Archive for November, 2020

Lockdown 2:26

Monday, November 30th, 2020

Raining quite royally here this morning, if that’s a saying. V busy day ahead. Starting a new loaf and using some stone ground flour I found in the flour basket. The sound of the rain on the conservatory roof is relaxing, at least from the perspective of the living room. It would probably be deafening if I was sat in the conservatory.

Carer Laura in sorting dad. I usually wait in the house until he has had breakfast and is settled in his chair in front of the news. Champing at the bit this morning tbh. I have to start and finish a 5 minute video for a Cisco Virtual Conference that we are sponsoring and am well overdue with it.

The talk in the news over the past few days has been of covid lockdown restrictions, the vaccine and to a lesser extent brexit. We are all pretty fed up with the whole sitch now and looking forward to release. At least the leisure centre is open from Wednesday – Anne and I have booked lane swimming yay.

Joe due home at lunchtime for a few days break.

Too busy right now to be able to write as much as I feel lockdown 2 deserves. Will persevere.

Lockdown 2:25

Sunday, November 29th, 2020

Bit of excitement in the wee small hours of Sunday morning (just before 1am). Dad has fallen out of bed and we can’t get him back in so have for the first time ever dialled 999 and have called the Ambulance service. He is just too heavy for Anne and I to be able to pick him up and has a bad shoulder so we daren’t heave him. He did suggest he did a press up and we hoist him up when his arms are fully extended but that is just his imagination working overtime. He can’t do a press up.

So we have made him comfortable on the floor and he is asleep whilst I wait up for the ambulance to arrive. In Cardiff they use some sort of inflatable contraption to get him up. It’s just under an hour since I called and it could be another hour. They couldn’t say. Ah well.

It isn’t quite true to say we have never dialled 999 before. When Tom was small he did it accidentally by just repeatedly pressing the same button on the telephone handset. The operator was cross with him 🙂

So now I’m sat on the settee in dad’s room waiting.

02.42 still waiting…

My brain is not sufficiently awake to type anything interesting at this time of night. I’ve read the news, again and unsurprisingly there isn’t much movement on Facebook at this time of night.

At 3am the birds are singing away outside. I suspect the street lights mess up their body clocks.

We will have to investigate a mechanism that will prevent dad from falling out of bed in future. Some sort of side.

Would be quite nice if the Ambulance service had some sort of alert to tell you how far away they were or where in the queue you were.

04.08 still waiting. Not complaining but it would be nice to get… arrived 4.09 phew

04.30. Finished and gone. Mega efficient. 3 of them. Time for bed.

Somewhat frazzled this morning. Took me a further 30 mins to get back to sleep once upstairs. Dad now snoozing in his chair.

Out for a stroll to the Lindum and sat on a bench in front of the clubhouse. Only saw one other person, Harry Pickering, walking across the field, and he didn’t see me sat there. Quite relaxing sat there feeling away from it all, nobody knowing you were there.

Back in the house we have an afternoon of sport. Cricket, South Africa v England, rugby Ireland v Georgia or Snooker UK Championships with Ronnie O’Sullivan. Formula1 also! Quite dramatic with Grosjean escaping a fire.

I have a nice rib of beef to prepare with the last of the home grown tomatoes, home grown onions and home grown parsnips. Nuff said. Oh and green beans and sprouts (!yuk!).

Lockdown 2:24

Saturday, November 28th, 2020

Saturday morning. Le weekend. Bread into the oven. Looks great although I did have to put it back in after it had come out of the tin, just to dry the base out a little. The proof will be in the eating at lunchtime.

Fryup this morning. Am trying to restrict cooked breakfasts to the weekend. Had some grapefruit segments as “pudding”. Anne picked up a few tins on sale in Lidl. 

Usual Saturday morning festival management call. Now getting ready for a trip to the recycling centre. Couple of old cupboards and a desk chair. The small excitements that light up our locked down lives.

The afternoon promises a bounty of live sport. Brighton (someone like that anyway) v Liverpool at 12.30 followed by Wales V England rugby at 4pm. The outlook for the latter is not good for a Welshman but we shall see. I have some work to do this pm so can do it whilst watching the games in the shed.

Stopped to chat to Coops after tip trip then went for a spin in the defender with dad. Back at the hoose dad had cheese and biscuits for lunch and I had bread and jam. My load of this morning turned out great with President butter and strawberry jam. 

Bit of work in the shed to get a quote off to South Africa, UK snooker championships on the telly then Wales v England. Would have watched Brighton v Liverpool but the kids had maxed out the streams on BT Sport so that avenue of pleasure was denied to me. Wales lost but a much better performance than we have seen this year.

Now waiting for Anne to rock up with the chinky. I opted for that description as for the whole of my life my generation would have described a chinese takeaway as a chinky. The kids would be horrified to hear me use that term considering it to be politically incorrect. The plates are warming, the cutlery is out.

We are now watching High Society. Bing sings together with Frank and Satchmo

Chinese takeaway 28th November

Saturday, November 28th, 2020

Hors d’oeuvres


Beef curry  (can you make it hotter than usual)

fried rice


Chicken with cashew nuts

Boiled rice


Peking king prawn

Lockdown 2:23

Friday, November 27th, 2020

My first gin and tonic for a week. Been a good boy innit. Sat here in the shed sipping away whilst dad has a cuppa tea. He has had both biscuits so seems fair.

Mega busy day today. After breakfast started the dough for tomorrow’s bread bake. It is now in its tin ready to prove overnight in the fridge. Actually a bit of a rush this pm as not only had lots of work on but took dad to the surgery for his flu jab. Had to call my regular pharmacist to ascertain that he would be happy to make up the dosset – dad’s medication is complicated – 8 pills first thing then three other lots over the rest of the day. At the docs they said few pharmacies are doing that now due to workload but seeing as I was a regular they agreed to do it for dad (phew – would have been pretty complicated for me to do myself otherwise).

Back to the hoose afterwards, dropped dad in front of the South Africa v England T20 then in to make the pancake mix followed by putting the bread dough in the tin (skipped the dusting/tensioning stage and just bunged it in tin). Now in the shed meself with my gin, as previously mentioned.

Lockdown 2:22

Thursday, November 26th, 2020

We are officially in Tier 3 which ain’t good. If you look at the national covid infection rates map Lincoln glows bright red so it comes as no surprise really. Ah well. 3 weeks into Lockdown 2. At least the gyms are reopening so will hopefully be able to get back into the pool.

Now sat in shed with dad watching “Cofiwch Dryweryn” with Huw Stephens on S4C. It is dark outside at 16.40. Quite fancy a beer but it’s a non starter. Dad would want one and not sure that would be sensible. Saving it for the rugby on Saturday. Wales v England. Might be England v Wales. Will find out soon enough.

Swung by Fosters this morning, now reopened after their covid scare. Purchaysed some sausages, bacon and a rib of beef for Sunday dinner. Dad came for a spin and we did the sights of Lincoln. Brayford, Castle and Cathedral. Usual things.

Back at home we had sandwiches for lunch. Home cooked ham on homemade sourdough bread with president butter. This evening I made bruschetta with the sourdough – v tasty fair play to me.

We finished watching Huw Stephens in dad’s room after dinner then a substitute carer rocked up (early) due to the planned person’s daughter being ill. I’m quietly laughing here as she seems nearly as old as dad 🙂 He was certainly taller than her and dad, in his old age, is shrinking not growing.

Lockdown 2:21

Wednesday, November 25th, 2020

Wow where did that one go? Got going on a new loaf today and that is now in a tin in the fridge proving overnight. It’s looking promising and I am optimistic of the outcome. Also made a celeriac remoulade a la last night’s Mastercheff. Turned out great – served with pan fried salmon fillets, sauteed spuds and asparagus tips. Not too heavy and v delish.

Been busy with customer proposals today. Getting set for 2021 with lots of new projects coming out of the woodwork, notably from South Africa. In the afternoon had dad in the shed – stuck some S4C Welsh language programmes on iPlayer for him. Some good stuff fair play although the documentary on the river Ganges was a bit on the boring side.

Today Tom moved into his new flat with BBC Radio 1 colleague Jacob. Near the Arsenal ground and a 20 minute walk from Hannah which is exciting. Won’t be long before they are all home for Christmas. The Christmas lockdown rules published yesterday tell us they are all ok to come home. The biggest issue now is whether Lincoln will be in Tier 1 post lockdown on 2nd December. Influences what happens on my birthday on 9th December.

Nipped out this morning to get some supplies. Fosters was shut. There were some notices on the door but didn’t stop to read. WIll pop down tomorrow now as I need a joint of beef for Sunday and some bacon and sausages for general weekend breakfasting.

Once the carer has been and gone we are going to settle down to watch Liverpool v Atalanta in the European Champions League (European Cup)

Lockdown 2:20

Tuesday, November 24th, 2020

First day for dad with carers today. They can’t come until 8.50 so I’m sat here somewhat nervously waiting. Looking like a nice sunny day out and most of the leaves appeared to have dropped. Fairly busy day ahead with Netaxis meetings and the arrival of the carpet fitters to do John’s bedroom. It will be our main guest bedroom although John is clinging on to ownership which is fair enough. We effectively have two spare double rooms plus two singles.

Currently in the front room so that I can see the carer arriving. Will set the fire for the weekend in here. It’s a lovely room to sit in and a perfect size for the fireplace. 

Carer here. Charlotte. Very cheerful and dad seems to get on with her. Whether 45 minutes is enough remains to be seen. Charlotte is a Lincoln City fan. I now have the carer schedule. There are a few of them lined up to come which isn’t ideal but I guess we are lucky to be able to get them.

Ended up a busy day with conference calls left right and centre (so to speak) including a chat with Joe re Anne’s Vans website. Had lunch with dad and Anne and have since been in the shed with the occasional cup of tea being delivered. In other news Sue has booked herself into the White Hart from 23rd to 28th December. She has booked a double room so will be able to entertain one guest for breakfast each day. There will not be a shortage of nephews and niece to do breakfast with her. Also there is the cocktail bar!

Nice mediterranean pork casserole for dinner tonight.Then GBBO with Anne and dad after carer had been and gone.

Lockdown 2:19

Monday, November 23rd, 2020

First time I had to get up and get dad ready for the day. Not going to go into details but I’m glad we have a carer lined up to do this on an ongoing basis. It is tough enough having to do the day job without also having to sort out your elderly dad as well.

In other news it is a nice crisp day out. Temperature dropped to just above freezing overnight. Cosy enough in the shed. Had a meeting rescheduled this morning so the afternoon has a clear diary. Doesn’t mean I have nothing to do obvs.

Decked dad out in fleece, coat my best/warmest timberland gloves, my black yak himalyayan wooly hat, Tom’s scout blanket and the really nice warm woollen blanket stolen many years ago from Air Canada business class having ascertained from the flight attendant that nothing would be done about it if caught. Not seen any other airline blanket in the same league since. The BA First Class cabin ones are duvets not blankets and not only too large to pinch but also it wouldn’t have been appropriate 🙂

Dark out now. Dad ensconced in front of back to back Lucy Worsley documentaries or similar. Anne on one of her regular zoom call with mates and I have done enough work for the day and am chillin a bit. Ordinarily would consider cracking open a beer but a) it is a Monday and b) I think having dad here is going to put the kybosh on that until Christmas. Need to have all my wits about me. Innit.

Today Boris announced the new tier system post this current lockdown. How it affects us is going to come down to which Tier we are in and there is no clue yet as to how they decide that. This morning when I looked Lincolnshire was 44th worst in the country for covid infection rates. I understand we will find out on Thursday. 

It is potentially going to affect my Land Rover experience Day out on my birthday in December plus we have one or two nights out planned with friends post lockdown. Need to be in Tier 1 but suspect Tier 2.

Lockdown 2:18

Sunday, November 22nd, 2020

Cardiff. Out for beer and curry last night with Sue after picking up a few bits from dad’s flat. Collecting him from hospital at 11am this morning. I am glad he is coming home to Lincoln for a few weeks but there is an element of trepidation as I’m not sure yet how much looking after he will take. It will at least keep me off the gin for a while 🙂

Now just chilling at Sue’s.  Car is loaded up and I have just enough battery left on my phone to last until we set off and I can plug it in. Forgot to bring a charger with me innit. 

Uneventful drive back to Lincoln and now unpacked, fed watered and settling down in dad’s room (the TV room) to watch the Liverpool v Leicester game.

Lockdown 2:17

Saturday, November 21st, 2020

Awake at around 5am so now downstairs. Still very much dark outside although the presence of lights everywhere are a noticeable feature of the hour. LEDs in the shed, bedroom, TV room, kitchen, bathroom and shower room and the streetlights on the road at the front of the house. Anne’s turn to make the tea this morning but I will do it seeing as I’m up and about.

Off to Cardiff later this morning to see Sue and get sorted for bringing dad back to Lincoln tomorrow. I may not have time for a diary entry tomorrow. Will see what can be done:)

Booked dad in for a flu jab next Friday. Last week when I called to register him with the practice I was on hold on the phone for 70 minutes starting at number 4 in the queue. Yesterday I started at number 6 so settled in for a long wait and began a festival meeting with Tom. Suddenly after 16 minutes I was through to the receptionist and caught completely by surprise. When I mentioned this to her she thought I was complaining but actually I was pleasantly surprised.

More anon…

Lockdown 2:16

Friday, November 20th, 2020

Week 3 well underway. Doesn’t feel like the first lockdown although that might be because we had all the kids home for months. Outside temperature plummeted last night. Down to 1.69℃  in the greenhouse which is colder than the outside sensor – due almost certainly to the insulation of the Stevenson’s screen. Warm enough in the shed where the temperature varies between 18℃ and 21℃ depending on what I’ve set it to. It’s a good job we replaced the central heating this year.

We have been busy in the house. John’s room is being emptied in readiness for the carpet fitters coming to fit a new carpet on Tuesday. It isn’t a new carpet per se. It’s from Anne’s friend Ange’s front room but it is new to John’s bedroom. I was somewhat sceptical initially but it does look ok in fairness. 

At the same time we have been shifting furniture out of the TV room and installing Hannah’s bed. Dad is coming to stay with us for a few weeks starting Sunday. Better he was with us than cooped up in a care home over Christmas. Having him to stay won’t be without its challenges but we have carers lined up to help him first thing and last thing.

Today is a Friday which can be busy ish workwise. My first meeting is at 10am so I’m sat here just doing stuff before then. The blackbirds are being quite vociferous in the garden. Interesting to reflect on a year in the shed based on how wide open the doors are. Today they are closed but up until a few days ago they would be at least ajar and only closed if it was particularly noisy outside and I needed to make phone calls/video conferences.

Last year the term video conference was in common usage although the genre might have not been mainstream. It was enough of an event for it to have a specific name. Nowadays it would feel strange to call a zoom or teams meeting a video conference. It’s so last year!

Just had a bit of a shock. A female blackbird just flew into the shed sliding door glass. Fortunately just turned around and went back in the same direction as it had come. You can imagine the bird thinking “wtf was that!?”.

Another bit of a shock came in the post at lunchtime – forgot to do my VAT return for September – oops. Looking at it there were transactions going back to July that I hadn’t reconciled. All sorted now. Phew.

A gentle rain falls in the back garden.

John has gone back to Brum on the train.

Work is done for the week. I am now sipping a Tiny Rebel Cali Pale and chatting on social media. It is very dark out and midwinter is fast approaching. I think I will put some Christmas Carols on the music centre/hifi/speakers in the shed. Once in Royal David’s City…

Lockdown 2:15

Thursday, November 19th, 2020

Bought a wheelchair and an upright chair for dad in the tv room – his temporary bedroom for 6 weeks or so. Today has been a busy mix of sorting out the room, sorting out work emails and sorting out the Anne’s Vans campervan booking and marketing activity. We are signing up with Cool Camping to see how it goes. I like the brand association. Got a lot of work to do now as they are having a big launch on 15th December. Spin to Waitrose. Bought a few treats including a box of Tunnocks Tea Cakes, sourdough crumpets and a 4 pack of Tiny Rebel craft beer. I only went for a pack of smoked salmon and some milk but I knew there would be more to it than that. Now watching  programme on Ronnie Scotts on iPlayer. It’s a top gaff. Very inspirational for our own festival. Check out

Lockdown 2:14

Thursday, November 19th, 2020

Overslept somewhat, if you can call 07.20 oversleeping. Woke to a dig in the ribs and a reminder that it was my turn to make the tea! Now cooking sausages on the George Foreman. Another busy day ahead.

It looks like a nice day out, as November goes. Not a bad month November usually characterised by the phased ending of Autumn and the approach of full on Winter. The build up to Christmas is well underway with parcels beginning to arrive and getting my brain around the food shop that tends to remain unaltered year on year.

Lockdown 2:13

Tuesday, November 17th, 2020

Calling the doctors surgery to temporarily get dad on their books. In 27 mins of holding I’ve gone from caller number 4 to number 2 in queue. These probably are exceptional times. Just have the monotonous music on hold in background plus the repetitive message apologising and telling me these are difficult times. Got through after an hour and 10 minutes. 45 second conversation determined that I needed to pop into the surgery. Spoke to the receptionist through the letter box and now dad is registered!

Next stop is finding the right local support for his trip. Stay tuned.