St Peter / Balsall Common

Faith and Isolation

10 Jun 2020 • General news

Isolation Diary -  Anne’s “Faith Cave” resumes -

Nb this page at the moment has the earliest post at the top, so, if you have already read the ones at the top, scroll down the page to where you stopped! We do not offer the opportunity to turn down a corner of the page. When we get to a full week, we shall start again, and move the ‘older’ ones into the archive

Anne’s Blog – update

Isolation Day 79

Loo rolls. There was a shortage at the beginning of lock down and people were panic buying – remember that? Not me though, as we had taken delivery of a big box of them from ‘Who Gives A Crap’ just as it all began. I like to buy from them because it’s a little bit more ethical, using re-cycled paper and with profits going to charity.

The way it works is that they send you an email just before they are due to deliver. You say yes, that’s fine – or no, not just yet, and delay the order if you still have oodles of the things in your cupboards. The thing is, the email went into my junk folder, didn’t it, this time? So I didn’t say no, not just yet…… and I now have about 60 loo rolls lurking about the house. Mum is pleased. I have finally provided her with her own supply. She’s like a pig in clover.

I was sort of disappointed when the doorbell rang and it was only loo rolls this morning. I had hoped for a garage door. Nothing doing today though. I suppose it’ll all happen tomorrow just when we are taking John, his blood count and cough to clinic. Hoping not, as they’ll just drop it on the driveway I expect, if we are – and then what’ll we do?

On what has been a bit of a dank, dark day with the promised rain hardly amounting to anything at all so far, we spent our time indoors fiddling about with a mix of standard stuff (for me) and slightly more exciting stuff (for John). My day was made up of the standard washing, tidying and prepping food until tea-time, at which point I abandoned life downstairs. I raided the freezer, liberating one of the Magnums that I’d got nestling in there, and headed to my bedroom. It’s bad news when you’ve got to hide yourself away in your own home to enjoy a little treat, but I am not sharing those Magnums with anybody!!! It was illicit and delicious, I can tell you.

Whilst savouring my ice cream, I snuggled in bed and read my book. I am not tired, of course not. Not me. So how come I found my eyelids drooping and myself nodding off then? John came to see what I was up to. I’m awake! I’m awake, honest!! He was very kind. He offered to cook some tea for Mum – egg, chips and beans – which she loves. OK, thank you – and I’ll be down in a bit, I said. An hour later, I was woken from my second nap and blissful sleep by the front doorbell ringing in my ears. Crikey!! How was it that I’d fallen asleep again? I am not tired, honestly……

Whilst I was snoozing, John whiled away his time by sorting out the rods for his headlining on the Lotus. Very exciting. They just needed a little rub down where there was a bit of rust, and then a lick of paint. Can’t wait to see what they look like tomorrow. Step by step, little by little that car is going to be finished. By summer, John says. The only trouble is, he hasn’t said the summer of which year…….

In the end, the evening meal turned out to be an eventful affair. John carefully prepared the chips, I warmed up the baked beans in the microwave and then it was time to fry the eggs. The oil in the pan was a bit hot. The yolk on the first egg broke, and the white frilled up very nicely in the pan. I was doubtful. I didn’t think Mum would like it. You see, if it were just you or me, we’d say never mind, and we’d eat it. But that’s not how it works these days……. John threw it in the bin. Try again. Better second time around, but not before it had made John a little irritable.

For dessert, I was thrilled to be able to offer Mum freshly picked strawberries, courtesy of Malcolm from his garden. I considered what I should serve them with. No cream, but we have coconut yoghurt, plain milk yoghurt or ice cream. With the memory of Mum turning her nose up at plain yoghurt fresh in my mind, I chose the ice cream which she had so enjoyed last week, whilst John and I had the yoghurts as our topping.

Mum looked into her bowl and politely said thank you. Then she peered into my bowl, before looking back at her own. “What have you got?” she asked. She looked suspicious, her eyes flicking backwards and forwards over the contents of the two bowls. “Have you got cream?” she wanted to know. “I’ve got strawberries and yoghurt, Mum” I replied. “I’ve given you ice cream because I know you like that.” She poked at her ice cream and a strawberry, looking longingly over at my dessert. “Would you like to try a bit of the yoghurt, Mum?” Yes. She licked the spoon – mmmm, lovely. Oh, really……. She poked a bit more at her food. “What’s wrong, Mum?” Well, it was the strawberries you see. She didn’t like the strawberries……. so I served her just the ice cream, which I know she likes. More poking and sitting back in her chair. She was waiting for the ice cream to melt.

Fortunately, after our evening meal, we had a quiz evening with our Centre Stage friends. Heaven knows what might have erupted if we’d stayed downstairs too much longer……perhaps I am tired after all.

We enjoyed our quiz evening as always. Everyone is such lovely company and we always have a laugh and a good chat. However, I am saying my prayers for Brendan and all the family tonight, as his Mum is very poorly in hospital, having been rushed in on Monday. No visitors makes it especially hard to deal with and we have every sympathy with that scenario.

The NHS reports that there were 20 deaths due to COVID-19 up to 5 p.m. yesterday, 2 June 2020, with 66 having been confirmed for the day before. The government figures differ, of course, with 359 people having died in all settings and 1,871 people having been confirmed as infected. Still no data on how many people have been tested, but I have every confidence that when the target figure of 200,000 tests has been achieved, that data will be available to us.

Take care everyone – let’s not get slack on taking all precautions yet. I am not keen for a second wave of infection, are you?

Isolation Day 80

Four years ago today, we were all togged up in our finery, excitedly celebrating Michael and Danielle’s wedding in Jersey. What a time we had! Such a great day. The sun came out just when we needed it; all those who’d been invited glowed with gladness, and the bride and groom absolutely shone with happiness. Happy, happy memories. Too many to tell, but the youngsters, in particular, had one helluva time!! As you can see……

Now that’s what I call a celebration!

In other news, time was when you’d leave the house on automatic pilot. Keys. Money. Phone. And off you’d go. Now, of course, it’s keys, money, phone, blood testing forms and mask. I am still unsure of the science of using a mask. I mean, when do you take it off? And how long are you allowed to wear it? And does it fit properly? Who is it protecting? Me or them?

Whatever thoughts we had on wearing a mask, however, we chose to do so on our visit to Heartlands today for John’s check-up. But confusingly, not all of the medics were wearing masks, so we are none the wiser of when, why or how. However, now that the government has confirmed everyone must wear a mask when using public transport, perhaps the science will be clearer to us soon….. just like the data, of course.

As it turned out, our trip to the hospital was quite successful. We found a disabled car parking slot just as we drove in, the security guard waved us into the building and then we booked into the clinic quite painlessly. I sat out in the corridor waiting to be summoned at the relevant point while John had all the blood tests known to man. Paneesha showed us the results of the tests – all quite good with the low neutrophil count of a couple of weeks ago being due to the infection overwhelming John’s system.

Good job we got him into hospital, but next time, (with a pointed look) best to bring him to Heartlands. Oh, actually, it’ll be the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in the Edgbaston area of Birmingham next time. Why? The transplant/haematology/oncology department is moving….. Well, that’ll be convenient.

Anyway, while we’re looking into what brought you into hospital, John, we probably need to do some more respiratory tests – and perhaps do some more ECP? (Blood-washing to you and me.) I’ll refer you to my colleagues to check you out. Lovely. More tests. Just what we’re after. Lung function test next Tuesday for starters? Smashing – can’t wait.

When we got back home, John took himself off to bed for an hour or two. It’s exhausting, just the thought of it all, let alone the doing of it. I, too, felt tired – and what have I got to feel tired about? It’s not me it’s happening to but I can’t help but empathise, and fatigue is catching up with us both. Tomorrow will be a better day I am sure.

Other excitements of the day were taking delivery of a new parasol (but where has the sun gone?); some photos of the family (aww……love ’em); and groceries (yay!!). We managed to get a delivery slot yesterday so we were able to buy all those specialist things that we were running out of. Additionally, I chose a few ‘extras’ as treats – a couple of bars of (85% chocolate) chocolate for John and some asparagus. Lucky us.

What didn’t arrive of course, was a garage door. I think we have been too optimistic, perhaps, in believing the company when they said they’d deliver this week. John has emailed them……

And then, this evening it was a ‘Zoom’ chat with the college crew. Oh, so good. It’s like drinking from a well of fresh water when you chat to your mates isn’t it? They are all so lovely, and I feel so blessed that they are my friends.

I know I have so many things to be thankful for and blessings to count but, in the current climate with all the protests and strong feelings being shared, I feel I ought to be ‘doing my bit’. However, at the moment, I am not sure what ‘my bit’ looks like; and so I am simply continuing to hunker down as we try to maintain that protective layer around us against COVID-19. Hoping, that one day, we’ll be able to leave the house on automatic pilot again.

Deaths from the virus are slowing and the volume of people infected is lessening. The government reported 176 deaths in all settings, with 1,805 people infected as of yesterday (3 June 2020) at 5 p.m. while the NHS reports 24 deaths in hospitals, with 69 having been confirmed the day before. It’s better, so there’s hope.

In the meantime, I know I am not able to change anything on a national or global level, so I give you another happy, happy picture from our time in Jersey four years ago.

Make the most of what you’ve got, everyone, it’s so precious – and, of course, take care.

Me and mine……..

Isolation Day 81

It’s been a funny old day. I don’t know how many times I have said that during lock down, but here it is again. Possibly the weather has had something to do with it – it’s been a very blustery day with squalling showers and I watched it closely all morning. I was watching to see if it looked like it might brighten up. But it didn’t. In the end, I texted the Sutton Sleaths, wondering if they might not make the longed-for trip over to see us this afternoon, as it was inclement and not conducive to sitting in the garden. Sadly, that was the case. We put on our brave faces.

At tea-time, however, Michael called via a video chat, intending just a few minutes’ catch-up, but which turned into a wonderful, three-quarters of an hour play time with William. We were at sea, in a boat with an anchor, a rudder, fishing rods and a steering wheel. We stopped off at various islands to seek out treasure, pacing out where ‘X’ marked the spot, and then carried the loot back to the boat. We caught fish and fought off the crocodiles and huge octopuses and kept ourselves safe. We fell overboard and had to be hauled back in, giggling and relieved that we’d not been eaten by the sea. What a journey; what a ride. No matter that they didn’t visit. William’s imagination and our thrill at being able to join in with him and Michael and Danielle made the physical visit obsolete today.

This morning was also ‘virtual’ activity. I had been puzzled by the fact that friends had been unable to comment on Wednesday’s blog. I fiddled about with it yesterday but was none the wiser. So our dear friend George logged on remotely to my computer this morning to see what he could fathom. It transpired that I had created a ‘page’ rather than a ‘post’. A ‘page’ of course, isn’t interactive, unlike a ‘post’. Ahhh…. I see! Sorted.

Making beds, putting the washing on, sorting the ironing out and prepping food all followed the virtual activity. I’d have loved for those tasks to have been virtual too and completed at the click of a button, but alas, it’s not to be. Mum wondered at tea-time why John and I were rubbing our eyes and holding our heads in our hands. I explained that we are tired, weary, exhausted. “Oh, why’s that?” she asked. “Well,” I explained, with a patience I wasn’t feeling, “we have been travelling a long road, and we’re very tired.” Mum was puzzled. “What road?” Ah…… I told her that we are weary of John’s illness(es); we’re tired of the lock down; we’re missing the family; and I’m particularly tired of keeping house. And, I added, I’m not going to bed very early.

“Oh… yes,” said Mum, triumphantly, “I’d noticed that. Why don’t you go to bed earlier, then?” I couldn’t decide whether to laugh or cry. Gently, I reminded her that I waited until she went up to bed, helped her get ready and then switched her light off and tucked her in. And that by the time I’d done all that, it was midnight. “Well, you don’t have to wait up for me.” she replied, a little bit indignantly. Oh, dear.

I did manage to fend off World War Three as John joined in the discussion at that point, though. His deep voice and the odd ‘harrumph’ told her all she needed to know, and she was off into martyrdom. John wasn’t best pleased. After all, in the last few weeks he’s had to really swallow all those feelings he’s had over the years, to accommodate her in his home, and she has absolutely no idea what a sacrifice that is. She came to acknowledge though, that a midnight bedtime was too late, and she determined to go up to bed, by herself, at 10.30 to help me. A bit of a win today, but no doubt by tomorrow, she will have forgotten, and we’ll be back to square one.

John spent some time tinkering in the garage today, having excitedly opened all of the parcels relating to the ‘project’ and planned his next move. The painting of the rods for the headlining in the car had been successful the other day, and they are ready to be fitted. I didn’t understand it, but he fixed some piano wire into something or other this afternoon, in readiness for installing the headlining, and it went well. I love it when a plan comes together……. anyone remember who it was, who said that??

As I say, it’s been a funny old day – not least because Trump said, referring to George Floyd, who was killed while being arrested the other day, “……hopefully George is looking down right now and saying this is a great thing that’s happening….” Gobsmacked. I think that the man is mad. I wonder where it will all end, both here and in America.

I realise that I know very little about racism, #BlackLivesMatter, or how black people live their lives. Yesterday I recognised that I wanted to do ‘my bit’ but didn’t know what it looked like. Today, I have decided it doesn’t look like anything, but I am going to educate myself and read some books. At least I’ll have a better idea then, if nothing else.

We will need to get ready for the second wave of the virus though, I think, in the aftermath of the protests and the hot weather that brought people out recently, compromising the social distancing that is still needed. Today the government announced that there were 1,650 people infected, as of yesterday (4 June 2020), and 357 deaths in all settings. The NHS reported just 19 deaths in hospitals, but the figures for the previous days have been confirmed as 74 (3 June), 92 (2 June) and 81 (1 June).

God bless us now though, that we might all have the courage to share wisdom and truth, so that idiocy and lies are chased away.

It was the A Team that said ‘I love it when a plan comes together’, I believe. Unless someone said it before them?

And it transpires that Black Lives Matter is a Marxist organisation designed, rather like Extinction Rebellion, to catch people who are keen on virtue signalling that they like to be seen to be doing the right thing, whilst being step 2 in the Marxist philosophy of creating maximum civil unrest ahead of a political overthrow; much like was nearly achieved with Brexit. Pity; I thought it was about racism.

Isolation Day 82

I was in the slough of despondency yesterday, feeling tired of our day-to-day trudge through the current situation and guilty about my ignorance of world affairs. Today, however, offered hope and a lift to the trudging as well as some learning.

We had had few expectations of the day. The only thing that was planned, and we were looking forward to, was a Skype session with dear Peter and Dawn this evening. Otherwise, the day yawned ahead of us with ‘more of the same’. But, in the end, it turned out to be rather good.

Firstly, I had a short, but interesting, ‘path chat’ with Malcolm this morning, as he called to drop off a bit of shopping. Mindful of my intention to find out more about racism, particularly in this country, he highlighted some information about #BlackLivesMatter, which generated a bit of discussion both at my front door and here on the blog page.

Then, a little later on, just as I am up to my armpits in washing-up suds, the doorbell rang, and who should be standing at the door but the Sutton Sleaths, beaming their heads off. Surprise! Surprise! They had ventured out to a small, local bakery this morning and, not wanting to go straight home, had decided to take a run out in the car over to us. I do like surprises!! The weather wasn’t a great deal better than yesterday, but at least it was warmer. Oh, my! It was so wonderful to see them.

Not only did they bring themselves in person, but they brought a couple of photo albums that they’d had printed – one of their holiday in Wales before lock down, and one of the whole of lock down so far. A cracking idea, which means we can look at the photos whenever we’re missing them. They also brought us goodies from the bakery, as near to John’s paleo diet as they could get. For once, we didn’t really care how ‘paleo’ the goodies were. We were definitely going to eat them.

On the journey over, William had been learning how to throw us a hug and a kiss. And boy, did we get a lot of them when he arrived. So lovely. Then we had a good old socially distanced chat before we waved a sorrowful goodbye when it was time for them to go home. But our hearts have been refilled for a while and the visit, boosting our spirits no end, left us feeling better able to face the day ahead.

Mum, meanwhile, had snoozed through it all. I had woken her as usual, and she thought she might get up then. But slept on. I woke her again at mid-day and left her to get out of bed. But she dropped back to sleep again. Finally, just after what would be lunchtime, I went to see what she was up to, only to find she had fallen asleep again. This time, however, I didn’t leave anything to chance but hovered as she finally eased herself out of bed.

It was just as well, really, because not long afterwards, my phone rang on a WhatsApp video call. It was Paul and Freddie. Freddie was in a high state of excitement. He was so excited that he just about managed to stammer out that they were going to have a picnic at our house. For a moment, I thought we were going to do a ‘virtual’ picnic like we had once before. But no, this was for real.

Sure enough, a little while later, the Kenilworth Sleaths arrived – just as the heavens opened with a hailstorm. Ah. Best wait in the car then, until it passes. Once it stopped, we hurried about, wiping down the chairs in the garden and gathering wood to light the cheminea for a bit of warmth, before settling down to another wonderful family socially distanced chat.

Freddie had his picnic, and ran about the garden, thrilled be here again. He ate cherries like there was no tomorrow and grinned his cheeky little grin, his face covered in cherry juice, before setting off to play on the swing. Paul and Harriet had thoughtfully brought a bottle of Prosecco. Should I have any? Well, it would have been rude not to, wouldn’t it?

We gathered round the cheminea, keeping our distance, and keeping warm. The sun shone intermittently, and the wind blew, but we were glowing with happiness. Such another wonderful surprise today to see them face-to-face, as well as the Sutton Sleaths. Our cup runneth over…….

Of course, drinking Prosecco in the afternoon is always risky, isn’t it? I mean, I managed to cook the tea OK – but it was late. No sooner had we eaten than it was time to chat to Peter and Dawn. We had a lovely evening together, but there were moments when I felt my eyelids dropping…..and I had stopped drinking the Prosecco a couple of hours earlier, too!

On a promise to myself to learn something about what has brought our societies, here and in America, to protesting about the treatment of black people, I ordered a book from Amazon, which arrived this evening. Just one book – well, you’ve got to start somewhere, haven’t you? This time, it’s ‘My name is Why’ by Lemn Sissay. I don’t know what the next one will be, but there is a very long list emerging….. Thanks, too, to Mark, who knows about this stuff and has ideas for my education on the subject, and to Malcolm and George who threw information into the pot today. There’s lots to learn about.

Yesterday (5 June 2020) the NHS reported 17 deaths from COVID-19, with the previous day’s total having risen from 19 up to 53 confirmed. The government reported 204 deaths and 1,557 people having been infected.

The figures feel meaningless now, because each one is still a tragedy and yet we are no longer shocked that people are infected and die. All we can do though now is to be vigilant in keeping our distance and keeping our hands washed. God bless.

Isolation Day 83

Although we had an exciting day yesterday which lifted our spirits, we still feel very tired. It’s not as though we are doing any heavy jobs at the moment, it’s just the ‘same old, same old’, that’s getting to us. And it’s a struggle to stay cheerful and positive all the time – that takes an inordinate amount of energy. We don’t seem to get interested in anything much, even though we know that there is still plenty to be cheerful about, if we only looked. But I am hoping that, if the weather is better again next week, the sunshine will help.

I was embarrassed this morning, therefore, when we chatted to Graham and Gail on Skype, that I yawned my way through the whole two-hour conversation. It was lovely to see them, the conversation didn’t flag at all as we had plenty to talk about, and even Mum joined in, but yawn I did – no matter how much I tried to stifle the darned things.

Being Sunday, I had intended to ‘go to church’ and then stay afterwards to ‘Zoom’ in for coffee with everyone, having enjoyed it so much last week. But I didn’t get ready early enough to visit the on-line service before we were due to meet up with G & G at ten o’clock. And we were so busy chatting that eleven o’clock came and went. Then I made a conscious decision to stay talking to them, since we don’t see them very often. So church and coffee went by the wayside today.

After our chit-chat, we decided that today would be a day of rest. “Let’s catch up on a bit of TV viewing,” I said, as I scrolled through the numerous programmes we’ve recorded. Rona had suggested we might enjoy ‘The A Word’ so we settled down to watch that. In fact, we are very much enjoying it so far, but it’s quite a hard programme to watch, witnessing the family coming to terms with the diagnosis that their son has autism.

Other than chatting and watching TV, we have just drunk cups of tea and eaten good food all day. Mum thoroughly enjoyed her roast chicken dinner this evening, and she always surprises us, polishing off a whole, piled-high plateful, and then tucking into pudding.

John has also relaxed today – or, at least, he hasn’t really done many jobs. He did tinker with the headlining on the Lotus, but found he was thwarted again as he needs some bulldog clips to hold the thing in place as he stretches it along the rods. He had hope to use something else, perhaps something he’d got to hand here in the house or in his ‘man-shed’. But he soon came to realise the error of his ways as the little Lotus sniggered at him and said, “Nah, mate. Bulldog clips are what you need….” The bulldog clips are on order.

In terms of mood though, John is feeling a bit low. I don’t know if it’s because I am not so perky either, but he’s started shaking his head at the dinner table and wondering what it’s all about again. Oh dear. I mean, I know he does have cause to slide down into the abyss because he is still coughing well and feels less energetic that he’d like to. But he is strengthening his body really well at the moment doing some exercises and keeping interested in the car. I am hoping that these factors will keep his mood light, and that hope will hover on the horizon for him again as the sun shines next week.

I am always hopeful. So, once again, I hope that the unrest we are seeing everywhere will result in a more positive, kind and honest world once it is over. I hope that evil doesn’t come out the stronger. And, of course, I continue to hope that the virus will b****r off. Fat chance of that just yet though, I think.

At 5 o’clock yesterday, 1,326 people were confirmed as infected with COVID-19 and 77 people have died in all settings, according to the government figures. The NHS reported 16 deaths for the same period and confirmed 46 for the day before (5 June 2020).

I offer you the figures for reference and consistency, but we are not really sure how the counting is done or how accurate the numbers might be. The slowing rates of infection and deaths may not mean much though, if the recent unrest gives the virus a ‘whoopee’ moment and it gathers pace again. We are still in jail here….. but one day, one day……. as I say, I live in hope.

Charlie Mackesy says it all in one drawing……. and my heart aches.

Isolation Day 84

I am starting with the numbers of COVID-19 deaths and infections today, because everything seems upside-down, don’t you know? The NHS reports just 10 deaths for yesterday in hospitals and confirmed 43 for the day before, while the government ‘s numbers for today are 55 deaths (presumably in all settings) and 1,205 people infected. Can we do a little dance yet? What do you think? Not quite yet? Can’t quite copy New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Arden then, just before she was about to announce zero cases of the virus in the country.

We are still in limbo, not knowing what to think or what to do. John has more and more face-to-face hospital appointments, so we presume that the medics think it’s OK to risk it. But we don’t know. And it’s the agony of decision-making that floors you when there’s something nasty lurking in the undergrowth that you can’t actually see, hear or smell. Frozen – the fear of stepping forward and the fear of stepping backwards whilst listening to someone screaming in your ear, but you don’t know which way they are telling you to go.

However, for the time being, we are safe. And I have to smile to myself because each time I think of staying safe, I think of Paul, whose riposte to our: “Take care. Drive safely!” whenever he left the house, was, “Take care! Stay safe in your house!” and a cheeky grinned always followed.

Our day has been ‘same, same’ with a lie-in this morning, then a few exercises, a bite to eat, a bit of TV (in my case for about three hours, watching daytime TV…..), a bit of Lotus tinkering, another bite to eat and so on.

I did change the sheets on Mum’s bed, and I also fiddled about with a ‘picture poem’ for my friend’s (Linda) daughter, Laura. When the pubs are up and running again, she is going to be holding a dog-themed craft fayre at her pub, The Dog Inn, in Whittington. Linda asked us if we could create something. I am not keen on any crafting, so I demurred. Only for Linda to come back to me and say maybe I could write a poem in the shape of a dog? Well, I’ve tried, folks, I’ve tried……… not sure it’ll sell, though.

Before lock down, we had started having big family holidays together, either at Easter or Whitsun half-term. While we were all down in Dewlish a couple of years ago, we went to the seaside at Weymouth and had a good pootle along the front where we found a fabulous shop that sold leather goods, and Paul bought us a beautiful, leather-bound folder as a family album. I have had every intention of putting family stories and photos in it ever since, and have managed one or two items, but really have never quite got going on it. Mostly because I couldn’t think where to start.

However, today I thought I would put all of the blog in it, from the beginning when I started recounting John’s stem cell transplant, through his leukaemia-free journey to now, as I recount our lock down story. I have no idea how it will read but it will, at least, be a memory for the grandchildren in times to come. And it will be a Sleath family record of sorts.

With the backdrop to today’s activities still being #BlackLivesMatter and all sorts of righteous outrage one way or another over the statue of Edward Colston, a slave trader from Bristol, being tipped into the dock yesterday, I have found myself torn between admiring the folks who planned the toppling of the statue and wondering where ‘taking the law into your own hands’ will end. Emotions are running high on both sides of the fence, but it feels like there’s revolution brewing.

Mindful of my ignorance in the area of racism, lots of people have been recommending books to read, and I have started the book ‘My Name is Why’ by Lemn Sissay. I haven’t got very far into it yet, because already it’s a heart-breaking and very challenging read. Courage, mon brave!

So that’s it, folks. That was our day – other than a spat with John after tea about what to do with Mother, it’s been a quiet one. Take care everyone, watch out for things lurking in the undergrowth, and God bless.

Isolation Day 85

John decided to take himself to the hospital this morning for his lung function test. Mum wasn’t quite downstairs when he needed to leave so he told me stay home and look after her. Not that she needs much looking after. She came down all dressed today, with her lipstick on, and seemed quite upbeat for a change. After she’d had breakfast, I put some music on from the 1940s, and she spent a happy hour singing to all the familiar songs.

Meanwhile, I closeted myself in the computer room. Having had the idea to house the blog in the family album, I was intent on printing it off and getting to work. I had ordered some decent weight printing paper, and thought I’d put it all into plastic poly pockets to try and protect the sheets for the future. I was very successful up until Day 46, when I ran out of plastic wallets. At that point, I also found that there wasn’t much more room in the album either. So, on second thoughts, I am going to take the sheets out of their protective layers and put them in the album naked.

Back from the hospital, John reported that his lung function is not as good as it was a couple of years ago, and that’s as much as we know so far. We’ll await the CT scan to find out more detail shortly, I expect.

I carried on with printing and filing my blog into the album pretty much all afternoon. I was surprised at how much I have written, and how long administration of this kind takes. You think it’s going take an hour or so and then you can get on with something else, but no. Then, at the end of all of the printing, I realised that one of the ring binders wasn’t closing properly and a repair job was in order. It’s mended now, but there’s hole-punching and re-filing still to do. Well….. it’s slightly better than watching wood warp, anyway……..or is it??

Great excitement and anticipation has been in the air though, as John took a phone call yesterday telling him that his garage door is arriving tomorrow afternoon. Whoopee-doop! Armed with this information, John took himself off down to the bottom of the garden after lunch, to cut up the old garage door. I hadn’t noticed him moving it, but I did hear the angle grinder going. The sound of it caught my attention so I glanced up out of the window as I sat at the computer. Great puffs of smoke and dust and a very satisfying ‘clang’ as one half of the door dropped down once he’d cut through it. John stood back, looking pleased with himself, if a little knackered by the effort. Then my eagle eyes noticed that the ol’ man wasn’t wearing a dust mask. Oh, for goodness’ sake…… I took him a mask.

After we’d cleared away our evening meal, I thought we could watch a bit more of The A Word, which I am finding fascinating. I am not only interested in the family dynamics, of course, which makes the drama; but also hooked into how they are going to deal with this little boy, both socially and educationally. I’m not sure if the series will touch on that, but the suggestion that it might has tickled my interest.

In between times of course, there’s been the standard housework-y jobs including washing, with the resulting ironing pile glowering at me, which I am studiously ignoring. I had thought I might bring forward Mum’s weekly ablutions today, to try out a snazzy seat for sitting in the bath, which we took possession of last week. But I was so engrossed in my admin duties that this task will have to wait. Maybe tomorrow. (That’s such a good phrase…. )

Being in lock down – in shielded lock down – is beginning to pall now that the weather has chosen to be overcast again. Whilst we had good weather, there was almost a holiday feel about it, but the last few days have brought low moods to the household. Certainly my reading and TV material aren’t offering much light relief at the moment!! Hmmm…….. perhaps I should be trying something else? Never mind, I am hoping that the garage door delivery will brighten us all up. It’ll certainly give us something to think about as we try and work how to fit the darned thing!

COVID-19 today: 1,387 people infected. 286 deaths. (Govt figures); 20 deaths, with 46 confirmed for yesterday (NHS figures). It’s still not zero.

Time for a cup of tea, I think. God bless, and look after yourselves – get the kettle on! We always feel better after a cuppa, don’t we??

The new sequence begins again in June, and you can find the backrun via the link at the bottom of this page. We add an episode daily, but move the block each Friday.

If people would prefer it, we could post with the most recent at the top? Drop us an email with your vote!

View the backrun - click here