• harveyvickie

Weeks 32 & 33

Sunday 18/10/2020 – Day 217

And here we are at the start of yet another exciting week in the Harvey household, I woke quite early this morning as the new washing machine is being delivered sometime today, the problem was when we went on the site yesterday it wouldn’t allow us to see any times on the tracking until the day of delivery – typically British!

So I logged onto the site and it came up with the estimated delivery time, it was 2.45pm to 6.45pm, I rubbed my eyes - looked again – nope, it hadn’t changed, my eyes were averted to the clock on my computer, it said 5.45. The problem I had was (a) Do I go back to bed? or (b) Do I carry on with a bit of writing, I opted for the latter as I wouldn’t get back to sleep now anyway, in fact I wasn’t even feeling tired! about two hours later I was woken by Mrs H enquiring as to what time her machine was arriving, my computer had also gone into ‘sleep mode’.

I had already decided that I was having a lazy day and so, I dressed appropriately, I was checking my online mail when Alexa started flashing, (No Ladies, not that sort of flashing), I asked her what her problem was, then Mrs H informed me that I don’t ask her aggressively what her problem is, I have to say ‘Alexa, what are my notifications?’, Obviously as Mrs H is never wrong, this worked perfectly, I still prefer the aggressive approach as she is the only female I know that doesn’t answer me back.

Anyway, I digress, what was happening was that we were having two deliveries from Amazon, Mrs H had decided that while I was doing her kitchen update she would order a couple of extras, one was a small rod (don’t go there!) from which to hang her kitchen utensils that were forever jamming the drawer, the other was a - wait for it ladies – egg cabinet, No, you didn’t misread that – an egg cabinet, it is basically a little cupboard with a wire mesh frontage, a bit like the cupboards you would find in old larders or pantry’s. This would hold up to a dozen eggs, as we only eat half that amount that was all we ordered from Tesco.

Later in the day they duly arrived, Mrs H was like a kid at Christmas, tearing the wrapping paper away from the deliveries, first out was the rod, it was very miniscule (I said don’t go there!) and Mrs H seemed quite disappointed:

“What’s the matter?” I asked

“It’s just – well, so small, I thought it would have much bigger!”

We looked at each other and burst out laughing in unison.

The rod was soon in-situ and Mrs h was now tearing frantically at the wrapping on the egg cupboard, once again she looked very disappoint “What’s the problem now?” I asked, I couldn’t believe what she said:

“It doesn’t say Eggs on the door”

My flabber was well and truly ghasted

But that wasn’t the end of this saga dear reader, Mrs H - having got over the bitterly disappointing fact that eggs wasn’t scribed on her gadget door – eagerly opened the egg box fresh from Tesco’s and four out of the six were cracked!

I am far too much of a gentleman to put on this page what Mrs H actually said.

A few minutes later I was on the phone to Tesco’s complaining about the eggs, the poor chap apologised profusely and immediately issued a full refund of 89p lol!

We finished the day off with an Indian takeaway which we ordered for delivery, but I had ordered the wrong one, we both like Tikka Masala but it has to be the red one, the one we got was a bit of an insipid brown, tasted ok though!

There were 16892 more new cases registered today, and further 67 deaths, but these are weekend figures.

Monday 19/10/2020 - Day 218

Well, as they say in lovely Yorkshire, ‘it’s a reet miserable old day’ here in downtown Kidderminster, looks like it could rain any time, but that won’t bother me, Mrs H has got a lovely list of painstakingly small jobs for me today.

I have some news for you all, some of you may remember ‘Bouncer’ from last March, for those who don’t bouncer is a little bird that I nicknamed after it regularly visited our memorial bench which has a large outdoor mirror above, he (or she) constantly bounced up and down on the bench whilst depositing yesterday’s dinner all over my freshly painted bench. Well, the news is that Bouncer – or at least, the son of bouncer - is back!

I saw the white tell-tale signs on Saturday whilst cleaning up, but this morning as I ate my regular four Weetabix, I saw him destroying the pristine grey painted bench. The thing is, I don’t really mind, I’ve quite missed the little chap.

George rang earlier and said, “I was having a walk in the woods this morning and came across an old suitcase with a fox and its four cubs”.

“Oh my God” I said, “Are they moving?”

“I don’t know” came the reply, “But that would explain the suitcase, ha ha ha!”

Sometimes I hate George.

It’s 11.00 am and I have just put up the first of three mirrors for today, Mrs H has finally (after 83 minutes) got off the phone to our daughter Gemma, she is now following me religiously with a duster in one hand and her small hoover in the other – I am a nervous wreck every time I drill a hole anywhere inside the house!

Onto the next job, which is some lighting around the top of the built - in wardrobes – wish me luck!

My third job was altering Mrs H’s Dressing table mirror, she has decided that she wants it landscape and not portrait, mine is not to question why – mine is to do or die!

While all these little jobs were going on we received the quite large mirror we had ordered, It is 1200mm x 800mm (4’ x 3’) and was to go above the new wooden mantle I made last week, I have to say it was really well wrapped, and had the word fragile taped all over it.

We eagerly opened it and all was well until I spotted the splintering on the inner-corner, fortunately we hadn’t fully opened the packaging yet, Mrs H got her phone and took a photo of the damage, Then it was down to me to phone the place and tell them, in all fairness no-one asked to see any proof or accused us of the damage, in fact Amazon were doing really well until we tried to return the item, Apparently if you have to return anything - then you have to do it yourself and Amazon will pay you back the postage – eventually.

What a process, what a rigmarole, it took me ages to finalise the return, my eleven plus exam was a lot easier! I had to join Hermes, print off umpteen items and rewrap the mirror, that is two hours of my life that I’ll never get back.

The good news is that I only have to hang one more mirror, and I told Mrs H in the politest words that I could muster under stress that it would just have to wait until tomorrow.

There were 18804 more new cases registered today and sadly another 80 deaths were recorded. Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said the situation across the country "remains perilous," particularly due to the rising rates in over-60s. Referring to the stricter measures, he said it was "unethical" to allow the virus to rise. Yet the government still give no mention of shielding for the over 60’s and the vulnerable!

Tuesday 20/10/2020 – Day 219

Very mild out there today, I came out of the Repair shop and the heat hit me! Reminder to self, leave the workshop door open!

I put up the remaining mirror in the hallway, it is one of those big overmantle type mirrors that weigh pretty heavy – still, it won’t be going anywhere – those six inch nails down the side secured it - Just joking!

On this day in 1720 The English pirate of the Caribbean, John Rackham was captured by the Royal Navy. He is most remembered for two things: the design of his Jolly Roger flag, a skull with crossed swords, which contributed to the popularization of the design, and for having two female crew members, Mary Read and his lover Anne Bonny. (She were a bonny lass) All three are now working for the government overseas department.

Also, on this day in 1946 'Muffin the Mule', a wooden puppet operated by Annette Mills (sister of actor Sir John Mills) first appeared in a children's television programme on BBC TV. The sexual connotations from future generations would know no bounds lol!

And Finally, on this day 1996 Oscar winners 'Wallace and Gromit' disappeared after being left in a taxi in New York. Both the life-size plastic models from Britain's award winning animation film were later found safe and well, It was way back in 2017 and Wallace was found to be leading the country, while Gromit his able side-kick became rich building walls on the Mexican border.

As it was so mild I decided it would be appropriate to tidy up the front drive, we have five one hundred foot trees opposite us, and they do insist on sending all their unwanted leaves onto our drive, it was a bit blustery but being the brave chap that ii am I went out and got on with the job, do you recall as a child the sycamore ‘helicopter’ seeds, if you remember we used to throw them into the air and they would spin as they descended, I used to love them – until now – there must be a hundred thousand of them stuck amongst the gravel on my drive. I wouldn’t mind but I can’t see a Sycamore tree in sight!

Anyway, I persevered, gave the old dormant soil the once over with a hoe and sucked up as many of the leaves as was possible, I was standing back admiring my work when a gust of wind blew all the hidden leaves from under the car and the drive looked like it had never been touched.

As I was sucking the last leaf up a big lorry pulled up outside, and a chap lifted a big parcel from the back, it was our replacement mirror, that didn’t take long! We took it in the house and gingerly took the wrapping off, I got Mrs H to take a picture of the damaged cardboard – just in case, she then disappeared into the kitchen while I unwrapped the excess cardboard, polystyrene and tape which had the word ‘Glass’ in great letters all across it, I removed the last bit and gave it a close inspection, it was fine.

But we still had to hang it, I took all the necessary measurements, marked the wall and drilled it putting in the appropriate screws, and then Mrs H had to give me a hand to lift it onto the screws, to watch us it looked like we were handling liquid nitrogen not a great lump of reflective glass, within seconds it was secure to the wall, straight away the glass cleaner was out, Mrs H rubbed so tenderly as she insisted that I hold on to the mirror – Oh ye of little faith!. Finally, we could stand back and look at our work, and it was well worth the time and effort.

Boris came on for a TV special to tell us that the area of Greater Manchester will be forced into tier three on Friday, no agreement could be reached with Andrew Burnham the Cities Mayor. As feared the figures for today are horrendous, the number of new cases in the past 24 hours were 21331, but it is the number of deaths that are causing most concern, there were 241 recorded today, this time last week it was 137.

Wednesday 21/10/2020 – Day 220

Still very mild for the time of the year, is this the calm before the storm? Believe it or not I have temporarily reached the end of Mrs H’s list, this basically means that I have a free day!

There are other larger projects to do like flooring the loft floor, I strengthened it some years ago and never got around to completing it, my office furniture also needs cheering up.

I don’t know if you can recall what you were doing on 21 October 1966 when 144 people, 116 of them children, were killed in the small Welsh mining village of Aberfan. It happened when tons of slush, from a nearby coal slag tip weakened by rain, slid downhill and engulfed the village school, a farm and a row of terraced houses. The tragedy occurred at the beginning of the school day and on the day before the school closed for the half-term holiday. The children are buried in Aberfan's cemetery, on the hillside above the valley. I wrote a poem about this disaster, but it is far too long to post on here.

May all those poor souls rest in peace.

On this day in 1960 D.H Lawrence's controversial novel 'Lady Chatterley's Lover' put Penguin Books in the dock at the Old Bailey, London. They were accused of publishing obscene material but were eventually found not guilty. When we were schoolkids and a bunch of wily 14 -year olds we used to pool our money and buy five Park Drive tipped from the machine on the wall. That was one of the crazy things about that time, the grocer couldn’t serve you with cigarettes, it was against the law, but he could give you change and you could pop outside his shop and purchase them from the machine. These cigarettes were the cheapest and hence the worst ones in the world, especially when five or six of you were passing it around, that tip got so hot that the last drag was actually liquid tar.

Anyway we used to gather over the road in a mates entry for our pre-school smoke, the lad whose entry it was came out quite excited one day, he was clutching a copy of ‘Lady Chatterley’s lover’, We had all heard about it but in those days for incorrigible young lads like us it was the nearest thing we got to a sexual revolution. We didn’t even have to read the whole book, as all the best bits had the corners of the pages well - thumbed by the lad’s Dad.

Today’s new cases shot up to 26684 this is the highest to date, the deaths continue to hover around 190, today they are sadly 191.

Thursday 22/10/2020 – Day 221

Been raining on and off most of the night, I know this little fact because the lovely Mrs H dug me in the ribs a few times during the night, the ‘dig’ was accompanied by a harsh voice in the dark saying, “You’re snoring!”.

So, the upshot was that I was up at 5.40, I thought it would be a good idea to let Mrs H have a bit of sound sleep without being woken by my dodgy adenoids.

I had one of those ‘Wogan’ moments today, I went into the Repair shop and couldn’t remember why, but I’ve learned two valuable things in life, the first one I can’t remember, and the second one is to always write everything down.

News has got around on the Harvey grapevine that I have finished Mrs H’s list of jobs – albeit a temporary thing. So, my darling daughter Gemma – who is the spit out of her mother’s mouth - has put in a couple of orders. Firstly, she needs a footstool for her lounge, now when I say footstool, it is actually one of those things that can double up as a coffee table or seat, so it is quite large, she also needs a chopping board and matching board on which to plonk place her Tea Coffee and sugar cannisters.

Well that took about four hours and by 2pm I was back on my computer wondering what the rest of the day would bring.

Mrs H is going through the ‘Royal We’ stage once again, allow me to elaborate. When the lovely lady is looking around for work for my idle hands she will always use the term ‘we’. For example, she was looking around the dining room where I have just put a new mantle, she then says that WE ought to re-paint the white woodwork, WE should also – whilst WE have the paint out – re-paint the windowsill in the lounge, oh and WE should renovate the office, I think you have the idea by now dear reader.

A further 189 people have lost their lives to this virus in the last 24 hours, the Government openly admit that the worst affected are the over 60’s yet they continue as normal, meanwhile another 21242 new cases were registered in the same period.

Friday 23/10/2020 – Day 222

Raining again this morning, that really fine stuff that soaks you through, I was lay in bed about 5.30 am contemplating on whether or not I should get my backside out of there, but the central heating hadn’t kicked in yet so I started to think of my childhood as often happens. My mind drifted back to when we used to go pea picking, in the fields.

My first ever memory of the fields was very distant, It happened when my Grandmother organised a trip back to the hop yards of Bromyard where most of the locals went to pick, they would stay in huge barns for eight to ten weeks while the hops were being picked. I was around 16 at the time of the trip and we went by coach, as soon as we got to the Hop yard I could remember the smell of the hops, it was really overwhelming, I asked my Mum about it later and she said that she and Dad had spent a lot of time hop picking when I was a baby, and that was what had probably triggered off my memory.

So it was my Grandmother who introduced me to life in the fields when I was just seven years old! In those days there was always a head picker, in this case it was a lady called Nora who lived on the estate, if she didn’t like you then you had more chance of knitting fog than getting on that lorry!

My Nan was born in 1888 so would have been aged around 70 and was still going in the fields for a few bob to fund her regular Brown Ales and her 20 a day Woodbines.

I went quite often on these ‘picking’ days but my first ever experience was a memorable one. I was so excited that I hardly slept that night, this of course meant that I was really tired as I left home with Nan about 7am clutching my pop bottle full of cold tea and some fish paste sandwiches wrapped in the greaseproof Mother’s Pride wrapper. For an old lady my nan was very spritely and I struggled to keep up with her on the walk through the estate but I was a big boy now – and when I went back to school after the Summer holiday I would be at the Junior school. My shoes were protected on the heels and toes by Blakey’s steel half - moon protectors which were hammered on, the ensuing noise made me feel like a miner at the pithead, I used to love scuffling along and pretending that I was off to work and would still have that wonderful feeling 8 years later when I eventually did start work.

My lovely old Nan showed me the ropes and by the end of the day she and Nora had a long line of nets stretching behind them, I had two! I had almost broke my back and those two looked like they hadn’t done anything. But I was still half a crown richer, when I asked the chap for my money – he laughed:

“No payment till Friday young un”

He pressed a token into my hand which my gran cashed in for me at the end of the week. Times were hard back them but there was always a way to make a few pence for anyone willing to work.

We were so poor when we were kids that one night when a burglar broke into our house looking for money, we all woke up and searched with him!

Went downstairs to a bit of a shock, the toilet was blocked! On closer inspection it was blocked on my neighbours property, there is a large tree out in the avenue close to his sewer, sometimes the roots are invasive and make their way into the pipes causing a blockage, I have left it in his very capable hands – if you know what I mean.

There was a slight decrease in new cases which were recorded as 20530, but the number of deaths continued to rise and in the last 24 hours there had been 224.

Saturday 24/10/2020 – Day 223.

One of our dull as dishwater days today, cloudy and murky with a strong breeze which isn’t going to help the job in hand.

My neighbour rang this morning saying that he’d had the blockage cleared in his sewer outlet – but mine was still blocked! So, it was out with the brand new rods I had recently purchased in anticipation. I won’t go into too much detail in case you’re having breakfast, but with a big whoosh it was clear.

After a shower it was back to the repair shop to give my daughter’s chopping board and tea stand a final sandpapering and another coat of Danish oil. It will all be ready to deliver when Mrs H can find time.

We are both really excited today – The Rugby Union is back! We were sort of left in the lurch in march when there were still 4 matches left to play in the six nations series, England were on top with France, but anyone with the exception of Wales and Italy could still win it. Ireland are playing Italy today, good luck to them, but we have to wait until next week to get the final result with England playing Italy away, France playing Ireland and Wales v Scotland.

Meanwhile, I have a six pack of Guinness chilling in the fridge.

George phoned just before the match sounding really exasperated:

“Twenty minutes I’ve been waiting for Rose, we’re supposed to be going shopping, I’ve just realised that a woman’s – I’ll be ready in five minutes – is exactly the same as a man’s – I’ll be home in five minutes”

I saw this ad in the lonely - hearts section of the local paper today.

‘Young single male with stock of toilet rolls would like to meet young single female with hand sanitiser for mutual acquaintance’

In the words of my old mate Victor Meldrew “I don’t believe it”.

It has been a bit of a devastating week for almost everyone in this country, but we soldier on, not sadly with the same gusto our forefathers had eighty years ago, but we must try. Today’s figures show yet another rise in new cases, the total was 23017 with the total for the week being 854,010. Deaths were recorded at 174, bringing the total to date to 44,745.

Well I am at the end of my tether time with you dear readers, God willing and with a good wind behind us we can do it all again next week. Meanwhile stay safe and well, I will leave you with that wonderful Latin phrase 'nil carborundum illegitimi'. I’ll leave you to work that one out.

Sunday 25/10/2020 – Day 224

I have had a terrible night (stop laughing) I seem to have wrenched my shoulder sometime yesterday, it may have been lifting the old cast-iron covers off the manhole, if you recall, we were having a problem with the sewers, anyway when all was done I went in to watch the Ireland v Italy Rugby Union match, I leant across to pick up my cup and the pain was excruciating, it felt like someone had thrust a knife into my shoulder, (not that I have ever been stabbed, but come close to it a few times with Mrs H during heated arguments lol). As I have no recollection of how or when it happened, must be old age creeping up on me like a thief in the night.

Every time I tried to move the pain was really bad, I may have kept waking Mrs H up most of the night, so, despite putting the clocks back I was awake at 5.30 and could see no reason for lying there while there were thousands of words and questions going through this sad old head. Like – have you ever wondered why we put the clocks forward and then back?

At 1am on the last Sunday in March, clocks 'spring forward' by an hour

At 2am on the last Sunday in October, the clocks 'fall back' by an hour.

The idea of summer- time or daylight - saving time was first mentioned in 1784 by Benjamin Franklin, the American inventor, scientist and statesman.( Didn’t you just know that it would have started in the USA) However, it wasn't until 1907 that a serious proposal for daylight saving time was made in Britain by William Willett. Angry at the waste of daylight during summer mornings, he self-published a pamphlet called "The Waste of Daylight".

In 1916, a year after Willett’s death, Germany became the first country to adopt daylight saving time. The UK did the same a few weeks later, along with many other nations involved in the First World War (1914-1918).

Within a few years of its introduction, many countries across the world adopted Daylight Saving Time. However, the benefits of it have been an ongoing debate since it was first introduced.

During the Second World War (1939-1945), British Double Summer-Time two hours in advance of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) - was temporarily introduced for the period when ordinary daylight saving would be in force. During the winter, clocks were kept one hour in advance of GMT to increase productivity.

With the war over, Britain returned to British Summer Time except for an experiment between 1968 and 1971 when the clocks went forward but were not put back, (I didn’t know that) The experiment was discontinued as it was found impossible to assess the advantages and disadvantages of British Summer Time.

Campaigners have sought a return to British Double Summer- Time or a permanent British Summer Time to save energy and increase the time available in the evenings. An attempt was made by backbench MPs to change BST but The Daylight-Saving Bill 2010–12 was not passed by the House of Commons.

Opponents pointed out that in the north it would create social disadvantages: for instance, in the far north-west of Scotland sunrise would occur at about 10am in winter, and over much of the north children would have to travel to and from school in darkness.

So, there you have it, still confused? The next time you’re thinking “when do the clocks go back?” simply memorise the phrase “spring forward, fall back”. The clocks always spring forward an hour on the last weekend in March and fall back on the final weekend of October.

Due to the shoulder injury Mrs H has insisted that I rest for today, she will bring me breakfast in bed, with umpteen cups of tea and numerous pain-killers. Then it will be lunchtime, before plumping up my pillows to make sure I am comfortable she will bring me my morning tea and biscuits followed by a roast dinner with all the trimmings served on a silver platter and a smattering of pecks on the cheek – it was at this stage that I woke up and decided to get out of bed! The clock said 6.35 am but it was actually 5.35am.

Today’s new cases have once again risen albeit only by a small amount, they stand at 19790 with a further 151 deaths. The row over meals for children continues with an abundance of local shopkeepers offering free lunches for children.

Monday 26/10/2020 _ Day 225

The old shoulder gave me another sleepless night, tried painkillers to no avail, I’d go to the doctors but he’s an ex veterinary doctor from up Yorkshire way, they’re made of sterner stuff up there, he’d probably take a look at my shoulder and arm and say:

“Aye, there’s nowt to be done lad, it’s buggered, lie down and I’ll cut it off for thee”

The lovely Mrs H has talked me into buying some new bedroom furniture for the boudoir, mind you, it’s long overdue, I think she inherited the dressing table from her mother – may she rest in peace - my mother in law and I were happy for nearly twenty years, and then we met each other!

This all started with a lick of paint or a five minute make-over, the idea was to get rid of the existing cream paint – Mrs H has been convinced by Mrs Hinch or one of the others , that cream is no longer in vogue, pristine white is the order of the day – and so we need to cover it all with white, this then led to a discussion about whether or not we should re-paper, the existing paper cost about £25 a roll and I just don’t think we’ve had enough wear out of it yet, there’s another 15 years left in it I think.

Anyway, the upshot is that the light of my life has rebelled and wants more storage space for her smalls. So, with deep regret I have ordered a new chest of drawers and two bedside cabinet.

Anyone want to buy an antique dressing table scarred with years of mascara, Chanel No5 and lipstick?

What to do with my day is the problem, at the moment I’m about as useful as a one- legged bloke in an arse kicking contest (apologies ladies). I’m quite ambidextrous so all is not completely lost. I could easily wipe down the evidence of ‘bouncers’ return, or dip my left hand into the pond and pull out the blanket weed, or I could just lounge around and annoy Mrs H, the world is my oyster.

On this day in 1989 The British Chancellor of the Exchequer Nigel Lawson resigned over policy differences with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. John Major replaced him. A classic case of out of the frying pan and into the fire methinks!

Figures continue to increase as the number of new cases reach 20890 an increase of 1100 on yesterday, the number of new deaths fall to 102 thankfully.

Tuesday 27/10/2020 – Day 226

Guess what – oh you’re far too good for me you lot – yes it’s raining outside and lake Geneva outside the house has well and truly established itself leaving around nine inches of pathway for children and mothers to negotiate, now the children can cope quite easily with everything that’s thrown at them, being left alone, being left to starve – oops sorry, slipped off into political mode for a minute, naughty me.

As I said the little darlings can cope quite well on their own, unless of course they have their heads down looking at the latest banter on Facebook, twitter or whatever else they’re linked up to. If they are doing that – which the majority do as they pass our house – then the little cherubs are going to get an early bath, because lorry drivers think it funny to go past at sixty mile an hour in a 30 mile an hour zone, if those little things aren’t watching where they are going then the water bucket challenge from previous years is going to look like a day out with the Sunday school.

No, it’s the poor mothers I feel sorry for,, especially the young ones on their way into town, having to manoeuvre their way past this lake pushing the latest technology pushchair - which has everything except Sky TV built into it – with one hand, whilst trying to talk to their ‘bestie’ about the absolute rubbish soaps that were on TV the previous night.

It may have escaped your notice dear reader, but I seem to have got out the wrong side of the bed this morning, (actually, I can only get out one side as Mrs H refuses to sleep near the door in case axe wielding burglars or rapists should break into our humble abode, which means that I will get it first) oops, there I go again.

The reason for my sarcasm and creative outlook on life is that Mrs H has once again trapped me! It was in the bedroom this morning (stop it you lot).We have been discussing of late a bit of a makeover for the old boudoir, it started with a lick of paint, then proceeded to stripping and repapering the whole room and finally to ordering new bedroom furniture which I already have.

But this morning she fluttered her eyelids as she supped on the latte I had just made her and said;

“Darling, I’ve been thinking about the bedroom”.

Straightaway, there are two things wrong with that statement, firstly she is using terms of endearment – very dangerous, and secondly, she is thinking – which is even more dangerous than the first.

She carried on, “don’t think we should buy new wallpaper at £30 a roll, we should keep what we already have and just do all the paintwork, don’t you think?”

Well, I was over the moon, it was only a day’s work for the refurb, but I had a nagging suspicion.

“Anyway”, she continued, “With the money we’re saving I can get some new curtains, I’ve seen some lovely ones and they’ll cheer the room up no end”

And there you have it dear reader, caught, hook, line and sinker, monopolised into buying something other than wallpaper we had discussed, I’ll say it again, that woman is good, she should be doing the Brexit negotiations, they’d be paying us to leave!

The number of new cases rose by a further 2000 to 22885, but the number of registered deaths rose alarmingly to 367, this is cause for great concern with government scientific advisors now saying that the death toll over the coming Winter season could now easily beat that of the roll in March/April.

Wednesday 28/10/2020 – Day 227

Quite a nice day out there today, I was woken at 5,15 with murmurs of a toothache, got up and took a couple of paracetamol. I am sat in the office looking out the window at the most stunning red acer tree in our garden, the colour is beautiful. Bouncer is also admiring the view only the view is his reflection in the mirror he is bouncing up and down in front of, I have decided that it is a male as no female would make that sort of mess. My shoulder is still very painful, so everything is I do is a lot slower, sometimes I think it’s gone then I make a movement and it reminds me - very painfully – that it hasn’t.

I spent most of the day yesterday sanding down and repainting an old oak oval shaped drop leaf table, it was a bit awkward because of the barley twist legs, but the end result was well worth it, I painted the bottom white and did the top in copper, quite stunning even if I do say so myself.

Apparently today 1949 The glove puppet Sooty, made his first appearance on BBC TV. I’ll bet Harry Corbett had a hand in that.

Also, 1958 The State Opening of Parliament was televised for the first time, and we got to see where all those old MP’s slept.

Today was spent finishing off the Dining room which I started last week after fitting a new beam across the fireplace, we have since added a new mirror, but now the whole room needs freshening up, so it was out with the sheen finish paint (Mrs H doesn’t like shiny gloss), You don’t think your room needs doing until you put fresh white paint on it, but the difference is astonishing!

Less than three hours later and all was done and everything was back in place, the only things that were still tacky were the real wood tops above the dressers – they would need at least another coat of Danish oil when dry.

The number of new cases continues to rise drastically and in the last 24 hours stood at 24709, sadly, the number of deaths are also rising with a further 310 being recorded, that is almost 700 in just two days, yet still the government don’t seem overly concerned – I have to admit that I am.

Thursday 29/10.2020 – Day 228

Was intending to go outside today and tidy up the fallen leaves but the rain continues to fall and I poked my head outside, far too cold. I have decided to put together the two flat pack bedside cabinets that arrived yesterday, I hate flat pack but the price demanded I buy them!

First thing to do was find the instructions, it is very important that you bin these at the first opportunity as they will totally confuse you even if your surname happens to be Einstein.

I neatly laid out all the screws, fittings, drawer runners and other parts then put the drawers in one pile and the carcass in another, It was quite obvious how the drawers went together so I got on with that first, what I didn’t allow for was the fact that I’d forgotten I had a very painful shoulder. I don’t know whether you know this or not, but you cannot use power tools on flatpack – everything has to be done by hand!

It took me over an hour to assemble three drawers with the runners, a job that would normally take a third of that time, but I persevered, Mrs H kept popping upstairs and asking if I could cope.

On her third trip upstairs with tea she mentioned that there must have been someone walking past outside and their language was terrible

“Oh Really?” I said sheepishly, whilst rubbing my bruised knuckles, “That’s disgusting”.

By the time I’d put the damn thing together nearly two and a half hours had gone from my life and I still had another to do, but at least I’d managed to keep my language down.

The second one went a lot better and was slammed put together in half the time. When they arrived Mrs H decided that she didn’t like the handles that came with them, so we went on to Amazon and got some she did like. They arrived this afternoon. There was only one problem – the bolts on the new handles were too long, so I was faced with the prospect of taking them to the repair shop and cutting 10 millimetre off each one and there were about sixty of them, I relayed the news to Mrs H looking for a bit of sympathy;

“Why don’t you just use the screws that came with the original handles?” she said casually as she stared out of the window.

OMG! Why hadn’t I thought of that, I didn’t know whether or not to kiss her or squeeze her tight in joy – but the shoulder wouldn’t stretch to that, so I gave her a quick peck on the cheek and said;

“Yes darling, thank you for the input, but I’d already thought of that, you just didn’t let me finish saying so”.

As I turned my face away in embarrassment the word ‘Brexit’ once again came to mind.

Sadly.the numbers of infected people continue to rise, the new cases now number 23465 with the number of deaths recorded at 286.

Friday 30/10/2020 – Day 229.

It is 5.30 am and I am lay in bed thinking that I’m at the age where my mind thinks I am still 29, my sense of humour suggest I’m twelve, while my body keeps asking mostly if I’m sure I’m not dead yet.

It was at this stage that I decided to get up.

It was really mild outside, at around 18 degrees it was a veritable Summer day! So, Mrs H and I decided to get our old backsides out there and take the opportunity to have a bit of an Autumn tidy up, I got my leaf sucker out while Mrs H binned what was left of the remaining hanging baskets, I was busy – well sucking - when the phone rang, it was George, I really like him but sometimes – just sometimes…… it turns out that he just wanted to tell me a joke he had just heard, it wasn’t half bad actually, I thought I’d share it with you.

Richard after a long night at work heard his phone ping with a text message:

Hi Richard, this is Jeremy from next door, I’ve been riddled with guilt for a few months now and have been trying to pluck up the courage to tell you. While you’ve been at work, I’ve been sharing your wife day and night, probably more than you, I haven’t been getting it at home recently, I know that’s no excuse. The temptation was far too great, and I just couldn’t help myself, anyway, I can’t live with the guilt any longer, I sincerely hope you’ll find it in your heart to forgive me. Perhaps you could suggest a fee for usage, I’ll gladly pay


Richard feeling enraged and betrayed grabbed his gun, went next door and shot Jeremy dead. Returning home, he shot his wife as she slept. Feeling a lot better he sat in his favourite chair poured himself a stiff drink and relaxed, he looked down at his phone and saw a second message from Jeremy.

Hi Richard, Jeremy here again, sorry about the typo on my last message, I suppose you’ve figured it out by now and noticed that the damn predictor changed Wi-Fi to wife.

Technology huh! It’ll be the death of us all.

Well I thought it was good, I carried on tidying up until the last leaf had been cornered and was cowering on the edge of the decking, but a quick reverse blast soon shifted it.

Now it was time to go back indoors and put together the chest of drawers that had arrived last night, it was exactly the same as the bedside cabinets but a lot bigger and with five drawers.

Of course, it wasn’t made here, some sort of foreign EEC stamp on it, which started me thinking about the ongoing Brexit row, Boris is digging his heels in and refuses to budge.

I personally can’t wait for the end of Brexit, nothing is built in this country anyway, I looked at the back of our brand new TV and it said – built in Antenna – I don’t even know where that country is!

I went to my normal source to check the daily Covid-19 figures and this headline was on there;

‘Britain's second coronavirus crisis is on track to kill more than 85,000 people this winter if the country doesn't lock down immediately, SAGE warned today as 274 more Covid-19 victims and 24,405 cases were announced.

The Government's scientific advisers have called for the UK to follow in the footsteps of Germany and France and retreat back into a full national shutdown 'for at least a month' because they say the current three-tiered lockdown system is failing. But top experts say interventions take at least three weeks to take effect. The tiered system only came into force on October 14, little over two weeks ago.’

Saturday 31/10/2020 - Day 230

Lay here in bed early morning, contemplating life – as you do – when this strange thought entered my head, I’m not sure if Halloween ought to be cancelled this year, I mean, we’ve all been wearing a mask and stuffing ourselves full of chocolate and sweets for nine months or more so what would change?

Anyway it’s here, the witching hour is upon us, I hear a lot of people saying that it’s just another ‘American’ idea foisted on us, but actually, that isn’t true, Halloween had its origins in the festival of Samhain among the Celts of ancient Britain and Ireland. On the day corresponding to November 1 on contemporary calendars, the new year was believed to begin. That date was considered the beginning of the winter period, the date on which the herds were returned from pasture and land tenures were renewed. During the Samhain festival the souls of those who had died were believed to return to visit their homes, and those who had died during the year were believed to journey to the otherworld. People set bonfires on hilltops for relighting their hearth fires for the winter and to frighten away evil spirits, and they sometimes wore masks and other disguises to avoid being recognized by the ghosts thought to be present. It was in those ways that beings such as witches, hobgoblins, fairies, and demons came to be associated with the day. The period was also thought to be favourable for divination on matters such as marriage, health, and death.

When large numbers of immigrants, including the Irish, went to the United States beginning in the mid- 19th century, they took their Halloween customs with them, and in the 20th century Halloween became one of the principal U.S. holidays, particularly among children.

And so dear reader, we inflicted Halloween on America.

Mrs H and I are sat awaiting the start of the remainder of the Rugby Union six nations which had been cancelled in March, Mrs H is still fuming, I told her not to wear headphones whilst vacuuming, she did every room downstairs before she realised the hoover wasn’t plugged in, she is so annoyed at herself.

George popped in this morning on his way to the supermarket, I was in the repair shop when he looked in.

“Morning mate, how’s it going?”

“Not good” said George, “I’m in the doghouse yet again”.

“What have you done this time?” I asked.

“It wasn’t my fault, she conned me”.

“Who and how?”

“Rose, she conned me, we were talking over breakfast when she started talking about marriage, not getting married but marriage in general if you know what I mean, anyway, she said that a woman’s wedding day was the best day of their lives”.

“Go on “, I said reluctantly.

“Well, all I said was that any woman who thought that getting married was the best day of their life obviously never had two kit-kats fall out of a vending machine by mistake”.

“George, you make a rod for your own back”.

Boris and his two advisors eventually made it to the podium today, (there were rumours that he was watching the Rugby on TV), anyway, the result is that from next Thursday we are all on official lockdown, except the schoolchildren, their teachers, the headmasters, the dinner ladies, the college students, their tutors, academies and all essential shops, well, you know where I’m going with this.

He could have saved everyone and himself a lot of time and told them that he was closing anywhere where people meet, pubs restaurants, café’s, hotels, except schools, colleges and academies etc. etc etc.

You have to ask ‘Is it really a National Lockdown!

There were 21915 new cases in the last 24 hours, this means there are now over 1 million people infected in the UK, deaths were registered at 326 bringing the total now to 46555.

Well dear reader we are here again at the end of another very productive week, with Remembrance Sunday fast approaching my sales of World War One in Verse have really shot up, if you want a copy of any of them here is a reminder.

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