Weekend 7

Which makes us in week 8 now. Boris’s big announcement was to move from ‘Stay home’ to ‘Stay alert’. There seems to be a little confusion for some over what things might have changed, or not. We can go out more now, but shops wont open until June 1st at the earliest and there is a system now in place where guidelines can change based in reporeted infection rates.

For our family, I don’t think it changes very much at all. So, I think I’ll start blogging a few times a week rather than every week day as….well, we’re not doing a lot, like most of the country (should be….not all are…but I’ve done enough ranting here…)

That said, last Friday was a bank holiday – moved for VE Day. I felt sad that it’s the last big opportunity to celebrate with people who remember it first time round (I mean generally – not in my family or anything. My parents wont thank me for suggesting that). But a weird thing did happen. I imagine that had everything been normal we probably would have gone to the pub down the road for a drink or two…but not really spoken to anyone, because we don’t really know anyone. Instead though, someone down the road sent a message on out Covid What’s app group (a group to help people out when they have to isolate etc) said they would be in their front garden at 4pm and all were welcome to wander down with a drink and say hi. So before I could think too much I said I would. And Himself and I wandered down the road at 4pm. We missed the right house the first time and joined another group (from way more than 2 meters away) and then joined the family that sent the message. Then more people joined. It looked a lot busier than it was as we were all so conscious of standing far apart, but essentially, we met more neighbours than we have in the last two years…And they were lovely. So thank you VE Day and thank you Covid…kind of.

And apart from that, Dad has grown beans at a rate of knots in 24 hours. From left to right:

Sister 2 had courgette seeds shoot up:

And Sister 1…well, she ‘grew’ potatoes:

From a wild life perspective she did better though, rescuing this black toad:

And Max, the increasingly tame pheasant has started knocking on Mum and Dad’s back door requesting breakfast:

Dad sent me a great photo of Mum in her dressing gown filling up Max’s bowl with seeds but I don’t think I’d ever be forgiven if I posted that…

So there you go. We’ll be back in a day or two.

Stay safe, lovely people. x

United Kingdom: New cases today+3,924; Total cases220,449

Global: New cases today+77,774; Total cases4,100,543

Following last night’s televised address, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will provide more details on his “road map” out of lockdown today

UK will rank the threat of coronavirus via five-tier alert system, government announces

French travellers to the UK will be exempt from new quarantine measures that will come into force, Downing Street confirms

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A bit ranty today. Sorry.

Usually the day before a long weekend our biggest concern is ‘Will the sun actually come out?’. Tomorrow is VE Day, the bank holiday was moved so everyone could celebrate with street parties…

I’m noticing things are getting more political on social media: Views that the government are ‘gaslighting’ us. That they making us celebrate the very people they don’t look after (NHS / frontline) and those they have taken resources away from (the elderly). I rarely feel the need to share my political views, but I will say this: Right now, we need to be pulling together, not dividing and blaming. That is going to achieve absolutely nothing for any of those groups or even for ourselves. If you feel it’s wrong that the frontline hasn’t been given PPE, sharing a meme or a shouty post about it will do didley squat. There are hundreds and hundreds of groups making PPE. The group I’m involved in just sourced enough material for 8,000 sets of scrubs that will be going direct to the NHS. The logistics – nevermind the sewing – involved in that is immense. If you can’t sew, offer to pick up and deliver the items that those who can are making. People are dropping items every day to my house, and I am just one location across all of Sussex. Offer to help admins organise material drops, fundraise, donate (the argument that ‘the government needs to put its hands in its pockets’ doesn’t work right now).

There is heaps you can do RIGHT NOW that will make the difference a political rant wont. And when this is done, and we are all safer, and possibly have a vaccine and maybe we can go back to some sort of normality, THEN ask the questions, find the facts and petition, vote and whatever else is needed to make the changes that you believe are needed. But right now focus on coming together rather than creating a divide. (By the way, that’s all specific to the UK. I don’t know enough about the situation in any other country other than a bit about the US, and don’t want to even get started on ‘let’s just clean peoples lungs by injecting disinfectant Trumpy Pants.)

Oooh, sorry. That was a bit more ranty than I planned. I wont do it again, but there have been SO many posts / articles / comments in the last few days….and all from people who only seem to get shouty rather than actually do anything about anything and that makes me a bit grumpy. Be the change you want to see and all that. Anyway, I know you are not like that. :o)

So back to the smiles. Mum and Dad went for a walk (I should point out, Mum and Dad live in the middle of nowhere and other than pigs, sheep, lambs, a rabbit, lamas and cows, they only saw one other person, and he was on a bike.). They found this:

My (not so little) Norman approves and would like to know if the field is stocked with sufficient things to chase and significant quantities of dried chicken treats.

And we have the now weekly family video call. I’d like yo say they are getting better but I’d be lying.

Anyway, stay safe, lovely people. xxx

United Kingdom: New cases today +6,116; Total cases: 202,359

Global: New casesToday +95,221; Total cases: 3,754,188

Black people four times more likely to die with COVID-19 than white people, data from Office for National Statistics suggests

Failure to meet daily government testing target due to “technical issues”, Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis says

Bank of England says UK economy heading for 14% drop in 2020 due to coronavirus lockdown

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Interesting facts.

We had all sorts of interesting family facts shared yesterday. I mean. ‘interesting’ is all relative and do remember that we’re still on lockdown…. Boris said he’d do a big update on Thursday about ‘unlockdown’, but now he’s delaying it until Sunday, presumably to stop people making any changes earlier than planned over the bank holiday.

So anyway, back to the updates:

Mum and Dad’s clematis has gone from this to this:

Which is rather lovely. Mum and Dad love their garden and I’m so pleased they at least have that right now. People who are shielding without outside space must be struggling even more.

Then we have the accident prone Little Wisp (it’s a family gene passed through the female side, I think) who has a supply of underwater plasters which apparently makes your ouch better straight away:

(Don’t little people legs always looks so cute?). I wish I’d had them when I attempted to courgetti my thumb. The plasters, not the legs.

I’ve made and posted another 25 masks to friends and friends of friends. That takes my total to almost 150.

I was thinking about this last night – there is a whole ‘thing’ growing up around masks; a culture and various communities. As well as the groups that makes them for the front line I’m part of Mask Makers UK where people combine efforts to donate masks to groups needing them, but also swap tips on materials, filters, sewing machine needles….everything you can possibly imagine that is mask related. I didn’t know how much I didn’t know about home made masks, but I am starting to feel like an expert. And while I think that there is an absolute benefit (for everyone else, if not the wearer) in using them in busier places, some people are NUTS. I mean, it’s generally agreed that a mask needs a single use or washable filter to be effective. But the man using kitchen roll, which he soaks in salt water and dries in the sun to create salt crystals as an addd layer….I think he may have too much time on his hands. But horses for courses and all that (and i think there is some evidence that backs that up, but you know….

And now for the actual interesting thing (Sorry, Sister 2). While discussing Little Wisps knees, we talked about other childhood injuries and it turns out that a while back…years back….Sister 2 stabbed Sister 1! With a pair of nail scissors. Because she was ‘a bit grumpy’ that Sister 1 wouldn’t let her cut her nails. Looking at it objectively, I think Sister 1 may have had a point – inviting someone close with a sharp implement who – it turns out can do a bit of damage when uninvited could have led to who knows what. As it is, the damage was:

No, we couldn’t see it either. But apparently there is a scar there. And it resulted in Sister 1 passed out on the kitchen floor. So there you go – small discussions via Facebook messenger do occasionally turn up some gems.

Stay safe, you lovely people. x

United Kingdom: New cases today +4,411; Total cases196,243

Global: New cases today +79,706; Total cases3,658,967

Having greater capacity for COVID-19 tests earlier in the UK would have “had benefits”, Security Minister James Brokenshire admits

At least 20,000 people infected with coronavirus entered UK before lockdown, Home Office figures indicate

Professor Neil Ferguson’s resignation as government scientific adviser after breaking lockdown rules was “right decision”, Health Secretary Matt Hancock says

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A view of lockdown from the boss of Our Towers

I’ve stopped reading the figures I was putting above. I was just putting them there for the record. And actually, they are a terrible way to start each post, so now they are at the bottom instead. Look if you like, finish before you get there if you don’t :o)

And today’s post is from the family member I’ve not thought about posting on behalf of until now, because very little has changed in his eat, sleep, sleep, sleep some more, eat, and a bit more sleep routine. But it was his birthday yesterday and a comment made me think about it. And actually things have changed for him. Now, On a Monday night instead of going out to my circuits class, I do it in the garden if it’s nice enough (the garage if it isn’t). And as this now co-insides with tea time, this family member goings in and….well, I’ve not worked out if the noises are of encouragement or derision. This is my view from the mat:

Can you see him? Sitting on top of the trellis? That’s Norman. It was his 10th birthday yesterday. He miaowed throughout the class (which was being run on the lap top on the table).

This was his view, captured by Himself:

Like I say, I’m not sure if he’s pushing me on or telling me to stop, but doing a class like this, outside, is a rather different experience for us both. I like it, but I’d really like to see the people on the screen in person.

Stay safe, lovely people. x

United Kingdom: New cases today +3,990; Total cases 191,832

Global: New cases today +76,183; Total cases 3,579,261

UK coronavirus death toll now the highest in Europe, ONS figures indicate

Global deaths pass 250,000 mark, with over 68,000 of those recorded in the US

Chancellor Rishi Sunak says 6.3 million on furlough scheme is “not a sustainable situation” and wants to ease people back to work

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Weekend 6. Already.

Global confirmed cases: 3,523,121; total deaths: 247,752 (JHU)

UK confirmed cases: 186,599; total deaths: 28,446 (DHSC)

Government considering alternative measures for workplaces where 2m social distance not possible, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace says

️Passengers and cabin crew required to wear face masks on many major airlines from this week

Public warned against all but essential journeys as municipal waste and recycling centres start to reopen around the country

At this point I really can’t decide if I want this all over or if I quite like my bubble. I think there is something in between. And based on what I’ve read over the weekend, most people seem to feel the same; that even if lockdown is lifted, going out isn’t something that many people want to do. I want to be less scared. And I want to see family and friends. And I want the garden center to open and I want to be able to go to a supermarket without queueing around the carpark only to find out social distancing goes out the window once you’re inside. But I also like the fact that I have to think really hard about what is worth spending time on. Even online shopping takes ages as so many stockists have run out of so many things – you need to consider if it’s worth an hour of time tracking something down or if actually, you can manage without. Impulsive purchases are out. Except…

…well, there is a weird thing I’ve noticed and I don’t know if its just me, but I’ve started my own version of panic buying. For example, rice has been hard to get, so now when I see rice, I buy a packet. Only one packet, but we now have an entire cupboard dedicated to various different rices and pastas. If you want variety in your carbs, Our Towers is the place to come. Except it’s not because you’re not allowed to :o( It’s not just rice and pasta either. Tomato plants were hard to get hold of. The village facebook group rung out with people trying to hunt them down. I ordered some plug plants (after an hour of online hunting), then accidentally ordered some more. Then I tried the thing people suggested on the village facebook group and planted a few slices of tomato plants. Look! It worked!

The utterly ridiculous thing about this? I don’t like tomatoes. It’s probably best I don’t shout too loud about the excitement of finding yeast in the Co-Op this morning. Because yes, I bought a packet. No, I’ve never made a loaf of bread in my adult life…

This whole situation is doing weird things to people (I assume it’s not just me).

We went for a bike ride at the weekend again. It was meant to be about 15km. It was ‘accidentally’ 30km again. The good news though is that this time I was in charge of the snacks (the bananas and water Himself packed a few weeks back did not fill me with smiles). We used to cycle to pubs for a pint. So I packed a pub snack and we sat with a view of Jack and Jill (the names of the windmills you can see just behind us on the right hand photo). That’s a better way to cycle than with a banana as a reward :o)

As you can see, the covid beard is coming along nicely completely out of control.

Meanwhile, Dads rock family have recovered well from their eye surgery and are enjoying their new home:

Sister 1 has been finding fairy feet on her travels:

And Sister 2 has been training up Little Wisp as assistant gardener (and also, look at that clematis!)

Back at Our Towers, we went for a second lockdown haircut (his again), which resulted in hair in my drink, which then had to be seived:

(we were not about to waste vodka and lemonade)

And I made my 100th face mask…and kept on going. I think I’m at around 120 now. And I’m now selling them for £6 each (filter included and washable at 60) for anyone in the UK. If you’d like one or two, let me know :o)

Stay safe, lovely people. x

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Loosely linked to animals

Global confirmed cases: 3,274,747; total deaths: 233,792 (JHU)

UK confirmed cases: 171,253; total deaths: 26,771 (DHSC)

Death rates from COVID-19 in deprived areas are more than double those in affluent areas, according to ONS figures

Wearing a face mask in public remains a “personal choice”, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick says

COVID-19 patients from black African backgrounds dying at triple rate of white Britons, an Institute for Fiscal Studies study says

I took two photos today and decided that they sum up the range of lockdown moods in a day. Possibly an hour:

but between them (and my animal link), there has been no sign of squirrels at the squirrel picnic bench, but the nuts I put out were slowly going missing. I kept a watch (after the tsunami finished) and discovered that it’s George, the Magpie. And rather sweetly he only takes one at a time, sits on the garage roof to eat it, wanders off for a while and comes back later for another snack. We have things in common…

Sister 1 found a friendly deer:

And gifted the best of her rock family (I think it was also Little Pea’s) to Dad / Grandad:

Dad / Grandad broke them:

But luckily he is a part time eye surgeon and has fixed them, save a squint here and there.

And Sister 2 has been arts and crafting with animal stickers and Little Wisp, sending us gorgeous cards:

Little Wisp definitely has the family drawing gene with that rather impressive rocket…

And now it is almost the weekend, and time to find more projects (I’m sure I’ll manage) and make more face masks (68 to date).

Whatever you are doing…

….stay safe, lovely people. x

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Out of the doldrums

Global confirmed cases: 3,207,248; total deaths: 227,971 (JHU)

UK confirmed cases: 165,221; total deaths: 26,097 (DHSC)

Government “probably won’t” meet 100,000 daily coronavirus testing target for end of April, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland says

Prime Minister Boris Johnson to update country on “steps to defeat” COVID-19 at first daily briefing since returning to work

Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca partners with Oxford University to help develop potential coronavirus vaccine

Yesterday was a bit of a pants day. Then I wrote the blog post, walked into the hall and noticed a lot of stuff in the porch. As well as making masks for them, I’m a drop off for what is now sew sussex – seamstresses supporting nhs & frontline and people had been dropping off without me really noticing. In fact yesterday the following had been dropped off:

  • 10 scrub hats
  • 10 scrub hats
  • 14 hair bands
  • 3 scrub sets
  • 6 gowns

Five different people had spent time and used their own material stash (except for the NHS scrubs which have to be made using specific material), because they could. There’s a saying about how in any disaster you should look for the helpers to remember that there is good in the world too. I’d had five of them drop off at my door. And the group in total? Well, this is what we have made to date (well, four days ago):

  • Hats 828
  • Bags 1,232
  • Gowns Children’s – 61
  • Gowns Adult – 3
  • Masks – 1185
  • Headbands – 280
  • Ribbon elastic holders for masks – 249
  • Scrubs Full Sets – 321
  • Scrub Tops – 12
  • Scrub Trousers – 0
  • Hearts – 128
  • Lavender bags – 20

And they have been delivered to a number of individual requesters and:

  • Conquest Hospital
  • NHS Carers Lewis
  • Grove Road Surgery Eastbourne
  • Seaford Covid Hub
  • Lewes Doctors
  • NHS Carehome Eastbourne
  • Peacehave Covid Hub and GPS
  • Groombridge and Hartfield Medical Centre
  • Eastbourne DGH wards
  • Rural and Bexhill community nursing teams

It felt less pants after that.

So onto today when I’ve had photos from everyone and we’ve had a family call.

Sister 1 found a pink bluebell:

Mum and Dad are appreciating the first bloom on their clematis:

Sister 2 found a nurse in a phone box. (No, I have no idea either.)

Oh, and I did 30 minutes of Pog schooling with Little Pea! He read me a book then he answered questions about it and filled in a form Sister 1 had created to write it up:

I’m fully aware than 30 minutes is practically nothing compared to the hell parents are going through, but I did like being read to :o)

And then we had a family call. In which we realised it was the first time we’d all been together wearing glasses, so a family portrait was required:

Then it all just went a bit the way you’d expect:

But you know, it was nice to see each others walls / ceilings….

Stay safe, lovely people. x

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Lacking in inspiration

Global confirmed cases: 3,127,519; total deaths: 217,569 (JHU)

UK confirmed cases: 161,145; total deaths: 21,678 (DHSC)

Government focused more on NHS than care homes in early stages of coronavirus outbreak, Environment Secretary George Eustice admits

Thousands of cancer patients to be treated at new regional centres designed to be free from COVID-19

Schools will reopen in a “phased manner” but no date set yet, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson says

I’ve run out of inspiration. I think the family have too as they’ve not sent through photos. It’s all getting a bit monotonous. And it rained again. I think things are always a bit harder when it’s raining.

But Wednesday is cake day, so I made himself his favourite fruit cake.

And I’m not that keen on it, but had an urge for jam, so I made up a recipe involving coconut and raspberry jam. It’s surprisingly good.

No wonder I have covid cushioning.

I’ve also acquired covid curls:

I’ve never had curls before. It’s most odd.

Anyway, sorry. Hopefully inspiration will return tomorrow.

Stay safe, lovely people.x

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Exercising the Covid cushioning

Global confirmed cases: 3,057,957; total deaths: 211,894 (JHU)

UK confirmed cases: 157,149; total deaths: 21,092 (DHSC)

Over 3,000 deaths in care homes linked to COVID-19 to date, ONS figures show

Face coverings such as scarves recommended to be worn in enclosed public spaces, guidance from Scottish government says

Almost 40% of all fatalities in one week in England and Wales found to mention novel coronavirus on death certificate

So here’s the thing: At the start of all this, we dealt with the whole being at home / not driving / this all feels pretty awful situation a bit like Christmas. For about four weeks. And by that I mean at 5pm when Boris did his live broadcast to the nation, presumably feeling a bit Winston Churchill-ish, we got into the habit of a covid-o’clock cider (or beer, in his case). We ate cake because it was comforting and our reasonably sensible eating habits were given a mask and sent out to fend for themselves.

I don’t think we are alone, but Himself and I are probably the worst offenders in the four family households. We have all been exercising though:

Sister 1 does lots but yesterday did an indoor 5km run on the treadmill:

Little Pea is riding his new bike and going on lots of walks:

Sister 2 has stepped up her online boxfit classes and now attaches weights to do it….:

And Mum and Dad have been lifting some (very heavy, I’m assured) books:

They are all looking good.

Himself is stripping off the alcohol and cakes by running stupid distances and speeds as usual (75km last week which included a personal best of a 37 minute 10km). I’m not saying anything else on that.

And I’m doing things too – I’ve got into You Tube Hiit sessions, and some of my normal classes are online, so I’m doing about eight ‘somethings’ a week. I’m thinking that the somethings may not be the high intensity required to rid myself of the excesses of Covid Christmas though. While I am convinced I have an extremely toned body; it seems is currently well hidden beneath my Covid cushioning. This picture of a recent yoga session may uncover the truth of my intensity levels, you see:

Yes. Those are my slippers :o)

Stay safe, lovely people. x

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Weekend 5. Possibly. Probably. Involving a lot of queues

Global confirmed cases: 2,982,933; total deaths: 206,811 (JHU)

UK confirmed cases: 152,840; total deaths: 20,732 (DHSC)

Prime Minister Boris Johnson warns against easing lockdown saying UK “passing through the peak”

Government home testing kits for key workers run out one hour after website registrations open

Doctors finding it increasingly harder to get PPE, research by Royal College of Physicians reveals

Best blog photo to date I think:

Mum and Dad are looking after their garden ornaments (don’t worry – I’m assured the masks are all very old, well used and of no further use to anybody). :o)

And in other news, we painted a fence. I mean, it was the highlight of my Saturday, but was much, much more complicated than I could have anticipated….all due to lockdown. This is why:

Saturday morning I got my paining clothes on, ready to finally finish the fence that we started….last year. We had one tin left and Himself assured me that would be enough. I picked up the tin….and it felt maybe about half full. I looked at it properly as I knew we’d not opened it, and it was one of the tins the previous owner had left. In the shade of dar green we were paining over…

In normal circumstances I’d have hopped in the car and hurtled round the instutrial estate containing a number of DIY shops until I’d found the right tin in the right colour. But that’d not the way we do things now. Most DIY shops are delivery / click and collect or only selling essentials (and I couldn’t really argue that the paint was essential.

Amazon or E-bay seemed like the best option. Amazon had none of the type we needed. E-bay did though….hoorah! But the sellers had clearly caught on. A 9 litre tin retails at £20. The cheapest I could find on E-bay was £50. And that was for 5 litres!

I got in the virtual queue to get on the Wickes website (because yes, websites are now so busy you have to queue to get onto them). It was a short queue and 20 minutes later I was in to discover that the paint did not class as essential and would therefore not be delivered or be available for click and collect. Arse. It was a 58 minutes queue for B&Q. Everywhere else I could think of didn’t even have an option to order at all. So I waited, and waited and moaned to Himself when I still had 40 minutes left….so he joined to queue on his phone and had a 14 minute wait. I still have no clue how or why except he is a jammy sod and I don’t really care because it saved me 25 minutes. Anyway, he got in, he put in the order….computer said no. But in the mean time I’d discovered that the local store was one of those being trialled across the country to be open using social distancing rules. And while computer said no, it also said that that there were seven tins of exactly what we needed in that store. So I jumped in the car reminiscing about the BC (Before Covid) days and joined a real life queue. For an hour. Just to get in the front door.

I got in, ran (in the specified direction with my newly disinfected trolley, two meters from everyone) to the fence paint aisle. And they had every bloody colour except the one I needed. I asked if they might have hidden some. I was assured not. I wandered aimlessly to find and alternative and flower pots. Social distancing outside might have been good but inside was a different matter. I felt really sad. I only had one shop, I’d spent what felt like forever in virtual and real queues and I still didn’t have what I wanted. Telling myself to get a bit of perspective and remember the bigger picture I pulled myself together and tried to get to the tills (easier said than done in a one way system where every aisle was blocked. It was like being in a game of PacMan…)

But just as I got to the till I thought I’d try one more time. I was stopped from going the wrong way up the aisle by a young employee and explained that I really just wanted to check one more time that the paint I wanted and knew wasn’t there because I’d already checked twice, still wasn’t there. He came with me, asked what I wanted….and opened an enormous high up cupboard where they had a stash of Slate Ronseal Fence thingy. I almost kissed the boy. I was wearing a face mask though, and there is a global pandemic on and two meters and all that. Also, I thought it was probably inappropriate in any circumstances anyway, so I didn’t.

And although I could have gone from ‘we have the wrong paint’ to having the right stuff in about 45 minutes BC, and on Saturday it took exactly five hours to get to that point, there was no bloody way it was stopping me from getting that fence painted and it felt sooooo good:

Until we realised the next morning it actually needs a third coat. Arse. Oh well, it’s not like we wont have the time next weekend ;o)

Stay safe, lovely people. x

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