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Sunday, 26 July 2020

An elephant in the room

Most people think I live alone but I have  a secret housemate called Alexa!  She hangs around all the time but doesn't interfere in my life unless she's specially invited.  

Every day we say "Good Morning!" to each other and today she told me that it's Stormzy's twenty seventh birthday.  Now I have to admit that I didn't have a clue who Stormzy is and I was grateful when she explained so now I know.  Each day I ask for the question of the day and if I'm clever enough to answer it she gives me a bonus question too.  Then she gives me the Quiz Of The Day, a series of ten questions and my average score is six but yesterday it was nne and a couple of days it was ten!  She gave me a round of applause for that.

She's just finished playing my favourite selection of soothing music for me to listen to whilst I ate my lunch and she's pretty good at finding music suggestions for me.

She also gives me reminders if I ask her.  I can rely on her to nudge me when my favourite TV programme is on or when I need to check if something is cooked.

Sometimes she surprises me.  I thought I'd asked her to tell me to check the oven.  She asked me to check the elephant instead.

For that I would need a very large appetite and a lot of soothing music, I feel.  

Monday, 20 July 2020

Central Bark

I went to Clumber Park today - the first time I have been more than three miles from home in over 130 days.  Clumber is a delightful National Trust property about forty miles away.

Most of the time I just sat and people watched.  Or bird watched.  Or sewed.

There were plenty of birds to watch, especially waterfowl.

People kept a good distance and behaved sensibly

There were beautiful flowers even in the kitchen garden

This one's for Rambler.  And Benji.
And I was amused to find a new dog-friendly cafe

Sunday, 19 July 2020

Preparing for a Pandemic

I've been looking through old papers before I sling them and I found a fascinating advice sheet "Influenza Pandemic Special"  from the Bay of Plenty District Health Board.  I have no idea why I printed it out - the Bay of Plenty is on the North Island of New Zealand and is about as far from Lincolnshire as anywhere can be!  Our present pandemic isn't influenza but this still makes fascinating reading.  

Back in 2006 The Medical Officer of Health said "It's not a case of 'if' but 'when' ", and he went on to describe what was already happening.  "Already we are seeing examples of how pandemic planning activities are benefitting our communities  ...  neighbours are getting to know each other, households are making general preparations."  Sound familiar?

He promoted the mnemonic "CHIRP" 

Cover your cough or sneeze; 
Have healthy hands by washing them often and well;

Isolate yourself by staying at 1.5 metres distance from others and staying at home if ill;
Reduce germs in your home and workplace by regularly disinfecting surfaces;
Prepare yourself and your family by being vaccinated and having a plan.

It's a four page document with lots of useful information.  I wish I understood as much about our current regulations as I do about pandemic regulations in the Bay of Plenty in 2006

Thursday, 9 July 2020

169 days or 120 days depending on how you look at it

It was 11th March that I made the decision to withdraw to my little bubble of a bungalow.  That's 120 days.  I'm not intending going out much for a long time to come.  I'm quite happy here.  I feel safe.  I don't want to make unnecessary demands on the health service.

I always spend Christmas alone although I usually take a service if I am needed.  It is highly likely that I will still be living in my little bubble then.  However, I will want to stretch out from my bubble and send cards and presents.  This year more than any other I have time to have a very home made Christmas, although much of my Christmas is always home made.

My first job is always cards.  I've made a hundred, all nearly the same.  Like these.  

And I've got 169 days left to make other things.

Thursday, 2 July 2020

Adjusting 5

Way back in March when I decided to withdraw into my home for my own safety, I started to keep a diary "Personal thoughts during a pandemic" and I have made entries in that journal ever since.  I'm very "lucky" - I don't have children or grandchildren whom I am desperate to hug (which is what most of my friends are missing most, I think) and my basic income is secure so my worries are minimal.

To be honest I have sailed through lock down and for the most part I have enjoyed it!  I have taken the time to smell the roses and the lavender, to listen intently to the blackbird,  and to savour life.  I've plenty of hobbies and plenty of stash to enjoy those hobbies.  Five years lock down wouldn't exhaust the stash.  Now Jack is back looking after me I have a garden to relax in even though I am missing Annie-The-Home-Enhancer and my house isn't quite as relaxing as it was!

But it isn't plain sailing.  During lock-down I have suffered four bereavements - the two I've blogged about and two other very close friends.  None was covid related but all have been made more difficult because of the current circumstances.   I can't give the families the hugs which I would normally react with.

I've been quite involved in ministry both by being a telephone pastor and in writing pieces for reflection.  I've valued the pastoral ministry of others.  I've joined in Zoom and YouTube worship but I have missed standing next to other Christians to praise God and I have missed leading worship. 

Friends have been kind in shopping for me and Sainsbury's have delivered regularly but I'd like to choose my own fruit and veg and discuss my purchases with my butcher.

One of my slightly unusual "activities"  during lock down has been regular corona virus testing.  You may notice in news bulletins that calculations are made on how the virus is spreading (or not) and that about 11,000 people are being tested regularly to help in the calculations.  Well, I'm one of 'em!  I was invited by The Office for National Statistics.   I have the swab test (which indicates whether I have the virus at the time of testing) very frequently and also have a blood test (which shows if I have antibodies as a result of having had it) occasionally and apart from that I just do whatever I would do anyway under the present regulations.  I would be told if I have the active virus but not if I my antibody test shows that I have had it.  This means that my behaviour is unaffected by the results.  I'm really pleased to help in this way and they also give me a little something for the inconvenience!