Four+ months, 125 days, 3000 hours – time for a change!

This has been a week of firsts for me.

Last weekend OH (other half) and I drove to the coast (Frinton since you ask), picnicked on the beach and I actually used a public loo for the first time since lockdown.  Public loos are not my favourite places at the best of times. Normally if we’re out I would try and use a restaurant or pub loo. Or, better still, nip into a hotel trying to look as if I’m staying there.

To use the public loo, I wore a mask.  Another first for me as there’s been no necessity to use one up till now as we’ve not gone anywhere!  The mask had the added bonus of covering up any unsavoury smells but this loo visit was a good experience. So much so that I visited it again later in the day!

Another Frinton first (well, Walton-on-Naze to be precise) was sitting outside a cafe and having a cream tea.  The scone was rubbish, the tea not much better but oh the luxury of sitting in the sunshine watching the world go by.  The woman serving our tea was even older than me. She reminded me of the character of Mrs Overall played by Julie Walters in Acorn Antiques! OH and I were nevertheless reassured by the 5 for hygiene score on the shop window.

Yesterday I drove my car for the first time in four months. I would like to be able to say that it started first time but I actually had to have a new battery fitted. I had diligently been starting my car on a regular basis but clearly not regularly enough. Readers take heed.

Another first this week was booking a holiday – for next February.  Flying (now that’s brave) business class (now that’s expensive) and travelling to Madeira where they have had no Covid deaths to date. Not so long ago I said I would never fly again, in the same way as said I would never vote Labour again.  I have changed my mind about one and am seriously considering changing my mind about the other.

Another first (how many firsts can one person experience in seven days?) is that I have bought a dress online.  I have never ever bought a dress online but thought I would give it a go. The dress arrived today. Amazingly, it fits and I am very pleased with my purchase.  White Stuff since you ask. Ethically sound, Fair Trade and all that.  My writer friends from Watford Writers (hello Brian, Mike, Helen, John, Ian and Jan) might get to see it at our next Zoom meeting.  The purchase was so successful I went right back to my PC and ordered another one.

It is over four months since I last had my hair cut and my grey roots tinted.  (Sorry to disappoint but I am not really a true blonde.)  Now my hair is long, straggly and grey with blonde streaks I have taken to wearing a pony tail again – for the first time in what must be forty years.  Grey hair might be ageing but a pony tail makes me feel like I am a teenager again!

Lockdown has been a great time for gardening even for those of us who are not great gardeners.  I think of myself as a haphazard gardener. I throw seeds into the earth without preparing the soil. I plant things willy nilly in the hope that they might flourish. And sometimes, I get surprisingly good results – and with minimum effort on my part.  Earlier in lockdown I thought I would plant some melon seeds. I scraped the seeds out from a melon, washed, dried and planted them in some compost. Left them on the window sill until green shoots became visible and then replanted them into a trough on our terrace.  I now have some small honeydew melon plants.  I can’t imagine that they will ever produce melons but it has been a fun experiment and another first for me.  I am also growing cauliflowers (another first) and you’ll be the first to hear if they’re successful.

The one first I am eagerly awaiting is the first chance we get to hug and kiss our daughter’s three children, aged eight, six and four.  Until lockdown we saw them all frequently as we often helped out with childcare. Now we see them from time to time at a distance. Other grandparents reading this I am sure will empathise when I say that not being able to hold, kiss, cuddle, tickle, touch and hug our grandchildren has been the biggest sacrifice of these past four months. A first that I could very happily have done without.

Have a good weekend everyone and I will see you again next week.

If this is the first time you have visited my blog, welcome!  


© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems



  1. Hi Andrea, I am with you with many of your firsts including ordering dresses on line! For my partner I hasten to add. One of my new first this week has been cancelling a cruise to New York on the Queen Mary. I have never been on a cruise and booked this 18months back because it was to feature speakers from the Cheltenham Literary Festival. I doubt many of them will be sailing now anyway. As a replacement I have booked my first First Class train tickets to the Edinburgh Fringe and because it is cancelled my reduced hotel costs more than cover the train fares. Enjoy your adventures over the weekend and I look forward to seeing the new dress. Brian x


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