A week's diary

Monday 12th April was the day for the opening up of some restrictions in England, not here in Wales where some things (hairdressers!) had already opened and others (outside hospitality) remain closed until the 26th of this month.  So here, in case I forget as I surely will, is a day by day account of this last week.


We drove to Manchester for the first time in months to see our older son and his family.  You know that little children grow very fast but even so it was a shock to see how tall the six year old has become and that the two year old has gone from a toddler to a chatty little girl in the months since we had seen them.  The oldest, at fifteen, is very clearly a young man now.  How fast it goes.  We shared lunch and walked and played in the park.  At one point the six year old said with some satisfaction "You really like me don't you Grandma?"  How lovely.  That is one of the great gifts grandparents can give their grandchildren, that sense of other people who think they are wonderful.  "Yes Ted," I said.  "I really do."


Tuesday is language learning day every week: an hour's conversation with my Spanish friend in Valencia in the morning, a three hour zoom class with the Welsh tutor in the afternoon.  At the end of the day, as I am every week, I was shattered.  It is the concentration I think.  How did I hold down a demanding job and travel all over the place and work every hour God sends?  I have no idea.  But now this is the one thing that I do that works the brain and is hard.  It is good to do something hard amidst the easy gentle pace of retirement, well it is for me.  Without it I would turn to mush.


I went for a run, if you can dignify my slow speed with that term.  Ian and I signed up for the Chester 10k again and at the moment it is scheduled to be run in July.  There is no way in the world that I could run 10k right now after a winter of little running.  I don't know if it reflects not having been a runner at all until I was sixty four but my fitness disappears very quickly and it is a battle to regain it.  After a month of trying hard to get back to running three times a week since we came here I am just starting to have the occasional run which feels good instead of impossibly hard.  That is what I do it for, that glorious sense of your body moving, doing what it was made for.  You don't get it all the time but when I run more often it is reasonably frequent, and even when, as now,  it feels hard while I am running, it always feels great afterwards.


Thursday was a red letter day.  I went to the hairdressers.  I will happily never go to a big sporting event.  With much more difficulty I could I suppose forgo theatre and concerts (but I don't want to!) but the one thing I was looking forward to that was not to do with family and friends was having my hair cut and coloured again.  I am not one of those people who loves the process but I do love the result.  It makes me feel like me again!  Despite the wearing of masks and the temperature taking and the social distancing in the salon it felt so good to be back.


Friday was another run in the morning and a visit to younger daughter's garden in the afternoon.  We have also had our electricity supply for the new house laid on this week.  The road outside the plot had to be closed while the trench was dug and the cable brought to the house.  Apologies to our new neighbours for the inconvenience this must have caused them!  This feels like real progress after several weeks in which the house itself has not grown at all.  Friday evening has become an evening for fish and chips from the local cafe and a zoom call with friends over a bottle of wine.  Perhaps it won't be long until we can eat outside together in the garden or on their deck.  It just needs a few degrees more warmth!


On Saturday afternoon we watched the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh.  To my surprise I was very moved by the music, a choir of only four singers filling St George's Chapel with a glorious sound, and by the sight of the Queen alone, small and frail with her head bowed.  A fitting send off for an unusual man who took the chaos and instability of his own childhood and transformed his life into a strength and stability in support of his wife which cannot have been easy for a man of his generation I imagine.


And today we went for a coffee with a friend and to look at some of her new lambs, impossibly sweet and cuddly like illustrations from a children's book.  Again we had not seen her for months.  Life is slowly slowly opening up.  Little by little things are changing.

What have you done, if anything, with your new found freedoms?


  1. I've had that first long awaited and much needed hair cut, but apart from that I haven't really done anything to take advantage of the removal of some restrictions. I'm in no rush and it's just a bit too cold to sit outside to meet with people.

    1. It will make a big difference when the temperature goes up a few degrees! Yes I too am in no great rush to get out and about, just to see the people I love!

  2. I cut my own hair and my husband's so no hairdressing treat for me! I don't think I've done anything I haven't been doing, but did notice when we went to Hay market this week, because Lockdown was over there and the shops open again, it was very much busier. It was good to meet up with our Hay friends now they are trading again and I hope they have a sell-out of their stock!

    Apart from that we did go into one of the newly-opened shops in Builth which sells 2nd hand furniture (house clearance, so nothing exciting) and bought a lovely old 18th C settle which desperately needs TLC. It was worth every penny of the sensible price we paid for it to see the smile on my husband's face. A new challenge for his woodworking skills.

    1. I like the sound of your eighteenth century settle! What a great project. We haven't yet ventured into our nearest town although when we went visiting in Manchester our son reported lots of people in the streets, many queuing for the barbers!

  3. Good to hear that you have some more freedom and could meet up with family. Thought the funeral was a fitting tribute to the Duke. It seemed a shame that the "Lady-in Waiting", I assume, who travelled in the car with the Queen could not sit with her.

    1. It seemed fitting in some ways that the queen should sit alone. We have another trip planned at the end of the week which will take us to see our younger son and his family - can't wait!

  4. Freedom is coming to this part of Wales too - not in a rush but in little everyday things. Tenby was awash with people shopping and swimming even - and I loved it! The beaches are filling again with folk - and slowly the fear is receding like a tide. I hope it never returns.

    1. I'm looking forward to being able to sit round a table and talk into the night! Outside will do to begin with but preferably my own dining table !

  5. We have travelled outside East Ayrshire for the first time in a year.
    We are looking forward to travelling to Wales to see family for the first time in nearly two years. You are right about how much they change! Thanks be for fb and insta to keep up with them.

    1. The tech has been absolutely vital. Last week we saw some of our many grandchildren for the first time for months. The time didn't seem to matter at all but I'm sure that is partly because we have been talking on facetime frequently and that has kept the connection going even for the little ones!


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