Is This Freedom?

Sarah and Lee’s allotment

29/03/21 UK Deaths: 23. Harborough Infected: 105. Today, six people, or two families can meet up outside and in private gardens. The government has signed an agreement for up to 60 million doses of the Noavax jab to be produced in the North East of England by GlaxoSmithKline. The UK  set a new daily vaccine record for the second day running, with 844,285 jabs recorded on Saturday. 

On a day when the schools are off for Easter and restrictions on meeting up have been relaxed, the weather witches decided to brew up a good spell of weather for once with temperatures reaching a giddy 20℃. However, still stuck in a Covid rut, apart from my morning cycle ride, Sue and I didn’t leave the house, we were content busying ourselves in a warm sunny garden doing a spot of maintenance. Mundane, but safe.

30/03/21 UK Deaths: 56. Harborough Infected: 111

As the temperature today topped 24℃, it seemed like a good idea to start planting potatoes and that is exactly what I did; two rows of Wilja (2nd earlies) are now snug underground, wrapped in a nice blanket of garden compost and soil.

Sue met Linda Keane in town for some welcome fresh air and gossip. In the afternoon I installed Paddy’s Amazon Echo (Alexa) in his lounge so that he could talk to his son Mark in Florida. It wasn’t without problems, he doesn’t have a smartphone and his iPad is so old it wouldn’t install the Amazon App, but I solved the issue by using my own Android Tablet.

Sarah had a very busy day, first, she painted the summer house and decking, then took Alice for a picnic by a lake. Splendidly, Ruth got a 1st in the latest assignment of her degree course, she has also completed the final dissertation and only has the exam to sit before she becomes chartered.

31/03/21 UK Deaths: 43. Harborough Infected: 117.  Germany turns to Russia over vaccines after restricting AstraZeneca jab in the under-60s. It is perplexing that Merkel would rather trust the Sputnik V vaccine, manufactured in a country that is ‘liberal with the truth’, and particularly when associated with science and chemicals (i.e. Novichok as an example). Why does she mistrust a vaccine from Europe that strive to be transparent with all of the data?

Alice enjoying the sun.

On the hottest day so far of the year, another couple of rows of potatoes went in. Sue joined a ramble with a newly formed Wednesday afternoon walking group. Bridget also accompanied them on what turned out to be a short 3-mile amble along the newly laid Adam’s Mile path, taking in the Judith Stone on their return to Harborough.

While Sue was walking I planted strawberries in the planter then decided to set up one of the garden sunshades before dragging out the garden chairs from their winter hibernation in the shed and placing them around the patio table. Bring on the guests, six at a time, please.

Charlotte popped by briefly on her way home from work to pick up some jigsaws that Sue has completed.

01/04/21 UK Deaths: 51. Harborough Infected: 126. France goes into lock-down with schools closed and all travel within the country banned for a month. Pfizer has accused the European Union of hampering its Covid vaccine production, 280 components are sourced from all over the world, from 86 suppliers in 19 countries. New EU rules on the free movement of goods across borders are damaging its ability to make and export the vaccine. As this is April Fool’s Day I think the idiom, “Cutting off your nose to spite your face,” particularly applies here.

Of course, as soon as I had set up the garden furniture to entertain within the regulated ‘rule of six’, the weather witches stir their cauldron and the temperature takes a crash dive, even snow has been forecast in a few days! However, even on this chilly morning, another two rows of spuds have been sown and a tasty clump of ‘forced’ rhubarb picked for future crumbles.

Ellis has saved up the pocket money from his grandparents to buy a Spinosaurus tooth. Sue has always had a fascination for fossils (she married me!) and has deliberately nurtured a love for them in Ellis by bringing him lots of similar and curious items from our holidays.

02/04/21 UK Deaths: 52. Harborough Infected: 131.  Worryingly the number of infections in Harborough has been slowly rising over the last couple of weeks, it may be fortunate that the Easter break is forecast to be a bitterly cold affair and may deter people from meeting up too much.

Tragedy struck Willow Bank on another chilly day.  Arriving back from town I spotted Mrs Pheasant laying in the road at the end of the driveway. Sadly, sometime during the early morning, she had been run over. Her poor body had been crushed and the yolk from the eggs inside was smeared on the tarmac. As usual and unaware of the catastrophe, Mr Pheasant had been calling loudly from the river bank from sun-up,  in anticipation of her joining him for breakfast under the Scots pine. He continued to call all day, oblivious that she wasn’t going emerge from her hiding place in the long grass. I picked her up and laid her down near to the entrance of the badger sett by the bridge, whose occupants visit the Scots pine every night for their supper. It was a heartbreaking gesture, but in a way, her death would help sustain the lives of her once neighbours.

Late in the afternoon Jamie, Ruth and Joey (with mutts) came over for an Easter Egg hunt. Ruth secretly placed the eggs around the garden while Jamie distracted Joey with a game of football. However,  no one told Nala or Rocky that they were not part of the game and doggy noses are too much of an advantage when it comes to chocolate. After Rocky found one hidden in a bush and was scoffed by Nala, the mutts had to be distracted while Joey went on the hunt! When all the eggs had been discovered,  warming drinks were the order of the day before they returned home to Desborough.

03/04/21 UK Deaths: 10. Harborough Infected: 135. 

It was as a busy afternoon for the Palmer clan. Sue took part in a U3A ramble to Farndon, Jamie, Ruth and Joey travelled up to Newbold Verdon to see Sarah and family, then they too had a ramble in Bradgate Park.

Charlotte’s estate agent show several prospective buyers around their home, while the family also went for a ramble. Late in the afternoon they too went on a house viewing in nearby Rushton.

Left to my own devices, with appropriate snacks and refreshments, I indulged in watching four back to back games of rugby on the TV!!!

04/04/21 Easter Sunday. UK Deaths: 10. Harborough Infected: 142. Italy has entered a three-day lock-down, all regions are now in the “red zone”. The infection rate in Harborough continues to rise.

This morning Sue joined one of the re-started  U3A rambling groups and participated in a walk from Rushton.

Today we had a brief spell of warm weather before the forecast Arctic temperatures arrive overnight. Staying within regulations for the ‘rule of six’, the Newbold Verdons and Rothwells met up for an Easter Sunday lunch at Charlotte’s. On their way home, Sarah, Lee and Alice called in with a selection of small cakes for us to celebrate the festival.


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