Tuesday, 14 April 2020

'There was no possibility of taking a walk that day.'

Hello there! It's been quite a while since my last post and things have changed considerably in the intervening period. A gold star, 2 Brownie points and 5 'Wallaby Hops' to anyone who can identify which novel the quotation in the post title is taken from. Clue: it's the opening sentence of the book. Another gold star etc. to the person who can tell me which TV programme the phrase 'Wallaby Hops' comes  from! 

The quotation seemed quite apt as we have recently been self-isolating for 14 days. R has been working from home for a few weeks now and has had cabin fever since day 2. I feel I have fared much better as my temperament and normal lifestyle are well suited to being at home.
After 2 weeks of isolation I found that I became quite 'institutionalised' (if that's the right word) and didn't feel like going out. The thought of a trip to the supermarket filled me with dread but it had to be done. After 2 weeks at home I was like Old Mother Hubbard. The low points were a blood orange rice pudding - the oranges were too far gone to eat normally and it seemed like a good idea at the time ....... it wasn't! - and swede laksa which, yes, is as disgusting as it sounds. The supermarket queue was ridiculously long, snaking all the way through the Shrek-like cordon, round the side of the building and across the car park. It took me the best part of an hour just to get to the entrance! We now have a fully stocked fridge and larder though, so we'll be fine for another couple of weeks. Evening walks have resumed and the silver lining of the great Coronavirus cloud has been our exploration of local public footpaths. We've lived here for 20 years and we're only just discovering a lot of them. I hope that our exploration and the sense of community spirit that has developed will continue when all this craziness is over.

Here then are a few photos of the last month or so. Some of them were taken before lockdown when life was more normal. It seems like such a long time ago now.

Photo to show how high the river was after all the storms in February. There is a bridge somewhere under that lot!
Sowing my seeds. The following day a wee beastie of the rodenty kind tunnelled in and ate a lot of them. I was forced to clear out the greenhouse, flags were laid on the base and then all the seeds resown. To be fair, it is a lot tidier now :0).
A trip to London to hear L play in a concert. Her orchestra were accompanying some opera singers and it was brilliant:

Whilst we were killing time before the performance we went for a walk and explored Portobello Road market. It was slightly disappointing in that there were no dancers and it wasn't a bit like in 'Bedknobs and Broomsticks'!
I bought a book from a second hand book shop - not the one made famous by Hugh Grant shown below which is, sadly, full of tat - and we sat outside a coffee shop and shared a vegan croissant.
About a week after our visit I developed a fever, headache, chills and a dry cough which lasted about a week. It was probably just some random bug but it would be quite nice to know!

Jaffa Bites from the Happy Pear recipe book:
A drive out in Bridget to the New Forest for the first picnic of the year. It doesn't actually look that foresty in these shots!

We walked around the village of Beaulieu which was beautiful and I'd like to visit again when we're back to normal. There was a lovely community garden that we really liked:
We had 4 (yes, count them!) 4 flowers on our small magnolia tree this year. That's 3 more than last year, so I'm thrilled!
R finishing off the fruit and brassica cage which was his present to me for our homemade Christmas. The birds stripped all the fruit off my bushes last year before we even got a look in and, after netting all my kale against the cabbage whites, I was horrified to find that a blue tit had got caught in the net. I'm  hoping that this will solve the problem.
Playing with clay. I was trying my hand at a coil pot which is harder than you'd think - my coils were oblongs! Now that it's dry I was tempted to draw a picture of a Coronavirus on the base to remind me of when I made it. E, however, informs me that that would be in poor taste!
Making a 'Quarantine Quilt' with my scraps. It's a Flying Geese type design and I made the decision to make 2 squares a day (I need 72) and not to use my unpicker at any point! Some of them are real shockers but it's keeping me sane:
 I'm reading a lot:
 My Mother's Day card from L finally arrived - she was self-isolating on the day and couldn't post it. It contained a beautiful cross stitch bookmark that she made from a kit she received one Christmas. I love it.
 My favourite blossom against a blue sky:
We went for a walk (part of our daily Government sanctioned exercise) in the bluebell wood. I forgot to take my camera, so here are some from the garden:
As I was the member of the household doing the food shopping, R hadn't been able to buy any Easter eggs. He made me a robin's nest box instead which is much nicer, I think. I also get to share his egg!
 Knitting by the river with the ducks:
 Duckling spotting:
 Taking a photo of the garden before the rising winds blow off all the cherry blossom!
 Finally, Hamish finding himself a patch of sunshine to snooze in:
Well, that's all for the moment. I hope you're all finding something to keep you sane in these strange times. Stay well, my friends and, as always ....
Toodle pip for now. x


  1. Your garden looks beautiful and well done on the magnolia. Some loverly excursion before the lockdown. Bet the concert was brilliant. Not sure on the book opening..it sounds familiar; possibly a Jane Austen?
    Love your fruit and veg cage, something tells me I might need one too. My blackbirds are already eyeing up the loganberry flowers. Enjoy your crafting and gardening and give Hampshire a tickle. B x

  2. beautiful photos as always! I am rather envious of your walks as we are not allowed more than 100 metres from out home. The Jaffa Bites look delicious!

  3. Gorgeous handmade bookmark and how lovely to sit by your river and knit. The garden is looking beautiful. And the Jaffa Bites look like exactly my sort of thing. I know what you mean about lockdown. I am dreading the supermarket, which I must tackle soon or the children will start eating each other. And I fear I will not want to go out and about in crowds ever again. Perhaps we will all develop agoraphobia. Look after yourself, CJ xx

  4. Such a beautiful garden you have there. It always makes me happy to see new sprouts of life coming into being while we here in south africa start to say goodbye to the warmth of the season as winter approaches. I had such plans to plant winter flower seeds to cut for the table this year but that ghastly virus messed up all my plans. our lock down has been extended until the end of April. so we will just have to wait until the cold season comes to a close for me to plant anything new. such lovely photos shared - thank you for sharing your moments with us. xx Angela

  5. What a lovely Mother's Day bookmark that you received. You totally had me at vegan croissants! Have a great weekend.

  6. Your photos are wonderful!



  7. Good to hear from you! I am pleased to hear you recovered from those symptoms, they do sound like the real deal! I hate the supermarket run too, although hubs goes. As soon as he comes in the clothes go in the wash and the shopping washed or wiped down. I feel like we're risking our lives for a loaf! Your make do and mendmeals have me laughing. Good to hear your greenhouse had a makeover, since I cleared mine I've had no slug damage. Weird seeing the pics of life before coronavirus. Ahhh bless Hamish.xxx

  8. I love the seeds and the pictures! The treats in the bowl look good too.

  9. I will always recognize my beloved Jane Eyre but the 'Wallaby Hops' reference escapes me.

    1. Congratulations! The gold star, brownie points and wallaby hops are all yours! Incidentally, the wallaby hop reference was from Victoria Wood. Susie Blake played a continuity announcer in one of her sketches, accompanied by a toy wallaby that she was forced to make hop for birthdays etc. I tried to find a clip on YouTube for you but no luck I'm afraid. Kudos on the literature recognition though. :o) xx

  10. The blossom and bluebells are beautiful. I hope that cabin fever has subsided and I look forward to seeing how your quilt progresses. Keep safe and well. xx

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