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 9 – Or should that be Day 1?

Yellow flowersI can go several minutes without seeing a car pass the window. It has never been this quiet, not even over Christmas. The buses are empty and again the majority of vehicles seem to be vans and lorries. It is quiet.

We were lucky that we had a food order in place ahead of the lockdown announcement as trying to get a delivery slot now is impossible this side of Easter. Everything was left in bags on the step with the delivery guy standing on the pavement waiting for us to take it all in. It is surreal.

I’ve been able to occupy myself with some work today which has kept me away from the rolling news. I actually feel better for that. There’s always a danger of RNI – repetitive news injury – where you become so overwhelmed by it all. It is stressful.

We had a vey emotional visit from our daughter and grandson this morning. We were exchanging food supplies. We left theirs on the doorstep and watched as they arrived. Waving at each other through the window. The little guy looked confused as to why we were not opening the door to let them in. I have no idea when I’ll get to kiss and hug them again. It is painful.

Outside, the bit of it we can venture into, the garden is calling. I need to disinfect the greenhouse and clear more borders. I am hoping that the delivery of my plants and compost will not have been effected but the new measures, but I’m seeing lots of delivery van driving past, so I’m optimistic. I also hope that this glorious weather lasts until Thursday and Friday when I have some time off work and I can crack on. It is Spring.

Day 8 – Plans change



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 7 – Playing outside, inside


Managed to clear out the greenhouse today

I felt a bit overwhelmed by the garden this morning. I still managed to get some work done, including my main task of clearing out the greenhouse.

I have some seeds on order and I’m keen to have the greenhouse deep cleaned and all ready for the end of the week when I have a couple of days off leading into to the weekend.

I also want to say a big thank you to sarlese over on Instagram who suggested a couple of places for me to get horseradish plants. I now have some on order!

I really do need to find better ways to make work days feel different to days off. I’ve got a couple of interesting projects I’m working on for work to get us through the next few months, so hopefully they will concentrate my mind a bit.

Virtual outside

I’ve been exploring the Elder Scrolls Online and enjoying the pure escapism of the beautifully crafted landscapes and interesting quests. It’s so immersive that the only thing linking me to the real world is the sound of a passing ambulance from time to time on the very quiet road outside.

ESO does require a bit of concentration and brainpower in order to craft and do various tasks, whereas the new Animal Crossings is a lot less demanding and far more cute.

I’m only on my second day into that and I’m still learning what all the buttons do and trying to remember to switch tools – there’s no way I am ever going to chop a tree with a butterfly net.

I’m hoping that the supplies in supermarkets are going to return to some sort of normality this week. We’ve managed to secure a couple of delivery slots for this coming week and next. At the moment it’s very much the luck of timing as to whether items will be available, but surly those that have been panic buying and hoarding will soon run out of space or money. We have enough to get us through the next ten day and then the next delivery should be able to top us us beyond that.

Stay safe everyone.


Day 6 – Revitalised


I din’t have the heart to pull up this daffodil

The garden is my haven. I spent a good part of the day out there away from the news and troubling thoughts. It’s been great therapy.

Last year I planted the left hand bed with a variety of native wild flowers to provide for the birds and other wildlife all year round. Today, sadly, I have dug it up to plant a variety of vegetables to feed us.

The birds and insects won’t go hungry. I plan on setting aside part of the lawn and another border where it can go wild. I’ll get a couple of new bird feeders too. Everything will have to be mail order as we’re still self-isolating and for me at least, it could be the long haul.

So today has been about preparation and planning. One bed is clear and tomorrow I will clean the greenhouse ready for new planting. I’m looking at doing peas, lettuce and beetroot along with some rhubarb. I’d like some horseradish, but I’m not sure where I’ll get that as you can’t grow it from seed.

It has been a glorious day as far as the weather is concerned. Blue skies and brilliant sunshine. But the soil is very cold and my poor fingers were numb.

It’s a good time to clear though as the newly sprouting sycamore seeds have not developed a strong root yet.

One odd little thing. I mentioned a couple of days ago how the traffic seems much lighter on the main road outside. Yesterday was quieter still and today has been even quieter! (Apart from the ambulances – see video below). So I don’t know if that has had an impact on the air quality. While I was working in the garden the Air Ambulance helicopter flew over. I could smell the exhaust fumes. I’ve never smelt it before.

Stay safe and do let me know if you have any suggestions for other veg I should consider having a go at.

I’ve done a video of today to introduce you the the garden.