We hope you and your families and friends continue to be safe and healthy and that the news about the Coronavirus pandemic is getting better where you are. Welcome to our third round-up of small steps and suggestions for living life as well as possible.

Image with thanks to Penylan Pantry, Cardiff. Artwork by illustrator_eye

As we all enter another week under the shadow of Covid-19, have you started to think about what comes afterwards? Since the restrictions on movement began, we’ve all had to change our behaviour significantly, but amidst the difficulties there have been brighter moments. Many of us are walking more, cooking from scratch, enjoying the louder birdsong and perhaps connecting with old friends by video call or letter. When the crisis starts to ease, we’ll all be free to hang on to the actions which feel like changes for the better and to relish a greater appreciation of the little things we used to take for granted.

Something to do

Now is a perfect time to start sowing some herbs. They’re easy to cultivate even on a windowsill; sage, parsley, oregano, mint and basil are all recommended as ideal for beginners to try. There’s plenty of advice available online from organisations like the RHS to get you started, and, if you enjoy baking, there are lots of options for using your fresh herbs, from soda bread to herb and cheese scones . Just try an internet search using the name of your chosen herb as the starting point.




May’s Food for Thought

“There’s no place like home.”

L. Frank Baum, author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was born on this day in 1856.

1903 poster for a musical version of The Wizard of Oz, showing Dave Montgomery as the Tin Man. Image with thanks to Wikipedia


Did you know?

– After its publication in 1900, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was the best-selling children’s book for two years.  Baum went on to write thirteen more novels about the characters living in the Land of Oz.

– There are two film versions of the book. The first was a silent film made in 1925, where the Tin Man was played by Oliver Hardy, famous as one half of the Laurel and Hardy comedy duo.

How to make a difference

Food banks are at the forefront in helping the neediest in our communities, and given how much those needs have increased, they are finding themselves desperately short of food at the moment. If you are able, consider donating a few non-perishable items to your local food bank. It’s worth checking their website for opening hours, and it may also tell you which particular foods they need most.Screen Shot 2020-05-07 at 2.05.01 PM

For a bit of community spirit, you could also organize a school or neighborhood food drive. Designate a drive-through-and-drop-off location, have some volunteers take food items directly from cars, wave, play music, honk horns! We did just that at J’s school this past weekend, and our families took on the challenge of filling up our school bus! Such a wonderful way to get out, lift spirits and make a meaningful difference.

If you feel you can help, you can find out more about food banks like the one in the US mentioned here at Feeding America.   In the UK  the Trussell Trust supports a nationwide network of food banks.

Reasons to be cheerful

– The flower associated with May is the lily of the valley, which in the traditional language of flowers means ‘return of happiness’, something we are all looking forward to at the moment.

– There is a  growing understanding of the importance of reporting good news, both in the mainstream media and in publications like Positive News and the Happy Newspaper, as well as the Make a Difference podcast and David Byrne’s online magazine, appropriately called Reasons to be Cheerful.  As humans we have a negativity bias and pay more attention to negative information than to good news.  Scientific studies have found that it takes four items of good news to balance one bad and that there are real mental health benefits in sharing stories of hope and success.

– The wonderful artist and illustrator Sir Quentin Blake has designed a series of free e-cards to send to friends to cheer them up. We’ve chosen to share this one with you with thanks to all the (male!) hospital staff growing Quarantashes to help raise money for mental health charities like Mind during the pandemic.

Image by Sir Quentin Blake


– Finally, a personal reason to be cheerful – a solitary bee has moved into our insect hotel. Hopefully some other guests will check in soon.


See you next month,


Claire and Sam

p.s. You can click on the blue link text for more details on the topics in this post.


2 thoughts on “Moving forward

  1. Lots of lovely ideas – thank you. And you never know, I think I might manage a quarantache, actually….

    1. I think we’ll all look a bit different by the time we emerge from lockdown – I’m sure I’ll need an extra-long appointment with my hairdresser!

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