COVID-19 comes for us all

So on Monday 20 March I woke up with a slightly sexy gravelly voice and a mild tickly cough. Because of my work in healthcare I always have a few COVID-19 tests knocking about. "I'll just test to rule it out" I thought optimistically.

The fact this this is a blog post means the reveal here will come as no surprise. No one blogs about not getting COVID-19.

Small white covid test showing two clear pink lines demonstrating the test is positive for covid

Since COVID-19 first became mainstream news I have followed all the rules and then some. I have stayed home,  worn masks, not shopped except via internet and always made drivers leave deliveries on the doorstep. We washed our hands. I have hand gel around the house. 

I had to go out for work in the early days, high risk places where I used full PPE and wore scrubs that could be boil washed while I showered as soon as I got home before joining the family again.

I continued to mask after the rules relaxed, I continued to stay home, I'm practically a hermit! I didn't see my parents for over a year, I missed a Christmas with my daughter as she was awaiting a test result. I have every vaccination possible as soon as it's available. I have stayed COVID-19 free all this time.

And yet here I am.

This sneaky bastard virus has invaded the temple* of my body.

*Like the temple in jungle book, falling down, crumbling and full of monkeys


Toilet Breaks won't Break a Child

childs drawing of a boy and girls crossing their legs looking like they need the toilet

Some UK schools are restricting the use of toilets both in lesson and break time.

When I was at school you raised your hand and asked to go, the teacher said yes, you went, you came back. End of story. And there were breaks between classes too, so you could nip in then. I never saw any problem with this. It all worked fine.

I assume schools in their ongoing battle to subdue teach children have decided some children are abusing the privilege right to go to the toilet when they need to. As we all know, children are terrible at knowing when they need to go, and hopeless at planning, even as teenagers; and of course when children start menstruating that can strike at any time! Nothing worse than feeling that sudden trickle of blood and knowing you need the loo trip NOW!

My opinion, and what's the point of being an old woman online if you can't have opinions! Is that children should be allowed to go to the toilet when they damn well please. Will the entire class rush out to the loo at once? maybe; and here I shrug, because teachers...this is on you. It's your job to keep the class entertained and engaged enough to learn. 

Children should want to be in your class, they should excitedly hope you are going to do that fun thing you do, tell a joke like you do, have a pop test with prizes, ask a class member to stand up and teach for five minutes, whatever your class loves you should be using to entrance them. Children should be hoping they don't need the loo in your class because your class is great! And headteachers should be supporting you in that, with time, with resources, and with faith in your teaching. And the government should be supporting all of that too!

Stop worrying about toilets. Start thinking about teaching so no one wants to miss it.


Cookie recipe - no life story

I made cookies. You can too. Here is the recipe and method.


  • 100g/4oz butter, softened
  • 100g/4oz light muscovado sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml - though my antique ones are twice that!) golden syrup
  • 150g/6oz self raising flour
  • chocolate chips/ chocolate buttons
Heat the oven. 180 degrees C, Gas 4, 160 degrees C for a fan oven
Beat the butter and sugar in a bowl until light and creamy.
Add the syrup and beat that in.
Work in half the flour.
Stir in the choc chips and the rest of the flour.
Work into a dough with your fingers, form the dough into 14 balls.
Places the balls on a baking tray, spaced well apart, do not flatten them!
Bake for 12 - 14 minutes until flat and the edges are a pale gold.
Cool on a wire rack.

Apparently you can store them for 4 days, you won't want to! 

golden warm and gooey chocolate cookies


Gadgets I use to make my disabled life easier

I have got Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. Its a disease that affects the peripheral nerves, it is hereditary and it makes me weak and wobbly and frequently tired.

Because of this disability I use a fair few 'aids' to help me live normally. I don't need a wheelchair (yet!) but I do use a stick for balance, especially on uneven ground or in busy places where people might bump against me. I don't want a repeat of the falling down the escalator on the London Underground experience! I have a few sticks and I'm thinking of getting another. I like them fancy and the collapsible ones are handy. There always seems to be a good selection on Ebay

In this post I thought I would share a few of the things I use to make life easier. There are Amazon affiliate links, that doesn't cost you anything to use but Amazon give me a tiny (and I mean tiny!) percentage of the profits of any sales from them. 

To help me dress in the morning, as I have very poor fine motor control in my hands and fingers, I use a sort of modern day button hook. To say it's been a life changer is an understatement! For years I relied on my husband to button up the duvet cover and to do up the small buttons on my shirts. I had actually stopped buying clothes with buttons until I bought this gadget! It also helps with fiddly zips, as long as they have a hole in them, those annoying 'cute' zip pulls you often see on ladies clothes that have no hole in are a pain! 

a gadget with a handle and a metal loop, a hook on one end

 You know how in the movies when the hero gives a necklace to his lady love and he just reaches round behind her neck and 'click' the clasp is fixed! Or the lady removes her jewellery at the end of the day, just a quick movement under her hair and the necklace clasp is open... well I have never been able to do that, and now I struggle even using a mirror and doing it where I can see! So I bought some magnetic necklace clasps, I worried they would be weak and fall open but they are amazing and now I wouldn't be without them. 
rows of gold and silver magnet clasps for necklaces

 I can't open jars because of weakness, there are lots of things o the market to help to open jars, gadgets that release the air pressure, twist grips. rubber sheets, but I now use a tiny robot. My electric jar opener is just the best thing! 

 I am also the proud owner of a granny grabber. I'm fairly sure that isn't it's real name, but standing on a chair when you are wobbly is pretty risky, so I use a long handled grabber when I can.

long reach grabber with trigger grip

When walking upstairs I need to hold onto the rail because of poor balance. This means carrying anything up or downstairs is difficult, small items I can put in a stair basket but cups of tea? I can't use a regular tray one handed, but this modern take on the butler tray is perfect and I use it a lot. I feel like it would be useful to anyone really, allowing you to open doors etc and giving you one free hand while you move things about. 

a white tray with a single handle over the top

 Modern cans and tins no longer need can openers (though if they did there is an electric option) but eve a ring pull is tricky when your hands are like mine. So I have a small gadget to pop the pull up and then to pull off the lid. 

Culinare brand magic pull for cans

 Life is not all doom and gloom of course and I enjoy a tipple. I love to drink cava (Spanish champagne) and of course the cork can be a struggle. You can buy a proper thing to loosen the cork I think, but I use a set of antique nutcrackers, just because I can. 

cork grip, resembles pliers or nutcrackers

 At our entrance way is a boot remover, I am finding it increasingly tricky to bend down and VERY tricky to have the strength to remove a book without hep. Ours is a cast iron boot beetle. 

a beetle where the antennae work as a heel grip to pull off boots

 So there are some of my useful things, and yes I notice being disabled is expensive. If I find any more useful gadgets I will let you know and you can share any you use in the comments.


Time to catch up

a small red tray on a wooden table bearing a cup of cocoa
I haven't blogged much in ages because a) I didn't have much time and b) no one reads blogs anymore.

Point a) I have been in my new job for 4 years now, I'm comfy in it, in fact I've been seconded for special ops for the last year (don't ask) and so I started to realise I can have that time again. I can make space to blog.

I have been using my lunch hours more productively though. When I worked for the NHS I spent each lunch break at my desk, grabbing a sandwich, catching up with emails, punting out a blog post. Since changing my job I now make a conscious effort to leave the screen, and I tend to read and relax for an hour. It's really rather lovely.

Oddly part of my new job involves learning to write. Learning to write in a way that is easy to understand and is readable. This will be a good test!

Point b) Does no one read blogs? I know I stopped reading them but I think that was because I was reading blogs that hadn't moved on, hadn't changed and hadn't grown. This blog started as a diary, then became a place to rant, rave and moan (something social media has stepped up to cater for) and finally became a 'mum blog' following the trials of parenting but now...? Now my baby is 23 and I am...what? Still a mum, still a wife, still employed, a dog wrangler...and maybe a blogger.

So let's cut to the chase. What will this blog become next? Something about me? More rants and moans? Suggestions and top tips? Maybe all of those. I have decided to blog at least once a month. Seems doable. I am on Mastodon now, having given Twitter the old 'heave ho' ; check out my waffling over there and I will let you know when I post something longer here. 

I will take another look at the theme here to check it's clean and simple on PC and mobile (let me know via comments or on Mastodon if you see obvious changes that are needed). I will also have a think about the blog name. 

And will I be concerned about SEO? (search engine optimisation) no, no I will not, because if Mastodon as shown my anything it's that we don't need to rely on cheats and algorithms. People pass on the good stuff just fine. 

Image © enginakyurt, 123RF Free Images

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