Living in Lockdown – 11

07/04/20 The media has been totally focused on Boris Johnson and his condition in hospital. Though oxygen is being administered, he hasn’t been put on a ventilator, he is obviously very poorly. If there is even a slight positive to this, it is that it provides yet another wake-up call to those who think they are somehow immune to the circumstances that we presently find ourselves mired in. This virus respects no-one.

President Trump thinks he may have found a silver bullet: hydroxychloroquine. Confident he has, he ordered a large quantity of this anti-malarial drug from India. Unfortunately, India placed a ban on its export around a week ago. Donald’s solution was to call Narendra Modi (PM) and threaten India with retaliation if they do not release the drug. I am sure that the world hopes that hydroxychloroquine is the solution, it would probably be the simplest get-out-of jail card that we could play. However, there are many questions left unanswered as to whether this drug is effective, indeed Trump seems to have gagged his own chief medical adviser from commenting on it. If this anti-malarial concoction does turn out to be our saviour, then thank-you Donald the world owes you a great debt, this must have been the reason why God made you president of the USA (I can’t think of any other). If it isn’t, then it confirms you are still the bullying, self absorbed, control freak the majority of the world thinks you are. I DO hope you are right, but I am not optimistic.

We had a warm sunny day. Two more rows of potatoes were planted and I queued for twenty minutes outside Wilkinson’s to purchase some more onion sets. After several days of sunshine, the soil is drying out quickly, so this afternoon I rolled out the garden hose and gave everything a thorough soaking. Sue is still enjoying her spider hunting, to day she evicted a whole population of them from my garden shed. I believe I now have the tidiest and cleanest shed in Leicestershire, it has even been hoovered. I wonder if she will venture into the greenhouse?

During the afternoon we had a fleeting, social distancing visit from Jamie. He picked up his mail, bicycle, remote controlled aircraft and some cable connectors, before disappearing in a cloud of dust down the drive.

Lucas in lock down.

Lee’s Shepherd’s pie.

08/04/20 The warmest day of the year so far, sadly saw 938 deaths in the UK from Corona-virus, the Prime Minister still in intensive care and the head of the European Union’s top science organization resigning in frustration, complaining about running into institutional and political obstacles as he sought to swiftly set up a scientific program to combat the virus.

In the vegetable plot, another row of soil was dug over and a row of onions and beetroot were planted. The lawn received another therapeutic session of mowing. Five pots of spring onions were sown in the greenhouse as was five pots of turmeric, the last being an experiment, I bought 50g of turmeric tubers off eBay.

Late in the afternoon, Sue took an order of vegetables from our local Farm Shop, to her friend Doreen who lives in a block of flats on the other side of Harborough. The complex that she lives in has gone in to complete lock-down, the residents have been told to stay in their apartments. Like Doreen (87), most of the residents are quite elderly and quite unable or afraid to venture beyond the front door. The vegetables were placed in the boot of Sue’s car by the one of the farm workers in a large box and she dropped them off outside the front door of the apartments where she saw Doreen collect them. How life has become so uncertain and very frightening for some.

I rang Jim in Cyprus. He was well, but grateful for the call. It can’t be easy being in isolation without family or pets for company. He mentioned that Polis has had its first two corona-virus infections confirmed. One being the wife of a doctor, who also worked in the local hospital as an administrator. A Corona-virus hot spot on the island had been tracked down to a cat. There seemed to be no link between the cases until it was discovered that one of the families owned a cat that roamed widely and was regularly fed (and petted) by the other parties. It makes you think!

09/04/20 For those observing lock-down, life is starting to get a little samey. The necessary limiting of life-style and territory, is particularly hard when the sun is out and shorts, T-shirts and sandals, more akin to the beach, becomes dress of the day. Holidays are fast becoming a fading memory and planning for future ones has to be put on hold until the world is sure that it is once again safe to mix and travel. There are much more pressing  issues for governments to address before that happens.  It is with some irony that I noted that the Irish Garda are now setting up road blocks on the  Northern Ireland border to prevent crossing without checks. A very sensible measure, but weren’t border checks something that the Irish stipulated must not happen, causing great delay and discombobulation during the Brexit talks? Does this now put Schengen into question? How the world has changed its values.

Back to routine: another row of soil was dug and more shallots planted. Last years’ pickled onion recipe was exceptional and  come the autumn I am determined to make quite a few more bottles using the same ingredients. I also planted a few early potatoes in tubs for the salad days of summer.

We had another fleeting visit from Jamie, he wanted some cable for a project he is undertaking at home and Sue insisted that he take his golf clubs with him too, they have been cluttering up the shed for quite a few years now. Sue is gradually attempting to disperse all those items that we have been storing in various locations around the house and garden back to their family owners.

This evening we went to the theatre again. We saw a brilliant performance of Jane Eyre, by the National Theatre.  Superb acting on a minimalist set, with absorbing music and songs. We both thoroughly enjoyed the three hours running time and Doritos (Nacho Cheese) and beer capped off some wonderful entertainment. For a while we forgot about the present woes of the world and were transformed back to the imagination of Charlotte Bronte.

During the evening the country made a ‘Noise’ for all those workers that are keeping the country going.

Sarah and Mia enjoying the garden.

Jane Eyre at the Willow Bank Theatre.

10/04/20 Boris Johnson was moved back onto the wards, indicating that he is at least out of immediate danger. His father (quite rightly) says that he should take a rest to recover before going back to work. I don’t expect Boris to take much notice of that advice!

It seems that the Premiership Soccer sides have at last been shamed into providing for their own. After several of the top clubs put their staff on furlough, yet continued to pay their 1st team players (on average, £70 000 a week, yes, a week!). This meant that the ordinary tax payer/supporter was having to shell-out the difference. No matter how much back tracking or protesting on what  they were going to do, you have lost the respect and faith of the majority of the country in failing to immediately jump to the support of the NHS and the people of this country. You are rich, privileged and found wanting when it came to playing for team UK. It is probably a good thing that the remaining games of this season (if they are) will be played behind closed doors, otherwise, you may not like the reaction from your supporters.

Yes, another row of soil dug and rotorvated and despite we are still eating last years beans from out of the freezer, two more rows of broad beans were sown.

Racks of lamb, supplied by Jamie.

Charlotte’s sunny breakfast supplied by her own hens.

This afternoon, in exchange for two bottles of my Rosé with Mango, our neighbours Viv and Ian gave us (over the garden fence) a lovely cantilever garden parasol. Like us, they have been having a clear out and though bought several years ago, it has never been used as it doesn’t fit over their patio. They even provided the slabs to support it. Either they have been very kind or I am under valuing the quality of this years vintage Rosé.

We had another fleeting visit from Jamie, this time to deliver some meat and to take-away some patio chairs for his garden. A little more space clawed back!

Jamie, Ruth & Joey curry night.

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