Saturday, May 15, 2021

Things To Be Grateful For

Even though the weather so far this Spring in the UK has been pretty dire, we do have some things to be grateful for.

It's been pretty dismal so far this year in many ways, with a full lockdown due to Covid from Christmas up to a few weeks ago, so we couldn't go anywhere even if we wanted to. Then the weather has been cold, wet and windy, so we had no desire to go out either.

However, even though this year hasn't been a great one so far for the weather, I for one am really grateful that this time last year we had exceptional weather for a long period of time.

As the Covid restrictions were beginning in the UK towards the end of March 2020 and people were starting to work from home, I was shocked to hear that I was being placed on furlough as from 1st April.

My first reaction was shock and horror, but it didn't take me too long to realise that even though I was on 80% of my salary we were financially secure, for a while at least and with the weather by the beginning of April already being practically perfect, I was exceptionally lucky.

I ended up being on furlough until the last week of May, so almost 2 months, during which I did more work in the garden that I would normally manage in the whole Spring and Summer. With the weather being glorious for weeks and weeks on end, I also managed to spend a lot of time in the garden relaxing, reading a number of books and having a few barbecues.

Although at the time I was worried about when I would be going back to work and also whether that was an "if", I was fairly relaxed and thoroughly enjoyed the break from my normal routine.

Thinking back now, if the weather had been as bad this time last year as it has been this year, what a miserable and depressing Spring it would have been.

Right now we are looking forward to some nice weather as Summer approaches, since it seems that almost every weekend so far the weather has gone downhill and it's been wet and windy. Well not much wind today, but frequent showers, some of them really heavy.

So, how is your year going so far? Do you have any plans for the Summer? Have you managed to get out and enjoy some time in the country already this year? Do you have plans to try and spend some time abroad later this year? Please leave us a comment, we would love to hear from you.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Happy Christmas 2020

 Well it's been a funny old year 2020 hasn't it! I mean "funny" as in  "strange" of course, not humorous, which it hasn't been for the most part.

Things all started off well enough, other than this virus that was affecting people in China. Then, before we knew it, the thole world had been caught up in Covid-19 and it was panic stations as countries either tried to get hold of PPE equipment, or just tried to fob it off as a hoax or deny it.

Sadly, 9 months later, some people still think Covid-19 is a myth. I think there are far more though, who would admit it's not, having lost someone they love or at least someone they know to it.

Of course with Covid-19 came the lockdowns, limiting where people could travel, who they could meet up with etc and along with that the panic buying as people feared that the stores woudl run out of essential items, like toilet paper. Naturally they did, but not because of supply problems, instead just because of greedy people loading up their shopping carts and clearing the shelves.

Then, many of us didn't even try to go abroad for our summer break. Many didn't go anywhere hardly, but another group couldn't miss their holidays by the beach and complained when another wave of lockdowns hit while they were away. Like many others, I think we file that in the "selfish" category.

Right now, in the last few days before Christmas, it's time to panic but again, at least in the UK, as between scares over Brexit causing shortages, there are now fears over a new strain of the virus. As a result, Great Britain has very much become an island again, with flights and ferries cancelled.

Hopefully this will be a good thing in the long run, prompting us to try and be more self sufficient in some ways, but like everything this year, we don't know what lies ahead of us. The one saying that does keep coming to mind is "Hindsight is the only perfect science" and that has proved to be true over and over again in 2020.

Well, if you are reading this, and I hope someone does, I wish you a safe and happy Christmas holiday and as always for the New Year, a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous one. I don't think we can wish anyone more than that, other than to add that hopefully this time next year, things will have mostly returned to normal. A better kind of normal as well.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Our Wild And Wonderful Back Garden

We have lived in our house for the last 5 years, and it was built in the 1950's, so the gardens in the area are for the most part fairly mature, and there are still a few patches of woodland around.

As a result, we do from time to time see wildlife in our garden, notably foxes and occasionally hedgehogs, but the big holes that were dug in the flower bed at the side of the house this summer, added to the fact that holes had been made in several fence panels, made us wonder if we had a badger visiting.

With my birthday coming up, and both of us being very curious, we decided together that a good gift would be a wildlife camera, so that we could leave it outside with a timer set, and find out for sure what was coming into our garden.

Well, the results have been very enlightening, with some of our questions answered on the very first night, and I decided to create a Wildlife Category on the blog that Debbie and I had created 6 years ago and which I have allowed to fall by the wayside.

We have had our wildlife camera almost a month now, and I have to admit that checking it every morning has become something that we both look forward to.

In fact when we go on holiday soon to Devon in the West Country, we are going to take the camera with us, as we will be staying in a place that is right out in the country and surrounded by fields.

Some examples of the moments that our wildlife camera have captured can be seen below. We welcome you to subscribe to our videos, and then as we add more you will be notified automatically.

Friday, August 1, 2014

My Florida Vacation Has Gone By So Fast

Isn't it amazing how a two week vacation seems like a long time, but no sooner has that vacation begun than it's time to go home again.

My Florida vacation has just gone by so fast, I can't believe I have been here for two weeks already, and tomorrow night it's time for that long lonely flight back to London from Miami again.

It's really hard only being able to see my daughters once a year, and with the cost of flights escalating every year, it makes the trip harder to afford each time.

My online earnings have dropped in the last year for a number of reasons, including changes in Google, several sites closing down, and my struggling to focus on writing as much as anything, so I really need to knuckle down and look into finding ways to boost my earnings again, otherwise it's possible the trip won't happen next year.

If you haven't had to be apart from your kids for a long time, it's hard to understand just how difficult that is emotionally, especially when an ocean separates you and you struggle to afford a trip to see them once a year.

They change so much every year too, and now as they approach 10 and 14 years old, they are already turning into young ladies and are no longer interested in the things that we used to do together when they were younger.

So each year gets tougher in so many ways, but it's always great to see them and to be able to spend a couple of precious weeks together in a condo right by the beach.

So now to focus on next year, keeping on buying the lottery tickets, and hoping that one day maybe that winning ticket will be ours, and I can see them more than once a year.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

A Tough Weekend For An A.D.D. Sufferer

Next weekend I am off to Florida for two weeks on my annual trip to see my girls, and although as a frequent traveller I was always prepared for my trips both mentally and physically well in advance, in recent years I have found that just trying to get everything ready for a trip becomes very stressful.

My self-diagnosed A.D.D. makes me very forgetful as well as prone to stopping in the middle of doing one thing and starting another.  This doesn't help at all when you are trying to make sure that you have everything ready to take with you and that you don't forget anything.

Of course the best solution is to make a list, and while I have done this in my head dozens of times over the last month or so, I only physically started making my list yesterday, and then added (hopefully) all the things I had forgotten this morning.

It's the important things that I have trouble with every year is finding my American credit cards and bank cards. I don't use these in the UK, and so I put them away somewhere safe until the next trip. Unfortunately, I usually forget where that safe place is, and this year has been no exception. Luckily for me Debbie (my wife) understands me, and can usually tell me where this is, even though I have forgotten.

So far, I have most things done, except for getting my clothes ready. I have all the electronics sorted - all ready, charged, spare batteries ready as well as chargers and cables. I even managed to get both of our laptops fully backed up "just in case".

Now it's just a case of trying to not get too stressed at work in my last week before the trip, and to make sure I have everything ready to go.

Do you suffer from forgetfulness, or struggle to organize yourself before going on a trip?