24/03/20 After a hard frost overnight we woke to another sunny day, the temperature reaching 19 degrees during the afternoon.
It is our first day under the new rules decreed by the government after Boris Johnson’s address to the nation at 8.30 pm last night. Drinking my morning coffee I could see that there was very little traffic during what should be the morning rush hour, no children walking past the end of the drive in pairs or noisy groups on their way to school, just the usual dog walkers
After completing the set of exercises that I perform each morning as prescribed by the physiotherapist service, to build up the muscles and ligaments in my foot and knee, I noticed that what few pedestrians did pass, carried bulging shopping bags. A little later I began to see runners, power walkers and cyclists engaged in their now limited, once a day exercise. Surprisingly, it seem like a normal Sunday morning, but it wasn’t.
The rest of the morning was spent pruning another large apple tree, then storing the logs away with the huge pile already cut. We are still lighting the wood burner in the evenings, around 5 pm it starts to get decidedly chilly. Armed with her hoover, Sue began her attack on the spiders and their webs clinging to the external walls and then moved on to tidy up the paths and areas of gravel by removing weeds and what was left of the debris of the winter storms. The snails and woodlice lost their homes too!
Viv, our next door neighbour engaged me in conversation over the fence after I had finished chain sawing the branches of the apple tree. As an opener she asked if we were on Lock down. She confessed to enjoying the enforced opportunity to relax and do things at her leisure. She has been a chiropodist for over 40 years and never had a proper holiday or break from work in all that time. Being forced to stop, was a relief. Her husband Ian, a newly qualified chiropodist feels like-wise. She was looking forward to just having the time to sit in the garden and reading a good book. I gave her a bottle of this years’ white wine from the many I have stored in the garage for them to celebrate of their good fortune? Later in the afternoon, they passed over the garden fence a selection of pretty ceramic pots that they professed to have no use for and were contemplating taking to the dump. Unfortunately, it had officially shut that day as it is a place where people congregate!
Charlotte and Ellis seemed to have an exciting afternoon as they tackled some of the science homework that he had been set. It involved a balloon, tumbler and wooden skewer. I also notice that they have a chemical crystal set to work on. I remember growing crystals at school in science lessons, great fun! Fortunately for Charlotte, Lucas has all his lessons on line now from the school.
Ruth, Joey and Rocky are at present staying at Jamie’s house. It looks (from photos on Messenger) they have been having great fun playing with Maddie. Bemused (like the rest of the family) that Jamie’s rabbit prefers to hop across a lawn to eat dried grass from out of a ‘Pets-R-us’ bag, rather than eat the ‘fresh’ stuff under his paws.
Tonight both Sue and I received texts from the government reminding us of the ‘new rules’ and that we have to stay at home.
25/03/20 Today Prince Charles was confirmed as positive for Corvid-19 and 389 died in England. For us, it was another frosty night and a sunny and warm day.
My morning bike ride (now a government sanctioned exercise) took me along the Grand Union Canal and through what were fields just a year ago, but are now part of a huge building site. It was unnaturally eerie, as I navigated my way along the remaining track-ways that are quickly being transformed from the rural to the urban, it was quiet! Just last week the site was a hive of activity, with engines throttling, hammers banging, radios on full volume and instructions being shouted. There was a few builders about, seemingly involved in clearing up activities rather than the creation of new structures. I noted that the local gypsies/travelers had taken the opportunity to release a few of their ponies on an area designated as recreation grassland.
My return took me through the town centre at what would have been the 9 am rush hour period. Normally a time and a place you would want to avoid as a car driver in a hurry, but today there was no traffic and very few pedestrians. Mostly engaged like me, on taking exercise. There was one lone taxi, parked up in an otherwise empty rank. Its driver watched resigned as I stopped to take a photo of the church. Passing through Welland Park, the children’s play area remained chillingly empty. The parents of Harborough were obeying Boris and were some how entertaining their off spring at home.
We spent the rest of the day working in the garden. I changed into shorts, T-shirt and sandals, it was that warm. Sue continued her weeding and clearing. I began by filling the strawberry planter donated by Viv and Ian yesterday. After lunch I replaced a fence post on our shared boundary and chatted to our neighbours. They too were spending the day in the garden. The bottle of wine I had given them was given an ‘Excellent’ review, in gratitude I gave them another. They were pleased. I completed my garden campaign by digging up some very sorry blueberry bushes that had recently failed to produce in sufficient quantity and replaced them with a bed of strawberries.
As Sue prepared tea I somehow got engaged in a three-way video conference with Jim Crawford and Brigitte. It seemed peculiar to be chatting to two other people many miles apart and see them, I suppose it is the only safe way it can be done for the time being.
During Mia’s early morning walk, Sarah noticed that even the birds appear to be observing the 2m distance rule. She
spent the day in the sun, potting up the succulents in the greenhouse and weeding the borders (when Mia allowed her to).
On a positive note, Off-licences have been added to the ‘essential businesses’ and can stay open. At least we won’t run out of moral building beer and cider as the enforced home-stay extends into the summer months. Apparently, Germany has at present only been ‘lightly touched’ by Corvid-19 and have suffered far fewer infections and deaths than would be expected, is this an example of ‘Vorsprung durch Immunität’? I do think that the reasons for this are worthy of analysis. Also, thousands of 15-minute home tests for coronavirus will be delivered by Amazon to people self-isolating with symptoms or will go on sale on high street within days, according to Public Health England (PHE). Surely good news.
Ellis also seems to have been helping out with the borders.