Friday, 19 June 2020

Five things that made me smile in lockdown

Following on from the previous blog where I was possibly a little less perky than usual - at least that's the way I was feeling when I wrote it - I thought I'd follow it up with something rather more chirpy.  As restrictions ease (I was going to add 'at least for now' but let's be optimistic!) many of us are emerging from the experience rather differently to the way we went in.

The headlines may have focused on the folks who seem to have little respect for the landscape but for many of us it's been about learning new skills, making new friends and appreciating the smaller things in life.

Here are 5 things which have really made me smile over the past few months.

1.  Walks in the sunshine

As I type this it is *pouring* down outside but, let's face it, the weather during lockdown has been amazing!  I still haven't ventured more than 5 miles from our home and during the main lockdown I barely went out at all.  But when we did get out we truly appreciated the fresh air, open spaces and wonderful warm sunshine.  The day the photo above was taken we'd been out for 6 hours and only saw 4 other people - 2 near the start and 2 near the end.  Perfect!

2.  Our Saturday nights in the virtual pub with friends

During the first weekend one of our very good friends, who happens to be an events organiser, created a virtual pub.  There have been talks, charades which have to be mimed using stuffed toys and, of course, a pub quiz.  Everyone has been really inventive with their rounds so me & Steve pitched in.  We started by creating really bad drawings of famous events from history (Mo Farrah winning the 5000m at the London Olympics - obviously 😂) and progressed to making models of cartoon characters (Marvin the Martian - how could you not get that one from our superb recreation? 😁).  We laughed as much putting the rounds together as we did watching the looks on everyone's face as they tried to figure out what it was...

3.  Posh Sunday lunch

One of the highlights was definitely being offered the chance to try out Simon Rogan at Home.  We are lucky enough to live within shouting distance of L'enclume but have never had the cash to visit.  I'll be honest (and Steve will cringe when he reads this, but knows what I'm like!) I was worried it would be 'poncy piles of food' and we'd need a bag of oven chips on standby!  I couldn't have been more wrong!  There was TONS of food - so much that we had mains at lunch time and pud for tea,  All the food is freshly made that morning and comes with full and very easy to follow re-heating instructions.  I was delighted as I've always loved how hard Simon Rogan and his team work to support our local community.  The Simon Rogan at Home 3 course dinner is just £30 or the 2 course Sunday Roast with all the trimmings is just £25. The only downside is that, for now, it's only available in South Cumbria (but they will be expanding their delivery areas) - so check it out next time you're here!

4.  A fizz fuelled lockdown birthday

Yes, I'm one of the folks who has had a birthday in lockdown.  Luckily, these days, I'm not much of a party animal so it wasn't much different to other years.  A few years ago we ran off to Scotland in our camper van to celebrate my 50th with only otters for company.  This year we were obviously at home and managed a soggy toddle in the morning before I hit the airwaves in the evening.  I had full permission from the studio boss to start on the bubbly on song 9 (if you're a Eurovision fan, you'll understand the significance, especially as song 9 was an obscure but lovely Eurovision entry from Malta many years ago!), and he also allowed me an extra 30 mins so I could cram in all my very favourite tunes.  I had an absolute blast!  (You can catch my show Wed/ Thur/ Fri 5-7pm and Sat 9am - 12noon right here.)

5.  Spending more time at home, with him.

Pre lockdown my life was a whirlwind of trains, hotel rooms and random offices.  While the financial downside is indeed huge, I have massively enjoyed spending more time at home and larking around with Steve.  I really feel for all those who have been isolated during lockdown.  Three months on and I am not even close to being bored of spending so much time at home.  In fact I really hope that the way we're being forced to reinvent our business will enable me to spend more time at home in future and a lot less time in lonely hotel rooms.  I think the cats are getting fed up of me now, but Steve seems to be coping ok...

Don't forget you can support us in two ways.  You can find all of our books right here - and we are happy to sign them for gifts etc. if you'd like.  You can also support the blog by buying us a 'virtual coffee' right here.  Thank you.