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Saturday 29 August 2020


 I haven't been into Caistor much recently as I have been avoiding people but this morning I decided to visit the weekly veg stall in the market place.

One thing hasn't changed in this extraordinary year - the army of volunteers has still managed to decorate our lovely town.  Some displays are now past their best but I thought these two, from the market place and the churchyard, were still worth a photo.

And I even brought loveliness home with me in the form of this mouth-watering collection of fruit and veg!

A table of delights!

Thursday 27 August 2020

A life of idleness

 Jack has been hinting that I really ought to blog more often.  Trouble is, I'm not doing much.

On Monday Annie-the-home-enhancer came.  Annie has school age children so once they go back to school I don't want her to come but during August she's been three times to sort me out.  I now have a lovely home again.  I'm still "deep decluttering" and will be doing so for the foreseeable future.  Jack came too to bring a huge bag of greengages.  Then I nipped to a village about twenty miles away to collect some clothes from one (paternal) cousin for another (maternal) cousin who is a dressmaker, to alter. 

Tuesday I was totally worn out from the amount of work Annie did on Monday!  So I just sat and finished a hat for the Sailors Society and a twiddlemuff for whoever.  Oh and I roasted tomatoes and made soup to freeze ready for the winter.  And made a loaf of bread.  And a batch of greengage jam.

Wednesday I went to take craft stuff to yet another cousin who is very involved with Brownies and things.  My deep decluttering has unearthed quite a bit of stuff which I am unlikely to use so the Brownies can have it.  Then I cast on another twiddlemuff - I'm trying to use up the odds and ends of wool which I keep finding.  In the afternoon Sainsbury's brought my groceries.

Today I visited a friend, had a routine corona test, made two batches of chutney, wrote a letter and did my telephone "pastoral visiting". 

So as you can see, I have a life of idleness

And now I am struggling with the new Blogger trying to create this post.  I haven't yet come across a blogger who has a good word to say for it!

(I've put links to twiddlemuffs and the Sailors' Society but just in case you don't know a twiddlemuff is a muff with buttons, ribbons and other bits and pieces firmly attached.  It is given to dementia sufferers so they have something which will keep their hands warm but which they can fiddle with harmlessly.)  

Thursday 20 August 2020

Adjusting 6

 Up to now my "adjusting" posts have been about lifestyle changes as I have become more isolated but now I have to adjust to coming out of isolation and being closer to other people.  I say closer, but it still isn't close.

 Yesterday I went into a shop for the first time.  I had to go to Brigg to drop off books at the Oxfam book shop but didn't go into the shop.  However, I decided to go to Wilko's, a shop which I have missed far more than I would have expected.  It was quite well organised and I felt safe but a largely one way system was tricky on my mobility scooter.   I say largely because a couple of aisles were cul de sacs and therefore two way so I had to turn the trundle truck in a very tight space.  

I've visited a few friends when we have been able to sit in the garden.  I've avoided drinks because I want to avoid the inevitable consequences of drinks!  However, when I visited Jack (who has just had a cataract operation) I went into his house.  He's fine and his wife would be very proud of his housekeeping.  

Jack has been coming and sorting my garden for me and Annie-the-hone-enhancer has been a couple of times too.  Once her children are back at school I will stop her coming here as I think she could be a risk to me.  She understands my position completely and we have come to a suitable financial arrangement which keeps both of us happy.

Because that's the adjusting I have to do at the moment.  I have to prepare for a winter of isolation in case we have a second wave of this wretched virus.  I think it's really important that children can go back to school but that may have consequences for everyone else as well.  August is for me a time of relaxation but it's also a time of making sure I am ready for a long and difficult winter.  And for hoping that it's neither as long nor as difficult as I fear.

Saturday 8 August 2020

Kindness (by Jack)

Hi everyone!

Hope you’re all OK and free from Covid 19.  I just don’t know how to start my post today.  I’m absolutely overwhelmed, grateful and humbled to have so many people think and care about me since my wife went to the Vicar’s Boss.  I’ve never known people being so kind, concerned and looking out for me, so my post today is going to be about some of them.
Jack (in my gear)

The young family next door have been fantastic to me.  In the last four weeks I think only cooked twice.  Sarah, the lady, is an excellent cook and together with her partner Malcolm she’s made sure I never go without.  Even Zeb, their five-year-old boy, makes me jellies and cakes.  That little boy chatters away and sometimes before school we talk to each other over the fence.  It’s not just those three: Sarah’s Mum and Dad sometimes cook dinner for me.  How I’m going to repay them some time for their kindness I don’t know.  I do give Sarah (and her mum) Yankee Candles.  They get roses out of my garden (and don’t worry, the Vicar often gets a bunch as well). 

When Covid 19 started I bought a lot of veg.  I put some of everything in bags and delivered it under cover of darkness to people who I thought deserved it.  Nobody knew it was me.  I just put a note on saying Robin Hood had been.  Well. Sarah’s mum knew and she wanted a Robin Hood bag.  I knew she didn’t want vegetables so I put a box of chocolates, three candles. A plastic frog, a tin of mackerel, a Lincolnshire Life magazine, and two more things but I can’t remember what they were.  Malcolm delivered it next morning. 

My son’s wife, Noreen, and my daughter, Diane, have both been brilliant.  Thanks to those two I sometimes have two cooked meals a day!  I should be putting on weight but since my wife died, I’ve lost quite a bit.  It could be not doing anything for four years and now helping everyone who asks me for help so I’m burning up the calories quicker.

I also help a lady called Janet who helps to run the Lincolnshire Showground.  What a stressful time she’s having!  They put on a virtual show this year.  It was very good to watch.  The rock concerts which were planned got cancelled at the last minute – what a nightmare.  I feel so sorry for her but the showground must be like so many businesses with no income coming in.  When will it ever end?  Anyway, Janet provided me with a meal and when I went to visit her boyfriend Walter, she asked if I would help in that garden too.   

Walter is someone way above my status: he’s got letters after his name.  (I sometimes get letters before and after my name when the Vicar gets mad!)  Well, Walter isn’t stuck-up whatsoever.  He works alongside me in the garden most of the time.  I think it’s safe to say we get on like a house on fire.  Janet once texted me for helping Walter to enjoy his garden.  It should be me thanking them for all they’ve done for me.  The Vicar has also benefitted from Walter but I’ll do another blog about that soon. 

I also help Janet’s mum and dad and Walter asked me to help one of his friends.  He was a farmer and he’s about my age.  I was a farm worker so he enjoys talking to me.  I always make time to chat to him.  His wife and daughter are grateful for everything I do for them.  By the way, Vicar, I get lemon balm tea there but it’s not served in Haddon Hall china so you’ve no need to worry.

And so the most important and last person, I would like to thank is you, Vicar.  You made sure I didn’t crack up when the going got tough.    Sometimes yours was the only voice I heard all day.  Some days you’ve gone over and above the call of duty.  You’ve been a rock for me, you know when to keep talking when I get overcome, you’ve kept me going.  You’ve put up with me these last few months.  I’m so glad I swept your chimney all those years ago.  One word for you, Vicar, is THANKS!

Be good and take care

Jack X X

As always Jack will see your comments but can't respond

Thursday 6 August 2020

Special delivery

I've been quite busy during these days of  distancing.   I've got a list of ladies whom I call once a week or once a fortnight for a chat.  I feel there's not much I can do whilst everyone is still rather isolated, but I can be a cheery voice on the end of a phone.

But there's one group of ladies who have been phoning me, and that is the committee of Caistor Women's Institute.  Once a fortnight someone phones and we have a chat about what's going on.   I really appreciate the calls.

Today's call was a little different.  Margaret rang and said, "Will you be in this afternoon?"  We agreed I would be in my garden around two and promptly at 2pm I heard the side gate click and there she was.  With a bag in her hand.

And in the bag was afternoon tea!  To be precise there were four sandwiches, a small bag of crisps, a sausage roll. two scones, strawberry jam, clotted cream, a florentine, a crispy cake, a slice of chocolate Swiss roll, a flapjack,  and a teabag.  And then there was a bottle of prosecco and a strawberry.

Guess what I'm having for tea.  And probably tomorrow as well