My first thoughts on writing this review of my month on lock down is that I have nothing to say! There is only the mundane, as nothing extraordinary has happened in my little world, apart from the most extraordinary thing that is happening globally, of course.
But the days continue to pan out and be filled. Jobs get done, films get watched, walks get walked and food gets eaten. I am enjoying reading and watching others writing and talking about their lives in lock down. It is actually fascinating to see how we are all coping with these strange times.
Maybe in 50 years people will enjoy exploring these accounts of a time in history when everything changed whilst at the same time standing oddly still. I won’t be here to see that, but maybe my grandchildren will read their old grandma’s blog. (You can tell I have too much time on my hands to think at the moment, but hey ho!).
So, what has happened during April? Read my review of my month on lock down and we can compare notes.
Review of my month on lock down
You Tube has been brilliant over the last few weeks. I have found all sorts of interesting things to watch and people to get to know.
One new You Tuber who is definitely on the same wavelength as me is Frugal Jo, and American vlogger living in the UK on a very small income. She has some brilliant ideas for living a frugal lifestyle and is worth a visit if you are looking for inspiration to save money.
I have also discovered a wonderful lady, now sadly deceased, who was in her nineties when she began sharing recipes from the American depression. Check out Clara’s Kitchen.
I still enjoy all of the UK eBay resellers listed in this post, particularly Carla Jenkins, Bad Biscuit Lexx and Shellsterooney.
Another interesting lady is Linda from First Coffee Then Life, who lives a very simple, off grid and frugal life with her husband in a remote woodland house in America. She is amazing – she washes her clothes by hand, lives with no fridge or freezer and shows how you can be happy on a hugely tight budget.
Books and audio books
One of my goals for the month was to watch less TV and read more. I have finished the two books I bought second hand by Jeff Yeager, The Cheapskate Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of Americans Living Happily Below Their Means* and Don’t Throw That Away!: 1,001 Ways to Reuse Your Stuff*. Both were really enjoyable.
I am now whizzing through the puppy training book, Easy Peasy Puppy Squeezy: Your simple step-by-step guide to raising and training a happy puppy or dog*, which seems very good and full of commonsense. Archie will be perfectly well behaved in no time, I am sure!
I mentioned in this week’s Friday round up (which i published on a Saturday because I was so confused about what day it was) that I had started using Borrowbox, a brilliant way of accessing e-books and audio books from the library.
Just fantastic – I wish I had remembered about this earlier. I am currently listening to two very different books – A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson and Stuffocation by James Wallman.
I have read the Bill Bryson book the old-fashioned way shortly after it came out, but the Stuffocation was one that has been on my wish list for a while. It’s so interesting, and seems even more relevant at the moment when we have been forced into a less materialistic lifestyle.
I like having the radio or You Tube on when I am cooking or cleaning, but an audio book is even better.
The vegetable patch is looking pretty good at the moment. I talked about this in yesterday’s post so I won’t repeat myself. However, one of my goals for the month was to plant flower seeds as well as vegetables. I have failed to do this so far!
I would like to sort out all the pots on the patio and will sow flower seeds straight into them I think. This one will roll over into my May goals now.
Another goal was to fence off the veggie patch, which Mr S achieved – despite Archie trying to help. I did my bit by playing with him indoors so Mr S could get on.
Zoom chats and birthday celebrations
It was my 57th and my sister’s 60th in early April. We usually have a big family gathering – and were planning a big celebration for my sister’s landmark. However, it wasn’t to be.
Instead we set up Zoom and had a chat via that with my daughters, nieces and nephews all involved. It was great, except my mum couldn’t work out how to do it.
Since then we have managed to use Messenger instead. She already had this, so didn’t have to download anything.
Over the month I have been chatting to various relatives using Zoom, Messenger, Whatsapp and Facetime. Thank goodness for this technology – a real loneliness buster.
Selling and sourcing stuff
I am not much into retail therapy. However, I do like a good rummage around the charity shops and, at this time of year, am often up early and off to the boot sale. How I am missing these activities! I guess this is my retail therapy – I just don’t spend that much and buy second hand.
One of my sources of income these days, though, is selling stuff online. I thought I would spend the summer stocking up and have loads to sell, but that’s obviously not happening.
Instead, this month I purchased some bundles of clothing online, had some bags donated by friends and bought a huge box of jewellery. It is good that I am still managing to source some items, even if they aren’t what I would usually go for. It all keeps me out of mischief and a few pounds rolling in.
One of my April goals was to list 100 items. I have massively failed on this front, having only done about 50 odd so far. At the moment I seem to be struggling to get motivated.
I have managed to get over to my parents a couple of times during April to deliver some supplies. As the weather has been nice we have had a cup of tea and a chat in the garden – keeping our distance, of course.
They are bearing up OK, and know that they have to stay home to be safe. My dad particularly has underlying health issues and is 89, so taking no chances.
I think he is rather enjoying being able to spend all his days pottering in the garden rather than getting nagged to go out by my mum! She is a very social person though, so I think she is feeling a bit isolated. We are all ringing and Facetiming her as often as possible.
So far I have only got two Tesco delivery slots, but that has been fine. When I do, I am getting bits for my parents, my daughter, Mr S and his mum.
I am definitely spending more buying at Tesco, so I was pleased to find that Aldi are now delivering boxes of basic foods for £24.99, including delivery. Hopefully these will prove a better option for small households and those on a budget.
They look pretty promising, although I have a lot of these non-perishable items in my stores anyway, so I won’t be buying one of the food parcels from Aldi just yet.
Another trip to the dentist
After the trouble we had finding a dentist for my daughter a few weeks ago, I was dismayed when she called to tell me she had bitten down on what should have been a piece of boneless chicken and chipped another tooth on a large piece of bone!
She was in terrible pain again so off we went on our 30 mile round trip to see the same dentist. It turned out to be a wisdom tooth that was already badly infected. He couldn’t believe it hadn’t been giving her any trouble already!
She is her own worst enemy as she is a total sugar addict who drinks gallons of sugar packed cola. On top of that, she doesn’t have a regular dentist and hasn’t had a check up for a few years.
Fortunately, these two incidents have brought her to her senses and she is off the sugary drinks at last! She still doesn’t have her own dentist, but as soon as the current epidemic has died down she plans to get one and start having regular check ups again.
Because of my lack of motivation and l structure to my week, I am going to approach things a little differently in May.
I plan to list 20 things on eBay each week, rather than setting a goal for the whole month.
Mr S is bringing me a spare calendar over and each Sunday I will do myself a work plan for each day of the week. Then I will cross each day off so that I know where I am!
I have had an outline (and several versions!) of a book I have been trying to write for about five years! This month, with more time on my hands, I finally got stuck into it. My aim is to spend at least five hours a week working on it, and I will build this time into my weekly plan.
I am going to sort out the pots on the patio and plant those flower seeds!
With Mr S’s help, we will dig over the veggie patch and sow the carrots, beets, broad beans and peas. That will need to be done ASAP. If this beautiful weather continues the seeds should germinate quite quickly.
So that concludes my review of my month on lock down. How has yours been and how are you staying motivated?
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