Friday 23 October 2020

Tales of Lockdown Part Four or 9 Dresses.

Hello, I didn’t think it would be quite this long until I’d blog again but there you go. I’ve certainly been kept busy juggling various commitments, and to be honest those combined with spending so much time in front of a laptop for work, my brain is too fried to do anything other than veg. I’ve also been struggling with tired eyes and my current glasses, but that’s a tale for another day.

 Dress One - Hell Bunny Apple Print (Bought in their sale)

To head back to the scorching days of mid-August we finally heard from the coroner and were able to go ahead with the funeral as planned. Himself headed down on the Friday night, his sister arrived on the Sunday and I set off on the Monday afternoon. Travelling through London wasn’t too bad, the circle line was temporarily closed when I got there, but thankfully all my pre-lockdown work trips meant I now have a fairly good idea of that central chunk of the underground and I was able to find another route and still caught the train to Ramsgate with about 5 minutes to spare.

Himself’s friend Paul has been an absolute diamond and kindly agreed we could all base ourselves at his house for the week. Of course it had to be that insanely hot week which makes sleeping impossible and everything an effort.

We spent the Tuesday doing official stuff in the morning and started to clear the house in the afternoon. Our plan was to get as much done as we possible could that week as that was the only time Himself’s sister was able to get there. I decided the best focus of my efforts was to clear the kitchen which is huge with many cupboards, all of which were full. By the end of the week we completely filled a van with the charity donations of household goods, another was furniture, as well as separate piles for stuff to be collected by the council and finally the rest for a skip. What had seemed like an insurmountable task to Himself on Monday was done by Friday, yup we managed to sort the whole house. By Friday I was knackered and my back declared enough was enough. It was a good job we were going home on Saturday because my back had completely seized by then so I couldn’t have done anything more anyway.

 Dress Two - from Heyday (bought in their sale)

It was a strange thing doing a funeral in lockdown. Only 30 guests maximum at the church and 15 at the crematorium, with masks mandatory at all times. Ironically Himself had ordered 3 plain black ones for his Dad which arrived too late for him to use, so we wore one each. In an era when so few of us seem to have the time or inclination to get to know our neighbours it was heart warming to see just how many of Dave’s came to the church. The landlord, his son and the barmaid from his local came too, it really was lovely to hear how well thought of he was.

None of us was too keen to sit in a pub and Dave’s local is not exactly spacious, but on the plus side it is on the seafront in Margate and the weather was firmly on our side so we were able to sit outside and raise a toast.  

Paul kindly borrowed a small van from his work and drove us home on the Saturday with it completely full of everything Himself wanted to keep. Thankfully it all just squeezed in and saved us having to think about doing that at a later date. 

Most weekends since have been taken up with either trips down to Kent for Himself or stuff to do with the house there. Culminating with us both going down a coupe of weeks back to clean as much as possible now the house was empty, meet the estate agent and a couple of other appointments. Now that restrictions are ramping up again we took the decision to just go down over night, staying at the local Premier Inn do as much as possible in one day and catch a late train home. Travelling across London was not pleasant, the underground was full to standing which surprised me, obviously not to pre-covid levels but still… thankfully most were in masks.

We had an earlier start than anticipated when the stair lift removal company called at 7.15am to say they were en-route! Thankfully we were already up, so we packed up our overnight bags quick and dashed across town to be at the house when they arrived at 7.40am. It was a long hard day but we did manage to do all we needed too. The weather that weekend was insane, heavy rain and gale force winds. We literally had to battle along the seafront to the station being painfully sandblasted by the wind whipping off the sea and up the beach, it really hurt and you had to walk with your eyes shut as much as you dared. I have never seen waves like it in all my time visiting Margate. The trains were delayed because of the weather but thankfully running so we finally got home about 11.30pm. Straight into the shower and then bed. The next day when I emptied our bags there was sand all over the kitchen floor! 

Dress 3 - Collectif Leopard Dress (bought in their sale.)

In between we had our annual long weekend in Bournemouth. We thought about cancelling but Himself really wanted to have a break. We toyed about going to Cornwall because of the mad news stories with all those idiots cramming on the beach at Bournemouth but in the end decided to stick with it. We figured as technically kids were now back in school it shouldn’t be too bad, and also as it’s somewhere we know really well we would know places to go to avoid the crowds. As it goes whilst it was lovely to get away, there were a lot of people about and I did find it did make me nervous. It weird how much I feel that these days, when there are crowds of people.

Interestingly there were quite a few big groups of blokes out doing pub crawls. Bournemouth is a big stag and hen destination and I think the girls haven’t come back because they tend to go clubbing and the clubs are still shut, but blokes are more about pub crawls so surprisingly they were still out in force, at least we knew where to avoid!

Our usual B&B of choice was closed so I managed to find another that came recommended. It was in the stag do end of town and the room was tiny but very clean, they prepared your breakfast in a little brown paper bag which you went down and collected and had put a larger kettle and more tea/coffee stuff in the rooms so it worked well.

 The big sad thing was our favourite Restaurant has closed. It’s in a part of the town earmarked for redevelopment so would have had to close anyway, but with covid they just decided to shut now. Gutted. We arrived on the Thursday and it rained bah so we found a pub with table service until it stopped then bought a bag of chips and sat by the beach by the pier to eat them and watch the sea until it was dark.

Dress 4 - Collectif  (bought in their sale.)

For the Friday I booked us tickets for Brownsea Island. I stalked the National Trust website for weeks waiting for the tickets to come up! The weather was just perfect and to be deep in a pine forest with gorgeous fresh and fragrant air sitting looking at the sea, well there’s not a lot to beat it. 

Tickets included the boat trip to the island and you were limited to a 4 hour visit which was my only disappointment  otherwise everything was really well managed. Brownsea Island has a colony of rare Red Squirrels and this time round we got to see a few of them which made my whole visit, it was amazing.

You catch the boat from Poole so we booked a table in a little Italian restaurant on the quayside there for that evening. We killed the time in between visiting a few shops, which was weird but comforting too, I have missed shopping. We also found a quiet pub and had a drink. After a delicious dinner we caught the bus back to Bournemouth and retired to our room with a bottle of wine.

On the Saturday I caught up with my friend Alison for a couple of hours which was lovely. The weather was gorgeous again so the beach was busy. Instead we walked up and down a couple of the chines and went to a little café at the bowling club that she knew about. Definitely one to remember as the food was great and super cheap. In the evening Himself and I had an early dinner then walked away from the crowds to Westbourne where we had a table for two in one of the pubs there and shared a bottle of wine. 

On Sunday we checked out and wandered along the cliff top, they have been holding all the big cruise ships empty just off the Dorset coast and it so happened they were by Bournemouth when we were there. According to Alison some of the local boat owners have been doing good business taking people out to sail around them and stare up at them they are so huge. 

 We headed to the central park where we sat in the park reading and eating one last ice cream before heading to the station. The train home was surprisingly busy but everyone was masked up so all good. It really was great to have a break it was sort of long enough and not long enough at the same time.

 Dress 5 - Bought from a facebook sale page back in March (Trapped at my work due to lockdown and only picked up months later.)

I have been into Oxford a couple of times in the last 6 months. I had to go into work and empty my desk so they could clear our office to be used for a teaching space. That was kind of weird and I just had to grab anything I thought I might find useful at home and could physically carry on the train! 

Dress 6 - Seasalt (Bought in their sale.

We have also had a couple of days were many of my team met in this big café come restaurant come deli in Jericho with our laptops and kind of worked together, though to be honest we mostly gossiped. We also had a socially distanced picnic in University Parks before the rule of 6 came in as a farewell to one of our team who was going home to Australia. That was fun, we all brought our own drinks and snacks and sat in a huge circle. 

One of the girls from our office is 24 and had just moved to a shared house in Oxford in February right before lockdown. I hadn’t seen her since so asked how she was finding it, that it must have been hard and she was like “ Oh no, I have had exactly the same summer as usual, socializing, partying etc. It’s like covid doesn’t exist” and they wonder why our numbers are going up. SIGH. I was only half joking when I told her to stay sitting well away from me because her demographic was the reason mine were getting sick!

Dress 7 - Collectif  (bought full price rerelease that I missed first time round and wasn't going to miss again.)

When I have had any free time I have been pottering in the garden, I really find myself switching off and unwinding when I'm outside. I ordered more compost and re-potted more of my plants inside and out.

My tomatoes FINALLY started to turn but then so did the weather so I ended up picking them all and ripening them inside. I always collect my own seeds and have been really thrown by the huge yellow plum tomatoes as I only ever bought baby plum sized ones, no idea why they suddenly grew huge!

Dress 8 - Seasalt (bought on Ebay.)

 So that brings you up to October and the frocks I have bought up until now. Dress 9 was bought from M&S. I needed some undies and a new green cardigan and was idly browsing the website and fell in love so I just went with it.