Day 33 – Goodness, Gardening and Games

We all had a good sleep and a long lie, and then got busy for the rest of the day. Some of the morning was spent tidying and then we went into the garden, with a brief break for lunch.

Later in the afternoon I hosted an online Dungeons and Dragons session for Alexander and his friends while Lucy and Tracy made dinner and pampered themselves.

Caught Being Good

Lucy hit a treat level with her caught being good marks (she asked us to copy what they do at school). So she got a reward of some chalk pens, and we drew on the windows together.


We were out the front today. Amongst other things I re-fitted the head to a hoe. It had snapped off, and I needed to taper the end of the handle to fit the old head back on. It went on well, although I almost stabbed myself in the palm of my hand with a screwdriver trying to fix it in place!

Tracy and Lucy built the second wicket planter. This is the twin of the one we did a couple of days ago. It’s on the other side of the steps. Like the other one I took a wheelbarrow full of clay soil for the bottom of it and then dug into the rich topsoil in front of the hut for the next layer. What I discovered a couple of inches down was more concrete path. So there’s probably more to move there before we try to repave it.

Alexander and I took turns with a pickaxe, and at one point a saw, to dig out some roots from the border at the back of the drive. It was hard work, and raised a sweat. We didn’t quite make it clear, but we made progress.

While we were out in the garden I spotted a bird swooping about a lot. There was also a lot of chirping coming from the eaves of the house. During a short break I realised that there is a nest in the edge of my roof. A fascia has come off the end of the roof and some birds (Starlings I think) have taken advantage of it.


Ever since they watched Stranger Things Alexander and his friends have wanted to play DnD. So I’ve been running sessions every couple of months or so. You can read some of the write ups on

Today’s session was shorter than usual. Mostly this was down to the scenario and the usual friction of getting a session going. Our online setup was Roll20 for character sheets and discord for voice and video. Not everyone was able to make these work all the time. So we had some pauses. We also only used video to share my tabletop with the map and figures on it.

I’m not entirely convinced that this is the best/easiest way to play. There’s a tactical element available in Roll20 that lets players interact with the map. However it takes a bit more preparation than I’ve managed. It also means that when the players want to divert from the plan you need to pause until the next session. Usually I just extemporise at that point and hand draw a map as we go along.

For the next session I’m going to try and adopt an approach we used for the Full Moon games. I’ll use the asynchronous chat to progress from where we’ve left off until the next conflict point and then prepare the map for a session on that.

Getting Ready for School

After dinner and a short walk for some exercise it was time to put away the Lego that has covered the living room floor. It all went back in the boxes and returned to the shelves. I did leave the bungalow as built, and I’m sure it will be back out tomorrow, but it’s sort of symbolic.

Day 22 – 8th April 2020

Today is Wednesday, my usual non-working day. So I’m not working and Tracy is. We had a fairly relaxed morning. Lucy found the camera tripod I used to take pictures of the moon last night and we played with attaching it to the banister upstairs and took some selfies.

One of the better selfies.


After we’d done that we spent a brief period in the back garden doing some more hoeing and prepping the raised beds to receive the seedlings we’ve planted. So far one bed (of five) is completely ready to have things planted in it. Another has been turned over but needs the lumps of turf shaken out and thrown into the compost heap. We could probably do with digging over the compost heap and sticking some of it in the raised beds too.

Making Bread

After a very brief stint in the garden we went back indoors to make sure Alexander was making his bread.

He needed some help recovering the sourdough. It had sat out for too long and it collapsed. It smelt pretty alcoholic, and it was runnier than it ought to have been. We ran out of plain flour, so it got a wee bit of the spelt I picked up yesterday, and also some self-raising flour. We also added a tiny bit of the starter to it. Alexander mixed it all up and split it into three batches.

One batch became pitta bread.

The other two batches became rolls, we were aiming for paninis for lunch tomorrow, and a loaf.

Lego Houses

During the afternoon Lucy decided to build a Lego house. She spent quite a time combing through the boxes of Lego and finding all the pieces she needed.

There are two levels. The lower level has a garage and some garden. The upper levels have a bedroom, complete with a very fancy bed with a hinged cover so that the Lego person can go inside. There’s also a closet with spare clothes and a robot from a TV show. Although one of the best bits is the built in zip wire for going out.

Hot Chocolate contest

After dinner (teriyaki chicken, noodles and stir fry vegetables) the children had a hot chocolate competition. They each made two cups worth of hot chocolate, one for them and the other split between two espresso cups for me and Tracy to taste.

Alexander made the Flanders Hot Chocolate from the Simpsons which was in the Binging with Babish book he got for Christmas. It was a very rich recipe and it produced a very dark chocolate.

Lucy made the cardamom hot chocolate from Nadiya’s Bake Me a Story book. Hers was a bit lighter and definitely had fewer calories.


After two hot chocolates, even small ones, I needed to go for a walk. So I took Lucy round the green four times and we chatted about building Lego Houses and I reminded her about the modular rooms on the house she got for her 6th birthday. After that Alexander and I went on a longer walk to make up the balance of my 10,000 steps. We also talked about the sort of houses we’d have if money wasn’t an object.

Day 21 – 7th April 2020

Today was a work day for me because Tracy was off. We’re covering the school holidays between us, so I’m working Tuesdays and Thursdays both weeks. So I spent most of the day hiding in our bedroom with my work laptop and phone.

I also discovered a new (to me) feature on Android phones from a futures report on AR/MR. It is the ability to have a 3D animal in your space via your phone camera. We’ve been watching the Tiger King recently (they’re all deranged), so I found this tiger in our bedroom.

Home Cinema

While I was working upstairs Tracy decided to turn the living room into a home cinema. She made some signs to advertise the now showing and also the concessions stall. The curtains were closed and some extra blanket added to make it a bit darker. The photos don’t do it justice because my phone camera is awesome in low light shots (see the full moon below).

We often go to the cinema, and we’d have done that at least once in the school holidays. So Tracy shelled out for Trolls World Tour via our Virgin media box. Lucy has managed to watch it twice (so far) in the 48 hour rental period.

As well as the movie Tracy made hotdogs, fries, popcorn and an impromptu pick and mix for the kids to have as lunch. It went down really well, although I took my share back upstairs to carry on working.


After dinner (home made spaghetti carbonara) it was my turn to go do some shopping. We had a small list of things that Tracy couldn’t get on Sunday or that we’d run out of. I took both children to Sainsbury’s in Redhill. There was only a brief wait outside the shop. Inside they’d marked the floor in 2m segments with tape, but none of the other shoppers seemed to be taking any notice of this.

We managed to get most of what we wanted, although some sections of the shop were clearly empty. In the pasta aisle we got excited because amidst the empty shelves there was a section with orange penne and green fusili. On closer inspection it was red lentil penne and green pea fusili. Over in the home baking aisle I found some spelt flour, which I’d struggled to find a couple of months ago when I’d wanted it. There was no other flour of any kind.

Apart from the flour and the pasta the only thing on our list that we didn’t get was paprika. That was just the usual shortage as there were plenty of herbs and spices, and I got some smoked paprika as a substitute. The one noticeable thing was that there were absolutely no special offers. We often keep an eye out for those, but on a small trolley of shopping that cost just over £50 we didn’t get a single special offer. I guess that’s supply and demand in action.

Super Moon

Last night was the super moon, it should be back again tonight. So I thought I’d have a go at taking some photos. I couldn’t find my proper camera with the optical zoom lens. So I put my phone (a Pixel 3A) in the tripod and had a go on the night sight setting. It turns out that it had an automatic astrophotography mode. So the pictures look almost like daylight!

When I was taking these the moon was visible through the clouds. To the naked eye you could see the shadows of the craters. But the camera just kept the shutter open for too long for the details to show up.