It’s a bit of a mix

Little Pea made banana bread and wrote it up in his diary:

(That’s a picture of the finished product. Busy things is something to do with doing school stuff)

Mum and Dad have acquired an increasingly tame pheasant (possibly because of the quieter roads around them) which they are now feeding:

(Little Pea has named him Max)

And have Sister 2 taking part in her online boxing class in a swimming hat and arm bands…just because.

While I made the most of the fact nobody could see my feet in online yoga:

And little Wisp -possibly the luckiest of us all in terms of awareness at this weird time – slept soundly.

Stay safe, lovely people. X

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I’m back. Because it’s all gone weird…

I mean, you know it’s gone weird.  This is a global level of weirdness that even people living under stones would have noticed, because it’s all gone quiet and now we can hear the birds sing.

I thought I’d start posting again, not because I have anything of particular note to say, but this has always been an online diary of sorts and it feels like the time that if you’re ever going to write a diary for your future self, this is it.  Also, The Pog Blog always helped me see things in a slightly different light and right now, when part of me – and I imagine most of us – is a bit scared, that might help too.  I’ll still aim for some smiles :)

In fact, this wont be just my diary.  I’m trying to rope a few other people in who have different things going on to me.

So for that future me who has forgotten how this all started, this is how it happened in my world:

  • Corona virus was on the news in China then Italy, then there were things happening in the UK late February,/ early March but it all felt a bit distant.
  • On the 2nd of March (I think) my doctor surgery closed as one of the doctors had contracted the virus on a ski-ing holiday and had come back and been to the surgery before the symptoms started.
  • On Friday 6th March (I think) was the day I became aware that people were starting to panic buy pain killers and toilet roll
  • On Friday 13th I went to Asda and discovered the scale of panic when I had to queue for an hour to pay (and discovered the toilet roll aisle really was empty!).  It still felt separate to me though
  • Monday 16th was my birthday.  Himself worked from home so we could go out in the evening, not knowing that was the last day he could have worked in the office in London.  This was the day it felt like it all changed though.  Boris Johnson held his first daily press briefing live on TV and it felt like we had gone to war.  We had, but at least in this war everyone, worldwide, was fighting the same enemy.  Boris asked people not to go to pubs or restaurants.  I admit, we hurtled down to the quiet local and had a pint and a (veggie) burger at tables that had been distanced, knowing it was likely to be our last outing for a while.
  • Friday 20th March all schools in the UK closed.  Himself’s boys were over the moon.
  • Monday 23rd Boris announced a lockdown:Screenshot 2020-03-31 at 12.11.09
  • Tuesday 24th Himself’s boys reported that they were already bored.
  • Since then Price Charles and Boris are among people who have contracted the virus, online shopping slots are impossible to book and many, many people are unable to work.  On the positive side, communities are coming together in ways I’ve not seen before (We have a What’s Up group for nearby roads where people can request and offer help, for example, I’ve done and delivered a shop for a household in isolation), there are heaps of free online things today where generous people and business have done what is in their power to do to help and the birds….I’m sure I hear more birds now than a few weeks ago.  It could be because there are fewer cars; or it could just be that like many others, I’m appreciating the important stuff a lot more right now.

So we’ve had two weekends on lockdown and two and a half weeks of mostly being at home.  Happily, I had summer house plans before, so the weekends have been taken up doing this:

And making 18 face masks (I wore mine out for the first time today.  They steam up your glasses.  Do not wear while driving!)

Screenshot 2020-03-31 at 12.31.33

I’ll try to start posting each day from now.  For the moment, I’ll leave you with the thoughts of my Sisters.  They both posted to face book this morning and it was these posts that made me ask if they would add contributions to this as we’re all doing different things right now.

Sister 1 (Nanna):

Screenshot 2020-03-31 at 12.18.09

Sister 2 (Sal):

Screenshot 2020-03-31 at 12.18.43

And my parents are self isolating due to their age and health conditions. I’ve asked if they would send me a photo each day too, as their experience will be very different to ours again. Mum will hate that Dad got this one of her:

I think this sums up the situation for many. Sister 1 visited Mum and Dad this morning, but nobody can go inside (households can’t mix without risk of spreading the virus), so a visit means sitting in the garden well away from them:

And I’m happily sitting in my newly named Hypno Hut, feeling very lucky that I’m not homeschooling children or having to self isolate, but trying to work out how to keep a tiny, baby business ticking over and support other people while I do.  It’s different for us all.  But it’s the same too.  And if nothing else, that is reassuring.


Stay safe, lovely people :)


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Exit: The cookie monster

Shall I tell you a secret?  You know the diploma I’m doing?  I didn’t really think it through.

You want to know how I ended up studying psychotherapy and hypnosis really, truly and honestly?  I was reading a book.  Not even an informative one – I was reading a crappy summer read type book about a hypnotherapist and thought ‘That’s such a cool job.  I wonder what training you need to do that?’  So I did a quick Google and found an introduction course (and we all know I like a course), but I’d missed by a couple of months.  So I gave them a quick call to see when the next one was and somehow went from agreeing that yes, I’d love to do the course via DVD instead of waiting for the next in person one and, yes, a diploma did sound interesting as a possible next step.  And that was it.  About 20 minutes from putting down my book I’d gone to almost signing up for a diploma.

I did the DVD course the following week.  It was fascinating.  Two weeks later I was at the first weekend session of the diploma.

But here’s the thing:  Honestly, I didn’t think hypnosis worked.  I’d been hypnotised a couple of times to try to give up smoking and spent the time wondering when I could have a cigarette.  On the course the psychotherapy part was really interesting, the way a brain works is amazing, but in real life the hypnosis part… would it, could it….?

YES.  It works.  I am now a believer.  And do you know why?  Because this biscuit monster has not eaten a biscuit in ONE WHOLE MONTH (and there are other success stories I could tell you, but this is the one that really got me).  Last month we had to practice a technique on each other that you can use to stop unwanted habits and addictions. Our course is quite unique because we don’t use scripts.  We’re taught how to make the hypnosis something the person we’re working with can relate to at an individual level which has a much higher success rate, but also makes it harder for us to learn.  So, on this practice session my partner and I got in a bit of a muddle.  We were told to keep it light hearted so we decided to use the technique to stop my habit of cracking open the biscuits as soon as I finished breakfast and continuously eating them until lunch time but it all went a bit wrong – I got the giggles, he got confused, the lecturer interrupted us….there was no chance it would work so I just chalked it up to a practice session.

But Monday came around and I sat at the table to eat my breakfast at a sensible time (rather than waiting til as late as possible as that way there was less biscuit eating time and gulping it at my laptop as I worked) and…no urge for a biscuit.  None in the afternoon either.  Or the evening.  In fact, the three packs of biscuits I bought for that week last month are still sitting in the cupboard.  As a committed biscuit devourer, I can only assume that even with flaws, the hypnosis worked.  I did the same for my hypnosis partners tendency to turn into a cookie monster on the sofa after work each evening.  He’s stopped too.

So maybe it’s best not to over think things.  Or maybe it’s best just to commit to stuff even if it then takes over every spare minute you had.  Or maybe you sometimes need to risk making a fool of yourself (nobody likes the practice sessions at the moment) because it could lead to all sorts of good things for all sorts of people.  And maybe, just maybe I’ll not go back to eating three packets of biscuits a week.  :o)

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Princess Pog and the (magical) tiara

The other day I mentioned in this post that Sister 1 had progressed the ‘lets embarrass our sister with weirdly addressed post’ competition, by sending me a parcel addressed to ‘Princess Pog’.  We currently have a lovely decorator man here who has since only referred to me as ‘Princess Pog’, which is a little weird, but I go with it…

I mentioned this to my Sister and….well today I had more post sent to Princess Pog.  It was my princess kit.  The lovely painter man was a little (more) scared when he watched me open the parcel and put on my tiara.

I sent a photo to Sister 1:

(One day I might put some make up on before taking a selfie)

And Sister 1 demanded to know where the necklace was.  Unfortunately I  obviously don’t have a very princess like head as it wouldn’t fit:

But apparently it made her laugh a lot as she and her husband sat in the oncology waiting room, and that can’t be a bad thing, can it?  I promised, as requested, that I would wear it all day, despite the fact that a number of dog walkers going past the house were doing double takes at me…

Now this is the proper, impressive story bit:  You might remember me mentioning last year how my brother in law was diagnosed with a brain tumour.  The story isn’t mine to tell, but I don’t think they will mind me telling you that today they found out his tumour – a grade 3 tumour that would never go into remission –  is…in remission.  Now, that could be due to the fact that they are positive in their outlook in a way that puts most of us to shame, or the fact that they have cut out sugar, or many other things.  Or – and I think we all know where this is going – my tiara could have had something to do with it.

I suggested this to Sister 1.  She said that means I can’t take it off at all now.  I can’t see this getting awkward at all…

And on a serious note, Sister 1 and Tattoo Man:  You’re both amazing.  (And so is Little Pea)

And also: #fuckyoucancer


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Full Marks (#stepmumwins 2)

Himself eats pretty much anything I give him,  his boys do not.  I don’t think I even need the fingers on one hand to count the meals they will eat, and it’s a source of much frustration, especially as we all know my cooking skills leave a lot to be desired.

Last night was Da Boyz night and for once, I’d not planned out what to make and I wondered if taking them to Nando’s on a school night was as big a cop out as I thought it might be, even if it did mean they would actually eat a full meal and have big smiles on their faces while they were about it.  And that’s when I had my brainwave:  we didn’t need Nando’s, we could have Pogdo’s!

They are not good with new things, so this was a bit of a risk, but I rushed to the shop to get the really curly whirly pasta they like, hit some chicken breasts with a rolling pin, covered them in breadcrumbs (one plain, one slightly spicy as per the standard Nando’s order) and added some passata sauce, telling them it was Pogdo’s ketchup. (Ok, there wasn’t a vegetable in sight, but this was a risk, I used ALL the kitchen implements making it and practically filled the house with smoke, so a few peas and a stray carrot were not something to worry about in the scheme of things happening here).

And people, you are not going to believe this.  I got 10/10 from BOTH boys.  And not only that, they said they PREFER Pogdo’s to Nando’s.  They suggested they could write reviews on trip advisor and I could run the first Pogdo’s from Our Towers (then Smaller Boy requested a job and started negotiating terms.  I’m going to have to watch him.)…

This is the face of a very happy (kind of) step mum, just after receiving full marks and careers advice (not caring that she looks like a bit of a maniac and should probably have put some make up on in honour of the occasion)  :o)

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Note to self: Engage brain

I’ve never been great at remembering to engage my brain before speaking.  Or at all, really.  I think these conversations over the last day or so sum that up quite well:

Himself:  Isn’t that plant the weed we pulled out of the gutter?

Me: Yes.  But I felt so guilty for making it homeless I gave it a new one.

Himself: …..

(It’s pretty though, isn’t it?)


Me:  *Looking at the very, very end of the sun setting*  The sunsets here are so beautiful.  Do you think they were this lovely when we lived in the old house?

Himself:  No, I imagine someone improved the sunsets just for us when we moved in here…

Himself: *Fixing a hose winder thingy to the wall*  Could you just check you can reach it ok and that you’re happy the bins can fit in the gap next to it?

Me: Yes.  *Lifting bin lid scattering all screws, tools and fixings into the gravel (which I saw, but didn’t really see)* Oooopsie

Himself: Well, at least we know that the bin lid opens ok still…


And today:

The painter man: *Pointing out the post that’s just been delivered*  Um.  Who is Princess Pog?’

Me:  Oh, that’s me. *opening parcel*  Ooooh.  It’s llama poo!

The painter man: Right.  Anyway, it’s probably time I finished for the day…


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Still Pogging it.

I don’t think I’ll ever learn.  I’ve been internally congratulating myself recently that I’ve been being a bit of a grown up.  I’ve done this before and been repaid with something slightly odd happening so I should have known.

I had a teleconference. A 1.5 hour teleconference.  I don’t do many meetings these days as if I can’t add value, I decline and get on with actual work.  Those I do attend are rarely big deals.  Today was quite a big deal.  I wanted to impress one of the senior people on the call with some work I’d done and I had around 10 minutes to present it.  I’m working in the conservatory this week as we are having some things done to the room I usually work in and just as my agenda slot was reached and I turned on my microphone, the heavens opened completely and utterly and the noise on glass was horrendous.  I unplugged my laptop and ran with it to the hallway – which has a skylight that rain was rebounding off with the same deafening noise.  It was the same in the bathroom and the bedroom.  The only room without a window affected by this apparently multi directional rain is the utility room.  I’d had the tumble dryer on earlier and it was hot in there….really hot (no windows, see?).

And that is why I ended up presenting something to around 20 people, one of whom I wanted to be impressed while I ran around the house, then stood in a boiling, dark room (no, no idea why I didn’t turn the light on), sweating and struggling to see properly to provide a demonstration.

So it seems I’m still definitely Pogging it, rather than being that grown up.  Just thought I’d let you know.  :o)

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