coronavirus

Day 13 (5) – Coronavirus, every day, every hour, every minute

Counting every day. And every hour. And every minute.

Outside where only the brave and heroic venture

Ransom demands come from an unseen enemy.

Our world hasn’t changed, and yet nothing is the same

Normality is being redefined. Every day. Every hour. Every minute.

Away from family and friends and colleagues

Virtual spaces are now our dining tables, bars and water coolers. If

Isolation breeds despair, then

Resourcefulness nurtures hope. But

Until such time

Stay safe. Every day. Every hour. Every minute.

Day 12 (4) – Not where I was meant to be

Tiki's had a hair cut

Tiki’s had a hair cut

While I was sorting out the stones from the soil and pondering on life’s little mysteries, such as who invented meringue*, it suddenly hit me that I was supposed to be in Weston-Super-Mare.

We (that’s me and the Weird Norfolk team) had planned on recording a couple of episodes of a new podcast called Lore of the Land, but obviously the law of the land meant we had to cancel.

So another glorious day in the garden it was, away from all the news and worries and weird stuff that is now a reality.

It’s only when I check my phone do I see how things have moved on and I now know someone who has a family member in hospital with the virus. Even the Prime Minister and Health Secretary have it. The latest figures released today are worrying. And I do worry. So I’ve planted garlic today. It has no use against the coronavirus, but planting it felt good for the soul.

I was also digging for treasure in the garden today. See my Instagram or Twitter feed for details of my haul.

I have been spoilt these past couple of days with the weather, but it looks like it’s going to get really cold again. It may not be practical to be out in the garden, not that I have much to do now other than wait for my plants and seeds to be delivered.

*I have asked this question son many time to so many people. The most famous of which was Charlie Brooker. Although I didn’t get a credit for the question.

Stay home and stay safe everyone. And that includes you Prime Minister.

Day 11 (3) – Childhood smells

Jeys Fluid

Jeys Fluid (other outdoor cleaners available)

I have just realised that ambiguity of today’s title. Do I mean that childhood actually smells or do I mean smells from my childhood? Today it’s the latter. (Although some elements of childhood did smell. For another day perhaps.)

I have a couple of days leave from work. I thought I’d spend it at home (joke). So I have been in the garden for a good part of the day.

The first task was to clean and disinfect the greenhouse. I remember as a child helping my father do this. He always used Jeys Fluid for outside jobs such as the greenhouse and the drains – although I can’t remember if mother was in charge of the drains or not. I remember them being cleaned and then dad would sprinkle some white powder round them. I presumed it was ant powder, but now I think about it ants don’t live in drains. Surly it wasn’t rat poison?

Jeys Fluid is one of those magical potions that would sit on the top shelf of the garage alongside the Swarfega, 3-in-1 oil and a can of WD40. Each had their own distinctive smell and while the smell of the WD40 and Jeys Fluid were occasional treats, dad could find any excuse to wash his hands in Swarfega.

Garden border

Another border cleared

So today all those memories flooded back as I mix up a dose of Jeys Fluid and got to work on the greenhouse.

It’s been a joy to be out there. A total distraction from the troubles of the world. Having said that, from time to time I did find myself consumed by a wave of reality, usually brought on by a distant neighbour coughing or sneezing.

I’ve made some good progress with the borders with more to do tomorrow. I also need to plan where everything is going, so I’m keeping my eye on where the sun gets to through the day.

Sobering statistics

Looking at the news now and it’s all about numbers. Deaths, confirmed cases, monetary support and stock markets. It’s all a bit grim.

Please stay safe.

Day 8 – Plans change

Primroses

Primroses

It feels different today. It suddenly all seems very real. Little things really do trigger the enormity of it all. Today’s phrase “Delegated Survivor” sent a shiver down my spine. I always assumed that there would be plans in place should the PM be unable to carry out his duties, but when they talk about these things on the news it’s quite sobering.

There’s real anger towards members of the public who seem to be ignoring the advice coming out of Westminster and out of the mouths of doctors and nurses. Certain members of society are acting like old classmates who would ring up at 9.30 in the evening to ask what the homework was for tomorrow as they weren’t really listening in maths today.

I like to think though that most people are pulling their weight. My own personal measure, the traffic on the road outside, suggests they are. Every single bus I have seen pass my window today has been empty. A large majority of the traffic is made up of vans and lorries.

I fear though that we may get a very unambigous instruction in the next 48 hours about leaving our houses as once again the mindlessness of the minority has a huge impact on everyone. This time with deadly results.

When all this is over, things will not be the same again. Families will not be the same. Government will to be the same. The NHS will not be the same. The impact of this virus will reach far beyond any vaccine.

Garden plans

Bayleaf the gardener

Here I am in about 12 week’s time

Sounding a bit like a ministerial statement, I’m going to say that the measures I have taken to grow some vegetables in the garden were right at the time. But I now need to go further.

From this Thursday I will be digging up further shrubs and plants and preparing to grow even more vegetables. I’m not aiming for self-sufficiency, just less reliability on supermarkets and shops.

I can only get supplies by mail order and I fear that this too may dry up soon as more and more non-essential business are forced to close.

Following my appeal for tips and ideas of things to grow, an old work friend, Jacquie Jones, commented on Facebook: Grow things you can pickle too, or make jam with, things that don’t have to be eaten right away.
Gardeners world has started again I believe and Monty is always a good watch.

It’s all good sensible stuff and if it turns out that it wasn’t necessary, the only thing I’ve lost is a couple of flowering shrubs, some hardy annuals and half an hour a week to Gardener’s World.

Stay safe.

Day 5 – Downs and ups

Bluebell

We’ll soon be dancing to the sound of the bluebells

There’s always a day during the Christmas holidays when you think it’s Thursday but it is actually Monday.

Today feels like a Tuesday but it’s Friday. Which means that tomorrow is a Saturday. (Goes and checks calendar).

For the first time ever I’m not looking forward to the weekend as much as I normally would, even though I have things I’d like to do. Gardening mainly.

I’ve been at home for about 10 days now. I want the weekend to be the time when I do something different. Have a change of scenery, like going to the forest or to the coast or even to the shops. The furthest I will get tomorrow is the top shed.

So if the weather is good, and it is looking promising, I will be able to get out there and clear the borders. And hopefully my head.

News

I’ve limited my input of tea and coronavirus news today and really thrown myself into some work ideas. It’s good to have plans and something to look forward too, rather than spending the time cancelling trains and hotels and holidays.

So actually, thinking about it, be it garden or work, along with some personal study I’ve started, I think I’m feeling more positive than I did when I started writing today’s entry.

Tomorrow and Sunday I plan on introducing you to my garden. I may even put aside a little corner for reader’s suggestions of things to try.

Day 4 – burning questions

The Coronavirus updates have been mainly focussed on the school closures which take effect tomorrow afternoon and the fall out from that. There’s a number of stories circulating about whether or not London will be locked down. At the time of writing it looks unlikely. By the time the blog is published the whole country could be, that’s how fast things are changing at the moment.

I’m back at my home working desk today. Working on a few ideas on how we can provide people with interesting things to keep them occupied while at home.

Yeast

Mead, bread and beer yeast

I’m trying to keep busy with home stuff too in a way that keeps my body and mind active and less focussed on the news.

Some of the things occupying my mind include:

  • Can you use beer or mead yeast in bread?
    We’re down to the last few grains of the bread yeast and can’t seem to buy any at the moment.
  • Which are the quickest vegetables to grow?
    I remember growing mustard and cress at school which took days. But with the lack of eggs, cress sandwiches sound less appealing. It may have to be lettuce. Although having written that, lettuce sandwiches don’t sound any more appetising.
  • How many cars pass my house?
    It’s definitely been quieter these last few days. I wish I’d thought of counting in the past as any figures gathered now would have no relevance.
  • Did I hear my neighbour cough?
    No. It was a car door slamming outside.

Pizza

Finally, I was rather intrigued to see that one of the pizza places near me are offering no contact delivery. They are guaranteeing that no one so much as breaths on the pizza from the moment it comes out of the oven until it is in the box. Which is then sealed.

The driver, they tell me, will place the pizzas on a clean empty box on my doorstep and then ring to say the delivery is there and, at a safe distance, watch until I open the door and bring it in.

In the interests of research I tried this last night. The pizza box wasn’t sealed. The driver didn’t ring me, he knocked on the door and waited for me to open it. Give him his due, the pizzas were on the step as promised. I asked him where my two bottles of pop were. He said they were what the pizzas were sitting on.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on some or all of the things occupying my mind at the moment, although the numbers of cars outside my house may be a difficult one for you to judge.