Back to work, turning 55, selling and buying houses, the majestic sunflowers and are those olive trees too big?

No I am not having a mid life crisis . And no that is not why there hasn’t been a blog for some time.

Keep positive

The truth of it is that real life got in the way. How very dare it! But so much has happened that I need to get it off my chest! Coming out of furlough. Dad back from India. Celebrating Indian Independence Day, because that’s what one does in Bedford on 15th August . Student moving to London. Brixton to be precise. Buying student a car; read mum buying student a car. Eating out to help out ; Rishi’s got a lot to answer for, namely the demise of my cooking days (it’s good to blame others sometimes)! The burgeoning garden and the never ending supply of tomatoes and courgettes. Buying and selling houses – part one only, because you know it’s always a drama of many parts. Staycationing a la weekend breaks. The arrival of the sunflowers. And not forgetting the transition from Stay Alert to Hands/Face/Space, god bless Boris. Oh and I thought it would be a great idea to learn Italian through Babbel, not doing too well and brain frazzled.Let’s take each drama one by one. I may have to revisit some of these as I may go over the “optimum” blog length. Seriously is our concentration level so damaged in 2020. Well here we go.

So I went back to work on Tuesday 4th August on 2days/week. Guess what date my papa decided to come back to the UK; yes you’ve guessed it 4th August. To be fair, it wasn’t really his fault, he had no choice in the matter. No international flights out just returning Air India planes involved in repatriation.Anyway he got back safe and sound and at 84 he’s doing ok. We are just testing out tiffin services at the moment for him. Reminds me of the film Lunchbox 😂.

The eagle has landed

2days/week was rather pleasant but terribly frustrating as one couldn’t really get the work done . So would you believe I had to go back to 4days/week in September. How rude ! Anyway, as I keep telling you all, we are the lucky ones . I have a job, great colleagues and a wonderful industry that you’ve all helped to maintain by cooking and baking and doing up your homes and gardens ! Please do carry on. I’m getting used to doing lots of Zoom and Teams calls instead of running around the country, but I do miss the personal contact. We’ve talked about the comedy element to virtual calls before; children barging in asking questions, dogs barking, deliveries to be taken mid call and technical glitches. Even with all this they are a godsend.And like me do you occasionally catch yourself focusing on your lines and grey hairs; vanity has a lot to answer for!

Zoom call anyone !

Talking of lines and turning grey. I have an important announcement to make. I turned 55 on 11th September.That’s more than half a century. I’m on the wrong side of mid-fifties. It takes one into the next age bracket on surveys.Some people even start talking about early retirement. What the hell ? Unless you are absolutely rolling in the ££, have simple tastes, lead a monastic lifestyle in a house in the middle of nowhere (I don’t want to appear gauche or materialistic) or don’t have an addiction to shoes,clothes, holidays and life in general you can simply carry on working. Oh, and the small matter of the student’s Masters and “independent” living in London care of the bank of mum & dad. Sorry , I digress. It was supposed to be about my birthday. Had a lovely time celebrating with some friends and then family; spreading the love appropriately during Covid times. The trick now is to hang out with older people and pretend you’re still young ; thanks hubby!

More birthday

The garden is looking magnificent. The sunflowers rose up and carried on growing to look majestic and when they flowered I was full of joy and posted pics with the following quote from Helen Keller.

“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows .

It’s what the Sunflowers do!”

I made hubby stand by them to illustrate their grandeur. And then made him take photos of me to illustrate how short I was.I grew these from seed. How clever am I.

The tomatoes and courgette ms have been coming through all summer. I have a new found love for courgettes and pasta sauce.

Nephew helping with tomato harvest
Tomatoes tomatoes tomatoes

The Cosmos plant below finally produced flowers, the Marigolds have gone mad and the bloody rose is diseased!

Just beautiful

The hubby outdid himself and bought two olive trees; we love them. Remember our garden is relatively small. I present the olives below ! In a survey of friends , 100% thought they were big!


The kitchen activity has slightly gone down the pan ! Literally. Hubby is tres disappointed with my wifey kitchen performance and the near 10 is slipping towards 4 at the moment. I’m sure that I will rise again but for now simple meals are back in force. No need for food parcels just yet.

Quick simple dishes

I blame Rishi. We’ve really been helping out by eating out 😂.

One of our best eat outs! Afternoon tea at 3St Peters.

As for overseas holidays they are a distant memory; Oman, Italy, Palma and Kerala. This may be another reason why early retirement will never be an option for us! We came close to Croatia but then decided against that too. I think we can survive a year without air travel, or can we! To compensate we indulged,like many, on a trip to the Lake District and then to Norfolk, day trips to Cambridge and Kingston and off to the Cotswolds and Northumberland by year end. I only have 21.5 days holiday to take. The weather gods were kind to us and it’s something when the B&B man in Keswick says that he’d had the best season ever and he himself was off to Turkey to get away from the crowds! You couldn’t make it up! And in Norfolk there were queues for beaches that are normally deserted. I recommend Winterton-on-Sea, cafe and toilets. What more do you want? £7 parking for the day and no passport control . Bargain.

I can do it
Keswick centre
Lake District
The Broads
Kingston Upon Thames

Some of you know that I belong to an Indian Women’s group called Bandhan and part of the what we call the Planning Team (committee). We are a 130 strong bunch of women from varying backgrounds but all of Indian origin. We may be small but we think big, always. In the midst of all the COVID restricts we managed to pull of an Indian Independence Day celebration. Virtual and with just a few people at Bedford Town Hall- our Mayor and The High sheriff. Supported by ‘command centre’ in a house with three people and three laptops.We will never forget this one…sarees and masks and getting over 200 people to join on zoom for a live event. We are available to help you Boris, just find us on Facebook.

Spot the mayor
The planners

We decided to sell our beautiful home and found another (again. more detail is needed but perhaps when the whole process is over)! So when it came to getting the house photo ready one went to Homesense to buy cushions and faux plants !! But before that we had to declutter. How many chairs do three people really need !!! And 6 cake stands ??? Student is 22, do we still need the box of fluffy toys and dress up boxes? How many towels – are we running a bloody spa. And I’m not even going to discuss in public the level of cookware and kitchen tools & gadgets. Wish us luck. I will surely return to this story. And thank goodness for storage facilities. Marie Kondo we are ready to be your test case.

So tidy
Box out of sight with all the clutter

The hubby , he’s still around, occasionally working from home. I can hear him and now have to share the WiFi with him. But I have noticed that he seems to prefer going into the office . No I’m not going to read too much into that … perhaps we should start a tea round? That must be where I was going wrong? Didn’t make my new home -office colleague welcome enough? Hmm …or perhaps he just uses it get some rest from being a DIY and delivery man here at home. The student has impressed us all by finding a job in a warehouse. Motivation for a 6am-2pm shift; money. Can’t fault her work ethic though!

The end of August also saw us remembering my mother who passed away last year. It was a beautiful, quiet religious ceremony that allowed us to remember and free her soul onto the next stage of her journey in this world. If you believe..

Stay safe, sensible and sober and show gratitude.



Some other observations and incidents from first world living ..

1. So I decided it would be a good thing to join a detox weekend the same time as moving the student. If I use the phrase ‘colonic irrigation’ you will understand that perhaps that wasn’t the wisest of moves. Will be back in this.

2. Hands, face and space.They rhyme so surely the public will get it ?

3. I notice that Sainsbury’s are back to giving me vouchers. My stupid level of lockdown shopping has long gone. Whatever was I thinking? I know your games Sainsbury’s.

4. You may be wondering what happened to the cycling and yoga ? Well all the great work during lockdown in getting the body into shape has come to a temporary stop as I try and get the ankle back to good form. But hubby did manage to get me on a 42km bike ride. And we are still talking.

Still smiling

5. We moved the student out. The van was hired, loaded and whoops . Need a part 2 because hubby misjudged the size we would need. Just saying. I think that whole adventure needs a separate blog.

6. I hope you are surviving this post lockdown , six in a group, but you can play football and still go to the pub. I’m going to set up an auntijis football division and if it’s near a pub I think it would tick a lot of boxes !!

7. I have been addicted , thanks to the student to a Netflix show called Selling Sunsets- based on super glam LA estate agents selling multi -million dollar homes to the rich and famous . Highly recommend as no brain needed, entertaining and you get to see serious house porn. What’s not to love ?

8. Please excuse me if I don’t recognise you in your 😷 mask ! Just wear the mask, even if there is a small chance it helps why wouldn’t you ? Don’t want to hear about discomfort- talk to all those who wear them all day long along with heavy duty PPE.

10 thoughts on “Back to work, turning 55, selling and buying houses, the majestic sunflowers and are those olive trees too big?

  1. Wonderful blog dear Seema , I always enjoy reading it and make sure its a quiet time .
    Do continue writing , you have a great flair in writing its fun .
    Good luck with house sale n buying .


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