Tag Archives: lockdown

How the List Went

I’ve already covered the list and the progress, so now it’s time for the final wrap.

Done

Sort out two submissions (well – 90%, but they will be done tonight)

Pick Julia up

Cup of tea, TV, nap. The nap went particularly well, as did the TV

Cook stir fry (excellent meal, though cooked by Julia as I was exploring all the possibilities of napping)

Write post (500 words) about how hard I’ve been working today – doing it now

Write more (the last post counts towards this)

Write haiku/senryu – was 15 minutes early for Julia so did a few then (note I didn’t say they had to be good)

I also rang the garage to discuss the flashing lights on the car dashboard (it is going in tomorrow so they can empty my bank account)

Not Done Yet

Start two poems I have notes for – fell victim to procrastination

Research for article – Bomb Disposal

Research for article – RNLI

I’ve done more than I was expecting. I’ve been putting off the two poems for a few weeks – doing a note here and there, but I’d like them to be good, and they aren’t living up to expectations so far. THe research was listed to make sure I do something about it, rather than in hope that I would get any done today.

Do lists do any good? I think they do. They keep me working and they preserve focus. Without  a list I would have done less today. I would have browsed the internet more, wasted more time, and have done less of the things that needed doing. Which reminds me, I need to get in touch with the doctor. I forgot to put it on the list.

I just went away to contact the doctor.They want me to use the online ordering system for medication, but they keep changing the system. last month I was able to request Methotrexate. This month I’m not able to order it so I’ve had to put in  a written request. Apparently it can only be ordered by a clinician. I’m not actually sure what a clinician is, apart from someone who works at a clinic. I’m also not clear why someone who hasn’t spoken to me about the medication needs to get involved in the supply. You would think that in the middle of a pandemic they would have better things to do than mess about with the way I reorder prescriptions.

This, of course, reminds me that I need a blood test for the Methotrexate to see if it is dissolving my liver. As I have not yet turned yellow I’m probably OK. I hope so because it’s a very effective drug for the arthritis. I’d better do that tomorrow as I want to try and coordinate it with the Warfarin blood test in two weeks time. Despite what they keep telling us, I see no point in going where there are a load of sick people if I don’t need to. One day and two tests is better than going down on two days. With any luck I will be able to get it done at the hospital too, as the nurses at the surgery don’t get the practice, and are not as effective as the hospital phlebotomists.

If you are going to be stabbed in the arm it’s better to get it done by a professional.

That’s enough writing now. I will probably discuss our new lockdown when I write again. Yes, we enjoyed the first two so much that we are having another one.

 

31st December 2020

Who would have thought that we would spend most of the year indoors and afraid of people breathing on us? I’m in the middle of reading Writedown: Lockdown in the Galloway Glens in the Time of Covid.

I was happy to buy the Kindle edition at £1.99 bit if I’d paid £6.50 for a paperback edition I’d have been less pleased. I’d just abandoned an idea to write a haibun diary of the lockdown because I couldn’t introduce enough variety into it and thought it was dull, so was interested to see how other people had coped with the problem. They didn’t. They wrote a book that is full of interesting thoughts and insights but the little sparks of interest don’t grow into anything better.

I’d give it three out of five if I had to mark it. The writing is all good, and the lives they describe draw the reader in, but there just isn’t enough variety of thought or style, which is down to the editing. However, to be fair to the editor, they can only work with what they are sent. Having said that, maybe they should have asked for something different.

This afternoon’s film was Sharknado: It’s About Time, which was a complete shambles of a film featuring the normal tornadoes of sharks plus Time Travel. It was so bad it was great, but it’s a relief to know that it’s the last one, as I don’t think they could top this. I also don’t think I could cope with another. It’s hard to believe that they made six in the series. Don’t bother reading the synopsis on the link, I’ve just put it there to prove that someone really did make 6 films about sharks and tornadoes.

That’s about it for 2020. The Open University has finally deigned to answer my query about my password malfunction and ASDA sent me an email to check how happy I was with my last delivery. It’s taken the OU two weeks to answer a query about the password, even though they were the ones who insisted on the change in the first place. ASDA have, once again, failed to provide me with the bags I paid for, turning the home delivery into a nightmare for a man with arthritis (although it’s better, I’d still prefer not to have to handle crates of shopping when I’ve paid for plastic bags). I’m seriously thinking of going back to shopping in person as soon as I can get a vaccination.

While I’m here, has anyone being seeing an increase in comments and follows from people who seem to be interested in pushing their own (commercial) sites? I do. I’m not sure whether it’s a growing trend or if WP has altered the spam settings. I’ve decided, despite a vague nagging feeling about manners, to label them as spam and dispose of them.

And that, I think, rounds off 2020 for me. I hope you all have a better year next year and can all get out and about once more.

 

Ho, ho, ho… It’s an old picture – I’m wrinklier, grumpier and less well-groomed these days, but I thought it was Festive in tone.

Christmas Stamps

Hands, Face, Space, and Travel on 26th December

We left for Sheffield just after lunch and returned under cover of darkness. It wasn’t planned that way but there seemed little point in rushing about. There had been reports of South Yorkshire Police stopping people to see what they were doing but we only saw one police car on the whole journey. I think that in reality they have plenty of work on without stopping motorists to see if we are breaching advice on travel.

It was interesting that as we left there were a lot of unfamiliar cars parked down our street, which clearly indicated that some people were entertaining visitors. But there should be no visitors on 26th. You can however, it seems, stay in rented accommodation overnight on 24th and 25th as part of your journey plan. This means that travelling home on 26th is within the guidelines, so today’s journey was almost within the guidelines.

As we passed Sheffield the car parks at Meadowhall were crowded, with thousands of people travelling to shop and, I suspect, get closer than six feet. I know of at least one person who is planning to travel there to shop in the next week, so I’d like to know how officialdom would be able to justify telling me my journey was unacceptable but a trip to a toyshop is OK.

I offer this information not as an excuse for my breaking of the rules, but as an example of the actual situation when someone researches the Covid Pandemic in twenty years.

It’s not the first time I’ve broken the law. I have, in the past, driven too fast, accepted payment in cash (which I may have forgotten to note down properly) and sung drunken rugby songs in public. I am, like many other people, neither a shining light of moral rectitude or an habitual criminal. By the time this blog post is used as an historical document all these things may well have gone the same way as the dodo. I saw someone caught in a speed trap today (they are getting very efficient), cash is out of favour during the pandemic and rugby is under pressure from people worrying about concussion. Like coin clipping, recusancy and frame breaking these are all crimes that may be impossible 20 years from now.

That concludes my tales of Christmas Lockdown

 

Three Weeks In and I’ve Had Enough

I’m beginning to wilt under the pressure and nearly went shopping today on the way back from dropping Julia at work. We don’t need any groceries but the days are not as much fun in this second lockdown as Julia is at work and I’m beginning to find myself feeling a little lonely after three weeks of isolation without company.  Lockdown One – lie-ins, sunshine and company. Lockdown Two – up at 6.45, cold and lonely. I can’t imagine what it must have been like for people living on their own all through the first lockdown. I thought of the lack of freedom as the main problem, not loneliness. I have plenty to do so I don’t usually feel lonely. But I don’t usually have this much time to myself.

One thing I’ve noticed about the new computer is that it’s virtually silent and the case doesn’t even get warm despite being on for hours. This is very different from the old one.

Highpoint of the day has ben talking (a) to a scammer and (b) to Amazon customer services.

The first was an obvious scam because Amazon don’t have my home phone number so I asked if though t I was stupid enough to hand over my bank details to a random caller. He was very good at pretending to have hurt feelings. However, the third time I explained I thought he should have some sort of ID he put the phone down mid-sentence. I’m not sure even an Amazon employee would be that rude.

Of course, I had to go to my account to check it just in case and managed to lock myself out. They now send One Time Passwords over the phone as links rather than codes. I’m not online with my phone so I can’t use them and had to ring up.  To be fair, once we established that I had no intention of linking my phone to the internet, it all went quite smoothly as two polite, cheerful and intelligent members of staff sorted it all out for me. It’s not often you’ll here me say that after dealing with a customer helpline, so remember this moment. It’s ten out of ten for Amazon.

I don’t know why everyone needs you to be linked to the internet. Back in the 70s you didn’t have to walk round with a pocketful of carrier pigeons so why do we need a phone for everything?

And yes, it’s another cat. A good, old-fashioned cat that doesn’t need you to be linked to the internet so that it can treat you with indifference. On the other hand, if you die alone, a mobile phone won’t start to eat you.

It’s not actually a stamp, they just added a few pictures to the sheet of stamps – first time we had some I didn’t realise and counted it as a First Class Stamp.

 

The First Morning of the Rest of My Life

I think we’ve finally made the breakthrough in decluttering. It’s cost us many arguments, the serious erosion of my book mountain and, in my case, a very stiff back, but yesterday I could finally see it was beginning to look clear rather than simply redistributed, and I felt free. Well, freeish. There’s still a lot to do, but we are getting there. Even moving the car insurance is part of the new life. At one time I would have paid the exhorbitant rise simply because I don’t like change.

For those of you who noticed it, I’ll go back to my spelling of exhorbitant in a later post.

Today I dropped Julia off at work and went shopping in Lidl. I normally go to Aldi (the other budget German supermarket) but I thought I’d give a recently opened branch of Lidl the once-over. I needed a loaf of sliced bread. Bear that in mind as I describe my shopping technique.

My first stop was the bakery, where I selected four croissants for tomorrow’s breakfast, because they looked inviting. I bought two pain au chocolat because Julia likes them, a sourdough boule, a , some cobs for a sandwiches over the next couple of days, and, finally, a brown sliced loaf. I( sound very middle-class, don’t I? Apart from the fact that Lidl isn’t the natural home of the middle-classes.

It wouldn’t have been so bad if I’d stopped there, but I added sea bass (I hate fish but Julia loves it, and I’m still trying to make up for the lack of birthday presents, which are still in the post somewhere). Plus ham trimmings (which are a good, cheap sandwich filling), chocolates (see previous comment regarding birthday presents), butter (necessary for the sea bass), paracetamol (just in case of shortage) and some quinoa in microwavable pouches. Yep, definitely middle class…

I doubt I’ll go back. It was a poor shopping experience, despite the bakery. Too many customers with no masks, bossy checkout operator with no mask and a bad attitude, poor stock levels and obstruction of the aisles by staff.

I’ve also decluttered, written, drunk a bottle of Lucozade and filled the shredder, though I have stopped it before jamming it this time.

All in all, it’s not a bad morning, though I’m now starting to wonder if my new found energy is down to the psychological boost of decluttering or the 45g of sugar that the Lucozade label tells me I’ve just consumed. That’s 11 teaspoons according to the internet. Oh dear…

Speckled Wood

 

 

 

Study Number 1 - The Idiot

In Trouble Again

As I dropped Julia off at work this morning she asked what my plans were for the rest of the day. I told her that I intended doing mainly housework and perhaps a little light writing. So I did some shopping, went to the pharmacy and did the washing up. Then went to the pharmacy again. I could tell you why but I imagine you can fill in  most of the details from previous posts.

It’s fair to say that, on account of the lack of decluttering, I’m not her favourite husband at the moment.

She does not seem to be impressed by my reorganised haibun storage, or that I have my submissions planned until next Spring. Some people are never satisfied.

Then I remembered her birthday is approaching. Fast. And I have not bought anything yet. That’s my next job as soon as I finish this. It’s going to be jewellery again. I don’t think boooks would be appreciated at the moment and she has enough painting supplies for some time to come.

I offered to buy her a nice new chimney stack (the builder says he is coming “soon”) but she didn’t fall for it.

I’m fairly sure that jeweller’s shops are classed as non-essential, even though they are vitally important to people like me at the moment. I’m told that stationery shops are now essential, as students need places to buy paper, and presents for a wife’s birthday are at least as important as that.  Well, they are to me.

Study Number 1 - The Idiot

Kharma

For years Julia has been asking me not to put tin lids into the washing up bowl, and I have been replying that the chances of cutting yourself are (a) very small and (b) even smaller than that unless you are a complete idiot.

We had our latest round of conversation on the topic only last week, as part of a larger conversation about dangerous things she conceals in the washing up water.

After that I suppose it was inevitable that I should stick my hand in the washing up bowl last night and catch myself on the lid of the bean can I had removed at lunchtime. The wound in my finger eventually stopped bleeding, but started again when I caught it on the edge of a box of pills  whilst trying to get my Warfarin out. Yes, Warfarin, the pills that allow me to bleed more freely.

There are several levels of irony here, and possibly a whiff of kharma.

By the time I got to work today we were be in lockdown. I had checked the ebay results and knew that I was going to work after dropping Julia off, as I already had six parcels to pack. The doors were locked and the lights were off and nobody tried the door, which was a relief as I wasn’t in the mood for telling people to bugger off . Well, I was, but not in a polite and professional manner.

One person rang to see if £20 notes with the AK47 prefix was worth anything to us. They aren’t. Collectors don’t want the and the novelty prefix market never really developed, despite the reports of the tabloids.

Someone rang with a”rare” Peter rabbit 50p. He wasn’t surprised to find that it wasn’t.

One person rang to see if £20 notes with the AK47 prefix was worth anything to us. judging from the accent it was the same person or a close relative checking to see if I’d changed my mind.

Then somebody rang to see if we were open. There had to be one…

I am not convinced that this lockdown is going to be as effective as the last one. People aren’t treating it as seriously, and small businesses can’t afford another month of being closed, particularly this close to Christmas.

We will just have to wait and see.

 

 

The New Furlough

Starting on Thursday I will be starting my new furlough – four weeks of working one day a week. We will take turns to go to the shop and lock the doors so the public cannot get in. That way we can keep the eBay site ticking over and obey the law at the same time.

Julia will still be working, despite the inability of the organisation to provide a safe environment. It turned out today, for I think the third time, that one of the clients turned up when they were supposed to be in quarantine. No point in worrying now – they had been there most of the day before they let it slip. What’s done is done.

I went shopping to buy a few things in Aldi so we don’t need to do an online shop this week (we are backed up with so many vegetables and tins of beans that we need a rest). I managed to buy everything we needed for £18, instead of the minimum spend of £40 online, and resisted the urge to buy a few extras for the store cupboard.

Shopping is just like it used to be before Covid, apart from most of the shoppers wearing masks. They are back to shopping in groups, blocking gangways and letting kids run wild, Quite a few, sadly, aren’t wearing masks and two of the three cashiers had their masks pulled down under their chin. However, that’s so common when I go shopping I may just as well cut and paste it.

Tomorrow I will make a list of things to do in lockdown, as I don’t want to waste any of this bonus time. Decluttering, as Julia has said, with a slight edge to her voice, beats writing to top place on the list. In her dreams…

 

Study Number 1 - The Idiot

New Lockdown Diary

It looks like I’ll be having a surprise holiday by the end of the week, as the Blonde Buffoon has just announced a month of lockdown. It gives a whole new lease of life to words like vacillating, wobble and dithering, which will surely be in great demand over the next few days.

I hadn’t actually expected this, as the government hasn’t shown much inclination to take action or spend money on keeping us safe. It probably won’t be as much fun as the first lot as it’s winter, but I do have an adequate supply of pasta and toilet paper this time. The slide from Level 2 to Level 3 to Level 3+ to lockdown has not taken long. It’s also, as far as I can see, been accompanied by no recognisable plan

Julia is unlikely to be closed down this time, but at least she won’t need to use public transport because I will be available for taxi duties. It’s a small gesture, but as mask-wearing is poorly enforced on both the trams and buses, it’s quite a useful thing to do. Whether it’s up there with buying jewellery and cooking steak as a romantic gesture is debatable, but in these peculiar times you do what you can.

This is one of those posts that seems to drag on forever as I struggle to find inspiration. A month cooped up on my own at home in November is not going to be as much fun as three months of summer with my beloved. However, it will give me time to declutter.

On with the dance! Let Joy be unconfined, as Byron put it. He was, of course, a Nottinghamshire man, and probably the second best poet from the county. Modesty prevents me mentioning who is the best…

Study Number 1 - The Idiot

Soup and Quizzes

We had the standard soup using the bag of ready chopped veg and followed it up with a ham sandwich made using rye and sprouted grains. It was healthy and filling, though I will be adding a few stewed apples later just to top up.

I’m now blogging and watching Mastermind. I’m a bit slow tonight. I’ve often thought of applying for a TV quiz but never get round to it. This is partly because I’m lazy, but mainly because I doubt that my armchair brilliance would be repeated once I got to the studio.

It has now changed to Only Connect, as I am doing all sorts of things, apart from writing (in case you were thinking I was being slow. I’m not a great fan of the show as I don’t generally do well. However, it’s good mental exercise.

And even as I write that it ends and University Challenge starts. It’s a real quizzing fest tonight and I’m only getting away with it because Julia is distracted. Normally she puts her foot down and won’t let me watch three quizzes in a row. It’s a good night if I answer more than two or three questions. I’ve already answered three out of four, which is one more than the students. Could be a good night – sometimes I can watch a whole episode without even understanding a question. I’m now on six from eight. Things are looking up…

They are on chemistry questions now. I don’t even know what they are talking about.

Anyway, you don’t want a running commentary on me watching TV.

I just answered a chemistry question and am now doing badly at poetry. Just goes to show you never can tell.

I’m not honestly sure I have much to add. I went into two supermarkets today as I needed some specific things before we go into lockdown.  In TESCO there were three staff without masks and the spotty teenager working as a greeter kept pulling down his mask to talk to people. At Sainsbury’s the greeter didn’t even have a mask. Two staff on the tills had no mask, a manager was working with her mask pulled down under her chin and the four teenagers at the Argos counter were clustered together chatting with no masks.

No wonder we are having trouble.