31 March 2020

This month I have been mostly...

Well, it's been the strangest month ever. It began with the slightest inkling that it might be worth buying hand sanitiser, and ended with us confined to our homes most of the time.

I'm going to stop posting as often on here over the next few months. I am spending my working days sitting here at my home computer, so I want to change the routine a bit at the weekends, and not spend 2-3 hours on a Sunday also sitting at the computer! My plan is that I'll still post a roundup of what I've been doing at the end of each month, which will be things that I've been getting up to in the house or on my daily walks (assuming that these are allowed to continue!). And I will still be active over on Instagram.

Here's what I've been doing this month!

I had a solo birthday celebration on the 19th of March, just days before lockdown started. My parents are in their 70s, so it was important to me to keep them safe by not spending time at their house. After work (the first time I'd worked on my birthday in 10 years) I picked up my presents from their doorstep, then went home to open my presents, take pictures, chat on the phone and FaceTime, and have a lovely meal. I put flowers and a candle on the dining table, used my favourite chopsticks, with the loveliest chopstick rest that I'd totally forgotten I bought in Kyoto, and printed out a menu to make things feel special.

I've been going out for my daily allowed walk. The day after my birthday I'd taken a day's holiday. This was also the last day that the school where I work was open. That day I went on my annual crocus walk around town, and it was one of the most enjoyable walks I've ever had because I suspected that we'd have less freedom in the coming days.

Other than that, this month has all been about hand washing and social distancing!

I knew I'd be getting a few books for my birthday, so I made sure to finish off what I was reading, which were the first two Mei Wang books by Diane Wei Liang. If anyone knows where I can get hold of the third book, The House of Golden Spirit, in English, I'd be really grateful, because my only other option is an ebook in French at £13.99 and I'm not sure my French reading is yet up to this!

The books that I got for my birthday were the first two Marnie Rome books by Sarah Hilary who I've been following on Twitter for ages. I thought I'd get through these really quickly, with undisturbed breaktimes working from home, but I spend far too much time watching the news! The chapters are really short, which helps me dip in and out easily.

I also started the 2020 Reading Women Challenge this month, and managed to tick off quite a few already that I'd read earlier this year! And I also have a personal challenge to read some shorter books. Women & Power by Mary Beard and We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie fitted in well with both these goals and were really interesting reads. I now want to read more by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

And I've been reading one of my old university books, Microbes and Man by John Postgate. It's a readable popular science book about microbes, and I felt it was a very relevant read at this time! The Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder have also been pulled off the shelf for a read, with their themes of isolation and small celebrations.

I have a good stock of books ready to be read, but if I do run out (very unlikely even if we are stuck in for many months) I will probably download more Kindle books.

I'd stopped watching much in the way of UK news programmes back in August when everything was about Brexit, and have tuned in to the news in French on France 24 each morning since then. This month I have got back into watching the news on the BBC at lunchtime and in the evenings, and Channel 4 News in the evening as well. I still watch the French news in the morning.

Hailey Dean Mysteries have been good comfort viewing, although a little confusing because the episodes were shown out of order!

I did plan to watch Quantum Leap all the way through, but watched about two episodes before I got hooked on watching the news! I hope to get back to it at some point.

Jack Monroe's book Tin Can Cook has been getting read a lot, and I've made some recipes from that. And my birthday meal was crispy chilli tofu and special fried rice from the TV show Living on the Veg.

I'm still trying to make the effort to get into something nice each day, and not live in my pyjamas while I'm working at home! From the start of the month I started wearing my hair off my face in a hairband, so that loose strands would not tempt me to touch my face. When this is all over my fringe will have grown out a lot!

I had not been going shopping for anything other than food this month, even before lockdown started. I have been trying not to order much online, because I wasn't sure if there might be postal disruptions, and also because of the risks to sellers when they are going to the post office. I did, however, allow myself to be tempted to buy a few supplied from Nikki McWilliams after she did a bullet journalling class on Instagram. She gets her parcels picked up twice a week, so I know she's not at any risk!

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