How was your week? Good? Hard going? Pretty much the same as every one of the last eight weeks? Yea, mine too… I’m like a stuck record – I work hard at my day job, eat, sleep badly, eat some more, walk, look longingly at maps, watch random stuff on Disney+ and YouTube, eat yet more, scroll Instagram, get frustrated at the news, try to be productive, eat again, and repeat. It’s all just so… meh.
It’s not even the kind of meh that can be solved with a bubble bath and a bar of really nice chocolate. No, wait, those things definitely do help, and I may have done just that yesterday afternoon and loved every minute of it. Rather, it’s the kind of meh that needs much more than that. What we need is a bank holiday Monday… an opportunity to step away from distractions and do something that allows you to recharge. Thankfully we’ve got exactly that tomorrow, I will be going for a walk, what will you get up to?
It’s so hard to not moan a little bit at the moment. A global pandemic wasn’t exactly in my or anyone else’s plans for Spring (and Summer, and hopefully not Autumn) 2020, and while I do understand the restrictions and the reasons for them, it’s hard not to fall into the trap of whinging. Ugh, and indeed, meh. You’ll be please to know, though, that the rest of weekly blog episode 19 is much more positive than the first three paragraphs…
The Fence is Finally Painted
It’s taken the whole of lock down so far – and we’ve had the paint for at least a year longer than that, maybe more – but the garden fence is finally painted. What a pain of a job that was! Why are plants so prickly?! I’m covered in scratches from our trailing rose, and there’s a green shrub in the corner (a bit like a holly but it isn’t a traditional holly bush) that really complained about me painting behind it. I also keep finding spots of bluish green paint all over my body, thankfully it’s easy to remove when noticed! I’m sure it’s not the best paint job in the world, but it’s done and the effort was definitely worth it.
We’ve also done a whole bunch of work on the garden itself. I’ve been hacking away at the super solid soil a little bit every day to give us something that can actually be planted in, which is getting there, and we have finally received (most of) our online order of plants which included a load of lavender plugs that we hope will create lovely bee friendly bunches of nice smelling purple over the rest of the year. I won’t link to the online garden centre we used, I don’t recommend them. Now that local garden centres and nurseries are open again we will be visiting a local business to get a few more bits from there.
There’s still lots of work to be done, though, gardens are never complete, are they? We need some colourful ground cover that’ll cope with being under those rose bushes (suggestions welcome), and something a bit larger and evergreen for the planter at the back. I’m in two minds about leaving the planters natural or staining them a really dark brown, and we still have some empty pots that we should fill with something pretty. But still, painting the fence is a massive step forward that took much more willpower than skill, and I’m very happily admiring my handywork.
Birthday Cheesecake and Wanderlust
This week we did our best to celebrate my husband’s birthday. Birthdays in our house tend to be celebrated with a nice meal out – sometimes even a fancy meal out – and a trip somewhere. Not necessarily a big holiday, but certainly something that’s, well, away from home. Neither of these things are suitable for birthdays celebrated in lock down, something I know lots of you have already had to deal with over the last couple of months, so I did my best to mark it in a lock down appropriate manner, with lots of food and gifts to fuel the wanderlust.
Cake is a birthday must. And although I’ve been loving baking cookies and flapjacks and other treats at home, I decided not to subject us to a homemade birthday cake this year, and instead hit the internet for something a bit special. I actually chose a cheesecake from the English Cheesecake Company – this Lotus Biscoff one because that’s a flavour I know my husband particularly enjoys. We’ve had these before, probably a few times, but not for at least ten years, so it seemed a good opportunity (excuse…) to order one. The cheesecake, which arrived on my chosen day (they deliver Tuesday to Saturday), arrived frozen (dry ice is so cool, wear gloves if you decide to play!), and pre-sliced. The fact that it’s pre-sliced is a definite bonus as that means it lasts longer – we could take two slices out each day and the rest stayed perfectly preserved in the freezer until we wanted it. Not the cheapest birthday cake in the world, but I highly recommend the English Cheesecake Company, and I’m already looking for an excuse to order another on – maybe an end of lock down celebration cheesecake?! I think the salted caramel one would make an excellent post-lock down treat.
I bought my husband a globe as a gift this year, which is now sitting in pride of place in our lounge, right in our eyeline when we’re sat relaxing in front of the television. He’s wanted one for ages, and it seemed like a good time to get one. I think it’s safe to say it took us a while to discover travel that was more than just a holiday (maybe that’s a story for another day), but now we would both agree we work to save to live and explore. We’re not adventurers, not really, but visiting new places and making memories away from home makes us happy. I wonder where in the world we will see next… and when. Will I get a trip away for my 40th birthday when the clock ticks over on this milestone later in the year? I wonder how are people feeling travel abroad will look like in November – Possible? Likely? Desirable? Who knows. But still, the globe is a nice addition to our lounge to help fuel the wanderlust just a little bit more.
A Love of Space Travel
Will you be watching the SpaceX launch on Wednesday? The first manned rock launch from Florida since 2011 will see Astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley fly on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, attached to a Falcon 9 rocket, to the International Space Station. Scheduled for 4.33pm EDT (9.33pm BST), I will certainly be watching (NASA TV is a good bet, coverage will start at around 5pm, but I’m sure there will be other places to see it) with interest and fascination.
I think my captivation with space probably started with trips to Goonhilly as a kid. I loved that place, even had a t-shirt which must confirm my love! Did you know that the Goonhilly, on the Lizard peninsular in Cornwall, was where the first television footage of the moon landing was received back in 1969? “Arthur” was one of the largest dishes in the world at the time, and was responsible for beaming those one small step for man images around the world. It wasn’t all NASA! I love watching documentaries about space, museums dedicated to space, and while I struggle to actually comprehend or really take it all in, enjoy learning about the science of space travel. This is a snap I took of Launch Pad 39A when in Florida in 2009. Space Shuttle Atlantis is in place ready for STS-125, the last mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. We saw this launch a few days later from our villa in Orlando, and even though we couldn’t be any closer to see it, I will never forget that sight.
Still, the SpaceX launch on Wednesday is being billed as “Launch America”, as American astronauts will launch on an American rocket from American soil… but I guess the international audience is also invited. It’s actually still considered a test flight, because it is the first manned flight of this particular craft, and so a prayer or two should probably be part of the launch procedure. It is a particularly important mission to the space station, and one which will mean the science of space travel takes yet another step forward, and I will be watching on Wednesday evening with great interest.
In preparation, and thanks to another one of my husband’s birthday gifts, we finally watched Apollo 11 after missing it at the cinema. It would have been much better on a big screen, or even a bigger television, but we can’t have everything! This is a documentary film using archive footage shot at the time, rather than a scripted retelling, which was released to celebrate the 50th anniversary last summer. It was very interesting, a nice change to our Saturday night movie night (last week we watched Captain Marvel…), and I would recommend it to anyone who’s interested in space, NASA, or just learning more about moments in history.
Completing my Virtual Coast to Coast Hike
During my lunch time walk on Tuesday, for which I went for a fast bimble across the field, under the railway, through the paddocks, and along the lane (to buy honey from the local farmer with the bees…), and through the village, I hit the 198 mile mark on my virtual Coast to Coast hike and made it to the finish line at Robin Hood’s Bay – virtually of course. Hooray!
I like to think that I promptly took my boots off and paddled in the North Sea to celebrate, something I certainly plan on doing when I am able to walk the famous route for real next year… I’m told you should also use this opportunity to throw the stone you collected from the beach at St Bee’s over in Cumbria, the start of the hike, as far into the sea as you can. I shared the above snap of the pinkest sunset I think I’ve ever seen seemed over on my Instagram feed, it seemed appropriate as it was taken just up the road as I neared the end of the Lyke Wake Walk back in 2015 (which you can read about – and watch – here).
I’d love to know how your week has been… What have you been up to? Have you had some good food? Will you be watching the rocket launch? Maybe you have also finished one of those takes-longer-than-it-should jobs like my fence?
Thanks for coming over to Splodz Blogz to read my weekly blog. If you enjoyed reading this blog, if you think my weekly blog series is a good idea, and especially if you got to the end of this episode, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Please note that some links on this page are affiliate links (Amazon ones particularly). And I mustn’t forget the vloggers’ catchphrase, seeing as I stole the “weekly” premise of this post from them – please like and subscribe for more posts like this in the future! Come on by next Sunday evening for the next in the series.