Too many tiers, or is it tears?

23/11/20 UK deaths: 206.  Current Market Harborough infections: 685.  Down from last week: 18.

A cyclist’s view from Lubenham bridge.

The first hard frost of the year made for an invigorating morning bike ride. Clear skies, crisp air, frost on the grass,  a perfect start to the day. The rest of my morning was taken up with buying a couple of outdoor PIR lights (LED) as replacements for a pair of energy guzzling dazzlers at the front of the house. The afternoon saw me driving to an appointment at  Leicester General Hospital, to see a sports injury consultant. Both foot and knee are now doing well, causing little pain and it was agreed that after my next appointment with the podiatrist in December, I shall be placed on the ‘contact if necessary list’.

24/11/20 UK deaths: 608.  Current Market Harborough infections: 781.  Down from last week: 4. Up to three households will be able to form a “Christmas bubble” and meet over the festive period. For five days between 23 and 27 December, people across the UK will be able to mix with those in their bubble – but only in a private home, a place of worship or outdoor public spaces.

Today is a tale of two rambles. Sue and I walked from Ilston on the Hill and Sarah, Charlotte and the dogs discovered the trail that Sue and I followed last week from Walcote. It was a ‘spot-on’ day for a ramble; dry, sunny and cool with a slight breeze. The tiny village of Ilston’ lies in rolling, arable Leicestershire countryside and is described as a “dead end” village: literally, at the end of the road which leads to it. Amazingly it still has its own pub, the Fox and Goose. Sadly, due to to Covid-19 restrictions, not available for lunch today, and as sandwiches had not been made, it was home for grub.

Our route took us over the top of several hills through a very pretty part of Leicestershire,  renowned for its views. The plotted route was fairly easy going for the most part, with just one muddy ‘green lane’ and a large field that was currently being ploughed which we decided to circumnavigate rather than stumble across freshly turned-over furrows.

We came across three ramblers, an old lady on her own from nearby Oadby who was very keen to chat, the topics ranging from electric cars to frisky horses and more.  Towards the end of the trek we met a rustic looking gentleman searching for fungi, who when quizzed as to what he was looking for, proved to be very much an expert. We watched him gather his prizes for a few moments before moving on.

Passing through the village of Carlton Curlieu, we came across the lovely little church of  St. Mary the Virgin. We spent some time investigating this intriguing feature of the hamlet. Its impressive main entrance was located at the rear, though disappointingly it had a rather ugly looking monument ‘plonked’ in front of the main stain glass window. It was locked, so we couldn’t venture inside, but an internet search proved that we missed a bit of a treat.

Charlotte and Sarah’s Photos






Dave and Sue’s Photos






Alice checking on her progress.

The Grinch visiting the Rothwells.

25/11/20 UK deaths: 696.  Current Market Harborough infections: 843.  Down from last week: 92.

On the same day that the president of the USA pardoned a Thanksgiving turkey he announced a full pardon for disgraced former aide General Michael Flynn who twice pleaded guilty of lying to federal investigators, including lying about illegally lobbying the government of Turkey. Is this the start of Trump bribing those caught and convicted for their illegal actions  in supporting his corrupt regime?  I wonder why that might be?

26/11/20 UK deaths: 498.  Current Market Harborough infections: 819.  Down from last week: 66. It was announced to day that from Dec. 2nd more than a third of England’s population, including large parts of the Midlands, North East and North West, as well as Kent, will move to the highest level – tier three of lock-down. Sadly that includes Leicestershire, of which Harborough is just inside the border (by metres)while over the border in Northamptonshire where Jamie and the Rothwells live, will remain in tier two. The restrictions that apply to the town will no doubt cause hardship for many of its retailers, particularly those in the hospitality business, but it’s still not the time to play the blame game, that is for another time. It is what it is,  we must get on with life with as best as we can, remembering there are many that don’t have that option.

On a lighter note, Florida congressman Matt Gaetz (Republican) advised Trump to pardon as much of his administration as possible – and even himself. “President Trump should pardon Flynn, the Thanksgiving turkey, and everyone from himself, to his admin, to Joe Exotic if he has to,” Mr Gaetz tweeted. You couldn’t make this nonsense up if you tried. Is he confirming that Donald and his administration are crooks, the like of Joe Exotic? I think he may be right.

There was another hard frost last night and though the day was sunny, the daytime temperature didn’t get much above 6 degrees. Sue cancelled a sit and chat session in the park with Bridget because of the cold. I replaced yet another PIR security light. Brrrrrrrr!










The tribe have been busy ‘decorating’ their homes for Christmas. Paint brush or tree have not yet made an appearance at Willow Bank and won’t until at least the month of December.

27/11/20 UK deaths: 521.  Current Market Harborough infections: 984.  UP from last week: 105.

Sarah’s decorations

I sacrificed my morning cycle ride to ensure I had plenty of time to finish today’s job; changing the garden lighting.  I was pleasantly surprised  to find that expected problems failed to make an appearance. Replacing the pool floodlight with an eco-friendly LED version went swimmingly, as did spurring off a new floodlight over the patio. The patio light was a bit of a challenge as it meant working at the extreme of an extended ladder and I haven’t done that for some years now. I fully expected to run out of daylight before completion, but in fact it was finished and working by lunchtime. Roll on next summer, please.

28/11/20 UK deaths: 479.  Current Market Harborough infections:991 .  UP from last week:392. Hundreds of anti-lockdown demonstrators  descended on central London demanding “freedom” in the face of tough new corona-virus restrictions. I suppose every village has its village idiot, so I guess a large city such as  London will correspondingly have more.

Today’s plan: Hot bath, Covid-19 research samples, watch England v Wales (rugby), Chinese take-away and film night.  Hmm………. “It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near one.” – J.R.R. Tolkien.

Well, the hot bath went to plan, I remembered to switch on the heating to warm the hot water tank in plenty of time , I even pre-read the instruction on the samples I was to supply for research, but I forgot about the dragon! I have been requested to supply stool and blood samples for the  the Covid Research Group to  to aid their understanding of the corona-virus. Today was designated for the samples to be collected. The hot bath was to make sure blood vessels dilate and the blood flow is good. To ensure that the flow was rapid; I would supplement the guidance with press-ups to get the heart pumping! Who’s a clever boy?

With instruction video watched, water temperature rising and equipment all laid out on the bathroom windowsill, the process of sampling began. The  toilet bowl had been nicely prepped to catch falling stools and did its job admirably, a great start! After securely bagging the prize in its container, I moved onto the next stage. A good long soak in a hot bath is soooo relaxing. I rehearsed the procedure for collecting the blood in my mind several times and felt pleased I had opted to get the heart thumping and really pump out that blood! There would be no trouble collecting a sufficient quantity of the red stuff today! After departing the bath and giving it 20 rapid press-ups, I quickly lanced my middle finger, checked for the emerging blob of Palmer juice and popped on my glasses. The phial to collect the drops of blood is not very big, I would need glasses and had thoughtfully placed them alongside the instructions. Up popped the dragon! A hot steamy bathroom on a cold day is not the place to wear glasses, I couldn’t see a thing!!!! With blood flowing I attempted to hit the target and managed to splatter red everywhere but the phial (why did I do those press-ups?) Whipping off the specs I tried in vain to peer through the fog and scatter bomb the tube, with only partial success. Grabbing the glasses again I quickly wiped them  only succeeding in smearing a thin red film over the glass. With juice still dripping I attempted another bombing run and failed again. How on earth a sufficient amount didn’t enter the tube is a mystery, all around me was awash with spots of running vermilion.

Feeling cold and probably looking ashen, I admitted defeat. Moving into the bedroom I relocated the equipment and cleaned my glasses. This time when I lanced another finger the operation went smoothly. With phial quickly  filled  I completed the task by placing both samples in a suitably labelled bio-hazard bag and posted them off. Satisfied that I had done my bit for humanity (but feeling a little foolish) I set about the rest of my day.

After lunch I discovered that the only way I was going to be able to watch the England v Wales game was by satellite on channel S4C (the Welsh channel). Why can only the Welsh in Wales, who are members of a UNITED Kingdom watch two of our HOME nations play each other while the English  can’t, without signing up to Amazon and paying????  Well up yours Jeff Bezos, I have satellite TV and saw the game, but because the commentary is in Welsh I had to tune into Radio Five Live Sports Extra to hear the commentary on English. Hah!!!!

The game went to plan, England did beat Wales. However,  there was a lag in commentary with the action by around 30 seconds, that was OK, it would have been so annoying the other way round. The Chinese takeaway was excellent and so was the film ‘Hillbilly Elegy’. Based on the bestselling memoir by J.D. Vance about three generations of an Appalachian family as told by its youngest member, a Yale Law student forced to return to his hometown. A nice end to the day.

Today Jamie celebrated a million views on his YouTube channel with a visit to the Major Oak in Sherwood forest with Ruth and Nala.

29/11/20 UK deaths: 215.  Current Market Harborough infections:506 .  Down from last week:79. The UK has signed a deal for an extra 2m doses of the Moderna corona-virus vaccine, with an efficacy rate of almost 95%.  Britain has now secured 7m doses,  enough to protect around 3.5m people.

While I chopped wood for the fire, Jamie and Ruth visited Lincoln, Charlotte decorated her Xmas tree and Sarah photographed Alice and Mia.



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