• harveyvickie

Diary of a self-isolator Weeks 61-65

Sunday 09/05/2021 – Day 416

Read an interesting fact last night on Facebook, apparently, newscasters in Russia can be fined for broadcasting an inaccurate weather forecast, what a novel way for the BBC to raise much needed funds.

After taking bloods from Sarah on Friday no-one has bothered to get back to her since, she is being told that she has problems, but nothing seems to be done about it, we are all truly exasperated with people going to her, diagnosing different things, and then leaving it at that.

I must admit that whilst scrolling through the mishmash of crap that has now become a pathetic excuse for British TV, we don’t often venture on to Channel 5. But last year Mrs H and I came across a hidden gem. Our Yorkshire Farm is a documentary about the Owen family.

Clive and Amanda live on remote Ravenseat Farm which spans 2000 acres, and is 1,800 feet above sea level, and located three and a half miles West of Keld, Swaledale. The couple’s nine “free-range” children, roam the Yorkshire countryside and get stuck in with working on the farm, with the oldest, Raven, now at university and the youngest, Nancy, a toddler. In between (in descending order of age) are Reuben, Miles, Edith, Violet, Sidney, Annas and five-year-old Clemmy.

There is a 20-year gap between Clive 66 and Amanda 46, they met when Amanda knocked on his door one cold and dark stormy night, she wanted to borrow a torch. But it is the closeness of the family and the siblings that bring this endearing family millions of viewers, the children are taught from an early age that if you want something then you have to earn it. They have no TV or radio and the children are raised the way I was raised in the fifties.

This is by far the best programme on any channel at the moment, and everyone who watches wants to adopt five-year old Clemmy who is wise beyond her years.

You can catch this programme on Tuesday nights at 9.00pm or all the episodes on My 5, you won’t be disappointed.

On this day in 1896The first 'Horseless Carriage' Show opened at the Imperial Institute in London, when ten engine-powered models went on show to the public. This was the day when gardeners and rose growers all over the UK shed a silent tear.

Also, on this day in 1960The UK saw the start of the sexual revolution of the 1960s when the birth control pill went on the market. It was approved for release in 1960 and take-up was swift: within two years it was being used by 1.2 million American women. It was introduced in the UK on the NHS in 1961 for married women only - this lasted until 1967 - and is now taken by 3.5 million women in Britain between the ages of 16 and 49.

There were 1770 new cases and 2 recorded deaths today.

Monday 10/05/2021 – Day 417

Woke up this morning to a wonderful blue cloudless sky and the sun shining through the window, by the time I had gone downstairs and made a cup of tea it was overcast and gloomy.

I managed to get the interior of the Summer house finished yesterday, I was never too happy about the way I had finished it, but now it’s had a new paint job and I’ve fitted a skirting board, it just needs Mrs H to work her magic on it now.

Sarah wasn’t feeling too well yesterday, no-one has been back to her since Friday, they have already told her she is on the wrong ante-biotics, yet they continue to ignore her, her medication from the hospital is now running out too. We are so annoyed, it’s like the NHS closes down on a weekend, looks like a morning on the phone sorting it all out.

Well, one week today we can all sit in the warmth of the pub supping copious amounts of the amber nectar, as you all know I am a great fan of Guinness, if that’s not available then I like real ales, Mild or Bitter , I’m not really fussed, but I will not drink a glass of council pop, that is the name around here for lager, it is basically made up of all sorts of chemicals that can eventually cause great harm to your throat and indeed your health. Mrs H is prone to drop of the old wine, in particular White Zinfandel Rose, which I know is a contradiction in terms, but she likes it so that’s all that matters. She also likes a drop of sherry (Harvey’s Bristol Cream) and a drop of Port, in fact – most things alcoholic and wet bless her, the recycling bin was emptied on Tuesday last week, and the noise from her empties was so loud they recorded it on the Richter scale.

Neither of us drink shorts as that would be classed as cannibalism.

On a hot Summer day, I am prone to a nice glass of the old Cider, but only the one mind you, we call it ‘rot gut’ around here, and I have had a bad experience with it.

Way back in 1975 I went on a Sunday morning cider trip with a small group from a local Inn, when I say small – I don’t mean that they were midgets – no, these were proper lads who knew how to drink. Anyway, they were loading the minibus up with big blocks of cheese and loaves of uncut bread, when I asked what they were for I was told they were to ‘soak up’ the cider. We got to this remote pub called the Cider House out in the countryside, and I ordered a pint, the landlord looked at me and refused,

“You ever tried this before?” he asked.

“No, but I was raised on Bathams bitter, the strongest beer in the Midlands”, I answered proudly.

“Then you’ll have a half pint lad.”

I thought it best not to argue as I didn’t wish to get thrown out before I’d even imbibed. He put the cider in front of me, if you drank with your eyes you wouldn’t have touched it, the cider was a green colour, there were bits floating in it and you couldn’t even see through the dense liquid, I sniffed at it and took a sip, it tasted surprisingly good, so I took a big gulp, wow, it was good. Ten minutes later I was back at the bar with an empty glass doing my impression of Oliver Twist and asking for more.

The landlord - who I swear, was a relative of Amos Brearley from the Woolpack in Emmerdale Farm – looked at me strangely.

“Take it steady lad, we’ve only just opened, thee knows.”

I looked around at my mates and they were carefully sipping their cider, savouring every drop by the look on their faces, the bread and cheese was laid out on the table and they took one of food bite and then a sip of cider.

‘Lightweights’, I thought, I continued to drink half pints whilst my friends urged me to slow down and have something to eat, but no, I knew better than these seasoned drinkers. I

have no idea how many half pints I drank, or how I even got home after they dropped me off, all I know is that I woke up in our bedroom on Tuesday lunchtime and Mrs H never spoke to me all week!

A substantial rise in new cases today, up to 2357 whilst recorded deaths were 4.

Tuesday 11/05/2021 – Day 418

I read somewhere that one of the most dangerous insects in the world is the common housefly, because it carries and transmits more diseases than any other creature in the world, no wonder Mrs H turns into a Banshee when one dares to enter the Harvey mansion.

Sarah has finally got the correct ante-biotics, but it took a phone call from our local GP to the specialist in Redditch to sort it out, I went around to the chemists next to our doctors to pick up the prescription, there was a queue outside at 5.15pm when we arrived, by the time we got the prescription it was turned 6 o clock, but hopefully, well worth the wait. It perked Sarah up just knowing that she had at last got medical help, but it shouldn’t be like that – should it?

George popped in for a chat on his way into town, Mrs H made us a drink and left us chatting in the Garden room, I could see something was on his mind.

“What’s up George?.”

He pondered for a while, then said to my surprise, “Do you and Lynn still kiss.?”

I looked at him wondering where on earth this was going.

“Of course we do, why?”

“It’s just since we’ve had that dog Sweetie pie, I can’t bring myself to kiss Rose on the lips.”

I almost choked on my coffee.

“Surely you’re not jealous of a dog George.”

“No, of course not, I’m not that insecure, it’s just that when I take it for a walk it sniffs at everything, places where other dogs have had a wee, even other dogs business, then I take him home she picks him up and she plants a kiss on his face and he licks her lips, I still shudder when I look at them, then she expects me to kiss her.”

I was exasperated, but I understood now why we had never wanted a pooch.

On this day in 1812British Prime Minister Spencer Percival was assassinated in the House of Commons, apparently mistaken by his killer, bankrupt broker John Bellingham, for someone else. He is the only Prime Minister in Britain to have been assassinated. But there were many unsuccessful attempts including Margaret Thatcher who narrowly escaped injury when a bomb tore apart the Brighton Grand Hotel where members of the government were staying during the 1984 Conservative Party conference. Five people, including Tory MP Sir Anthony Berry, were killed and 31 injured in the IRA bombing in the early hours of the morning.

Thatcher began the next session of the conference the following day, as scheduled. Bomber Patrick Magee was given eight life sentences at the Old Bailey in 1986. He was released in 1999 under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

In 2018 a plot was uncovered to assassinate Prime Minister Theresa May. Naa'imur Rahman, 20, was convicted at the old Bailey after he was trapped in a major undercover operation involving the FBI, MI5, and police.

Rahman approached officers posing online as fellow extremists, asking them for help with an attack.

He met two and repeatedly asked for bombs - leading to his conviction.

He has now been jailed for a minimum of 30 years.

Also, on this day in 1967It was the beginning of the end when Britain, Ireland and Denmark officially applied to join the EEC.

The number of new cases stood at 2474 while the number of deaths rose to 20.

Wednesday 12/05/2021 – Day 419

Lovely sunny start to the day once again here in downtown Kidderminster, problem is that dirty great black clouds keep coming across to ruin the day, we had thunder; a lightening and hail yesterday, and of course bucketsful of rain, yet I cut my lawns, Mrs H got a lot of her Summer planting done and I tidied up, as soon as it rained, the sun came out and within ten minutes everything was dry – crazy weather.

Good news on Sarah, the new ante-biotics are now starting to work and she is already feeling a lot better, a nurse has now given her his private number and told her to ring him at any time, if he can’t get to her then he’ll contact a doctor for her, the NHS is back on form. It is no coincidence also International nurse day today on the same day a wonderful nurse called Florence Nightingale was born.

When I was a baby my parents used to bathe me in cheap Australian lager, it wasn’t until I was 18 that I discovered I’d been Fostered.

Today in 1924The birth of the comedian Tony Hancock. He had a major success with his BBC series Hancock's Half Hour, first on radio from 1954, then on television from 1956, in which he soon formed a strong professional and personal bond with comic actor Sid James. After his success of the late fifties, he became paranoid that Sid James was being mentioned as much as him so he basically refused to work with him anymore. Later, he also sacked the writers Galton and Simpson who had written most of his stuff, he was gradually self-destructing. Hancock committed suicide, by overdose, in Sydney, on 25 June 1968. He was found dead in his Bellevue Hill flat with an empty vodka bottle and a scattering of amylo-barbitone tablets. In one of his suicide notes, he wrote: "Things just seemed to go too wrong too many times". His ashes were brought back to England by satirist Willie Rushton and were buried in St. Dunstan's Church in Cranford, London.

Spike Milligan commented in 1989: "Very difficult man to get on with. He used to drink excessively. You felt sorry for him. He ended up on his own. I thought, he's got rid of everybody else, he's going to get rid of himself and he did." All I ever remember was the comedy of ‘The Blood Donor’ and ‘The Radio ham’ sketches and kids in our playground doing that famous who am I, this is where they touched their toe, then their knee followed by their hand and – I think we’ll leave it there.

Also, today in 1945 the publication of the first of the 'Thomas the Tank Engine' series by the Rev. Wilbert Awdry. It was entitled 'The Three Railway Engines' and featured Edward, Gordon, and Henry. The book quickly sold the initial print run of 22,500 copies and there were a further two print runs by the end of the year. Awdry was born at Ampfield vicarage in Hampshire and his father was vicar of Ampfield Church. When the books were made into a series Ringo Starr was one of a long list of narrators. I have known a lot of ‘Fat Controllers.’ since its conception, in fact, I have worked with lots of them.

2284 new cases were reported today and the number of registered deaths were 11.

Thursday 13/05/2021 – Day 420

A bit of a dull start here today, the good news is that Sarah is starting to pick up, she is still feeling very sick most days but this is due to the very strong ante-biotics she is taking.

For this week’s nostalgia, I was remembering with fondness, the TV cowboys we used to emulate in the playground, those handsome well-dressed hunks that all the girls in my class had crushes on.

Gunsmoke 1955 – 1975 was one of the first I can remember, set In Dodge City, Kansas, Marshall Matt Dillon (James Arness) attempts to keep the peace. Other cast members include Dennis Weaver as Chester, Milburn Stone as Doc Adams, and Amanda Blake as Miss Kitty. The show ran for 20 years and 635 episodes.

Cheyenne 1955 – 1962, Everyone at school loved this cowboy, The show starred Clint Walker, a native of Illinois, as Cheyenne Bodie, a physically large cowboy with a gentle spirit in search of frontier justice who wanders the American West in the days after the American Civil War.

Wagon Train was another early memory with Ward Bond playing wagon master Seth Adams, but Bond died of a heart attack on the fourth season of 'Wagon Train. Ward Bond died on November 5, 1960. John McIntire was brought in to replace the actor, acting as a new wagon master.

Casey Jones’ (1957 to 1958) Alan Hale, Jr., en route to Classic TV immortality as the Skipper on Gilligan’s Island, starred as the title character. His steam-powered train is the Cannonball Express. They must have repeated this a lot as it always seemed to be on in our house.

‘Have Gun, Will Travel’ (1957 to 1963) Back in the Old West, Richard Boone plays a man who goes by the name “Paladin,” and is an investigator/gunfighter who travels around working for people who hire him to help them out of the dilemmas they find themselves in.

Sugarfoot 1957 – one of my childhood heroes. Will Hutchins is Tom Brewster, an Easterner with a desire to become a lawyer who travels to Oklahoma City to do so. Unfortunately, that area requires some serious cowboy skills, which he is completely lacking (hence the nickname “Sugarfoot”).

‘The Rifleman’ (1958 to 1963) In the fictional town of North Fork, Next Mexico Territory, Union Civil War veteran, widower, and rancher Lucas McCain (Chuck Connors) attempts to raise his son, Mark (Johnny Crawford)

‘Bonanza’ (1959 to 1973) Easily one of the medium’s most-beloved Westerns. While it featured many of the themes used in other Westerns, what rooted this show and kept the audience’s attention — and affection — was the Cartwright family itself and their interactions with each other. The cast includes Lorne Greene as patriarch Ben Cartwright and, as his sons, Pernell Roberts’ Adam, Dan Blocker’s Eric “Hoss” and Michael Landon’s Joseph “Little Joe.” It was on for Fourteen years with 431 episodes.

‘Laramie’ (1959 to 1963) The struggle of Slim Sherman (John Smith) and younger brother Andy (Robert Crawford, Jr.) to hold on to the family ranch in the aftermath of their father’s murder.

‘Rawhide’ (1959 to 1966) If anyone had asked me I would have sworn this was on our screens a lot earlier. The setting is the 1860s and Clint Eastwood plays Rowdy Yates, who is one of the people in charge of moving stock over long distances. It was this show that first brought Clint to the attention of Hollywood and propelled him into a movie career, even though some director told him he’d never make a screen hero because of the size of his Adams apple.

I hope you enjoyed this quick look back at the TV cowboys of the fifties.

There were 2657 new cases reported, the highest this week, there were 11 deaths.

Friday 14/05/2021 – Day 421

A real DAD (Dull as dishwater) day today, but at least there’s no rain forecast, so Mrs H has got some big plans for me in the garden, we were really naughty yesterday and spent the day looking around garden centres.

We went to one centre and bumped into a couple of old friends who had just popped to the Butchers which was amalgamated to the centre, he was disgusted, it seems that he fancied some sausages for tea, so to save them time they went to the Butchers, it cost them £4 for eight sausages which would have cost £1.50 in the dearest supermarket.

Mrs h and I decided we were going to visit a Garden centre we’d not been to before, so after visiting our regular centre we realised that neither of us knew the way, but in our car we have a sat-nav computer, but do you think we could make the thing work, we had more chance of flying abroad than getting that contraption to understand what we needed. The thing is that we have had the car from new since last March, then of course the pandemic really took a hold, we have had the car 14 months and its only done 230 miles! Mrs H spent almost 20 minutes in a lay-by (which we haven’t done since our courting days, but we won’t go there) trying to work it out, but to no avail, looks like we’ll have to get Sam and Alisha (Granddaughter) round for a quick lesson.

The teacher in class asked her pupils what their daddy did for a living, little Jimmy put up his hand and said, “My daddy hasn’t lost a case in twenty years,” The teacher was well impressed and asked Jimmy if his dad was a Lawyer, “No.” came the reply, “He’s a baggage handler at Heathrow.”

Update on Sarah, I had to pop around to the chemist tonight, her new ante-biotics are so strong that the ante-sickness tablets she was given aren’t strong enough and she is being sick, so the consequence is that she needs a much stronger ante-sickness tablet to combat the strong ante-biotics, phew!

Mrs H once told me that ‘sex is better on holiday’, that’s not a nice thing to say on a postcard.

A further

Saturday 15/05/2021 – Day 422

I was up early this morning after being woken by the rain hammering on the bedroom window, it has rained all night – again, Lake Geneva outside the front of our house and the neighbour’s house has now turned into the Atlantic Ocean with passing lorries throwing up waves at least a metre tall and washing both our garden walls with mud, silt and whatever else is floating around in its dark depths. The five-foot wide pavement meanwhile has been reduced to a nine-inch sort of ‘walking the plank’ experience – unless you want to get your feet wet! And, whilst walking through this narrow strip of tarmac, you have to hope and pray that a lorry doesn’t pass by halfway through, or it’s an early bath even though it isn’t Sunday. Time for a letter to the council I think.

Dear Mrs H had me on my hands and knees most of the day yesterday shaping my balls, allow me to elaborate, I am a great fan of topiary, especially the Buxus balls and trees, although, having said that, my favourite at the front of our house is a yew, it started off as a sapling about 10 years ago, I persuaded Mrs H to leave it to grow and we now have a six foot x four foot sort of dish with a big sphere floating on it, I love it and I think Mrs H has grown to like it too – but it has taken ten years. I am known as Eric Scissorhands thanks to my skill with pruning shears, we now have 14 perfectly round Buxus balls and six conical trees.

The fine English actor James Mason was born on this day in 1909. He died following a heart attack on 27th July 1984. His ashes were eventually interred near the tomb of his close friend, fellow English actor Sir Charlie Chaplin, in Corsier-sur-Vevey, Vaud, Switzerland. I know James Mason played some excellent roles, but the one that always stands out in my mind was the superb Spring and Port wine.

It tells the story of Rafe Crompton (James Mason) who works in a weaving mill. He is a proud man but not a rich man. He, and his family live in a council house. Every Friday teatime he gathers the various wages from his children and passes it to his wife, Daisy (Diana Coupland) who with Florence the eldest daughter (Hannah Gordon) keeps the family budget in order, making allowances for lending neighbours cash for emergencies such as the repossession of their hire purchase TV.

The story really starts with the younger daughter Hilda (Susan George), she refuses to eat the herring which has been prepared for "tea". Her father determines to serve it to her every day until she eats it. The sons Harold and Wilfred (Rodney Bewes and Len Jones) are shocked when a box is delivered containing a fine overcoat together with a receipt for 40 guineas. (This is the only bit of the drama I’ve never understood, they struggle with money yet he spends 40 guineas on a coat.)

The herring issue comes to a head when the herring disappears. It is found outside being eaten by the cat. However, Mr Crompton makes Wilfred swear on the bible that he did not move the herring. Wilfred faints under the pressure. This angers both daughters and they decide to leave. Florence goes to live with her fiancé Arthur. Hilda goes to stay with the neighbours, the Duckworth’s. They discover that Hilda is pregnant. Her mum pawns the new overcoat to give money to help her. The neighbour Mrs Duckworth also shows her how to break into the bureau to get at the cash box. From this the family starts to crumble when Mr Crompton discovers the losses.

Mrs Crompton runs off in the rain. Rafe finds her under a bridge, staring into the canal. He says he doesn't care about the coat or the money. meanwhile the boys pack and prepare to also leave.

As Mr and Mrs Compton walk home everything is resolved. At home he confesses he has always known of her trickery with the housekeeping money but as a sign of trust gives her the key to the bureau and cashbox. Florence is persuaded to stay home until she marries. They also know Hilda is pregnant but ask her to also stay. The boys are free to leave but choose not to. A brilliant film and one of the best dramas of social life of the late sixties I have ever watched.

We were sat watching TV last night I was supping on a Guinness and Mrs H was playing around with a calculator.

Me, what you doing?

Her. Working something out.

Me. What?

Her. How many Guinness do you drink in a week?

Me. About Twenty.

Her. At how much?

Me. About £2.00

She starts tapping furiously on the calculator.

Her. So, that’s £40 a week, about £2080 a year and over 40 years it would be £83,200, do you know that if you’d put that money in a savings account you could have bought a plane.

Me. Do you drink Guinness?

Her. You know I don’t.

Me. (supping my Guinness) So, where’s your plane then?

Silence is Golden.

There were 2027 new cases reported today giving a total of 157602 for the week, for the first time in 8 weeks that is a rise of 1202 on the previous week. There were 7 registered deaths today giving a total of 72 for the week, that is 7 less than last week. Recoveries now total 4,273,441, a rise of 27,697 on last weeks figure.

Well dear reader that’s it for another week, I’d just like to give a special mention to Angus McCoteup my sole reader up there in the Shetlands. It seems he has had so much rain that he’s had to invite ‘Shorty’ his Shetland pony indoors for the duration, they are both comfortable and well stocked, with plenty of fuel, his only necessity otherwise, is a bucket and shovel.

Week 62

Sunday 16/05/2021 – Day 423

Here we are at the start of my 62nd week in self-isolation, well, that isn’t actually true to be quite honest, last week Mrs H and I popped out to the garden centre, though, I have to admit that we both felt like escaped convicts and couldn’t get used to seeing other people around, so, this begs the question – Am I still a self-isolator? – over to you.

Sarah rang yesterday, she sounded really chirpy and upbeat, she thinks that she may have found the thing that was making her feel sick all along, watch this space. I will be nipping around this week (if it ever stops raining) to give her lawns the once over.

Mrs H and myself were confined to barracks yesterday because of heavy rain, but just after lunch there was a lull, we rushed out like excited children on the first day of snow and finished off putting up all the nick-nacks in the Summer house. It is now ready for us to sit and listen to the water gently trickling into the pond, and to admire all our hard work of the last few weeks.

Did you know that Thomas Edison the inventor of the incandescent light bulb was a Nyctophobe, he was afraid of the dark.

Today in 1908Britain’s first diesel submarine was launched; I just want to know how they refuelled it.

On this day in 1943 the famous ‘Dam Busters’ raid by the 617 Squadron of Lancaster bombers led by Wing Commander Guy Gibson breached the Mohne, Eder and Sorpe dams in Germany using the ‘bouncing’ bombs developed by Dr Barnes Wallis. The Dambuster Pilots practiced their techniques at the Derwent Dam in Derbyshire where there is a memorial to them. Regular practices also took place at Eyebrook Reservoir in Leicestershire. Of the 133 aircrew that took part, 53 men were killed and three became prisoners of war. On the ground, almost 1,300 people were killed in the resulting flooding. Although the impact on industrial production was limited, the raid gave a significant morale boost to the people of Britain. The Eder was Europe’s largest dam, and massive damage and loss of life were caused by flood water, as well as a serious loss of hydroelectric power for the German industrial area of the Rhine.

The Dam Busters (1955) was the very first film I went to see with my older brother Mick in 1959, I was just seven years old but that stirring music had such an influence on me that even when I hear it today it makes the hairs on my neck stand up. The PC brigade got on the case when it was discovered that Guy Gibson’s black dog was named ‘offensively’ and cast Gibson as a racist. The dog’s name was changed in the film to ‘Trigger’.

But still that didn’t satisfy the PC brigade, the dog was buried at Scampton, Lincolnshire back in 1943, dying on 16 May, the same day his owner was leading an attack against the Germans. The dog was hit by a car back in Lincolnshire, but he had earned his place as mascot for the RAF squadron over the years, being the Wing Commander’s loyal pet. The gravestone in Scampton bore his offensive name since his burial, but on Thursday 16 July 2020 the RAF confirmed the original headstone has been removed and been replaced with a more suitable one.

Oh, I forgot to mention that the other film playing with the Dam Busters was a family film called The Shaggy Dog, mmm methinks that name should be changed eh?

Finally on this day in 2013Following earlier government plans to raise the state pension age, the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA basically a bunch of well overpaid fat cats who won’t have to worry about eking out a living on a state pension), a 'think tank', found that retirement resulted in a 'drastic decline in health' in the medium and long term. Many of us who are retired would disagree! This was by far the biggest con since decimalisation, it robbed hundreds of thousands of women of their right to retire at a decent age.

I’ve discovered that as I get older I just want the same thing from my underwear that I want from Mrs H - a little bit of support, and a little bit of freedom.

There were 1926 new cases today with four deaths registered.

Monday 17/05/2021 - Day 424

There is a strange object up in the sky, it seems warm and is a round orange thing, most local people were stunned when it first appeared, Countryfile last night suggested that no-one would see such an object and it really did not exist, but, here it is and people are once more wandering around holding hands, soaking up its rays with no signs of headwear or domed objects over their heads in order to stay dry, long may it remain – but don’t hold your breath.

Sarah’s health continues to improve but sadly her thinking is deteriorating rapidly, she has started to ask for a roast dinner, that is not so bad I hear you say, but it gets worse – she is craving one of Mrs H’s roast dinners – I don’t think there’s a tablet available for these hallucinations is there?

On this day in 1861A group of holidaymakers set off from London on the first foreign 'package trip' arranged by Thomas Cook. It was a six-day holiday in Paris. Cook began his pioneering tour business 20 years previously when he organized the first publicly advertised railway excursion from Leicester to a temperance meeting at Loughborough (11 miles away). I wonder if Boris had realised the significance of his travel restrictions being lifted on such a day, we can also of course pop out to lunch in a pub, or go out and have a drink this evening, we can go to the gym – wherever that is.

George popped around this morning, he was telling us how Rose had been to weightwatchers to enlist, she accidentally dropped a box of Maltesers from her bag, they rolled everywhere, she said it was the best game of Hungry Hippos she’s ever witnessed.

I was sat here wondering why so many people don’t like Monday mornings, I have always loved them myself, the start of a fresh week, putting all the misery of the previous weeks well behind us, Mrs H abhors them but can’t really explain why, she hates it when I get out of bed all chirpy and ready for anything (don’t go there). I mean, if you go back in history I could understand our mother’s or our Grandmother’s hating Mondays, it was always washday. Everyone back then had massively large families, therefore, with what was available, dolly tubs and mangles, washday for our grandmother would be a very long day, even after she’d washed it she would then have to iron it by heating an iron on a large black lead grate. Our mothers were a bit better off, they had the good old twin tub, but it was still hard work, the stuff had to be literally boiled, then put through a wringer, hung out to dry (had that done to me a few times) and then ironed, I remember my dear old mum plugging her iron into the light socket. Don’t forget, I had four brothers and five sisters so my mum’s day was as long as her mother’s even though things had improved. Today of course, the dirty washing is thrown into a machine which does all the work, but then – it still has to be ironed, Mrs H calls her ironing board ‘The rack’ because it reminds her of those medieval stretching machines used to torture people. Now I’ve actually written it down I can understand why you lovely ladies hate Mondays.

I was looking in a mirror combing my hair this morning when a Rod Stewart song came into my head. No, not ‘Do Ya Think I’m Sexy’ but ‘Maggie May’ especially the bit that says, ‘The morning sun when it’s in your face really shows your age’.

A further 1979 new cases were reported today and 5 more deaths were registered.

Tuesday 18/52021 – Day 425

The sun is out once again this morning, but we don’t hold our breath, it started like this yesterday, then we had torrential rain, followed by more rain, followed by thunderstorms, followed by hail the size of marbles (which I seem to have lost temporarily), so no, we won’t get too excited.

Between all the downpours Mrs H and I managed to get a few jobs done outside, Mrs H was planting up her baskets while I spent the best part of two hours looking for an elusive leak on the garden room roof, there was one screw that hadn’t quite gone down all the way, so it was a bit of a Eureka moment when I discovered it, alas I obviously didn’t do the job correctly, because as soon as it rained again the inevitable drip, drip drip returned, I will have another go this morning, that is, if the sun continues.

The young tree in our front garden has had an attack of little round mites on all the branches, after further inspection I realised that I could brush them off with a broom, I was doing exactly that when a lady walked past and said --

"That's taking Spring cleaning to the extreme!"

Sarah continues to improve, according to Mollie she ate like a horse yesterday,, she did have one bout of sickness but it was her insulin intake that was too blame, Mrs H is cooking them a much craved for roast this week, and if it ever stops raining I’ll cut the lawns for her.

Mrs H and I have been waking up aching every morning now for some time (don’t go there) I put it down to my bad shoulder, but Mrs H is aching as well, last night was the final straw, I woke at about 2.30am and woke Mrs H as well (I said don’t go there) the result was that neither of us got much sleep. So, it was straight on the old computer this morning in search of a half decent mattress topper, after about 30minutes research the name that kept popping up above all others with rave reviews was the Panda. It was £139.99 on the official site, but after shopping around a little we got it £20 cheaper, it will arrive toward the end of the week, watch this space!

New cases rose today by almost 500 to 2412, there were 7 registered deaths.

Wednesday 19/05/21 – Day 426

It’s a beautiful sunny start to the day, not a cloud in the sky got the sun in my eye, Ooops, apologies, slipped into Carpenters role for a moment, our local weather girl Shefali Oza (who couldn’t lie straight in bed) has assured us Midlander’s that this will remain so for the rest of the day. However, overnight and all day tomorrow the wrath of God will descend upon us for daring to have a sunny day in mid-May, all hell will break loose with the odd passing thunderstorm, hail as big as golf balls and torrential rain – did I tell you that Shefali has applied to Drama school?

Sarah is continuing to improve; her medication seems to have settled down and she is getting regular visits from nurse Colin who is worth his weight in gold. However, the carers just continue to do the basics and refuse to do anything outside their contract – carers?

It seems that our own dear Prince Harry is facing condemnation in America after he described the First Amendment as "bonkers" during a podcast last week. This was the equivalent of John Lennon telling them that “We're more popular than Jesus now”. The Duke of Sussex made the comment while speaking to actor Dax Shepard, who hosts the Armchair Expert podcast.

During the chat, Harry said: “I’ve got so much I want to say about the First Amendment as I sort of understand it, but it is bonkers. “I don’t want to start going down the First Amendment route because that’s a huge subject and one which I don’t understand because I’ve only been here a short time.

“But you can find a loophole in anything. You can capitalise or exploit what’s not said rather than uphold what is said.”

The First Amendment protects the freedom of speech, the press, assembly and right to petition the US government.

Mrs H and I were so fed up with the weather yesterday that donned raincoats and brollies and took ourselves off to the Garden centre as we needed something for Mrs H to do on a sunny day like today, between dodging heavy downpours we bought half a dozen trays of plants which she will miraculously turn into a wonderful display of hanging baskets and pot displays.

I don’t want to speak too soon, but after hours of inspection and umpteen attempts, I may have finally fixed the infuriating leak on the Garden room roof, fingers crossed.

On this day in 1536Anne Boleyn, King Henry VIII's second wife, was beheaded in London. She was 29 years old. Although the evidence against her was unconvincing, the charges brought included incest with her brother and no less than four counts of adultery. Anne was almost certainly born at Blickling Hall as a statue and portrait of Anne can be found at Blickling Estate which carry the inscription, 'Anna Bolena hic nata 1507' - Anne Boleyn born here 1507.

There is outrage on Social media sites about the upcoming Channel 5’s drama Anne Boleyn, is an upcoming 3-part British historical psychological thriller with colour-blind casting starring Jodie Turner-Smith as Anne Boleyn. Why the outrage? Well, the beautiful Jodie is black, and historians feel that this is a step too far in changing British History as there are portraits of Anne shown as a white woman, does it really matter? If you don’t agree then don’t watch, simples dot com.

Also on this day in 2014Britain's longest-serving postmistress retired, after 61 years in the job. Esther Brauer, 83, ran the business, first from her home in Kylesku in Sutherland, and for the last 31 years from a wooden shed in her garden. She said she had finally made up her mind to stand down because of her computer 'going doolally'. The 87-year-old said that she planned to make the most of her retirement and added 'I think my husband and I will go away more often.' Sadly, Esther died three years later in 2017.

I have put our scales in the corner of the bathroom today, and there they will stay until they learn to tell the truth!

New cases rose again today to 2696, but registered deaths fell to 3.

Thursday 20/05/21 – Day 427

I am sat here looking out of the window and it is dull but calm, Oops, apologies – a leaf just moved on our Acer tree down the garden, no, false alarm it was yet another pigeon building a nest. Shefali Oza told us last night that we would be waking up to 50mph winds and torrential downpours, well Shefali – it hasn’t materialised yet – just saying.

Mrs H and I went around to see Sarah and Mollie yesterday, both are well, as the sun was streaming down I took the opportunity to cut her front and back lawns which were already six inches high, I actually filled her green waste bin (which is brown,) to the top with grass cuttings.

I thought that this week’s nostalgia we could look back on Coronation street.

Just over 60 years and around 10,326 episodes on from when Tony Warren’s creation first hit our screens, Corrie is a ratings winner with millions of people glued to the events of fictional northern town Weatherfield. Although, they have lost millions of older viewers due to recent controversial storylines aimed at a much younger audience.

Corrie which hit our screens on 9th December 1960 was originally going to be called Florizel Street but the story goes that the title was changed after a Granada TV cleaner remarked on how the name supposedly sounded like a disinfectant.

Episode No 1 was filmed live and opens in the shop where Florrie Lindley (Betty Alberge), has bought up the local Corner Shop from Elsie Lappin (Maudie Edwards), she has just retired after working there for many years. Elsie warns Florrie about the residents and stays around to show her the tricks of the trade.

Meanwhile down at No.11, Elsie Tanner (Pat Phoenix) is lecturing her 18-year-old son Dennis (Philip Lowrie), who has recently been released from prison. She wants him to find work, which is not easy for him because of his criminal record. Because he went to prison for theft, she also accuses him of stealing two shillings from her purse. Elsie tells Dennis that she wishes they were more like the Barlow family, who apparently do not argue all the time, she couldn’t have been more wrong.

At No. 3, 21-year-old student Ken Barlow (William Roache) is eating dinner with his parents, Frank (Frank Pemberton) and Ida (Noel Dyson). Frank starts accusing Ken of being too snobbish and being embarrassed by his working class family. Ken's younger brother David (Alan Rothwell) arrives home from work and tells his father that his bicycle has got a puncture, which Frank is more than happy to repair. David sits at the table and asks Ken what is wrong and Ken tells him about the argument between him and Frank, which David is not surprised about. The two brothers seem to get on fine despite their differences.

Ken heads to The Rovers Return Inn, run by Annie Walker (Doris Speed). Ken orders cigarettes, while Dennis enters and orders a half pint of mild. Annie seems to approve of Ken more than Dennis. Dennis begins to wind up Ken about him being in University.

Meanwhile, Elsie's daughter Linda Cheveski (Anne Cunningham) arrives to inform her that she’s separated from her husband Ivan (Ernst Walder) and is planning a divorce. Elsie decides to let Linda stay at No. 11. At the Corner Shop, Florrie serves her first customer, Ena Sharples (Violet Carson), the live-in caretaker of the nearby Glad Tidings Mission Hall, who fiercely questions her about her background and religious values. Ken goes to Number 1 to visit his friend, pensioner Albert Tatlock (Jack Howarth).

And so began the longest soap opera of all time, with real characters that people could believe in ad care about, characters like Jack and Vera Duckworth, Bet Lynch, Eddy Yates, Betty Turpin and probably the soap’s best loved characters Hilda and Stan Ogden.

Deaths greatly outnumber births - 160 people bumped off, to 47 babies born. There have been 93 weddings. Mike Baldwin and Jackie Ingram had the shortest marriage, their wedded bliss lasting just seven days in 1991. Married seven times, Steve is the most-wed character

Famous people you may have seen treading the famous Weatherfield cobbles include Davy Jones (later one of the Monkees); Joanna Lumley; Ben Kingsley; Ian McKellen; Stephanie Beacham; Patricia Routledge; Patrick Stewart; Martin Shaw; June Whitfield; Anna Friel; Nigel Havers; Gordon Kaye played Elsie’s nephew Bernard for 38 episodes in 1969.

As the show’s sole-surviving original character, Ken Barlow has spent the longest time in Coronation Street followed by Emily Bishop. Ken Barlow’s son Peter Barlow is the character to have been played by the most actors. The current performer Chris Gascoyne is the seventh to have had the role.

Sadly, todays street is nowhere near as good as it used to be, ratings before believable writing and storylines seems to be the order of the day.

Another rise in new cases today, there were 2874 reported, there were also 7 new deaths registered.

Friday 21/05/21 – Day 428

A very blustery and stormy start to the day here in downtown Kidderminster, but we are promised a sunny start to next week and even – wait for it – a sixteen-day heatwave! I have no idea how they know this. They struggle to predict what happens in three day’s-time.

Yesterday was a catch-up day. It was a complete washout anyway, so I spent a few hours getting some of those niggling little jobs done. Those jobs that Mrs H had been collecting for such a rainy day. You know the ones, you keep putting them off because it is a Mrs H’s ‘five-minute job’ that usually translates into half a day of your life going down the plug hole, or at least a visit to the dreaded B & Q. Anyway, I got most of them done, but I know deep in my heart, that the new list has already started in Mrs H’s list.

Good news on the Sarah front, her diabetes is now back under control and therefore back to its proper levels after a scary couple of days. The poor girl still cannot sit up without the room spiralling though, otherwise all is good.

1946A world wheat shortage led to bread rationing in Britain.

1950Two people died and more were injured as violent storms and a tornado swept through counties around London.

On this day in1966American boxer Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) ended the hopes of British heavyweight champion Henry Cooper winning the world heavyweight titles when the bout was stopped in Round 6 because of a severe cut above Cooper's eye

Clay’s first knockdown had come as a young contender against Sonny Banks in 1962; the second would come just a year later. By the time Ali–still Cassius Clay in 1963, as he hadn’t changed his name yet–fought Henry Cooper in his first overseas fight in London, he had a record of 18-0 and was expected to get a shot at the heavyweight title soon. Cooper was an interesting opponent. He had a record of 27-8-1–good for the average fighter, not so good for a contender–and he held the titles of British and Commonwealth Heavyweight Champion. His greatest strength was one of the best left hooks in the division; he had one punch knockout power. His greatest weakness is that he was a terrible “bleeder.” Cooper cut and bled very easily, and the bulk of his losses had come when his vision had been impaired by blood. Ali–as boisterous in his promotion of a fight as ever–declared repeatedly that he would knock Cooper out in the 5th round. But Clay couldn’t knock ‘Our Enry’ out, the fight was stopped in the sixth after a bad gash opened up above Henry’s eye, but Cooper had already put Clay on the canvas in the fourth, the first Boxer to do so.

Once again, a high number of new cases which were 2829, the number of deaths was the highest of the week at 9.

Saturday 22/05/21 -Day 429

For the first time in a week I’ve woken up and it isn’t raining, it makes you want to rush outside and do the work that’s been building up all week. Although, I don’t think the neighbours would appreciate it, perhaps I should get dressed first.

Looking forward to going around to Sarah’s tomorrow, Mrs H is cooking her and Mollie a Sunday lunch, Sarah has requested roast parsnips, one of my pet hates.

Not looking forward to the Eurovision contest tonight. Mrs H and I are having a bet to see who is nearest to how far down the list we will end up, I have second from bottom, and reckon I am on to a winner. Neither of us have any idea who is representing the UK, and neither of us have heard the song yet.

Well here we are at the end of yet another week and day 429, which sounds like the shift I was doing in 2014 at Sainsbury’s. My work started at 4am and I had to rise at 3.am. I truly hated that job, it was basically slave labour, I had a huge trolley which I had to select goods from all over the shop to fulfil online shopper’s orders, it was constant pressure and thank goodness it was a short shift, finishing at nine, trouble was, by the time you got home you were too knackered to do anything all day. I take my hat off to all those lovely people who do this job every day, you are all hero’s in my eyes.

The greatest understatement of the century came on this day in 1981when Peter Sutcliffe, known as the Yorkshire Ripper, was sentenced to life imprisonment after the judge described him as 'an unusually dangerous man'. He was found guilty of killing 13 women and the attempted murder of 7 others.

Today we think of a special man who on this day in 2013 was just innocently going about his business.British Army soldier, Fusilier Lee Rigby was attacked and killed near the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich. Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, British and of Nigerian descent, ran the off-duty soldier down with a car, then used knives and a cleaver to hack him to death. The two men made no attempt to flee, encouraged people to take pictures of them and their victim and told passers-by that they had killed a soldier to avenge the killing of Muslims by the British armed forces. We pray that those 2 animals never see daylight again.

And on a lighter note a word of advice to my male readers. If, after an argument she say’s

“Whatever, just do what you want”

Do NOT, under any circumstances do what you want. Stand quite still, do not blink, do not answer, and do not breathe. Just play dead!

There were 2694 new cases reported today, that brings the total for the week to 17410, 1648 up on last weeks total. But registered deaths continue to fall an are almost half of last weeks total at 41. Meanwhile recoveries are up by 26,448.

Week 63

Sunday 23/05/2021 – Day 430

People used to say to me that I had no will power, but I’ve quit smoking lots of times.

And a jolly good morning to each and every one of you, it is a funny sort of day here in Kidderminster, the weather can’t seem to make up its mind which way to go, but we are promised rain later this afternoon as yet another storm moves in.

I told you last week that Mrs H and I bought a mattress topper, a few months ago we bought a new mattress after we were both waking with aches and pains. We opted for the orthopaedic very firm mattress as we were always told that to cure a bad back you had to lie on something firm, It was fine at first, but lately we have both been waking with back pain, So, we ordered this new ‘Panda’ mattress topper and I must say, it has made a lot of difference, we are now sleeping through the night and my permanent nagging backache has gone, well worth the money.

Looking forward to popping round to Sarah and Mollie’s later, Mrs H has promised them a Sunday roast and Sarah has requested roast parsnips which I just cannot stand, oh well, to each their own.

Mrs H and myself sat up watching the Eurovision song contest last night, I have to say that it wasn’t really fair on the UK. We certainly didn’t deserve no points at all. This isn’t sour grapes, we just felt really sorry for our singer James Newman. Let’s be honest, his song wouldn’t have won many competitions, but it was a lot better than a lot of the songs which got into double figures thanks to political voting.

That, sadly is all the laughable Eurovision song contest has become, a political vote arena, good old Terry Wogan said as much in the final ten years that he hosted it, it got so embarrassing that he stopped presenting it long before he needed to.

Gone are the glory days when every country had an equal chance. The first Contest was held on 24 May 1956, when seven nations participated. With a live orchestra, the norm in the early years, and simple sing-along songs on every radio station.

The United Kingdom has won the Eurovision Song Contest five times and has finished as runner-up on a record fifteen occasions. The UK has hosted the contest a record eight times, four times in London (1960, 1963, 1968 and 1977) and once each in Edinburgh (1972), Brighton (1974), Harrogate (1982) and Birmingham (1998).

Sweden and the Netherlands won 4 times. ABBA is the most successful Eurovision Song Contest winner. The Swedish pop band won the contest in 1974.

The first time the UK won was with Sandie Shaw in 1967, she won with ‘Puppet on a String.’ A song she hated and didn’t want to record. The second time it was a joint winner with Four countries (the United Kingdom, Spain, the Netherlands and France) winning the contest, the first time ever a tie had occurred. Lulu represented the UK with ‘Boom Bang a Bang’. The third time was in 1976 with Brotherhood of Man and ‘Save Your Kisses for Me.’ A Fourth win came in 1981 with Bucks Fizz and ‘Making Your Mind Up.’ The Fifth and final winner was 1997 was Katrina and the Waves with ‘Love Shine a Light’.

And since then the light has well and truly gone out on the UK’s entries.

The end of the Cold War in the early 1990s led to a sudden increase in numbers, with many former Eastern Bloc countries queuing up to compete for the first time. This process has continued to this day with more and more countries joining. For this reason, in 2004 the Semi-Final format was introduced by the EBU which turned into two Semi-Finals for the Eurovision Song Contest in 2008. Now all countries, except the 'Big Five' – France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom – together with the host country, must be in a Semi-Final top-10 to qualify for the Final.

So why do we continue to support this sad old presentation? The only reason that it is on our TV screens id thanks to the BBC who send vast amounts of licence payers money to the organisers to prop up this derelict production. If we all protested we wouldn’t have to take part in this garbage any longer.

It really was lovely to see James Newman dancing around and smiling when the second zero points was given out, but it was even lovelier to hear the boos from the live audience and the other guests in the green room standing up to applaud him.

And finally, on this day in 2014Judges ruled that the remains of Richard III should be given a dignified reburial in Leicester, as the Justice Secretary attacked his distant relatives ( Dick Dastardly and Richard the Turd) for wasting public money by challenging to have him interred elsewhere. Richard III's body was buried in the now demolished Franciscan Friary in Leicester and was discovered in September 2012 under what had become a car park.

There were 2235 new cases today with a further 5 deaths.

Monday 24/05/2021 – Day 431

A bit of a wishy-washy day here in Kidderminster, bits of blue among the vast grey clouds, this weather is like the Government – it just doesn’t know what to do with itself.

They’re a rare breed our dustbin men, I had to go outside and retrieve our brown garden bin from the middle of the foot path, there is a vast puddle the size of the Dead Sea one side and our wall the other side with about a 12 inch walk through for the pedestrians, so where do they leave it? Yep, right in the middle of the path. It’s not my fault that Mrs H overfills it and it nearly pulled the poor dustbin man’s arm from its socket. I had to maul it through the gravel on our drive last night and it was so heavy it left two trench’s not unsimilar to the Grand Canyon.

Spent a couple of hours at Sarah and Mollies yesterday afternoon, Mrs H did them a lunch and I came away with a long list of jobs ready to do as soon as the weather brightens up a little. Sarah looks so well, but she just cannot move her head without the room spinning, everyone seems to be ignoring her when she explains it. But she has to go for a scan today, she’ll be taken by ambulance to Worcester, perhaps that will reveal the problem.

Just to reassure all my scouse friends out there. You’re being offered a ‘Jab’ not a ‘Job’, so just relax and stay calm.

On this day in 1819Princess Alexandrina Victoria was born at Kensington Palace in London, the only daughter of the Duke of Kent. As Queen Victoria, she reigned for 63 years, from 1837 until her death in 1901. She married Prince Albert in 1840 and had four sons and five daughters. After Albert’s death in 1861, she went into virtual retirement.

Also on this day in 1969The Black and White Minstrel Show, at London's Victoria Palace, closed after completing 4,354 performances over a period of seven years. In the two decades of its existence, the sheer popularity of The Black and White Minstrel Show – was reflected in the viewing figures that it amassed. In the 1960s, it regularly achieved audiences of 16 million or more. Its stage-show spin-offs were breaking all box-office records. At one point, it was even something of a critical success: in 1961, it won the prestigious Golden Rose of Montreux. But the BBC were blinkered in their outlook on a show that was so racist, the then hierarchy of the world’s biggest television institution were only interested in results and income.

The show began in 1958 but was eventually stopped in 1978, although a touring version toured continuously from 1960 until 1987, this was a show that pleased our mothers and fathers, but not necessarily their offspring. But then in 1972 we had ‘Love thy Neighbour’ in which two neighbours were racist against each other and guess what? our generation loved it and pushed it straight up the ratings!

In 2003Britain's entry in the Eurovision Song Contest failed to score a single point, a fact later blamed on the UK's stance during the Iraq conflict. Sound familiar?

Remember when you bury a body illegally, always cover it with very rare and endangered plants, it then becomes illegal to dig it up. Follow me for more gardening tips!

A rise in new cases up to 2439, and 3 deaths were registered.

Tuesday 25/05/21 – Day 432

Weather’s not too bad today, I must say though, it’s strange to not hear or see the rain battering against the bedroom windows.

Two ambulance men arrived at Sarah’s house yesterday, they were helping her out of bed when she passed out, the ambulance staff managed to get her back into bed and awake again, but she was immediately sick. One of them remarked that her situation was extremely bad and that she needed help from her doctors surgery. The doctor hasn’t even rung up to see how she is since she left hospital over two weeks ago! They did send a nurse around yesterday to take blood, but Sarah is so thin that they couldn’t manage to get any blood samples – surely this should have rung the alarm bells at the doctors. After waiting for over 50 minutes on the line for an appointment, and after much questioning the doctor finally agreed to make a home visit, he is due today and Sarah has a long list of questions awaiting him.

My highlight of the day was the recycling bin which has to go out, it was almost as heavy as the Garden waste bin, it was full of tins and demijohns. For those not in the know, a demijohn is a glass jar which will hold approximately one gallon of liquid. I used them for my wine making days which I stopped about four years ago. But now I want to start making my own wine again. Firstly though, I have to get rid of the 60+ gallons of wine that I have stored in my shed. No, I don’t mean I will get Mrs H to drink it, as far as I know it is no longer drinkable (although, the good lady will drink almost anything) so it must go down the drain, which well may result in recycled water becoming about 14% proof so watch what your drinking dear readers. I then, of course will have around 80 one-gallon demijohns, whereas in reality I will only need 24, so the plan is to clean them and sell them on our local bargain pages. At least it’ll help toward the new wine.

On this day in 1871The House of Commons passed the Bank Holiday Act, creating public holidays on Easter Monday, Whit Monday and Christmas Day. But Charles Dickens was well ahead of them and mentioned in ‘A Christmas Carol in 1843 that Scrooge begrudgingly gave Bod Cratchit a day off at Christmas.

Also on this day in 1994The Camelot consortium won the contract to run Britain's first national lottery, starting in November. This has now become the biggest con-trick since decimalisation and I still refuse to play it. I will play the Irish lottery however, as the odds are about the same as before Camelot added 10 extra balls to the Lotto making it almost impossible to win outright. The result is that there is rollover after rollover until the time comes when it has to be won and this results in a share down. As I said, it’s a con.

I am one of those who is proud to call myself working class, Apparently, you know you’re truly working class when your TV is twice the size of your bookcase.

New cases remained stable today but deaths rose to 15.

Wednesday 26/05/21 – Day 433

I was lay in bed wondering if every one in four frogs is a leapfrog. A nice sunny start to the day for us, but then, we didn’t have any rain yesterday and Lake Geneva at the front of the house has started to dry up.

The Doctor arrived at Sarah’s yesterday and seemed genuinely shocked at her condition, apparently, the hospital did not inform her doctors that she had been discharged, hence the lack of contact between them, it seems right now that her biggest problem is getting out of bed due to the vertigo being so severe. He has left her some tablets which he says work in 80% of cases and he’ll ring her on Thursday to check on her progress.

Mrs H took advantage of the good weather yesterday and worked me like a donkey. The woman is very formidable in the garden! Forget all the gardening experts telling you that you shouldn’t move this plant or that plant at certain times of the year, If Mrs h wants it moved - then it gets moved – regardless of the rules, and I don’t think she’s ever lost a plant yet, I think they’re too frightened to die!

You all know how I feel about pigeons by now, at our last house both our neighbours had them, they were supposed to be racing pigeons but I can’t remember many of them actually coming home. I asked my neighbour one day over a drink, “What is the difference between a homing pigeon and a normal pigeon?”. He replied, “You can’t lose a homing pigeon. If your homing pigeon doesn’t come back, then what you’ve lost is a pigeon.”

Mrs h and I watched a program last night on how ships were held together, it was riveting!

On this day in 1989The BBC broadcast the 10,000th episode of the daily radio serial The Archers.

When referring to the jobs Mrs H gives me around the house I often say that it’s like painting the Forth bridge, but on this day in 2012the seemingly never-ending task of painting the Forth Bridge (was finally completed, following a 10-year programme of work and 240,000 litres of 'epoxy glass plate paint' that should last for 20 years. More than 1,500 people worked on the bridge during its restoration, with as many as 400 workers on the bridge in a single day at the peak of activity. So, it seems there’s hope for me yet – but don’t hold your breath.

New cases rose substantially today and were up to 3542, registered deaths were 9.

Thursday 27/05/2021 – Day 434

Another lovely sunny start to the day, today is when the weather forecasts all agree that the weather is going to return to some sort of normality. We have even been promised a heatwave, don’t get too excited, a succession of rainless days is now classed as a heatwave in this country but even so, we should never count our chickens before they hatch.

Sarah was not too well again yesterday, the tablets given for her severe vertigo don’t seem to be working, the doctor is ringing her sometime today so perhaps he can sort it out for the poor woman.

I am going to be busy most of the day making a large gate for Gemma’s side alley. Even though there is already a gate at the front of the house. That alley is akin to the Khyber-pass, and the wind – even on a calm day – whistles through like a hurricane. But have no fear, poppa is here.

So many of you enjoyed my look back at Coronation Street last week. But how many of you can remember Crossroads. It was filmed less than 20 miles from here and was famous for the door slamming episodes where the whole set shook and wobbled.

Crossroads was a British television soap opera that ran on ITV over two periods – the original started on November 2nd, 1964, and ran till 1988. In 2001 to 2003, it had a short revival but once again, it never quite reached the rankings expected of a soap.

Originally the story was based around two feuding sisters, Kitty Jarvis (Beryl Johnstone) and Meg Richardson (Noele Gordon). Meg was a wealthy woman who, with the help of her late husband Charles' insurance money, and compensation money from the council for them building a motorway through their land, turned her large Georgian house into a motel. "The Crossroads Motel" was located on the outskirts of the small village of King's Oak, which is on the outskirts of Birmingham. Meg also had two children from her marriage, Jill (Jane Rossington) (born 1946) followed by Alexander, or "Sandy" (Roger Tonge).

At first its popularity was as great as Coronation Street, there were some wonderful characters in the show who became household names. One of the favourites was woolly hatted Benny who had every schoolboy in the land uttering ‘Miss Diane’ in a strange Birmingham dialect. His fans included British troops serving in the Falklands War in 1982, who nicknamed the Falkland Islanders "Bennies" after the character. Instructed to stop using the name, the troops came up with "Stills" for locals - because they were "still Bennies". The long running character Diane Lawton (Susan Hanson) didn’t join the cast until 1966 and Benny became smitten by her. Benny was last seen on screen ascending a ladder to put a fairy at the top of a Christmas tree and never appearing again in the show.

Another well-loved character was Amy Turtle (Anne George) who was a brummy speaking kitchen assistant, in one episode she was actually arrested as a Russian spy! The first chef was Carlos, but other chefs were Gerald Lovejoy (William Avenell), Bernard Booth (David Lawton) and Shughie McFee (Angus Lennie). Shughie being the most popular by far.

Larry Grayson made two cameo appearances Crossroads as a flouncing, difficult customer at the Motel and as the chauffeur at the wedding of Meg Richardson, played by his close friend Noele Gordon even though Grayson could not drive. Rumours were rife about his relationship with Noele Gordon, even to the point where she refused a marriage offer from him. In 1985, new producer Phillip Bowman was planning to bring the character of Meg Richardson back into the show as a "permanent occasional." Plans were well advanced and scripts were written when Noele Gordon died in April of that year, aged 65. Edward Clayton was brought back as Jill's ex-husband Stan Harvey to read the lines originally written for Gordon. Roger Tonge who played her onscreen son also died of cancer four years before Noele.

The revival

Carlton TV attempted to revive the show in 2001. Four characters from the original series returned: Doris Luke (Kathy Staff), Jill Harvey (née Richardson), Jill's ex-husband Adam Chance (Tony Adams), and Jill's daughter Sarah-Jane Harvey (Joanne Farrell/Holly Newman). The 2003 series was criticised by fans who felt the series had moved away from the 1964–88 series and the 2001–02 series, as well as being "too gay". Later, Jane Asher apologised to fans as a result of the way the 2003 series went. The series was once again axed.

New cases continue to rise , attributed to the Indian variant with cases having trebled in a few weeks. Todays new case figure is 3542. There were a further 10 deaths.

Friday 28/05//2021 – Day 435

We had far too much sun yesterday, and as a result it seems to be having a bit of a lie-in this morning. There’s nowt about but cloudy skies and Gout. But Lake Geneva at the front of our house has actually dried out for the first time in months, so it can’t be all bad, the forecast for the forthcoming Bank Holiday is looking really good with temperatures into the low twenties, a veritable heatwave!

As promised I went around to Gemma’s yesterday to make and erect a six-foot garden gate, I had allowed two days to complete the task, but I must be getting better because I started at 9.45 and six hours later I had finished.

Sarah rang her mum and said that she was feeling a bit better and was having something to eat. The doctor rang her as arranged and has come to the conclusion that Sarah has Meniere’s disease. Meniere's disease is an inner ear disorder. Symptoms come on as “episodes” or “​attacks,” and include vertigo and ringing in the ears. He says the tablets she is on will clear up the attack within a few days, although she may have further attacks in the next few years, fingers crossed.

Here, what’s that old Mr Kipling up to then? Us oldies are his biggest customers and we are all continuously watching our weight (my scales are still in the corner till they tell the truth) so, Mr K takes thirty percent of the sugar out of his cake slices and then doubles his price, I am no scientist, but I would have thought less sugar cheaper cakes, any ideas? Bloomin liberty, that’s what it is and if Mr K doesn’t send me a dozen boxes then I’ll stay the same weight.

Do you know, so many people are judgemental these days – I can tell just by looking at them.

On this day in 1951(8 months before I was born, at this time I had been a twinkle in fathers eye and was the size of a pea) BBC radio broadcast the first edition of The Goon Show, starring Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe. Michael Bentine was also one of the founders but is often forgotten as he left the show after series two ended. There were some great characters including Neddy Seagoon. Eccles and Bluebottle.

Many characters had regular catchphrases which quickly moved into the vernacular; among the best known are:

  • "He's fallen in the water!" (Little Jim)

  • "You dirty, rotten swine, you! You have deaded me!" (Bluebottle)

  • "You can't get the wood, you know." (Henry, Minnie)

  • "You silly, twisted boy, you." (Grytpype-Thynne)

  • "You can't park 'ere, mate" (Willium) – Milligan's dig at officious BBC commissionaires.

Since the programme ended in 1960 it has been in constant demand as a repeat and has been broadcast all over the globe. 60 years after it started it retains the power to reduce audiences to helpless laughter; no comedy could ask for more.

New cases rose dramatically by over 600 yesterday bringing the total for the day to 4182, the number of deaths registered remained at 10.

Saturday 29/05/2021 - Day 436

It’s a dull as dishwater start to the day with grey clouds everywhere, but Shefali has assured us Midlander’s that it is only the remnants of yesterdays ‘fly in the ointment’ and that the sun will make an appearance in the afternoon.

Had a really busy day yesterday, I was outside by 10.00am trimming Mrs h’s bush at the front of the house (I know, don’t go there). We were actually waiting for the Tesco man to make his delivery.

We have shopped online since the start of the pandemic and will continue to do so. But I fear one of the biggest mistakes the company have made is bagless shopping. I agree with the strategy of removing all plastic from the universe, but now customers are asked to stand at their doorstep and transfer all their shopping from trays (plastic) to waiting shopping bags. It’s either that or dumping it on the hall floor. Now, this is a fine practise in the warmer months, but picture this - it is Winter and it is snowing, the North wind is blowing and you’ve had the heating on all night, your Tesco man turns up with the shopping and you have to have your front door open for five minutes while you unpack the shopping, nuff said I think. Tesco, you need a rethink.

Anyway, as soon as the shopping was put away we were off to Gemma’s to have our hair cut. It must be 22 years now since I went to a barber shop. No, I don’t mean my hair is down to my backside, but it’s 22 years since Gemma qualified as a hairdresser. I had a few inches off the top and Mrs H had a few inches off her bottom (no, I don’t mean – oh never mind) Suffice to say we both left Gemma’s feeling a bit lightheaded. We let and Mrs H and I went to visit Sarah and Mollie, Sarah is still confined to bed but the doctor has assured her that she will be a lot better in a few days, fingers crossed.

On this day in 1953Sir Edmund Hillary and his Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, became the first men to reach the summit of Mount Everest in the Himalayas. But it took almost four days for the news to reach home. The news of the British expedition broke in Britain on Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation Day, 2nd June. The Queen knighted Edmund Hillary later that year.

Did I ever tell you that when I was very small I felt like a man trapped in a woman’s body - then I was born.

New cases today were still high at 3398 bringing the weekly total to 21469 a big 4,059 up on last weeks total. Registered deaths were 7 bringing the total for the week to 50 which is an increase of 18 on last weeks figures. The number of recoveries were 4,286,249 down by 13,640 on last week.

Week 64

Sunday 30/05/2021 – Day 437

The sun is out the sky is blue, well, I hope you’re all out there in your swimsuits and shorts, because Summer has arrived, and you know what they say about the British Summer – it’s the best day of the year.

Mrs H and I continued getting the garden ready yesterday and I must say it’s starting to look very nice thanks to that dear lady’s foresight.

Sarah rang yesterday and was really chirpy, she had another pillow under her head, this may sound trivial but the higher she can get her head the more progress she will make with her vertigo, which the doctor has now diagnosed es Meniere’s Disease.

While Mrs H was planting yesterday I decided to cut my lawns. I bought a Flymo last year and I have made many mistakes in my life, but this has to be up there at the top. I wouldn’t recommend one to my worst enemy, they are inconsistent, and even though I have a grass collector on mine, most of the cuttings end up strewn all over the borders, that is if they actually cut the grass. The result is that I am returning to the only mower I have ever got on with – a Bosch – it is the perfect cutting machine for my grass, it cuts right up to the edge and has three height levels. My new one is arriving Tuesday and I can’t wait to get rid of the Flymo.

I was on a page on facebook when someone asked ‘where did the term Sweet fanny Adams come from, so I had a look.

Fanny Adams was an eight-year-old girl who lived in Hampshire. On 24th August 1867 it was a sunny day and she decided to go for a walk with her sister Lizzie and their friend Millie Warner. It was whilst walking the narrow lanes near their home in Alton that they came across solicitor’s clerk Frederick Baker, he gave Lizzie and Millie a silver three half pence coin to go away and spend, he gave Fanny a halfpenny to walk with him along the lane, she accepted the coin but refused to go walking with him, he simply picked her up and made off toward a nearby hop field.

Meanwhile, Lizzie and Millie had run back home to raise the alarm, Fanny’s mother ran along the lane and bumped into Baker along the way, he admitted that he had given the children money to buy sweets but that was all, Fanny’s mother ran further on searching frantically for her missing daughter but to no avail. Later that evening neighbours out searching made a gruesome discovery, Fanny’s body had been mutilated, her head and arms had been cut off, her eyes pulled out and her organs strewn around the Hopfield.

Baker was immediately arrested and was found to be carrying two knives, he also had suspicious blood stains on his clothing. There were also witnesses that placed him in the area at that time. A frightening entry was later found in his diary for that same day which read ‘ Killed a young girl today’. Baker had a history of mental illness and that day had been drinking heavily, he also had a history of violence, it was found that he had smashed her head with a boulder before starting on his desecration of her body. Baker was found guilty after the jury had deliberated for just 15 minutes, he was hanged on Christmas Eve 1867, Fanny was entombed at Alton cemetery where her grave can still be seen.

But of course, that still doesn’t explain how the saying came to be, well, two years after the murder the Royal Navy started to issue mutton in tins for their seamen, it became part of their regular rations, but at the same time it was very unpopular among the crews, they would joke that the meat was in fact the dismembered parts of the young Fanny Adams, the word ‘sweet’ was added because of the child’s innocence and age. Hence, in the Navy all tinned meat that was completely useless became known as ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’. The phase went ashore and was used regularly for anything useless or of little value.

Even today you could ask ‘what is its worth’ and get the stock answer ‘Sweet FA mate’.

A bit gory but I hope you found it interesting

New cases continue to hover around the three thousand mark. Todays total was 3240 with 6 more deaths registered.

Monday 31/05/2021 – Day 438

A beautiful start to May Bank Holiday. The forecasters have promised us the hottest day of the year to date, with temperatures expecting to reach 22 – 25 degrees. After the wettest May on record we deserve it I reckon.

I actually hate Bank holidays. The reason is that we live two miles from the West Midland Safari Park and every Bank holiday the roads around here become gridlocked so we can’t really go anywhere without getting in a traffic jam. Bank holidays were first introduced by a man named Sir John Lubbock who was a scientific writer, banker and politician, and the first Baron of Avebury. (He is also reported to have studied ants and tried to teach his poodle how to read!) In 1871, he drafted the Bank Holiday Bill.

Mrs H and I finished off a load of unfinished tasks in the garden, then we sat down to relax with a cocktail and a Guinness, not in the same glass of course. We had our 13 year old Grandson Hatton (named after the boxer) staying overnight, we did catch a few glimpses of him between X box sessions. Sarah continues to improve with the new medication, the idea is, with the help of pillows to lift her head slightly higher every day until she can actually sit up without feeling sick and the room spinning around. But at least she is eating more.

Sat and watched Countryfile last night for the weekly forecast and it seems that the weather forecaster was lost for words. The normal thing is to give out the expected 5 day forecast with agues at the sixth day. But this chap told us all about what had happened back in March and April, then he said Bank Holiday Monday was set to be the hottest day of the year, Tuesday would be hot too, then Wednesday and the rest of the week was going to be unpredictable, and that was it. He did however say that we were not going back to Winter.

It seems that it is Mrs H’s other boyfriends birthday today, Clint Eastwood is 91 years young today and is still acting and producing. He’s come a long way since his role as Rowdy Yates in Rawhide, he has done spaghetti westerns, police films and army films. But without doubt the best films for me were when he was upstaged by an Orangutang called Clyde, in the adventure comedy Every Which Way but Loose (1978) and its action comedy sequel Any Which Way You Can (1980). Loved the Hells Angels too.

On this day in 1678The Godiva Procession, a commemoration of the legendary ride by Lady Godiva (born 990 AD) was instituted On This Day, as part of Coventry fair and was celebrated up to the 1960s. According to the popular story, Lady Godiva took pity on the people of Coventry, who were suffering grievously under her husband's oppressive taxation. Her husband agreed to repeal the taxes if she would strip naked and ride through the streets of the town, clothed only in her long hair. She agreed, conditionally that all persons should stay indoors and shut their windows, but one person, a tailor known ever afterwards as Peeping Tom, disobeyed the proclamation and was struck blind.

In 1889A painting of a small dog listening to a phonograph was shown to the general manager of 'The Gramophone Company' in London by the painter, Francis Barraud. It was of his dog, Nipper. The phonograph was painted out and a gramophone substituted. It soon became the famous trademark for the company 'His Master's Voice'.

In 1910Lord Baden-Powell's sister Agnes formed the Girl Guides.

In 1911The White Star liner Titanic was launched at Belfast. At the ceremony, the worst words possible were uttered when a White Star Line employee claimed, 'Not even God himself could sink this ship.'

Apparently, no one is allowed to walk black and white collies today. The Daft Daily News reports that police will be on the lookout for those who flout the law. Why? Well it’s a Ban Collie Day (sorry, couldn’t resist it).

New cases reported today were slightly up at 3383, but there was only 1 death registered.

Tuesday 01/06/2021 - Day 439

White rabbits, White rabbits, white rabbits, Right, now that’s out of the way Good morning dear reader from a very warm and sunny Kidderminster.

Mrs H and I had a day off yesterday, well, when I say a day off, we did have a bit of a Harry Potter. One of my first jobs was to hang Mrs H’s swinging seat. It’s supposed to attach to a tree. We have some pretty hefty trees in our garden but there’s not one that would take this seat. It is cloth and rope and - when erected correctly – is very comfortable I am told. (I wouldn’t trust this bulky frame in one) So the only place left to put the seat is in the Gazebo, I thought that if I hung it on the outer beam then the love of my life could rest her derriere in comfort.

So, I put up the required fittings and invited Mrs H to test it. She sat in it and was dangerously close to the floor. The problem is that these ropes stretch far too much and although the seat is high, by the time a bottom is placed in it there is quite a drop. But Mrs H was quite happy with it (she likes anything low, that’s why she married me) and was swinging around quite happily. Then touch-down came, when she scraped the decking. A cold sweat came over me at the thought of having to spend the evening enticing wooden splinters from Mrs H’s backside. I shook that image from my head and had a rethink. The only way to shorten the rope was to use cord and continuously wrap it around the hanging rope until the required height was achieved. It worked, I was almost saddened that I was not going to spend a few hours removing splinters, oh well, best laid plans of mice and men.

Sarah is much the same as yesterday with slight improvements daily thank goodness. Will have to go round tomorrow, I can hear the grass growing from here.

Sat in the sun yesterday and had a couple of bottle of Old Speckled Hen while Mrs H supped on her Latte, very relaxing, but Mrs H has this annoying habit of - no matter where she looks at any time of the day – she can find a job to do. Good job I love that woman!

On this day 2020 As a further easing of the coronavirus lockdown rules, groups of up to six people could meet outdoors in England. The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, described it as a “long awaited and joyful moment” as family and friends reunite after 10 weeks in lockdown. He set out the next stage in the easing of restrictions with the caveat that “there may still be some anomalies or apparent inconsistencies in these rules”. Scientists warned that England should adopt a more cautious approach, as in the rest of the United Kingdom. Mmm that rings a few bells, wonder why.

There was 3165 more new cases reported today. But for the first time since the start of the pandemic well over a year ago there were no deaths registered throughout the UK.

02/06/2021 – Day 440

Another warm sunny and bright start to the day, the weather forecasters have been a bit cagey in the way they describe the rest of the week, Perhaps the BBC have adopted the Russian way of fining presenters when they get it wrong. I doubt it though.

Mrs H triumphantly declared last night that all her gardening jobs were now completed. Well actually she said. “We’ve finished at last, no more jobs to do.” Hello dear wife – I have to strip off the shed roof and make good, I have to cut 30 meters of a six-foot hedge, I have to mow the lawns, paint the Summer house, and numerous other ‘little jobs’ that will crop up whilst I am doing these tasks. But at least the gardening is done.

Sarah sent us a brilliant photo yesterday, she was sat up in bed with pillows supporting her, Mollie had given her a mini-makeover and she looked wonderfully well. We’ve booked her in for next year’s Northern Half Marathon, we thought the London full marathon would be too much initially. That picture gave us a real lift.

I got to thinking about some of the best comedians around. Peter Kay is one of my favourites. But we have lost so many, I always thought Bob Monkhouse was underrated. Ken Dodd was absolutely brilliant; I saw him live a couple of times. My utmost favourite however was the deadpan Les Dawson. I loved it when he went into one of his long stories and his mother-in-law jokes were legendary.

Les Dawson was born in Collyhurst, Manchester, to Leslie Dawson, Sr., and Julia Nolan, who was of Irish descent. His first job was in the parcels department of the Manchester Co-op, He worked briefly as a journalist on the Bury Times.

Unbeknown to most people Les was an excellent poet but working-class people of his era didn’t write poetry so it was kept a secret, according to his biography Les started work playing the piano in a Parisian brothel where – when he played the wrong notes it would get a laugh.

His big break came when he won Hughie Green’s Opportunity knocks in 1967, he was soon on great demand with his style of slapstick humour, sombre face and talent for telling a great story in his own inimitable style, some of his characters were drawn from real life like Cissie Braithwaite and Ada Shufflebotham, Cissie was played by the wonderful Roy Barraclough and Ada by Les.

These characters were copied from the working women of the old Lancashire Mills where the machinery was so noisy that the women would simply mouth the words, the lifting of the bosom was borrowed from his hero Norman Evans who presented an act called ‘Over the Garden wall.

With his weighty stature Les was often seen in the John Bull costume, after starring in his own show on the BBC Les introduced a team of ladies to the British public, they were of course the Roly Polys.

Les was really an accomplished piano player and a good writer of books.

He broke his jaw in a boxing match and this enabled him to twist his features in sometimes grotesque ways.

His career continued in the 70’s and 80’s for both channels with shows like ‘Sez Les’ ‘Jokers Wild and of course ‘Blankety Blank’. He also made numerous appearances on ‘The Good Old Days’ (I nearly named this site that).

Les was in poor health, he was a heavy drinker and smoker, when not working he could drink a bottle of whiskey a day and smoke over fifty cigarettes. He was married to his first wife Margaret from 1960 until 1984 when she died of cancer. He married his second wife Tracy in in 1989, she was 1 years his junior, they had a daughter Charlotte born in 1992.

He was the subject of This is your Life on two occasions, once in 1971 when Eamonn Andrews surprised him on Opportunity knocks, and again in 1992 when he was surprised by Michael Aspel on the final curtain of the pantomime Dick Whittington.

Les nearly died in 1985 from a failing prostate gland, complicated by blood poisoning. He had a heart attack in 1988 and would have had another at the beginning of 1992 caused by his lungs being filled with fluid, had it not been for the emergency team attending the Wimbledon theatre that night.

On the 10th June 1993 at a local hospital in Whally Range he was awaiting the results of a medical check-up when he collapsed and died of a heart attack.

This brilliant comic and wonderful Father and Husband left the nation a wealth of comedy that will forever stand the test of time.

Rose, George’s girlfriend called in on her way back from shopping, Mrs H noticed that she had the TV remote in her handbag.

“Do you always carry the remote control in your bag?”

“No,” she replied, “ The lazy sod wouldn’t come shopping with me and this was the cruellest way I could get back at him without causing actual physical abuse.”

A further 4,330 confirmed cases in the UK were announced by the government today, the highest number since 1 April.The number of deaths registered was once again back in double figures at 12. There are signs the UK is in the early stages of a third wave of coronavirus infections, a scientist advising the government has said. ... On Monday, the UK reported more than 3,000 new Covid infections for a sixth day in a row. Prior to this, the UK had not surpassed that number since 12 April.

Thursday 03/06/2021 – Day 441.

It’s a bit of a DAD (Dull as Dishwater) day here in not so sunny downtown Kidderminster. I have no idea what the forecast is but we had some very welcome rain last night which saved me watering the new plants. The rain was accompanied by the odd flash of lightening followed by the odd clap of thunder. But it’s been a very muggy - windows open – night.

I am so glad that I don’t get invited to many Bedouin weddings. The main and biggest dish served up is roast Camel. But as if that’s not enough, the camel is then stuffed with a sheep’s carcass, which in turn is stuffed with chickens. The chickens are stuffed with fish which are stuffed with eggs. This is true, but I think stuffed camel would give me the hump.

Spent a few hours around at Gemma’s yesterday putting an extra piece of corrugated clear UPVC on her canopy roof. If you remember , I built a gate last week to stop the wind. Well this was to stop the rain driving in. Problem was that the roofing should have started there, so to say it was a bit awkward would be a massive understatement.

We’re off to Sarah’s today for a long visit. She continues to improve greatly. We think the new tablets needed a few days to kick in. I shall take the opportunity to mow her lawns whilst we are there. Weather permitting of course.

I was so embarrassed in B&Q today whilst getting the timber for Gemma’s roof. As I went to pay the cashier said ‘Strip down, facing me.’ By the time I’d realised he meant my Bank card it was too late!

With the Platinum anniversary plans of the Queen being announced recently I thought it might be appropriate to include this. On this day in 2012 The Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant took place on the Tideway of the River Thames, as part of the celebrations of the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. Despite the cold, wet weather, 670 boats took part, including military, commercial and pleasure craft. According to Guinness World Records, it was the largest ever parade of boats, surpassing the previous record of 327 vessels set in Bremerhaven, Germany, in 2011. Sailing vessels and others too tall to pass under the bridges were moored as an 'Avenue of Sail' downstream of London Bridge. British media organisations estimated that one million spectators watched from the banks of the Thames.

Apparently, with the new travelling abroad rules say you can only travel to countries that awarded us points in the Eurovision song contest.

Another large increase in new cases in the last 24 hours increasing by almost a 1000 to 5274. There was also a dramatic rise in registered deaths to 18.

Friday 04/06/2021 – Day 442

Did you know that a male praying mantis risks his head when he gets together with his female partner? The female rips his head off after they make love. Which begs the question – Was Henry the eighth a male version?

The weather here hasn’t made up its mind yet, there’s cloud around but also a lot of blue sky, praying the blue-sky wins.

Went around to Sarah’ yesterday. She certainly looks a lot better but she is up and down like a yo-yo, very stressful for everyone. Mrs H had a bit of a tidy up indoors while I mowed the front and back lawns. I then set about trying to re-establish what used to be the borders. I must say it looked very tidy by the time we departed – both tired! They are making another attempt to take her to hospital today for the long overdue scan. An ambulance will arrive at 3.45 to take her. If you recall the last time, she blacked out and was very sick. Fingers crossed for this time.

Have to wish our other daughter and son-in law Gemma and Gary (GaG) a very happy sixteenth wedding anniversary today.

On this day in 1940 British complete the "Miracle of Dunkirk" by evacuating 338,226 allied troops from France via a flotilla of over 800 vessels including Royal Navy destroyers, merchant marine boats, fishing boats, pleasure craft and even lifeboats. Winston Churchill rallied the battle weary troops with his ‘We shall fight them on the beaches’ speech. Four years and I day later British troops would be back on French soil.

Mrs h was upstairs in the bedroom and shouted down to me. “Do you ever get a shrp stabbing pain across your chest, like someone’s got a voodoo doll of you and is stabbing it?”

“No.” I replied.

She responded, “How about now?”

Looking forward to our dear friends Janet and John visiting tonight for our first BBQ. John’s a great drinking partner and certainly likes a drop, at his last birthday party he blew on the cake and lit the candles!

New cases rose to 6238 that is double the cases at the start of the week. There were 11 new deaths registered.

Saturday 05/06/2021 – Day 443

It’s a beautiful and cloudless early morning here in sunny downtown Kidderminster. I have just completed the demolition of my usual four Weetabix. Actually. They are Tesco’s own at less than half the price, they taste just the same.

I am going to test the new mower today. The lawn isn’t really that long but hey – boys toys and all that.

My last big job is the shed roof. Re-felting isn’t a problem. But I have to replace the sheets of plywood that cover it first, but my arms and sore shoulder wouldn’t stand up to it at the moment.

We were overjoyed yesterday when Mrs H’s phone rang. It was from Mollie, Sarah’s daughter. We were a bit apprehensive at first as Sarah was due to be picked up for her scan. But then the photo came through – a picture of Sarah’s empty bed! She had been fine when the paramedics helped her into a chair and got her downstairs. Just over an hour later she was back in bed and fine. But it took the ambulancemen a long time to persuade her that she needed to go back to bed. After enjoying her freedom she wanted to stay downstairs.

Mrs H and I had a wonderful and carefree evening with friends Janet and John whom some of you will recall from your schooldays. But this was the real Janet and John whom we have known for many years. I lit the BBQ at 4.15 and it was all done and in the heater by five o clock. A few bottles of White Zinfandel Rose for the girls and a few bottles of Old Speckled Hen for us boys and the scene was set for a wonderful evening of memories , music and laughter. Great Night.

The face of all those WW1 posters declaring that ‘Your Country Needs You’ was Lord Kitchener. On this day in 1916General Lord Kitchener drowned when HMS Hampshire hit a mine off the Orkney Islands during a storm and sank en route to Russia. There were no survivors.

1944World War II: A cafe in the French town of Benouville was the first place to be liberated from German occupation when British paratroopers seized control of a vital canal bridge in advance of the main Allied D-Day landings in Normandy the following morning on 6th June. Also on this day in 1944World War II: The people of liberated Rome crowded onto the streets to welcome the victorious Allied troops.

2002The Queen was said to be basking in 'absolute delight' at celebrations to mark her Golden Jubilee.

2012The day was declared a Bank Holiday to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee. It was the final day of 4 days of celebration to honour 60 years of the Queen as our monarch. It has been 115 years since the United Kingdom last celebrated a royal Diamond Jubilee (that was Queen Victoria's) and it may be another century or more before there is another.

And finally, in 2014Property experts estimated there could be up to 1,000 JCBs buried underground in London, because it is cheaper to bury them than to lift them to street level following basement extensions. The total value of the JCBs buried underground is thought to be around £5 million.

If I win the lottery tonight I’m going to share it with every one of my readers on here – not the money – just the news that I’ve won.

The large increase in new cases yesterday has sparked fears of a third wave hitting the UK. This has prompted the Government to put back the June 21st relaxation for a further 2 weeks initially.

There were 5765 new cases reported today bringing the weekly total to 30,295, almost 9000 up on last week. The number of deaths registered rose by two to 61. Recoveries were once again 13690 below the previous week.

Week 65

Sunday 06/06/2021 – Day 444

Mrs H and I had a day sunbathing yesterday after I’d cut the lawns. We were lay on our sunbeds soaking up the sun and thinking that ‘this was the life’. After a full day of resting we ended it by spending the last two hours watering the garden.

Then I got up this morning and it seems it’s been raining quite heavily during the night. We watched the weather forecast last night and not a hint of rain. But it is pouring down now and Lake Geneva at the front of the house has made an unwelcome return.

On this day in 1944World War II: The Battle of Normandy began. D-Day, code named Operation Overlord, commenced with the landing of 155,000 Allied troops on the beaches of Normandy in France to liberate Western Europe from German occupation. The allied soldiers quickly broke through the Atlantic Wall and pushed inland in the largest amphibious military operation in history

Also on this day In 2019 on the 75th anniversary, the last of the D Day veterans stood on the beaches of Normandy. Some with heads held high still. Some to frail to walk and supported by todays soldiers. But every one of them grateful for life. These brave men most now in their late eighties or early nineties stood in the hot sun and remembered their comrades. This is my tribute to them all.

D Day Landings

It was on the sixth June nineteen forty-four

when allied forces left to even the score,

They codenamed it 'Operation Overlord'

beaches Omaha, Utah, Gold, Juno, and Sword,

were stormed by amphibious landing craft

With all movements meticulously choreographed.

It started at twelve o clock that same night

when conditions were perfect, the tide just right,

German radio operators were fed lots of flannel

as seven thousand vessels crossed the channel.

The Memorial

They came in their hundreds from far and wide

some helped by young servicemen at their side,

Providing a strong arm for them to lean on

but most held their heads high, marching as one.

A veteran of Sword Beach said ''it brings it back

the chaos the death, the shelling, the flack,

it's part of your history, here in your brain

tearing you apart, the emotional strain,

of remembering those comrades, those who fell

on these foreign beaches in a living hell.''

Hundreds more veterans sat on Gold Beach

the wrath of the enemy now well out of reach,

As men cast their minds back seventy years

those brave soldiers could not hold back the tears,

Fly pasts, swing music, as the massed pipe bands

played 'We'll Meet again' on the Normandy sands,

For this was the last time they'd gather here

most men in their eighties and ninetieth year,

The Association wasn't here for praise or thanks

but to lay up their Standards, as age defeats ranks.

They stood with heads high under hot sun

forgetting the sacrifices they had given,

Medals hang heavy on blue-blazered chests

they never once questioned, there were no inquests,

Bayeux, the last French town to be freed

was where her Majesty the Queen, came and tarried,

For this UK veterans of Normandy throng

a D Day anniversary emotional swansong.

The ultimate sacrifice by any nation

should never be forgotten by any generation!

Lest we forget.

And finally on this day in 1962An unknown British group, The Beatles, played at an audition for EMI record producer George Martin. Dick Rowe went to his grave known as 'The Man Who Turned Down the Beatles' after they'd auditioned at Decca. In truth, it was his junior that decided to sign Brian Poole and The Tremeloes instead of them. But even Martin didn’t think they were much good. But, in that first meeting he noticed something. He picked up on the charismatic energy The Beatles that would captivate millions in the years to come. Decades later he admitted “I fell in love with them. It’s as simple as that.”

There were 5341 new cases reported today with 4 more deaths.

Monday 07/06/2021 – Day 445

Well, yesterday didn’t turn out as bad as we thought, by mid-afternoon Mrs H and I were down the garden sunbathing. It’s a nice warm and sunny morning here so far today.

My first task is to get on the extension roof and fix a really irritating leak on the Garden room. It is just the gutter seal and simple to repair, but so annoying!

We spent the evening catching up on programmes that we’d missed during the week, such was the enthralling entertainment on TV on a Sunday night. It really was abysmal last night.

I spent a lot of this morning answering all your responses to last week’s blog. I had one poor lady who really was genuinely upset about my story of Fanny Adams and the reason behind it. I must say I would never knowingly upset any of my readers so I will be very careful what I post on here in future.

Today in 1940 The birth in Pontypridd, of Thomas John Woodward better known as the entertainer Tom Jones. He has sold over 100 million records and has had thirty-six Top 40 hits in the United Kingdom and nineteen in the United States. In March 1957, Jones married his high school girlfriend Linda Trenchard, when they were expecting a child together, both aged 16. The couple's son, Mark, was born in the month following their wedding. To support his young family, despite the rumours that Tom had escaped the work in the mines of Wales he had actually taken a job working in a glove factory and was later employed in construction.

One night whilst performing as frontman for Tommy Scott and the Senators at the Top Hat in Cwmtillery, Tom was spotted by Gordon Mills, a London-based manager who also originally hailed from South Wales. Mills became Tom's manager, took the young singer to London, and also renamed him "Tom Jones" to exploit the popularity of the Academy Award-winning 1963 film. Eventually, Mills got Jones a recording contract with Decca. His first single, "Chills and Fever", was released in late 1964. It did not chart, but the follow-up, "It's Not Unusual", became an international hit after offshore pirate radio station Radio Caroline promoted it. The following year was the most prominent of Jones's career, making him one of the most popular vocalists of the British Invasion. In early 1965, "It's Not Unusual" reached No. 1 in the United Kingdom and the top ten in the United States. During 1965 Ten years later women were throwing their underwear at him while he was on stage – the rest as they say is history.

On this day in 977More than one million people lined the streets of London to watch the Royal Family on their way to St. Paul's at the start of the Queen's silver jubilee celebrations.

Mrs H isn’t talking to me because of my honesty. I was in the Repair shop when she brought a cup of tea in. Looking around she asked me what the female version of a man cave would be called. I said the first thing that came into my head and answered ‘Kitchen’.

A further 5683 new cases today with thankfully just 1 death registered.

Tuesday 08/06/2021 – Day 446

Another sunny day in paradise, well actually it’s here in Kidderminster, but hey, same thing.

Sarah sent us a wonderful picture yesterday, she was sat up in bed – unaided – another wonderful image that made our day. She reckons she will out and about (with the aid of a wheelchair) this time next week. Fingers crossed.

Mrs H spent most of the day tidying up the garden, sweeping, evicting snails and slugs from their hidey holes. Me? Well I have been looking at a stump of a willow tree we cut down last year, The foliage and new growth keep spurting up from the top. I was sat there the other day – supping tea – as you do, when I suddenly saw the image of a face on there, much like the old totem pole of the Indians. So dear reader it is now a permanent feature. Just need a name for it, any ideas?

Does anyone remember some of the foodstuff and medicine from our childhood? I remember being fed National dried Milk and Farley’s rusks. There were questions asked in Parliament about NDM apparently. It seemed that the measurements given on the tin were not up to scratch if they were followed rigorously. Baby would wake up at 3am starving! National dried milk tin issued by the welfare foods service in the 1940's and intended for feeding infants at a time of milk rationing. After the war it was still available up until 1965 until more modern milk formula's became the norm.

But do you remember the top shelf of the cupboard in the kitchen? Ours was full of brown bottles with ribs down the side, some of them even had skulls and crossbones on the label and the word POISON written beneath it. I don’t know how my mum never gave my dad a dose of that sometimes. There was always Milk of Magnesia, used for generations to combat indigestion, ulcers and upset tummies (now banned by the EEC I believe). Beecham’s Powders were an early cure for colds and flu, it came in a distinct flat paper package and was pink I think. Am I alone in saying that I absolutely loved the taste of it?

Of course, if we had a sore throat then we gargled with salt water, but toothpaste would have been a better preventative. Another bottle found would have been Oil of Cloves for that persistent toothache – after you’d seen the school dentist! If your nose was permanently blocked it would merit a drop of Camphor Oil, never worked for me – a bit on my nose and my eyes just streamed, supposedly good for your chest congestion. (The original is also banned).

Goose fat was applied to burns. I remember cod liver oil and malt, sticky brown stuff on a spoon, it was like marmite – you loved it or hated it - I loved it! Then if you had earache your head was tilted to one side and a teaspoon full of warm olive oil was poured in.

God help you if you had the trots, Kayolin and Morphine mix would soon sort it, Germoline ointment for cuts, butter to bring a bruise on your forehead if you had a fall. Other things would include Calamine lotion for sunburn, Alka Seltzer or Andrews Liver Salts for anything to do with the tummy.

Of course, it wasn’t always bad, sometimes we had Lucozade with that lovely orange coloured see through wrapper, we’d spend hours in bed looking through that. Then there was Delrosa Rose hip syrup or orange syrup, truly scrumptious!

Took Mrs H out for lunch today and sat outside. When the food arrived I started to tuck in’

Mrs H Aren’t you going to say grace, you always do at home

Me That’s at home, the chef here knows how to cook.

New cases continue to rise as the new delta variant spreads quickly across the Northeast. There were 6049 cases reported, A further 13 deaths were also registered.

Wednesday 09/06/2021 – Day 447

Despite the weather forecaster’s prediction of a very overcast day I have once again woken up to brilliant sunshine and (so far) a cloudless blue sky.

I was reading a book of true facts last night. Did you know that the first-known contraceptive was crocodile dung? It was used by the Egyptians in 2000BC. I can totally sympathise with this, If Mrs H smeared herself with crocodile dung I wouldn’t touch her with a ten-foot barge pole. Oops, there goes our love life.

I spent the best part of yesterday around at my neighbour’s house. We have a two-metre high and 25-metre-long privet hedge between us. But the lovely old gent next door is well past getting out the hedge trimmer and climbing steps to cut it. So, a couple of years back I volunteered to go around and cut his side and of course the top. I recently put up a four-foot fence all down our side so all we can see is the top two feet. Mrs H promised faithfully to join me later and help pick up the cuttings. The neighbour came out (he lives alone) and we were having a good old-fashioned chinwag. He is a wonderful character and has so many memories. He lost his dear wife about 8 years ago; Mrs H still marks the anniversary every year by putting either flowers or a plant on her grave.

I use an extended cordless trimmer to do the hedge. But the problem was that it ran out of power under halfway through, the result was that I spent an age on the t’internet searching for another one. But me being a tightwad, I wasn’t about to fork out over £120 for a new one. Then I had a lightbulb moment, why didn’t I just buy a new battery. Another hour wasted, no-one sold spare batteries – not even Argos who sold the trimmers. But what they did sell was a smaller version of what I had, with the same battery – deep joy! But the best part was that when I unwrapped my new trimmer I did a rare thing and actually read the leaflet. The thing that stood out the most was that if you cleaned and oiled the cutters after use, it prolonged battery life.

I looked at my original trimmer, al clogged up with years of dirt and grime. I spent just 10 minutes cleaning and oiling the blades. The result was that the trimmer cut a lot more hedge than before. I was overjoyed at my discovery. I looked at the seventy-five-foot trail of cuttings and started to tidy up. Mrs H had fanaged on her promise to help me clean up. As I was putting the last few leaves in the bin she turned up looking very flustered.

“Sorry, I’ve had everyone on the phone this morning, do you want a hand?”

I don’t normally swear when there’s a ‘Y’ in the day but……..

On this day in 1870Charles Dickens, English novelist died at his home - Gad's Hill Place, Kent. Dickens rocketed to fame with his 1836 serial publication of The Pickwick Papers. His other notable works are Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol, David Copperfield, Bleak House, Hard Times, A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations. In my humble opinion the best writer ever and my hero.

Also on this day in 1933Baird demonstrated high-definition television at his Long Acre studio in London, showing the difference between the previous 30-line picture and the new 120-line tubes. If only the chap knew how it would all turn out, I don’t think he’d have bothered.

Talking of TV, on this day in 1975The first live transmission from the House of Commons was broadcast by BBC Radio and commercial stations. We were all treated to childish innuendos, screams and shouts and other scenes that would never be allowed in a classroom. Not to mention the older MP’s having a nap whilst being paid copious amounts of money.

There was a sharp rise in new cases today up to 7540, this is the highest figure since February. There were also 6 deaths registered.

Thursday 10/06/2021 – Day 448

The sky is full of cloud this morning, but it is expected to clear up throughout the day, so, as the old song said ‘With a Song in my Heart’ I will soldier on.

Looking forward to going around to Sarah’s today, she had a bit of a setback yesterday. When she tried to sit up the old sickness came back accompanied by dizzy spells. We are all hoping that this is just a hiccup along the way to recovery.

Meanwhile, yesterday, Mrs H, Gemma and I took a trip up to the Merry Hell Hill centre. Under normal circumstances you wouldn’t drag me to this God forsaken place with a pack of wild horses. But it had been a long time since I had ventured out and needs must. So, off we set to the Black Country and its biggest shopping centre. Although we weren’t actually going into the centre itself but some of the shops on the outside. Shops like B&M, The Range. In fact any shop that sold the sort of mundane stuff that you wouldn’t look at twice on Facebook. Mrs H made sure before we left that I was suitably dressed and most importantly – that I hadn’t forgotten my wallet.

The day was hot and I hate to admit it, but it was quite enjoyable to be wondering around the shops again. I still have problems with the mask though, I have breathing difficulties, and walking around a stuffy airless shop wasn’t doing me much good. It felt like being in a cage underwater with sharks circling me. In B&M there was a woman walking around who wouldn’t have looked out of place in a Russian weightlifting event, she was the female equivalent of Giant Haystacks. The ornaments shook on the shelves as she passed by. She wasn’t wearing a mask either, and you could just see that she was waiting for someone to ask her why.

I got away quite lightly money-wise. The girls couldn’t find most of what they were looking for (thank you Lord) so at about 2.00pm we were on the way back home. We were about a mile away from home and decided to stop and have a cuppa at the Lock tea-rooms by the canal. We sat in the blustery wind chewing on bacon rolls and drinking hot chocolate. Then Gemma said she was cold! The girl actually had goosebumps on her arms, we finished our drinks and dropped the poor lass at home where – I daresay – she put the central heating on and sat in front of the fire.

Any of my readers interested in a free ride in a helicopter for 4 people?

We are still looking for 2 more people to join us. We leave early Sunday (June 26th) from Birmingham Airport and will fly over the French Riviera. We will land and have our lunch on a yacht.

This will be followed by a flight along the Monaco coast, returning to the marina for dinner, then fly back to Birmingham.

If interested please pm me.

Preferably someone with a helicopter and yacht, otherwise we can't go.

For the second day in a row cases were above 7000 at 7393 as the Delta variant tightens it grip. There was also 7 deaths registered.

Friday 11/06/2021 – Day 449.

Have no idea what the weather forecast is for today, I fell asleep during the Ten o Clock news. All about Boris and his new friend Joe from over the pond. Making silly faces as they greeted by touching elbows. I can imagine the reporters shouting-

‘Boris, Joe, could you just do a stupid face for us to show there is no animosity between you – as if!

Our visit to Sarah’s was very encouraging yesterday, she was looking so much better and despite the previous days hiccup, she was sat up in bed eating healthily. In anticipation I put her new wheelchair together. Mollie returned from college carrying hot doughnuts which were annihilated within minutes. Even the dog ‘Brucie’ was acting normally and not trying to pierce my hand when I stroked him.

After a five week wait I finally received a new plastic table-top for our outdoor dining table. Allow me to elaborate.

Last year our old table was past saving ( a bit like its owner), this allowed me to spend a few hours in my favourite place – on the internet. Those tables were really expensive, nothing under £150 that was reasonable. So, clever old me purchased a £70 exterior solid wooden door which had a planking style finish. I primed it, gave it two coats of best undercoat and then two coats of exterior wood paint finish in a nice shade of grey. In fact, I did everything except kiss the damn thing.

All was well – for a couple of weeks – then the rain started. This was followed by a few days of very hot sun. I watched in horror when despite my love and TLC administered to the great lump of wood, it started to bubble up and peel. The joints started to shrink with cracks and splits appeared everywhere. This wood was alive, it was crying out for help. I sealed all the splits, filled the cracks, and sanded the whole thing down again. I finished with a final coat of paint. After two weeks it looked exactly the same again. Blisters bigger than the Welsh mountains began to appear everywhere.

Back online I discovered a company that sold sheets of white plastic. The advert promised delivery within days. It was ideal just glue it down and the table was finally weatherproof. Hah! I forgot this was a British delivery and should have therefore been taken with a pinch of salt. The company used every excuse available to them. Mrs H and I sat dining at that blistering table on many occasions over the next 5 weeks. We would inevitably end up ‘peeling’ the paint off through sheer boredom. We even had Janet and John around for a BBQ and invited them ‘to strip’ (you know what I mean!) with us.

As I said, the top was arriving today, but we had to go to Sarah’s house. I phoned our lovely neighbour Ken (the one with the hedge) and asked if he minded if we re-directed the sheet of plastic to him. As usual he was more than willing to help. I wrote a massive note and sellotaped it to our door:

‘Dear Delivery man, would you please leave the parcel in my neighbours porch next door, many thanks.

Beneath this was a dirty great arrow pointing to the left and the enormous porch of my neighbour. On our return we could see the parcel, the driver had slid it over our gate into the rear of the house. Ken came out apologising and said that the driver had been and gone before he could stop him. I wouldn’t have minded but there is no way that you could mistake a six-foot white fence and gate for a porch – unless of course your name is Mr Magoo and you drive a white van.

There was yet another sharp rise in new cases today, for the first time since the beginning of February they were over 8000 at 8125. Registered deaths also rose sharply to 17.

Saturday 12/06/2021 – Day 450

‘We have the promise of a very hot weekend to come. The Temperature is set to rise to 25 degrees today, 28 tomorrow and 30 degrees on Monday.’ This was our local weathergirl Shefali (getting very excited) on Midlands today last night, so we will have to wait and see. If it is going to be that hot then it will be very uncomfortable for the England v Croatia game tomorrow at 1.00pm. Good luck lads.

Sarah continues to improve, she has got a nice healthy appetite back, and has sat out in her chair a couple of times. Hardly a leaps and bounds scenario, but great improvement.

It is the Queen’s official birthday today which is usually marked by the trooping of the colour. The day has been celebrated since 1788, when Governor Arthur Phillip declared a holiday to mark the birthday of the King of Great Britain. Until 1936, it was held on the actual birthday of the monarch, but, after King George V died, it was decided to keep the date on the second Saturday in June.

Ok, it’s time for the whinge of the week. I sat and watched Gardeners World last night with Mrs H. What have they done to it? It seemed to be just a patchwork of other people’s gardens and home-made films. Dear old Monty appears to get out of breath just explaining the few articles he actually presents, is this the results of a mini stroke he suffered in 2008 at the young age of 52?. Yet – despite his setbacks - he still presenting GW for around 8 months of the year. Is Monty’s poor health the reason why we have to join Nora and her Narcissi in Nottingham, or tantalising Ted’s tulips in Tewksbury? Don’t get me wrong. I am a great fan of dear old Monty, but these constant amateur films and visits to other gardens have turned a vibrant program into a boring hour. I was a great fan of Geoff Hamilton and as far as I can remember the cameras never left his garden. A couple of weeks ago Adam Frost took over for a week, and I’m sorry to say, but what a breath of fresh air.

Put the new plastic on the outdoor dining table yesterday with the help of Mrs H. it’s looking good. Also had a visit from Janet and John. It was actually Janet’s birthday. And we shared a few treats.

There were 7738 new cases today bringing the total for the week to 47,869 a rise of 17,574 on the previous week. Deaths however remain around the same as last week. Today there were 12registered today bring the total to 60 for the week. The good news is that there were 4,281,165 recoveries to date that is a rise of 8,586 on last week.

Boris is expected to announce a four-week delay to the July 21 easing of restrictions. He will address the nation on Monday.

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