Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Strange Times

I am not really sure where to start. So much has happened in the last week, and so much will still happen, but here - thankfully - we are all fine. We are self isolating for 14 days as per the government guidelines because I have a "sudden and persistent cough" along with other cold/virus symptoms. My instinct is that it's just a cold and I feel a bit of a fraud being stuck at home with John and the children, but that's easy for me to say because I am fortunate to be a generally healthy person. It might not be just a cold, and I work with people - children and adults - who don't have the same levels of immunity that I take for granted, and I have to remember that. It's all so strange, trying to strike the balance between being sensible but not overreacting. 

I have been trying to take things easy since the weekend as I've not been feeling well, but I do find it hard to stay chipper when I'm under the weather. I like to be busy, feeling productive is good for me, and so I'm now trying to find a navigate a way through this surreal situation where we are at home. All of us. At home. For the next two weeks. Luckily there is still lots we can do, including getting out for fresh air and exercise, and both children's schools have already made work available online for them to do.

But I am very, very worried, and I imagine you are too, and so today I am here for the calm and positivity, not covid-19 chat. I imagine you want a break from that? I know I do. So, here are some of the things that are working for me and my mental health right now:

Looking out for signs of spring and watching it unfold in the garden. That fact that spring is happening around us is truly keeping me sane at the moment.

Bringing the first flower cut from the garden into the house.

John assembled my cold frame and my seeds have somewhere snug to grow. I have been pottering in the garden for an hour or so each day. I'm desperate to get out there and start tackling projects but at the moment I'm just doing small tasks like a bit of tidying or weeding until I have more energy.

The dog. Never have I loved him so much, and especially for his constancy and steadiness. He knows nothing about the news, he just carries on being consistently himself; following us around the house when he wants a walk, stealing unattended food, barking at the cat across the road, greeting visitors with a mad frenzy of love and licks. 

Starting a new craft project. Crafting is always wonderfully mindful and finally I find I have the time to look at this little beaded bracelet kit I bought from Purl Soho on holiday in New York last summer.

I have a way to go with my tension, and goodness it's fiddly, but I am enjoying the process.

Finishing a craft project is always satisfying, especially when the item in questions fits beautifully.

Although there are sadly less opportunities to show them off at the moment. Unless I can wave my wrist warmers at people from a distance of two metres.

These two, embracing the notion of homeschooling, went rummaging in the toy cupboard and found a science kit. Before they'd even had breakfast.

I am taking the opportunity to do the most everyday jobs mindfully and am finding some peace in the normality of it. Even changing the bedding, packing away the winter duvet, freshening up the room - it all helps me.

Other things that help:

getting out
staying busy
talking to friends a lot on the phone or via messaging
listening to podcasts
watching mindless tv
avoiding the news

Let me know please what is working for you? I sincerely hope you lovely lot are all ok and, if unwell or self isolating, are finding a positive way through it. I will continue to be here, doing my thing, bringing you a regular dose of daily life. Even that will be interesting. Much love to you all. 


  1. Oh I do hope you’re feeling better soon, Gillian! I have hubby working from home all week (he usually works away a few days a week) My son’s office is still open at the moment, but that could change at any time. We’re all ok so far, as is my daughter who lives on her own with her dog. But the situation is very fluid, isn’t it!

    Your dear dog looks as if he’s John’s foreman :)) Love the science before brekkie! You’re doing the right thing, doing bits and pieces you enjoy. I’d be exactly the same! Looking forward to seeing your homeschooling posts. Sending a big hug x

  2. Hopefully your cold and the 14 days will pass quickley. Rest - relax and try to enjoy your time together - sending hugs your way.

  3. Oh I so appreciate your blog posts, the writing and pictures make me feel so calm and happy every single time - and now more than ever!!

  4. Hope you are feeling better soon. What strange times we are living in- great to connect with each other through technology. Our dogs are also a huge source of comfort just now - their happy waggy selves are oblivious to everything except walks, food and cuddles. Looking forward to more 'at home' posts - best wishes to you and your family.

  5. So hope it is only a cold & please look after yourself & family. It's hit hard here in Oz too with so much "strange" stuff going on. Don't know how else to describe it. Just being two of us these days, is probably somewhat easier, but with shortages of the most important grocery items, it's not so good. We have sewing, woodworking, gardening, meals to cook & walking to keep us amused for now. We did go for a long drive in very uninhabited countryside for K's birthday on Sunday & took a picnic & lots of photos. Some are to be for my post on the 27th for Kate's Photo Hunt. Thanks for a cheery post, take care & big huggles from down under.

  6. Here's to a speedy recovery. Here in Brisbane, Australia my friends daughter was studying abroad in Canada and was going to be away for 3 more months however she is now booked on a flight to get home in 2 days time. My nieces wedding is in Perth and my Mum, my 2 sisters and partner were going to the wedding however my Mum can't travel now as she nearly 80 and has a compromised immune system from cancer. The wedding has 80 people so she can still go ahead with it [everything over 100 people is cancelled including weddings] however it's unlikely we will be able to go now to the wedding even if it's on. I haven't been to Perth in 14 years so I was looking forward to going however these are times where you need to do the right thing. Interstate travel is okay however I wouldn't want to get sick and come in contact with the bride and family and then they can't go ahead with the wedding. Bought some seedlings yesterday to plant in the garden so I'm going to do that today.

  7. My husband drives a city bus so he's still working but my job has closed so I'm at home and honestly I'm enjoying the break. I started a new position a year or so ago and I feel like when I took the job I jumped onto a treadmill going at full speed. These few days and weeks are giving me a chance to catch my breath and create some new patterns and rhythms to the job to help it run smoother.

    I'm sorry you're not feeling well. I pray it goes away quickly and you're back to your ol' self in no time!

  8. Diana here from Barcelona. Sorry to hear you're not feeling well. Let's hope it's only a cold. In lockdown over here, pretty scary but trying to stay positive and live more mindfully.Love reading your posts!! Xx

  9. I hope you stay healthy and your family too! I love to see your kids reading, and finding things to do, they are so wonderful! good luck with your seedlings and your bead project.
    It's always uplifting and heart warming to read your blog and ''visit ''with you and your family!
    hugs !

  10. I spent some time in our backyard yesterday, under our Australian-Autumn blue sky, and thought that I will definitely be eating picnics out there, in the garden, should we need to stay home for extended periods of time.

    Hope you are feeling better.
    Xx Meg

  11. Here's wishing you all the best, Gillian, for your own health and your family, of course!
    I don't mind working from home; living on my own, I have plenty of room in my flat and can go out walking or running in this beautiful spring weather we're having right now. Shopping is not a problem, either; I've always been used to bringing in the relatively small amount of groceries I need for myself.
    Everyday things such as ironing, making the bed, cleaning and so on are also helping me. Keeping my days as regular as I can is important for me; getting up with enough time to spare before the first telephone conference starts so that I am showered and dressed just like when I'm going out for work, taking my lunch break at the usual time and so on.
    Your photos are lovely as always - I especially love the mug with the yellow flowers!
    It is possible, even probable, that I will be spending my birthday all alone, for the first time in 52 years. But that's ok; the time will come when we can gather again for such events.
    In the meantime, balance is everything, and I guess I have found mine, between taking things seriously without panicking.

  12. Ah, sorry to feel you are under the weather best to be off. We know school where I work and and childrens' schools will be closed from Monday but we are calling it a family fundown to give it that positive edge! Also we went to Homebase after dinner last night to buy paint to do all those jobs around our current house that have been left while we build our other one. Your house is way to well decorated for that kind of activity but I know when you feel better you will always find little jobs to do. Jo xx

  13. Sorry to hear that you are not well, get well soon! I am finding keeping busy is helpful for me. I had to ask my weekly cleaning company to stop as my mother will be coming to stay from this weekend. This means I have structured my day with a couple of hours cleaning after breakfast. Kitchen and downstairs cloakroom yesterday our bedroom and shower room today. We will then be moving furniture to prepare for Mum. I decided the dining room would be better than a bedroom as she finds the stairs a real trial. She will have solo use of the downstairs cloakroom and struggle upstairs for a shower once or twice a week. It is the best we can do.
    I have ordered a small bouquet to be delivered once a fortnight from the local small florist. It is something for me to look forward to and hopefully will help her although who knows how long flowers from the flower markets will be available.
    The garden is starting to bloom with all the bulbs especially the hyacinths and narcissus. We just need a few more warm days for the early flowering shrubs.
    I am reading the Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel at bedtime. Detailed enough to lose myself in and helps me to go to sleep. A very enjoyable and engrossing read.

  14. You are an oasis , darling ! Keep posting as you will be somewhere, we , the isolated people want to come and refresh ourselves with your loveliness.

    Finding a science kit before breakfast ? I love your children x

  15. Hoping you feel better soon, and well done to all of you for being responsible and self-isolating.
    Here in the north of Scotland it's still very wintry, but I started preparing the greenhouse yesterday for spring sowing and sowed some salad mix in an old grow bag.
    I love your coffee mug - where is it from please?
    How lovely about your children digging out the science kit! xx

  16. Since my post earlier today things have changed for you again and the schools have now been closed.Not sure how things will evolve here in Tasmamia ,just hoping for the best

  17. Hope you feel better soon!
    Here in Denmark both my husband and I are sent home to work from home. All three kids are at home and their schools provide online work. Apart from work I'm trying to keep myself busy: yesterday I emptied the freezer from berries and cooked up four different kinds of jam and I baked a batch of bread. Today I hope to get some gardening done. I'm also starting on a new shawl - an online "Knit together apart"-project.
    The five of us take turn preparing lunch for all of us - and oh, do we love the walks with the dog!
    We also plan some tidying and sorting activities - ex. the basement...
    I'm all in to soothing tv and hope I can convince my kids to watch Mary Poppins with me. We're also discussing a Harry Potter marathon.

  18. Please keep blogging like you always do. I love your photo's of all things 'normal' every day life. That's also the way I blog. Thank you and I hope you may feel better soon.

  19. Get better and stay better soon! Love the glimpses into your beautiful home and pickies of the beast are always a delight! Our beast is just as barmy but not quite so zoomie (bit old now)Thanks for all the calm words. Keep snug and safe xxx Kate from Stratford on Avon

  20. Thanks for a lovely blog. Oh that tulip! I just love tulips in spring. Especially yellow ones. Spring is quite evident here (Southeastern US/ Middle Georgia) and it is lovely to get out and walk in the woods, observing which trees are budding first. And the birds are so busy and vocal. A nice dog makes everything better, I think. And cake. Take care.

  21. Just lovely. Your blog is a tonic. I hope you feel well really soon.

  22. Just lovely. Your blog is a tonic. I hope you feel well really soon.

  23. Here in Naperville, Illinois, USA, I am staying home reading lots and lots of blogs. It is so helpful and comforting and the social interaction is wonderful. I have many home projects that I will do (if I can force myself to get busy!) I hope you feel better soon. There are so many online books, movies, resources for students that will help with children at home. Thank you so much for blogging and sharing your thoughts and projects, your family and home with me!

  24. Gardening, reading, painting, podcasts... there is plenty to do but I will miss work. All my teaching has been cancelled for the next three months. But like you trying to stay positive. I hope you feel better soon.

  25. Hope you are feeling much, much better.

  26. I do hope you feel better soon, you are right to do what you are doing. Science kits before breakfast? That is our lives here, we often do pajama 'school', learning can happen whatever you are wearing and at any time of day, so lovely that your children are embracing that to the full.

    Love your list and thank goodness for crafting x

  27. Oh I do hope you feel better soon. I loved this post....yes I am trying to avoid too much Coronavirus news, it just depresses me and sends me off into a panic I can't do anything about!
    I am still going to school on a rota basis to look after the children of Key workers and vulnerable children but we plan to have fun and not too much work!
    I have to say loved all your photos and especially the third one....looking for ideas for our house and I loved this one! xx

  28. Hi Gillian, I read your blog religiously, but haven't commented in a while. Sending you and your family and all your readers love and light from near Sydney Australia. Stay well everyone and "flatten the curve". Thanks for your lovely blog, it always brings me joy. Cheers from Liz xxx


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