Diary of a self-isolator week 14

 A lighthearted look at a few memories and the situation over the last seven days in our house.

Sunday 14/06/2020 – Day 90

Well, here we are on our 90th day in solitude, if I had said to Mrs H three months ago that she had got to spend the next 90 days with me and me alone she would have probably said “ I can’t wait”. Now, that may sound a bit strange, but Mrs H revels in a bit of solitary – as long as it involves Mrs Hinch the cleaning sensation, there is also Lynsey –  Queen of Clean, Gemma – the organised mum and far too many others to mention.

The problem with Mrs H and her army of Instagram associates is that the lovely lady has no idea where the volume control is on her phone, add to this the fact that one of those women she follows plays music whilst she’s working and you have one annoying scenario, allow me to elaborate;

It is a quiet Sunday evening, it is 8.00pm and I am drifting in and out of consciousness whilst watching Drew Pritchard and Tee in Salvage Hunters, my laptop is where it should be – on my lap! and Mrs H is on her phone tapping away, then suddenly the whole room from floor to ceiling, and wall to wall is filled with Mungo Jerry blurting out that old favourite ‘In the Summertime’, I jump up from my semi-comatose state, my laptop falls to the floor and I swallow the buttermint I was sucking – whole,  when my heart has calmed down I pick up my laptop looking over at Mrs H and all she ever says is ‘Sorry, it’s this stupid woman, why she has to play music I don’t know’.

Neither do I my darling, neither do I.

Today was a bit of an auspicious day, it was the 38th anniversary of the end of the Falklands war, if you recall we sent troops to the Falklands to defend the islands from Argentina who had invaded them, 255 British soldiers lost their lives, along with 3 islanders and 649 Argentinian troops, may they all rest in peace.

The good lady and myself did what all married couples do on a Sunday, which was sod all!, We sat around in our dressing gowns as the rain poured down and my mind was cast back to Shefali Oza the local weather girl on Midlands Today telling us that Sunday was going to be the best day of the week with wall to wall sunshine, in all fairness, it did stop raining and Mrs H and myself retired to the Summer house to sit and contemplate life.

About 2.00pm Mrs H asked that time immemorial question which is permanently etched on every married females lips “What do you fancy to eat?”, so, using male logic, I thought for a second, realised what day it was and politely suggested Sunday lunch, this was followed immediately by “What do you want with it?” Once again, I went into deep thought and came up with “Meat and Vegetables?”.

The upshot was that she returned from the shed (no, I hadn’t locked her in there, that’s where our chest freezer is) clutching one of those Iceland meat joints in the foil container, “Fancy beef for a change?” she asked, I looked at it and said, “That’s a big piece of meat for two of us”, but the ever frugal wife said we could have the rest cold in the week.

To cut a tedious and long story short we were eating lunch at 3.00pm when I asked Mrs H if there was any beef left over, this was her reply;

“You have got to be kidding me, by the time that massive piece of beef came out of the oven it was the size of a large beef burger, we had three slices each,”

I looked down at my plate at the 3 slices of meat hiding under a roast potato and uttered those immortal words “I only arsked”.

On the day that our streets were once again full of mindless protesters 36 people lost their lives, let’s hope it is not many more with the crowds of vandals on our streets spreading the infection.

Monday 15/06/2020 – Day 91

The sun is out, the sky is blue, there’s not a cloud to spoil the view, oops sorry, slipped into Buddy Holly mode there for a minute.

And so starts the 14th week of self-isolation, or is it shielding? Or maybe even lockdown, anyway, any one of those descriptions will suffice.

I heard on the local news last night that there was an illegal rave around here on Saturday evening, I would have popped along but my days of Shake, Rattle and Roll are long behind me, these days just my hands shake, my teeth and bones rattle, and the fat on my awesome awful body just rolls!

Mrs H is still upstairs hogging her nine tenths of the bed (for those of you unfamiliar with fractions, that’s most of it) and pushing the zzz’s out, do you remember when the children were young and you looked down at them in their little beds or cots and were mesmerised by their beauty and peacefulness as they slept?

Well I think the same about Mrs H, I look down at her and think -she looks so – quiet! Yes, that’s the word I’m searching for, quiet lol!

Mrs H hates Monday mornings, me? I’ve always quite liked them, all that mayhem of the weekend put behind you and a new week ahead.

Back in the mid/ late fifties my dear old Mum by 9.00am on a Monday would have got at least five kids off to school, put the tea on – this was always stew and dumplings (Ugh) on Mondays – not only did it use up all the previous days meat but it would simmer all day whilst mother got the Burco boiler out and did a weeks washing, by the time we got home from school it was all put away as – ignorant of all the hard work that had been going on – we helped ourselves to a piece of bread and butter sprinkled with sugar, lovely jubbly!

I spent an hour outside at teatime watering the garden which was very dry, guess what, yep, by 7.00pm it was pizzitively possing down, story of my life!

Another very low number of deaths related to coronavirus today although 38 is 38 too many, I fear the figures tomorrow.

Tuesday 16/06/2020 – Day 92

Didn’t realise it was daylight at 6.30 this morning, the clouds were so black outside, apparently, we have big thunderstorms on the way here in the Midlands. Having done most of the garden yesterday we were ok anyway. Actually I didn’t cut my lawns as I only do them once a week, regardless of what Monty Don and Alan Titmarsh (what was that Mrs H?, Oh it’s Titchmarsh is it, well I prefer my spelling)  say about cutting your grass regularly to keep it in good condition, both my neighbours cut theirs every two to three days, their lawns look like someone’s scattered a bale of hay on them whilst mine is green and lush, No, it’s got nothing to do with keeping the sprinkler on them for hours upon end!

Spent the day in the repair shop (Garage) making up some new pergola supports to replace the ones holding the grapevine up at the side of the house, the reason being that we were invaded by some sort of boring beetle (No, not Ringo Starr) that took advantage of a bit of softwood in the support, thinking all his birthdays had come at once, this boring beetle (No, it wasn’t George Harrison either) invited all his family around for a party and a good chomp on my wood, they in turn got all their mates round until one Sunday morning Mrs H is at the kitchen window spud bashing for lunch when she sees a continuous fall of powder from the wooden support. I, being the only odd job man in the vicinity was asked – nay, ordered – to go outside and investigate, sure enough the boring beetle (Ok, you got me, it was Paul McCartney) was there with a few mates having his own Sunday lunch, I found a few more in another post, hence the day in the repair shop!

Around 2.00pm it became so dark that I thought I’d lost all track of time and it was evening, I had to put the light on,  then the heavens opened up and it started raining Cats and Dogs, (do you know where that expression came from? It seems that the phrase might have its roots in Norse mythology, or medieval superstitions, the obsolete word catadupe meant waterfall, so when they had torrential rain or flooding in Britain, animals – mostly dead cats and dogs picked up by flood waters would be seen floating past, there you are, another snippet from the useless information department).

What ensued was the most torrential downpour accompanied by a symphony of thunder and lightning. I remember when I was a child and we were frightened mum used to say we had to count between the claps of thunder, the shorter the count the nearer the storm was, as it passed over the count was of course longer, meanwhile my sister’s would hide beneath the stairs in the cubby hole alongside the gas and electric meters and whatever else lived there, while mother ran around like a woman possessed pulling out all the electrical plugs and covering the mirrors!

As feared the death rate for the past 24 hours has once again risen substantially with 233 recorded deaths, what is really more concerning are the number of new cases every day, these are always between 1000 and 1500 with an average of 1300 per day, very worrying.

Wednesday 17/06/2020 – Day 93

Got up this morning and there was an eerie mist all around, weather forecast today is more thunderstorms and torrential rain causing regional flash flooding.

As I told you earlier, I was always looking for ways to make a few bob, like running errands for neighbours, or digging their gardens, but as soon as I reached the age of 11 in 1963 I decided I wanted to do a paper round, I could use the old mans bike as he was on nights anyway. I applied to W H Smiths in town and got a round quite close to me.

I had to be up at 5.30 to get downtown for 6.30, the saddle on the bike was still warm as my dad got off it and I got on. The old gent in charge took me on the round just once on the Monday explaining that I must never make any mistakes and most importantly I should never under any circumstances sneak a look at the magazines which were usually folded up in the broadsheet newspapers.

So, Tuesday arrived and off I toddled full of the joys of Spring and overflowing with confidence, the old gent said he had every confidence in me as he packed my bag tight with heavy newspapers and magazines. I went to lift it and it almost pulled my shoulder out of place!

Regardless, I rode off down the street, but the sheer weight of the bag kept pulling me into the middle of the road, after a few horn blasts and dodgy hand signals involving just two fingers from irate drivers, I decided to walk the rest of the way, then it started to rain and I only had my school blazer on!

By the time I got to my first post it was 7.45 and I looked like a drowned rat, the water had penetrated the paper bag and some of the addresses were now illegible, I struggled on – is that No 6 or no 8, surely that says 17 or is it 19? – I was halfway through my round, it was 8.45 and I had to be at school for 9.00am. I was freezing cold and a sort of steam was coming off me as I began to dry out, angry customers were now opening the door snatching their papers and threatening to report me for being late, I panicked and shoved anything in anyone’s letterbox. I eventually got to school at 9.35 after a right rollicking of my mother, no-one understood the angst of an 11 year old just trying to make a living.

Regardless of the first days problems I decided to give it another go, next day I rode into town, walked into the shop and the old gent was waiting, it didn’t look good, his arms were folded and the look on his face spoke volumes.

Old Gent.    Got to let you go lad

Me               Why?

Old Gent     You made a few mistakes yesterday, no, you made a LOT of mistakes yesterday, My phone was going all morning, (his voice got louder and louder), Old Mrs Brown wants to know where her Woman’s Weekly is and why did she receive a Handyman Magazine, Mr Smith said he received a girls magazine called Seventeen instead of his Classic Cars.

Me               So sorry I –

Old Gent     Don’t want to hear it lad, the worst was the Nuns at the convent, they received a copy of Playboy instead of their copy of Time magazine featuring a riveting interview with the pope.

So, that was my first and last experience with newspapers, and I didn’t even get paid for the day I’d done, the Old Gent I had to forfeit it because he said the Nuns had kept the Playboy magazine to throw in the bin in case it should fall into the wrong hands, yeah I’ll bet!

A further 184 people sadly lost their lives today, this now brings the total to 42153.

Thursday 18/06/2020 – Day 94

It has been raining all night at it is now 6.00am, It is so dark that I can’t type without the light being on, we have Lake Geneva outside on our pavement, pedestrians would have to cross the road to pass if they didn’t want to get their feet wet!

George rang this morning and asked if we wanted anything from the supermarket as he was going down there anyway, I don’t normally bother, George normally has enough to do just coping with life, but we were desperate for milk and our online order wasn’t due until tomorrow, “No problem” he said, “Be back in about an hour.

Sure enough, the awful video doorbell rang and their stood George looking beleaguered, “What’s up?” I asked, as soon as the words left my lips I regretted it,

“I was outside the Co-op, and a small group of teenagers on bikes asked if I would get them 20 Richmonds.

I wanted to tell them no, but I thought to myself, be nice, so went inside and got them a packet.

As I handed them over, you should have heard the aggressive abuse!

I told em straight, Next time, you can get your own bloody Sausages!”

I picked the milk up off the doorstep, as George stumbled away muttering to himself I could hear the clanging of the bottles in his bag.

A Sad day today as we heard that one of Britain’s greatest icons Vera Lynn had sadly passed away, although she was one our biggest war assets I was always endeared to her, probably because I knew most of her songs word for word. The reason for this was that on a weekend when my dad got drunk – he would sit in the kitchen singing ‘When they sound the Last All Clear’ or ‘We’ll Meet again’, he must have been a big fan of Vera’s. But if he didn’t sing then we all had to watch out, because in drink he was either happy or violent, there was no in-between. Anyway, as I said Britain and the world have lost a wonderful person with a big heart. Was that thunder I heard or just the sound of all those soldiers in heaven, giving a standing ovation, to welcome the forces sweetheart home. RIP Vera.

If it continues to rain then all I have to do is tidy up in the repair shop, don’t get me wrong, I have a long list of jobs still to do, but they are all outside and I’m not getting wet for anyone, I am already shrinking! Problem is that I have the mind of a 16 year old and the body of a 68 year old.

Speaking of which lads, remember when you were young, running up and down the stairs, thinking nothing of it, the days when you carried your wife up to bed for passion, these days when she asks if you want to run upstairs and make love, you reply ‘Which one, I can’t do both’, my old legs are nowhere near as strong as they used to be, I thought about getting a stairlift, but it would only drive me up the wall!

Another 135 people lost their lives to this terrible virus, the Government seem positive that we are going the right way – I take some convincing.

Friday 19/06/2020 – Day 95

And still it continues to rain, the forecast for next week is looking really good though, I actually wrote a poem about it last night, as you know, I am a poet of sorts but still learning, I thought I’d share this with you;

Rain, rain go away.
It’s raining cats and dogs today
I wish the rain would go away,
Then I could go outside and play
With my best mates, Hatton and Ray.

It’s not stopped raining for two weeks
Poor dad complains about the leaks.
In his old shed crammed with antiques
Seed potatoes and potted leeks.

It’s dark from morning until night
Like a tunnel without the light,
The dog has given up the fight
Just wants a walk, poor little mite.

I look outside, through windows stare
There can’t be much rain left up there,
Mum flits around without a care
Dad sits and sulks in his armchair.

My sister plays the same old song
I like my tunes, don’t get me wrong,
But ‘It’s raining men’ all day long
Is going to cause a right ding dong.

Oh for a bright and sunny day
When all dark clouds have rolled away,
Then I could go outside and play
With my best mates, Hatton and Ray.

Well, it’s better than walking the streets.

Remember the spade saga from last week when I nearly did myself a bit of damage pulling Mrs H’s bush out (there you go again), well my son was disgusted with the price we had to pay for a new one, so he told his mum he would drop one round to her.

This morning a spoonful of Weetabix was about to disappear into the black hole otherwise known as my mouth when that damn video doorbell rang followed by a soft tap on the door, It was the daughter in law, she had brought a hard broom back that my son had borrowed, she also brought the promised spade, mow my D in L is quite formidable and to say she can handle herself in a scrap is a gross understatement, I have to add that she is a diamond and would do anything for anyone but she has  – as they say around here – got muscles in her spit.

Anyway, she handed me the spade and it almost broke my arm! There was enough cement on it to relay spaghetti junction, so it was straight to the workshop and a hammer and chisel soon made short work of the solidified concrete, Never accept a spade from a builder.

The virus is not giving up too easily, the number of fatalities in the past 24 hours was another 173. There was another BLM march in Birmingham today, further marches planned for tomorrow – will these youngsters never learn?

Saturday 20/06/2020 – Day 96

Got up at 6.00 am and it was nice and sunny, one hour late, It’s raining again. Oh no, my love’s at an end. Oh no, it’s raining again. Oops sorry, slipped into Supertramp mode there.

Well, I had a bit of a lounge about in my dressing gown and caught up with my Facebook pages, about 8.30 Mrs H turned up fully dressed and looking lovely, I thought ‘ well that’s nice, she’s at least making an effort for me’. I bid her good morning and just mentioned that I wasn’t used to seeing her in clothes at that time of the morning, she replied, “My plants are coming today but I don’t know what time”. Well that certainly burst my ego bubble!

That other woman in our house – Alexa – was flashing green, Mrs H asked her where her stuff was and she replied that a trough from Amazon was being delivered today,

Let me explain, Mrs H, whilst surveying her kingdom yesterday had noticed that there was a 36” gap at the front the house, now this gap has to be filled at all costs, normally I would knock up a planter in wood, but wood in my repair shop is rarer than rocking horse muck, so it was straight on to the ‘tinternet’ to find a suitable one, sure enough we found a wooden one painted Grey, it was £39.99.

“Ooh look” said Mrs H, “ That’s not bad, £39 for a big planter like that”, I know it’s £40 but I gave up that argument with Mrs H long ago.

I checked my Email and 2 more deliveries should be made today plus another possible one, we may as well just sit on the front step all day!

So, we got on with our day  and Mrs H popped around to the front of the house to see a young girl holding what looked like a pizza box, she relieved the girl of the package and peeked inside, it was full of lovely homemade cakes from a local company called Kimmy Loves Cakes. It turns out that my gorgeous Granddaughter Alicia had ordered them for me for Father’s day, what a fantastic surprise!.

Then my daughter turned up with boyfriend in tow carrying a large box of real ales which she presented to me for Father’s day tomorrow, my day was getting better and better.

I got a bit upset in the afternoon, You see, I’ve been paying £2 a month to the cat’s protection league for over a year. Well, because of this coronavirus and times being a bit hard I missed 2 payments & they’ve just been round & threatened my cat! 🙀

And so, it just leaves me to tell you the sad news that a further 128 people have lost their lives in the last 24 hours – and BLM marchers are still on the streets of the UK.

Until next week dear friends, I have to at least hope that I have cheered one of you up with this disastrous verbal garbage I have had the nerve to disguise as a diary.

Enjoy the sunshine this coming week – but most of all – stay safe!


About the author

3224 Up Votes
Hi, I am a grandfather of four beautiful Grandchildren, I have one son and three daughters, We lost Vickie to Cancer in December 2013, she was 23 years old, whoever said time heals haven't lost a child. My profile picture is of Vickie and I haven't changed it since she died, I have a wonderful loving wife without whom I would not have made it through. My escape is writing poetry, I have had five published to date, I now have two books published 'World War One In Verse' is available on Amazon books and 'Poetry From The Heart' is available on Amazon or Feed a Read, just enter the title and my name Eric Harvey. If you love the 50's, 60.s and 70's my new book of poems will take you back to those days, 'A Poetic Trip Along Memory Lane' will jog your memories of bygone days.

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28th Jun 2020
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Loved this! Had me laughing out loud!
28th Jun 2020
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Love reading your diary Mr. H.......
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Wow! We caught up! Hope you enjoyed your Father's Day Eric ... I shared your blog on our Facebook page again over the weekend and your fans left you some lovely feedback .. hope you saw it 🙂

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