And the sap begins to rise.

22/02/21 UK Deaths: 178. Harborough Infected: 171.  Boris Johnson revealed his ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown;  pupils in England’s schools will return to class from March 8, from April 12 at the earliest shops, hairdressers, nail salons, libraries, outdoor attractions and outdoor hospitality venues such as beer gardens will be allowed to reopen and from June 21 at the earliest, all remaining restrictions on social contact could be lifted, larger events can go ahead. Unfortunately, my long weekend in Norah Batty’s cottage with friends in April will have to be rescheduled as Hotels and B&B’s won’t be open until at least  May 17th.

Drizzle during the morning delayed our planned Geocaching foray with Jamie, Ruth and Joey until 11 am. However, by then the rain had departed to leave a cold, but dry rest of the day. We met up in the village of Harrington and accompanied by a frisky Rocky and Nale, we set off on the trail I had plotted into my GPS, taking in 11 geocaches.

We first passed through an area known as The Falls, which is a series of garden terraces once belonging to a large and rather grand medieval Manor House (1288), sadly long gone but its footprint can still be seen in the landscape. The first of the geocaches set the scene for the rest, cleverly hidden and providing great fun in the hunt. The trail was just over 2.5 miles through the soggy countryside (it’s become part of the new normal), the two little canines charging along with us soon had brown undercarriages and to the dismay of their owners seemed to relish the free mud bath.

By the time we had completed the hunt, all had managed to bag at least one cache each, with just one cache eluding our best efforts. We registered it as DNF on the website, I noted that a  previous search on the 17th also logged it as unfound, so it may have been muggled.

This is one set of figures that seem to be going the right way in the UK.

23/02/21 UK Deaths: 548 Harborough Infected: 307.

Last night I watched a 2011 film on Netflix called Contagion. A fascinating and unnervingly accurate re-run of the 2020 Covid pandemic, yet this was released in 2011! If governments had taken note of this movie instead of employing flip-flopping strategies, maybe the world would have been better able to tackle the virus and fewer people would have died.

Today was dry, but it got very windy during the afternoon. After yesterday’s ‘Road map’ to normality I contacted the proprietors’ of Norah Batty’s cottage to rearrange a long weekend break due in mid-March to a date in November. It will now have been changed on three occasions since first being booked in November 2019.

It seems that besides providing breakfasts for a pheasant, a fox and a

couple of badgers we now have a Muntjac to feed.

Jamie, Joey and the dogs travelled from Bottesford to visit Sarah and Alice in Newbold Verdon during the morning.

Charlotte spent the day pressure washing the decking, in readiness for painting.


24/02/21 UK Deaths: 442. Harborough Infected: 231. 

It’s amazing what a bit of warmth can do for the soul. Despite a continuing wind, the temperature hurtled into double figures; 15° in Harborough while other parts of the country reached a heady 18°. The Palmer sisters both got out the paintbrushes and grey paint, Charlotte attacked her decking, before renovating and repainting Sean the sheep and Sarah made a start on her fence panels. I chose a more relaxed activity and set about pruning the grapevines and contemplated the chances of suffering another ruinous May frost to thwart my winemaking.

Sarah and Lee’s allotment is now ready for spring.

All pruned.

25/02/21 UK Deaths: 323. Harborough Infected: 232. One of the UK’s largest care home operators has instituted a no jab, no job policy for new staff amid ongoing concern about vaccine take-up among care workers. I would have thought that was a no-brainer!

On the first warm and pleasant day for quite a while, none of the family has used Messenger all day. This now essential little App has ‘pinged’ way daily on our mobile phones throughout the pandemic, often to the point of distraction, but not today. It’s surprising how a little sunshine can cheer and distract.

26/02/21 UK Deaths: 345. Harborough Infected: 239. More than 19 million people have now had their first vaccine dose.

27/02/21 UK Deaths: 290. Harborough Infected: 269. 

After dropping Rocky and Nala off with us, Jamie, Ruth and Joey took a trip to Swindon to check the Audi R8 into a specialist garage for some work to be done on it (not sure what), afterwards they took a slight detour to the River Severn to enjoy the sun. Sarah spent the day completing a mammoth task of fence painting and I discovered that we had a farmer in our ancestry; Charles Parsonage (1791-1868) had a 250-acre farm in Lower Hall, Dutton Dffith, Isycoed, Wrexham, Wales.

In today’s Six Nations rugby match England deservedly lost to Wales, though two appalling decisions from the French referee didn’t help.

Note the social distancing!

28/02/21 UK Deaths: 144. Harborough Infected: 241.  More than 20 million people in the UK have now been given their first dose of a vaccine. To add to the three already identified in England, the Scottish Government said that three individuals who had returned to northeast Scotland from Brazil, via Paris and London, had tested positive for the variant. Do we never learn?

On another warm day, I fired up the rotavator and planted some broad beans and shallots. Jamie, Ruth and Joey (plus mutts) arrived mid-afternoon to take Jamie’s quad-bike for a spin. However, the battery was flat and they opted for a Geocache hunt instead. Sarah and Lee took Alice to a nearby lake in Jubilee Woods. Charlotte and her family went for a walk in the Twywell Hills and came across some highland cattle.

Let us out!!!!!

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