I think it’s fair to say that my tolerance for staying at home is probably higher than most others but even I have my limits. And I am beginning reach the end of mine now.
Lockdown hasn’t been as much as a shock to me as it must have been for many others as I had been working from home and only seeing my colleagues on video call for the best part of ten years. Now that lockdown is easing we don’t have the challenge of whether to return everyone to the office or not simply because we never had any offices.
That said even I need to see something other than the fours walls of the home office. When we weren’t locked-down I would once a week go into town and work from our accountants offices or meet colleagues for a catch-up in a coffee shop.
Finding some Variety
In order to provide some variety in locked-down life I have taken on a few short and, it has to be said, not particularly challenging projects. The first of which you are the happy recipient of as I am gradually moving all my blogs from an old server to this bright, shiny and crucially, cheaper one that you are looking at now. Well, looking at the results of rather than the server itself, obviously.
Here are a couple of ways that I have found to amuse myself over the months
It is fair to say that I have managed to expand my record collection a fair bit during lockdown. I’m told that when I have filled the current space allocated for them I will be left with a stark choice: stop collecting or get rid of some. We’ll see about that but in the meantime it has reached a size that I felt some dividers were in order.
There are plenty of people selling plastic dividers on the web but I thought that they were eyewateringly expensive for what they were. I decided that I could make my own using a long forgotten label printer and some cheap old records.
The problem was that until the lockdown eased I couldn’t get any cheap records. So come the 12th April I hit the charity shops and finally found a boxed set of four classical records for the princely sum of £3.
If you value your vinyl and don’t like it destroyed look away now…
I’d read that you can easily bend vinyl records in a bowl of boiling water. I took each of the records and scored a line two inches from the bottom of each and then plunged them into the water. They really do bend incredibly easily and so I was soon left with a floppy bottom, so to speak.
Out of the water they quick set again so I was able to work them into a crude L shape to form the divider. Then I applied the label and slotted them in place. I can’t amagine doing it for the whole alphabet but for the few smaller genres that I wanted covering it has been ideal.
Concrete Garden Pots
Many months ago I read an article in the RHS magazine about how you could make your own pots from a bag of quick set concrete. “That looks pretty neat” I thought to myself and went off to B&Q to procure a bag of concrete. And there it sat in the garage looking at my everytime I went in saying “when are you going to use me?”
I’d also seen on the internet how you could make garden balls using an old batheroon light fitting. Question was where could I get such a thing without paying? Posting my request to Freegle quickly turned up someone that had one to go. She was a little disappointed when she heard that I was going to destroy it but still let me have it.
One sunny Saturday I went out with all my collected bits and pieces and got to work. The article on the concrete balls suggested adding a small amount of compost to the mix so I did that and got to work filling various receptacles.
The hardest part was having to wait four days for the concrete to fully set before I could get to work uncovering my masterpieces. Smashing off the glass was probably the best bit of the whole operation!
I have to say that I was really pleased with the way that the ball came out and it now is prominently displayed in one of the beds. The pots are so-so. They don’t look anywhere near as good as the ones done by the RHS in their article but with a couple of succulents in them they look ok and add some interest to another area of the garden.
These have all been short-term diversions and fun but nevertheless I’m ready to go out again now and look forward to something approaching normality.