On furlough and baking till I’m back

I remember well when I was told I would be furloughed from my Nurse Administration job at Leuchie House. Mind you I had to actually Google “furlough” as this was a word I had never come across! My first instinct was “a few weeks off will mean I’ll get through that TO DO list that never gets finished”. Suffice to say that list is still unfinished as a much more important task took over - baking.

I do love baking anything from breakfast pancakes to elaborate birthday cakes. It was all the in-between goodies that became our daily treats. I’m at home with my husband and 17 year old son so have a captive audience of 2 men with a sweet tooth.
Baking during early weeks of lockdown took a bit of planning, we only had one weekly trip to the supermarket so preparation included flours and sugars - ALWAYS important on the list. Flour was extremely scarce and Mungoswells local flour mill became my saviour, plus their flour is a bakers dream, bye bye sieve.

At home we decided on a Mon-Fri routine, in summary I would bake in the morning whilst my husband did his online Spanish lessons and then we had coffee together at 10.30 along with that baking. Now this could be old favourites; scones, shortbread, empire biscuits ( one of hubbies favourites) - I did experiment with Spiced Apple Cake and an amazing gingerbread recipe passed on from a friend (my undoubted favourite).

The couple of extra muffins or slab of shortbread would be handed next door to our lovely neighbours, both Sheilding and one quite unwell - no hugs of reassurance permitted under covid19 rules but at least these gestures made them smile. My edible offerings gave me a reason to check on them and take the occasional special request. Being able to help in this way has helped me too. I hate not feeling useful and I've found it very difficult not being able to 'do my bit' for Leuchie, though Mark has always told us we're doing our bit by being furloughed. Still, when you are a natural helper like me it's hard! My job involves ringing the guests up before arrival and checking everything is in place prior to their holiday at Leuchie to ensure it is a true holiday - eg bringing all meds, getting their activity wish list and discussing anything they might be anxious about. This can be more than 1 call, whatever the Guest needs. I've really missed this interaction with guests. Knowing that I'm preparing them for a wonderful break, and knowing their carers will get the break they need to.

I've also found these lock down weeks very difficult not seeing family and friends. One of the godsends was a 4-way WhatsApp Group set up with my side kick Ali and The Booking Team girls from Leuchie. We shared jokes, hair style issues?! gardening tips and generally anything to have a bit of Leuchie Life without actually being there. We missed it all - Guests firstly and foremost, Colin whistling, Lisa’s smiling face at the desk ..... this list goes on and on.

Soon I hope to be back at my desk doing my phone calls to Leuchie Guests old and new. I guess a cake would be a great way to say “I’m so happy to be back”.