15/04/20 Today, a 99-year-old veteran who is raising funds for the NHS by walking 100 lengths of his garden has hailed the public for their generosity as donations topped £7.5 million. Captain Tom Moore is on track to complete 100 of the 25-metre laps before he turns 100 on April 30.
I cycled to Welham and back, watered the vegetable plot, cut down and logged a Victoria Plum tree that had died over the winter and then broke up a wooden bench that I have repaired so many times that it is now irreparable. I later called Sarah, Charlotte, Jamie and Roger Woolnough and had a good lock-down natter with each. Sue made leek and potato soup and then continued tidying up what is by and large a pretty pristine garden. We both spent some time stroking Millie the three legged cat who seems to prefer our garden to that of her owners’.
We may not have raised any money for the NHS, but we are doing our best trying not to be a problem for the medical services by sticking to the rules. Yes, we do wash our hands well after stroking Millie.
Sarah and Lee have had their names down for an allotment in Newbold Verdon and now they have been given a choice between two. They are hoping to view both this weekend and choose, the allotment is just a short walk away. They don’t expect to cultivate much this year, mostly likely it will be dug over and left until next spring. Sarah has made some very professional looking fudge, though I don’t suppose it will make it through lock-down for the rest of the family to sample!
Charlotte spent quite a while this morning messaging with Ruth as to whether a shoot that has popped up in Ruth’s garden was Japanese knot-weed or not (no pun intended). After much discussion it was decided (much to everyone’s relief) that it was a young peony! Time will tell for sure.
Jamie is re-tiling the en-suite in his bedroom, though he seems to be short of a few tiles to complete the task. His plan is to re-use some of the old ones, we will see how that goes.
Today, Roger Woolnough ventured out of the house for the first time since returning from Cyprus, with a walk to the post box. Like us, he occupies himself by gardening and trying (as best you can) to avoid the news. He has an allotment in Harborough and last week he hired a Glyn (local handyman) to dig it over for him. He is thinking of driving over to see his handiwork some time next week.
16/04/20 Boris Johnson will consider calls for heroic Captain Tom Moore who raised more than £13 million for the NHS by completing 100 lengths of his garden to be knighted. The 99-year-old veteran has been walking up and down the length of his 25 metre garden over the past week. A wonderful piece of news and I think thoroughly deserving of a knighthood.
Not surprisingly, lock-down is to continue for another three weeks.
The fine weather continues, encouraging ‘stay-at-homes’ of Harborough to continue to work/enjoy their gardens. After watering the red and blackcurrants, my morning cycle ride took me out towards a rather quiet and deserted Braybrooke. For once, instead of field paths, much of my route was along empty roads, at any other time I would never have considered cycling along these, I considered the volume of traffic they would normally carry as hazardous to my well being. The absence of traffic may be safer and better for the environment, but it feels strange and I find it oddly unnerving. At present, despite vast failings, I think I am more comfortable with the way the world was, pre-virus. However, that is not going to happen and there are some plus points. I regularly pass fellow citizens engaged in exercise, who clearly have never engaged in much physical exertions before. I now admire gardens that until quite recently were more akin to refuse dumps or scruffy wildlife sanctuaries. As we pass, my fellow citizens keep a respectful distance, often smiling and occasionally passing pleasantries. I remember in the early days of writing this lock-down blog, I made a note of the number of people who refused to acknowledge my cheery, “Good mornings.” For most, things have already changed and not all for the bad. The idiom, ‘Trouble shared is trouble halved’, appears true. Perhaps the new world that is coming, may be a better place? After all, we have all been through the same traumatic event. Haven’t we?
Sue and I spent another afternoon in the garden, we are still finding plenty to do, but at an increasing leisurely pace.
Sarah had a visit from Chloe. She had brought along some presents for the birth of the baby. Chloe works for the NHS and to show their appreciation, Sarah and Lee thoughtfully made a large sign to greet her. Of course the visit was short and social distancing was observed at all times, and the appropriate protection worn.
Today, Charlotte cut out a path in the back garden from the garage to the chicken coop, using hexagonal slabs.
During the evening we went to the lock-down National Theatre. We watched a very disappointing adaption of ‘Treasure Island’, neither of us could find any merit in the performance. An ingenious set was let down by a poor script and inappropriate casting. If you are going to fiddle-about with a classic story it has to be faithful to the plot and be novel in its presentation, otherwise, what is the point? Seeding the cast with females playing males, acting as if they are in a scene from Pirates of the Caribbean just didn’t work on any level. However, it passed an evening and the peanuts and cider (from Lidl) were the only highlight.
17/04/20 Captain Tom Moore has continued to raise money for the NHS, the total today stands at £18 million and there is a petition of half a million signatures for him to be knighted.
It is a much chillier day than yesterday. Sue busied herself in the garden while I took my daily scoot through the Leicestershire countryside. Disappointingly, this morning I fore-shortened the route I was planning on taking as there seemed an awful lot of dog walkers using the same field paths. Usually there is room to pass with the accepted 2 m space being observed, but on one long section I gave up in frustration on following one gentleman with a dog that insisted on sniffing every tussock and bush, at length. The man was aware I was tailing him, and he did his best to encourage the dog to sniff and pee less, and move on, but the hound was unconcerned about the possible virus host on wheels just a few metres behind, he had more interesting odours to savour. Resigned to the new protocol, I turned off the track and headed home to busy myself making a chicken curry for our evening meal.
During the afternoon Sue and I ventured out for a two hour walk along part of the route that I would have cycled this morning, if not for a fastidious mutt! As in the morning, there seemed to be a lot of couples out and about taking their government sanctioned exercise, all duly observing the new social grace of keeping their distance. The walk took us along the canal and then through the ghost town of a deserted building site to the north of the town, before returning home via Lubenham and the projected route of a new path to be built in memory of a young lad killed on a nearby busy road (AdamSmile) whilst cycling on his way to school. It is the first time that Sue and I have been away from the house together since Lock-down, probably the most strenuous exercise that she has undertaken since returning from the Amazon. Afterwards, we were both tired, suffering from sore feet and legs and spent the rest of the afternoon in soft comfy chairs, enjoying warm drinks.
During the evening, the plan was to watch ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ from ‘The Show Must Go On!’ Andrew Lloyd Weber initiative on YouTube, but we were too tired to summon up the concentration to enjoy it, and rescheduled for tomorrow. Lock-down can get quite exhausting!
Jamie has successfully ripped out his en-suite shower and the family is looking forward to seeing (on Messenger) what he is replacing it with.
Sarah and Lee have been buzzed by military aircraft today and have been pondering as what is going on. As the government is flying 30 000 Romanians into the country to pick fruit and vegetables I suggested that this may be them, or perhaps an alien invasion? Or, is that the same?