Wednesday, 1 July 2020

The milestone 100 days of lockdown in the UK

It is unbelievable that we have now reached the 100 days milestone of lockdown. We did not even contemplate that on March 23, we would stay in lockdown for so long. Initially we were told it would be just 3 weeks which seemed bearable ...

Our introduction to lockdown was shortages in the shops as people went on a panic buying spree - no toilet rolls for weeks, no eggs, bread, flour, baking powder, definitely no yeast, limited tinned goods and so it continued. This was my own last shop in Sainsbury's before lockdown was announced - I was shocked at the empty shelves & bare fridges in such a major supermarket ....

I first wrote about the approaching pandemic in this post on the 21st March about living-with-social-distancing when I had to step away from my Elective Home Education

So how have I spent my 100 days .... I have spent it largely in the safety of my own space at home. I am infinitely grateful for the benefit of a private garden. Our front garden is large but we don’t use it for leisure, however, our rear garden is my haven, surrounded by lush hedges & thick green tree & shrubs which just calms the mind & is a perfect place to just be ...

 I have spent loads of time in the garden, planting, moving, clipping my plant which are in a limited palette of pinks, purples & blues - I love the limited colour. Our shed / summerhouse was repainted in Country Cream, several coats of paint to make it bright & protect the wood from our winter.

 Don’t you just love these flowers? I am planning to plant many more flowers to cut for vases in the house, they will be planted in tubs so they can be moved around as they flower.

Our David Austin house rose has loved all the additional attention - feeding, tying back against the house, dead heading - just loving the scent of the abundant blooms - you feel blessed.

My lockdown project - making an auricular theatre made entirely from reclaimed wood - how fabulous is this?

Growing my own produce
I always grow some salad greens & the quick lockdown caught me unawares so I had to up my planting. The hot weather made some of my celery bolt & run to seed - I love the seed heads & am looking at how I can use the seeds. These are grown on the raised side bed alongside my herb throughs.
While having time, I took herb cuttings which I rooted on the kitchen windowsill. I then planted up two generous planters of herbs as gifts - several variety of mints, rosemary, sage, fennel, marjoram, oregano - planted up, labelled & given as gifts from my garden. 

I also grew peas from a packet of dried peas from the supermarket - I saw that tip on a gardening programme & it worked - I planted 2 tubs - 1 to gift again. Who else loves peashoots in salads? 

Charity from home 
Last year I potted up 30 colourful bamboo pots of succulents for sale at a local animal rescue charity. With no such sales this year; I followed the example of many people in our neighbourhood where we put things out on our lawn as freebies or for sale. I am too good at growing succulents & so I decided to appeal to the goodwill of neighbours. A young neighbour is walking 30 laps of our local lake to raise funds for the same charity because they care for the wildlife on our local lake. I put out the plants on my porch, advertised it on our community Facebook & raised £25 which was donated to Freya’s walk. A great result in lockdown.

When I ended up with way too many tomato plants, I again offered them for free down on the drive & they all found new homes. Our neighbourhood community have come together to clap, to have an Easter Bunny hopping along to wish the children at Easter - boxes of books & toys appeared on drives with notes to be taken for free, to keep children busy over lockdown - we came together when we stayed apart.

A local lad started a stone snake around our lake - he loves giraffes but the one that was there disappeared & he was upset so I decided to decoupage a safari set to contribute to the community effort - this was my contribution to his 800+ snake ... 

Cooking & Baking - with much more time on my hands & difficulty in finding shopping home delivery slots, it was a time of being creative with food.
 Scones are always a favourite - they tended to be our rainy day comfort food .

Our local farmshop got some of these locally manufactured baking mixes, they were really useful when there was a shortage of all flours, baking powder & especially yeast ...

Another of these mixes was an 80/20 brown bread mix, enough to make 3 loaves. It was a very generous mix so I divided the mixture to use 2/3 & kept the remaining 1/3 for a later day. A good, heathy mix which we all enjoyed. The bread rolls were used for home made burgers ...
 Lockdown meant shortages of basic baking ingredients like flours (especially self raising flour) and the various raising agents. It was frustrating but also satisfying to know that so many people had turned their hand to home baking (something I do regularly).

Making  South African condensed milk rusks - they start as a bread then are sliced & dried out, to be dipped in tea or coffee. I had not made them in ages & it turned out well ....

We have doorstep milk delivery & alongside the delivery was a recipe for vanilla yoghurt cake. I ordered the particular yoghurt needed & made this cake. My blueberry sank to the bottom but it was really tasty, I need to do this again ...
 Date & banana bread & muffins are a family favourite - this is what we do with any bananas that go soft. I sent a batch over to my neighbours who have been strictly self isolating for health reasons - a nice hot treat for their morning tea.

I made pizza bases a few times so we could each construct our own according to our preferences - spinach, peppers, ham, pineapple, anchovies to choose from on a home made spicy tomato - really good & perfect as a treat.

Hand & machine sewing - I have always done some sewing, sometimes by hand, sometimes by machine. However, with no visitors expected for weeks, I could take over the conservatory & spread out my sewing things. The light is so good there under the glass roof so I was just in my sewing bubble, loving the freedom to just be creative. I am a tidy person so first had to organise all my sewing boxes (yes, plural) .
 Youngest daughter  had some fabric sent to me - this beautiful, blue marbled fabric is just so stunning. It arrived a few days before lockdown so I had the opportunity to select some contrasting fat quarters for the lining. She wanted book sleeves to carry her many books up & down with her so I made her a selection.

I also decided to make some needle books but decided to do some felting to go inside one of them. I had done a felting course some time back so it was lovely to get out my two little boxes of supplies & get back in to it. It is such a therapeutic activity - gently adding our wool & stabbing it to felt it. I love combining top stitching & also adding details with coloured wools, gently stabbed on to the backing felt. It is a calming activity - very needed when the world in in flux around you & you need to ground yourself ...
 In 2016, daughter had her two weddings - one in Dorset, the legal part, then we all adjourned to France for a week so they could do a blessing they had planned themselves. I loved the regional Vendee entwined hearts that are on their crest & all over the little town we stayed in. It can be seen in the image with the chef & his daughter. I have wanted to sew one for the daughter as a reminder, so I made the cardboard template & decided the time is nigh ....

I made the outline template for the crest & then used a combination of French toile & vintage, faded fabric for the two hearts. It was tricky sewing. I had bought some hand sewing threads in various shades of gold that I knew I wanted to use. I couched (a new sewing technique for me) the gold outline shape, then filled in the cross at the top with gold beads to show the importance of it. It was several days of hand sewing but so relaxing to just work on the stitching.

 I decided to make another, different one in blues but with the same entwined Vendee hearts. This one is blue & gold with much more hand stitching in contrasting blue thread.
 Working on the pink crest ...
 A calm & therapeutic work space in the conservatory - with no visitors allowed, it is a good space to work with lovely light & views across the garden. What a luxury to not have to pack up each day.

One of the most critical sewing projects was making fabric facemasks. With a massive shortage of face protection, there was no choice but to make masks that give a measure of protection while out in public. These were the ones I made for us & to gift to a friend who needed an operation.
The second lot of masks once I had managed to buy some more elastic

 Another essential sewing job was hemming fabrics I had bought for table cloths. I love buying pretty lengths of fabric to use at home because our table is rather large with two extensions. I fell in love with this fabric then realised it is because it reminds me of a set of plates I use for girlie friend suppers - a totally perfect match.
 I have loved having this space, especially the time to sort out the collection of threads, beads, fabrics, embellishments etc.  I love organised fabrics & spaces because then you know exactly what is there.

Home projects - I am always doing some projects because I love changing things & doing projects. I shared how I framed this silk scarf I had bought in Austria .

 Celebrating .... VE 75 day - our community joined in a self distancing time for the 75 years since the declaration of VE day in Europe. Like many in our community, we put up bunting, a table & chairs on our front lawn & had afternoon tea out while chatting across the road to neighbours. The huge national celebrations had been cancelled but we paid our own homage.

My special birthday came & my friends & family spoilt me with deliveries  - our Transylvania trip postponed for a year ... 

Spoilt with so many gorgeous blooms & gifts

A close friend did a socially distance cake  & rose drop along with a bag of self raising flour - in such demand & widely unavailable; a birthday in a different time with different needs ...

Easter came & went in lockdown - I still insisted on changing the sideboard & setting a pretty table for just two of us - the rhythm of life that punctuated the craziness going on around us.
 My Easter tree in the dining room - I decided to put it up as a sign that normality can be found by doing familiar things at home ....

Our Easter lunch with traditional lamb- the more things change, the more they stay the same.

A new baby, our first grandchild, came in to this crazy world, all our plans of joining daughter & her hubby were thrown to the wind as we were not allowed to travel, mix or stay over. What a relief that he arrived safely. We had bought the little booties / shoes on our Christmas market trip to Europe last December so that was very fortuitous as we had given them to the parents just a weekend or two before lockdown.

The parents were blessed by lockdown because the little lad got his parents undivided attention for weeks as no visitors were allowed. The parent birthing plan was in total disarray but they found the NHS hospital to be amazing, so there are silver linings in Lockdown.

Green spaces have been essential lifesavers in these trying times. We are fortunate to live close to a lake,  some woods & fields so have been able to get out for daily walks, seldom seeing people which made it safe.

100 days of lockdown means we have seen the seasons change during our walks ....
 Another local walk with beautiful views across our local area.
 The poppy fields have come in to flower & turning to seed heads
 Our local lake & woods - the trees have come in to leaf, the canopy above has covered the sky between the trees, the trees have their bright leaves, the swan sat on her 9 eggs, hatched them & we now feed the swan family on the lake - life has gone one quietly, resolutely all through lockdown.
In many ways it feels as if life has been in limbo, we have lost 100 days of regular life but we have gained 100 days of quality time, time to use largely as we wish & that alone is such a once in a life time event.

The lessons from 100 days .... 
I am a positive person so even though I cannot tutor & support my many students, I have kept in regular touch with all my families. I have phoned them & taken calls from them, advising them on schooling of my students & younger siblings. They have always asked after my own family & our health - the little bubble I have with the families I work closely with over many years. There is a new awareness of the work of educational settings & of how difficult it is to keep children busy for weeks at a time. It has been challenging but it has strengthened some family bonds.

There is a growing awareness of growing your own food & of the value of gardening, something I always do but I was caught on the backfoot as I had not planted up enough salad greens.

Many more people have been cooking & baking at home which has resulted in a shortage of things but I have seen this as a positive that there has been a return to traditional ways which is a good thing.  Flour had become the new wealth, Tesco home delivery slots the new happiness ....

My community has come together with neighbours looking out for each other - with us sharing things we would usually sell or gift to charity shops - items just put on drives with a sign saying FREE

Children raising funds for local wildlife & other charities because they have come to care deeply about their immediate environment & that alone is so huge ...

I initially expressed this thought:

We are all in the same boat - that sounds supportive & encompassing  & perhaps that is how we should think of this crisis times

We in the UK have watched the scenes across China & Europe with sadness, fear & then disbelief at how quickly it has gripped all our nations.  Last week, there was an air of foreboding lurking in the shadows - a feeling that we were in the lull before the storm & then suddenly this week, the Covid19 storm caught up with us & we are being tossed around in its turmoil. 

Before altering my view to:

In a previous post as we were all trying to process the Covid-19 storm that enveloped us, I put some of my thoughts to paper in this post.  I said we are all in the same boat, I have now come to realise that we are in the same storm, but in our own boats, trying to weather it best that we can.

I am now of the mind that we have come through these 100 days of Lockdown changed, in time people will write about this time, children will learn of it at school & perhaps, grandchildren will say ‘What did you do in lockdown Grandma?’ How we answer will be very different, very personal, very telling.

What did you do in your 100 days of lockdown? 

Thank you for stopping by & gifting me some of your time, stay safe & may we all weather this storm with fortitude, gratitude & love,

Dee ~💕~


  1. Beautiful post! So many fabulous projects! A productive season of home❤️

    1. Thank you for your support & kind words Lynda, I have enjoyed my uninterrupted time because I love having projects on the go, as do you ....


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