self isolation

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

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 7 – Playing outside, inside

Greenhouse

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

Daffodil

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.

 

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.

Day 3 – Tea times

I actually had this day booked off as leave, so no home working today, but still waking up at the same time. I’m trying to keep to my usual routine as best I can, keeping elements of the day as normal as possible.

07.22 Breakfast tea

Although it’s not breakfast tea, it’s PG Tips. It washes down my toasted Hot Cross bun rather well. I find that anything that has some form of spice in it is perfectly matched by a cup of tea.

On advice I read somewhere, I’m trying to stick to just three news sources. The idea is that you can get a better sense of what is happening and not feel swamped by all sorts of differing opinion.

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