• harveyvickie

Weeks 30 and 31

Sunday 04/09/2020 – Day 203

Up bright and early this morning and guess what – yes, it is still raining! There is just no logical pattern to the weather these days, it either rains or it is sunny and that’s it, Unlike my childhood there are no more nice crispy frosty mornings, and we hardly ever have snow.

Remember yesterday I told you that my granddaughter Alisha had passed her driving Theory test, well, the little darling decided to have a go on our local lottery again, if you recall I won £200 two weeks ago, and Alisha won £200 a week later, the upshot is that she won £800 last night, sadly she was in shares with her mum but that still means she won £400, If I was her mum I would have told her to keep the lot ‘Can you hear me Mother? (Sandy Powell) lol, I am now naming her Golden girl to match her little brother Golden child.

Yesterday I put the final piece of cladding on the walls of the repair shop, so today I will be in there setting out everything exactly where I need it, which means of course that a lot of stuff will have to go (honestly).

Sunday mornings as a child were lovely, us lads were encouraged - nay forced – out of the house while my sisters changed all the beds, hoovered (or swept) and generally helped mother around the house, if it was raining we were confined to the kitchen, where we would listen to Two Way Family Favourites. was the successor to the wartime radio show Forces Favourites, broadcast at Sunday lunchtimes on the BBC Light Programme, BBC Radio 2 and the British Forces Broadcasting Service until 1980. From 1967 to 1972 it was also carried on BBC Radio 1. It was a request programme designed to link families at home in the UK with British Forces serving in West Germany or elsewhere overseas. I shouldn’t think that there’s a lot of you that can remember the signature tune "With a Song in My Heart" I think it was Cliff Michelmore and Jean Metcalfe presenting it back in the fifties, but there was quite a variety of presenters including Bill Crozier in Cologne, Michael Aspel, Judith Chalmers and Sarah Kennedy. The final UK presenter was Jean Challis, it finished in 1980, although both Pete Murray and Ed Stewart continued to use the title for segments of their shows, often linking up with places such as Australia and New Zealand, for another couple of years during the 1980s; During this time, the song "Hurry Home" by Wavelength became popular with the families of troops returning from the Falklands War.

This was usually followed by the Goon show, Around the Horne or the latest episode of Jimmy Clitheroe all intermingled with the smell of roast beef and roast potatoes. Not that us lads wanted to be inside, there was a wonderful wide world out there to explore.

They were really late again with the figures for the last 24 hours, it was no surprise when the numbers actually came in at 22961. a staggering figure that Public Health England has said is ‘artificially high’ due to case reporting backlogs. This has meant the 15,841 cases that went unreported between 25 September and 2 October were added onto Saturday and Sunday’s figures, with worrying implications for the country’s contact tracing system. There were also a further 33 deaths reported.

Monday 05/10/2020 – Day 204

Woke up very late this morning after feeling a bit poorly yesterday, my eyes were streaming, my body ached and I had a bad headache. Needless to say Mrs H feared the worse and started searching the cupboard for some paracetamol, (or was she secretly looking for the insurance documents, we will never know dear reader lol), so I took some just before bed and as stated above I overslept until 8.15am, but I was feeling ok so all was once again good in the Harvey household.

After a four Weetabix breakfast it was back out to the repair shop to carry on tidying up, my son Mark hasn’t been to collect the rubbish yet, which is just as well really, I have been adding to the growing mound every day. Which reminds me of when we were young, I mean, what happened to all our rubbish?

We only had one galvanised dustbin, usually missing the lid because one of the kids had been a Knight of the round table the previous day, I know the dustbin men came every week but even so, we still coped with what was I suppose a bin half the size of today’s wheelie bins.

Well the truth is dear reader that there just wasn’t the waste that we see in today’s society, uncut bread for instance was initially wrapped in a tissue paper which would then be utilised around the home – eventually ending up as a Firestarter among the kindling, Mothers pride and Sunblest then wrapped the new sliced loaf in a wax paper, but even this was kept by mum and used to wrap sandwiches for work.

Potato peelings and other peelings were given to anyone who had chickens, if not they went straight on to the compost heap which is where all the old newspapers were put, if they weren’t taken to the local chippie or used to support a broken spring in the armchair seat, or, as a last resort cut into squares and hung on a bit of string on the toilet door. There was no packaging as such, everything was put into brown paper bags at the grocers, the only cardboard you saw was on the burnt slopes of the local grass hill where they were used as slides.

There was certainly no polystyrene or polythene, your washing powder came in a cardboard container as did your soap, all good for the fire, plastic was limited to things like liquid washing up bottles. Everyone had a wicker basket or shopping bags, there were no plastic carrier bags back then. Meat from the local butchers was also wrapped in paper, the milk was put on your doorstep by a milkman and the next day the empties would be put out rinsed and clean ready to be taken and used again, after sterilisation of course.

The rag-and-bone man was a regular sight on the streets with his call of ‘Any old iron’ or ‘Rag bone”. Some rag-and-bone men would push a hand cart, others might have a horse and cart. The rag-and-bone man would take old clothes, pots and pans, shoes and so on, to either sell on or to repair. Any bones collected would be sold to make glue and fertilizer. The rags were used in paper-making and the rag-and-bone man would sell any metal as scrap.

We used to get ‘thruppence’ for the return of pop bottles a great incentive to root around looking for empties, or sometimes a neighbour would ask you to ‘pop to the shop’ for them, they would give you an empty pop bottle for your trouble

Mum would take knitted garments apart and simply knit something else. We even saved water! Bath night was on a Sunday and you would often find yourselves bathing in a couple of inches of lukewarm water after five of tour siblings had already visited it!

So yes, we and our parents were the original re-cyclers, they think today that all this recycling business is new, well, we’ve been there, done that and almost got the T shirt, but it was recycled and used for dusters.

My eldest grandson Mason has got a job interview today, I won’t say where but you could be home, home on it, anyway, he should know by Wednesday, he is at a football academy at the moment so he can only do so many hours.

We have had the Health Secretary on the news most of the day, fumbling an apology for the fiasco of the numbers in coronavirus, today there were 12594 new cases and 19 more deaths, but can we trust the figures any longer?

Tuesday 05/10/2020 – Day 205

Bit of the old currant bun (sun) out this morning, still quite windy though and guess what? yes, it’s raining!

Last day of getting the repair shop sorted today, just underneath the benches to sort out, I may be adding even more to the growing mountain of stuff to take to the tip. Then tomorrow I have to start on Mrs H’s list.

Now I may have told you this before – many months ago – but the reason I never rush into a job for Mrs H is quite simple, she keeps changing her mind! I am quite surprised that she allowed me to marry her twice! In the latest episode Mrs H has changed her mind about the moving of the peninsular, if you recall last week I told you that a peninsular is a kitchen unit that juts out from a wall, an island is a kitchen unit you can walk around. Dear Mrs H wanted me to basically turn the aforementioned peninsular into an island, I was quite willing to do this for the light of my life, I was quite willing to break my back moving it around, strain my muscles changing the electrics no probs. But Glory be to God she has decided against it, well she has -sort of – I came back in feeling so pleased that I had put the final touches to the repair shop, Mrs H was beaming from ear to ear, this is a danger sign to any well trained husband, their wives don’t smile like that unless there is something up their sleeve.

Sure enough, within a few minutes of coaxing Mrs H had revealed that she had been sat there thinking – another dangerous pastime – and that she had once again changed her mind about that blessed peninsular! It seems that she still wants it moved to the opposite wall, which basically means I have to alter the big unit below and also alter the lighting, but do you know what the really annoying thing is ? The thing that really gets my back up – it’s the fact that she is right!

The North of the country is in a bit of a state over this coronavirus it seems, the new rules recently introduced are having little or no impact. The blame is being put on the fact that there was a massive influx of students going back to University in those cities mostly affected, but I fear that is the easy way out as an excuse, this virus is once more getting a grip, today’s figures are once again quite shocking, there were 14542 new cases and another 76 deaths.

Wednesday 06/10/2020 – Day 206

It seems I am working in the house today, Mrs H and myself have come to the agreement that I take the top off the peninsular which is about seven foot long and five foot wide and not very light!, We will then move the unit around until we find a favourable position, (sounds like a chapter from the Kama Sutra!) , then we will replace the top and my work will really start in that room.

Speaking of rooms there was one room in our house as a child that used to frighten me to death, it was the Cubby hole, did you have one? That triangular space under the stairs, the council in all their wisdom decided that when the house was built – the gas and electric meters should be housed in there, it didn’t take long for that dark dank space to fill up with unwelcome visitors like big hairy spiders. They don’t bother me at all today (we get on very well, we have a little chat about putting the fear of God into Mrs H as she lies in the bath) but when I was little I must have had a serious case of arachnophobia, which as you know is a fear of spiders, as I said the meters were in there and so were lots of shoes, raincoats etc, when the electric went out we had to put a ‘bob’ (shilling) in the meter to get it back on, there was no-one would willingly volunteer to go under there and feed the beast (the meter) so mum inevitably did it. But one Saturday night she went out, and so did the electric, the youngest siblings were in bed, so it was a toss-up between me and my four elder siblings, my big sister said that if I didn’t put the shilling in then I would have to go to bed, we were halfway through Rawhide, I poked my head into the darkness, straining my eyes to see the meter, I couldn’t quite reach it so I had to crawl in further, I slipped the shilling in and turned the handle, there was a loud cheer and then – someone shut the door on me and it all went black!

I have never been so frightened in all my life (except when the ghost of my Great Grandma visited of course) I’m sure something ran over my foot – I screamed and screamed until my sister undid the latch.

“Who locked our Eric under the stairs?”

My brother grinned from ear to ear until he copped a whack on the back of the head from big Sis.

It has taken the biggest part of the day but Mrs H and I have finally found the new place for the peninsular, yes, it is still a peninsular because she whom I love dearly has finally got her way. Let me expand on that for you, Mrs H has over the past few years often brought up the subject of moving the peninsular, questions like :

“Why can’t it go on the opposite side of the room?”

“Er, because there is a big radiator stopping it my darling”.

“What if we,,,,,,,,,,,,?”

“Forget it, it’s not going over that side of the room”

So dear reader, guess where the peninsular finished up – oh, I see you’re one step ahead of me. Going through all those phases of turning it into an island, spinning it around to face another way, hanging it from the ceiling (Ok I made that one up) and all the time she knew where she wanted it, so it is now positioned over the radiator with the end section removed to allow the heat to flow. I wondered where my other tape measure had disappeared to when I was refitting the repair shop, I have said it before and I’ll say it again, if that woman of mine ran this country there would be no problems to worry about!

Figures for new cases were once again above 14000, at 14162 the situation seems to be worsening, Hospital admissions are rising alarmingly with some papers reporting that the NHS are only 10 days away from the peaks reached in March. There were a further 70 deaths recorded.

Thursday 08/10/2020 – Day 207

It seems to have been raining most of the night, but I don’t think rising water levels are uppermost in people’s minds at the moment - unless of course you are in the vicinity of a flood plain.

I have had to order a new light fitting after Mrs H decided that she wanted one of those big flashy bulbs in the kitchen above the recently moved peninsular. Also, after many (warm not heated) discussions I have now had to order more hinges and magnetic catches. It seems that Mrs H has now decided that she no longer wants to see all my cd’s and my music centre, so I now have to make new doors for the unit in order to hide it all.

I finished all the electrics – moving lights etc – and was awaiting my order of MDF boards and timber, it eventually arrived at 2.30pm, by then I had ‘knocked off’ and wasn’t interested, tomorrow is another day and I will still be aching!

Nearly got scammed yesterday, I have a Paypal account and had just finished ordering something, when you do that you normally get an email saying that you’ve used your account. Well this did happen, but fifteen minutes later I had another email from Paypal saying that my spending power would now be regulated, if I wanted to know why I must log in, I am always suspicious of things like that so I logged in – but from facebook -, I couldn’t find anything untoward, so I checked the second email again, then I noticed the error, it said ‘ for more informations log in to your account now’. Just one letter gave them away, no-one would put an ‘s’ on the end of information, no-one except a foreigner!

We heard today that my grandson Mason has got his first job, his interview at ‘home, home on the R-----’ went really well and they’ve offered him a job, so proud of that lad, he has good manners, is very thoughtful and is a brilliant footballer.

Apparently, George’s Grandfather’s first job was as a scarecrow – rumour has it that he was out standing in his field.

The number of new cases has shot up by 3378 on yesterday’s figures, today they are a massive 17540, sadly there were a further 77 more deaths registered as well.

Friday 09/10/2020 – Day 208

Not a bad day today weatherwise, it is quite calm and the sun is struggling to make an early morning appearance, as I look out of my office (back bedroom) window I see the pigeons stripping the red berries off the Hawthorn covering my repair shop roof, this will be digested by our lovely feathered friends and then deposited all over the outside furniture and decking, I really do wish that one of those famous chefs would re-introduce pigeon pie in order that we may decrease the ever-growing population of rats with wings.

Ok, that’s today’s whinge out of the way, apparently, on this day in 1991 The first Sumo wrestling tournament ever held off Japanese soil in the sport's 1500 year history began 'on this day' , at the Royal Albert Hall. I hear that they have just finished strengthening the foundations.

Also, on this day in 1961 Britain's youngest ever Conservative MP, Margaret Thatcher, was given her first governmental job. She would soon be dubbed ‘Thatcher the milk Snatcher’ after taking away the school milk from the children of the day, a mild act compared with what was to come methinks.

And finally on this day in 1955 Three armed men raided a Turkish bath in London, but the well - heeled customers were wearing very little clothing, and the robbers' total haul was only £7, I’ll wager that their meagre haul was hardly enough to cover the robbers airfares back to Ireland lol.

About 10 weeks ago I sent this ‘Diary of a self-Isolator’ off to about four different publishers, I knew it took between 8 and 12 weeks to get a response. Well today I had an email from Europe Books a very well – known respected and World - Wide distributor and publisher, they said that their team had read my diary and would like me to join their growing team of authors. They are promising World - wide distribution and bookshop and even TV coverage everywhere, I will have my own editor and support team.

I am not naïve enough to know that there is going to be a setback as I read on, sure enough, for them to publish they require me to order 200 copies of my own book, this will cost me £2800, but they also say that when they have sold 500 books then they will re-imburse my £2800. They may as well be asking for £28,000 it is a good deal on paper, but surely if the book is as good as they say then they would take the risk.

Guess I’ll wait and see what the others respond with, but I will find a publisher one day.

Meanwhile there are more important issues going on around us, Thankfully, there is a decrease in new cases down to 13864, but sadly the number of deaths continues to rise with a further 87 recorded today.

Saturday 10/10/2020 – Day 209.

I was wondering – do you do that Facebook memories thing? Mrs H doesn’t like them much, they show her wearing the same things she was wearing six years ago!

Spent all day yesterday constructing Mrs H’s new housing for the other end of the peninsular, it is basically a large cabinet to house the TV, the TV box, Alexa (about time I pigeon-holed her) and the BT reception disc for the Wi-Fi. The result is that my brand new sparkling repair shop is now covered in a thin film of brown dust (yes, I did wear a mask), I’ve a good mind I get Mrs H in there when I’ve finished, she can hoover the place out, but then, I’ve got more chance of knitting fog!

The latest Government ruling has got postmen working from home, the idea is that they read all your mail and if there’s anything important they’ll give you a ring lol!

An update on the continuing diet, Mrs H hasn’t wanted me to mention it as she has been stuck on the same weight for nearly three weeks now, blames the scales, but I have broken through the 12 stone barrier, for the first time in about 15 years I am down below 12 stones at 11 stone 13pounds, fit as a Butchers dog I am, seen more fat on a greasy chip!

Oh Dear, George’s son Colin is in trouble with the law again, it seems he phoned the police to tell them that there were eight or nine people gathered illegally outside his house, but he failed to tell them that he lived by a bus stop!

Well, almost finished the unit for ‘she that must be obeyed, just the doors to hang and it’s all done, not going to be till tomorrow though, we had a late night watching TV and I was up far too early!

Once again the figures were late in on Saturday, that is always a little worrying, The new cases continue to rise and today stand at 15166, but more reason for concern is the growing number of deaths which today have grown to 81.

You’ll be pleased to know that there is nothing more to say today, It’s been a bit of a torrid week one way and another, Boris will be popping in again on Monday to reassure us all that we are on the right track.

Sunday 11/10/2020 – Day 210

Just posted my Diary from last week, still amazed at the number of followers I have, it takes me most of Sunday evening to reply to all the comments. looking out of the window it’s sunny but there is a big dark cloud coming over the horizon, if it makes it here then we are in for some torrential rain.

On this day in 1216 King John lost his crown jewels whilst crossing 'The Wash', on the north-west margin of East Anglia. I’ll bet that made his eyes water! Also, on this day 1919 The first airline meals were served on a Handley-Page flight from London to Paris. They were pre-packed lunch boxes at 3 shillings each (15p). Most airlines are still serving those same meals today, and they are just as bad as the originals probably were!

And finally, on this day in1982 The Mary Rose, which had been the pride of Henry VIII's English fleet until it sank in the Solent in 1545, was raised, by the Mary Rose Trust. It was one of the most complex and expensive projects in the history of maritime archaeology. She was one of the largest ships in the English navy and was one of the earliest examples of a purpose-built sailing warship. Since the mid-1980s, the hull of the Mary Rose has been kept in a covered dry dock in Portsmouth whilst undergoing conservation, close to Nelson's Victory. Five years later in 1987 A huge sonar exploration of Loch Ness, failed to find the world- famous monster, known affectionately as Nessie. I just think it’s astounding how they could find a 400 - year old ship and yet they couldn’t find Nessie, perhaps she had gone shopping, having her hair done or gone for a flu jab, just saying, you never know with these females lol!

Back to the repair shop this morning to make the doors for the new unit which is now in-situ. It’s taken a couple of days, but well worth it, to say Mrs H is over the moon would be a gross understatement.

We Haven’t seen old George for over a week but no doubt he’ll turn up like a bad penny, the last we heard was that his girlfriend Rose had signed up for one of those lose weight and health fitness classes, the introduction said to ‘wear some loose clothing’. Rose reckons if she had got any ‘loose clothing’ she wouldn’t have signed up in the first place!

I was thinking today about some of those old jobs you rarely hear of these days, like the chimney sweep, I don’t mean those days when they used to send those poor mites up the chimneys, I mean the sweeps who always had a blackened face and a bicycle towing a box with their brushes strapped to the side. They’d come into your house throw a cover over the fireplace and push the brushes through the hole in the cloth, and down it came, not a bit of dust anywhere, today of course it is all done by vacuum.

Switchboard operators no longer exist, many a girl spent hours connecting the caller to the receiver.

You don’t see those door to door salesmen either, they would stagger around the streets with a large suitcase full of all types of brushes and other paraphernalia. My Mum would always try and buy a small item from them.

There was also the Used Teeth salesman, yes, this is true, For much of the 20th century, access to decent dental treatment was limited, particularly in Europe, and many people who couldn't afford to visit the dentist resorted to buying second-hand false teeth when their pearlies had rotted away. The foundation of the NHS in 1948 ended the icky trade in the UK, though it carried on in other parts of Europe for a while longer.

And finally, Video store staff, Thanks to online streaming, the days of dealing with snooty video clerks who sneer at your movie picks and berate you for not rewinding the cassettes are long gone. Blockbuster, for instance, employed 84,300 staff at its peak in 2004 and counted 9,094 locations. Nowadays, the retailer has just two stores, one in Alaska and one in Oregon that have a handful of employees.

I daresay there are hundreds more jobs long gone.

The virus situation continues to damn the Government with 12872 new cases and 65 further deaths, these are of course weekend figures.

Monday 12/10/2020 – Day 211

I have no idea what is happening with this old body but I once again overslept this morning!, I think I’ll put my mask on and nip down to the body shop to purchase another I think, wouldn’t it be nice if it was that easy.

We’ve had a great day today Mrs H and I. I had been in the repair shop most of the morning making new doors for the bespoke unit, I went back inside to check a measurement and the poor lady was almost in tears:

“There’s something wrong with the washing machine”

After a few well-chosen expletives about modern machinery I calmed her down and spent the next hour checking out the seven-year old machine, it was making a strange noise, the door wouldn’t open, and the programme was showing a warning sign. In short – it was like myself – old and knackered. We eventually got the door to open and Mrs H managed to save my freshly washed underwear and once again the odd socks. Which brings me to that age-old question, where do odd socks go, Is there something like a Bedroom Triangle where socks disappear from the time you discard them to when they supposedly re-appear after a full wash and dry? I have a sock drawer with at least five socks who are billy no mates.

The dilemma now was do we spend £50 to get an ‘Expert’ to come out and tell us that it’s now defunct and the spare part needed is going to cost £120 to replace, plus labour plus VAT, or do we simply order a new one online.

Having gone for the latter we now have a new machine coming on Sunday, I won’t mention the name but suffice to say they are good with Indian food, they will remove the old one, fit the new one, make sure it is working ok, do your first big wash (ok, I made that up) and recycle the old machine for less than £300, for me that is a bargain, no mauling heavy machinery about, a brand new machine for Mrs H, and the one thing that money cannot buy – peace of mind.

I have to say at this stage that we are not minted, (having lots of cash) but we do have a ‘slush fund’ for such emergencies.

So, sorting out the machine cost me a few hours which meant that I will now have to complete the peninsular and bespoke unit tomorrow.

Watched Boris and his cohorts live (when I say ‘Live’ I use the term loosely of course) on TV at 3.30 this afternoon, I have to say that the poor chap does take a lot of flack from even his own MP’s never mind the opposition, no matter how hard he tries he is attacked from all sides, the BBC are his worst enemies, they always come out all guns blazing, this started when he tried to get the TV licence scrapped, so he is now their No1 target, Trump gets a better press than he does on the news. I feel sorry for him, he can’t do right for doing wrong, people seem to forget that the words he speaks are not his words, they are not his decisions, he is guided by an army of faceless bureaucrats and scientists.

The figures for today are once again not too bad, although any amount of deaths are totally unacceptable, the new case figure for today was 13970 with a further 50 more deaths recorded, as I said though, still not good.

Tuesday 13/10/2020 - Day 212

Very chilly outside this morning, I know this fact because I had to once again go down the garden path to get some milk from the fridge in the shed, it was that or go without my four Weetabix

I can’t wipe the smile off Mrs H’s face at the moment, she is as my old mum used to say ‘cockahoop’, While I was building the new unit I made a pigeon hole to house the new BT wi-fi receiver, when we put it in it was fine, then after an hour it started going on and off with the reception light flashing, Mrs H looked at it and said “It’s looking straight at the wall, surely, if we turn it to the left a bit it will pick up the signal”, well dear reader I almost choked on my tea with laughter, she was expecting the signal from the main box to come around the corner to the receiver, Mrs H being who she is moved it anyway – and the damn thing has worked properly since, I have had to widen all the doorways so she can get her head through them!

The good news is that the bespoke unit and the peninsular are now finished, all painted up and the whole room refreshed with a lick of the suitable matt emulsion. I have to say, it has certainly made a difference to the ambience of that room.

The bad news is that Mrs H has already got my next job lined up for me, she has now decided that she is fed up with the fireplace we have had in our dining room for the last five or so years, she would like the mirror removed from above, the original top taken off and replaced with a humungous piece of timber which will eventually look like a supporting beam – hopefully!

For some unknown reason while I was measuring the job up this thought entered my head, perhaps it was because I was staring at the family photographs, but I remember, I Upset my mum really bad during a conversation, she said “I hope your child turns out twice as bad as you,” She forgotten that she’d be babysitting one day!

As feared, the results for the last two days were weekend figures and are always falsely low for some reason, but today’s figures wake us all up to the fact that this pandemic is real and is not going anywhere. The new cases today were 17234, but the frightening thing was that deaths recorded were a staggering 143, almost double any previous figures.

Wednesday 14/10/2020 – Day 213

Woke up this morning to the dulcet tones of stiff pilchard sorry Cliff Richards whose birthday it is today, the Peter Pan of pop is now into the octogenarian era as he clocks up an amazing 80 years on this planet, good on you Cliff and Happy Birthday.

Before I start any more jobs for Mrs H today, I have to go and tidy up the repair shop, I must admit I have let it get into a bit of a state in the past week, this often happens when I am doing a job, by the end of the day you are too tired to put stuff back where you had it from, so it just gets plonked anywhere there is a space.

Meanwhile on this day in 1969 we lost a dear old friend who had been with us for nigh on fifty five years, it had served us well and fed many a poor family, it was of course the Ten Bob Note.

Back in the 1960’s the 10 Shilling Note, or ‘ten bob’ as it was commonly known, would go pretty far – buying you 6 pints of beer, 10 loaves of bread, or 17 pints of milk.

Today, 50p can only just buy you one pint of milk! And you can certainly forget that pint of beer!

But before the much loved 50p came along, the old 10 Shilling banknote had a fascinating history.

From being issued by the Government in a wartime emergency, changing colour to avoid forgery from the Nazis and eventually being replaced by the world’s most popular coin, it’s important that the history of the ten bob isn’t forgotten. In August 1914, the British economy was in turmoil due to the instability caused by the oncoming war on the continent.

Bankers and politicians were desperately looking for ways to secure Britain’s finances and prevent the banks from collapsing. The Government decided that a large supply of banknotes should be made available for the value of 10 Shillings, making it easy for the public to make small transactions. Until this point the lowest denomination banknote was £5, and in those days, this was such a large sum that many people would never have seen or used a banknote before.

During World War II, Nazi Germany hatched a plan to undermine British currency.

Through ‘Operation Bernhard’ they believed they had discovered a method to manufacture counterfeit ‘White Fivers’ and planned to distribute these in huge numbers to destabilise the British currency.

The Bank of England decided to take preventative action and, as a result, the 10 Shilling note was changed for the duration of the war to a distinctive pink and blue colour in an attempt to prevent counterfeiting.

After undergoing a colour change during the Second World War, the ten- bob note reverted to its familiar red-brown, until 1961, when a new design featuring a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II was introduced.

However, it was still scrapped in 1969, The principle reason for the change was to save the Treasury money. The notes had an average lifetime of around five months, whereas a coin could last for fifty years.

There you go, another snippet from the useless information department.

I was tidying up the repair shop (Which has taken the best part of a day) and as often happens when I have no music playing my mind drifts back to the past and time as a child at home. In all honesty I had a happy childhood, my mates used to put me in old tyres and roll me down hills, they were Goodyears!

I thought yesterday’s figures were bad, but today the new cases have risen by 2500 to 19724, as if that wasn’t bad enough the death total was 137 which means over the last two days they are averaging 140.

Thursday 15/10/2020 – Day 214

Isn’t it strange the daft things that go through your head, I was lay in bed this morning in the dark and got to thinking, ‘If I was Snow White, you would never kill me with an apple, you’d have to poison a Buttermint.

Then I thought about Karl Marx, he was an historically famous figure, but no-one ever mentions his sister Onya, who invented the starting pistol.

That was when I decided it was time to get up!

George was in a right whingeing mood when he phoned today, after his local restricted the drinking hours he said:

“I went to my local last night and ordered a pint. As the landlord passed my drink, I asked him for the wi-fi code because I needed to check a message from Rose.

"Oh no" he said, "No wi-fi in here George, I’ve had it removed, people used to sit talking in pubs, about their day, their families, work, politics, music, the lot. Now people just stare at their phones and it breaks my heart to see it. Therefore, no wi-fi in this pub."

"You know what?" I replied, "You're right" and I put my phone away.

"Thank you", the landlord said, "In this pub I want you to act as you would twenty years ago".

So, I lit a cigarette, gave him 50p for the pint and said "Two can play at that game mate."

I looked at him in disbelief, “but what were you doing in the pub on a Wednesday night? Thursdays is your night”

“Doghouse” he replied,” I was just trying to be nice to Rose, I found an old bracelet in the drawer, it belonged to my Nan, I just thought it would be nice to have some of the family trinkets, but I should have read the inscription first”.

“Oh, was it from your Grandad, saying something personal?”

“No” He said, “much worse than that, It read Do Not Resuscitate”.

Well that kept a smile on my face for the rest of the day. As I prepared the next job on Mrs H’s ever - growing list.

This involved sanding down a great piece of timber which would replace an MDF top on the fireplace in the dining room, this was soon done, stained up, the fireplace altered and the new top in-situ.but some lazy sod hadn’t painted behind the existing mirror so that was more work, Mrs H is very meticulous about her décor, I blame Mrs Hinch, it has to be spot on and blend in, I’m sure if I put the mouse traps out tonight she would want me to co-ordinate them so they matched the existing colours, she’ll be asking me to paint them next!

There were a further 18965 new cases today plus another 138 deaths due to this coronavirus, it certainly getting worse and now the Mayor of Manchester is arguing with the Government about the terms of the lockdown, I didn’t realise there was any argument to be had.

Friday 16/10/2020 – Day 215

Had this in my email box this morning,

Dear (no name)

We have good news and bad news for you today.

The good news is that the item we've requested for your has been verified. Since our Prime Days endes yesterday, we need to get your reply latest by the end of today by replying our feedback form you will find here.

The bad news is, since we were expecting your feedback yesterday, we had to exchange your new free item. But the new selection is no less interesting. ;)

I emailed them back suggesting that they learn the Queens English before trying to detach me from my hard- earned cash.

At last! I was going in to the repair shop for my own work and not Mrs H’s jobs, I have had the timber for about ten days now to build a wooden timber rack in order to keep all my timber neat. I did price them up online, I couldn’t see one for less than £200 and most were around £300! It took most of the day but it was well worth it, the place is so much tidier now, trouble is – I am now at the mercy of Mrs H.

To cheer up my neighbours in these dark and despondent cold nights I have erected a Marquee in my garden, complete with flashing lights, funky music and a lit-up dance floor, I have decided that this is the Winter of my Disco Tent!

Had Boris on Tv at 4.30. I am still trying to work out why. He was joined by Patrick Vallance who is still saying that he doesn’t think the measures being applied today are enough to get the ‘R’ rate down, the outspoken Chris Whitty was absent. So, poor Boris is fighting 2 stand-offs at the moment, one against Brussels (The PM is threatening a ‘No Deal’) and of course Andy Burnham the Greater Manchester Mayor who is still refusing to budge.

Mrs H was complaining about some of the new rules and what they mean to her, part of the new ruling says that if you dine out you can only have six friends, it must be table service, and must finish by 10.00pm, that’s not fighting a pandemic, that’s a hard night out for Mrs H at her age!

There were 15650 more new cases recorded today, but sadly the number of deaths was once again in excess of 130 and was just two less than yesterday at 136.

Saturday 17/10.2020 – Day 216

Not a bad morning today, no sun but it’s quite mild outside, now that I have caught up with all my own little jobs it’s time to start thinking about putting the garden to sleep for the Winter, well, when I say the garden, what I really mean is the vast amount of furniture that actually sits in the garden and believe me - there is a lot of it, so it all has to be gathered up and put undercover in the big gazebo, then we cover it with a large tarpaulin until the Spring is once again with us.

On this day in 1860 thousands of widows were automatically created when the world's first professional golf tournament was held, at Prestwick in Scotland.

Which reminds me there are just 67 days to go until Christmas, that means only 66 days shopping – if we aren’t in lockdown by then, and if Christmas isn’t cancelled altogether. (It’s being so happy that keeps me going!) there is so much that can go wrong between now and then.

Here are two of my own personal view of what’s wrong with this great country today, (1) if you take out a loan at a bank it will take you thirty years to pay it back, but, if you decide to rob that same bank and bury the loot, you will be out in 10 years or five years for good behaviour, ps: don’t forget to follow me for more sound financial advice!

(2) Does anyone know where I can call to complain about gatherings and parties in my neighbourhood? I’m pretty sure gatherings of 70+ people is against the rule of six!! It is not fair that we are in a pandemic and they don’t even care about this virus. They have alcohol, a BBQ, a DJ playing extremely loud music and what smells to me like the devil’s lettuce. It makes me furious to think how many can get infected. Where can I call to report them?


Wait, false alarm...

They have just invited me...

Sorry to bother you all...

Have a great night!!!

With Christmas looming at a fair old pace, it means there are just 72 more days before we are free of the EEC one way or another! Boris announced yesterday that he is heading for a ‘No Deal’ scenario, the complacent Europeans are saying that we need them more than they need us! It’s one of those ‘suck it and see’ jobs I think.

I leave you this week with the news of a further 150 deaths and 16171 new cases, this brings the total of deaths to date to 43579 and the total infected this week in the UK to 705248.

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