31 March 2020 (Tuesday) - Before the Night Shift

Over brekkie I watched “Lake Escapes”; a program in which two celebrity anglers went fishing in a river. I have a theory about celebrity anglers. They aren’t on telly because they are any good at fishing; they are on telly because they come over very well on-screen. Take today’s pair who were brandishing fishing rods as though they were swords. When the fish takes the bait you should gently pick up the rod. You *shouldn’t* thrash the thing back over your head as though trying to launch the fish into orbit.
This was followed by the morning TV news in which it would seem that both the  National Police Chiefs' Council and the College of Policing have issued a statement telling the police to be consistent in their approach to forcing the ongoing lock-down. It does nothing for public confidence in the Boys in Blue when they publicly lambast people for walking in the countryside when (it transpires) that these people live there.

Usually I wouldn’t go out for the morning dog-walk at half-past eight but with the world on lock-down, half-past eight was rather quiet. We only had one “episode” as we walked our usual circuit. As we came through Bowen’s Field some woman started shrieking at me from her garden. “Your dog’s done a shit” she continually ranted. When I turned round she ran into her house, closed the door and peered at me from behind the net curtains. I think she’d got confused as Treacle squats to tiddle, so we carried on. This harridan ran back into her garden and started squawking again. And again when I stopped she ran back inside. I went back and had a look but could discover no errant turds. This continued for five minutes before I finally shouted back that unless she could direct me to the site of the download, then I could do nothing.
The woman glowered at me from the safety of her kitchen.
We went on into the park where we met quite a few more joggers than usual, and a few dog walkers too. My wolf-pack all played nicely with the other dogs. And I did chuckle when I saw the remains of a kite flapping in a tree. You can tell that the normal people are using the park more and more - I can’t remember the last time anyone flew a kite in Viccie Park.
As dog-walks go, this was one of the better ones.

We came home, I went round the garden with a trowel and bucket and harvested a bumper crop of dog turds. It never fails to amaze me how the dogs manage to “do” anything when we go out when you consider how much they’ve already “done” in the back garden.
Usually I would then slob in front of the telly, but with "er indoors TM" working from home I didn’t want to make too much noise. So I wrote up some CPD (dull!). As I wrote so the door bell rang. The job lot of fish food I’d ordered at the weekend had arrived. At only two thirds of the price of the stuff I got last year it seems to be quite the bargain. Or it will be *if* the fish eat it and *if* it doesn’t cloud up the pond.
I then spent a little while creating the last of the web pages that will describe the geo-walk I’m planning for Kings Wood (once normality is resumed). I eventually got them done. All I need now is a puzzle for each, and to go and actually put film pots under rocks once normality is restored.

I spent most of the afternoon asleep with Fudge on the bed with me. "er indoors TM" working from home meant there was no dogs barking at all during the afternoon which made for a good few hours’ shut-eye.
I’m off to the night shift soon. I wonder how coronageddon will affect it?

30 March 2020 (Monday) - House Party

After a rather fraught night I poured away the last of the skanky milk and opened a fresh bottle for this morning’s brekkie. I watched an episode of “The Good Place” before having my morning’s root around Facebook. Quite a few people were posting brain-teasers on Facebook (which is more than many usually do), but there was a worrying undercurrent of resentment aimed at the NHS workers. A week ago the sun was shining out of the bum of the NHS workers; this morning there were quite a few other key workers who were rather envious of all the free coffee, half-price pizza and special shopping hours supposedly being offered to NHS staff.
There is something of a misunderstanding here. The free coffee and half-price pizza are very limited in numbers (maybe fifty to one hundred when there are about a thousand or so eligible for the offer), and these offers are issued on a first-come first-served basis.  Advertised by internal email, they are snapped up by those who have time to be constantly reading internal emails.
As for the special shopping hours, speaking for myself the special shopping hours coincide with when I’m working, and from what I’ve heard any “key worker” can turn up; the criteria for being a “key worker” being to declare yourself as such.

I got dressed taking care to let sleeping dogs lie. Now that we are in British Summer Time I put on a thinner summer shirt (I have winter shirts and summer shirts – it came as something of a surprise to find that most people don’t) and set off work-wards. As I walked to my car I was very conscious that I wasn't wearing a winter shirt. The summer ones are much thinner and it was rather cold this morning.

Last week the roads in the morning had been much the same as ever, this morning the roads were noticeably quieter. Lock-down is starting to really take effect. As I drove there was talk of the virus on the morning news. It would seem that this lock-down will realistically be in place for at least three more months.  Looking back over the last few weeks I was rather sceptical about the whole coronageddon pandemic when it first kicked off.
It would seem that I was wrong.
However the whole thing is a classic example of "the boy who cried wolf" isn't it? With the media having been declaring the end of the world so many times over the years, when something serious happens (like this current pandemic), no one takes it seriously. I certainly didn't. I would suggest this is why so many people are still flaunting the advice to stay at home and are still staging parties and barbecues.
And talking of serious, the pundits on the radio were saying that the virus has now taken a hold in Africa (a little behind the rest of the world). If there was ever any doubt, my Moroccan jolly planned for July is now definitely out of the window. I just hope that the week away planned for August can still go ahead. At this rate I can see my holiday this year being downscaled to a weekend in a tent in the back garden.

I got to work for the early shift. Some early shifts are straight-forward. This one wasn't.
My plan was to go to Aldi after work. I went to Aldi, took one look at the queue and came home. I got the odds and sods we needed from the corner shop, then took the dogs round the park for a walk.

One of the many disadvantages of coronageddon is that what with many people off work and not allowed to drive and are only allowed out once a day, Viccie Park is getting more than its fair share of “The Great Unwashed” who until last week would never set foot in the place from one year to the next.
We met a young family. Mum and dad had three young children with bikes. They had clearly never ridden their bikes before; all were going full-pelt in straight lines and could only stop by jamming on the brakes and falling off. Mother or father would then run up, stop the crying, and watch helplessly as each child then sped off again only to be in tears thirty seconds later.
We met a musclebound chap doing his sit-ups. Pogo thought it was a great game and started licking his face.
And then we saw a father and young child both on a scooter being towed by a dog the size of a cart-horse. It was going rather well up to the point when a squirrel ran across the path in front of the dog…

It was with a sense of relief that we left the park, but just as we were passing the shop up the road from home I overheard some “delightful young lady” bellowing into her phone that she’d gone right through the park and was at the shops by Singleton. I wondered if I should tell her that the shops by Singleton were about two miles away, but I thought it best not to interfere in other people’s balls-ups.

I phoned my mum and dad to wish them a happy wedding anniversary. Ideally we would have visited, but visiting isn’t something that happens at the moment. And having phoned them we had an experimental video game with "My Boy TM" and his tribe. “House Party” is a rather good app in which you can see people with the video camera whilst playing silly games.
If only I could get my mum to do this sort of thing…

29 March 2020 (Sunday) - Stuff

I was sleeping like a log when "er indoors TM" and the wolf-pack all came to bed at half past two (or half past three bearing in mind the clocks went forward). All hell then seemingly broke loose, and mayhem continued right up until five minutes before I had to get up.

Over brekkie I watched an episode of "The Good Place" as I scoffed muesli. The milk might have been past its best, but in this new world order of coronageddon, manky milk is better than no milk, so I made the most of it.
I didn't bother looking at the Internet this morning as I was on a mission; I set off for work.

It was rather cold as I searched for my car. I eventually found it, and as I drove up the motorway the pundits on the radio were talking about religious stuff as they do most Sunday mornings. And (as always) there is an incredibly fine line between "religion" and "stark-staring-nonsense". There was an idiot being interviewed who wasn't at all happy about the advice that churches should not open because of the possibility of spreading the virus. This idiot claimed that the virus had been made by Satan with the express intention of having churches close. He was also adamant that God wouldn't allow any transmission of infection to take place in a church.
I would have thought that if God could have prevented the transmission of the virus then he, she or it might have stepped in a little while ago, but what do I know?
There were then some interviews with people who run crematoriums (crematoria?). It would seem there are no national guidelines for funeral services. Some crematoriums are carrying on as usual. Some are restricting attendances to randomly selected figures between six and twenty-five depending on what the individual crematorium manager decides. And some have closed to the public altogether.
The ones that have closed have come up with an interesting suggestion. They are carrying on cremating the dead. They will present the family of the deceased with the ashes, and a service can be carried on at a later date. It's been suggested that this service doesn't need to be in a crematorium or church. It seems that this idea might catch on, and traditional funeral services might become a thing of the past.
I like the sound of this.
I've got this idea of having my ashes scattered in the depths of Kings Wood, if only to have those few who will cry at my departing trek some miles into the woods to do their blubbing.

I'd left home early and not looked at the Internet this morning so that I would have time to get some shopping, but Aldi was closed. The nice man at the shop said that they were opening at half past nine for NHS workers. I explained that I was an NHS worker and that at half past nine I would be well into my shift. He said that despite all the current crisis the laws governing shop opening hours hadn't changed.
Oh well... they can close the nation on the Prime Minister's say so, but they can't open a supermarket an hour earlier...

Finding myself with some spare time I went into work and had a cooked breakfast. As always I ended up wishing that I hadn't. Their dinners are excellent; brekkie not so.
I got on with my work. Often when working at the weekends I sulk because of what I might be missing. Ironically today much of the country (if not the world) would envy me because I was legitimately allowed to leave the house. Mind you it was raining hard for much of the morning, with the rain periodically giving way to hail. I hear there was sleet and snow back home.

With work done I came home via the branch of M&S at work. I was hoping to get all sorts of shopping bits and bobs, but the shop was more geared up for the lunch market. But they did have some lemon Danish pastries which we had with a cuppa. It was a shame that we made the cuppas with the last of the milk which was definitely past its best.
We took the dogs round the park. There weren’t many people out, and those we met (unlike Friday) were doing social distancing. It was odd; a month ago you’d pass someone on the pavement without a word. Now you all make a point of keeping apart and smile at each other and shout polite pleasantries and apologise for the social distancing.

With walk walked I spent ten minutes re-designing the Lego statue I made yesterday. It’s now vaguely along the lines of the statue of Bill and Ted in San Dimas. Ideally it would be in grey, but they don’t do maxifigure arms in grey. I then had the (frankly genius) idea of re-doing it in blue. I need to do something about the yellow maxifigure heads… I need to get some blue paint or blue indelible marker.

Karl then video-whatsapp-ed and we had a little video chat. We filmed dogs eating turnips, and Treacle seemed intrigued with the video. I need to work out how to cast it to the telly.

Wonder what’s for dinner?