• harveyvickie

Week 28 and 29

Sunday 20/09/2020 – Day 189

We have another wonderful day of sunshine ahead of us which apparently will last until Wednesday (depending on whether you are North or South) and then all hell is going to break loose, well not quite, it’ll just seem like it after the recent dry spell.

I have news on the Minnie/Mickey mouse saga, it was as I thought, the old traps weren’t working properly, so on Saturday I set two new ones, suffice to say that Mickey is no longer alas. Someone suggested that I get a humane trap and let the poor little mite go a few miles away, but I am still on lockdown and the nearest I could let it go is the bottom of the garden, in which case he would be greeting us again on the evening.

The other thing that happened last week if you remember – I ordered a new gadget to precision drill holes for making furniture, I realised to my horror after I had paid that they were a Chinese company with an American address, I had a really dodgy email from them which proved that they hadn’t got an English phase book with them when they typed it. Anyway, the ‘Jig’ I ordered came this morning, it was a strange looking thing, it looked just like a set of five drills in a cheap plastic case, that’s probably because that is exactly what they were!

I emailed the Chinese takeaway and complained that they had sent me the wrong item, the item they had sent I could have bought from Screwfix for £7.99, this was the reply

“Oh no Mr Harvey, this what you say you want, we send right item, you tick wrong box, but you have right item at 10%off, we very generous, we good company.”

If dreams possibly do come true the sender of that email is now lay face down on a bed in an operating theatre waiting to have that jig removed from where I suggested he shove it.

I will put this one down to experience and remember that whatever the address says, I must never buy from facebook again.

Just one more thing to catch up on from last week, if you recall, George was in the doghouse having forgotten his girlfriend Rose’s birthday, apparently all is once again well in his house after he went home worse for wear on Friday night and stood outside playing Slim Whitman’s ‘Rose Marie’ on his phone as he mimed the words, I reckon she forgave him because the neighbours were all coming outside. He told her later that he was going to play the theme to ‘Rosie and Jim’ on the ragdoll, but thankfully he couldn’t find the music.

Matt Hancock warned that the virus could be with us until next Summer! Health secretary Hancock warned over the weekend that the UK is at a "tipping point" and wouldn't rule out a second national lockdown. This on a day when there were 3899 more new cases and another 18 deaths that were covid related.

Monday 21/09/2020 – Day 190

It is a dull as dishwater day out there today, but we are promised that the cloud will clear and the sun will once again pop out to cheer even the most miserable among us.

Mrs H and I are playing the waiting game today, I am waiting on my friendly electrician who may or may not be with me, all depending on whether or not he gets his other job completed, I am also awaiting an order of wood glue and a separate order of super glue, I hope the people delivering don’t think I have a problem with sniffing the stuff lol!

Mrs H meanwhile is waiting on a blouse from last week and a delivery of compost and plants, not in the same delivery you understand.

I could not stand that Flymo for one more cut, so I ordered another Bosch, which although I know it’s German is the best mower I ever had, it cuts right to the edge and there is no mess to clear up, I rolled out the new mower for the first time today and within half an hour my lawn was looking like a bowling green, I know it doesn’t mean much to you but to me it was sheer heaven.

On this day in 1327 Deposed King Edward II of England was murdered, with a red hot poker in Berkeley Castle, Gloucestershire by order of his wife, to ensure the succession of his son Edward III, those wives didn’t mess about in those days did they, Mrs H has been asking for a real fire for a few years now, I wonder why mmm.

Another story on the wife front today was that in 1915 Stonehenge was sold at auction to Mr C H Chubb for £6,600 as a present for his wife. Mr Chubb presented it to the nation three years later as his wife didn't think it suited her. Well to be honest which wife in her right mind would want a pile of old stone for their anniversary, when he said he had bought her stone for a surprise she probably thought it was going to be a ruby or even diamond! Can you imagine the disappointment when she opened the box and there was a picture of Stonehenge.

And finally today in history 1986 Prince Charles admitted that he talked to his plants. Ever since that revelation plants have continued to be nagged by women (including Mrs H) all over the country, still, it gives us chaps a break eh!

On a day when the country’s top advisors Professor Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance warned that we are at tipping point - there was a sharp rise in new cases once again, there were 4368 cases in the past 24 hours with a further 11 deaths.

Tuesday 22/09/2020 – Day 191

Cor blimey Guv, woke up to a real pea-souper this morning, the fog here was quite dense warning of the changing weather and welcoming in the Autumnal climate, problem is that we have all been spoiled for the past couple of weeks with the warmer weather so there’ll be a lot of people pressing that central heating switch this morning, not in this house of course – Mrs H is always hot! Although she can be a bit grumpy in the morning, I took her regular morning Latte into her this morning and greeted her with:

“Good morning sweetness, light of my life, oh jewel of the morning” her response?

“Ok, who are you and what have you done with my husband”.

It was on this day in 1955 that Independent Television (ITV) began operating. Only six minutes of advertisements were allowed each hour (sheer bliss) and there was no Sunday morning TV permitted (more bliss). The first advertisement screened was for Gibbs SR toothpaste.

The launch night began at 7.15pm, with a four-minute trailer announcing, “Commercial television is here!” and promising “variety, drama, features, sport, pageantry, children’s programmes, women’s programmes” and “personalities”.

After wishing the “citizens of London Godspeed” and “good luck, all!” to its team, ITV then moved to a live broadcast from London’s Guildhall, where a gala dinner was being held to celebrate the start of independent television and where speakers included the Postmaster General and the Lord Mayor.

The rest of ITV's schedule that night included an hour of drama excerpts starring Sir John Gielgud and Alec Guinness, a variety show featuring entertainers such as Hughie Green and Harry Secombe, a boxing match, and news broadcasts. A five-minute religious programme called Epilogue brought the night to a close at 11pm.

What everyone was really interested in seeing, however, were the adverts. ITV featured 23 in all – promoting everything from Cadbury’s chocolate to Esso petrol – and the very first one went out at 8.12pm. It was a minute-long commercial for Gibbs SR toothpaste: “the tingling fresh toothpaste that does your gums good, too”.

The toothpaste commercial's place in British TV history was somewhat random - it had won a lottery against 23 other advertisements to be shown first that night

Heard back from the Chinese takeaway people after I accused them of running a scam:

Thanks for contacting us. No, we are no a scam, we are honest. You didn't check the selected product carefully. That's no our fault. How about we apply a 15% discount code for your next order and you can buy the jig at a cheaper price. If you have any questions or problems, please contact us directly for assistance, rather than reporting us. This is so harmful to us. We are just a small growing company, and due to the epidemic, we are in a very difficult time. Hope you give us more understanding so that we can survive in the special time. Thank you in advance. Have a great day

So, I can get a 15% discount on the jig I originally ordered for £25.99, problem is that it has now gone up to £49.99 – but don’t worry, it’s not a scam! I don’t think I’ll bother.

It’s been a day of events today with Boris firstly addressing the Commons this morning and then addressing the Nation at 8.00pm this evening, we are all going to be governed by stricter rules, but not temporarily, these rules are expected to be in place for the next six months, this sadly, covers the Christmas period, including Christmas day, which means millions of families will be unable to see each other. This is due to another sharp increase in new cases, they were up to 4926 today, there was also a sharp increase in the death total, up to 37.

Wednesday 23/09/2020 – Day 192.

I’m having a bit of a tidy up in my repair shop while I wait for my electrician pal, Mrs H reckons we really need a mini skip, you know, one of those big metal box things that you fill with rubbish. The problem is – do I really want a ten ton lorry laden with a two ton skip driving over my newly laid block paving, Nah I think not, I’ll do a Johnny Cash on it and put it in my dustbin ‘One Piece At A Time’ (1976) well, it’ll be a bit more than that, but then – both my neighbours dustbins have hardly anything in them, very handy on these dark evenings, I may just volunteer to put them out for them.

While I was tidying up I’d left the back gate open as we were expecting my medication (No, not that sort) I was moving wood when I heard a familiar voice:

“Morning young man”

“Morning George, aren’t you supposed to be going shopping, it’s Wednesday”

“Just on my way, saw the gate open and thought I’d pop in and say hello”

At this point Mrs H bought out a cup of tea.

“Morning George, would you like a quick cuppa?”

“Very nice Linda, thank you”

George knows she hates being called Linda, she re-appeared with another cup and handed it to him

“I hope you’ve washed your hands”.

“Washed em” said George, “in fact I’ve washed em so much in the last week that I’ve discovered an old night club stamp from 1984”.

I laughed, Mrs H wasn’t impressed.

But, breaking news! as Mrs H scoured Georges empty cup she said that I should ‘spend a bit of money’ on the repair shop so I can basically use it more in the Winter, I had suggested cladding the walls and roof in timber some time ago. All I have at the moment is a concrete sectional garage with an asbestos (safe asbestos I hasten to add) roof. Her words hadn’t really settled in my ears before I was on the computer checking out the prices, I checked everyone and guess who came up cheapest – good old B & Q.

The upshot is that it’ll be with me on Thursday and we are around £150 worse off, a lot of money to ease Mrs H’s conscience about spending all that money on clothes – oh, hush my mouth, did I really think that out loud!

So, I have basically spent most of the day in the Repair shop sorting out stuff ready for the big transformation, also stuff I probably didn’t need, I searched every box, every shelf, I even got down on my hands and knees picking up all the rubbish (sweet papers) I had dropped over the last couple of months, By the time I had finished sorting everything out it was turned four o clock, all I had to show for three hours work was an empty paint tin, Mrs H reckons I’m a hoarder and I was beginning to think she may be right as I threw the empty paint can in the dustbin, within minutes I had retrieved it thinking that perhaps I could use it for mixing paint, yes, Mrs H is definitely right, I wonder if there’s a group for like-minded people like me, The HH perhaps (Happy Hoarders).

Another sharp increase in new cases today, they were up by a massive 1250 to 6178, deaths were still rising at 38.

Thursday 24/09/2020 – Day 193

Wet as a window cleaners rag this morning, but all you ever hear is ‘It’ll do the garden good’.

I was straight on to the computer to catch up with my mail etc, the Chinese takeaway are still trying to sell me their jig for 20% off the price now. It doesn’t matter what I say to them they just keep coming back with “It no our Fault, It your fault for choosing wrong item” So as a final email I sent them this reply:

‘It’s not my fault that you changed the advert after I ordered the jig, it’s your fault for inflicting coronavirus on me, I would have bought this from a shop under normal circumstances, so it’s not my fault it’s your fault, and by the way, your £59’99 jig is available on e bay for £18.99, which means that I could have bought the drills you sent and the jig you didn’t send for just £25.99, Now that IS my fault for being a total pratt, good day!’

I await their reply in the morning, it’ll probably say ‘It not our fault you could buy cheaper, it your fault for choosing best company, we are good’.

I had just finished typing my reply and sat back feeling very smug when the doorbell rang – several times, I had no choice but to answer the door in my dressing gown. It was the B&Q delivery driver, I looked at my watch it said 7.45. I looked at the driver who was feeling quite proud by the look on his boat race.

“Delivery for Mr Harvey, MDF Boards”

“Did I miss something on the news that said we’re about to be hit by a nuclear bomb?”

“Pardon?” said the driver.

“It’s just that you’re here so early, it’s usually an evening drop with your lot”.

“Oh, right Sir, very droll, I’ll drop it on the drive then shall I?”

Four Weetabix and umpteen cups of tea later and I am out in the repair shop eagerly dragging the first of a dozen eight foot by four foot MDF sheets into the garage to be cut to size, the electrician was coming after lunch so I was keen to get the one side boarded ready.

It was 4,00pm when I finished, the electrician must have been held up on his other job, so I locked everything up, bolted the back gate and went in for my tea. I had just put the first spoonful in my mouth when the doorbell rang, it was the electrician, he was all masked up, had a quick look and said he’d be back at 11.00 am tomorrow.

We were regaled by the Chancellor on TV news tonight, despite attempts to avoid helping businesses he has had to do a U turn to help them out with a package of deals, He has once again avoided the question of the extremely vulnerable, yet lockdown will inevitably happen soon, I don’t know why he fudges around the subject. Meanwhile another substantial increase in New cases, a further 500 brings the total up to 6634, just eight days ago they were 3100, there was also a further 40 deaths today.

Friday 24/09/2020 – Day 194

Brrrr! Bit parky out there this morning, the wind is very icy and very blustery with it, straight out to the repair shop to get ready for the electrician, which meant cutting the socket holes for the new stuff, downloaded a lot of new songs on the phone so ready to go. It all went really well actually, by the time the sparky arrived everything was ready for him. He fitted all the boxes and will return on Monday to finish off when I have hopefully finished the boarding.

George popped around on his way to town, I reckon he likes Mrs H’s hot drinks, he reckons he has found the perfect coronavirus testing kit, You have to pour a healthy measure of Whisky, rum or gin into a glass and then see if you can smell it, if you can then taste it, if you can taste it then it is a fair assumption that you are free of the virus.

He tested himself nine times last night and was virus free every time.

But, this morning he got up with a headache which is another symptom, so he is forced to repeat the tests during the day.

I was having a lovely day until Mrs H reminded me that the battery from the ‘bell from hell’ needed charging, my heart sank, it is one of those damn video bells that supposedly show everyone who comes to the door, last month we bought a new SD card to go with it, this little device will apparently keep a record of all callers, ours is an Express One bell, there is nothing wrong with the product, the problems start when you need to do something with it, Like today, I need to put this card in, but does it show you how to get into the device, No!, So I rely on good old You Tube, I put in the name of the video doorbell and there are plenty of ads for accessories, but is there anything to tell you how to get into the thing, No!

The back-up service is absolutely diabolical, just the basic instruction on a bit of paper and nothing anywhere online. After a really frustrating hour I managed to work out how it came apart, I put the thing back in it’s bracket and everything was working fine – except that Mrs H’s phone is not recognising the device, Grrrr!

I can build most things, I could renovate a dilapidated building without any problem, but technology is well beyond me, surely, we could live without it? I don’t remember having headaches when we had that lovely white doorbell, people rang it and we magically appeared.

OMG! Just when I thought 2020 couldn’t get any worse, Mrs H has just informed me that Steps are getting back together!

The number of new cases continues to rise at a pace, today there were 6874, a rise of 250 on yesterday, there were also a further 34 deaths.

Saturday 26/09/2020 – Day 195

Very nippy again this morning, had there been any snowmen around they certainly wouldn’t have melted! Shocking news about all those students in lockdown this morning, dragged away from home to start their studies only to find that there are a lot of infected students already there, they are now taking lessons on their laptops – which they could have done from the warmth and safety of their own homes.

Our thoughts are with the family of murdered Sergeant Matt Ratana, may that brave man rest in peace.

Been out in the repair shop all day, it is now ready for the electrician to return on Monday to finish his part, must say, it’s looking good, Mrs H reckons I only need an armchair and a case of beer to complete the scenario, I have no idea what she’s hinting at.

Deciding on whether or not to push my luck on the local lottery, Oh yes, I forgot to tell you last week that I won £200, for a £20 stake, and that was the second prize! The first prize was £800!

There was a slight drop in New cases today, but still over 6000 at 6042, and there were also another 34 deaths.

Well. That’s it for this week, I thought I might leave you with a poem from my new book A poetic trip along memory Lane at Amazon. All the poems are nostalgic, make a great stocking filler!

I remember it well, like it was yesterday

Those long hot summers when we used to play,

Over in the fields or down by the stream

Now a lifetime away or so it would it seem.

But cast your mind back to when we were young

When children had manners and watched their tongue,

The old Grocers shop did Mums shopping on tick

And the Doctor called round if you were sick.

The home telephone was two streets away

And a whistling milkman was heard every day,

The coalman’s face was all sweaty and black

As mother watched that he didn’t drop slack.

The rent man called every Friday night

We’d crouch behind the sofa - out of sight,

No-one had garages or even car ports

And beer at home meant Davenports.

When Saturday morning was spent at the flicks

Or down in the town where we’d get our kicks,

Teachers and Policemen would fill us with fear

Misbehaving meant a clip around the ear!

The kitchen was the warmest room in the house

Where a sharp shiny nit comb was used to delouse,

At least one drawer was a great treasure trove

And the kettle whistled constantly on the stove.

When the front door was opened a rush of air

Ensured the paraffin heater would often flare

Licking the ceiling with its orange flames

And dried condensation on window frames.

A real roaring fire kept us warm at night

But Jack Frost would call by morning light.

His art on the window a real master class

Not on the outside but inside of the glass!

You'd wake in the morning and could see your breath

Bare feet on cold lino you could catch your death!

Pull on long socks with newly darned heel

Over that cut on your knee that won't heal.

You’d sit toasting crumpets on an open fire

Watching TV hoping the bob didn't expire

Before Sugarfoot had caught his man

Or the Indians had surrounded Cheyenne.

When Mothers made sure that the washing was white

Morphy Richards iron was plugged into the light

Stair rods held the carpet safely on the stairs

Where we slid down the bannister on our derriere's.

Cow horn handlebars upright on our bikes

Or the bread bins on the back of those red trikes

Roller skates to skin your elbows and knees

Sliding down grass or climbing high into trees.

These childhood memories are stored in my mind

When neighbours were welcoming, friendly and kind

Memories that can never be taken away

Memories I will tell my Grandchildren one day.

Sunday 20/09/2020 – Day 196

It’s a beautiful Autumnal day here in sunny Kidderminster, yes, the sun is out and there’s not a cloud in sight, but, don’t let that wonderful scene fool you, I just opened the back door and an Arctic chill forced me to shut it quickly, the central heating boiler shivered and fired up!

A really busy day in the repair shop yesterday, as you know I am boarding the interior to make it a bit cosier for working in, I am all ready for the electrician to come tomorrow and fix the new lights and the fronts on the sockets, then I have a whole week of moving stuff around in order to complete the other wall, But as Mrs H says ‘I love it’.

Saw one of those ‘Shape copiers’ on FB, you know the ones, you push it against whatever shape you want to copy then the needles give you the exact copy, anyway after my recent exchanges with the Chinese takeaway I didn’t bother, at £24’99 for the big one and £17.99 for the smaller version I decided I could live without this particular tool for the ‘man cave’.

A couple of hours later I was on Amazon and saw the same items, exactly the same size for £17.99 for the two! As I keep saying, do not buy off facebook, it is always available at a cheaper price somewhere else.

On this day in1979 Gracie Fields, the Rochdale born wartime singer, died aged 81, in Canzone Del Mare, Capri. Her most famous song was 'Sally' which she sang at nearly every performance she made from 1931 onwards. A statue of her was unveiled in her home- town of Rochdale on 18th September 2016 by Roy Hudd, who was President of the British Music Hall Society until his death on 15th March 2020.

Also on this day in 2016 The late Sir Terry Wogan (who died on 31st January 2016) was honoured in a special memorial service live in Westminster Abbey, on the 50th anniversary of his first BBC radio broadcast. Terry was brilliant, but he was like Marmite, you either loved him or hated him, I personally miss the dry wit, the banter and the exchanges between him and his co-presenters, oh yes, I miss the Janet and John tales as well.

A lot of you seemed to like the garden pictures I put on this week, had some lovely comments from you, we want to a video but we are not very good at that sort of thing and Mrs H wants you all to see the garden in its full glory ie. in flower!

After my win of £200 on the local lottery draw last week using the year I was born, (52) our granddaughter Alisha only won £200 this week using Mrs H’s date (55), brilliant eh!

There were a further 5693 new cases announced in the past twenty four hours, also another 17 deaths.

Monday 28/09/2020 – Day 197

Not a bad day today, still a bit ‘nippy. Out there but I can live with that. Electricians popping along later to finish off the new wiring in the repair shop (garage). Then I just have to finish off the right hand side cladding of the walls and paint it out I will then to be able to hang my tools where I need them and my repair shop will become the ‘best room’.

Speaking of best rooms, did your Mum have one?, I came from a large family of four brothers and five sisters and we had a three bedroomed council house in a street away from the main estate. Inevitably at first this meant ‘topping and tailing’ in two very big double beds which were covered in woollen blankets knitted by mum from bobbins my dad would bring home from work, In the Winter months old coats were usually thrown on as well for the extra warmth, that was the norm until in the early sixties my mum bought some bunk beds on the never-never, My eldest brother had by then joined the army (less crowded) so for four of us in one room (apart from the smell of my younger brothers socks) it was sheer bliss to be sleeping in your own space without having someone’s often unwashed feet under your nose.

So, with my Mum and Dad there were at times a dozen of us in that house, downstairs we had a small hallway leading to a kitchen about twelve foot square, this was where the whole family would congregate, we didn’t actually all eat together, we didn’t even have a dining table that I can remember. There was also a small room also about twelve- foot square, this is where the 12 of us sat and watched TV (not all together) and believe me – you didn’t need any heating on in the Winter!

Across the hallway was the ‘Best room’ or the posh room as we kids called it, this was mothers pride and joy, the place where all unknown visitors – basically, anyone who came to the front door – were guided and invited to sit, this room had a good ‘cleaning’ every Sunday morning, usually by one of my sisters. It would be decorated every three years and there wasn’t many of us ever got to see the wallpaper!

It housed all Mum’s best furniture, a wonderfully comfortable three piece suite, a glass cabinet full of glasses and glass items accumulated over the years, a table and four chairs (for 12 people?) and her pride and joy – a radiogram, The other thing that made it posh was that there wasn’t just linoleum on the floor - oh no, this was the best room - there was a large square carpet that never quite reached any of the walls, so the lino would make up for the shortfall. Every Sunday after a good dusting the fire would be ‘laid’ with rolls of newspaper and bits of wood, the fire bucket would be filled all in readiness to be lit about 5.00pm to get the hot water for bath night.

My point is that the best room was by far the biggest room in the house, it stretched from back to front with a window either end, as I said there were twelve of us and yet the only time it was used over about 15 years was to give birth to one of my siblings! As soon as the birth was over the bed would be moved back upstairs and the room would revert to a place for visitors until the next arrival! So that room always had a slight smell of Johnsons baby powder and that smell even now takes me back to those wonderful days.

Of course, eventually, as we all grew older the best room had to give way to us, the fire was lit on a more regular basis and some wonderful Christmases were spent in there, also Sunday afternoons watching Old Mother Riley, George Formby or some old classic films like Tommy Trinder in ‘The Bells Go Down’.

I see the idiots out there have once again started panic buying, two of our local stores have had their shelves emptied of bread, toilet rolls and pasta, I remember last year, the only time we panic bought was when the landlord shouted last orders.

The number of both new cases and deaths fell in the last twenty - four hours, New cases were down to 4044 and deaths were thankfully down to 13, but let’s not get too complacent – these are weekend figures.

Tuesday 29/09/2020 – Day 198

Another sunny but quite cold day today. I was lay in bed at 5.45am deciding on whether or not to get my old bones up and working when this thought came into my head - this time last year we were all looking forward to leaving the EU, now we’d just be grateful to leave the house! – on that thought I arose.

Had to do an order for Iceland last night as I went to the chest freezer in the shed and it was very low, I must say Iceland have improved their delivery service greatly, Mrs H and I ordered what we needed and chose the slot for today and it will be here by 12 midday, when we go on Tesco’s we have to book 4 weeks in advance or starve!

I finished all the odds and ends in the Repair shop (garage) so, basically that is one half of the space finished, I just had to paint it out which took me less than an hour, I must say it already feels quite a lot warmer in there, Tomorrow I will give the walls another coat and then I will have to start moving stuff around to complete the other half, but my lovely son has kindly offered to pop around Saturday morning and take any rubbish or unwanted items to the tip.

About two weeks ago we did a paint job on the surround of our pond which as you know holds jaws (Koi Carp) and about a dozen of his mates, on Mrs H’s orders I changed the colour from a Cotswold cream to a very pale grey, well I can only say that I may as well have painted a big H on the surface like they do for the helicopters, not for Harvey - we aren’t quite that vain yet – no, for the Heron that has started to watch my pond after about a two year absence! The neighbours phoned us yesterday and said that the heron had been perched on their neighbours roof for quite a time having a staring contest with Jaws. Anyone know where I can get a gun?

As feared, there has been a huge leap in the number of new cases they have shot up to 7143, the first time they have been over 7000, but the number of deaths recorded is even more alarming, they have gone up to 71 an increase of 58 on the previous day.

Wednesday 30/09/2020 – Day 199

Well here we are on the last day of yet another month and I don’t feel any safer than I did back at the beginning of March, a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then and sadly, a lot of people are no longer with us.

I must say it’s looking very Autumnal in our garden the Acers are starting to change colour ready to shed their leaves, the pigeon population has substantially decreased since the demise of our neighbours massive weeping willow, the poor little things have nowhere to park their feathery backsides and drop their business – oh dear, what a shame , never mind eh!

Mrs H has been through the house with a fine tooth comb so to speak, she has been collecting assorted cobwebs on her Ken Dodd tickling stick, (which she did actually buy from a concert we went to see him in), the windows are spotlessly clean inside and out, the outside courtesy of the ladderless window cleaner who comes every month, he has one of those extensive window washers which use all sorts of chemicals. I remember my Mum using vinegar and the old News of the world, her windows used to sparkle. A good recipe is 2 cups water, 1/4 cup white vinegar, and 1/2 liquid soap (to get rid of the waxy film that might be on the window). A squirt bottle works best but you could also lightly dip your newspaper into a jar of cleaning solution if needed. Works even better on mirrors and windscreens, there, never say that I don’t help you, eat your heart out Mrs Hinch!

But I digress, where was I - the problem with me is that I am capable of actually forgetting what I’m doing while I’m doing it – oh yes, the light of my life is cleaning everything that doesn’t move which is my excuse to continue converting my garage into a proper workshop.

After a particularly dusty afternoon I was threatened within an inch of my life if I went into the house after Mrs H had top and bottomed it, I changed in the garage as I quite like my privates where they are, after a quick shower I sat and had a can, I’ve cut down on my Guinness lately, I just have one now before I go to bed – I went to bed seven times last night

Boris did an update on the very serious Covid situation today, ably helped by his two very worried looking friends Chris Witty and Patrick Vallance, this is the first time he has appeared on the podium for months, so he is obviously taking heed of the people who are saying they have no idea what is going on and those who say they don’t understand the new rules, Boris also informed us that these announcements will again become more regular. I don’t know why but as I listened to him this old proverb came to mind:

The forest was shrinking but the trees kept voting for the axe for the axe was clever and convinced the trees that because his handle was made of wood he was one of them (Turkish proverb)

I switched over to the news on ITN and thought I was watching a new episode of Spitting Image, but it was only Donald Trump and Joe Biden squaring up to each

Other, very comical actually.

Once again, the new cases figure is over 7000, there were 7108 cases reported, but once again the death toll was at 71, they are reporting that the number of hospital admissions is also on the increase.

Thursday 01/10/2020 – Day 200

It doesn’t seem like five minutes since I was last saying that I hoped you all said ‘White Rabbits’ three times this morning, So here we are in the tenth month and just 85 days away from Christmas, unless of course things are so bad that Boris does an Oliver Cromwell and bans it this year. (that miserable git Cromwell banned it for thirteen years until the restoration of the Monarch in 1660, there you are, another snippet from the useless information department).

We are also coincidently also on Day 200, if someone had said to me back in March that I would be almost isolated for the next 200 days, I would have laughed at them, yet here we are.

Talking about miserable gits Mrs H has been trying to give away some really rich top soil which my son had dug out of a job he was doing, the respondents want to know how much there is, has it been bagged, can he deliver, I mean, it is there for free and they wouldn’t mind Mrs H barrowing it round to their house for them, unbelievable! Some miserable old man came, took ten bags and didn’t even say thank you, I reckon it was the childrens entertainer from Hi De Hi.

Here’s a joke to cheer you all up, An Englishman an Irishman and a Scotsman walked into a bar – those were the days eh!

George called in on his way back from the town looking really glum again, I must say he hasn’t really looked happy since his new girlfriend Rose decided to move in to ‘look after’ him.

“Morning George, you look like you’ve lost a pound and found a penny, everything alright?”

He pulled his bright pink spotted mask down, “It’s just been announced that anyone returning from Iceland has to self-isolate for 14 days, - I only went in for some frozen chips”.

“No George, it doesn’t mean..”

Luckily Mrs H came out and stopped the conversation.

As you know I live in Kidderminster in Worcestershire, our town has always been a market town for nearly 800 years when a fair and a market was first held here. So, on a Tuesday and Thursday we had a Cattle Market when farmers from all over the Midlands came to sell their stock. On Thursday and Saturday it was the main market which was held indoors in the centre of the town, It was a formidable building with three separate entrances, it was in reality – the beating heart of the town. These markets made Kidderminster one of the most visited towns in the Midlands, on Thursdays the streets were jam packed with people from all over the place.

I used to go to the market on a Saturday up those impressive steps and through the grand arched entrance, it was a wonderful place for any youngster, but I would head straight to the stall where I could swap my comics and books for a penny. There was a chap nearby who sold crockery, full tea sets, and he would juggle with them, throw them from arm to arm, bang them on the table top, he was brilliant and I used to stand there for hours just watching him’

Sadly, the heart has been ripped out of our town in the last sixty years, all we have now is a street market on a Thursday and Saturday, but the atmosphere is nothing like those heady days of the sixties.

The new cases dropped below 7000 today, but only just, there were 6914 cases reported also 59 more deaths.

Friday 02/10/2020 – Day 201.

Well, it’s as ‘dull as dishwater’ out there today, it is already pizzitively possing down and apparently storm Alex is set to smash Britain this weekend bringing flash floods and 65mph gales from northern France. It’s bad enough that they send their snails over here expecting us to eat them, but really bad weather is the last straw

The UK will be hit with a 900-mile wide “Atlantic torment” from Thursday to Saturday as we move into a wet and windy October.

A bit of British History from this day, In1925 London's first red buses with roofed-in upper decks went into service, but they had been in use in Widnes, Cheshire, since 1909. A bit like the well - known fact that the Irish invented the toilet seat – but the English put a hole in it!

1909 The first rugby football match was played at Twickenham, between Harlequins and Richmond, it changed from football after ‘Mountain Man’ a 24 stone Harlequin player fell on the football and squashed it. No-one was brave enough to argue with him.

1991 Ron Chassidy (who had been jailed for not paying his poll tax) was released after a 'whip-round' at his local pub so that he could play in a dominoes match! Nobody had a ‘whip-round’ for me when I refused to pay for my round!

Been in the nice dry repair shop (garage0 most of the day, I have one section to finish and I will have converted a cold draughty concrete sectional garage into a nice cosy place to work in all weathers, not bad for a crotchety 68 year old.

Saw this job advertised in our local paper:

Carpenter wanted urgently, cabinet falling apart apply 10 Downing street, no tools needed, the building is full of them.

I’m going to have a nice relaxing evening in the office (back bedroom) and hopefully compose a couple of poems, I have sadly neglected my poetry of late, problem is that with four facebook sites to run it doesn’t leave me much spare time, so I do my writing either late at night or very early in the morning. Will seriously have to think about giving one of the sites up I think.

Just heard on the news that Donald Trump has caught Coronavirus, he has to self-isolate for two weeks with his wife Melanie, that poor woman, stuck in a room with him for a fortnight!

Another 6968 new cases reported in the last 24 hours, the death numbers sadly continue to rise, today they are at 66.

Saturday 03/10/2020 - Day 202

Mrs H was woken this morning with the sound of a text coming in, I have to say at this stage that I had already been up a couple of hours, It was our Granddaughter Alisha, she had secretly been to Worcester to take her driving theory test, after a couple of failures she decided not to tell anyone, the reason for her text was to say she had passed – with flying colours, just a shame that there was no way to celebrate.

You know I said earlier this week that Mrs H was going through the house with a fine- tooth comb, well, the results are in! Cast your mind back to mid - March when the dear lady produced a list of ‘jobs to do’ while I was on furlough, if you recall that list kept growing, even when I had completed jobs, new ones seem to appear, so I nicknamed it the ‘Pinocchio’ list.

Well, the list has once again reared it’s ugly head, Whilst going through every room in the house Mrs H has compiled a list so long that it makes the list from March look like a stroll in the park.

Among the jobs is the ‘turning of the peninsular in the kitchen area, it is called a peninsular because it is attached to the wall, therefore it follows that it can’t be an island as you can walk all around an island.

This little matter has always peeved the lovely Mrs H, she caught me on a particularly good day on Tuesday, everything was going well with the Garage conversion and I was feeling pretty pleased with my days work, in short dear reader – I was caught off guard, I had an inkling that something was on her mind, but I had been played, that lady is a lot better woman than I will ever be a man.

But I AM a man, not a mouse, I put my foot down with her, I said that none of those jobs will be done until I have finished the repair shop on Monday - that told her!

I have been in the garage all day finishing off the cladding and once everything is put back in place I will be as snug as a bug in a rug over Winter, I can now confidently say that it is no longer a garage, it is now officially a repair shop and from herein will be known as such, not that I’ll be spending much time in there with the list of indoor jobs my little precious has lined up for me.

Can’t believe people letting fireworks off already! It’s way too soon, our cat’s so scared he's hiding under the Christmas tree

For some unknown reason there were no Covid results available for the last 24 hours. I found out later that due to a ‘Technical issue’ the results for the last 14 days had been wrong, this means that the results for the next few days will be higher than normal, todays figure for new cases is 12871, that’s some technical issue isn’t it? There were also a further 49 deaths. I understand that those figures are true.

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