New Normal?

25/07/20 After testing positive for corona-virus 61 have died in the UK. The Government imposed an immediate two-week quarantine for anyone returning home from Spain, including its islands, last night following new outbreaks of corona-virus which prompted Spanish health officials to warn of a potential second wave of infections. 

On a day of sunshine and showers we had surprise visitors. I had thought that Jim and Bridget would be returning from Cyprus at the beginning of August but in fact they flew into the country last night. They are staying with their daughter Sarah and family in locked down Leicester until the money transfers take place and they can move into their new home in Harborough. They arrived with Sarah and the dogs Hoby and Shoby at around 11am, staying for a couple of hours. We sat in the garden chatting until a shower forced us into the sun lounge (with patio doors open).  

During the evening Sue and I watched  the film ‘Steve Jobs‘, a biopic of the American business magnate, industrial designer, investor, and media proprietor. Surprisingly, technophobe Sue enjoyed the film and technophile me, hated it.

Charlotte and Jamie have both been busy with projects; Charlotte building some steps to the chicken coop and Jamie plumbing a new bath into his family bathroom.

26/07/20 After testing positive for corona-virus 14 have died in the UK.

Vladimir Putin has said Russia’s navy will be equipped with hypersonic nuclear strike weapons and underwater drones. The Russian premier has repeatedly spoken of his wish to develop a new generation of nuclear weapons that can be targeted anywhere on the planet. Donald Trump spent his Saturday golfing at his resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, toasting wealthy prospective donors at an evening fundraiser for his re-election campaign, taking to Twitter to brag about his exploits on Sunday. The phrase, “Nero fiddles while Rome burns” seems appropriate to describe this president’s performance.

Sarah, Lee, Alice and Mia drove to Tenbury Wells to see family friend Sheila Palmer and also visit the memorials to Sue’s mother and father.

27/07/20 After testing positive for corona-virus 7 have died in the UK. The virus responsible for Covid-19 has been detected in a pet cat in the UK for the first time. However, I think it unlikely there is any danger of the government issuing orders for the mass culling of cats in our animal loving country, that would certainly bring a large section of the population onto the streets, there may even be a movement ‘taking the purr’ in protest!

On a miserably wet day Sue visited Doreen for a couple of hours over lunchtime and I started the process of pickling onions in readiness for Christmas by laboriously peeling the outer layers. Like-minded Sarah started off a jar of plum Gin. 

28/07/20 After testing positive for corona-virus 119 have died in the UK.

Today we visited Sarah, Lee and Alice. As usual, shortly after arriving we took Mia for a walk. Our 5.5 mile ramble was memorable for a three hundred metre section along what was once a green lane, but was now thickly overgrown with nettles and brambles which necessitated me carrying Mia who couldn’t negotiate the intense spiky foliage at ground level. Part of the torment took us past a strange array of wooden buildings that defied any reason for being there, but on passing a rusty gate, emitted a loud beeping sound, obviously designed to warn any occupant that we were there. On peering through the metal structure it was plain to see that no one (with the exception of a passing tramp) had lived there for quite a number of years. Just prior to this ordeal we had picnicked on a grassy slope, conveniently giving some shelter from a stiff breeze, it was here that Mia managed to cheekily relieve Sue of one of her sandwiches as she was focused on filling a small container of treats for the canine robber. By rights, as retribution, Sue should then have scoffed the meaty treats, but I am sure Mia knew that wasn’t going to happen. 

We arrived back at Sarah’s exactly at 2pm. We spent awhile sitting in the back garden with her and Alice until Lee joined us . He and I then went to look over the vehicle that they had bought to convert into a camper van.  It was much larger than I had expected. We spent some time investigating and discussing some of the obvious faults on the vehicle and its potential. It will be a good project for them both over the next 18 months time frame he has given to complete. Shortly afterwards we returned to Harborough.

After visiting the Co-op to purchase herbs and pickling vinegar I spent the evening bottling my onions using the Sarson’s recipe we had so much enjoyed from last year.

29/07/20 After testing positive for Corona-virus 19 have died in the UK.  Russia’s first potential COVID-19 vaccine will win local regulatory approval in the first half of August and be administered to front line health workers soon afterwards (Reuters).

Happy Alice.

Gravy boats.

Suffering from a stomach ache I chose to rise late (no, I didn’t scoff any pickles!), and drank lots of water throughout the day to flush my system.

Jim rang to let us know that they had moved into their house on Abbey Street, from the short video call it looked as if they haven’t purchased any furnishings yet, he and Bridget will be busy over the next week or so buying and installing the necessaries. 

Jamie and Ruth have booked to visit Prague in November. Charlotte and the boys popped in briefly during the afternoon to pick up a couple of gravy boats from a large amount of crockery that Linda had given Sue earlier in the day. 

Retiring to bed very early in the evening, I distracted myself from a pressing and gurgling internal plumbing issue, by binge watching a few episodes of  ‘Breaking Bad’. Appropriately named, it is the second time I have watched this series (it is that good), not switching off the TV until nearly midnight. Before the eyelids met it is usual that I turn off the WiFi on my mobile and put it on charge. As I picked it up I noticed that there was a large amount of emails, the first one titled COVID-19. Tired but now inquisitive I opened the email up.

I have been a member of the COVID Sympton Study group, Kings College Hospital in London since the very beginnings of the pandemic in the UK, they have been collecting data on the pandemic, each morning I have religiously responded through their App as to my current state of health.The email said, ‘You’ve recently reported feeling unwell with a particular combination of symptoms. We would like to offer you a test to discover if you have the virus right now. This does not necessarily mean you have COVID-19 as we are also inviting some people we believe do not have the virus. 

As you know, we have developed a software test (an algorithm) to predict COVID-19. To validate this, King’s College London are now running the clinical study that you joined, and the Department of Health and Social Care has agreed to give you access to a COVID-19 test. This testing process is run by the Department of Health, and no data will come to us until you choose to share it. 
The Department of Health is therefore inviting you to have a PCR swab test to confirm whether you are currently positive or negative for the virus. This will let you know your status and help us develop an even better understanding of which symptoms are most related to COVID-19 infection. Please note, you do not need to be an essential worker to have received this e-mail.’

The rest of the email went on to explain the process and provided a button to link to the DHS testing site. Pressing the link I filled in the relevant details straight away and was surprised to be given an appointment for 10.30am the following morning at a mobile test centre in Corby.

Despite eating nothing during the day, I had a very disturbed night with stomach  pain, loose bowels and testing thoughts.

30/07/20 After testing positive for Corona-virus 38 have died in the UK. 

I woke still suffering, but on moving around and having my first cup of coffee for over 36 hours, my innards responded positively and settled down. By the second cup I felt ready to face the masked men/women of Corby.

The testing station was in a public car park containing a simple affair of a couple of small marquees with lightweight barriers to channel the cars to the section where you picked up the test kit, parked to perform the test and finally a bay where you handed over the sealed bag of goodies. The instructions in the kit were easy to understand and the self-test itself took just a minute, the unpleasant part was the swab test of the tonsils which induced a gagging reaction. The same swab is used to push up into the nose. I can see why the test is done that way round! The result will be emailed in 48 hrs to 5 days.

Soon after arriving home, the refrigerator we had ordered last week, arrived. It is an integrated model so I spent the afternoon wiring it into the kitchen and attaching the unit door. As a precaution, I cancelled a get-together in the garden I was hosting with some friends for that  evening, so after fitting the fridge, instead of having to prepare seating and nibbles, I had a much needed nap. 

Alice cooling off.

31/07/20 After testing positive for Corona-virus 120 have died in the UK.  The self-isolation period for those with symptoms or a positive test in the UK has now been extended to 10 days. New restrictions have been announced after a worrying rise in infections and will affect more than 4 million people including the whole of Greater Manchester, Burnley, Blackburn, Bradford and other areas.

On a day when the temperature hit 34 degrees outside, Ellis celebrated his 10th birthday at the seaside with the family in West Runton, Norfolk.  I think it is the first time that Harry has been to the sea and from all accounts he seemed to have turned into a bit of a dolphin following Charlotte into the waves. Despite a cooling sea breeze, by 5pm they had enough of the heat and sun and drove to Long Sutton and checked in for the night at the Granary Hotel. Long Sutton is infamous for Dick Turpin, highwayman, he lived in Long Sutton for about nine months, under the alias of John Palmer. There is a road in the town named after him.

I ventured to eat today and by the evening felt the benefit of it, stomach pains had eased off considerably. What a godsend a working kitchen refrigerator has turned out to be on such ‘stinky’ hot day , not having to traipse to the garage to get milk etc. I find it quite exciting, bringing back memories of the thrill and awe of having cold drinks and magical ice cubes in our first fridge when I was very young.

Dad and birthday boy.

Harry looking cool.

Lucas and Harry.









01/08/20 After testing positive for Corona-virus 74 have died in the UK. Russia says it will roll out a vaccine in October. Doctors and teachers would be vaccinated first before wider injections are rolled out to other Russians in October. Déjà vu? Doesn’t Russia have a history of sacrificing its intellectuals in times of crisis? Mexico now has the third most Covid-19 deaths in the world, behind Brazil and the United States.

Good news all round on the first day of August. I received a text and email from the NHS informing: ‘Your corona-virus test result is negative. You did not have the virus when the test was done.

Jamie, Ruth and Joey caught their early morning flight to Paris.

After a hot and sticky night in a hotel, Charlotte and family arrived back home after their break to the coast.

Sarah and family spent the day at nearby Tropical Birdland along with friends.

Sue collected Maddie the mad rabbit from Jamie’s for a holiday in the garden at Willow Bank. 

02/08/20 After testing positive for Corona-virus 8 have died in the UK. The lock-down triggered a sharp increase in anxiety-related sleeping problems, with mothers, key workers and people from minority ethnic backgrounds the worst affected, a study shows. Derrr, I wonder how much that study cost? Restaurants, pubs and cafes are offering half-price meals from Monday morning under the government’s “eat out to help out” scheme.

A vote to secure the Donald Trump’s nomination for his re-election could be held privately without members of the press later this month, for the first time in modern history. 336 delegates are scheduled to gather in Charlotte on 24 August to formally vote to make Mr Trump the party’s standard-bearer once again. I wonder who they have to replace him if they don’t. 

This morning we had Viv and Ian (neighbours) around to have a look at Maddie. They have kindly volunteered to care for the rabbit while Sue and I are away in North Wales. Viv instantly fell in love with Maddie, I don’t think she really understands that cuddly bundle of white fur  with big blue eyes is  the devil incarnate when it comes to phone/TV/Stereo/Computer cables and carpets. Luckily, it will be remaining securely incarcerated in its razor wired run in the garden until returned to its owner.

Jamie, Ruth and Joey seem to be having a great time sampling the Parisian life.

03/08/20  After testing positive for corona-virus 9 have died in the UK. Sewage testing is being rolled out across England today as part of plans to get a “head start” on new outbreaks. Early on in the pandemic, scientists discovered that people infected with Covid-19 “shed” the virus in their faeces within hours of contracting the virus. It is now thought wastewater sampling could provide a signal of an outbreak up to a week earlier than medical testing.

I rang Aunt Doreen and Josie in North Wales to let them know that Sue and I are spending four days travelling in the area and will be calling in to see them. I was quite shocked to learn that Doreen has no time for social distancing and that Josie had a party of 14 people at her home last week. The Wrexham area is a Covid-19 hotspot and I think at their age and with their particular medical issues they should be taking this pandemic very seriously. We shall have to tread very carefully when we visit.

Jamie, Ruth and and Joey spent the day at Disneyland Paris, sensibly wearing their masks.




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