Tuesday, 9 March 2021

Bits and Bats

 Ben is finally back at college after thirteen weeks away - three for the Christmas break plus ten for this recent lockdown.  He still hasn't had his first vaccine although he is in priority group 6 so hopefully it won't be too long.  Thankfully all of his work is outside so his risk of catching Covid is somewhat reduced. 

 Dave and I both had our vaccine last Tuesday, he was perfectly fine thank God but true to form I was the one with the reaction!  Within hours I was suffering from the chills followed by awful flu-like symptoms and then abdominal pain, which has only just subsided.  I'm not looking forward to jab number two, so grateful there is a twelve week gap in between :-)

Pip has continued to work hard with her online lessons and homework.  She finally finished her protest art which is now ready for submission:

Pip's design brief was to research and choose a cause which could be made using at least two stencils.  Pip chose to highlight child slavery in the cocoa industry and the final design is meant to encourage the observer to, ask questions and understand why Fairtrade is more than just a symbol.  This bag has gone through several changes from the original design ideas to the mediums used ~ she explored spray paints and acrylics before settling upon fabric paints.  This project took six weeks from start to finish and she has gained not only knowledge but really good grades.  Well done Pip :-)

Ben has also been very busy and this shed is proof of that :-)  The only help he needed was me holding the sides whilst he positioned the back.  He really enjoyed the whole process and he too has gained some valuable skills.  Well done Ben :-)

Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Half Term

 This means I actually have access to the computer!  It's been a crazy six weeks but worth it and Pip has really enjoyed her lessons, as well the online interactions with her teachers and peers.  She has had homework assignments to complete this half term but with prudent planning she is making good progress.

Soda Bread for St Brigid Day.

Pip's protest art concerning the exploitation of children in the cocoa industry.  She had originally wanted to use this piece, but her challenge is to make at least a two layer stencil and we realised this would be too difficult to achieve.  It was back to the drawing board and so she came up with this revised plan:

Thanks to a You tube video she was able to learn about lettering and with the help of squared paper planned her design.  Pip has had a go at cutting out some of the letters but her finger joints pop out of place due to the pressure exerted and therefore Dave or I have been helping.  I think I've seen finger splints online and will be giving them a go to see if they will help.

Since we are in lockdown 3.0 and Ben is currently not in college, we have had to find various household projects to keep Ben busy.  He has installed an outside light, re-pointed the paving slabs on the patio, replaced electrical sockets in several rooms and has painted the new bike/tool shed before he pieces it together.

A little purple bike and tool shed, who knows there might even be room for a fold up chair for me (I do miss my 50th Birthday Shed which was left behind in the move two years ago) Either way, I'm sure it'll be decked with some crochet bunting cheer :-)

Dave and I are enjoying the break and aside from having a well earned rest we are managing to catch up on various admin and cleaning jobs in the home.  It's also the start of Lent and whilst I was enjoying a read of Eva's Lent posts, she reminded me of the Lent Calendar.  It has been years since we did one of these and I had great fun putting ours together for this year.  We are using The Church of England, #LiveLent resources this year as we always do well when we have a focus to work towards.  In addition St Nicolas Church are doing daily prompts and today's was calculating your carbon footprint and ours is 31st May ... insert horrified facial expression!  We do recycle, compost and our energy is 100% renewables but alas a car is a necessity.  However we can make changes with regards to meat consumption and excess packaging.

A Valentine treat for Ben and Pip

Shrove Tuesday pancakes, savoury and sweet.

Live Lent thankful feet.

Our carbon footprint result and our pledge as a result.

Thanks Eva for the timely Lent reminder and a chance to journey with you and Jesus this year x 


Sunday, 24 January 2021

Online Learning

 Having had a rocky start to secondary education for Pip due to all the craziness of last year and continued uncertainty, we made the decision to enrol her on a six week trial with Inter High.  Her first lesson on Wednesday 13th at 8:30 am was Spanish!  Thankfully I was able to help as I seem to have a reasonable 'ear' for languages.  Despite being thrown in at the deep end she really enjoyed the lesson and has since been working through a free trial of Duo Lingo, at some point we might trial Rosetta Stone for comparison.

  Pip's chosen subjects are: English, Maths, STEM, Creative Arts, Spanish and Geography.  The teachers are really encouraging and Pip has gained confidence in adding her answers in the chat box; she even read a passage form The Odyssey for Friday's English Lesson.  She has between 3-4 online lessons each day with homework assignments and deadlines in between.

In the space of these past two weeks she has completed the following homework tasks:

One book review for 'Skellig' which she absolutely hated but persevered until the end and gave a rating of 1/5

One Comprehension piece that is shared on an online class notebook

One oral Spanish task based on the subjects she enjoys and why she likes them and one quiz based in definite and indefinite articles.

One Maths quiz, preparatory reading for the next session and a crash course in Microsoft 365.

One Geography assessment that began in the lesson and then had to be completed and submitted by the end of that day.

A Brainstorm art piece for her 'protest art' project, her chosen topic is child labour associated with cocoa farming and the importance to buy Fairtrade where possible.

One STEM drawing of her chosen building

Another two chapters of The Odyssey, background information on Greek myths and watching a televised drama based on the saga.

It's been a steep learning curve for us all including the early starts on three consecutive days!  Mornings are not easy when you're living with a chronic illness so we have always started the day slow, but the change of pace has been good for us all and given us a much needed focus for the day.    It's early days but so far so good and we are hoping and praying that this is the right fit for her educational journey.

She had to chose an object of symmetry and photograph it.

also Creative Arts protesting - Child labour in cocoa production.

Thursday, 7 January 2021


 In an effort provide some cheer against a backdrop of another national lockdown, an NHS that is on the verge of collapse and later chaos over the pond, we attempted to celebrate three kings day.  I made mince pies as dessert for lunch and then later in the day wrote 20C+M+B+21 Christe Mansionem Benedicta 'Christ Bless This House.'

I've made a good recovery from my accident save from the original low back damage done on a previous fall eight weeks earlier.  I'm not surprised we are on another lockdown but I am weary of it and have struggled to remain focused this week.  I have another commissioned cot blanket that needs finishing as well as my Doula training.  I have recognised that I don't do to well in spreading myself thin, so I've decided to focus on the blanket first in the hopes of being a bit more organised.

Ben is missing college and the challenge has been to find practical DIY jobs for him to complete at home.  Pip is really missing her regular activities and we have therefore decided to trail ban online secondary classroom for a six week period to see if that may help.  All in all we are doing our best with the circumstances we are in :-)  

Here are some random photos of the past few weeks:

We bought tickets to 'visit' The Old Vic in London for their Zoom performance of A Christmas Carol not only was it very well done but they also encouraged folk to donate for a food bank charity.

Poppy's face says it all!  

One very exhausted ICU doctor asking people to do the right thing, follow the rules and not to gather in groups at New Year.  Unfortunately we have COVIDIOTS that actually believe the whole thing is fake! It's so upsetting to hear reports that doctors finishing a shift are met with abuse outside the same hospital where people are dying in large numbers from this new highly infectious variant :-(

Dave and I saw the New Year in against a backdrop of Pink Floyd in concert.  Little did we know that in a matter of days a stay home order would once more be given.  Hoping that this vaccine programme will work - they've even deployed the armed forces in logistical manoeuvres regarding transportation of the vaccine, as well as any other required services.

Keep safe x 

Wednesday, 30 December 2020

Solstice :: Birthday :: Christmas

 On Solstice eve Ben and I sat around the fire pit with a mug of hot tea in hand:

Pip was twelve on the 23rd and I made it home from collecting our Booths Chicken and Veg Box order just in time for the usual, Pip was born here birth photo:

Our present to Pip was a grey desk for her bedroom and both her and Ben had fun constructing it, I must take a photo to share as they did a fab job.

In the afternoon we met Beth and her family outside and enjoyed a very cold, socially distanced catch up and picnic :-)  Beth and Pip took a walk along the canal and fed the ducks.

The Number 12 with more smarties added later, couldn't let them go to waste!

Hot Vimto drink, "Cheers!"

Cosy Christmas Tree Lights

"Happy Birthday To Pip"

No pictures from Christmas Day as I fell on the ice outside the back kitchen door.  Not only did I land flat on my back but I also hit my head and had a cracking headache for the rest of the day.  The Government changed their minds last minute, due to the new Covid variant sweeping through the country and you were only allowed to meet with one other person outside your family.  We were blessed to have a short visit from Fr L and so we sat in the kitchen with our coats on and the door open!  

Hope you have had a blessed Christmas regardless of the restrictions :-) x 

Monday, 21 December 2020

Waving :-)

 An early start (unintentional) has meant a chance to access the computer and share a long overdue update.

  Dave came home on the 23rd November and although it is lovely having him home it is not without some considerable challenges.  For the first fortnight I didn't know if I was on my head or my feet, we had extra disability equipment delivered and rehab assistants twice daily watching him walk with a frame.  I often joke that he might be disabled but I'm chronically sick which means Dave is pretty well, it's just his legs that don't want to work properly.  I on the other hand live on a knife edge regarding my health and it doesn't take much to tip me over.  The stress of being thrown back into a full on caring roll triggered a really bad IBS and fibromyalgia flare which is still ongoing four weeks later.

Despite the cronky health we all soon settled into a rhythm and it was a good job too as I began my Doula training with Red Tent Doulas UK from 30th November - 16th December.  It was a case of now or never and since all the sessions were via Zoom and in smaller increments I knew I would manage.  I have wanted to train since Pip was small but previously I would have had to travel and be away for an entire weekend.  It was a real confidence boost being back in 'the classroom' and the other girls on the course were just lovely.  In order to qualify I have a self paced series of tasks, an essential reading list and a final piece to submit.  My plan is to do a little each day and hopefully it won't take too long to complete.

During the second week of training we had the downstairs bathroom converted into an accessible wet room for Dave and it was not without considerable challenges.  I was very relieved when everything was completed on that Friday evening and the workmen have done a lovely job.  The next major building work is replacing the kitchen door and installing a ramp at the back of the house. 

All my original home school plans went out the window way back in September, we have just about managed to keep up with some English and maths but everything else was shelved.  Pip did however complete her John Muir Discovery Award with Beacon Fell and received a certificate for all her efforts.  She kept a very detailed diary of each field trip and submitted a poster entitled "Access All Areas ... but not during a pandemic." 

 Pip mapped a low level route that in theory should have been accessible with Dave's mobility scooter but in reality was not feasible.  Normally Dave has access to the off road vehicle at Beacon Fell, but as the visitor centre is shut this is not currently an option.  As it so happened the ranger team were around for the presentation and they took a keen interest in some of her suggestions for making the fell more accessible. 

I'll leave with you some photos of Dave crossing the threshold for the first time since July and Pip's thank you card for the Sue Ryder staff.  Thank you for all your prayers and encouraging words these past months they really are appreciated x 

Hooray for being able to hug Dad :-)

A very special gift given to Dave by another fellow inmate - a really lovely young woman the same age as Emma and Kathryn.