05/07/20 22 people have died after testing positive for corona-virus, the total number of deaths in the UK to 44,220. The UK clapped once again on the NHS’ 72nd anniversary. Kanye West announced a surprise presidential campaign for the 2020 US election.

NEWS PAPER HEADLINE: Market town turns into ‘war zone’ as ‘300 invaders from Leicester’ break lock-down and swarm its pubs. Police were forced to use a dispersal order to send crowds packing in Market Harborough.

06/07/20 16 people have died after testing positive for corona-virus, the total number of deaths in the UK to 44,236.

As this was forecast as a cool and dry day, we decided to go for the walk we had cancelled a couple of weeks ago because it was just too hot! Our 9.5 km circular route began from the car park of locked-down The Stag in Maidwell. Our route took us through the rolling countryside of Northamptonshire, an area we have passed through on many occasions but know very little of its off-road sights and topography. This U3A route was a little gem, one that could only have been improved on had we had Harry or Mia for company.

We first negotiated the lanes of the pretty village of Maidwell, admiring its ‘up-market’ properties on our way to the close-by disused rail track-way running between Harborough and Northampton. We followed this for about a mile, passed regularly by cyclists and less often, other ramblers coming in the opposite direction. We left this popular route for a much quieter bridleway. True to its description we soon came cross a cheery young couple on horseback, out for a hack before the rain as indicated by the darkening skies, arrived. Passing by Blueberry Farm we spent some time investigating a derelict property, wondering why it was vacant and apparently left to ruin. It was a gorgeous property in a fairly remote but stunning location. We did find out later.

As we passed though countryside comparable to the Wolds of Yorkshire, there were views on every side of neat little woods, well managed fields and in the distance, large and impressive buildings of the local wealthy. Near to the top of one hill we came across a stone bench with commemorative boulder (with named plaque) and small fir tree. We sat here for a while, wondering who the couple were on the stonework, but we easily guessed why this place was chosen. Stunning vista.

A little further on, as the track changed to one of gravel we came across a friendly farmer in his tractor, eager to talk.. We discovered that the couple named on the rock had been the owners of the mystery house. They had died within a few months of each other. The house was left vacant as it was prone to flooding. The whole estate we were passing through had not long since been bought and the house was to be demolished and rebuilt as an eco-house. Fascinating. Our new friend would have liked to talk longer, but we were aware of the dark clouds marching towards us, we had already been through one brief shower and were keen to move on.

Someone else went for a walk today!

After passing three like-minded ladies and a young woman running in the opposite direction the next leg of our ramble took us back towards Maidwell. The rain arrived as we were picking cherries from a line of trees. Hurrying on, we found shelter under a tree by the entrance to Dale Farm and enjoying the view of a small stream with its water tumbling over a charming artificial waterfall, we had our sandwiches. As we munched into coconut biscuits, our farmer friend of earlier stopped, this time in his car. He was on his way home for lunch in Haselbech and after satisfying his need for idle chit-chat, he left us to the rest of our picnic. I guess it can get quite lonely out here!

Passing through fields occupied by large flocks of inquisitive, newish-borne lambs we were soon back at ‘The Stag’. A sign outside indicated that the the pub opens for business on the 14th of July, presently it serves as a small shop for the village and you can sit outside and be served coffees. We chose to drive home for our hot drinks. The BBC weather forecast had been rubbish today and the clouds were building again.
07/07/20 155 people have died after testing positive for corona-virus, the total number of deaths in the UK to 44 391. An Office for National Statistics survey revealed the majority of people who tested positive for corona-virus showed no symptoms on the day of their test. Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro tested positive for the novel corona-virus, despite taking hydroxychloroquine. Three UK pubs have gone into Lock-down after opening up over the weekend after drinkers tested positive.

08/07/20 126 people have died after testing positive for corona-virus, the total number of deaths in the UK to 44 517. Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced his ‘mini budget’. He slashed VAT for tourism businesses, paused stamp duty and unveiled dining out discounts as he laid out a string of measures to kick-start the economy.
In sensational tell-all book President Trump’s niece claims he cheated on his SATs . Well, well, who would have guessed that? It is not surprising that cheating on his education produced this performance: WHO?????????

Alice smiling.

09/07/20 85 people have died after testing positive for corona-virus, the total number of deaths in the UK to 44,602. Outdoor performances of theatre, opera, dance, music and outdoor pools with social distancing will resume from 11 July. Indoor gyms, swimming pools and leisure centres will open on 25 July.

Today was horribly cold and wet, bearing more resemblance to late November than a Thursday in early July. A fine drizzle throughout most of the day ensured that we both remained firmly locked-in, locked-down!

Early evening we had a visit by Jamie, Ruth and Joey. They brought Rocky, Nala and Maddie the mad rabbit for us to look after while they jetted off to Gran Canaria at 6am the following morning for ten days. The instructions on how to look after them and their individual preferences ran to several A4 pages and were accompanied with enough chattels requiring two cars to transport. The rabbit was allocated a hutch in the garden shed while this awful weather persists and then will be moved outside. The two dogs have been billeted in the kitchen, until they can prove they have been potty trained.

10/07/20 48 people have died in the UK after testing positive for corona-virus. Florida recorded 11,433 new corona-virus cases, while Walt Disney Co. prepared to reopen its flagship theme park in Orlando. A rather Mickey Mouse decision I think.

On a day when summer seemed to want to return, Jamie, Ruth and Joey successfully caught their early morning flight and made it without too many problems to Gran Canaria. Masks had to be worn throughout the flight and toilet visits meant an escort with a member of the cabin crew.

Rocky and Nala spent the night in their cage in the kitchen, they seemed overjoyed when just after 7am I took them for a walk (for the necessaries) around the garden. We had been expecting some barking and howling during the night, but there was silence. Throughout the day and in between the many walks, the dogs seem to just want to sleep. Maddie the mad rabbit is still resident in the shed and is in his usual bad temper, regularly thumping his rear foot in disgust at his present circumstances at the sound of anyone approaching.

11/07/20 148 people have died in the UK after testing positive for corona-virus. 

Donald Trump commuted the prison sentence of his former associate Roger Stone. Stone was convicted of lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstruction. He was set to begin a 40-month prison sentence on Tuesday. Truly, the rule of law in the USA now only applies when corrupt, egomaniac  Trumps wishes it too. 

We had another lovely day. Usually I take the dogs for their exercise and poop breaks, but after lunch Sue took Rocky to meet Doreen in  the park. Doreen loves Jack Russel dogs and wanted to meet Rocky. During the evening Sue, I, Rocky and Nala watched ‘Angela’s Ashes‘, based on the autobiography by Irish expatriate Frank McCourt, Angela’s Ashes follows the experiences of young Frankie and his family as they try against all odds to escape the poverty endemic in the slums of pre-war Limerick.

12/07/20  21 people have died in the UK after testing positive for corona-virus.  The virus spreads fastest at 4ºC, government scientists have decided, amid mounting concern over the threat of a winter resurgence. 

Besides having two dogs and a rabbit as house guests , I was surprised to find this afternoon that we have another. On my way to lower the awning over the bedroom balcony I discovered a bat flying in circles around the bedroom. It must have entered during the night as the balcony doors were left ajar. After videoing our vespertilio I opened the doors wider and it silently fluttered away. With bats being the cause of this pandemic I hope this is not an omen!

13/07/20 12 people have died in the UK after testing positive for corona-virus. Donald Trump has shared a conspiracy theory with his 83.3 million followers that doctors are lying about the pandemic to prevent him from being re-elected in November. 

Sarah shared an interesting post from Facebook. It’s food for thought, but don’t all powerful men have a good woman behind them? Or, is it that all powerful women have a good man behind them?

Today was overcast. Sue and I drove up to Newbold Verdon with Rocky and Nala, leaving Maddie to amuse himself in the shed with a a couple of freshly picked carrots. As requested I loaded the boot of the car with two large tubs of wood-chip for Sarah to scatter over her flower borders. Despite skirting the edge of locked-down Leicester the traffic seemed back to pre-pandemic volume with the usual queues at the many traffic lights on route.

On arriving, Lee greeted us as Sarah was giving Alice a bath, he returned to his study to work when they made an appearance. As has been the norm since Corvid-19 appeared on the scene, we chatted in the garden for around twenty minutes before taking Mia and Rocky on a walk leaving Nala to get to know Alice.

Nala getting to know Alice.

Mia & Rocky

Our circular route took us through the nearby village of Desford. Mia and Rocky get on well with each other and weren’t any trouble off the leads. Apart from the villages and a couple of fields with cattle they remained free to roam and sniff to their hearts content. Around lunchtime we had a picnic in a field by a small stream next to a stile. As we were finishing up a large group consisting of two families passed by, apart from a lady with a dog they were the only people we saw on our ramble. An indicator perhaps that the country has begun to go back to work. We passed the group a few fields further on, also having a picnic.

On the outskirts of Newbold Verdon we successfully hunted down a Geocache located next to a stile before returning to see Sarah and Alice.  As we chatted the rain that had threatened but not forecast, arrived.  It abated after an hour and we headed back to Harborough.

Jamie and Ruth in Gran Canaria.



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