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A bit of a gap in the diary! This one is 17th August to 3rd September

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Well the nicest of reasons for not blogging for the last couple of weekends:  some time spent with younger son and his family.  They have three children under seven and two dogs, all pretty well behaved but nevertheless life was suddenly very full with all moments spoken for and "Grandma!  Grandma!" the rallying cry.  These are days you have to make the most of.  Our oldest grandchild is now a young man of fourteen, lovely and loving but living his own life with his own friends and enthusiasms, just as it should be.  It seems no time since he was three and insisting on sitting next to Grandma at the table, having Grandma put him to bed and read him stories.  So while there are stories to be read and games to play and children pursuing you around the garden - "Grandma, where are you?" - these are the days that lay the foundations for a life long relationship.

So there is hair to be brushed and plaited and ribbons to be tied.  The youngest is a two year old little boy…

Coronavirus week 21 - 9 to 16 August

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This week we went away, yes that's right, away from home!  We went to stay for a couple of nights in The Bull Inn in Sedbergh with some friends.  It felt odd to pack a bag, to decide to take my new tapestry crochet bag for my ipad and chargers, to think about something to wear which was not jeans or leggings with tops and t shirts. Part of me was pleased at the prospect of change and part of me did not want to go and leave our quiet, peaceful hideaway.   Away we went, over the border into England.  On the M6 the traffic was as heavy as usual. New cases of the virus are continuing to track at around 1000 a day but deaths and hospital admissions have fallen considerably from the peak.  Certainly out on the roads there was none of that sense of the country having gone into hibernation which was apparent even a few weeks ago.  The world was busy and on the move.Sedbergh is both on the very western edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park and just in Cumbria, a small town with bookshop…

Coronavirus week 20 - 2 to 9 August

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Well here, rather extraordinarily, is a week with lots of post coronavirus firsts in it!  Some restrictions have been eased and while new cases have risen, both here and in England,  there has as yet been no increase in hospital admissions and only small numbers of new deaths.  Many of the new cases seem to be in younger people so it is possible that, however unpleasant the virus may be, young people are not as badly affected as the over fifties and that might account for a different profile in the new cases.So this week had three new experiences for me since the onset of lockdown:  first of all on Tuesday I went to see the hygienist at the dentist for the first time since January.  This was quite a strange feeling.  I had been asked to wear a mask and to wait outside the dental surgery when I arrived.  A young dental nurse, gowned and wearing a visor, came out to take my temperature and ask a variety of questions to establish whether I might be suffering from the virus.  Having done …

Coronavirus diary week 19 - 26th July to 2nd August

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Can this strange period really have been going on for so long?  Sometimes I am so used to it I hardly register it as strange.  I get up, I do my Spanish skype or zoom call three mornings a week.  I run, I read, I garden, I do complicated crochet.  I talk to our children on facetime or whatsapp.  This week I have been cleaning the house ready for the visit of an estate agent this afternoon.  In many ways it all feels entirely normal.  And then I turn on the news and there is a further restriction in Greater Manchester and other parts of the North.  I am so glad we took the opportunity to see our older son and his family in Manchester as soon as we could.  We sat in the garden when we went, although we could have gone inside at that time.  We stuck to our rules here in Wales and spent our time with them outside. Now at the moment two households are no longer allowed to meet inside or in a private garden so even spending time with them in the way we did a few weeks ago would not be allow…

Coronavirus week 18 - 19th to 26th July

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Time to generate a bit more energy.  While things have opened up a lot in England, life here stays pretty much the same.  One change still to come in Wales is the reopening of the housing market which should happen tomorrow, 27th July.  Will that mean that we get viewings after such a long fallow period when Ian and I are the only people who  have been coming in through the door?  Part of me is excited about that because selling the house is a necessary step on the big adventure of building our new house.  Part of me doesn't want it to happen.  We have always loved this house and it has sheltered us and given us a beautiful refuge during these last months.  Incompatible priorities.  I want to stay and I want to move on.  I can't have it both ways!
So I am shaking myself up a bit as I often do when I feel stuck.  Since much of day to day living is necessarily the same here I have to look around for ways of doing that which are compatible with the restrictions of life in the time…

Coronavirus week 17 - 12th to 19th July

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Well now we have achieved it: all our children and grandchildren have been seen again and I am once more comfortable in my own skin.  This last week we made our longest journey since February and drove down to Devon where we had a meal with my sister and her family and inspected the amazing progress on the new house they are building and then carried on and spent two nights with younger son and his family.  We took the campervan so we could sleep outside and most of the time was spent outside in the garden because the sun shone and Ian was installing two new gates he had made for them.  It was simply lovely to see everyone again and to find that the children, aged six, four and two, were excited and delighted to see us and did not seem to have forgotten their connection with us over the four months since we had seen them.  It was strange to be out on the motorway again, to be stuck in slow moving traffic in Birmingham, to feel as though life had gone back to normal and then to notice …

Coronavirus week 16 - 5th to 12th July

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On Monday 6th July the rules in Wales restricting travel to the local area were lifted and we set off down to South Wales to visit our elder daughter and her family.  It was February since we had seen them although very frequent facetime or other calls had made me feel very much in touch.  The thing is that virtual contact is fine for adults but works much less well for children.  And the younger the child the more you need the real in-the-flesh communication.  I was longing to see them.  
Of course it has not really gone back to normal.  We spent the day at Emma's outside, only going in to use the bathroom.  This was helped by the fact that they have just had a stone terrace built outside the sitting room with loads of room to play, sit, eat and chat.  It was just so lovely to see them, to catch up and walk round admiring their lockdown achievements, with the construction of a shelter to sit in or sleep in and a fire pit in the field.  Ten year old Joseph was as delighted with his…