ISOLATION: So How Are We All Getting On?

 Just about a whole year ago, the UK went into its first Covid lockdown – actually on March 23rd 2020.  It’s hard to believe that a full twelve months have passed since then… and we’re STILL in lockdown as I write! 
At present the UK government is anticipating that restrictions will loosen over the next few months, and that we can all “go back to normal” at some point in June 2021…
Back on April 18th 2020 I wrote a blog filled with schemes and steps to cope with lockdown and the isolation / frustrations that came with it.  So – was it helpful in any way, or just hopelessly over-optimistic?

This month I thought I’d take a look back to see how I measured up to my grand plans!  And you’re welcome to do the same too!


1) Set a regular timetable: 

As I always work from home, I had a set timetable anyway.  This was interrupted by Lee, but we managed to work around one another.
Our main problem was sharing the computer – so Lee found me a good second hand one & set me up in a new office in our spare room upstairs.
I LOVE it up here – SO peaceful & so much easier to get all the admin done 😊 (Okay, it may not be tidy - but no one's coming to stay for the foreseeable future!)

2) Vary Your Activities

My big podcast break was discovering the fabulous Americast on BBC Sounds, in which 3 correspondents (Sopes, Maitlis & Zurch) discuss the finer points of the US election & general American politics with the verve and brio of your wittiest friends at a superb dinner party!
2.TRY OUT ARTS & CRAFTS:  No, nothing new.
Business ballooned for Ornately Lanterns & so my year has been spent glass painting rather frantically, with no opportunity for anything else.
Lee, on the other hand, has taken up model painting after buying a model spaceship on eBay (don’t ask!) and finding that it had got damaged in the post.  Rather than return it, he got going with tiny pots of paint - & is really enjoying himself, to the extent that he is now creating a space station launch pad as well…
 No, there hasn’t really been much time for TV – though we did watch Queen’s Gambit & were transfixed like everyone else!  Have you seen it?
4. COOK A NEW RECIPE:  No, all cooking is left to Lee...
But I did manage to watch & enjoy “Celebrity Best Home Cook” & am keen to try (for Lee to try, rather) making a Victoria sponge with double cream rather than butter!
I'm currently in the middle of a Pinterest course & a film appreciation class; last year managed a marketing course.  And have (finally) learned how to prune my passion flower
Close up centre of a passionflower

7. READ:  Yes!
I’m ALWAYS reading something or other, much of which is very easy late night reading in bed.  So it’s down to my lovely book club to edify me somewhat!
We’ve continued all year round via Zoom & to date our lockdown reading has comprised: 

  1. Roadside Picnic by Arkady Strugatsky
  2. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  3. An American Marriage by Tayari Jones (which I SO enjoyed that I then read Silver Sparrow by the same author)
  4. Heartburn by Nora Ephron
  5. Battle Royale by Koushan Takami
  6. The Phoenix Project by Gene Kim, Kevin Behr & George Spafford
  7. And we are just starting on The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

 8 book covers lined up together - Roadside Picnic, The Night Circus, An American Marriage, Heartburn, Silver Sparrow, Battle Royale, The Phoenix Project, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

8. WRITE:  
Other than blogs & newsletters & product listings, I don’t have time…
But my mother has embarked upon writing her life history, so we’re all looking forward to that!

9. DIY: Sort of...
In an early fit of eagerness, we repapered the spare room!  But enthusiasm waned a bit after that…
The garden has really suffered as I’ve been SO busy that there has been no time for garden care or weeding at all ☹
I’m determined to do better this coming year!

3) Plan daily “micro-lifts”

I did well with these last year, but have fallen back a bit in 2021 & am just working too hard.
But these little lifts are really important & I’m missing them a lot.  A highlight of February was just taking time to call a friend I hadn’t spoken to for about a year – we’d messaged one another, but it’s just not the same…

A BAD micro-lift has unfortunately turned out to be Marks & Spencer's Swiss Chocolate Truffle Assortment - I am, alas, addicted & having FAR too many micro-lifts!


Success here – I’ve opened a new Etsy shop!
Quirky Swan offers those invaluable “little extra” gifts you so often need for friends & family (particularly at the moment!).
It’s been a lot of work, but also great fun as I’m collaborating with a crafty friend, Kristina, who makes ALL SORTS of lovely things…
Do check out the shop – just click on the picture below


I have to confess that I gave up my morning cardio after the first couple of months… 

But this is where my BIGGEST success has come, as you will know if you read January’s blog.  I did a lot of walking during the lovely spring & summer of 2020, and this has continued all the way through the winter.

I’m in a support bubble with my mum, who has always been a keen walker, and together we scale the local countryside every week (eight & a half miles yesterday!).  In between I walk on my own & am occasionally able to meet up for a walk with one friend (when lockdown restrictions allow it)

I’ve downloaded a step tracker and, while I don’t set a daily target of 10,000 steps, I do aim to achieve that several times each week.  My record to date is 22,000 steps in one day!


My mum joined the Cinnamon Trust & has started walking Toby for an elderly neighbour (mind you, my mum is actually more elderly than the neighbour is!).

Toby is an delightful 2 year old white Westie, who now adores my mum & looks forward to 4 long walks with her every week.

My mum has always been a cat lady, but has now succumbed to the charms of a good dog!

White Westie terrier

I volunteered for the government NHS scheme - which proved to be a thorough waste of time due to the technology – and I finally gave up after being asked to pop in on someone in Leeds (222 miles away)!

I also did some deliveries for our local chemist.


So it’s been a pretty packed 12 months, all in all, and I’ve found this last phase of lockdown VERY hard – partly due to being pretty exhausted!

I thank the heavens every day for 3 BIG pieces of luck:

  1. that I already had an established online business
  2. that I don’t know anybody who has been severely affected by Covid
  3. that I have a garden & live extremely close to some beautiful areas of countryside.

How have YOU got on – and what have been YOUR great areas of thankfulness?

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