17 May 2020

Lock-down Week – what week is it? What day is it? Who knows? I thought every day in retirement was more or less the same. Every day in lock-down certainly is the same! The highlight of our week comes on Tuesdays and Thursdays when Penelope delivers medication from the local surgery around the village. It’s so exciting!

It turns out that it is week 10 of our personal lock-down and it’s been a generally goodish week. The beginning of the week was cold (!) and windy with a splash of rain. But, as the week has progressed we’ve had more sunshine, some clearish blue skies and better temperatures.

Many of the gardeners in the village were caught out by the sudden ground frost at the beginning of the week, -4o Celsius, according to our friend with the weather monitoring station. Our losses appear to have been manageable – some French beans which should have been sufficiently hardened off turned out to be not quite hard enough. Just about everything else survived. Unfortunately, however, the kale does seem to have weathered the storm.

I did get a couple of good bike rides toward the end of the week but did have to revert to the Arrogant Bastard jersey as it was a bit on the cool and windy side. I also found a little utility to convert my rides into a video clip with which to bore the pants off you.

Many of you will have already “discovered” that Andrew Cotter, a sports commentator on the BBC, has been “commentating” on other sporting events during the lock-down. I am thankful to my sister Sarah for first sharing one with me. Some of these have featured his dogs Mabel and Olive “competing” which have been hilarious. This week the Guardian had a link to one he’s done narrating a penguin race.


And, while we’re on the subject of YouTube videos, our Nick uploaded one which he had prepared for some friends of his who fancy having a go at baking sourdough. You’ll have to set aside some time to watch it but it’s full of handy hints and tips if you are a novice. Heck, I’m not a complete novice but I found it really helpful.

Many of you have shared some outstanding cultural highlights to see online. Our friend Stuart sent a link to Google Arts and Culture which has a range of things to see and do. I particularly enjoyed taking the Selfie challenge. Which do you think is the best likeness? (Definitely click to see the images in all their glorious detail).

Vote for your favourite and I (might) try to recreate it!

Which do you think is the best likeness of Greg?

BTW, Penny did threaten me with divorce if I shared any of hers, especially the selfie itself. Still, one of the images which came up for her was the Mona Lisa so I’m not sure what she’s complaining about.

And, speaking of the Mona Lisa, Penny shared this which has been doing the rounds on Facebook this week.

As well as the Google Arts and Culture link, Stuart also sent me a link to the National Portrait Gallery’s annual portrait competition. We’ve been several times in the past and although the virtual exhibition doesn’t really do the paintings justice it’s still nice to be able to “visit” in these wacky times. Again, do go full screen and have fun exploring.

The National Garden Scheme continues to provide some links to some lovely gardens which normally would be open to visitors. This one of the Old Rectory at Farnborough is lovely.

Our government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic continues to go from bad to worse. This week, in England, we had the partial relaxing of some of the lock-down restrictions and some new measures. Interestingly, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have all decided that it’s too early and so they have stuck with the Stay Home message instead of Boris’ Stay Alert slogan. If only he had stayed alert instead of ignoring just about every word of warning and bragged about his visiting a hospital with Covid cases and shaking hands with everyone.

And the clarity of the new message is astonishing. You should now go to work if it’s safe to do so but don’t use public transport if you can help it. And, stay at home if you can but go to work.

New measures too! All arrivals to the UK (apart from those from France, for some reason) will now have to isolate for fourteen days. It might have been handy to have done something similar at the beginning of the pandemic. It seems that since the lock-down was initiated there have been 95,000 arrivals to the UK from other parts of the world who have gaily gone on their happy ways.

So, if you’re thinking of a holiday in the UK this year be sure to add the two weeks isolation to your plans! Or, if you are a businessman/woman coming for meetings or a conference or whatever, be sure to allow for that extra two weeks.

And, it’s not just me saying that the UK government has been pants in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. The Guardian had an article earlier in the week on how the world’s press has viewed the UK’s response to all this.

The latest row between the Government and the Opposition concerns the discharge of elderly patients from hospital back into care homes without any testing! The government’s line, in March, was that there was little risk as there was no evidence of human to human transmission. If they had stayed alert they would have known that China had confirmed human to human transmission in January!

You really could not make this stuff up.

Meanwhile, keep happy, keep smiling, keep isolating and keep safe.

Lots of love to you all,



4 thoughts on “17 May 2020”

  1. Dear Gregory –

    Your exceedingly interesting, insightful and uplifting jottings, videos, amusements, etc. may just assist in preserving my sanity – such as it is – bereft as I am, in this pandemic period, of cultural and horticultural pursuits. I, along with those who find themselves, with some understandable trepidation, entering my orbit during this trying time, extend our sincere thanks.

    1. Looks like I posted in the wrong place – my comment about the garden/flowers was for June 14.
      Love to J just the same.

      1. Love to you too, Susie. Looks like it’s going to be a somewhat disrupted summer one way and another. Take care. Keep well.


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