Diary of a self-isolator – week 36

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

Sunday 15/11/2020 – Day 246

Had a bit of a lie-in this morning, the reason? It was so dark outside! One of the bleakest and darkest days to date, I went downstairs, made my tea and Weetabix, not in the same receptacle you understand, went back upstairs and all hell broke out outside, there was a sort of mini-storm, the rain was hammering at the windows so hard I thought they would break, the wind was swirling it around like a whirling dervish, I watched in amazement as it suddenly stopped and the sun broke through, I pinched myself to see if I was awake.

Well, it is now official, I will be vacating my office this week! Mrs H has decided that it needs a makeover, I built the desk and shelving some years ago and have been quite happy with it, but Mrs H hasn’t, she constantly complains that she can’t get her Ken Dodd ‘tickling stick’ across the unfinished paintwork as it cags! So I asked my son Mark to look out for some dark grey paint to do the shelves, the desk and the immediate walls around it, the rest of the room is ok and finished in a mustard colour so it should go ok with the grey. Mrs H has seen this idea on either Mrs Hinches blog, the queen of clean or one of the many other ladies she follows on whats app.

The only time I’ve ever heard those words was on the Bugs Bunny show when he uttered those immortal words ‘What’s app Doc’, my hero.

Talking of cartoons there have been some brilliant ones over the years, My old dad was a big fan of Popeye the Sailorman, whether or not this had anything to do with him being in the Royal Navy during the war, I have no idea. Popeye, the muscled sailor with a tattoo of an anchor on his arm first appeared in 1929 in a theatre, he went on to become a comic strip, in the 1950’s he transferred to the TV, the spinach-eating sailor had become a hero to children (and my dad) all over the world.

Popeye was involved in a love triangle, along with Bluto (his arch-enemy) and Olive Oyle his girlfriend. I can still hear the playground chants coming from my school friends in the playground where the lyrics of the song would be changed.

I’m Popeye the Sailorman
I live in a caravan
I cut my hair, with the leg of a chair
Cos I’m Popeye the sailor man.

I’ve heard some very suspect lines based on that theme song during my early years in the playground.

It wasn’t long before we were watching more sophisticated and complex cartoon shows like the Flintstones, The series takes place in a romanticized Stone Age setting and follows the activities of the title family, the Flintstones, and their next-door neighbours, the Rubbles (who are also their best friends) who live in caves next door to each other. It was originally broadcast on ABC from September 30, 1960, to April 1, 1966, and was the first animated series to hold a prime time slot on television.

Then of course came Top Cat or TC as he was affectionately known, it was based on the films of ‘The East End Kids’, but its more recent roots were firmly in ‘The Phil Silvers show, Maurice Gosfield who played Private Duane Doberman in The Phil Silvers Show, provided the voice for Benny the Ball in Top Cat, and Benny’s rotund appearance was based on Gosfield’s. Along with Fancy-Fancy, Spook, Benny the Ball, Brain, and Choo Choo the gang was complete, except of course for the other main character Officer Dibble, the downtrodden police officer who patrolled Top Cat’s alley.

Now we have the likes of the Simpsons, with its wonderful scripts and special guest stars, but they will never beat the early days of those TV cartoons.

So, back to reality, Mrs H and I have had a really lazy Sunday, Mark turned up with a 2.5 ltr pot of grey paint he had found in in the bargain basement of the local be in a queue, it cost the princely sum of just £7, which I haven’t paid him yet, ‘near enough, that’s a result’ I thought to myself as I put the paint in the Repair shop.

The number of new cases today were 24,962, the recorded figures for deaths were down to 168, but we mustn’t forget that these are weekend figures.

Monday 16/11/2020 – Day 247

A bit brighter this morning, Mrs H greeted me with, “I’ve heard about history repeating itself – but this Monday thing has got to stop”.

Mrs H and I were so bored yesterday that we sort of binge watched the latest series of ‘The Crown’, on Netflix, if you can believe all that is written and portrayed, Charles really did dump on Diana from day one and from a great height, his affair with Camilla was quite notorious. We are only halfway through it so far, watch this space, Talking of Charles, he appeared on the News later honouring the war dead of Germany at a ceremony, I am a royalist but I don’t think he did himself any favours by going there, I didn’t see any representatives of Germany at any of our ceremonies recently, but then I have always advocated that Charles should give up his place in the line-up to his son William who seems to be much more in touch with the public of today, only my opinion of course and I have now finished my rant of the week.

After breakfast I started the task of clearing the shelves in the office, how on earth did I accumulate so much stuff? It took almost two hours just to clear everything in order to paint. Mostly built in MDF I was wondering how the grey paint would take, it looked very pale in the tin and we wanted it a dark grey. Well, I was pleasantly surprised, the paint covered exceptionally well considering how long the wood had laid there bare, I used the same paint for the wood and the walls and it looked great.

After a light lunch (no, not bulbs) I gave it a second coat, it dried really well but I still hadn’t finished until about 3.00pm, I looked at the piles of books and paraphernalia on the bed behind me and thought, Sod it, I’ll put it all back tomorrow, I told Mrs H – who was now running a critical hand across the dried desktop – that it may be touch dry, but if I attempted to put stuff back then it would surely stick. She swallowed my feeble excuse hook, line and sinker and went downstairs to start the tea, phew!

At 4.30pm there was a coronavirus update on BBC with the Health secretary Matt Hancock looking very pleased after he announced that a second vaccine was now being trialled, but this second vaccine had a 95% recovery rate. Meanwhile, there were a further 21,363 new cases registered whilst there was another 213 deaths recorded.

Tuesday 17/11/2020 – Day 248

Mrs H and I once again binged on the Netflix series Heartland, my poor lady hasn’t been too well for the last couple of days, she has been suffering queasiness and light-headed phases where she kept going dizzy. So yesterday she fell asleep on the sofa for almost four hours, we both have a catnap sometimes but this length of time was very unusual for Mrs H. The result was that when we finally went to bed she wasn’t very tired, it was 2.15am when we finally turned off the TV and I was eating my Weetabix five hours later. I vowed to myself that if the love of my life wasn’t better this morning then I would phone the doctor.

I heard her stirring a couple of hours later and took her latte up to her, she said she was feeling a lot better but had just woke up with a bad headache, I am pleased to say that after a couple of paracetamol she was back to her normal self and instructing me as to where I should put my own stuff back in the office, what I should keep and what I should throw away, well, you get the general drift, but I was so pleased that she was ok, I hate it when she’s poorly.

Fortunately, neither of us suffer from much serious illness, I put it down to all the exercise I take – I don’t think! I hated PE at school, there was absolutely no pleasure taken in exercising with a load of lads who hadn’t washed their feet since the last PE class. I had more cases of athletes foot than the whole of the Olympian world team, this was deemed to be very infectious and would get you excused from PE, of course Athletes foot is basically a fungal infection found mainly in unwashed feet – ooops!

Another great excuse for skipping PE was the old stalwart ‘I forgot my kit sir’ or ‘My Mum didn’t get it dried on time sir’. But we had a ruthless PE master who seemed to spend most of his spare time in the PE Mistresses office, he would point to the sorry looking basket in the corner and tell you that there was plenty of spare kit in there, so help yourself. Yes, there was plenty of spare kit in there, I swear, you could actually see the fumes rising from that basket, there was a permanent fog around it and not many brave souls ventured there.  As I lifted the lid some wag had pinned a note on the underside;

Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here

I sorted through the contents, mostly unwashed stuff that had been deserted by its previous owner because of sheer embarrassment – nay shame, so, I would run out to football wearing a mud-splattered shirt that smelled like a gardeners muck pile on an allotment, one sleeve was missing and the other was hanging by the merest thread of cotton, it stretched down to my knees, which, was good in a way as it hid the torn shorts beneath, when I say torn, I mean torn in the only possible place where if you were in a hurry for the toilet it wouldn’t be a problem, the whole look was completed by two different coloured pumps of varying sizes, both were good for my athlete’s foot though, as they let plenty of air in through the holes.

And that dear reader is why I hated any form of exercise that didn’t involve chasing girls around the playground, and why I now have the body of Tinky-Winky from the Teletubbies.

I digress, where was I – oh yes, it took most of the day to sort out the years of accumulated rubbish office stuff, but when it was finished what a difference, I knew Mrs H was back to good form as I came back from the Repair shop and heard the hoover going in the office.

There were a further 20,051 new cases in the past 24 hours, the number of registered deaths once again jump to 598.

Wednesday 18/11/2020  – Day 249

I’m laying in bed remembering that last night Mrs H opened a jar of pickles on her own, I can’t help thinking that my days around here are numbered.

Having eaten my four Weetabix I was looking at my messages on my laptop in my new plush office, when Alexa just came on without asking, well, you know that the ads say you can ask Alexa anything, ignore it, I asked her what women really want and she hasn’t shut up for the last hour!

Today’s job is a bit of a doddle, I have to take the top off a padded round stool and re-upholster it in black, then I have to paint the legs in black, Mrs H has assured me that this will go great with my black leather easy chair in the office, the burning question of the day is should I put some small tears in the new fabric to match my leather chair? If you ever watched the American series ‘Frasier’ then you’ll know that his dad had an easy chair that was held together with duct tape, it was in a right old state in a plush apartment. Well, my old leather chair is like that, it doesn’t look much, but after a hard days work I can go up to the office, sit in it and be in the land of make-believe within seconds, there is not another chair in our house that does that for me.

I may have to do a bit of a clean-up outside before I attempt the stool though, it is uncannily mild at the moment and according to the forecast on Countryfile this is the last opportunity for a while to tidy up.

My dear daughter Gemma has acquired a sort of sixties glass cabinet for me to revamp in the Repair shop, it is just chipboard with glass sliding doors but I am really looking forward to revamping it, might even make a few bob. Watch this space.

I’m not quite sure how many mince pies it takes to make you happy, but so far 23 isn’t the answer.

I saw a lovely newborn baby pic on Facebook today, the baby had a T-shirt on which said ‘Guess who didn’t practise social distancing’.

Once again figures for new cases are hovering around the 20,000 marks and today are at 19609, but the number of new deaths recorded remains at 529, the second time this week.

Thursday 19/11/2020 – Day 250

I was lay in bed contemplating on whether or not I should arise when a thought came into my head, If this pandemic had happened 20 years ago I would have been stuck with a Nokia 3100 with 300 texts, 100 minutes call time and dial up Internet, it was at that point I decided to get up.

I have been having a problem with my desktop computer (tower), so earlier this week I decided to have a look at it, to put it in a nutshell it is like me – knackered! It seems to have gone into sleep mode and I can’t wake it up to access it, I have tried everything except a hammer and that was passing through my mind about an hour after I started, fortunately I save everything on sticks so nothing on there is of any real importance.

I searched online for another tower I don’t believe in splashing the cash for something I am just using as a back-up so I looked for a refurbished one. Wasn’t bothered about windows 10 either, I saw a tower for the princely sum of £45 and checked it out, it had Windows 7 which was good enough for me, the upshot is that It came today and I have spent the whole day setting it up with all my information.

The only drawback is that it’s another Dell, I just hope it doesn’t go permanently asleep like its predecessor or indeed – before me!

Which reminds me of when Mrs H had her new I pod, she was setting it up when it asked her to create a password, she typed ‘chicken’ the machine responded with ‘password must contain a capital’, I actually saw Mrs H type ‘chickenkiev’.

On this day in 1924 The birth of the actor William Russell. His big break was the title role in The Adventures of Sir Lancelot on ITV in 1956. The series was sold to American NBC network and became the first UK television series to be shot in colour. I had completely forgotten this series yet I remember watching it along with William Tell with Conrad Phillips (1958 – 59) Robin Hood   with Richard Greene (1955 – 60) and Ivanhoe with Roger Moore later to become James Bond (1958 -59). There were some terrible scenes played out in our Junior school playground after watching our hero’s the previous night.

In 1994 on this day 1994 Britain’s first National Lottery draw. It had a jackpot of £7M and was shown live on BBC television. A £1 ticket gave a one in 14-million chance of correctly guessing the winning six out of 49 numbers. I gave it up when the odds went up to 1 in 45million, specifically designed to keep the rollovers going so that you have more chance of knitting fog than actually winning the jackpot.

And finally on this day 2012 Father Christmas was left dangling from the ceiling for 30 minutes after his beard became trapped while abseiling inside a Reading shopping centre as part of a Christmas lights switch-on show.

I hadn’t heard from George for a while, so I decided to give him a ring. He said he hadn’t been too well and that once again he had been in the doghouse, reluctantly, I asked why:

“We were at a wedding last Saturday one of Rose’s relations,  and I turned around to the person next to me and just to make conversation I said, Everyone’s got a right to be ugly but that bride abuses it”

“Do you mind?” the person said, “That’s my daughter you’re talking about”,

“So sorry” I replied embarrassed, “I didn’t realise you were her father”,

“I’m not” came the reply, “I’m her bloody mother”,

And that’s when the fighting started.

Figures for the last 24 hours have once again risen with 22915 new cases being registered and a further 501 deaths, that’ over 1500 in just three days.

Friday 20/11/2020 – Day 251

I lay awake in bed this morning wondering why there are more airplanes underwater than there are submarines in the sky – I know, time to get out of bed.

Some special paintbrushes that I ordered came today, they are for painting on chalk paint when I finally start doing up furniture, I may as well make good use of the Repair shop and keep myself busy.

Speaking of keeping busy someone sent me a newspaper cutting of one of Mrs H’s Instagram friends, it seems that Mrs Hinch has cleaned up in the first year of her online blog. Mrs Hinch – also known as Sophie Hinchliffe – is the cleaning influencer who took Instagram by storm and garnered millions of followers within a year. The Instagram sensation, who is good friends with TV star Stacey Solomon, made headlines for the rise in sales of home cleaning buys; from Zoflora disinfectant to the Minky M cloth. A former hairdresser, Sophie lives in Essex with her husband Jamie and their baby boy Ronnie and their beloved dog Henry. Through her popular Instagram account she has garnered a ‘Hinch Army’ of 3.8 million loyal fans and has appeared on This Morning alongside Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby. She is also a best-selling author and fans are desperate for a homeware collection from the cleanfluencer. Her fortune is said to be around £1.5 million. I say, well done Mrs Hinch, and I’m looking for ways for the other Mrs H to make me a few bob.

I saw this Advert under personal in our local paper, ‘Are you alone this Christmas, no-one to share it with, please call me on this number – I need to borrow some chairs!’

It’s my son Marks birthday today, he is a builder, but I must share with you what he has been doing the last two weeks, he was watching a report on the news and some of the people hadn’t been able to speak to their parents for months because of the lockdown, this upset him quite badly, so he made a few discreet enquiries. He discovered that some local care homes had residents that hadn’t seen their families for months, so Mark has financed, and built special pods for visitors to sit in whilst they visit their relatives, to say I am proud of him is an understatement! But then, they say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Mrs H and I haven’t got an Advent calendar this year, so we’ve decided just to open kitchen doors daily and eat whatever’s in there. Talking of eating, I have just two pounds of weight to lose in order to reach my desired weight, this will mean that I have shed over a stone since I started.

Talking of health, the Health secretary Matt Hancock was back on at 5.00pm today to try and convince us that all was in hand and vaccines were on the way soon, once they’d passed the strict guidelines, meanwhile the registered new cases were again at 20252, while the latest recorded deaths were over 500 for the fourth day in a row, the figure was 511.

Saturday 21/11/2020 – Day 252

Have you ever had one of those days when you wish you hadn’t bothered to get out of bed? Well I’m having one today, I’ve just spent the last two hours trying to adjust this horrible new Facebook site, for the last few months I’ve been able to take it back into the ‘old mode’ for 48 hours, but today they have stopped everyone doing that, I really don’t like the new version, so expect mistakes lol.

Two new blinds delivered today, one for the office and one for the back bedroom, I thought it was going to be a doddle, they were both exactly the same size as the existing ones, what could go wrong, everything that could go wrong -did. The bracket were different, the existing holes were in the wrong place and the new ones were about 10milimetre shorter! So, as usual a ten-minute job took about 2 hours, but the result was well worth it.

Later this evening we had a video meal with our brilliant friends Janet and John, no,  not those two from schooldays, No, not those two from the Terry Wogan show, these are our real friends Jahn and Jan who are just as hilarious as Terry Wogan’s version and are wonderful people to be around. They paid for a home delivery from a very plush Hotel chain, it involved every sort of sandwich describable, a variety of scones and cakes that any baker worth his salt would be proud of, this was all washed down with wine for the ladies and Guinness for us gents. It was over two hours before we all said goodbye after loads of fun and banter, we really miss them but hopefully, it won’t be too long before we meet in real life again.

George went into a shop today, he’d had another argument with Rose his girlfriend, so he was a little worse for wear after drinking at home, he said to the [email protected]

George           “Could you tell me where the Irish sausage is please”

Assistant        “Are you Irish?”

George           This racism thing has gone too far, If I asked for Italian sausage would you ask if I was Italian, If I asked for Danish Bacon, would you ask if I was Danish, of course you wouldn’t, so why are you asking me if I’m Irish.

Assistant        “Because you are in Halfords sir.”

Just thought I’d share that with you.

Today’s figures reveal that there were 19875 new cases and a further 341 registered deaths.

Well, that’s it again for another week dear friends, I really can’t believe that we are starting our 37th week together tomorrow.

On the countdown to Christmas, today is Stir-up Sunday, look out for my blog.

Have a good week, but please – stay safe.

It’s been emotional





About the author

3250 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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