Day 30 – 16 April 2020

Today it was my turn to work and Tracy was off with the children. I spent most of the day on my work computer or on video and phone calls. Some of them were quite interesting, but I can’t tell you about them.


Tracy went out on a big shop today with Lucy. We’ve decided that Sainsbury’s in Redhill is clearly awful. Tracy went to Morrisons and it had plenty of everything that we wanted. There weren’t significant gaps in stock like the Sainsbury’s has, and it was much cheaper because Morrisons give NHS staff a 10% discount.


The other feature of today were a number of deliveries. Over the course of the day we had several parcels delivered

  • A load of meat from a local butchers
  • Lego for Alexander and Lucy
  • Garden stakes so we can continue to fabric bits of the garden we’re taking back control of
  • A degusta box (with cider, broccoli crisps and other interesting things)
  • A replacement laptop battery


After dinner Alexander and I went on a long walk to burn off all the calories we’d eaten. We covered 4.5 miles and walked most of the way he went to school to the bottom of Frenches Road, and then back up along the A23 to Merstham station. When we were at the station a 12 carriage train pulled in. None of the doors opened, and when it pulled away we saw only three people in the whole train.

When we got in Tracy suggested Alexander try on his PPE.

Day 8 – Wednesday 25th March 2020

I didn’t do any work today, instead I tried to make sure the children did some school work and that everyone was fed. I’m not convinced that I was terribly successful, although we did have a pretty good dinner. Or at least Tracy and I did. I don’t think the kids appreciated the vegetables.

Also, we ran out of milk.

School at Home

It’s just as well that I’m not a teacher. Although I expect that if I’d done the PGCE then I’d have some relevant skills and practices to help.

As always Alex was pretty good at getting his homework done, although he did slope off to play Doom Eternal at one point mid afternoon.

Lucy was a lot less up for doing school work and stopped every time I wasn’t watching her. Our start point was getting her to practice writing. So I suggested that she write a short story. It was one of the suggestions that were sent home from school. Also Lucy really likes making up stories with her dolls, so I thought it would go down well. She started with a good plan, identified some characters and a problem for them to solve. We also got half a page of intro for the story, as well as acting some of it with a collection of her toys in the main parts…

Most of the rest of the day was a write off, apart from reading the first twenty pages of one of the books that school sent home for her to read. We also watched an hour of Steve Backshall doing Q&A, which I’m putting down as a science lesson!

The Wrong Wellington

Tracy got a large joint of meat out of the freezer yesterday and left it to defrost overnight. So I decided that as we had mushrooms to use up and some puff pastry that I would make beef wellington. I found a recipe, collected all the stuff I needed and switched on the oven to roast the beef.

When I was ready to get started I took the joint out of the bag that it was in so that I could cut it into three pieces. It wasn’t quite the red colour I was expecting. Closer inspection and a bit of a sniff, suggested that rather than being beef it was pork. This threw me at first, until I checked and saw that there were also recipes for pork wellington, and they were almost identical.

It turned out really nice, and the puff pastry expanded well in the oven with a tray of potatoes roasting underneath it. As accompaniment I stir fried a mix of sliced carrots, broccoli and baby sweetcorn with soy sauce. The portion size was pretty big, and we still have a generous slice of pork wellington left for tomorrow.

There’s also two other similarly sized pork joints in the fridge. One of them is going to become pulled pork for Friday. Not sure about the other one.

Degusta Box

Most of the contents of the degusta box that we received today, although the alcohol free pink gin had already been sampled before I took the picture. (Photo: James Kemp)

We took delivery of a degusta box today. It was the first food to enter the house since we realised that we needed to self isolate just over a week ago.

It’s been a while since we had one of these boxes. They’re a bit of a gamble, but we usually enjoy what we get sent. The basic idea is that you get a bunch of random food in a box. Usually it’s new products, or promo versions of things. It’s pretty rare to get something that we normally buy, which is why we like getting them every now and then.

Gin O'clock - sampling pink gin
Alexander declares that it is Gin O’Clock in our house, sampling the (alcohol free) pink gin from the degusta box. (Photo: James Kemp)

Today’s box had some alcohol free gin, two varieties – one already premixed and the other a miniature. Alexander had a taste of the AF pink gin and tonic and declared that it was disgusting. I actually thought that it was quite nice, but then I do actually like a G&T every once in a while.

There were also some new flavours of wotsits, a Yorkie with apple and things in it, some flour optimised for light sponges, chocolate flavoured oat milk, and a few other random things. These will serve as treats over the next week or so.


Two mature oak trees against the sunset
Two mature oak trees against the sunset, as seen from our drive. (Photo: James Kemp)

It took me two attempts to get some exercise in today. I started a walk round the square about 3pm, but it was really busy with people washing cars, moving lawns and going for walks. So I abandoned it after only one circuit.

Silver birch tree on the green outside our house
Silver birch tree on the green outside our house. (Photo: James Kemp)

Later, just after six, I pretty much had the place to myself and spent about 25 minutes walking round the square, pausing once or twice to take pictures of the still bare trees against the sunset. I thought they silhouetted nicely against the sky.