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Posts Tagged ‘Covid-19’

the lockdown log 13


It has been an odd week; torrential rain followed by temperatures in the thirties midweek, but today, Saturday, is grey and wet again. That’s how it goes these days, but the extremes and unpredictability seem at odds to what I remember from even ten years ago let alone thirty or forty. All signs of climate change I suppose.

Despite the relaxation of lockdown we ware still at the Full Monty here. I go to work five days out of seven and do odd shopping on my way home with a big shop on my day off while the Berkshire Belle stays stoically indoors. It suits us.

The behaviour of some of our fellow UK citizens is beyond belief though and we are appalled by their senseless acts. If this is what this country has come to then I am glad that I do not have too many more years to endure it.

Some of my projects have ground to a halt whilst I wait for certain trades to get back into action and that is a frustration as is the weather in the way that it has impacted on outdoor works. Taking stock of what I have managed to do though gives some encouragement and we have been enjoying the first fruits, literally, of some of my gardening.

Our shopping habits have changed in that we buy some food and all non food on-line now. We have found a fishmonger and a suit & veg box greengrocer Along with the butcher that we used to drive to once a month who now does on-line orders and those three provide our core needs. We have also benefitted from one of our favourite restaurants now providing mail order dishes and the first of those has been a great success. With me being able to bring home the odds and ends of basic supermarket shopping we are doing well enough.

The joy of shopping for us was always being able to wander around and look at stuff, often coming home with things that we had no intention of buying when we set out, but that is not going to be something we can return to for a while yet. We need a new TV as the current one is showing distinct signs of problems. Yes we can buy one n-line and may well have to do that, but we would prefer to be able to go and look at what is on offer. It is not that simple as yet. Our lives have changed and we do not yet know by how much.

We are not complaining about these changes; we accept that we are very lucky and regard this year’s radical change more as something that we have to live with. We would not have chosen it, but tough; life is like that. We will almost certainly not get our US holiday this year and are philosophical about whether or not we will ever go back there because the America that we love does not currently exist. Things there are turning into a disaster in terms of Covid-19 and what will emerge from the aftermath there we have no idea about at present.

There are a lot of folks much worse off than us so we will stick to our lockdown and enjoy what we have.

Stay safe one and all.

the lockdown log 12


Life has really not changed too much for the Berkshire Belle and I. We have refined our choice of intent supplier here and there, but the only real change so far is that the double B has not been out.

By that I mean that she has stayed in the house apart from two occasions when she has walked down the front path to bring in out dustbin and recycling crates. This she will do if the weather is good and it is important for us to get these things in quickly after they are emptied because the team doing the emptying often replace them at the wrong house. Other than those two outings she has not been outside of the house.

I am still working on the front line five days out of seven, but other than that my trips have been confined to food shopping plus one trip to a garden centre and I felt guilty about that. Last week I drove over to Cirencester and back, about a forty mile trip, on a business matter regarding something that I am currently involved in restarting on June 15th. That felt really weird, but made more so by the number of tourists I saw up there; where have they come from? Well in the case of a group of around half a dozen from Italy. I did not stop to make further enquiries.

So far here in Swindon we are not doing too badly on the Covid-19 front compared to some other areas and, whilst we are part of the South West where numbers of infections are rising, here we don not seem to be getting too many. I wonder if the mass exoduses to the beach and other beauty spots over the bank holiday weekends have contributed to the rise in cases.

Today it is raining and looks to be wet all day so my plans for a few hours in the garden have been shelved. I have to go out at lunchtime to the doctor’s for a routine blood test. I would rather avoid the place, but have already pout this appointment off once and they are nagging. To me this is an example of today’s society at its worst because the appointment is largely a waste of their time and mine.

The problem started when the health practice that I am registered at decided that periodic reviews of regular medication would be carried out by a pharmacist to save the doctor’s time. My review came up and the pharmacist rang me for a chat. She called top my records and latched on to the fact that I have had, from time to time, high blood pressure. I explained that my doctor had elected to stop the periodic blood pressure tests on the basis that he was happy enough with me to have stopped the blood pressure medication, but this was not good enough: I would have to come in and had a BP test plus a blood test for a variety of routine function checks.

And so I am going today and am fairly certain that what the pharmacist gets back will mean that she will compare the results to whatever chart it is that they have and she will want me to come in and see a doctor. There will be no peace until I do and so I will make an appointment and go in for a chat at which we will agree that I am an overweight 67 year old white male who is vulnerable too certain risks. The same 67 year old etc etc who has walked an average of 5.8 miles a day over the last 12 months (according to my tracker), works 4 hours a day 5 days a week at a physical job, does not smoke and drinks little. Whatever else we achieve from that appointment I doubt that it will be a productive use of the doctor’s time, but they have to go through the motions because of a duty of care and all that bureaucracy that is in place these days. This is one of the areas of waste that I would love to see swept away.

Please do not think that I am knocking the NHS; I am not. The health care practitioners are wonderful and have saved my life eight years ago. They have also saved the life of my son who is 38 today. It is the ludicrous bureaucracy that costs too much that is drowning the NHS, but that is a feature of the world that we have created now whereby nothing is our fault and there must always be someone else to blame (and sue).

Anyway, rant over. It is a wet day, I will not have to water my plants and my water butts will be replenished. There is alway some good in everything, no matter how bad it might seem.

Stay safe and have fun.

the lockdown log 11


I was distracted by other things on Thursday and forgot all about writing a lockdown log so here it is a couple or so late. Part of my distraction was self-imposed in that I was taking an absence from social media. Every now and again the puerile level of content gets to me and I just use the off button so to speak. Other than to check in to see if there are requests to join a group that I run or to pass on birthday wishes I will continue to ignore it for the time being.

Most of my disgust at Fb content at the moment is around people seeming to want to apologise for being white. As no-one can influence where they were born nor the colour of their skin it seems to be an extraordinary thing to do. As for some of the behaviour being demonstrated at the moment I despair of the human race.

At a time when we need understanding and compassion the level if anger seen on the streets of some countries is unhelpful to say the least as is the desire to eradicate history. When should be learning from history and seeing how far we have come not wiping it from the slate. Living forty miles or so from Bristol it appals me to hear people talking about all off the slaves who were brought through the port when the reality is that whilst Bristol ship owners were amongst those plying that trade they were not wasting time bringing them back here before taking them to the Caribbean and the USA. Ignorance is not a virtue.

I really do not know what the world has come to and am glad that I am approaching the end of my time here.

the lockdown log 9


Another week and, despite some relaxing of restrictions, not much changes for us here. Some jobs have been finished, others not yet started as I focus my time on the little homestead.

The one change to lockdown for me has been a trip to my nearest garden centre. I set off just after lunch because that suited me and was surprised to see that there was no queue in the elaborate zig-zag set up by the entrance. Half an hour later, with a couple of the things on my list, several that weren’t and some knowledge of what paving was available I left to find 40-50 people queuing, the zig-zag area overflowing into the car park. My timing had been impeccable, even if the centre had little of what I had wanted to buy.

Going to look at stuff before buying is important to me. Possibly it because I have grown up through a time when that was the norm, but I do not like the concept of buying relatively blind (yes you can look at photos when buying on line, but it isn’t the same) and sending it back if you don’t like it. To a degree I have had to do that over the last couple of months and have been fairly successful in that only one item has been sent back.

This was not a bad week until late Wednesday and then an incident brought the black dog bounding to my side and yesterday I was in a very dark place. Mental health gets a lot of publicity these days and it is good if people who would benefit from help, but would not have sought it otherwise, are persuaded to do so, I am very much in the self help camp though and deal with such things in my own way. I am not out of the cloud yet although I am on the road out. I know that I may yet be turned back, but I will get out eventually and move on (again).

It is not lockdown that is at the root of my problem, rather it is fear. The worst case scenario for me is that I could bring this little bug home and pass it on with fatal results for the Berkshire Belle. I do recognise that there are indirect aspects of lockdown that affect me such as the impact it is having on the BB who has not been out for 9 or 10 weeks now. She wants to go out and could, but will not. She feels safer staying in and that is her decision even if confinement is getting to her, and thence to me.

One of the things that keeps my glass half full is that we do not have it as bad as others do, or have had in the past. Our biggest problem is merely inconvenience and a twenty minute queue to get into a supermarket where I can buy almost anything that I want is nothing compared to having to queue for hours in the hope of getting a little of what I need. A gentle stroll will get me to my local supermarket in around 15 minutes and I have enough money to spend on the essentials when I get there. There are a lot of people around the world for whom such an easy life is beyond their grasp.

I have the love of a good woman and children that I can be proud of. Possibly most of all at the moment I have my garden. It may be small, but I can enjoy pottering in it and getting lost tinkering with my plants and watching the wildlife. I have said that I am a lucky man in terms of the work that I have done, the places that I have been and the people that I have met. All of that got me here where I am today. Yes the black dog still has its teeth sunk into me, but what have I really got to be depressed about?

the lockdown log 8


Another week has passed and our routine here stays the same. On five days out of seven I potter off to work and then come home to work in the garden, house or garage and often all three, albeit I have not developed the superpower of doing all three at once.

Today is main shop day and Sainsbury’s is my target. It is somewhere that we rarely go now and this will be my first foray there since before the lockdown so I have no idea what sort of queue I will face when I turn up in about 90 minutes from now. The Berkshire Belle has provided me with a list and I will do my best to get everything on it..

Most people seem to have got into the 1 Person – 1 Trolley way of shopping, but there are a few exceptions. The idea is that more households are allowed to shop; if the store has a limit of 80 customers at a time then 80 homes can shop at once if there is one person to a trolley (cart for my US readers), but if two people come in to shop together it spoils that. If ten people are shopping as pairs then it makes a big difference.

I accept that sometimes it is necessary; vulnerable people, those with kids etc, but when I see the wife pushing the trolley and doing the shop while hubby trails along behind the selfishness disappoints me. The Berkshire Belle flatly refuses to shop. I have offered to drive her and wait in the car, but she prefers not to go so I do all of the shopping for now.

At home the projects are being knocked off without resort to going the DIY stores that have now opened. I have most of what I need lying around and the internet fills in the odd gap. As always with plans the original tactical plan has gone out of the window and I just hop about between jobs doing anything that moves me towards the overall aim. The only spoilers have been the things that suddenly need fixing; the light in the oven stops working, that handle has come loose etc. ‘Twas ever thus.

I hope that you and yours are coping. Stay well, stay safe.

Working from home – ten tips


It was a while ago, but I wrote once about working from home. In the current world maybe it would be useful for some to revisit them, so here is the link: 

the lockdown log 2


Last time I talked about some pf my experiences of working in lockdown situations and this time I will describe another couple of incidents that came to mind. Hopefully they might amuse you. Read more…

the lockdown log 1


How does a consultant work in a lockdown? We Skype! (Other video conferencing apps are available). For me lockdown is not that foreign a way of working though for I have been through it in various forms a few times over the years. Read more…

a rant on panic buying


One of my current jobs is in the retail food sector where we are seeing, in the first two hours of trading every day, greater transaction numbers that we see in the same time on the heaviest day before Christmas. Read more…

on seeing it all again


It is a very strange world at the moment, but it has been a but strange for the last three years and those of my age have seen much of it before in one way or another. For example Covid-19 may be a new strain, but I grew up in the shadow of diseases like Polio in the fifties and then in the sixties we had, aside from the fact that we might get a 4 minute warning that we were being Nuked, things like the Hong Kong ‘flu epidemic of the latter part off that decade. Read more…