Monday, 24 May 2021

Freedom - of sorts

I would like to start by correcting the impression I might have given in my previous post that when I acted as a polling clerk it was a volunteering role; it wasn't, I got paid for it! The standard rate for poll clerking is £150.00 for the day -  which sounds a lot, but as we are there for 16 hours; it works out as just under 10.00 per hour - not that much, really. The Presiding Officer role pays twice that amount, but I wouldn't want the responsibility so I've always gone for the poll clerk role. We also get paid for training. Right, now I've cleared that up this is what I've been up to since my last post.

 I managed to swim 42 laps in the allotted time on Tuesday but that was partly because there were fewer people in the lane; also several got out of the pool leaving me the only swimmer in my lane for the last ten minutes of the swim - yay! Anyway, goal achieved and let's hope I can continue to keep it up.



Trousers by La Redoute; bought in their sale about 6 - 7 years ago. Top by Tu; charity shopped in a Porthleven charity shop. Shoes charity shopped in a Taunton charity shop. I've been saying I bought these in Ireland, but looking at an old post I'd bought them on a trip out in Devon with Hilary some years back.

Outerwear; coat by Laura Ashley bought from secondhand site Vinted.

Wednesday was a beautiful day for walking. It was overcast, but by mid morning the sun came out and the breeze turned from chilly to cool. There were 13 of us on the walk I led; 7 miles in length. It was very good to walk in a group again and catch up with a couple of walkers I know well. Everyone enjoyed the walk which is always good to know! In the afternoon I went to Rushden for a rummage in the Salvation Army shop which is among one of my favourites. I bought a wooden darning mushroom for 50p; something I've been looking out for for a while, a book and a small heart shaped cushion for 75p. I also picked up a yellow wooden ampersand sign for my daughter (the colour scheme in her living room is yellow, white and grey) and that was it.  No clothes! Rummaging urge satisfied I returned home and made dinner. We watched The Great British Sewing Bee in the evening. I think Serena could be the winner but there's a way to go yet. Esme's (one of the judges) necklaces get madder each week. Last week there were pots of coloured paint hanging around her neck but she always looks so fabulous. I wonder if she makes her own clothes?


This was Thursday's outfit.
 
Even though I've been retired for 7 years; I still get a thrill on the days when I don't have to get up by a certain time. Usually it's Thursdays and Fridays for me. Once I'm awake; nearly always around 7am which seems to be a natural waking up time for me; I usually read 'The Guardian' headlines on my phone whilst still in bed; then I get up at my leisure and get ready at the same pace. It's blissful; I hope the thrill of it doesn't wear off!

I spent most of Thursday shopping. I went to Sharnbrook for kindling and firelighters, then Aldi and Lidl for groceries. My bird feeding supplies were depleted so I went to B&M and Home Bargains to stock up again; and also picked up logs at B&M to save OH a trip after work. The birds are eating voraciously at the moment; it's hard to keep the feeders replenished! On my way home from all the shopping the rain came down heavily; we'd had small showers throughout the day but this was torrential rain. I'd left some washing out so had to rescue it when I got in, spin it again and hang it up inside.


All jewellery charity shopped except the earrings bought from Sainsbury's many years ago.

I enjoyed listening to 'The Adventures of Miss Barbara Pym' on BBC R4's 'Book of the Week' which I caught up with this week.  I didn't realise she lived in the same part of London where I grew up for many years; I wondered if there was a blue plaque outside her house. The next time I go to London, I'll check it out. It made me want to re-read her books and as I had a collection of her books I started with her first novel; 'Some Tame Gazelle'.



Friday was overcast but at least it didn't rain. I went for a swim in the morning and completed 40 laps. The pool seems to be quite crowded on Friday mornings which often means waiting for people to swim far enough ahead of you so you don't collide. I like to swim my laps without stopping so I'm going to try booking next week for Thursday afternoon to see if it's less crowded.

All jewellery charity shopped.


My first wearing of white jeans this year. Jeans by Next; charity shopped; top by M&S bought in Keech Hospice shop in Kempston last week and shoes by Sainsbury's retail in their sale. I wore a jacket when I went out as it wasn't warm enough to go without one. 

In the afternoon, after putting a wash on, I went into to town to run a couple of errands and whilst I was there had a look in a couple of charity shops for some more Barbara Pym books. I was missing four to make up the complete collection. I didn't find any in the charity shops but I did go to our local independent second hand bookshop. We have a Waterstones and WHSmith but both sell new books. The independent bookshop had moved to new premises just before the first lockdown (bad timing) which I hadn't visited before. It was very spacious with several sofas and chairs to sit and read in.  I found one Barbara Pym book and another green Virago to add to my collection; as well as a natural history book and a crime book by Denise Mina which I hadn't read. I was very satisfied with my purchases and only have 4 more Barbara Pym books to track down now...

Saturday's outfit; everything charity shopped. Top by Joules charity shopped from Barnardo's, polo top underneath by Zara from Daycare Hospice Shop and trousers by Papaya; can't remember where I got them from nor the shoes by Hotter.

Saturday was wet but luckily not cold. We've had about a months rainfall in the past couple of days. The garden needed it but enough already! I had no plans made for Saturday so I went for a rummage to Newport Pagnell where I haven't been since before Christmas. I found a Fred Vargas book; two brooches for 50p each; and a yellow dress from the 2.00 rail in The Willen Hospice Shop. I also bought a necklace in the RSPCA shop. A new charity shop had opened in Newport Pagnell; another Keech Hospice shop; it sold furniture and bric a brac with books upstairs. No Barbara Pym books unfortunately.



All jewellery charity shopped except the earrings from eBay.


Coat by Per Una (M&S) bought from a charity shop years ago.

When I got back from my rummage I made a cauliflower, chickpea and spinach curry and baked a Victoria sponge cake. I've never made a vegetarian curry before only vegetarian stir fries. It turned out very well and I enjoyed it. I have several more vegetarian recipes to try out. I like vegetarian food as I don't eat very much meat and as my daughter has now become a vegan that's even more incentive to make more vegetarian dishes. OH, son and grandsons all remain meat addicts.

Sunday's outfit. Everything charity shopped. Trousers by Et Vous; kimono; no label. Can't remember where I got either of them from. The trousers were too snug in the waist and have been re-donated.


All jewellery charity shopped.

Sunday was like Saturday; rainy with sunny spells. I went for a 6 mile walk along the river to Cardington Lock and back along the opposite side of the river. I spied these:


Cygnets!

And these:

 A lot of messing about in boats. 
I also saw two girls paddleboarding down the river Great Ouse but didn't get the camera out in time...

On Monday, it was back to Barnardo's volunteering. It was the first week of just me and the new manager. We worked very hard but had to stop donations just before I left; it's too hard for one person to deal with the donations and do the till and serve customers. and at the moment there is no afternoon volunteer. We need more volunteers! I wore my checked home made dress which I wore in my last post for the first time, so you didn't need to see it again.


This was what I wore to the food bank on Tuesday. Mustard trousers from La Redoute retail; top by M & Co and striped top underneath; both charity shopped as were the brown Mary-Jane shoes. There were torrential downpours whilst I was at the food bank; we have a corrugated iron roof and it sounded like people drumming when the rain came down.



All jewellery charity shopped.

I went swimming in the afternoon; did my 42 laps and had the pool to myself for the last ten minutes - again!

On Wednesday, I joined a group walk in Milton Keynes. Milton Keynes isn't just concrete cows and roundabouts it also has some very pretty villages. We walked from Woolstone; along the canal tow path to a country park area along the River Ouzel (a tributary of the Great Ouse) then around Willen Lake and back to Woolstone; 6 miles in all. There were 9 of us in total and the we were very lucky with the weather. It stayed sunny and warm throughout the day; no rain. On the way back to the start point I rescued two square plant pots out of a skip. Wednesday was OH's birthday. He gets his state pension this month and hopes to reduce his days at work from 5 to 3 starting in July. Being furloughed for 12 weeks when the first lockdown occurred allowed him to see that retirement could be fun. We're going out for a birthday meal on Saturday night with my three brothers and my daughter. It will be the first time we've been out for a meal together since last July when we went out for brother Mark's birthday.

Top photo is the Peace Pagoda on Willen Lake; below right a tiny church spotted on the walk and left a wisteria festooned classic house in Olney. I stopped in Olney on the way back home to have a rummage in their 3 charity shops. Did I buy anything? Yes, I did. I bought this:

A sideboard!

In the third charity shop (Willen Hospice Shop - we passed the actual Willen Hospice on our walk)) I saw this sideboard. I thought it looked very much in the 'Arts and Crafts' style and I loved it. It was also reduced from £85.00 to £60.00, so that was a bonus although the delivery was expensive. It was delivered on Thursday morning and my old sideboard was donated in exchange and taken away. I'm so pleased with it. 
We watched The Great British Sewing Bee in the evening. I was amazed at Raph's skills and wonder if he might be the winner...time will tell.

Thursday was a very busy day. There was waiting in in the morning for the delivery which luckily didn't come too late.  I repacked the new sideboard when it arrived and found I even had room to spare.Then it was off to do the food shopping (Lidl and Aldi), a super fast unpacking and putting away followed by a swim. Thursday was definitely the better day than Friday. There were only 4 people in my swimming lane throughout the entire hour. It will also mean that I can have Fridays as a free day - at least until the Ramblers Friday bus walks restart. I wore some new to me orange trousers picked up at my Barnardos; my Nomads top and white Gap shirt underneath and my orange Seasalt clogs - all charity shopped. I didn't bother with photos;  because I was going swimming and didn't wear any make-up. I dropped off some spare wire hanging baskets we had to a walking friend, after dinner. She hadn't been able to buy any anywhere having tried all the usual places. We still have two larger hanging baskets to hang and fill at some stage over the next few months. All our hanging baskets were originally donated or car boot finds.



Friday was chilly, wet and grey. Hence the tights (from Snag). Yellow dress bought last Saturday from the Willen Hospice shop in Newport Pagnell; top underneath by Zara and shoes by Hotter both charity shopped.


All jewellery charity shopped.

 I didn't need to get up early for anything on Friday so spent a couple of hours pottering around before I had a shower and got dressed and made up. I went to Sharnbrook to buy some kindling and as they had trays of stocks I bought some quite cheaply. We had stocks last year; they smell divine but don't know what's happened to them. They may be in one of two pots which have contents as yet unknown to us; even if they are stocks and do bloom again I don't think I could ever have enough stocks in the garden. And talking about the garden here's whats blooming or about to bloom:

The delphinium is almost there (top left). The first ever alliums for us (top right). The rhododendron is so close to blooming (bottom left) last year's osteospermum back again (middle right) and our first ever Senetti (bottom left).
The iris is almost there (top left); last years dimorphotheca (another type of osteospermum - top right). A sweet william (bottom left); we have another potful that are just about to bloom as well; the pansies in the planter just keep on going.

In the afternoon I went to Ampthill for a rummage. I hadn't been since last autumn. The Age Concern shop had gone and The Mercy in Action hadn't reopened. That left three others and in Barnardos I bought a slug killer shaped like a frog (you put your murder weapon of choice in the middle; they eat it and die). We're still using crushed chilli flakes as a deterrent but some of the little devils are very persistent...I bought some home made jam in The Willen Hospice shop and that was my lot. No Barbara Pym books. I saw this:


It's an old Bentley, I think and it was blowing bubbles out of its rear end. Good luck to Tony and Katherine whoever you maybe!


Saturday's outfit. Everything charity shopped. Trousers by Avery bought in my Barnardos. Jumper by Next; and blazer by John Rocha also bought in my Barnardos. Mary Jane's can't remember where  got them from.


All jewellery charity shopped.



Saturday was a lazy day.  I read and pottered around the house doing little jobs here and there. I do enjoy a pottering about day. We decided to pop over to Emmaeus as we hadn't been for a while and had a bag of donations to get rid of. I looked for more Barbara Pym books but didn't find any. They had necklaces and bangles selling at 4 for 1.00 so of course I had to buy some! When we got back home we were just about to pot up all the plants I'd bought this week; including some more sweet peas that had arrived by post in the morning; when the heavens opened up with a hail shower! Then the sun came out briefly but then it continued to rain. My brothers arrived and we set out for the birthday meal at the King's Arm's in Cardington.  In the restaurant it was well spaced out with lots of space between tables;  hand sanitiser available, masks worn until you were seated; everyone had to give their contact details or use the NHS app to check in. Previously only one person from a group was required to leave contact details.  There were a lot of brave souls outside enjoying the evening rain and having a drink. The food was disappointing but the company was good. Julian went home by train and I drove the other brothers home to Kettering.

Here we are - a merry bunch!

 I wore this - sorry, it's a dreadful photo taken after 11 at night when I got back from Kettering...


Jacket by Zara; dress by Biba  (both charity shopped) and velvet trousers by M&S; retail in 2012! I wore these same trousers the first time I ever met my brother, Julian, in 2013...

The week began with taking both grandsons to school on Monday morning as the middle grandson had his GCSE English exam. Good luck, Isaiah! Then once I was ready it was off to Barnardos for a morning off receiving donations and processing them as fast as I could.

Seem to have splashed some water on my skirt - I hope it's water...

Everything charity shopped. Skirt by Betty Barclay, top by Next and home made vintage jacket  bought in the Red Cross shop. Shoes by Clarks; also charity shopped.

All jewellery charity shopped except the earrings from Sainsburys bought many years ago.

A while ago I broke one of my favourite necklaces. I had the idea to make some earrings out of the beads; some of which looked liked liquorice allsorts. I  already had jewellery pliers and earring hooks that I'd bought from eBay a while ago, as I often customise the earrings I find in charity shops. I sent off for some metal rods that go through the beads to make the earrings up. The first lot I bought were the wrong size but I reordered the right size which arrived on Monday. My plan is to make some earrings and I'll show you my efforts in my next post. We're off to the cinema on Monday evening to see 'Nomadland'. Another little step towards normality!







Tuesday, 11 May 2021

What the heck is the weather doing?

Although the temperatures in April were below the seasonal average it was still a lot warmer than before we went to Cornwall. I didn't need to put the heating on in the morning and although we were still lighting the fire each evening; it was usually around 7pm and not 5pm as before. On the last Wednesday in April, I went to recce the walk I'd be leading on 12th June and walked 7.5 miles. There were so many cowslips everywhere; it seems to be a bumper year for them.

More wildflowers spotted on my walk: left - Lungwort, top right; Greater Stitchwort; bottom right; Common Daisy.

I went to the hairdressers on Thursday morning and as she is near the Daycare Hospice I popped in for a quick look and dropped a carrier bag full of donations off. I bought a pair of dungarees and a cobalt blue top. I've never owned a pair of dungarees and I'm just hoping that at 67 I'm not too old to wear some! Just need some warmer weather...


This is the homemade dress I  bought from the Wood Green Animal Shelter charity shop when I dropped off a bag of donations last week.


I wore it with my bargainous 50p River Island jacket which I really love but swapped over to my denim jacket when I went off to the weekly shopping for a more casual look. Everything charity shopped including green River Island boots and thick woollen tights underneath. It was still a bit chilly thanks to the cold wind.

All jewellery charity shopped.



I went to Sharnbrook for logs and kindling; then Aldi, Lidl and Sainsburys. In Sainsburys, I got a real bargain; L'Oreal mascara for 1.50! Either Sainsburys are no longer going to stock this brand; or the company have discontinued it so they wanted to get rid of it. I like L'Oreal mascara and wear it all the time; I liked this discounted one so much I bought 3! In the evening we went over to my daughter's house with a birthday present for her partner.


Friday was a really nice day with bright sunshine and in the afternoon it was actually quite warm. I went swimming in the morning and did my 40 laps at last in 56 minutes. I was in need of bird food supplies so taking advantage of the lovely day walked to B&M and Home Bargains; both on the far side of town. I walked along the High Street and was pleased to see both the Marie Curie and the Autism Bedford charity shops were now reopened. I had a quick look in both and bough a green wool Jaeger high neck jumper in Marie Curie for 2.00. Updated to say when I washed it I noticed it had moth holes at the front! However, I am going to try and darn them - me who's never darned anything in my life!


The trousers are by F&F from Vinted, charity shopped shirt is also by F&F; jumper by H&M and boots; both charity shopped.

                                            
All jewellery charity shopped.
As well as going to B&M and Home Bargains; I walked to County Hall to collect some Covid -19 home testing kits. I'm acting as a Poll Clerk on 6th May at the local Police and Crime Commissioner Elections. I had to do some online training on Wednesday evening and we were advised to pick up the kits and test ourselves at least 4 days before the election and on the actual day itself. By the time I got home having finished all my errands; I'd walked 3.68 miles and was very hot; I didn't really need a jacket at all.


OH had his second jab on Saturday. After that we drove over to Kettering and went for a rummage. I bought a green shirt; 2 necklaces and some earrings. We met my brothers outside in a pub garden and had a catch up and then we drove home in brilliant sunshine. It had been quite chilly all day despite the sunshine and especially sitting in the pub garden.


Everything charity shopped except boots bought online. Trousers by Quiz bought from my Barnardo's and top by F&F bought from the Bedford Daycare Hospice shop.


I wore this M&S jacket from Vinted; it wasn't warm enough!


All jewellery charity shopped.

Sunday was a pleasant day. I went for a 5.5. mile walk in the morning along the river to Great Denham and onto Biddenham. In the afternoon we finally emptied out our compost bin which takes up far too much room in our garden.  I was going to take it to my friend Lynne's allotment; she told me when I met her on my walk that she could do with another one. We got six bags of rich black soil out of the compost bin which was very pleasing.  I washed the bin down as it was covered in bird poo being situated near the bird feeding station. I made a roast dinner for OH and both the grandsons.

Although Monday was a bank holiday in the UK; the charity shop was opened so I did a shift from 10 am to 1pm. We weren't very busy but the donations came in steadily. I was very naughty and bought a dress, a skirt and a jacket; which the new manager was going to assign to the rag bag. I rescued it! After I got home from the charity shop OH and I went to the garden centre and bought some plants to fill up our new space; I also stopped at Aldi and bought a small tray of petunias. It was a horrible day cold, wet and windy. We decided to move the compost bin to Lynne's allotment another day.  I did the housework and made soup with the leftover chicken from Sunday. I spent Monday evening catching up with blogland and reading.



All jewellery charity shopped.


Back to the food bank on Tuesday. Everything I wore was charity shopped. Trousers by Dunnes Stores (an Irish chain store); boots by Vanilla Moon; shirt by Punt Roma and top by Classic. It was a very windy day and pretty cold with the occasional burst of sun. It's May and I still haven't taken the summer stuff down from the loft AND we're still lighting the fire in the evenings! I went for my usual swim of 40 laps in the afternoon; then cooked dinner of salmon, roasted Mediterranean vegetables and sweet potato fries. I watched 'All That Glitters' and read in the evening by a nice warm fire... 

All jewellery charity shopped.

The plan was to go for a walk on Wednesday afternoon. I had errands to do in town and had a quick rummage; as both the 3:16 charity shop had reopened and the new YMCA. My outfit was all charity shopped. Red camouflage leggings from my Barnardo's; the striped dress is by H&M and also from my Barnardo's. The red and black striped cardigan is one I charity shopped somewhere years ago but can't remember where...boots as before. Once I got back home the heavens opened and we had hail followed by rain - all afternoon. Walk cancelled! However, I did go to Lidl and do my weekly shop.  Thursday was polling day here in the UK and as I acted as a poll clerk it meant an early start on Thursday. I got up at 5am for a 6.30 am start. The polling stations open at 7am and close at 10pm. We have to set up the polling booths and dismantle them afterwards as well put up and take down notices and reconcile the paperwork.


This was me at about 11 pm on Thursday 6th May after a 16 hour stint at our local polling station. The time went surprisingly fast; I worked with someone I'd worked with before so that was good. We were steadily busy throughout the day. We were asked not to wear colours associated with political parties so I opted for black and white with red boots. Jacket by Zara; charity shopped at my Barnardo's; the dress was picked up at the 3:16 charity shop; which reopened this week with a half price sale. Leggings by M&S retail. All jewellery charity shopped.

April was mostly wet and cold and in the garden flowering was somewhat later than usual. Adam Frost of 'Gardner's World;' a popular gardening programme here in the UK felt his flowers were blooming about 3 weeks later than usual. I'd say we're about the same compared to last year anyway.  Here's some of what is starting to bloom in my garden. Top left; the wall flowers are doing well; we have some others that have no flowers yet. Top right; the delphinium is starting to flower. In the planter the pansies have become huge and a bit blowsy. Bottom right the aquilegia (our first) is doing well.

The lavender has come on in leaps and bounds this week; the new magnolia has quite a few flowers but they haven't yet fully opened. The rhododendron has had buds for ages; but they've suddenly become bigger and look about to pop! There are also some buds on one of the clematis. Unfortunately, our first time ever anemone which had a lovely purple flower was destroyed by the winds on Thursday. Luckily there are several others in the pot so I'm hoping they'll bloom soon. 

On Friday, I went for my usual swim of 40 laps. I was so puzzled by the incongruity of the Fitbit watch recording of my swimming; I spoke to a couple of the pool attendants and queried the length of the pool. Shock, horror! It's 33.3 metres and not 50 metre as stated on the website. All the times I've been swimming 40 laps and thinking it's 2km are wrong. I've only been doing 1.3km! If I can manage 42 laps in the 60 mins available to swim; I could bring that up to 1.4k so that's the plan for next week's swimming. I've noticed this week how much more crowded the lanes are at the pool. Hopefully, after 17th May we may no longer have to book in advance and maybe the showers will finally reopen, too! I went to Aldi and to Sharnbrook for coal in the afternoon. It was a very pleasant afternoon, warm with lots of sun. I decided to go to Kempston for a quick rummage and bought a Gudrun Sjoden dress in The Cat's Protection League for 5.00; and a M&S floaty shirt in the Keech Hospice shop. There are 5 charity shops in Kempston but I only went to 3 as I'd spent enough by then...


Sunday's outfit. jeans by Next; top by Masai  both charity shopped and clogs by Evie via Vinted.



Earrings from eBay and beads charity shopped.

Saturday, in contrast to Friday, was grey, miserable and wet. It rained for most of the day. I had an extremely lazy day. After I'd got up and eaten my breakfast; I had a second cup of tea (such decadence) and sat on the sofa and finished my William Wisting (Norwegian detective) book. Then I decided it was time to do the swap over from winter to spring clothing; I don't know why, as the weather certainly wasn't springlike. It was quite a big task and took about 3 hours. I put 4 black sacks of winter clothing in the loft; unpacked 4 bags of spring/summer clothing and hung them up or found room for them. I discarded 20 items of clothing to the charity shop bag which; taking into account what I bought recently in Cornwall and on the few rummages I've done since we came back, still means I've got rid of more than I bought - whew! I went for a 5  mile walk on Sunday morning, did the housework and we had a mini bbq with my daughter and two grandsons in the afternoon; we had to run indoors as it began to rain halfway through. It had been an overcast but pleasantly warm day at 19 degrees and it was lovely not to feel cold for a change!


This was what I wore to Barnardo's on Monday. The skirt by Topshop and the jacket by BHS were bought last Monday from there. The skirt has an asymmetrical hem which I didn't realise when I bought it and it also has two slits; it's a most peculiar skirt.  I don't like asymmetrical hems so I will re-donate it. It's a shame as I love the colours and the ditsy print. Shoes charity shopped and green top also charity shopped. I managed to buy zilch this week and plan to buy zilch for a while as I have wardrobes full of summer wear to choose from...



All jewellery charity shopped.

Just as I was getting ready to leave the shop someone brought in about 8 plastic sacks of women's clothing (our limit is 3 per household). They said there was a lot of designer stuff and that most of the clothing was brand new and still had the labels on -  we took the lot! I really don't understand how you can have a wardrobe full of clothes you've bought but never worn. I opened one bag to have a look and everything was either designer or from popular high street clothing stores; all with shop tags intact. All very small sizes of course. I had asked the donators (jokingly) if they'd robbed a warehouse; they said their wardrobes were full and they were making space for more...


I finally wore my new to me dungarees to the food bank on Tuesday. Totally practical for bending, stretching, lifting and carrying but not so good when you need the loo! Luckily, I rarely need to use the loo at the foodbank. They're a little baggy; I think a size down would have been better. I have my swimming cossy on underneath so maybe when I wear a bra it might be less baggy in the chest area. I did try them with a belt but me and belts don't work; I always look like a sack of potatoes tied in the middle. They were extremely comfortable to wear. Charity shopped from the Daycare Hospice shop for 6.00; top also charity shopped and the yellow shoes were charity shopped in Ireland.


After the foodbank; where I put away 10 crates of toiletries and cleaning products; made up 21 hygiene bags and put cereals away I took the car to the garage for its service. Then off I went for my swim.


All jewellery charity shopped. I lost yet another earring!

I hope by the time I post again in a fortnight; the weather will have settled into a more consistent rhythm of being warmer and with more sun as it should be for this time of the year. We will also have moved to yet another stage of easing out of the lockdown and we'll be able to eat in restaurants, go to the cinema and theatre and have overnight visitors. Normality is beckoning...