Living in Lockdown – 23

13/05/20 The number of Covid-19 patients to die in the UK has risen by 494 to 33,186 in the past 24 hours, the Department for Health confirmed. Today’s overall number is a reduction of 133 on yesterday’s confirmed 627 deaths.

Boris said that people should begin to make an effort to return to work today, so on what was a very chilly morning cycle, I naturally expected to see a lot of people out and about, but there wasn’t. In just over an hour, I came across no more than half a dozen walkers and fewer cyclists than I have encountered for well over a week. Traffic was practically non-existent, though Sue did say that around 9 am, there seemed to be quite a lot of vehicles racing by at the end of the driveway. However, building sites I passed were as quiet as ever, shops looked shut and supermarkets still had queues. Perplexingly we seem to be still in the Twilight Zone, or are we?

The en suite is finished at last.

Jamie and loo.

Yesterday, I had four parcels delivered, one after the other. It was the most exciting thing to happen in weeks. There is nothing like ripping excitedly into something that the post/delivery man has left on the doorstep (social distancing), even if you know what it contains. A bottle of liquid Curcumin to aid my complaining bones and ligaments. A memory stick to store videos on. A WiFi Smart PIR Motion Sensor Wireless Infrared Detector Security Burglar Alarm. A Flysocks Smart garage door opener kit, remote control existing garage opener by Smartphone voice control. The last two being compatible with the Google Home equipment already resident in the house. Today I installed their controlling Apps onto my phone and linked them to my Google Home account. First I tested the PIR and it triggered perfectly. Next I set about fitting the Flysocks kit onto the existing remote electric garage door opener. The instructions were clear and easy to follow, it was just a matter of choice where I ran the cables. The garage now opens and closes by wall switch, key fob, phone app and by voice command. I get a warning when ever the door opens or closes by the App and I can operate it from anywhere in the world. You may ask why? I’m hoping our cars and my dwindling supply of wine is now much safer, I will at at the very least know that they are being stolen. Hmmmm.

Sue continued sorting out the family paperwork, moving onto shredding the accumulated pile of redundant ‘sensitive’ material. It was far too cold for either of us to work in the garden, even wearing our winter thermals! However, with a frost predicted for tonight, late in the afternoon I covered the potatoes with large sheets to protect their withered remains. Yes, I know the ‘horse has already bolted’ but I am an optimist and I am giving them a chance to recover. The vines will have to fend for themselves.
14/05/20 Another 428 people have died from corona-virus in the UK, bringing the official government total to 33,614. Dr Hans Kluge, director for the WHO European region, delivered a stark warning to countries beginning to ease their lock-down restrictions, saying that now is the “time for preparation, not celebration“. Wise words of warning from an authority on disease control, one of the people that Donald Trump has in the past rubbished and from an organisation that he refuses to help fund. “I’m very concerned about a double wave – in the fall, we could have a second wave of Covid and another one of seasonal flu or measles. Two years ago we had 500,000 children who didn’t have their first shot of the measles vaccine,” he said. Many experts, including England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, have warned that a second wave of the pandemic could be even deadlier than the first, pointing to the 1918-20 Spanish flu pandemic as evidence.

Opening up schools while the virus is still in society is not a decision to be taken lightly. In China this video shows the measures they have resorted to: Back to school video. It is certainly a heavily resource d strategy, I cannot believe every school in China could possibly implement such procedures. I wonder how many in the rest of the world could?

Lovely frosty morning view.

There was a hard frost last night. After a long and immensely pleasurable cycle ride I spent the rest of the day with Sue in the house and garden. I didn’t go and check on the vegetable plots or vines to see what further damage Jack Frost had wrought. Tomorrow will be soon enough to see what is salvageable. We spent the day both quietly getting on with lock-down activities; jigsaw, sowing seeds in pots, shredding paper, stroking Millie, watching ‘Bargain Hunt’, watering plants, feeding pheasants, watching the neighbour cut his hedge etc.

In the evening I rang Bridget who was in isolation in a hotel in Cyprus. She has four more days before she is released to go home and see Jim. Unfortunately, I forgot the time difference, she was snug in bed, but keen to chat as she couldn’t sleep. She seems to be enjoying her enforced stay in the hotel, the food and activities have been good and she has an English girl next door to talk to. Her accommodation is quite large, running to a lounge, en suite bedroom and front and rear balconies. She is allowed out for exercise classes around the pool along with other isolationists. She professed that Jim has had plenty of practice cooking while she has been away and is looking forward to sampling it.
15/05/20 Paul J. Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, was released from prison on Wednesday and granted confinement in his home in Northern Virginia because of the corona-virus pandemic, one of his lawyers, Todd Blanche, said. So why does Trump consider it safe enough to open businesses and schools in the states, but corona-virus is too dangerous to keep Paul Manafort in prison? Well, in January, Trump increasingly ignored urgent intelligence warnings about the looming pandemic, dismissing claims from any one who knew more than him, trusting no one outside a tiny coterie, led by his daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner – the property developer who Trump has empowered to sideline the best-funded disaster response bureaucracy in the world. The result: America is first in the world in deaths, first in the world in infections. This situation has been reached through the incompetence, corruption and callousness of an egotistical leader. “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.Joseph Goebbels. (12th Jan. 1941)

It takes 5 hours to transplant 148 sweet-corn, and water them thoroughly. That is just under 30 plants per hour (30 pph). Any pleasure I got from nurturing my little plants was dulled each time on my way to the water butt, as I passed down several heartbreaking rows of shriveled potato stalks, murdered in their sleep two nights ago! It might prove better to delay the planting of my little cherubs for another week or two, but I need the greenhouse space and I like a gamble! I lost once, surely not twice in a row?

Early in the morning, Sue had a run to the Supermarket and took some flowers for Doreen while I was agriculturally engaged, I am not sure what else she did today as after a quick snack on my return, I had a nap to refresh my spirits and ease tortured limbs and didn’t wake until nearly tea-time!

Sarah had a court case and complex multi agency meeting on her last day before maternity leave. Ellis has been a very busy little bunny, he sanded some chairs, painted some stones and the front path, as well as completing a load of school math’s work! Friday night must be bath night in Rothwell for the Palmer-Shah family. After they had all cleaned themselves thoroughly of the day’s grime, whilst on the phone to Sarah, Charlotte noticed that the bath was leaking and the water was coming through the ceiling. Luckily, they are covered on an insurance policy and a plumber has been sent for.

Wet ceiling

Painted stones


Path fresco?

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