disaster waiting to happen in an overlooked sector of the population as all efforts were concentrated on the NHS alone.

It is only by the stringent efforts of the management company and residents at my mum’s retirement apartments that they have not, as yet, had any cases in there, but these places could be the next care homes as the carers visiting here have not been able to get hold of PPE and go from person to person unprotected potentially passing the virus around. My mum and all the residents have now been issued with a visor (or visa as she refers to it) by the management company for their protection and I believe the carers have at last managed to get hold of some PPE.

The visors have a different colour band at the top, mum’s is red, her friend has a green one but B is now concerned that she will not have enough matching outfits as green is not her colour! She is also the one that has mistook the message from Boris and has been trying to book a hairdressing appointment as she believes they can now open up.

My mum was also disappointed as she thought she would be able to go to my sister’s house now for tea and we had to say that no she still can’t, not just yet – ‘maybe soon’ I said to which she replied ‘oh yes maybe in a day or two’. It is harder to grasp the new ease down rules as they are more involved than just the stay at home message which was loud and clear (though only for some).

As the general public are now being advised to cover their faces I decided to make some masks for the family including a tiny one for Little L with unicorns for when she has to go with mum to the supermarket. I do feel like I am about to rob a bank wearing mine!

If we choose to we are now able to drive to any beauty spot in England no matter how far the destination – for us that would most likely be the Peak district in Derbyshire, the Yorkshire dales, the Lake district or the coast such as Whitby, or even Roundhay park in Leeds (I could meet up with Sybil) – but for two reasons we won’t be. The main one is out of respect for the people who live in these places and the second on a much more practical level, although we can pack up and take our own food, there will be very few public toilets open and without the facilities we might normally use in cafes and pubs I do not see how anyone could go very far anyway. As the weather warms up again and with the spring bank holiday approaching is it not highly likely that people are going to flock to all these beauty spots as a means of escape. I thought that travelling around spread it around, after all was that not how Covid 19 arrived in this country in the first place?

So DH and I will stay in our own little bubble here for a while longer – we are pretty much self contained and a few more weeks are not going to make a huge difference to us in the scheme of things and if it was to help save even one other person’s life it would be well worth it. We have resigned ourselves to the fact that we will not be able to go to the cottage (caravan) any time soon, but we always thought that would be the case – in fact the tiny villages around the area have got ‘village closed go home’ signs up across the entrance; so no point in fretting – what will be will be.

There are only two adjustments we may make – one is to take some bags of garden prunings to our local tip when the coast is clear and suss out the local garden centre when the immediate rush has passed as we desparately need compost and manure; however, if either places are found to be teeming with people we would not venture in – nothing is that important.

Since Sunday the weather has turned so cold it has felt like a return to winter and I have been warmly wrapping both myself up and the plants against the chill.

The fat filled coconut I hung out on Sunday afternoon has been devoured quickly by the birds and almost gone.

I like to think of myself as a hardy all weather gardener but with this arctic climate descending upon us my fingers have, at times, felt like they have suffered from frost bite after only the first few minutes out there – I would not have been surprised to find ice in my little blue pond. The main jobs to tackle in the garden was a quick check round and watering the bulbs with tomato feed – most of them are over now although the tulips are holding on for dear life and the alliums, like the peonies, are deciding if the temperature is suitable for making an appearance.

Many of the vegetable and salad plants are still under cloches whilst the bedding plants are packed into the mini greenhouse waiting anxiously for the moment I can put them into planters and borders without the fear of frosts.

In the borders the forget-me-nots are fading fast as the aquilegia, in their many shades of pinks and purples, have become the star of the show – springing up in all corners of the garden and gracefully dancing around in the wind… whilst I hold my breath in case they topple over and snap – there are far too many of them to stake them all.


And just in time the tangerine geums have emerged like a little beacon poking their heads out from amongst the sea of sky blue.

Waiting in the wings of the mini greenhouse the second round of seeds I set of pansies and nasturtiums, zinnias and cosmos are growing at quite a pace now, despite the weather, but I will pass on pricking them out at the moment – it is too much of a chore to stand in the cold and so will wait for the warmer weather to return at the weekend.

With little to do in the garden I have spent more of my time indoors where there has been far too much listening to the news and drinking tea; so yesterday I busied myself in the work room – paying bills, checking statements and finally doing a bit of sewing.

I also opened up my flower press to discover this spray of dicentra (bleeding heart) that I had put in there only last week. The colour of course is quite muted compared to the vivid pink when they are fresh, but still very pretty. I just need to think of some way of using them.

Whilst it was still warm last week we had many of our meals based around salad. On Saturday I made some little pea, mint and goats cheese fritters to go with it and yesterday we had leek and mushroom pasties in a flaky pastry (the pastry bought of course – the ready roll is so quick to use).

The fritters were easy enough to make – based on a thick pancake batter, I am sure they can be modified very easily to use up most vegetables or a variety of different cheeses. A few minutes in a hot pan and they were golden brown and ready to eat.

By Sunday we had run out of a few fresh foods – it is a quiet day usually in the town centre Sainsbury’s – a smaller branch, but we can usually find all we need and if not select an alternative…..but shopping this Sunday was horrendous – there were few people inside and no queue but little in the way of social distancing and I kept having to move out of the way as people came from nowhere and reached across me to grab something from the shelf. All a little too close for comfort.

And not wanting to linger any longer than I had to in there I just reached out and grabbed the first bunch of flowers near to hand – but aren’t these tulips delightful such a cheery colour and only £2.50.

If the cold weather continues I might carry on with the sewing – I have a few bits and pieces of mending and one or two projects to finish off….then there are more cards to make and the final sleeve of little Freddie’s jumper to knit.

Oh and maybe I will bake a few buns or perhaps some crisp melting moments covered in coconut to go with a hot chocolate. I doubt I will be sitting outside under the parasol anytime soon.

Have a great week however you are interpreting the new rules. xx

28 thoughts on “dear diary :: destination unknown

    1. This is very much a time relaxing for me – no up and down the motorways or going anywhere and no packing and unpacking – so I find I can do so much more in the time saved even at a snail’s pace. x

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  1. I rang my mother last night. She’s 81 and has emphysema, and said that she’d got her trolley ready to go on the bus to Asda today, because she’d listened to the PM and he’d said people can go out as much as they like now 😦
    She is desperate to set foot in a shop again- shopping and housework are her life. Sadly, she is more interested in those than her family.
    I told her again that legally she can do that, but she runs the risk of catching it, and if she does she will be unlikely to survive it, and will die alone. It’s harsh, but true, and I’m afraid being harsh with my mother is the only way to make her understand.

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    1. So many differing interpretations on the same PM’s short address on Sunday evening – it is like we were all watching a different version and although today’s version is to use your British common sense some people are just unable as we know from the lockdown and there is little evidence that common sense is being shown by those telling us what to do at times. I hope your mum remains safe – I don’t think many people realise just what it means to have to be on a ventilator fighting for your life and seem to think it is like having an oxygen mask – it is not a nice way to end up.
      In the end Scarlet you can only do your best to warn her the rest his her choice. Stay safe yourself. x

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  2. Sorry to hear about the confused messaging, especially when some elderly, as you and Scarlet indicate, seem to think it meant they could go about their business. Don’t have to tell you that the messaging in the US is much, much worse given the level of criminal stupidity in the WH. If one is smart, one only listens to the advice of health experts like Drs Fauci and Redfield.

    Your photos and plans provide a measure of calm and beauty in a disturbing time–so thank you! Stay safe.

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    1. We have Chris Whitty (chief medical officer) and Sir Patrick Vallance (chief scientific advisor) in this country who for me personally are much easier to understand and explain the reasoning behind the new rules, but they had no final say in the governments recent message of stay alert and are trying their hardest to translate the messages and undo the confusion that has arisen. According to some the British people are thick because we are not quite getting it.
      Trump is on a whole different planet – maybe he is not actually human but a look alike robot. I love the way he just downed tools and walked away the other day at the press question time! At the end of the day this has now beome all about the economy – everything boils down to money in the end and governments are having to negotiate a very fine balancing act between keeping people safe and getting them back to work. Boris has a huge burden on his shoulders at a time when he has just got a new baby at home too – I can’t imagine the pressure he is under to get this right and I do wish they would have decided to have an all parties coalition to deal with this like I believe they did in the war.
      The old saying keep calm and carry on is proving very apt – but we really have no choice. x

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  3. Love little L’s face mask, so cute. I have to take my glasses off when I wear mine to stop them steaming up. Those fritters look very tasty. It’s really cold here too, I’m staying indoors save for walking the dog.

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  4. I agree with just staying at home. We’ve canceled our trip up to Tahoe at the end of the month. We were planning on taking the tent trailer to our favorite campground but if California starts to open up( which it is) Tahoe will be overrun with people. It’s just not worth the risk at the moment. Your garden looks lovely as do you’re meals. Have you always been vegetarian? My husband has been for 55 years( since he was 15. I was for around 25 years and then started adding in some poultry. Those fritters look tasty.

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  5. I’m a first time reader, from Melbourne Australia. I’ve just come to this blog from the Weaver’s, which I’ve read for years. It’s great to read about how everyone is responding to our in different places. Our prime minister often confuses people too. But our state premier in Victoria is very clear about why we need to be a bit more cautious and wait the two weeks to see the effects of the minor easing we are just starting. The medical journalist /ex doctor Norman Swan’s podcast Coronacast is the other thing I listen to. Best wishes. Jean

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    1. Hello Jean and thank you for leaving a comment it is always lovely to actually hear from new readers. Weaver has a lovely blog I only discovered it by accident and have been a reader ever since. It is remarkable how we are a little confused over different aspects of the ease down and this is probably when things are left to interpretation (I think this may be what Boris is referring to when he calls it common sense). But if some people want more flexibility that is what they will read into the message. Today I saw a coffee bar open with three people at one small table on bar stools inside chatting over a coffee. No social distancing there and I thought cafes could not open yet apart from takeaways. So now I am wondering if I have mistaken the message about cafes! Stay safe Jean – I might check out your Coronacast podcast.

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  6. We won’t be venturing out anywhere apart from walking locally either Viv. My biggest confusion today is about Estate Agents. You can have strangers around to look at your house but you still can’t go to your own relative’s houses. I wouldn’t be doing either but the message really is nonsensical at times.

    I bought tulips today. The first flowers I’ve had since LD. I’m that excited to have them I think I’ve mentioned it in every comment I’ve made lol. Your garden is looking lovely. I have sunflowers to plant up but will be waiting until it gets a bit warmer as well. It’s quite nippy here, a total contrast to the past few weeks.

    I’ve not bothered wearing a face mask but think as places start to get busier and people lose sight of what they’re still supposed to be doing, I will do. Love the unicorn one you’ve made. xx

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    1. I think it is all about getting the economy moving again and that will include the housing market and this is why we are ending up with such confusing messages and it is hard to understand as you say we cannot go to a family members house but we can have strangers come in. They do not want families mixing as the main risk there is spreading the virus to one another but with Estate agents there is an added risk that the economy will sink even lower if they don’t do something soon to get it moving – but they are taking a big risk with peoples lives though in allowing this – I only hope it does not backfire. No doubt the figures will show just how much but there is bound to be a time lag and in the meantime I feel we are a bit like guinea pigs.
      The tulips are lovely at the moment – over the weeks I have been through most of the colours! xx

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  7. Just like yourself I will be waiting a while longer before I venture further afield for a walk. There are too many grey areas regarding what is and what is not advisable, so I’m happy to continue as I am for the time being.

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  8. The rules are so confusing and with us living in Wales, which has the same Stay at Home message and lockdown rules in force and the rest of my family living in England it is very hard to switch between the two when talking to my Mum who is luckily and very sensibly still self isolating in her retirement complex. She seems to have grasped it but needs to see a doctor, luckily she has a phone consultation today.

    Travelling as far as you want in England seems quite pointless when all the holiday and open space destinations such as the Lake District still have no shops, cafes or pubs etc open, no toilet facilities at all and very disgruntled locals who do not want to be swamped with visitors. It would seem that staying at home is a good idea in England too as far as days out go.

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    1. It is going to be confusing for us with being out of step with Scotland where our cottage is too. We also live next to a tourist spot here in West Yorkshire where the pavements are so narrow you could not socially distance from anyone coming in the opposite direction – and there is nothing open to come for – but no doubt it will get busy at the weekend.

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  9. Confusing rules but, to be honest, they don’t make a lot of difference for me. I will be wearing a face covering from now on when I go shopping and Beth and I will be working together up the allotment, safely distanced, but apart from that, it’s all the same.
    I’m very wary of ‘easing off’ too much yet.
    xx

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  10. What a lovely blog post ( I have just done a post on my own blog and as I am reading yours thinking….I must stop rambling on my own and filling it with way too many photos, I like your post it is refreshing and lovely to look at!) see I am rambling again! Anyway love all of it, the garden, the masks and the cooking….I agree whole heartedly with your views on going out unfortunately I am back to school on the 1st of June full time, so can’t stay in my bubble much longer.
    xxx

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    1. Just popped over to yours for a read – thought I might have been offered one of those lovely looking snacks!!
      I often think I ramble on far too much – it is a habit that is hard to break. xx

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  11. It doesn’t feel right to be easing off just yet does it. My husband has been asked to return to work next week so it will impact us as he has been at home for 8 weeks. We however will continue as we have been at home.

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  12. Very content still to have caution in Scotland. However the road through our village has been noticeably busier – I really don’t know where everyone is going. From what I hear there’s a lot more family meet ups happening. It makes me very cross that people can’t exercise self restraint for just a few weeks out of a lifetime. Anyway, enough crossness! It is lovely to watch our seedlings growing, even if we’re now in that tricky time between needing to plant out and hesitating because of late frosts. I checked my garden diary for last year and see that the last frost was on 29 May, so I’ll be waiting a bit yet.

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    1. Our neighbour has had a professional photo shoot done this weekend and entertained two guests inside their house today, meanwhile the children who live on our cul-de-sac are all playing out together – seems like the slow release of lockdown is gathering its own pace now. looking forward to planting out soon too.

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