Diary of a self Isolator weeks 41 -45
Sunday 20/12/2020 – Day 281
Woke with a heavy heart this morning, it was seven years today we said our final farewells to our daughter Vickie, it was to say the least a very emotional time which was shared by almost 600 others. It took Mrs H and I all our strength to get through that day.
Well, Boris has in effect closed down the south of England pushing the whole of the south west and London into tier 4, I read a report today that said eleven per cent of Londoners intend to ignore the Government, perhaps if that 11% had been more cautious in the first place then they wouldn’t be in the situation that they find themselves in today, still, as long as they have a nice carefree Christmas eh! This also means of course that those in tiers 2 and 3 can now only visit their loved ones on Christmas day, the five days originally planned has been cancelled.
A Christmas Carol was published on this day in 1843. I personally think it is one of the greatest stories ever told, the 1951 Film version with Alistair Simm in the lead role was outstanding, there have been many versions before and since but they all pale into comparison, except the Muppets Christmas Carol starring Micheal Caine, it was very funny. My hero Charles Dickens devoted much of his later life to giving public readings, beginning with A Christmas Carol at Birmingham Town Hall in December 1853. He made the performance to raise funds for the proposed Birmingham and Midland Institute to carry out pioneering work in adult education, insisting there were tickets available at a low enough price for working people to afford.
On this day in 1955 Cardiff was officially named the capital of Wales, this was about the same time Johnny Ray became the Prince of Wails!
Also, on this day in 1979 The introduction of Britain's Housing Bill - forcing local councils to sell their houses to any tenants who wished to buy them. Sadly, I didn’t take advantage of this wonderful offer as I didn’t have a Council house.
And finally, on this day 2007 Elizabeth II became the oldest ever monarch of the United Kingdom, surpassing Queen Victoria, who lived for 81 years, 7 months and 29 days.
The virus is getting worse and worse, New case figures have got really high today, they were at 35928, which is twice as many as a week ago, Deaths were 326 more than double last weeks figures.
Monday 21/12/2020 – Day 282
Got up a little earlier this morning as today is officially the shortest day of the year, yes, all you gardeners out there, as from tomorrow the nights will start to draw out once again and the days will get longer. Mrs H can’t contain her excitement!
In 1844 At 8:00 p.m. On This Day, the Rochdale Pioneers commenced business at their co-operative, on Toad Lane, Rochdale, thus starting the Co-operative movement, often referred to simply as the Co-op. This of course prompted me to remember Santa’s grotto at the Co-op. I mean who didn’t go there as a child in the 50’s 60’s and seventies. To be quite honest it wasn’t really that enthralling, the child was sat in a wooden sleigh and what they could see was the backsides of two reindeer, the scenery of trees either side was moving as the sleigh gently rocked from side to side, then the bells would start ringing and Santa’s voice would command the reindeer to carry on. It wasn’t much and probably wouldn’t fool the kids of today, but, to a five -year- old in the fifties it was magical, when you got off you were guided toward Santa’s grotto where he would give you a present which was more than likely to be a Co-op selection box. I remember Woolworths introducing their own ‘Sleigh ride’ but not many seem to remember it as much as the Co-op’s.
Also on this day in 1988 A Pan American jumbo jet bound for New York was blown out of the sky by a terrorist bomb and crashed onto the Scottish town of Lockerbie, killing all 259 passengers and 11 people on the ground. It remains the deadliest aviation incident ever to take place in the United Kingdom. The Garden of Remembrance and the Lockerbie Air Disaster Memorial are at Dryfesdale Cemetery, Lockerbie. We visited it a couple of years ago and it is a beautiful and tranquil place for visitors.
Boris is making another update on TV at 4.30, Mrs H is speculating on what he has to say today, she has gone from the closure of every pub in the UK, to a full lockdown.
Well, just watched the broadcast and Boris was merely there to quell fears -fuelled by the media – about the shortage of food because of France closing the border for 48 hours, he says that all the supermarkets are already well stocked for the festive period, that won’t stop idiots panic buying of course.
Once again, the figures for the last 24 hours are very high at 33364, even the registered deaths are high at 215, these are weekend figures.
And dear reader, that is the end of the shortest day of the longest year of our lives!
Tuesday 22/12/2020 – Day 283
Woken quite early this morning by the consistent rain beating against the window, it’s been raining most of the night again, the Lake Geneva outside mine and my neighbours house has now become a permanent feature and leaves any poor passers bye a mere nine inches of pavement to pass through.
On this day in 1716 Lincoln's Inn Theatre in London put on England's first pantomime which included the characters Harlequin, Columbine and Pantaloon. Oh yes They did – Oh no they didn’t.
Also, 55 years ago today the government introduced an 'experimental' speed limit of 70mph on motorways in England. They must have forgotten about it because the limit is still in force today. There is probably some poor chap in a back office, a bit like Miss Haversham in Great Expectations, covered in cobwebs and awaiting the order to change the limit.
And finally, in 1962 Pop group the Tornados started a three- week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with their record Telstar. It was also the first major hit from a UK act in the American charts where it went to No1, they used to practise a couple of miles from here in Bewdley.
So, as promised last week here is the second part of my write up about Christmas. Christmas day in our house was nothing like other people’s houses, although we only had one present each (there were 11 of us) the rush to the tree the next morning was reminiscent of the Klondike Gold Rushes in America 1900, only the fittest survived, the poor tree was stripped of any remaining chocolate figures
Christmas lunch was a bit of a strange affair, try as I might, I can’t for the life of me remember us all sitting down to a table to eat it, perhaps we did, I remember my dad always went to the pub at lunchtime (as did every other father I knew), he would come back at around 2.30 after we had all eaten. He would eventually have his dinner on a tray in front of the TV. That was, if he hadn’t brought anyone back from the pub with him, this would happen quite often on Christmas day, I felt sorry for Mum, she would have to pander to their needs even though she had been up since 5am.
Christmas TV throughout the fifties was a bit of a dire affair in the first half of the decade, BBC had a monopoly on what was shown, presenters in evening suits and wearing dickie bows would introduce the programmes. The day would start with Carols from a famous place like St Pauls, this would last an hour and then television closed down until the afternoon. A film would be shown at 3.00pm and then a close down for 45minutes, children’s TV would come on for 90minutes then – yes you’ve guessed it – a 45minute shutdown. At 7.30pm there was a show called Christmas party with the BBC true to form showing snippets of programmes and stars who had appeared throughout the year, this was then followed by a farce (comedy play) usually involving the BBC favourite Brian Rix.
Closedown was at 11.15 with the national anthem and the screen closing to a white dot.
And that was basically it every year until 1955 when ATV began broadcasting.
Their Christmas offering in 1955 included Sunday Night at the London Palladium with the ever popular Beat the clock, this would be followed with a thirty -minute playhouse presentation and a comedy like I love Lucy or Sergeant Bilko with Phil Silvers.
By 1957 ITV were wiping the floor with the BBC in the ratings by showing shows like Take Your Pick, (Micheal Miles) The Army Game, The Larkins, (with Peggy Mount and David Kossoff) and Life with the Lyons (Life with the Lyons featured a real American family. Ben Lyon and his wife Bebe Daniels, they had settled in London during the Second World War). The BBC at the same time offered a mixture of Ballet, Opera, Sport, and a feature film.
By The end of the decade the BBC still hadn’t learned from their mistakes and were very rarely seen in the ratings. Things were beginning to change on commercial TV though, parents were beginning to get bombarded by their children for popular toys they had seen in advertisements – sound familiar? Not of course in our house – we knew better than to ask – and we knew how hard mum struggled to get us anything.
It would be 1957 before her Majesty the Queen gave her first televised speech, although both ITV and the BBC broadcast her speech previously but without pictures.
So, we were left to our own devices in the afternoon, Compendium sets were played with but try as we might we never got our parents to play, Jigsaws were set up on the table, While Mum and the eldest girls washed up, we made our own fun.
Then we’d all settle down to watch Billy Smarts circus on BBC usually followed by Billy Cotton’s Christmas show.
My Mum had hardly been sat down five minutes when she was up again preparing the tea, this would normally consist of cold turkey sandwiches and pickled onions, followed by tinned fruit with carnation condensed milk poured over it.
All too soon it was time for bed, the familiar pyjamas, the hot water bottle – it was like Christmas had come and gone in a jiffy, all those weeks of excitement over in just a few hours! No-one wanted the day to end – except Mum!
The next day was always a bit of a non - event, children would be out in the streets on their new trikes with those bread bins on the back, or they may have been lucky enough to have a new bicycle, father’s would be off down the local sporting their new jumper and a sort of quiet would descend on our house, young eager eyes would scour the Christmas tree (in vain) looking for a last chocolate that may have been missed, while others would be searching for the most important part of the compendium box – usually the dice – which had gone missing in the excitement of the previous day, or the final piece of that jigsaw which had been mischievously hidden somewhere.
The eldest girls would help to tidy up, the tree was already beginning to shed its needles! TV was a no-no as it was always horse racing or some skiing from a mountain no one had ever heard of, basically Boxing day was a bit of a let-down, it was another 364 days until we could do it all over again.
By December 27th the only thing left in that massive box of fruit was a packet of dates, no one was ever hungry enough to eat those things, they would be kicking around for weeks until finally ending up in the dust bin. There would also be a few nuts left, the ones that even dad couldn’t crack open! But apart from the inevitable pile of pine needles beneath the tree, Christmas was well and truly over for another year and there was nothing to show that it had ever happened!
The figures are for the third time this week are horrendously high, there were 36804, while the registered deaths stood at 691, there is talk of many more regions going into tier 4 over the next few days.
Wednesday 23/12/2020 – Day 284
I was lay awake in bed this morning thinking – if it’s naughty to have midnight snacks then why do they put lights in fridges – it was at this point I decided to rise.
Mrs H and I have finally decided that we will be spending Christmas on our own, after chatting with our family we have all decided that it’s not worth the risk for one day, but we did all agree that when this lot is finally over we will have the biggest family party ever seen – along with the other 60 million or so in the UK.
The other news of the day is that there is just one more sleep until husbands start to shop for their loved ones Christmas present.
Well, I was resting nicely in the back office, Mrs H was still swanning around in her Dressing gown, when suddenly there was a knock on the door, when I say a ‘knock on the door’ I have seen more subtle knocks on TV when police are entering a drug dealers property with a sledge hammer. I opened the door to a big burly fellow – which was lucky for him or he may have got the sharp end of my tongue – he stepped back and uttered those immortal words “Delivery, Harvey”, before I could even confirm, he was pulling a 3 meter long package off his van, “I’ll put it down the side” he muttered, “Name?”, I didn’t have the heart or the nerve to tell him he had mentioned it just two minutes ago.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, it was the first part of the canopy I had ordered, they didn’t bother with an e mail to tell me that it was being delivered, but the chap hadn’t been in his van one minute before my phone pinged to tell me it had been delivered! I sat back in the office and within a few minutes the doorbell went again, this time it was the roof sheets, from the same supplier but with a different courier, no wonder this country is in trouble.
George and Rose have been at it again, I really don’t know how they survive, he rang yesterday complaining about her once again, “What’s up now?” I asked warily.
“It’s her” he said, “I don’t understand it, when a baby drinks a full bottle and falls asleep it’s cute, but when I drink a full bottle and do the same I’m an alcoholic, and she’s got no sense of humour, when she asked me if I’d seen the dog bowl I said I didn’t even know he played cricket”.
The number of new cases in the last 24 hours is the highest of the week at 39237, the number of people dying has also risen sharply to 744, we are now almost at the same levels as back in April.
Thursday 24/12/2020 – Day 285
It’s finally here, after what seems like - well a year – Christmas eve has officially arrived on planet earth, I officially finished any work yesterday, I locked up the Repair shop for at least a week. As my regular readers are aware, I am not one for resting, I like to be active, my old mum used to say I’d got ‘ants in my pants’. The upshot is that I’ve started doing a bit more washing up than I usually do, I mention this not to get brownie points but to inform the readers of this festive garbage that Fairy Liquid has taken a nose dive since I last used it. The green stuff famous for ‘Now hands that do dishes can feel as soft as your face with mild green Fairy Liquid’. has lost its froth, the last time I used it (can’t quite recall the exact date, but TV was in black and white) you put a couple of drops in hot water and there was bubbles and lather everywhere, but today, well I put a fair old squirt in it and it was very insipid. My point is that when I was at home there was loads of washing up and the water was still frothy at the end, in fact you struggled to get the froth down the sink, today there is only the two of us and the water’s as flat as a pancake long before you’ve finished your chores, just saying.
While I’m on whinge mode I’d like to also mention the demise of the dense toilet roll, I mean, I know we’ve come a long way since the News of the World cut up into squares and hung on string, or that slippery shiny harsh Izal stuff they provided at school (so no one would pinch it I reckon) but since the shortage at the beginning of the year has anyone else noticed how extremely thin toilet roll has become? It just doesn’t work for me, it has become a second rate product hardly fit for purpose. Ok that’s me done on the moaning front, after all it is Christmas, bah humbug!
Mrs H and I have been trying very hard to get into the Christmas spirit but neither of us could get the top off! I have to say that after the announcement by the government last week, Mrs H and I apologise, but this Christmas there is no way that we are not seeing family and friends. You can do what you like, but We will be welcoming them. So, on Christmas Day, the following family will be at the table......
Auntie Stella & Uncle Jameson, with cousin Bailey, Malibu & Smirnoff, and the twins Gin & Tonic,
Scottish cousins Johnny Walker and Glen Moray, & from across the pond, bringing some old - fashioned southern comfort with them our old cousins, Jack Daniels and Jim Beam,
Our French mate Remy Martin & his friend Pernod, my Spanish mate Jose Cuevro & his cousin Martini, Bianco and her daughter tequila, also my Greek friends Ouzo & Sambuca,
Our friends Brandy, Fosters, Snowball and mickey slim, and finally our neighbours Captain Morgan, the Grants, the Bells, the Cointreau's, and the Henneseys, Time to party!
Once again the new case figures are drastically high and are 39036 for the past 24 hours, new recorded deaths were 574
Friday 25/12/2020 – Day 286
Woke up very excited this morning, I actually rushed downstairs to make Mrs H’s Latte, at 7.45 I woke her up and wished her Happy Christmas, then I fetched the 4 presents that she didn’t know about, I have to tell you at this stage that the dear Mrs H always tells me what she wants for the big day, this will be via the daughters or even the Granddaughter’s in the form of subtle hints, in short, if I buy her anything in the two months prior to Christmas it is always received with the words ‘I’ll have that for Christmas’. But this time I actually fooled her by transferring money to our granddaughters account and telling her to ‘shop till she drops’. So, at 7.45 we exchanged gifts and presents and Christmas day had officially begun.
At around 10.00am we had a video call from our daughter Gemma, our two grandsons were waiting to see what we had bought them, they didn’t want to open them until we were watching which I thought was very nice of them. By 11.00 am the turkey crown was in the oven.
As I said earlier, Mrs H and I were spending Christmas alone, as usual I went upstairs to have a quick look at facebook, just to make sure I hadn’t missed anyone wishing us a Merry Christmas you understand, anyway. I was scrolling down and came across this announcement;
URGENT NEW HOME WANTED !!!!!
This is Bella, she’s an 8 week-old German Sheppard puppy, I bought her as a surprise for my wife for Christmas but it turns out she is allergic to dogs so I am now urgently looking to find her a new home I don't want any money just free to a good home.
Her name is Angie she's 45 years old, a beautiful and caring woman who drives, she is a great cook, good with kids and always keeps a clean house.
I almost choked on my Weetabix lol!.
Had the usual Christmas day message – no, not the queen, but from George, who rang to say that on Christmas Eve he’d..
‘’Just done my good deed for today! I’ve just come back from Sainsbury’s where I was behind an old lady in the queue. Her bill came to £56.83, but when she counted out all her change, she only had just under £40. I thought she was probably someone's Nan, and I’d like to think someone would help my Nan in that situation. She didn’t want me to help her, but I insisted, and in no time we had all her shopping back on the shelves...’’
I just never know whether or not to believe him, still, at least he wasn’t arguing with Rose.
Christmas Day is now a football-free zone, but this wasn't always the case. In the days before TV, there would be a full programme of matches on 25 December with fans popping on hats and gloves to watch football at grounds across the UK after eating. But throughout the 1950s, attitudes towards playing sport on Christmas Day changed. The final Christmas Day football match took place in 1957, leaving Boxing Day as the traditional festive fixture. There you go dear reader, another snippet from the useless information department.
Our daughter and granddaughter Sarah and Mollie facetimed us in the afternoon while our son Mark rang just after.
We were introduced to ZOOM at about 6.00pm when the granddaughter Alisha gave us instructions, so the next hour was spent playing a quiz which was read out by Alisha’s boyfriend Sam, needless to say she won – but no sour grapes there!
The rest of the evening was spent watching depressing soaps, why oh why don’t these writers make Christmas day storylines happy, we have just gone through the worst year ever so why would they want to leave everyone severely depressed on the most wonderful day of the year? Sheer desperation and lack of imagination springs to mind.
You would have thought that the figures would have eased for Christmas day, but of course, this virus doesn’t know what day it is, the number of new cases for today is 32725 with a further 570 new deaths. It is so hard to imagine how all those families will cope on Christmas days to come.
Saturday 26/12/2020 – Day 287
I lay in bed at 5.40am wondering if it was true that frozen lobster can come back to life when thawed (don’t ask), I just had to know so I jumped out of bed , switched on my computer and googled it, the answer is apparently yes.But what is more important is – how the hell did that question enter my head in the first place? – answer, I have no idea.
So, of course today is Boxing day and Christmas is officially over with.
Over the years Boxing Day has become synonymous with carrying on the Christmas feast, slobbing out on the sofa watching movies or going on a country walk (the first being my preference).
Nowhere in the bible is there a mention of Boxing Day which makes the holiday, celebrated the day after Christmas, all the more curious - just why do we celebrate it?
The name is derived from an age - old tradition of rich masters giving their servants Christmas boxes which they could share with their families on December 26, after all the formal festivities.
There is an array of different answers to this question, but the most commonly believed is that the tradition started in the Middle Ages.
Boxing Day. Through the year they would take money from churchgoers in the form of a collection and hand it out at Christmas. Many of them stored the collection money in a box, which they opened on Christmas Day. The money was then handed out to the poor the next day - on Boxing Day.
Today, those boxes aren't as popular. However some people leave out extra money for people like paper boys and girls in the weeks before Christmas, and call it a Christmas box. The Victorians were the first people to really start creating designated public holidays.
The Oxford English Dictionary dates the term to the 1830s. Neale clearly recognised the association of the day in the public mind with charity, and in 1871 St Stephen's Day was designated a bank holiday.
Only a few countries celebrate Boxing Day which falls on December 26. Mainly countries that have historical links to the UK celebrate the day such as Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and a few European countries.
The number of cases do not seem to abate, there were 34693 today bringing the weekly total to 251,787. The number of registered deaths today was 210, the weekly total for the week being 3330, that is a lot of lives for Christmas week and we are now being told that the new strain is creeping like a dark stain across the world
Sunday 27/12/2020 – Day 288
Well here we are at the beginning of another brand new week, It has been one hell of a night with storm Bella bringing gusts of wind in excess of 100mph in some parts of the UK, the wind has been lashing at the bedroom Winter all night, but Mrs H’, whose last words before I dropped off to the land of make believe were, ‘I’m never going to get to sleep tonight with this wind’ (yes I know) was gently snoring and drowning out the remnants of the storm.
It is supposed to continue throughout the day, but I must say that there is a beautiful calmness outside with a wonderful blue sky, still, these forecasters know best eh! The only damage in our garden was a short piece of roofing felt came off the shed, the recycling bin would never have blown away – not with the amount of empties Mrs H has managed to put in there!
Here is another snippet from the useless information department, Did you know that the inventor of the telephone Alexander Graham Bell, never phoned his wife or his mother in law, he would be hard pushed to as they were both deaf.
Ok, so it’s whinge time, Mrs H and I have rarely sat down for so long, we are normally at one of our children’s houses at this time of year, but because of Covid we have had to spend our Christmas and the coming New year in solitary confinement, we therefore have been forced to watch more TV than we normally do, and may I say without offending the ladies on here, ‘What a complete and utter load of crap!’, there that’s that out in the open then. Last night there were so many celebrity shows on that we almost drowned in them The TV people think that all they have to do to keep us happy is shove a couple of celebrities in front of the camera, a Christmas tree in the background and add the word Christmas to the title and hey presto, instant Christmas for the great unwashed! I wouldn’t mind but we don’t even know most of these so called ‘celebrities’, the only ones that know they are stars seems to be their families.
Last night we were ‘entertained’ with Christmas University challenge, The Cube, Celebrity Special, In for a Christmas Penny, The Chase Celebrity Christmas special, The Masked singer (Total rubbish) Family Fortunes Celebrity special, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, yes, you’ve guessed it, Celebrity Special. But the biggest insult of the evening, nay the whole of Christmas came courtesy of the BBC, at peak time following the excellent and emotional Repair shop the gave us – wait for it, drum roll – The Great British sewing Bee, Celebrity Special!, Now this pile of rubbish which is a favourite of 4 little old ladies in the Outer Hebrides is usually confined to BBC 2 on a weekday, but some relation of the aforementioned little old ladies decided it would be a good idea to foist it on the great British fee paying public at prime time. Well dear reader it really gave me the needle, Beam me up Scotty!
Figures for the past 24 hours were 30,501 new cases and a further 316 new registered deaths, these figures aren’t complete as Scotland and Wales haven’t added theirs yet.
Monday 28/12/2020 – Day 289
Well. That was a bit of a surprise, woke at 4.45am and thought’ it seems a little quiet out there’, went in the back bedroom and opened the windows – Wow! A complete white out, three or four inches of snow had fallen and it was still falling heavily, I thought twice about waking Mrs H and sharing the joyous news with her. I slipped back into bed quietly.
After yet another exhilarating night on TV, I was lay awake in bed contemplating the fact that there was no punctuation used in the 15th century (true fact) and why have Facebook users and Mobile phone texters decided that history should repeat itself in the 21st century.
I went outside yesterday to attempt a repair on the torn felt, I got on the shed roof and the bitterly cold wind hit me, I flipped the torn felt over, put something heavy on it ( No, not my wallet) and went back inside to the warmth of Mrs H’s arms lol.
So, today – when it has finally stopped snowing I need to go outside and clear the back path, (I was going to write that I needed to clear my back passage but it somehow just didn’t seem right). I failed to clear it on the last fall and it turned into a skating rink after the snow had frozen overnight, It was so funny watching Mrs H slip and slide her way to the freezer in the shed, her language was also a bit choice if I remember rightly.
On this day in 1963 'That Was The Week That Was', television’s first satirical show, was broadcast for the last time. It was taken off air while still commanding huge audiences because 1964 was to be election year and it was felt that the show could influence voters. I was never a big fan of this programme, Cast members included cartoonist Timothy Birdsall, political commentator Bernard Levin, and actors Lance Percival, who sang topical calypsos, many improvised to suggestions from the audience, Kenneth Cope, Roy Kinnear, Willie Rushton, Al Mancini, Robert Lang, David Kernan and Millicent Martin. The last two were also singers and the programme opened with a song – "That Was The Week That Was" – sung by Martin to Ron Grainer's theme tune and enumerating topics in the news. Frankie Howerd also guested with stand-up comedy.
I have no idea why but I could never stand Millicent Martin or Lance Percival, I have no doubt that had they known me back then they wouldn’t have thought much of me either!
Also on this day 1980 A shake-up of broadcasting franchises paved the way for the launch of breakfast TV. The Independent Broadcasting Authority announced that the breakfast contract would go to TV-am and would launch in 1983. So, it is those idiots we have to thank for foisting the terrible Piers Morgan on us, not to mention that idiot from the market ads Phillip Schofield, still at least they gave us Holly Willoughby eh!
For the first time since its peak in April new figures have risen above 40.000, yesterdays figures stood at 41,385 new cases, and 357 new deaths. There is growing concern for the already overstretched NHS in the South of the country.
Tuesday 29/12/2020 – Day 290
Up at 5.15 this morning, it had frozen overnight so I was glad I’d gone out and cleared the snow from the paths, I had been lay in bed debating why ‘The sixth sick shiek’s sixth sheep’s sick’ is one of the toughest tongue twisters in the world, after a couple of failed attempts I hauled my sorry old backside out of bed and went downstairs to make my first brew of the day.
I wrote a short story just before Christmas, it was called A Christmas Tale 1925, it was basically a story of a young boy who had worked and saved the whole year to buy his Mum and sister the presents they deserved, then he found out that his friends brother was ill, he used the money he’d saved to pay for a doctor, to buy fuel and food for the family, it was basically a story about giving to others. The story had over 2500 hits on facebook and over 2000 comments, I am still answering comments today, my flabber was well ghasted – but in a good way.
Well, we are in a sort of ‘No Man’s Land’ at the moment, that time between Christmas and New year where everyone is stuffed to the hilt and sick to the back teeth with turkey. You’ve had turkey rolls, turkey kebabs, turkey stew and even as I speak now, your significant other half is scraping the remnants of that once magnificent bird into a wok to prepare turkey stir-fry. Go on, you know you love it!
You can’t face another tinned beer or glass of wine, you search desperately for something half decent to watch on the TV so that you can at least vegetate quietly on the sofa, but TV bosses all seem to think that it’s only children who bother to watch during the day, so all you find are cartoons, even the kids films are repeats! Then comes the evening, you have semi-comatised most of the day, drifting in and out of consciousness, only being disturbed by the wife’s ‘You’re not asleep again? No wonder you can’t sleep at night, what on earth is wrong with you?’ You are tempted to answer her with something witty, but you are too tired to be bothered so drop off again to the loud sounds of tuts ringing in your ear and praying for it all to over soon. By the time it’s bedtime you are wide awake and ready to party, but alas, there is no-one to party with, just the wife, however, please remember, she is probably thinking exactly the same as you and is equally as bored with your drab company.
On this day in 1675 Parliament ordered the closing of all coffee houses on the basis that they were centres of malicious gossip about the Government. Have you noticed that all the pubs and café’s have been closed recently?
The number of new cases have hit a new high today, with 53135 new cases registered and 414 new deaths we are almost back to peak figures in April.
Wednesday 30/12/2020 – Day 291
I am lay here in bed this morning and looking beneath the bedclothes, now don’t be rude, it was just that I was reading a book of facts last night and it said that the average home causes more pollution than the average car, it also said that most of the particles in your house comes from dead skin! Hence the search.
George and Rose had run out of a few things over Christmas so decided to get a bit of shopping this morning, after much debating and wringing of hands they decided to go really early to avoid the crowds, the shop was only open for seniors from 7,00 to 8.00 am, by 6.45 they were stood behind a little old lady and an elderly couple up front who were sipping tea from a flask. George reckoned they’d been there all night, a young man turned up about 6.50 and pushed to the front , the little old lady was soon on his case and started beating him with her aluminium NHS walking stick, he tried to stave her off but much to the amusement of onlookers he was soon at the back of the cue. A few minutes later he tried the same trick but the old man at the front punched him in the stomach knocked him down and physically rolled him to the back of the queue. A moment later the young man was back, as the old lady went to strike him he shouted, “I’ve got the keys, if you don’t let me unlock the doors then none of you will get in”.
Great news today as the Health Secretary announced that the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine has been approved in the UK for mass rollout. The jab, which has been described as a "game changer", was given the green light by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
The UK has ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine – enough to vaccinate 50 million people.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: "The Government has today accepted the recommendation from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency to authorise Oxford University/AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine for use.
"This follows rigorous clinical trials and a thorough analysis of the data by experts at the MHRA, which has concluded that the vaccine has met its strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness."
The vaccine will start to be rolled out from Monday, it doesn’t require the same ‘deep freeze’ conditions that the other vaccine needs. this hopefully means that most of the country will be vaccinated by the Spring.
Do you know I had been on this earth 21 years and married for just one week before I realised that there was a right way to put milk back in the fridge.
A total of 50,023 new, positive coronavirus cases, and 981 deaths within 28 days of a positive test were reported across the UK yesterday. As a consequence, at one minute past midnight, a further 20 million people in England joined the toughest tier of Covid restrictions. The Midlands (But not Worcestershire, we went up to tier three), North East, parts of the North West and parts of the South West were among those escalated to tier four. Furthermore, for most pupils, secondary schools across most of England were to remain closed for an extra two weeks after the Christmas holidays. All of Wales entered a full lockdown on Sunday, 20th December and the majority of Scotland was put into a full lockdown from Boxing Day, 26th December.
Thursday 31/12/2020 – Day 292
Here we are at last at the end of one of the worst years in recent history, had the circumstances been back to normal I have no doubt that the many parties would have drank Britain dry and emptied every shelf of anything drinkable.
I live in Worcestershire but the tradition in Yorkshire is to say “black rabbits, black rabbits, black rabbits” just as the clock is about to chime midnight on New Year’s Eve. Then, as the clock strikes twelve, say “white rabbits, white rabbits, white rabbits” as your first utterance of the new year. Good luck will ensue. Or at least, the good fortune not to have to say anything about rabbits for another twelve months.
Just before midnight on New Year's Eve, people hold hands and sing a traditional song called "Auld Lang Syne". They count the seconds down to the new year and when the clock strikes midnight, they hug and kiss and wish each other a Happy New Year! Sometimes people set off fireworks as the new year begins. You then spend the next ten minutes avoiding all those with whiskers that you don’t want to kiss, the men of course would all be clean shaven.
This kissing business started a while ago when In the past it was reported that at midnight, people would remove their masks, and kisses were a way of purifying each other from evil. ... (Mrs H would have had to slobber all over me) English and German folklore built on this idea and spread the superstition that a midnight kiss strengthens a budding romance and avoiding it could mean a loveless year ahead.
New Year’s Eve has always been steeped in history, Scotland’s Hogmanay, The sound of Big Ben and the singing of Auld Lang Syne. There is also an old custom called First Footing which I used to do regularly as a youngster.
I was blonde haired up to the age of four years old, then, inexplicably I suddenly changed to very dark hair -almost overnight. By the time I was seven I was going ‘first-footing. Basically, a tall dark -haired stranger had to knock the door after the stroke of midnight, he had to be carrying a piece of coal and had to be let in, he couldn’t unlock the doors they had to be open, Originally, every door in the house had to be open and the stranger would enter every room shouting ‘Old year out, New Year in’, no one was allowed to enter or leave the house until this ritual had been carried out. Thankfully by the time I was doing it you just entered by the front door clutching your piece of coal, you headed for the table, walked around it and then walked back out collecting your money as you passed.
Of course, when they opened the door to me they would have to look down, the woman would say “Bit short for this game aren’t you?’ then a slurring voice in the background would shout, “Let him in our Gert, you’ll get nowt better tonight”. Even now I don’t think I’m tall enough to fit the bill. Meanwhile my old man would invite everyone from down the pub, it was as though all the booze left over from Christmas had to be used up, they would be singing well into the night and mother would end up being the unofficial ‘bouncer’ helping a few of the less capable on their way.
I have always said that most of the soaps weren’t true to life, but I think Eastenders is the worst. How irresponsible was it to show a packed pub, people doing the hokey cokey on the square, people openly kissing and cuddling, this all happened tonight on the show, just after the area was designated Tier four. The thing is that even on tier three this wouldn’t have been permitted, so regardless of when it was filmed the producers should have known and portrayed what the true situation was, they made a mockery of it.
I still don’t know what to wear to the lounge tonight, I may not even bother to go!
The number of new cases reached a new high today, the highest recorded figure since April, there were a total of 55,892 cases, I actually now know local people who have the virus which means that this new strain is slowly creeping Northwards, The number of deaths was also very high at 964, that is almost two thousand deaths in two days, very frightening.
Friday 01/01/2021 – Day 293
Hip Hip Hooray, we have now left a very terrible year behind and hopefully the EC as well, to quote a song from Yazz ‘The Only Way is Up’. A Happy and prosperous New Year to all of you.
Well that’s Christmas and New year done, no more mince pies – pass the Hot cross buns please.
My New Years resolution is to completely ignore the list of jobs that Mrs H is constantly drawing up, I reckon I should break it in about a week.
Ok then, the good news, or bad news - depending on which end you’re looking from – is that the timber arrived yesterday for Mrs H’s new canopy, I don’t know about where you live but here in Kidderminster it was minus seven degrees, the poor delivery chap almost had to get a hammer and chisel to separate the timber which had been loaded the night previously. Then I had to move it all around to the rear of the house because the driver said that ‘due to Covid restrictions, he was only allowed to drop the goods kerbside’, I bet there are a lot of them using that old chestnut. Problem was that I couldn’t find my gloves either, by the time I had finished carrying the already frozen timber to the back of the house my fingers were literally frozen, then I made the big mistake of going inside and warming them by the radiator, can you remember the pain when you were a child and had been out in the snow all day with a pair of old socks on your hands because gloves were too expensive? Well, neither could I, the pain as the feeling came back to my fingers was excruciating!
All I have to do now is await the thawing of the decking area which is still holding frozen snow, the way the weather’s going I probably have more chance of knitting the fog that has just descended on us.
In anticipation of the new vaccine Mrs H and I have just sorted our first 2021 holiday, in April we’re going to Iceland, and if all goes well, we are going to Sainsbury’s in July.
On this day in 1660Samuel Pepys began writing the Diary which he kept for nine years, writing in an early form of shorthand. You have to wonder – will this diary last nine years?
Also, on this day 1951The first episode of the BBC’s radio serial The Archers - farming folk of Ambridge. It is the world's longest running radio 'soap'. By its 60th anniversary on 18th December 2011 it had reached 16,600 episodes. The programme will celebrate its 70th anniversary today. As well as broadcasting episode number 19,343 of the world's longest-running serial drama, stars from it will appear on the station's other programmes. This will include inserts into Woman's Hour, Farming Today, and a quiz.
One of the biggest errors in pop history occurred on this day in 1962when the Beatles had an audition for Decca Records, who turned them down and signed Brian Poole and the Tremeloes instead for the simple reason that they lived closer to the recording studio. Oops!
And finally, on this day in 1985Michael Harrison, the son of former Vodafone chairman Sir Ernest Harrison, made the first ever mobile phone call in Britain. He called his father from London's Parliament Square on the newly-launched Vodafone network using an 11lb (5kg) Transportable Vodafone VT1, which boasted around 30 minutes of talk time. A few days later, a crowd gathered at St Katherine's Dock in London to watch comedian Ernie Wise make the first public mobile phone call using the same device. All were far from portable and cost around £2,000 - equivalent to roughly £5,000 today.
It seems that Mrs H has learned so much from her mistakes that she intends to make a lot more in 2021.
For the fourth time in a row this week the new cases are over 50.000, in the past 24 hours they have reached 53285, deaths have dropped thankfully but even so they stand at 613.
Saturday 02/01/2020 – Day 294
I was lay awake this morning wondering why the word Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia had suddenly popped into my head, I got out of bed and googled it, apparently, it is the fear of long words, there you go, another snippet from the useless information department.
As you know, we are in tier three, but if we go up to tier four and it snows, does anyone know how many snowmen we are allowed in the garden? Asking for a friend.
Ok dear reader, it’s whinge time, does anyone recall that I bought Mrs H a lovely swing chair for her birthday back in July? Well, she revealed to me that the wooden frame I had spent hours designing and constructing was no longer fit for purpose! She reckons it is too big and cumbersome to ‘drag around’ the decking, she also asks – nay demands – that I now hang it from the rafters of the new canopy. So I had to stand out there in the freezing cold – with no gloves, cos I’ve lost them – while she stood in the nice warm house by the patio window, drinking a nice hot latte and watched me dismantle my pride and joy, I mean, she could have at least have had the decency to turn her back or go and make me a nice hot tea, well am I hard done by or not? All I can say is that it’s a good job I worship the ground that lady walks on!
I’ve never had much luck to be quite honest, if I’d have been one of Raquel Welch’s triplets I’d have been the one on the bottle!
Ad seen in a local newspaper; For sale 2020 Diary and Calendar, brand new unused and still in box.
What is it with those people who insist on putting their cooked meals all over Facebook? You know the ones who put it on a plate and take a picture of it prior to eating, Me? I look at those pictures and thank the Lord I don’t have to live in that family!
Teachers Unions have urged schools not to open on Monday saying that the risk is far too great, schools in the London area are not opening. Liverpool Council are calling for a National lockdown, the figures today hit a new high with 57725 new cases, this brings the weekly total to 341,946 which is over 90,000 up om last week. The registered deaths for today were 445 giving a total of 4,090 for the week, that’s 760 up on last week.
Well, dear reader, that brings my diary to an end for yet another week, join me next Sunday for another 4000 words of my weekly ramblings, meanwhile, I’ll leave you with a view of the back garden from my office, oh and one of the Christmas presents from my Granddaughter Alisha who thought my Repair shop was lacking something.
Sunday 03/01/2021 – Day 295
There I was lay in bed with my tummy rumbling at 6’00am when I suddenly remembered that a cockroach can live up to nine days without its head before it actually starves to death, it was at this point I went downstairs to prepare my four Weetabix as I didn’t fancy starving to death OR losing my old head, as useless as it is I do like it in-situ.
Some shock news this morning as my daughter phoned up to say her hubby has somehow got coronavirus. After not feeling too well he made an appointment at the local testing centre, got himself tested and it came back positive! This basically means that the whole family is in quarantine for the next ten days I am contemplating whether or not to pop around there during the night and paint a big red cross on their lovely white front door with the words ‘unclean’ beneath, not that I’m unsympathetic you understand.
Speaking of this damn pandemic, the latest problem is getting the vaccine distributed apparently, well I have a solution to this, why don’t they just get Aldi checkout staff to distribute it? – we should all be vaccinated by January 5th I reckon!
We had another 5cms of snow last night, it was sticking quite bad too, but when I looked out this morning it must have been raining because a lot of it had gone, we have been steadily thawing out most of the day.
Well it’s now official, Mrs H and I are now living in a Christmas free zone, you wouldn’t even know that the jolly old fat fellow in the red suit had been here at all, and before you ask – no, I don’t have a red suit. Isn’t it strange how it takes nearly two days to put up all the decorations and yet just 2 hours to take them all down again, and that includes mauling umpteen boxes and trees up into the cobweb filled attic.
On this day in 1946William Joyce (Lord Haw-Haw) had the smile wiped off his face when he was hanged for treason, in London. Born in Brooklyn, New York, he had broadcast propaganda from Nazi Germany during the Second World War to both Britain and the United States. The broadcasts started on 18th September 1939 and continued until 30th April 1945, when Hamburg was overrun by the British Army.
Also on this day in 2015, A 51,000 tonne car carrier ship (Hoegh Osaka) became stranded on Bramble Bank in the Solent between Southampton and the Isle of Wight. The ship was carrying 1,200 Jaguar sports cars, Land Rover 4x4s, 65 BMW Minis, 105 JCB diggers and a single Rolls-Royce Wraith – worth an estimated £260,000 – all destined for the Middle East. The vessel was eventually righted and towed to Southampton on 22nd January after 2000 petrol heads from all over England helped push start it off the bank it was lodged on. (I actually made the last bit up, but I could envisage the Top Gear team putting out an appeal).
On the day that Labour leader Kier Starmer was calling for a complete National lockdown within 24 hours the figures revealed that there were 54990 new cases in the past 24 hours, there were also a further 454 deaths, but that figure didn’t include Scotland.
Monday 04/01/2021 – Day 296
I was up with the Lark this morning, apparently that saying comes from the songbird which is nearly always the first bird you will hear first thing in the morning, except for around here of course, all we get is the constant cooing of the local pigeon population of which there are hundreds. You know how the Grey squirrels scared all those nice red squirrels away? Well, it’s the same here, only the pigeons have scared all the larks away! Now where was I – oh yes I was up with the lark this morning eating my breakfast of four Weetabix when ‘bouncer’ turned up to defecate over my memory bench by bouncing up and down in front of the mirror above the bench in an attempt to loosen its bowels, and yes, there you go, worked perfectly.
I am ashamed to say that I have gained over half a stone in the last month, this is basically the result of being sat on my big fat derriere surrounded by endless tins of Roses chocolates, Quality street and Celebrations – resulting in three tins of wrappers. Mrs H only asked me today if I wanted the empty containers to keep any items in the repair shop, Just what I need when I’m working in there – a constant reminder of those days of bingeing whilst soaking up numerous pints of Guinness and watching endless repeats of Salvage Hunters with Drew Pritchard, no thank you. I haven’t asked Mrs H if she has weighed herself lately as I like my head where it is, and I don’t want to end up like that poor cockroach, not to mention the unladylike language that emits from her mouth when anything slightly related to weight is mentioned.
Just watching an advert which said Gordons had now introduced an alcohol free Gin, what is the good of that? great for all those misers at Christmas though, they can invite everyone around and just keep filling the bottle up from the tap!
So, at 8.00pm tonight Boris bowed to pressure and had no choice but to announce another full National lockdown until (at the moment) February 15th, this has been brewing all over the weekend as he came under increasing pressure to close the schools, but I have to say – it seems to have caught all the political editors off their guard – they seemed to be expecting most areas to go up to Tier four, and perhaps a few of the schools to close, but that was about it. This for me is devastating news, I won’t be able to buy the love of my life a Valentine card and yes, I do mean Mrs H. it also means of course that you poor things are stuck with me and my ramblings for a lot longer!
Meanwhile on this day 1938Bertram Mills’ Circus became the first circus to be shown on television. This was also the first time that a paying audience for any event had been televised, and audience members were informed that they could request seats out of range of the cameras. Originally from Paddington, London, his circus became famous in Britain for its Christmas shows at Olympia in West London and his troupe were the last to perform with live animals on the Drury Lane Theatre stage. They didn’t know it at the time but they set a precedent as fools and clowns have inundated our TV screens since.
Also on this day in 1957A dissatisfied plastic surgeon patient was sentenced in London’ imprisonment, after he had threatened his surgeon with a gun, complaining that his nose was too short. The man nicknamed ‘Pinnochio’ got ten years.
In 2000Catherine Hartley and Fiona Thornewill, the first British women to walk across Antarctica to the South Pole arrived safely, more than two months after starting their record-breaking journey. It was said that they could have done it in one month had they not kept stopping for a ‘catch up’ (sorry Ladies, couldn’t resist it)’
There was some good news today, Brian Pinker, aged 82 and from Oxford, became the first person in the world to be given the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, at Oxford's Churchill Hospital. Mr Pinker, who has been having dialysis for kidney disease at the hospital for a number of years, was pleased to be getting protection against coronavirus. He said the jab will give him peace of mind as he continues to receive treatment, and he is now looking forward to celebrating his 48th wedding anniversary in February.
New case figures were once again up today, for the sixth day running they were over 50.000 and today were at 58784, recorded deaths were at 451.
Tuesday 05/01/2021 – Day 297
Lay in bed at 5,30am contemplating life and wondering – why in France is a person allowed to marry a dead person? A few minutes -nay seconds - spent thinking about that true fact and I bored myself back to sleep, I eventually rose around 7.40am, a bit of a lie-in for me.
I have to confess to being a bit of an idiot, since the end of October my exterior lights have been blowing every time we’ve had a downpour, I thought I had fixed the problem so hadn’t bothered about it since, then of course we had the Christmas lights on, anyway, to cut a long story short we switched them on yesterday and they blew again, there was only two places there could have been a problem, I knew the one place was ok so I looked at the other side, to do that I had to lift the last two block paviers that I had set down, well actually, hammered down – literally! When I lifted them I noticed that the top of the waterproof box had been shattered – by my over zealous use of a large rubber mallet, who’s a silly boy then, answers on a postcard please. So, my punishment was that I had to kneel out there with a Northern wind blowing and repair the connectors with a proper waterproof one, it should be ok now – touch wood.
Did you ever wonder where the saying ‘Touch wood came from? one explanation states that the tradition derived from the Pagans who thought that trees were the homes of fairies, spirits, dryads and many other mystical creatures. In these instances, people might knock or touch wood to request good luck, or to distract spirits with evil intentions. When in need of a favour or some good luck, one politely mentioned this wish to a tree and then touched the bark, representing the first "knock." The second "knock" was to say "thank you." The knocking was also supposed to prevent evil spirits from hearing your speech and as such stop them from interfering. Alternatively, some traditions have it that by knocking upon wood, you would awaken and release the benevolent wood fairies that dwelt there.
The idea that knocking or touching wood would ward off evil or bring you good luck, may have been adapted by Christians, as were many early pagan beliefs. In a number of Christian communities, the belief is that by touching wood, you are touching the wood of the Cross and as such are seeking the protection of God. On this same token, there were people who believed that by carrying pieces of wood or the true cross, that this would bring you good luck.
Mrs H was in the lounge watching TV when I heard her shouting “Don’t go in the church you stupid woman!”, Curious I went in to her.
“What on earth are you watching?”
“Our wedding Video” she said.
Today for the first time the number of new cases went over 60,000, there were 60,961new cases reported today, worse still, the number of new deaths recorded almost doubled to 830.
Wednesday 06/01/2021 -Day 298
I was lay in bed this morning thinking about the fact that a Giraffe can clean its ears with its own tongue, I know a few women that could possibly do the same.
The third National lockdown should be official today, although it was announced by Boris on Monday 4th, it can’t be announced as official until MP’s vote on the new rules today, it is expected to be passed.
Someone sent Mrs H a video about using Vodka to help clean the house, and it really works, apparently, if she drinks lots of it, the whole place looks spotless!
Once again I had forgotten to get the milk out of the fridge in the shed, this meant a trip down the path in dressing gown at 6.00am in the freezing cold and for some unknown reason my first day at school came back to mind. That too was a really cold day.
We were ushered into a little room called the cloakroom, the walls were half tiled in a bottle green colour with a whitewash wall above, splattered with the graffiti of the day – crayon marks!, There was a stack of empty crates containing small empty bottles, the remnants of yesterday’s milk allowance, each of us was allowed to choose a peg, these pegs had stickers of animals next to them and whichever one you chose became your peg for the next two years, As I said earlier, I was a bit worldly wise for my years and noticed a peg away from the door and by a big cast iron radiator, in the winter if it snowed or rained that would be the best peg to dry out my coat, should I have one. I was torn between the lion or the elephant, I chose the lion!
The school was of the old type with three classrooms around a central hall which doubled up as an exercise room for playing in. There were around forty - seven of us and we were escorted to the big classroom and told to sit, a scramble was made for the small desks at the back of the room and obviously the furthest away from teacher, I was far too slow and inevitably ended up on the front row! As I looked around there was an actual sandpit in one corner, in another corner was a massive dolls house and then a circle of small tables covered in all different colours of previously spent paints.
A very elderly woman ( I suspect now that she was only probably about thirtyish) swept into the room with a rousing ‘Good morning children’ and met with a deafening silence, Undaunted she continued to tell us that her name was Miss Smith and that she would be teaching us for the next twelve months, she went round the room asking each of us our name and I cannot remember her ever asking again, yet within the hour she knew every one of us personally. The morning continued with us basically doing whatever we wanted to as long as it was in the confines of the classroom. I was in my high delight, coming from a large family we didn’t have things like paints, crayons and my personal favourite plasticine, there were soldiers, cowboys and Indians and I eagerly ran from one item to another like a child in a sweet shop.
At twelve o clock precisely the bell rang again and we were all dismissed for lunch, The teachers just left you to it, they didn’t seem to mind or care where you went or what you did, but, having said that, the streets were a lot safer than they are today, there were no school dinners in those days, you either took sandwiches or you went home, Wandering towards the door I had earlier come through I saw my seven year old sister waiting, she had walked from the junior school down the road to escort me home for dinner, it was almost two miles home and the same back to school, between those two journeys I had around about half an hour to eat my dinner which had already been prepared by Mum, Four miles today seems a long way but I was young, fit and able, the amazing thing was that it felt like a short stretch of the legs to me. But, as the old saying goes – they were without doubt the happiest days of my life.
On a very worrying day for the UK figures continued to rise for new cases, in the past 24 hours 62,327 new cases were recorded, but the most concerning thing was that the UK registered 1041 deaths, this is the highest figure since April 21 2020.
Thursday 07/01/2021 - Day 299.
It looks as though we’ve had snow outside, but in fact it is just a really bad frost, our car is white over and everything is a blanket of white, I reckon it must have been about -8 degrees throughout the night, I always feel for those who are sleeping rough on nights like this.
Went on to the Government website today to see what was going on, there was an announcement which said:
‘Tonight at 7.00pm a satellite will pass over the UK to take the temperature of every UK citizen, you should stand naked outside your house and point your passport skyward’.
I think it’s a bit of a con, what about all those who don’t have a passport?
Well, it’s 11.45am and Mrs H and I are still in our dressing gowns, we may well still be in them in 4 hours time except for the fact that I really do need a shower. I really don’t like getting too serious on here, after all my diary is supposed to cheer people up. But please allow me just a couple of lines to express my feelings on recent events. I run a site about local matters and events, with the help of some excellent Admin the site runs quite smoothly -until the last week or so. There is a handful of antagonists who have been making life impossible. These people – and I use the term very loosely – come onto the site and ridicule reports from the local paper about the recent uprise in coronavirus, they insinuate or even insist that it doesn’t exist or that the figures are being fudged, I hate all these people and believe me , I do not normally hate anyone, but they are a special breed, there was a report on the BBC news from University hospital in London, you would have to be really heartless to not be affected by those crying nurses, and those patients desperately holding on to life, but those keyboard warriors don’t care. Well thank you all for letting me have a gripe, it is the last time I will mention these idiots.
Meanwhile the person I love, the wonderful Mrs H is infatuated with cleanliness during this pandemic, she has made me use so much disinfectant, soap and hand sanitiser, that when I go for a pee It cleans the toilet!
I am sat here on the sofa, we have been really naughty and had fish and chips delivered by a company called Appy Grab. It’s quite a good idea really, you just download the app and you get a choice of local Fish shops, Indian takeaways, Chinese takeaways, Mexican and even a full blown breakfast, You just pay normal price for what you want, pay a 50p service charge and £2.50 for the taxi, it also keeps everyone in work of course. I’ll start the diet next week.
This freezing fog hasn’t lifted all day, I’ve just looked out the window and guess what - it’s snowing on top of frosty ground.
It was a bittersweet day with the coronavirus today, firstly the number of new cases dropped substantially to 52618, 10,000 less than yesterday, but as feared registered deaths continued to rise to 1162.
Friday 08/01/2021 – Day 300.
Well, if someone had said to me back in March that I would have the next 300 days in almost solitary I would have laughed at them, yet here we are, 300 days with Mrs H and we’re still happily married! Mind you, it works both ways, you wouldn’t believe this but even I am sometimes difficult to live with lol.
Today I am starting Mrs H’s canopy on the decking, there’s a bit of preparation work to do first, all the guttering off the existing roof needs re-siting, and I have to find someway of ‘suspending’ one of the main posts, there is a manhole right in the place I have to put it!.
I hadn’t heard from George for quite a time, so during a moment of partial insanity I decided to ring him, we were chatting on about the old days, I have known him since we were babt’s, his family were really poor, I suppose everyone was in those days, always popping round to borrow a cup of sugar, or a ‘bob’ for the meter. George’s mum actually sent him around to ours with a button once, asked if my mum could sew a shirt on it! He reckoned that their house was so small that he had to go outside to change his mind. We weren’t much better off, on my sixth birthday my mum had only got three candles so she put my cake in front of the mirror!
On this day in 1935 Elvis Aaron Presley was born to Vernon and Gladys Presley in a two-room house in Tupelo, Mississippi,. ... In 1954, Elvis began his singing career with the legendary Sun Records label in Memphis. In late 1955, his recording contract was sold to RCA Victor. By 1956, he was an international sensation.
Also on this day In 1940 during World War II: Britain introduced food rationing. Restaurants were initially exempt from rationing, but this was resented, as the rich could supplement their food allowance by eating out frequently and extravagantly, so new rules were introduced.
Today the highest ever number of deaths since the pandemic began was recorded, the number was 1325, there were also 68,053 new cases recorded, the highest figure this week. The figures were revealed as London Mayor Sadiq Khan declared a "major incident" over the increase of cases in the capital's hospitals.
Mr Khan said: "The situation in London is now critical with the spread of the virus out of control." He is saying that London hospitals will run out of beds in the next few weeks if the virus doesn’t slow down.
Saturday 09/01/2021 – Day 301
I was woken at 5.30 this morning by my own snoring!, for some unknown reason it reminded me that the noise made by the Victoria Falls can be heard 40 miles away – hah! Lightweights.
I was so bored yesterday that I sat and swapped all the celebrations wrappers around, Mrs H wasn’t too pleased, she got her Snickers in a Twixt.
I had plans – weather permitting – to go out and continue the building of Mrs H’s canopy, a bit different to my Saturday morning 60 years ago.
My Saturday morning in the late fifties started with a couple of hours at the local ABC minors, as we came out into the daylight we would shield our eyes and run off down the street slapping our backside and shouting ‘Hi ho Silver’. Then it was over to the indoor market to browse the model cowboys and Indians and of course the soldiers, Next it was over to the comic swap stall to have a free look at the comics we couldn’t afford, within minutes we were told to ‘sling your hook if you ain’t buying’. By 12.30 pm we were home, then it was round to the chippie for three sixpenny portions of chips between seven of us! In the afternoon the ‘pop man’ would call, ours was the Corona man, I particularly liked Ice Cream Soda and Dandelion & Burdock, Mum had a crate of six mixed pop every week. The pop man was normally followed by the beer chap with the big sign on his wagon stating that ‘Beer at home means Davenport’, my dad always had half a dozen bottles yet strangely I never can remember him drinking in the house. Our Saturday afternoon concluded with a full loaf of Mother’s Pride and half a dozen Fyffes bananas – all mashed – if they weren’t mashed they wouldn’t go around. These were eaten in complete silence as dad listened to the pools results on the radio in hope of winning the £75,000 jackpot. There then followed a big rush for the best seat in front of the TV for the evening.
There’s a MUST watch documentary on BBC2 about the Covid beginning tomorrow night at 9.00pm. Apparently, it’s all about 2 brothers called Wong from the Wuhan research centre, where Trump suspects it was engineered, they were due to get on Flight MH370 that miraculously disappeared.
Seems they were the guys behind the development of the new strain, and intending to use it as a weapon, someone caught wind of their plans and purposefully sabotaged the plane. Neither of them got on the flight though. It’s really interesting. Have a look at it, it's called.....
Two Wongs Don't Make a Flight.
It has been a terrible week in the UK this week, the figures overall were horrendous, the number of new cases were down again today at 59937, that means the total for my week was 417,620, this is 75,674 up on last weeks figures. The number of recorded deaths for the last 24 hours were 1035, the total for my week is 6,298 over 2000 up on last week and double the previous weeks numbers. There are now three million new cases in the UK, the total number of deaths is 80,068. There is however, a glimmer of hope, the source I use for my information has never given recovery figures, but in the light of new vaccines etc they have now started including them and to date there have been 1,406,967 recoveries.
On that sad note, I will take my leave for another week. Take care everyone and stay safe!
Sunday 10/01/2021 – Day 302
Had a really lazy lie-in this morning, it was 7,00am when I crawled out of bed, you nearly didn’t get your Sunday morning dose of my written rubbish, looked out through the window and it was a white out, this of course meant that I wouldn’t be getting anything done on the canopy that Mrs H is so desperately needing, oh dear, never mind eh.
It started last week with the son law getting coronavirus, now the daughter and Granddaughter also have it, the Grandson’s aren’t feeling too good either, I am very surprised really as the son in law never gives anything away normally.
Well Mrs H and I were looking out through the bedroom window at the crisp whiteness of the morning, I was on Facebook – answering my fan – and Mrs H went down to make a cup of char, when she came back up about ten minutes later the frost had disappeared! It was just as though someone had turned the heater on and it had melted within minutes.
On this day in 1840 Sir Rowland Hill introduced the Penny Post to Britain. Mail was delivered at a standard charge rather than being paid by the recipient. On its first day, 112,000 letters were posted in London alone. Now that may not sound very interesting to you, but Rowland Hill was born here in Kidderminster, he actually lived about a mile away, Rowland Hill was born in Blackwell street, Kidderminster on December 3rd 1795 his father Thomas Wright Hill was a schoolmaster.
Rowland was a sickly child who had constant spinal problems and spent most of his infancy in a prone position, but as he grew, he got stronger, his aspirations also grew and thoughts turned to those of his future, he didn’t know what he was going to do at this time but even at an early age he knew that he wanted to leave the world better for him having been on it. A statue of the great man has been erected in the town, sadly, the previous councils did not think his house was worth saving and bulldozed it to erect a – wait for it – telephone exchange.
Also on this day in 2016 The death occurred, from liver cancer, of the English singer, songwriter David Bowie, aged 69. A very sad loss to the music industry and he left a legacy of self -penned hits for future generations.
Numbers have tumbled today but as you all know we have been here before, these are weekend figures which are always a lot lower, the number of new cases today was 54940, and the number of registered deaths was down to 563 thankfully.
Monday 11/01/2021 – Day 303.
I was awake quite early this morning contemplating a fact that I saw on a very interesting documentary last night, did you know that Dolphins, some types of monkeys and humans are the only animals to have sex for pleasure? No neither did I, I wonder where we are going wrong.
Being of the older generation I am very fortunate to have someone call me every day to check up on me, he is from India and is very concerned that I may have had an accident!
The weather was like Summer outside, it was only eight degrees but compared to the last week it was warm, I couldn’t wait to get outside and continue with the canopy which will finally end up at 5 metres by 3 metres, enough to house a small family! By 1.00pm I had all the main supports up, and by 3.00pm it was getting a bit nippy, but half of the roof structure was up, I wanted to carry on but Mrs H insisted I go inside when I started to resemble a Smurf even though I had a tee shirt on with two jumpers and a coat. I also had gloves on but my poor fingertips felt as dead as a doornail, which got me thinking, where did that saying come from, apparently it is a phrase which means not alive, unequivocally deceased. The term goes back to the 1300s, the phrase dead as a doornail is found in poems of the time. The term dead as a doornail was used in the 1500s by William Shakespeare, and in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in 1843. It is thought that the phrase dead as a doornail comes from the manner of securing doornails that were hammered into a door by clenching them. Clenching is the practice of bending over the protruding end of the nail and hammering it into the wood. When a nail has been clenched, it has been dead nailed, and is not easily resurrected to use again. An alternative wording of the phrase dead as a doornail is deader than a doornail. It was also the dead nail used as a pin for the knocker, it was said to be hit so many times that it was ‘dead’.
On this day in 1984 French farmers hijacked British lorries in a dispute against meat imports. No offence, but for a nation who basically eat garden snails why were they bothered about a bit of good old British bully beef? It has been said of course that the French could cause an argument in an empty room, not my words I hasten to add.
Thought for the day – Are you in lockdown with two teenagers? Then get yourself a dog, it’s important that you have someone in the house that isn’t just happy to see you at mealtimes.
Once again, the figures were low today, there were 46169 new cases and 529 newly registered deaths, not looking forward to tomorrows figures though.
Tuesday 12/01/2021 – Day 304
Another mild day in store today so I was once again up early, I wanted to get on with the canopy so was soon donning the outdoor gear, umpteen jumpers and a coat. I was listening to the radio when the presenter was talking about game shows on the TV which got me thinking.
One of the best game shows on TV at the moment (in my humble opinion) is The Wheel, which stars Michael McIntyre, I never liked him when he first appeared on our screens but he is brilliant at ad lobbing, a very clever chap and very funny.
This got me thinking about old game shows, the oldest I can remember was Take Your Pick, this show actually started on Radio Luxemburg (remember the top twenty) in 1952, but with the start of Independent Television in 1955 it was converted for TV, Michael Miles was the host and contestants would have to pass the opening game, the host asked the contestant a series of questions in a 60-second span. The contestant could not say "yes" or "no", nor could they nod or shake their heads. If they did, the co-host would bang the gong and the next contestant would be introduced. Those completing the minute successfully were awarded a £1 prize, a princely sum back then. For the second part contestants would be asked general-knowledge questions. If they answered three out of four questions correctly, they picked a key from a set of ten, corresponding to one of the first ten boxes. The host would then try to buy back the key with increasing amounts of cash, up to about £50. One box also included a key to box 13, which would trigger another round of bidding while the contestant had to choose between their first prize, cash, or box 13 which could have an expensive household item or a booby prize. The show ran from 1955 to 1968.
An updated version hosted by singer and TV presenter Des O'Connor became the second version, which aired from 1992 to 1999. His future wife, Australian born Jodie Wilson, was one of the hostesses; she would later be replaced by former Neighbours twins Gayle and Gillian Blakeney, also from Australia. When I was at secondary school, we had a sadistic geography teacher who also had a macabre sense of humour, if you misbehaved in his classroom, he would send you down to the lockers to ‘open box 13, inside was a large size thirteen slipper, you would take it back to him and he would dish it out accordingly.
Another favourite of that era was Hughie Greens Double Your Money, Hughie Green brought this show to TV from Radio Luxembourg in 1955, with the very first episode airing on Monday 26 September of that year. Contestants had to choose from 42 (originally 58) available subjects and went through preliminary rounds, beginning at £1, leading up to the £32 level, with each question worth twice as much as the preceding one. At that point a contestant would exit and return the following week to decide on entering the ‘Treasure Trail’, leading to the £1,000 jackpot prize. Contestants could quit at any time and leave with their winnings. In order to enable the contestants to concentrate completely, and to avoid any possible answers shouted from the studio audience, all questions from £32 on up were asked while contestants were sealed inside an isolation booth.
Of course, the Granddaddy of them all was Bruce Forsyth’s Beat the clock which featured on Sunday Night at the London Palladium. It was an American import and would feature after the Tiller Girls had done their spot. A young thirty-year old Bruce Forsyth took over from host Tommy Trinder in 1958, after years of music hall and treading the boards Bruce became an overnight star, he brought a whole lot of fun to beat the clock and some say that this was the forerunner of the ’Generation game’. Prizes and money could be won by couples who had been plucked out of the audience moments before. Games involved a mixture of skill, co-ordination, and luck, and were usually cobbled together by cheap props such as balloons, musical instruments, or magnetic letters. The featured couples would have to perform a trick or stunt, like changing clothes (previously put on, on top of their ordinary clothes) with each other within a set time. If I remember rightly If a couple managed to complete both stunts, the wife had to rearrange words stuck to a magnetic board and people had to "arrange them into a well- known phrase or saying" in 30 seconds. If she succeeded, the couple won a major prize. Whenever a bell rang, the couple who played at that time would play a jackpot stunt for a cash bonus worth £100 for each week since the last jackpot win. Well, that was a bit more long-winded than I had planned, but I hope you enjoyed the memories.
As I feared yesterday today’s figures were high, in all fairness, the number of new cases seems to be levelling off compared to recent totals, todays numbers were 45533 new cases and an astounding 1243 deaths registered in the uk.
Wednesday 13/01/2021. – Day 305
I went to bed last night and had to go back downstairs to take some pain killers owing to the simple fact that I had rather overdone it after spending six hours outside on Mrs H’s canopy. I had constructed half the timber frame, and something kept nagging me in the back of my mind (No, not Mrs H) to try the first roof sheet, trying to be clever and save some money I had ordered flat sheets two meters by three meters, of course I never thought about mauling the quite weighty sheet eight feet into the air, there was only one thing to do – I had to call in the cavalry. Sadly, due to the lockdown there were no cavalry available, so I had to rely on the only other person nearby. I could have built the rest of the canopy as I waited patiently for Mrs H to don a jumper, a coat, a scarf, gloves and a pair of outside boots, - does anyone recall that episode of The Good Life where Margo promised to help the Goods get their harvest in, she came out in bright yellow waterproofs and promptly slipped into the mud – well that was how Mrs H looked when she finally made an appearance on one of the warmest days of the year!
So we are wrestling with this huge sheet of polycarbonate we almost have it onto the roof when Mrs H lets out an almighty squeal, her back had spasmed, which made her let go of the sheet leaving me with the full weight, my bad shoulder started to give way as I finally managed to push the sheet onto the waiting timbers, but my arms were killing me, Mrs H was in agony and together we were about as useful as chocolate fireguards! After a refreshing cup of tea, I manoeuvred the huge sheet into position and it was as I feared, the existing building that I was putting my canopy up to was out of square by at least nine inches! It took me the rest of the day to make the huge sheet fit, it was like putting a square peg in a round hole. But by the end of the day it fitted and was fixed, but boy, did my muscles suffer for the next few hours.
Anyway, got up this morning and it was raining so I was forced to take a bit of a rest, Mrs H had bought one of these towel racks which I had assembled yesterday so I thought I’d get a few brownie points and put it on the wall in the bathroom, this involved drilling the tiles so I went into the workshop to gather the stuff together, I got my drill, drill bits, rawplugs etc, it took ages to find my extension lead then I remembered I’d left it in the shed. So off I toddled upstairs to drill the walls, now this is where I had realised that I was losing the plot, I had spent 15 minutes looking for the extension lead when Mrs H pointed out that the drill I was using was a battery drill! Beam me up Scotty.
The number of new cases is beginning to rise once again, todays total is 47525, but once again, the number of deaths in the UK is frightening, they have risen again today to 1564, at least the number of jabs being administered is now over 2 million.
Thursday 14/01/2021 – Day 306.
Had a bit of a lie in this morning, it was almost eight o clock when I got my backside out, I wish now that I hadn’t bothered! It was a horrible damp and cold day outside, I still had a lot of work left to do on the canopy, but first, there was the problem of a blocked sewer to deal with. The downstairs toilet was making that horrible gurgling sound when it was flushed, the water would disappear and then pop back up – a bit like my own personal tsunami.
After a hearty breakfast of four Weetabix and three cups of Dutch courage I ventured outside into the murky day, I lifted the cast iron lid off the manhole (why do they call them that? A bit sexist, don’t you think) I had a pleasant surprise - if you can call staring down a three-foot-deep sewer a pleasant surprise – the hole was quite clear. But, seeing as I had built myself up for the task I got my drain rods from the Repair shop, a word of warning here dear reader, when purchasing stuff it’s not always advisable to go for the cheaper variety, I bought these rods about three months ago and they are definitely not fit for purpose, in fact – turn away ladies please – they are about as useful as a one legged man in an arse kicking contest! Reluctantly I screwed them together pushing them down the pipe as I did so, I got to the last rod and the pipe was still clear, this could only mean that the blockage must be on my neighbours side. Let me explain, the pipe runs from our toilet across the garden, then picks up the neighbours toilets goes on for a few metres and makes a sharp left to pick up his neighbours toilets in the next avenue. This would be totally taboo on a new housing estate today, you cannot expect the contents of a sewer to suddenly take a sharp turn left, it just isn’t designed to.
So I take myself around to the neighbours after pre-warning him, despite my warning him that I hadn’t had my jab (he has) and therefore I was vulnerable he was waiting for me as I arrived, the problem is that he’s a bit hard of hearing, so every time I said something he would lean in closer to hear, I would step away and he would follow. I lifted his manhole and sure enough it was blocked, which of course meant that the next-door neighbour to him must have been having a problem further down the line. I went round the corner to see him – followed very closely by my neighbour. His neighbour has only been in the house about 18 months and didn’t even know that he had a manhole in his garden, my neighbour and I couldn’t remember where it was either, so there we were – all three of us with long screwdrivers - prodding and probing the soft-muddy earth, I was quietly praying that no-one with a camera came past when ‘clunk’ I had found it. It had been covered by twelve inches of soil, probably by the last occupant, it had been raining lightly and I was feeling damp and cold, the neighbour suggested I go back home and he would keep me informed, the upshot was that I was gasping for a cup of tea so I left him to sort it out.
Neighbour number two came round a few hours later proudly announcing that his man had taken a look and that it wasn’t his problem, it was the problem of the local water authority whom he had rang, this of course meant that the problem was out in the lane, he said they would be around in the next 24 hours and could turn up any time up to 10.00pm tonight, I just get the feeling that we have more chance of finding the cat we lost twenty years ago!
The good news is that there’s only another three lockdowns to Christmas.
Once again there is a slight rise in the number of new cases, todays total is 48682, the number of deaths has thankfully dropped but is still over 1200 at 1248.
Friday 15/01/2021 – Day 307.
After a truly hectic day yesterday I decided a little lie-in was in order, well actually, I didn’t, my body did, and I didn’t rise until 8.00am.
Yesterday I had a letter to tell me to self-isolate until 21st February and if anything should change they will let me know, also, if it goes beyond that date they will inform me. But the biggest surprise of all was that even if I have my first jab I must act as though I haven’t had one at all, the same applies if I have had my second jab, Mrs H must also do the same. Doesn’t exactly instil me with confidence I can tell you.
The water authority eventually turned up today and the nice neighbour from two doors away went out of his way to keep us informed, he didn’t have to really as we heard the rush of the pipes emptying, but the chap is very thoughtful.
George rang a few minutes ago and informed me that if I hadn’t lost at least a stone, or got a serious drink problem, or got hair down to my backside then according to his girlfriend Rose, I am not taking this lockdown seriously enough. Apparently. he had been to the doctor for a bit of a health check-up, while he was there, they were making small talk, George asked him how he decided whether an old person was suitable for an old people’s home, “well, we fill up a bathtub with water and give the person a teaspoon, a ladle and a bucket, then we ask them to empty the bath.” George jumping the gun replied, “Oh I see, a normal person would obviously use the bucket as it was the biggest.” The doctor looked at him, “No, a normal person would pull the plug out, would you like a bed near the window?”
I have had a good day working on the massive canopy for the lovely Mrs H. Even though it was freezing cold I managed to get all those frustrating little things done, it is now looking very solid and I only have one sheet left to fix on, plus the fascia board, plus the noggins plus the support brackets, plus the ….yawn! I have ordered so many things for this canopy that the Amazon delivery man is now in our bubble!
Had our Tesco delivery today, I ordered some Yorkshire tea as I’m sick to death of Tesco’s ordinary communal garden tea bag dregs, they just taste so bland! Anyway, Mrs H has just brought me a cup in while I was watching the latest ego boost from Boris and his scientific co- conspirators. I saw her in the corner of my eye, she kept looking across at me.
“Your tea will get cold”.
I picked it up and took a sip
I couldn’t resist it, “Thees done very well lass, that’s a reet good cup of char, aye, it really hits the cockles of me heart.”
I swear, if looks could kill.
The number of new cases is once again back to last weeks levels, there were 55757 new cases today, new registered deaths were once again at 1280.
Saturday 16/01/2021 – Day 308
Yet another lie in this morning, I suppose it doesn’t help that Mrs H and myself were awake till 1.00 am watching TV, Mrs H, bless her, is still mourning the end of a series we were watching, we watched the end of ‘Heartland’ a few weeks ago and she cannot be consoled, there is a new series coming on Netflix in April so we are told. However, since then we have watched ‘Chesapeake Shores which was very good., when that we ended I heard the familiar words “What are we going to watch now?”, I have to tell you at this point that Mrs H doesn’t fancy anything that we scroll past, but I have to say that she has got ‘hooked’ on ‘The Good Witch’ and the series we have just started watching called ‘A Place to call Home’. Hence the late nights binge watching.
I’ve heard a new sensory supermarket is opening in our town, it has an automatic mister that is used to keep the produce fresh, just as you approach you hear distant thunder and get the smell of fresh rain. As you get near to the milk aisle you can hear the cows mooing and get the smell of fresh hay. Then, as you approach the egg trays you can hear the cackle of hens and smell bacon and eggs cooking. As you enter the vegetable section you can smell the hot buttered corn on the cob, however, I’ve been advised by George and Rose not to go down the toilet roll aisle!
Been outside all day, it was so mild that I had to take my coat off!, The canopy is now up, not quite finished but up, there is fascia board to fix and some extra strengthening timbers, look out for the pictures next week.
We end the week with 41346 new cases for today, I know the figures seem very bad but the total for my last seven days is 339952, that is 77,000 less than last week. Sadly the same cannot be said for the number of registered deaths,, for the fifth day in a row they are over 1200, today the total is 1295, the total for my last seven days is 7,722, that is a massive 1570 higher than last week and we are being told by the experts that we haven’t yet peaked.
Sunday 17/01/2021 – Day 309
I was awake really early this morning, I slipped quietly out of bed trying hard not to disturb the lovely Mrs H, I got dressed and had my four Weetabix, I looked out of the window and all was really quiet – as you would expect in a lockdown, I then did something I hadn’t done for ages, I put on my trainers and sweat top and went for a jog – I can’t remember the rest of the dream.
I managed to get outside and put the Fascia board on the Canopy, due to the size and the awkwardness I really wasn’t looking forward to this job, but, despite inclement weather and a lot of cuss words trying to get the little fiddly caps onto the fixings I manged it, I went back inside at about 4,00pm to a lovely roast chicken dinner.
When I was a child in the sixties I used to go to Sunday school, not because I was religious (although I was back then) but because I knew that after the meeting there was free squash and cake, or sometimes tea and biscuits with sandwich triangles, I often think back to that Sunday school, I can hardly remember what we actually did there and I feel really guilty about it now.
1912 Captain Robert Falcon Scott reached the South Pole, only to find that the Norwegian Roald Amundsen had beaten him by one month.
Also on this day in 1953 As in the rest of the world around this time, a slight shift is made in the styles of clothing worn. Women in particular still wanted to dress nice during this time, but yet were wearing more practical clothing. One of the items that were considered to be made more comfortable during this time was shoes. Many women were looking for pairs with lower heels-ones that help them live out their current active lifestyle. It was during this time in Canadian history as well as in other areas of the world when size did not matter. Women used to want to try to fit their feet into smaller shoes, when really they should be wearing at least a half a size larger. Therefore, since women were feeling less self-conscious about size in general-including for shoes-the shoes they wore fit much better. The same was for all the other clothing women wore during this time.
Old Chinese proverb say – Give a man a fish and he can eat for a day, but teach that man to fish and he can avoid wife for whole weekend!
Thankfully, the figures today were well down on yesterday, but we must remember that these are weekend figures, the number of new infections was 38,598 in the last 24 hours, the registered deaths for the past twenty four hours were 671.
Monday 18/01/2021 – Day 310
It’s strange to think that in just 42 days I will have been away from work for a whole year, well, when I say ‘away from work’ as you all know I am no stranger to doing a bit.
I’ve been outside again putting the final finishes to the Canopy, Mrs H brings me regular cups of tea and reckons it’s far too cold to be outside working, Me? Well I think it’s like Summer to what we were getting a few weeks ago, Having inserted the final piece of timber I decided to come inside to the warmth, I was sat there thinking of what I could put into my blog for today, after all, I don’t want to be boring you all with building projects and how they happen, then I realised, I haven’t told you much about my dad.
My Dad was a Carpet Weaver and in those days they worked a 54 hour week, he did four shifts starting at 6.00pm and finishing at 6.00am, on Friday they went in from 4pm to 10pm, on the 12 hour shift they were allowed a break at 9.30 for half an hour, even though leaving the premises wasn’t allowed by the bosses most of the weavers would climb the back wall and go across to the local for a few pints, the pubs shut at ten in those days, the landlord would line the pints up on the bar so that no time was wasted pouring them out for the expected rush.
He was a hard worker and only smoked and drank at weekends, he would go to the pub at opening time on a Saturday and return home at around 2.30, although he was a heavy drinker I can never remember him falling asleep on the afternoons, the tension was always high when he was in the room, as soon as he went out we all breathed a sigh of relief.
He would be out again for six o clock and Mum was expected to join him about 8.00pm regardless of what sort of hard day she’d had. We lived in a street which was really quiet at night, it was easy to lie in bed and hear my mums stiletto heels in the distance, if you could also hear my dad singing then all was well, but the nights I heard those heels and nothing else my heart filled with dread, there was an inbuilt wardrobe in our room and I would shut myself in there in the dark and hold my hands over my ears, I would hear mum come in and a few seconds later the front door would slam, then it would start -things being thrown around the kitchen, shouting and bawling – most of it coming from my dad, my Mum screaming as he hit her, within minutes of them arriving home the ten of us and my mum were out in the street, the neighbours who were well used to the rumpus were brilliant and would come out and a few of us would go to one house a few to another and so on.
The next day mum would go back, they’d make up and all was well until the next time. This was a regular thing in my early life.
That was going to be my legacy as I grew, I would never hit a woman or a child and I never have to this day, I still cannot stand sudden bangs or loud noises, but in later years I would sit with my dad (Whom I had a lot of respect and love for) having a quiet pint and trying to understand what made him like he was, All he would say was it had been the pressure of raising such a large family.
I quietly but politely pointed out to him that he didn’t raise us – Mum did!
The number of new cases continued to fall with 37535 cases reported in 24 hours, the number of deaths recorded today were 599.
Tuesday 19/01/2021 – Day 311
Took me ages to get these sorry old bones out of bed this morning, I have discovered that twisting and turning in all sorts of positions is no good for your back or shoulders, I do of course refer to the building of the canopy.
Having been sat downstairs with Mrs H, I was on my laptop working on a story whist she watched Emmerdale, of course you can’t help but be drawn in by the absolutely stunning storyline, Mandy Dingle singing ‘You’re the One That I Want’ whilst attempting to woo the biggest loser in the programmes history, a few minutes later the loser is outside the pub on the main street, kicking the proverbial out of his son – and no-one was about or heard a thing. At the end of the program a person announced that ‘if you have been affected by events in this program’ etc. Well ITV I have been affected by the terrible acting, the terrible writing and the incredulous rubbish that these so called writers expect the viewer to believe - have you got a phone number for that please ITV, the program makes Mrs Browns Boys look like Academy award prospects.
I’ve been looking into my family history and found out something amazing, apparently. nine months before I was born I went to a party with my Dad and went home with my Mum!
On this day in 2013 A piece of music that was composed by waiting for bird droppings to fall onto giant sheets of manuscript paper received its premiere at the Tate Liverpool art gallery. Artist Kerry Morrison said that the music represented the role that birds play in the environment. Sadly, most critics said it was – a load of crap lol!
Also on this day in 2015 The death of Anne Kirkbride, known for her long-running role as Deirdre Barlow in the ITV soap Coronation Street, which she played for 42 years from 1972 to 2014. Does anyone remember when Diedre was in prison, it was a bit manic and campaigns started all over Britain to ‘Free the Weatherfield One’, it was the talk of the nation.
It is fair to say that Deirdre has had a number of relationships whilst living on the Street, even if Ken Barlow was the one that she always seemed to return in the end. Her choice for partners in life left a lot to be desired but her liaison with Jon Lindsay (Owen Aaronovitch) during 1998 was the one that changed everything in more ways than one. He was apparently an airline pilot with a lavish lifestyle that had whisked Deirdre off her feet but all wasn’t what it seemed. Deirdre’s all-time lover Ken Barlow spots Jon working at a tie shop at the airport and despite then telling Deirdre, Jon manages to wriggle out of trouble by fibbing that he was a pilot but lost his licence over poor eyesight. They soon part ways when Deirdre realises he’s married but when she tries to retrieve the money she gave Jon towards a mortgage, she is charged with theft. Lindsay was eventually arrested along with a shocked Deirdre. Naturally there was outrage and not just in the courtroom among the public gallery. Corrie had just sent down one of its most iconic characters but they hadn’t reckoned on what the viewers would do next. The Granada switchboards were jammed as they became inundated with the angry response at the apparent gross miscarriage of justice. The campaign had started and was the talk of the nation.
And so it began and the campaign to reverse the judgement given to Deirdre was soon on the front pages of the tabloids and being discussed among the comment pieces of the broadsheets. No soap storyline had roused such a feeling around the country as it looked like she might have to serve the sentence. From t-shirts to car stickers, ‘Free the Weatherfield One’ was a mass immobilisation of viewers who wanted Corrie to do the right thing. Such was the hysteria that this created, it eventually reached the very top when the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, instructed his Home Secretary Jack Straw to intervene in the case to appease the nation. Eventually peace was restored to the soap when Diedre was released. My Mum always said a bit of Soap worked wonders. That was of course when the soaps had real writers and people cared about the characters – ok, I’ll get off my soap box now.
The number of new cases continued to fall today showing that the lockdown may now be starting to have an effect, there were 33355 cases today, but the number of deaths continues to rise at a terrible pace, there were 1610 registered deaths in the last 24 hours.
Wednesday 20/01/2021 – Day 312.
Well, the countdown has begun, just seven days to go. I was lay in bed this morning, it was still pitch black outside and was contemplating the thought that snakes have transparent eyes which they can see through when their eyes are closed, I had a mother in law like that!
Mrs H and myself were enjoying our morning cuppa when we decided – looking outside at the newly finished canopy – that it would really benefit from having one side blocked in, it was a sort of ‘Escape to the Chateau’ moment, Mrs H being Angel (Ha ha, never in the reign of pig’s plonk) and me being Dick (Mmm) anyway, what usually happens is that Angel (Mrs H) comes up with the suggestion and Dick (myself) has to come up with a solution to keep her smiling, within an hour I was on the computer ordering the cladding to build a side wall and to lower the front by two feet so we can buy blinds that will roll down in inclement weather. You see dear reader – that’s how a marriage works – she shouts and I jump!
Been in the Repair shop today and I’ve actually finished a project I started over two months ago, or friends Janet and John brought a chair round for me to renovate and as a project for me to do, I stripped all the worn upholstery off the very first day and did a few necessary and urgent repairs, then sort of skipped (not literally you understand) between the chair and the cocktail cabinet that I was also working on at the time, anyway, then I had to start Mrs H’s canopy, so that was basically three jobs on the go. Somehow the poor chair got neglected and I never got around to continuing it, but today it was absolutely pouring down so I took the bull by the horns and reupholstered the chair, then I gave it another coat of chalk paint, it hasn’t turned out too bad considering, I am quite proud of it. Can’t show it Mrs H yet as I need about half an hour to finish it completely when the paint is dry.
The new president of the good old US of A is being inaugurated today, he can’t be any worse than the outgoing one – can he? Trump never bothered to turn up to the ceremony, toys out of the pram etc etc.
Here’s a joke George told me this morning when he rang, trouble with George is that he gets all enthusiastic and then forgets the real reason for phoning, anyway, here goes;
Two women were playing golf. One teed off and watched in
horror as her ball headed directly toward a foursome of men playing the next hole.
The ball hit one of the men.
He immediately clasped his hands together at his groin, fell to the ground and proceeded to roll around in agony.
The woman rushed down to the man, and immediately began to apologize. 'Please allow me to help. I'm a Physical Therapist and I know I could relieve your pain if you'd allow me, she told him.
'Oh, no, I'll be all right. I'll be fine in a few minutes,' the man replied. He was in obvious agony, lying in the fetal position, still clasping his hands there at his groin.
At her persistence, however, he finally allowed her to help. She gently took his hands away and laid them to the side, loosened his pants and put her hands inside.
She administered tender and artful massage for several long moments and asked, 'How does that feel'?
He replied: It feels great, but I still think my thumb's broken!.
Just as we thought the new cases were settling, they shot up by almost 5000 today, the total was 38905 the highest of the week, but more alarming still were the number of recorded deaths due to coronavirus, there were 1820 today, and the Government are warning us that these figures will continue to rise for a time yet!.
Thursday 21/01/2021 – Day 313.
We had one hell of a storm last night, the rain was beating against the windows like hale, and the wind was really gusty, it sounded like all hell was breaking outside. The countdown continues with just 6 days remaining. I was lay in bed contemplating the fact that Sir John Harrington, a Godson of Queen Elizabeth 1st, invented the flush toilet. However, the first to market the flush toilet was a chap called Thomas Crapper, I am reliably informed that the similarity between his surname and the word crap are purely coincidental, a bit like the Irishman inventing the toilet seat – but it was the Englishman who put a hole in it!.
The new cladding arrived this morning, no email or anything to say it was on its way, just a rather soggy chap in a turban, the poor man had (as usual) been to the Wolverley address, that man down there is going to love us – I don’t think!
Well, everyone is really Christoff with this storm over the last few days, we had a right royal drenching last night and the flood barriers have gone up down the road in Bewdley, this is because when it rains in Wales we get a lot of their water come down the River Severn, As I said everyone is quite Christoff with the storm – can’t for the life of me think what they called it this time though.
On this day in 1925The birth of the comedian Benny Hill, in Southampton, Hampshire. One of his biggest fans was the silent film star, Charlie Chaplin. He was on TV for many years yet was eventually belittled by the alternative comedian Ben Elton who made a headline-grabbing allegation, both on the TV show Saturday Live and in the pages of Q magazine (in its January 1987 issue), that The Benny Hill Show was single-handedly responsible for the incidences of rape in England during the period in question, and also suggested the programme incited other acts of violence against women. The useless Ben Elton who – in my humble opinion is about as funny as a broken leg – tried to play the allegations down when a furious public turned on him.
There were 37892 new cases today but the death toll was still very high at 1290, this means that the number of fatalities since Sunday is around 6000, Today Priti Patel who is about as useful as a chocolate teapot, announced £800 fines for anyone attending a house party.
Friday 22/01/2021 - Day 314
The countdown is now just five days to go, now then, here’s a heads up for all you crisp lovers out there, eating one packet of crisps a day is the equivalent of drinking five litres of cooking oil a year, just think about that when you reach out in Sainsburys for that monstrous multi-pack.
The fierce wind and rain have abated at last but it’s left us with a bitter Northerly freezing cold wind, I hate wind (stop it you lot) you can wrap up against a good frost but wind well, it just goes straight through you (I said stop it). It was white over this morning and looked as though we had snow, but it was just a sharp frost, by 11.00 am it was mostly gone so I bravely went outside to start fixing the cladding on the Canopy, guess what? It was milder than yesterday! By 3,00 pm I had most of the wall up, if it hadn’t been for the worst designed edge strips in the world I would have easily finished it.
I was sat down having a rest and a cuppa and the phone rang, it was George whom I hadn’t heard off for nearly a week There goes another half hour of my life, I thought.
“Morning young Eric, Mrs H reckons you’re having a few problems, would you like me to come and give you a hand, I’ll keep my mask on at all times”
Not wanting to seem rude but needing to get the job finished in the next week I politely declined, but it didn’t stop him speaking.
“There's been a lot of debate about anti-Vaxxers on Facebook lately. I am now coming forward to stand up and say I'm firmly in the anti-Vax camp. There, I've said it!
I have my reasons, like many anti-Vaxxers, but it's important that everyone approaches this sensitive topic armed with the information THEY know to be true. I know my truth and I have first -hand experience that backs up my stance.
I had a Vax once and it was the worst vacuum cleaner ever. I will never buy one again. All these armchair experts have clearly never experienced the disappointment of having to go over the same piece of carpet again and again to pick up the same piece of cotton.
I am firmly in the Henry camp and I will not be told otherwise.”
I just couldn’t believe that I’d fell for one of his sick jokes again, I told him there was someone at the door and bid him good day.
At 5.00pm Boris and his two mates held a Downing street conference to basically tell us that the new virus strain is deadlier than they first thought – especially to men over 60, my day was just getting worse! But I was still alive at least. Today there were a further 40261 new cases the highest figure this week, the number of recorded deaths were once again well over 1000 and stood at 1401.
Saturday 23/01/2021 – Day 315
The countdown continues with just four days to go, we had a snow shower last night, it started with rain and within minutes everything was white over, unbelievable weather. Not wishing to get out of bed too early I am lay in bed reading a trivia book and have just discovered that the first known contraceptive was crocodile dung used by the Egyptians in 2000bc, I am wondering first of all – how did they get crocodiles in Egypt – and secondly how on earth did the dung work? Perhaps it was spread on the body and your partner smelled so badly that you kept away!
I was startled by a big gasp of exasperation from Mrs H in the bedroom, (no, no ,no) I went in to her to discover that she’d been taken off Facebook – she had in their words – expired! So the next two hours were spent trying to reconnect her, I love it, I can say what I like on there without her knowing, it’s a bit like her losing her voice lol.
On this day in 1989Legislation came into force which permitted garages to display fuel prices by litre only, not by the gallon, and therefore came the biggest con on the British people since decimalisation.
Also on this day in 1985A House of Lords debate was televised for the first time. People watched eagerly as the events unfolded, not to see what was happening but to see how many of them actually managed to stay awake for the whole performance.
The lockdown seems to be having an impact as the new case figures have only been above 40,000 once this week, todays figure is 33,552 which brings the total for my seven days to 260,048 almost 80,000 down on lest week. Recorded deaths however continue to rise and today’s figures were 1348 this brings my seven day total to 8,739 which is around 1000 up on last weeks total. The good news is that the number of recovered patients now stands at 1,600,622, let’s hope for a better week next week.