Living in Lockdown – 35

14/06/20 Across the UK, 36 deaths were recorded with corona-virus – the lowest since 21 March. The official total of UK deaths across all settings now stands at 41,698.

In France, legal proceedings against public authorities are being filed across the country as people argue that the illness or grief they suffered could have been avoided. More than a hundred criminal complaints have been filed for “involuntary homicide or injury”, “endangering the lives of others” or “voluntary abstention from fighting a disaster”, coming from the families of the deceased, mayors, unions and patients’ associations. I predict France is just the first of many countries where its authorities will be taken to court over their actions during the pandemic. One does have to query whether such criminal actions would be more appropriately taken against China, but then restitution would be a lot less likely. Ask Hong Kong.
Following a trial of a vaccine with 10,000 adult volunteers, British drug maker AstraZeneca (AZN) after agreeing contracts with Europe, is now in talks with Japan, Russia, Brazil and China over the supply of a potential COVID-19 vaccine. The company expects to know by the end of the summer if the vaccine, which would cost a few dollars per dose, works. The firm has made similar agreements with the UK and US. What if it doesn’t work? Is there a plan B? I guess there is always Trump’s Hydroxychloroquine!

Today we met our new grand child Alice Thelma Price. Though we travelled up to Newbold Verdon early, we discovered Charlotte (dressed in full PPE) already giving Alice a good cuddle in Sarah and Lee’s back garden. Suraj and the boys had dropped her and Harry off on their way to buy a cycling machine in Newark. Sarah and Lee seemed grateful to be able to eat their breakfast in peace while Alice was fawned over and distracted by the in-laws.

Last night, a machine that monitors breathing was attached to Alice during her sleep, it malfunctioned and kept triggering throughout the night, giving the parents very little sleep. Though cheerful, we could see they were tired. It was quite a while before Charlotte would relinquish possession of her niece to Sue, who also dressed in full PPE was anxious to get in as many cuddles as possible on this short visit.

It is fortunate that at such an early age, Alice’s vision isn’t yet able to focus accurately on objects, or she would have developed a rather a distorted understanding of the human face. Hopefully, in a few weeks time there will be no need to ‘dress-up’ to greet our grandchild.

After an hour we left Alice to Charlotte and her parents. To help out, we took Mia for a long walk and a picnic into the countryside around the village. Surprisingly, we only came across one other walker, the lady lived in a small village quite a long way away, she had stopped to ask Sue how to get to Newbold Verdon. As coincidence would have it, she was a friend of the neighbour next door to Sarah, AND her daughter lived just outside of Harborough! We had a picnic nearby some pretty, but dark and deep ponds that were once part of a sand quarry, we chose a sunny spot next to them, slightly off the path and surrounded by foxgloves. On our return, as we entered the outskirts of the village there was a rumble of thunder, but luckily the rain didn’t arrive until we were safely back with Alice for more cuddles.

We stayed just a short while before setting off home in the rain. As fickle as the weather is, Harborough was dry, it hadn’t rained there! In annoyance I got the hose out and watered some very thirsty vegetables. Later, we had a surprise when Jamie called in on his way back from Bottesford to drop off some flapjacks he had made at Ruth’s place (they looked delicious), and pick up some wood for a fire pit, he was planning a BBQ that night.


15/06/20 The UK death toll from corona-virus has risen by 38 in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 41,736. England’s high streets were lined with huge queues this morning , as non-essential shops opened their doors for the first time since lock-down. Clothes stores, book shops and zoos are among the thousands of businesses to welcome back customers today, while some secondary schools saw pupils return and places of worship opened for private prayer. Sir John Bell, regius professor of medicine at the University of Oxford, told the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee that with lock-down restrictions easing, it is likely the UK will also see a return of the Covid-19 epidemic. China and Iran have experienced second waves of the outbreak, and Hong Kong is nearing its third.

Alice trying out Jamie’s present of a rocking rabbit.

A pleasantly warm day. It was not my intention to to join the hordes desperate for retail therapy, but after sowing a row of peas during the morning, I decided to make a start on cutting the hedges at the rear of Willow Bank. My usually reliable electric hedge trimmer gave up the ghost after just a couple of sweeps of its chattering blades. I attempted to reward it’s loyalty by completely stripping it down and rewiring, it has been a faithful friend for over twenty years and I was reluctant to say goodbye. After a couple of hours of tinkering and a lot of thought I had to eventually concede defeat, and on-line I went to source another. As the hedges have grown considerably over the years I decided to opt for a petrol version with an extension.

Lock-down has had a big impact on the stock that shops hold or can source. Site after site offered plenty of options but with no availability for either store pick-up or even delivery at a later date (so why do they advertise them?) I eventually managed to find one I wanted from Screwfix, but not from the Harborough outlet, I had to pick up the only one left in Corby. After a half an hour drive along much quieter roads than I was expecting I joined a short queue outside the outlet. After 10 minutes I was back on the road with my prize.

It took me around an hour to read the instructions and put it together. I remember the ‘old days’ whenever you bought any equipment, you unpacked it, you just switched it on and it worked. Now you get the parts and the tools to construct it. I have drawers full of spanners and Allen keys that only got used once!!! On a plus point, the trimmer worked first time, as a test it cut a small section of hedge extremely efficiently and it also came with a grass-strimmer as a bonus. If the weather holds tomorrow I shall put it to work.
16/06/2 The UK corona-virus death toll has risen by 233. Results of UK trials showed dexamethasone, which is used to reduce inflammation in other diseases such as arthritis, reduced death rates by around a third among the most severely ill of COVID-19 patients admitted to hospital. It was revealed that the cost of saving a life with the drug would be just £40. Cheap at twice the price!

I wrote yesterdays entry to this blog during a tremendous thunderstorm, reminiscent of those experienced by the family during the monsoon season on past holidays to the Far East. And this evening it is doing the same, torrential rain, constant thunder and flashes, preceded by a huge gust of wind. Sooooo exciting!!! We may not be travelling to exotic places for a while but this is by far and away the most thrilling climatic event since returning from the Amazon last February. It is a sad measure of Lock-down fatigue when the imagination is triggered so, by an ordinary British summer storm.

Today is my late mother’s birthday. It has been a family tradition to travel to Caergwrle in North Wales, sit awhile on the bench we had placed beneath the castle in commemoration, and afterwards to climb its slopes to have a picnic within the ruined walls where we scattered her ashes. But this year it was not to be, Corvid-19 travel restrictions have prevented our family get together. However, this afternoon I received a phone call and a Whats-app message from Cerys, a Welsh cousin, who knowing that we would not be able to travel, photographed her two daughters sitting on the bench for us. What a kind and thoughtful act, and very much appreciated. Thank you Cerys.

Sarah trying out her new Alice carrier on a walk with Mia.

Does E = mc2?

It was a day of sunshine and showers. Sue was hoping to meet Doreen in the park for the first time since Lock-down but the unpredictability of the weather put paid to that. After a dry bike ride, in between showers I spent the rest of the day cutting one of the rear hedges. Job-done, I managed to fool the Council’s recycling website from preventing me from visiting the dump more than once in a fortnight by inputting Sue’s details and car registration number in place of my own. However, even on one of the shorter hedges I have now easily acquired more cuttings than Sue’s car can transport. My permit for the site is not until Thursday afternoon and I will now have to think again!

Charlotte briefly visited late in the afternoon, she had been working in Harborough today and came to check up on the parents. I presently have a glut of lettuce and managed to offload two large ones, however she does grow them herself, so I guess the chickens will enjoy them, I don’t mind, they are going to a good cause and we may get some eggs in return.

It was pleasing to see Ellis in a photo on Family Messenger studying one of my books to complete some physics homework he had been set. I hope he found it useful.

Lee should have started work again today after his paternal leave, but when he logged on from home this morning, his boss told him to, “Bugger off’ and not to come back until next week. ” How kind is that? Maybe its a change of attitude since the pandemic, but that is the sort of company we would all like to work for. And it promotes loyalty and hard work.

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