I am so sorry for the incredibly long period of time since I last wrote to you, but I think the term ‘extenuating circumstances’ genuinely covers it, and the situation we all find ourselves in now is unprecedented. In fact looking back over my last blog it’s hard to comprehend just how much the world has changed… I know that all of us are being bombarded with news and information about the devastating effects of COVID-19, and it’s extremely worrying. I very much hope you are well, and have managed to avoid the virus so far with all the restrictions and measures that are now in place? Self-isolation won’t be easy for everyone I understand, so I hope that with the telephone and all the other ways of keeping in touch, you won’t feel too lonely. I also pray that if you know someone who has it, that their symptoms are mild and they will recover well. This blog has always provided a support network, and I feel there’s never been a better time than now for us to connect and look out for one another. I hope you agree 🙂
Well, I had imagined I’d be sharing photos of my 60th birthday celebrations with you this time round – and thank you so much to those of you who sent cards to me at QVC before the date, but unfortunately on the 14th March I woke up with a cough, and by Sunday was feeling really unwell. Having called 111 they told me to treat it as Coronavirus and so I was told to self-isolate for the next 14 days. Luckily for me, Colin was home and not working and has done a great job of looking after me. He also ordered 100s of balloons and decorations which were to have been used at the party but are now stored away, however, he inflated this fabulous Happy Birthday banner which he hung in the kitchen for me bless him!
Obviously I wasn’t able to see anyone else, and the party we’d arranged in the local pub was cancelled along with the band that had been so brilliant at our wedding. To be honest I didn’t even get out of bed for the first four days and had a terrible cough that hurt my chest. The radiotherapy I had all those years ago damaged my ribs and lung on the right, and so I’m always more susceptible to chest infections. Mercifully, the aches and pains and general feeling of exhaustion have finally passed, but I still have the cough, which means that I won’t be coming back to work just yet as I can’t talk without coughing and couldn’t risk anyone else catching it. Of course until I have a test I’m not at all sure that I’ve had it, but whatever it was, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
The weekend before, we’d actually had a large family gathering because Colin’s daughter Lily was heading to Australia for 18 months for a work placement. She’s a very successful accountant, and was extremely excited about the thought of a new life in Sydney. We had a lovely lunch together with a Mexican menu – Lily’s favourite – and took a fair few photographs! It was really quite hard to say goodbye, but the world is a far smaller place these days, and we all know it’s a great opportunity for her.
She flew out on the Friday just as Australia put their restrictions in place, which meant she had to go directly into isolation for 14 days! Mercifully her employer had an efficient support structure in place and we’ve all been keeping in touch with her via Whatsapp and FaceTime, so she’s not too lonely. Ironically, my lovely Australian niece Clare and her husband Cale were due to be returning to Sydney on the 18th April, but when the situation accelerated here they sensibly decided to try and get an earlier flight home. They had three flights cancelled, before flying out on Wednesday afternoon, and arrived safely on Thursday, much to my brother’s relief! Sadly we had no chance to say goodbye as our planned dinner party, and my birthday party were both cancelled, but we’ve had some fabulous times together in the last 23 months since they arrived.
My goddaughter Sophie hasn’t been as lucky – she is now grounded in Perth, but is with a family she knows who are looking after her. On the plus side, it’s lovely to see the kindness and support from everyone around the globe.
And talking of support, those of you who follow me and my colleagues on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter will no doubt know of some of the great ideas they’ve come up with to connect to the community. Miceal is self-isolating and doing live exercise programmes each day, Jackie has set up a book club, and Catherine has begun to teach sign-language! I’ve got a few ideas up my sleeve, but will hang onto them until I’m able to talk without coughing and spluttering! Of course finding ways to relax always helps, and so I though you might like this lovely photo of Honey showing me how to meditate!! Love the position of her hands 🙂 She and I have been connecting with this special App on our phones, where she draws something and I have to guess what it is! She’s actually better at it than I am, but it’s a lovely distraction. I’ve also begun to FaceTime her at bedtime some evenings to read her a bedtime story – it’s almost as good as being there… almost.
Something I can do for you, by way of a distraction, is to set a competition. I know it’s been AGES since I last set one, but I’ve managed to procure a large collection of products from some of your favourite beauty brands and the estimated value is around £350! So, I’ve found this rather lovely and original quote, and I’d like you to do add in the final bit of it for me! Some of you may well know it, but if not, I think it’d be lovely just to go with your imagination!
“If you want to be happy………….”
The competition will be close in two weeks, at 12pm on Friday 10th April, and I’ll announce the winner shortly after, in my next blog. I’ll pick a winner at random from all the correct entries, and we can send the prize out to you as soon as we’re able, and it’s safe to do so. Read the full competition Terms & Conditions for more information.
I’ll look forward to hearing from you 🙂
I’m not quite sure when I’ll be back at work, but let’s keep in touch here in the meantime, and on all the other social media platforms, and look out for each other. Take care, and stay safe.
With my love,