Thursday, 30 April 2020

Stocks and stuff

So it could be an indication I have been at home too long or something else, I dont know. But i have started saving bones for stock again, like i used to. Top drawer of the freezer has three ziploc bags.

Bag 1 (they aren't actually numbered though, honest) Lamb bones, and random veg which would be good in stock
Bag 2 Same but chicken bones
Bag 3 - random veg which wouldn't be suitable for stock but would make a soup ( peppers, tomatoes, parsley, mushrooms)

I am assuming this is some sort of coping strategy which I am using to get through the madness but I have never been quite so old school in my food management.

I have had a failure though. I had some frozen loganberries from last year. A bit too seedy for jam so i made jelly. Then i dried the solids, which had been drained off, in my dehumidifier  and then ground it in the spice grinder. Sadly, despite smelling and looking amazing, it tasted awful. Oh well, you cant win them all.  I am going to try again with lemon zest. Not giving up yet! oh and the loganberry jelly was fantastic. I also made some ice lollies with Greek yogurt and the jelly, Wow!

I painted the sitting room ceiling (7 coats!!!) and now the marks have gone.

Keeping busy and do 'homey' type stuff is definitely helping me. I don't know if i would be coping so well if i wasn't also working form home full time. Also i cant concentrate enough to watch a film or anything complex, just cookery shows, youtube demos of things, easy watches. Cant even concentrate on a book. But no worries, whatever gets us through.

My lovely best friend now has COVID 19.  She has been feeling rough for a couple of weeks but got her test results yesterday (front line health worker ). She kept saying to me 'i feel so lazy, i dont feel like doing anything'. And all the time she had the virus :(. Now he husband and son also have it. Its not great as they are both asthmatic but fortunately otherwise fit. Its a scary time. 

Tuesday, 28 April 2020


Oh my gosh, I never thought i would be so excited to get hold of flour. The whole country appears to have decided to start baking. Flour and yeast are the two things you cant get anywhere! We have plenty of loo rolls now, plenty of most things but flour very scarce. However i have managed to buy some wholesale. Apparently there is plenty around if you are happy to have 16kg of it. They would normally sell to the restaurants, coffee shops etc that are closed. But they don't have the facility to bag the flour in 1kg bags.  So anyway I now have 16kg of strong bread flour......and another 16kg of plain flour. Which is a lot of flour! Hopefully my yeast turns up soon.

Also our local farm , which sells raw Jersey milk, cream, their own eggs and various vegetables, even their own honey, have started a delivery service. So I might make some cheese this weekend if i can get a delivery in time.

The heatwave is over and we have rain. Which is lovely as it means not dragging endless buckets of water to the allotment for the French beans.

So tomorrow I have two lots of training, online off course. 2 hours each session. Hopefully not too much other work to do as training very tiring in this format.

Also hope to make a pie for lunch. Yay for flour.

And i think i should be thinking about making masks.

Thursday, 23 April 2020

Back to basics

I am still working, from home, and still be paid, forever grateful for this. Fahed isnt working but should be getting furloughed hopefully at some point. Jamal and his girlfriend are living here during lock down.

So we have less money coming in but I am feeding more adults.

However I do have loads more time on my hands. Still working full time but not driving from place to place and wasting hours each week. So I have time to run through my budget and do a bit of sorting out. I'll crack on with that today.

I am not spending my pocket money on exercise classes, weekly lunch out with co-workers, new work clothes etc so I have more cash available.

Oh and still meal planning.

Monday - Leftovers (from carb fest day - even better). A few slices of HM pizza each and side of various salads.
Tuesday - Freezer surprise! Using up a few things which had been frozen!
Wednesday - Fahed has horta (steamed greens served cold with lemon and olive oil in the Greek way). Jamal and I had cauliflower cheese. Sam had a tin of soup as she isnt so much of a veg person.
Thursday - Jamal made us chicken Kiev with chicken breasts. Had mine with sweetcorn and a jacket spud. It was more like just garlic chicken than Kiev, so a good excuse to practice more.
Friday - Biftekia and oven potatoes
Saturday-Lemon chicken (cant wait!)
Sunday - Roast Beef, roast potatoes, mushy peas, broccoli, sprouts.

Fahed is spending the time to really sort out his shed, so that will mean he can find things instead of buying new for little jobs about the place. I am counting this as a win.

Take care all xxx

Exercise under lockdown

We are allowed out once a day for exercise. Normally its a nice walk. Its fairly quiet around here and the woodlands pretty. especially now at bluebell time. And something to look forward to at lunchtime when I break from my 'working form home' fun!

And this is my friends dog swimming over to see her new friends at the Alpaca farm

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

New normal

I was reading an article this morning about the various strains of coronavirus. In Europe we have the deadliest strain, which has made its way to New York. It seems to be an ever changing foe, as these new strains have evolved since it left China. I am not going to worry, its outside of my sphere of influence. Once upon a time I would have worried but I have got to the place where, on the whole, I cant step back if I cant do anything. Focus inside of your sphere of influence. For me I think feeding the family and taking care of dad is the centre of my current universe.

What will we be like after this? All back to normal? or changed for the better? or worse. Apparently China very much business as usual now. I would like to hang on to people knowing and appreciating the home at the centre of their lives, family, community, slowing down a bit, appreciating others. There are plenty of positives in our situation. And that's not to say that I don't think that the 16,000 death in the UK in unimportant because that's 16,000 grieving families. 

Also masks! So we shouldn't use masks because it gives us a false sense of security, so we might get closer to someone than we should, unless they are surgical masks and we should leave those for medical people. But when we come out of lockdown then we might need to wear them. Some countries have it compulsory and some forbidden. As far as i can see they don't stop you catching the virus but they might stop you passing it on. So i think I might see if i can find some sensible online instructions. I assume the actual fabric does little and i shall need someway of inserting filters or...something.

And Kim @outmywindow I am still reading regularly but I cant comment anymore :(. So just wanted to say hi xx

Today Fahed is giving my bike a bit of a service, hopefully today. If there are no cars on the road then I might as well take advantage.

Lastly one of my favourite things at the moment is TV folk making programmes at home on their mobile phone or generally working from home. I missed this today but Martin CLunes forgetting he had an interview and rocking up in PJs and with his puppy for his interview is excellent!

Thursday, 16 April 2020

Three more weeks?

Apparently the government will announce 3 more weeks of close down today. I suspect its like plane delays where they drip feed you with information but that's all fine with me. I would rather occasionally bored (news flash: I am not!) than dead.

Yesterday I decorated the sitting room! OK, that's an exaggeration but i touched up all the paint to give it a few more years. It look lovely. Today I am hanging picture in the alcove that most needed painting. I took them all down when the guys were fitting the new boiler a few months back but now its freshly decorated and I could hang them again.  Today one of my plans is to do the same in the hall, stairs and landing area. Just touch up but refreshing. I have the same cream colour emulsion everywhere, with a few bright walls in between, so its fairly easy to keep track of the paint. Tomorrow the kitchen. Saturday any coloured areas ( minimal work there) and Sunday the bit I am avoiding, the ceiling of the sitting room.

Also today, my exercise, the period where we are allowed outside to keep fit, will be spent at the allotment planting raspberry canes, strawberry plant and maybe the beans.

Keeping busy, keeping some structure, keeping moving.

Wednesday, 15 April 2020


For the first time ever we are successfully meal planning. Turns out all I needed for this to work is to be stuck indoors for a month with limited supplies! :)

The daily meal has become the centre of our world right now. We are mostly still working but everything is at home. So like almost everyone else there isn't much to think about doing. I am cleaning and decorating and all that but no exercise classes, swimming, working at other locations, all the things which make life fairly full, and actually fairly full on. But cooking is creative and keeps all of my senses busy so it has naturally become the centre of our little universe.

I dont think we are wasteful normally. Waste make me a cross. But at the moment I am determined not to waste a single lentil. So each meal must feed us exactly or be incorporated in a future meal. I am also feeding my dad on alternate days, so cant have anything too wild on those days. But that does mean that any single portions of freezable meals can go in the freezer for him.

Fahed has been going out each week to queue at the local ASDA to get what we need of fresh veg, fruit, dairy. He was gone for 3 hours last Friday for what would normally take about 45 minutes but he said it was actually really well organised and worked well. I think he has gone into hunter gatherer mode so feels he is actually contributing to our survival by going to do this. And he is, as shopping not half as easy as usual.

This weeks menu is:
Monday: Chicken soup and burghal. Its actually a stew of potatoes, onions and tomatoes with chicken stock. Sometimes it has a little chicken in it for flavour but the veg is the star. Its serve don a bed of burghal (bulgar wheat). Took a portion to dad and also froze a portion for future.
Tuesday:Fried Chicken and salads. Each person had a piece of chicken which i spiced, egg washed and dipped in cornflour, then fried it for a few minutes to crisp it up. Then into the oven for 40 minutes to cook through and also let the oil drain out. Served with home made coleslaw and lahanasalata, basically coleslaw but dressed with lemon and oil. That was a new way for chicken for us but very lovely. The salads will be good for a few days.
Wednesday: Bangers and mash! Good old English tradition. Sausages cooked on the griddle, mashed potatoes, broccoli and i think there is also cauliflower cheese in the plan.
Thursday: Lemon chicken. Chicken and potatoes cooked in the oven in lemon juice and garlic. There will be various leftover vegetables sides with this.
Friday: Greek lamb and potatoes in the oven. Not sure what veggies yet.
Saturday: Souzoukakia - Meat balls with tomato sauce
Sunday: Carb fest! We can have what we like and no concern for healthy eating. At the moment it sounds like home made chips and home made pizza. I like my chips done in olive oil and sprinkled with oregano and feta. My mouth is now watering. I shan't need the cheese and tomato pizza if i can have that

Obsessed with food? Yes i think so. Far less likely to panic about everything if my focus is firmly inside the house

Sunday, 12 April 2020

Apparently it has been a while

Just realised my last post was called 'it’s almost December'. So actually now anyone who used to read has wandered off anyway, and i am just writing for myself. But that’s ok, as it’s really a badly kept diary anyway.

So our new reality. Apparently the threat of death, as a 'vulnerable' person, hanging over me is not as bad as normal busy, busy, life. Since we have been sent home to self-isolate, and in my case literally banned form the building, my blood pressure has returned to the normal range for the first time in years. Its only day 6 but I am loving being at home to work. 

More time has passed!

Now been in doors for 3.5 weeks. My employer was quick off the mark and we were sent home with laptops etc. about a week before lockdown came in. As a vulnerable person (I don’t feel vulnerable, it’s just my diabetes) I am here for 12 weeks minimum, even if lockdown ends before that. So in some ways that maybe makes it easier. I don’t know. So Fahed was already at home. In fact he should have gone back to work this week following his operation last November. He claims to be happier having everyone home than he was for those first 3.5 months but I noticed his fuse is a little short right now. Jamal was sent home a week after me and then furloughed a week after that. However they still have a keeping in touch conference call every morning, which takes up most of the morning but which adds structure to the day. I suspect structure is what keeps us doing ok. Oh and Jamal’s girlfriend has also moved in for the duration of lockdown. 

So we have a structure!
The three of us that are working from home have coffee together first thing, then log on for work in three different rooms. That works fine unless all have conference calls together as the broadband can’t quite cope with that! So we do our four hours morning work. Then all those who can walk (same three) go for our daily exercise walk. Another four hours of work. Then, dinner all together. Then Fahed watches TV or does something. I go to check on my dad, 92 and still refusing to come and live with us. He likes the serenity of his own house and likes gardening. The kids do some gaming or watch a movie.

Thursday night at 8pm then we are out on the front step or hanging out of the windows clapping for the carers.

Weekends, we replace the daily exercise walk with an allotment visit. Have to say the allotment has never looked better with so much attention.

We are very much trying to look on the bright side obviously. On the whole its working. We will never get this much time together again. And for Fahed and I then maybe its practice for retiring in a few years.
But I miss my older son very, very much. We have a Sunday facetime session with him, his partner and the boys. I am pleased to say they are loving it too and the boys are enjoying Becky home schooling with them. They agree the only downside, as long as we don’t look at the bigger picture, is that we don’t see each other. I miss my sister and her family as well. And when we have conference with my team I realise how much I miss them.

I watch the government press briefings every day at 5 but stop before the journalist start asking their inane questions.

The main way we are managing, I think, is to just focus on here and now, not the big picture or the future. That seems to be what works for us.

If anyone is reading this then I hope you days are manageable. Stay in doors and keep safe as best you can.

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