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 29 – Ides of April

Tracy was at work on the ward again today, and I had a non-working day at home with the children. After a decadent breakfast of pastries and doughnuts we spent most of the day in the garden. Although we hardly worked.


Lucy and I assembled a planter outside the front door. We found all the bits, took it out the front and built it with cable ties. It was a bit old and the quality of the cable ties was rubbish, three of the eight broke. So Lucy had a break while I found some more. We had two cable ties for each of the wicker panels, and assembled it into a square. There was a black fabric liner, which we stabilised with some spare house bricks in the bottom corners.

The planter is quite large. We had three trips with the wheel barrow to fill it. The first time we shoveled some of the lumps of clay from a raised bed that had too much in it. That should give a relatively waterproof layer at the bottom to help retain moisture. The second time we got some of the topsoil I’d dumped in the raised beds the other day and added that in as a layer. We then topped it off with compost from the last bag and watered it a lot.

We were expecting there to be two planters, and we had a look around the hut, the shelves outside the back door, the coal shed and around the patio. But we didn’t manage to find it.

While we were doing all that Alexander was cutting the grass again on a shorter setting than the other day. He also whittled and sanded a bit of ash that he cut a couple of days ago. He’s planning to make a wooden light sabre handle with it.

‘Epoxy’ Bread

I watched a TED talk the other day about making bread and experimenting with different flours. One of the things was about bringing together two different mixtures to make a stronger better tasting bread in the same way that epoxy glue mixes two compounds.

Alexander has been experimenting with bread too. He’s got a sourdough starter that we’ve not quite managed to make work. So today we mixed some spelt and self-raising flour with water and set it aside to start the process. We also took a bit off the sourdough starter and fed it with spelt flour and water.

Tomorrow we’ll add some more spelt flour to the starter to make a soft dough that we can leave to ferment for a couple of hours. Once it doubles in size we’ll mix it up with the rest of the dough into a proper bread mix and knead it. With a bit more proving it should give us an interesting bread.

Day 27 – Easter Monday

The second day of the weekend for us. Quite a.lot colder than yesterday too. We spent a large chunk of the day in the garden, digging and cutting. We even ate lunch al fresco. Between getting up and making breakfast I had one last look over the model I built on Friday, and uploaded it for a blog post. If you are wondering how long the lockdown will last then my Covid-19 model might help.

Buttering the Toaster

Over breakfast I managed to butter the toaster. I only really like buttered toast when it’s done immediately and all of the butter melts into the toast. I never have butter (or margarine) on anything that won’t melt it, I can’t tolerate the texture/feel of it.

So I had put some margarine on the knife ready to start spreading it as soon as I’d got the toast out of the toaster. When it popped up the toast stuck in the lip of the toaster and I needed to wiggle the lever while trying to get the toast out. This needed two hands, and I had the loaded knife in my right hand. So I used that. As I wiggled a dollop of margarine came off the knife and fell into the toaster. It started smoking.

Somehow it had missed the toast, and fallen down to the bottom of the toaster. As it turned out the toast wasn’t quite ready anyway, toasters only seem to do stale bread or burnt. I removed the toast from the toaster and took the crumb tray out. The margarine hung over the gap, taunting me. A large pile of crumbs covered the worktop under the toaster. It took some thumping and banging the toaster in the worktop to dislodge the margarine, and a double handful of crumbs.


Tracy and I finished off clearing the brambles and other weeds from outside the hut. While she got stuck into the digging I moved the spare topsoil to the raised beds at the back of the garden. When I’d got it looking a bit more level I then started moving the roots, leaves and branches we’d dug up to the back of the garden. Normally I’d have a fire to burn them when they’ve dried out a bit. However we’ve not burned any garden rubbish since the autumn. Initially this was because it was too wet, but we’ve not done it recently because everyone is at home and we don’t want to smoke people out.

Alexander started to mow the grass, but it failed almost immediately. A couple of wooden skewers managed to get trapped in the blades and stopped it turning. There was smoke coming out of the motor when, after unplugging it, I helped unstick the blades. It wouldn’t restart. Fortunately though we still have the old lawnmower, and he was able to mow the grass with that.

When we finished the digging out of roots we stopped for a bit of lunch on the patio. We had biscuits and cheese, olives, hummus and crisps. While we ate the robins, blackbirds and wagtails took turns finding the insects and worms on the patch we’d dug up. They also sang quite a bit too. It was a nice moment in the sunshine.

After lunch Tracy took the children, on foot, to the Co-op to do some shopping. While they were away I carried on with putting fabric over the area we’re going to pave and then moving the paving slabs that were in front of the hut. These had all been grown over because there wasn’t fabric under them when they were put there a decade ago. This is the next area to be cleared, some of the soul from here will go into raised beds. Then the spare concrete slabs at the back of the garden will go on top of fabric to make a level path under the washing line.


Just before Tracy for back I moved to the front garden to carry on some of the work we’d started there. As I was tidying up a bit and starting to dig out a stump, I realised that Vinny from No18 was rotivating a bit of the nature area on the green. Vinny is a cub scout leader in the same group that I help with, he’s on Monday cubs and I do Thursday. So I went over for a chat, from over the road to maintain our distance.

Vinny was prepping a bed for some wildflowers, and I offered the box of wildflower seeds that I had spare. While we were chatting a woman came by with her teenage daughter and said hello, again at a safe distance. They lived on Taynton Drive and were out for their daily exercise. We had a friendly chat about how things had changed before they carried on.


I’ve got quite a bit of exercise in the garden yesterday and today. So I didn’t go for a walk after dinner. I can really feel my shoulders and arms from swinging the pickaxe!

Day 26 – Easter Sunday

I was woken this morning with a about of “Hoppy Easter!” before Lucy threw a Cadbury creme egg Easter egg at me. So I did what any sled respecting Dad would do in that situation. I got out of bed, made some coffee and ate the chocolate egg for breakfast.The kids each got a present for Easter and one chocolate egg. Alex has a baby Yoda plush somewhere in transit to the UK. Lucy had an LOL Easter Surprise. They also got some money from their Nanna and Grandad, and Lucy used hers, along with the pocket money she’d saved to buy the Lego Mia House. I’d anticipated this and already ordered it from Amazon, so it was on top of the shelf until she’d negotiated the purchase from me.

So the morning was pretty relaxed, mostly featuring chocolate, hot cross buns and Lucy building her Lego. I went upstairs and sat with Alexander for a bit as he built things in Minecraft. I experimented with a painting app on my tablet and a stylus. It was pretty good.


After lunch, which was the rest of the jambalaya for three of us, I went out into the garden to cut things down. My first thought was to try and clear some of the back of the garden before it turned into a jungle. So I rolled the extension cable as far up the garden as I could and set the old lawnmower on the longest setting. At the time I thought that Tracy was going to come out with the kids, but that didn’t happen.

It was pretty hot, 22°C according to the forecast, so I didn’t knock myself out at it. I mowed a path up to the compost heap at the very back of the garden. The compost heap itself is covered in nettles and brambles. I’d quite like to get into it and move some of the compost in the raised beds. However when I got that far the cable didn’t quite reach and the lawnmower choked on the long grass/bramble/nettle mix.

So I switched to weeding the raised beds. There were a couple of green shoots I’d missed in the first one. I took them out and then spent about an hour clearing the second one completely apart from the ten strawberry plants that were growing in it. There were quite a few weeds around the bricks on the raised beds, so I fetched some shears from the shed and cleared round the outside of three of the beds. I also started on the brambles that had infested the main strawberry bed.After a break Tracy wanted me to finish off putting fabric on the area outside the shed. So I left the back of the garden and took up the pickaxe to dig the ground and clear the roots. I ended up lifting some of the path too, as many of the roots went under it. Tomorrow I’m hoping that I’ll get to finish this off.

Evening Walk

Alexander and I went for a short walk so that he could get some exercise. On the return leg we spotted some things outside a house in Radstock Way with a sign saying “Please Take Me”. There was a battered trangia camping stove. So I picked it up to bring home. It’s clearly spent some time on a shelf somewhere, and it will need a serious clean. If it works then it will come in handy for the scout camps when we are allowed to do that sort of thing again.

Day 24 – 10th April 2020

Seeing as it is Good Friday we all had the day off. Breakfast was hot cross buns, toasted. We had a relaxed start to the day before going out to do some gardening.


Today we all went out the front. Tracy and I dug weeds out of the borders round the drive. Alexander painted the fence that we replaced earlier in the year, after the storms knocked it flat. Lucy did some painting and she also did some weeding.

I took the pick axe to the part of the border nearest the front. We cut down some thorn bushes last Autumn. There were still a few sets if roots still in the ground as well as some ivy, brambles and a large grass that gets everywhere. It was pretty hard going, and I cleared a couple if metres of the border.

Tracy was doing something similar at the other end, and we pulled a lot of roots and woody parts out of the ground.

Afternoon Walk

After lunch Lucy lost the love for gardening, so I took her for a walk. We had to collect some leaflets about Covid-19 volunteering for our street. We also needed to stop by the Co-op for dishwasher tablets, bread, milk and a few other things for dinner.

Our destination was down Nutfield Road, just over a mile from the house. So Lucy and I set off at a fairly leisurely pace and we played twenty questions until we got as far as the Merstham rec. Then we switched to the alphabet game, with the theme of Spring. This took us all the way onto Nutfield Road. Lucy was a bit despondent about then, it was a hot day (22°C according to the weather underground app).

We couldn’t find the envelope with the leaflets in, so I phoned Tracy for more detailed instructions. However she didn’t answer and I tried Alexander. In relaying the message I didn’t get that the house we were after was located behind another one. So we didn’t find it. Lucy was a bit upset as we walked back to the Co-op, but I managed to reassure her that it was okay.


There was a pretty big queue for the Co-op, eight people in front of us when we arrived. It moved quickly though. We were only about five minutes outside. One thing I did notice was that the automatic doors were on exit only. So it was only possible to enter if someone left. I thought that was a pretty neat solution. Inside only the self-service tills were working, so staff contact was minimised.

Some of the shelves were better stocked than the last time I was in, although still no pasta, dried rice, or flour. The sweet aisle was pretty thin, and half the beer fridge was empty, notably no cider. We got most of what we wanted, including the dishwasher tablets (24 for £3), bread (lots of choice), milk (ditto), chorizo, crisps, and the very last bottle of Irn Bru in the shop.

With the mission complete Lucy insisted that we call Tracy for a lift. So we crossed the road and put some space between us and the still massive queue. Lucy opened the Freddo treasure chest that I’d bought her as a treat for walking with me.


Alexander finished painting the fence when I was out with Lucy. He did a pretty good job, although he’d focused on the parts that Lucy couldn’t reach when she’d been helping him. I noticed when I went out to tidy up after dinner that there were some bare patches near the bottom. So I decided to touch them up. It went pretty well until I stepped back to check for more and trod on a nail. It went straight into the middle of my left foot. A few hours later it still hurts.

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 19 – 5th April 2020

I had a lie-in this morning, I didn’t get out of bed until after half past eight. Tracy had gone to work, Lucy was playing quietly downstairs and Alex was on his explorer scout Minecraft server. It was a relaxed morning, I read and drank coffee between ensuring Alex and Lucy had breakfast, emptying the dishwasher, putting clothes away and getting dressed.

After lunch Tracy came home. Alex spent the afternoon in the kitchen making sourdough and bao buns. Tracy did some errands, and Lucy spent some time with me in the garden, and some with Tracy.

In the Garden

When Tracy came back after her half day on the ward I went outside with Lucy and we did some garden things. Initially I tried to flatten the area outside the hut while Lucy bounced in the trampoline. While I hit the lumpier bits of ground with a pickaxe Lucy realised that her friend was just over the fence. So the pair of them started shouting to each other and fetching things. Their game also involved throwing things into the air to see if the other one could see it.

It certainly made sure Lucy got some exercise, and it gave me some space to swing the pick axe. It took quite a while to dig up the larger roots and make the area less lumpy. Then I started to cover it in black fabric to hold back the weeds. Lucy tired of her game and came to help. So we had a look at the sunflower seeds we’d planted last weekend and watered the pots. With luck there will be some shoots next week.

Lucy then went off with Tracy to help her deliver flowers to a colleague. I got back to more digging. I decided to make a border round the edge of the area and line it with old bricks. So I dug a channel along the edge of an ancient concrete path for the bricks. At some point this might become a step/retaining wall for whatever we end up doing properly in this space.

Tidying up

Lucy has a great habit of slowly spreading out over the house. Lately she’s brought a couple of bags of toys and books in from the garage. These have all started to take up most of the dining space in our open plan living room. So while I was finishing off moving paving stones Tracy started a tidy up of the back of the room.

There were some complaints, but Lucy and I joined in while Alexander got his Bao Buns made. It looked a lot better when we were done.


As mentioned above, Alexander spent most of the afternoon in the kitchen. He took the sourdough starter and made some bao bun mixture. He also started some bread, although he hasn’t baked it yet. The bao buns were really delicious, but he ended up having to do them in the oven because we don’t have an effective steamer. This made them take a little longer too. He made a lovely pork concoction to go inside them.

After dinner I managed to sneak off and have a bath. It felt very relaxing, and I feel much cleaner.

Day 12 – Sunday 29th March 2020

Today is the first day of British Summertime, so of course it snowed, hailed and rained for most of the day!

Hail and Snow

When it wasn’t doing one of those it was noticeably colder than yesterday with a biting wind. We did manage to paint the shed though before the first hailstones started coming down. I also cleared away the rest of the stuff we’d cut down, and was just spraying some weedkiller before covering it in black fabric when it started. There will be other days, and it’s not like we have anything else planned for the next couple of months.

We’ve started gardening most years, and what usually derails our attempts to keep it under control is an active social life and weekend trips away. That doesn’t look like it’s going to be an issue this year. Sadly.


I’m starting to get used to staying in, this is my third consecutive weekend out of what might be described as my normal routine. Usually Saturdays involve taking Alexander and Lucy to martial arts lessons in Redhill. They go consecutively, so Tracy and I take Alexander for breakfast in West Central while Lucy has her lesson. Alexander then has an hour and a half of jiu-jitsu and we do some shopping in the market with Lucy and then go for a drink and a snack before collecting Alexander. Sundays are more varied, but if the weather is good gardening happens, and if not sometimes we go to the cinema. Either way we usually go out for some reason.

On 10th March I came down with cellulitis and sepsis. So my routine was disturbed, mainly because I had a couple of days in hospital and then daily IV antibiotics and a couple of follow up trips to hospital as an out patient. That was just when we were all starting to worry about the Covid-19 virus, but before it was properly declared a pandemic.

Just as I was getting better Lucy developed a cough and a temperature. So we went into sled isolation, following the government advice at the time. It’s been a pretty odd couple of weeks. I doubt anyone hasn’t felt that way, and there’s been way more than the usual mental strain. I’ve certainly been fractious at times, and I know my family have been too, although thankfully not all of us all at the same time. What seems to be helpful is realising that we don’t need to do everything all the time.


I think this is going to be a standard heading!

We used up the last of the sliced ham for sandwiches, and finished the fresh orange too. I also finished off the lettuce in the salad I made to go with the pulled pork at lunchtime. That said there’s loads of fruit and vegetables, and also rather a lot of sausages.

Tracy made shepherds pie and a pork stew. Both of them are for other days. The shepherds pie is going in the freezer for later in the week. I’m going to do some dumplings in the pork stew for tomorrow night. It seemed a bit pork heavy to have it this evening, after bacon sandwiches for breakfast, and pulled pork for lunch. The kids and I did have sausages and chips for dinner though. I also had more apple crumble for dessert, although I had it with ice cream this evening. Alexander and Lucy had cupcakes that Lucy made this morning.

The Mandalorian

The TV has yet to move channel from the Amazon Fire Cube that arrived yesterday. As well as a bunch of random TED talks and Jeff Goldblum, we started to watch The Mandalorian this evening. Disney have only released three episodes so far in the UK, which is slightly disappointing. However I really enjoyed both the episodes we watched this evening. It’s pretty awesome, and a great expansion to the Star Wars universe.

Map Making

Apart from the dozen blog posts, which are all easy reportage, I’ve not written any fiction for almost three weeks. It’s was too hard to concentrate on creating things when I was unwell, and since I’ve recovered there hasn’t been enough peace to get into the headspace I need to be properly creative.

When it was alternately hailing and snowing this afternoon I had an attempt to digitise some of my hand drawn maps into inkscape. It sort of worked, but I got bored before I finished. It would be really nice to be able to have digital copies of the sort of thing I can happily draw freehand. It just seems to take so much longer digitising them than it takes me to draw them. I suspect that the answer is to find a way to draw them on a computer.

Day 11 – Saturday 28 March 2020

No work today!

We spent most of the morning and some of the afternoon in the garden. Mainly clearing the area just outside and behind the potting shed. Like lots of the garden it had become more than a bit overgrown.


While Tracy got started with the hedge trimmers, Lucy and I prepared some pots to plant some seeds. We did four trays, with small stones in the bottom and compost on top. One tray was a 50/50 split of flowers. Another got tomatoes, peppers and some chillies. In the third there are spring onions, lettuce and more tomatoes. We also planted some sunflower seeds and some beans. We ought to start seeing some shoots in a week or so.

Outside Tracy cleared the back of the hut, which had Bamboo growing in the space between the hut and the fence. She trimmed up the canes and we’ve kept them for supporting the plants when they finally get planted out.

In front of the hut, out to where one of our plum trees is, we took several passes to chop everything down. About a decade ago this space was a couple of vegetable beds, but some of the large grasses took hold over the winter and they’re pretty hard to get rid of. So the area had lots of brick edging, some wooden boards and also paving slabs hiding under the growth. When we got down far enough I lifted all of them and stacked them out of the way. I also tried to very roughly level it off.

If the weather stays good then tomorrow we’ll put some fabric down and then weigh it down with the paving slabs.

Over on the patio Alexander had the pressure washer out. He moved all the furniture off it and cleaned about half of it. We also managed to clean our very muddy boots too!


Normal breakfast all round. Although we carried on the pattern that’s developed of substantial lunches. Today we had sausage pie and beans. It was our last tin of Heinz baked beans, something else we’ve run out of.

The pulled pork was fab, but we ended up having pasta for dinner with ape crumble and custard for dessert.

Fire TV

The Amazon Fire TV Cube arrived this afternoon. After a short amount of faffing about to find an ethernet cable, and pulling the TV out so that I could get to the sockets, it was working. The first thing I did was turn the microphone off. With just the remote it’s a really fast and responsive box. It has all the streaming services we use on it and a load more besides.

The reason we got it though was Disney+ on the TV. So within about twenty minutes of it arriving Lucy was on the sofa with me and Tracy watching Pixar in Real Life. Lucy then decided that she wanted to watch Descendants. That’s when I went off to make dinner and prep the crumble for dessert.

Day 5 – Sunday 22nd March 2020 Mother’s Day

Lucy (in cat costume) going to read poetry to her mum (photo: James Kemp)

Today is Mother’s Day, so we started with Lucy getting upset that Alexander wasn’t doing exactly what she wanted to follow her Mother’s Day plan. While she complained loudly about it Alexander got on with making his mum a cup of tea in the biggest cup he could find. It was a two tea bag job and he proudly delivered it to his mum.

Breakfast in bed was the next order of the day, along with making some vouchers. Everything had to pause while Lucy cut some card up to make the vouchers. Once that was done cards were given to Tracy along with the presents, and an order for breakfast was taken. The presents were Jack Monroe’s Vegan-ish cookbook, two Lily O’Brien dessert chocolates, and the bottle of syrup that I’d ordered to meet the minimum price on Amazon pantry when I’d ordered the chocolates. The syrup wasn’t supposed to be a present, but the kids just wrapped everything in the box!

Alex made everyone breakfast, bacon sandwiches for most of us, and cereal for Lucy. It was very civilised.

Tidying Up

What we spent most time doing during the day was tidying up. We started in the bathroom with a general clean and sorting out the basket of bath toys that has been there for about a decade. A number of older ones for thrown away, some that weren’t properly bath toys got washed and put in the right place. The rest got a decent soak in the bottom of the bath for a few hours before being scrubbed and rinsed and returned to the newly cleaned basket.

This is the ‘after’ picture of our garage, if I’d remembered to take a before picture you wouldn’t have seen the chairs at the back! (photo: James Kemp)

I spent a couple of hours before lunch in the garage. I moved a lot of stuff onto the driveway where Tracy and Lucy sorted the toys into ones to pass on to others, some to bring inside and things that were beyond playing with to be recycled. While they did this I moved the bikes round the back, pumped up all the tyres and then put things on the shelves in the garage. Lots of stuff had been randomly brought in, and we had so much stuff that it was hard to get to the shelves. So I used the space I’d created to restack a bit and put things together, and make better use of the space. In the end it felt like we could get to everything, which is a good result.



Alexander used the pressure washer to clean the driveway, and when he was done I had a sneaky shot of it on the car. It was dirtier than I’d expected.

While I was finishing off Tracy and Lucy came back out and painted some of the blocks on the drive. Lucy had painted a rainbow for the window a bit earlier, so this was a way to avoid wasting paint, and to brighten up the drive.

School Prep

A new thing tonight was prepping for Lucy’s lessons. We’ve not had to do this for Alexander because the school assign him work and at 14 he’s pretty good at just doing it. Lucy is only 7, so we need to work out how we’re going to keep her busy learning. She’s bright, and good at learning, but we can’t just tell her to get on with some maths.

Luckily we’ve got her logins for Mathletics and Reading Eggs. We’ve also got some material for her topic this term, which is the Romans. I’ve dug out three books she can read, and a couple of more advanced ones with lots of pictures that I can read with her to get in more depth if she’s interested in any particular topic. I also thought I’d get her to read some Asterix.

Overall I think today has been pretty good, although I’ve done way more than any other day this week. I even managed to hit 10,000 steps, probably down to a bit of dancing with Tracy and Lucy to some loud music after dinner.