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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