Diary of a self-isolator – Week 67

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

Sunday 20/06/2021 – Day 458

I woke up this morning determined to eat less, drink less and exercise – but that was four hours ago when I was younger and the world was full of hope.

Today as you all know is traditionally Father’s Day. This is when all your siblings descend on you bearing gifts for men. I have to say, I am the worst person in the world to buy for. Birthdays, Christmas and Father’s day, my lovely children struggle to think of something to buy me. The problem is that I am in the fortunate position that if I want something, then I just go out and buy it. But there are those father’s out there who aren’t so lucky. Sadly, there are a lot of struggling families in today’s society. So that little handmade card done lovingly in school and presented this morning along with cold tea and toast is the most wonderful thing that any father could have. Cherish the day dads.

On this day in 1837 On the death of William IV, Queen Victoria, aged 18, acceded to the throne. At the time of Victoria’s death her reign of 63 years and 7 months was longer than that of any other British monarch and the longest of any female monarch in history. On 9th September 2015 Queen Elizabeth II overtook Queen Victoria as the longest serving monarch of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

How has the world changed eh? Apparently on this day in 1949 American tennis player ‘Gorgeous’ Gussie Moran caused a sensation at the Wimbledon Championships by wearing lace-trimmed pants under a short skirt. If only those people knew what was to come.

Well, we have all the family coming around today, and hopefully, this will include Sarah who is being brought round by her boyfriend. Despite the damp weather we are having a BBQ. I know it’s Father’s Day but guess who’s cooking? This is after the near disaster by Mrs H a few years ago.

“I’ll cook.” She announced, “It’s Father’s Day, you should relax.”

So, while I was ‘relaxing’ at the top of the garden one of the grandchildren ran up from the bottom and asked if there should be flames shooting up from the BBQ. It seems that Mrs H had abandoned it to ‘warm up’, the BBQ at that time was housed under a timber and UPVC clear corrugated roof. As I got there the flames were licking the roof timber and the plastic roof was melting. It took a whole day and about £60 to repair that roof. And that dear reader – is why I am doing the cooking today.

Talking of food, the mother-in-law  (who as you all know I cherished) came to dinner once, As the dog sat by her she looked daggers at me and asked.

“Why does the dog sit there staring up at me?”

“Because you’re using his plate.” I said.

There were 9284 new cases today with 6 registered deaths.

Monday 21/06/2021 – Day 459

Today is the longest day of the year, and had the sun been shining it would have offered us at least 17 hours of sunshine. But it isn’t, so we are subject to 17 hours of dull grey skies. Today also marks the start of Summer solstice Hah!

On this day in 1982 Diana, Princess of Wales, gave birth to a boy, (Prince William) sixteen hours after checking in to St Mary’s Hospital, in London. I am sure you will all join me in wishing our future King a very happy birthday.

What an absolutely fantastic day we had yesterday. We had the whole family around for most of the day. I had some brilliant presents but one of the best was that Sarah had managed to make it thanks to the help of her boyfriend. This is the first time we were all together for a few years now due to one thing or another. I managed to BBQ without the aid of a safety net and without burning anything. Mrs H did various different salad bowls to accompany the burgers and sausages. We were sat there chatting when the most extraordinary thing happened. Gemma said

“Look at that outside.”

We all looked round in time to watch a perfectly white feather float gently down (despite quite a breeze) and settle on Mickey Mouse’s nose. Vickie was a big fan of Disney and her bedroom is full of memories. The Mickey   Mouse statue was bought by her sister on the anniversary one year and stands proudly by her garden memory box.

So, you can imagine what we read into the fact that a white feather landed on the statue’s nose. I left the room to quietly wipe away a stray tear.

On this day in 1675 The laying of the foundation stone of the new St Paul’s Cathedral happened in London. The cathedral was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and the site faced that of the church destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666.

And on this day in 1854 The first Victoria Cross, Britain’s highest medal for bravery, was awarded to Charles Lucas, who was awarded it during the Crimean War for conspicuous bravery. The medal was made from metal from a cannon captured at Sebastopol. The Victoria Cross was extended to colonial troops in 1867 and to date a total of 1,356 Victoria Crosses have been awarded. The largest number of recipients for one campaign is the First World War, for which 628 medals were awarded to 627 recipients. The most medals awarded for one skirmish happened when eleven Victoria Crosses (VC) and five Distinguished Conduct Medals were awarded to survivors of Rourke’s Drift. One of the VCs went to Corporal Christian Schiess (1856-84). Not everyone at Rourke’s Drift died a miserable death. The last survivor, Frank Bourne, lived to be 91. He died on 8 May 1945 – VE day. Elizabeth Webber Harris (1834–1917) was an English nurse who was awarded a replica Victoria Cross (VC) in 1869, with the permission of Queen Victoria, for her bravery during a cholera outbreak in India. She remains the only woman to be awarded a VC of any description.

In 1954 The birth, in Oldham, Lancashire of actress Anne Kirkbride, best known for her long-running role as Deirdre Barlow in Coronation Street, which she played for 42 years from 1972 until her death in 2014. In January 2014, the soap left its long-established Quay Street in Manchester city centre and moved to a purpose-built set at MediaCityUK

I remember those days before Covid and many years ago. I waited nervously and yet so proudly as I watched Mrs H walk down the aisle towards me, My heart beat really fast and the excitement was unbearable. It seemed to take an age but eventually she was stood beside me. I looked lovingly into her eyes, gave her a cheeky wink and said.

“Get that trolley over here love, they’re doing three for two on Guinness.”

There were 10633 new reported cases today with a further 5 deaths.

Tuesday 22/06/2021 – Day 460

We have wall to wall endless blue sky here in sunny downtown Kidderminster, haven’t been outside to see how warm it is yet though. Today I am going to tackle the shed at last, No, not the roof but the inside, It takes an average of ten minutes to find my lawn mower and other gardening tools. I also want to start making homemade wine again. This entails emptying at least thirty demijohns full of old wine, although, I could bottle it and use it on my chips.

We had a bit of a lazy day yesterday, Mrs H and I. Although, for the umpteenth time I found myself on the roof next to the Garden room. We were all sat there on Father’s Day when the grandson asked if I was trying to wash him, he had just walked through the patio doorway and water had dropped on his head. I looked round and there was a drip, drip drip, from the edge of the roof, the annoying thing was that it wasn’t even raining at the time. And so there I was on a very breezy morning on the roof, I soon located the problem and hopefully fixed it.

In a way, it was a good thing, ‘because one of the sealed units in Vickie’s bedroom (we still refer to it as Vickie’s room) had been blown for a while now. When a sealed unit is ‘blown’ it is usually letting air in between the two sheets of glass and therefore steams up between them and you can’t see out through the window. So while I was up there I measured it and ordered a replacement from a local glazier. A pleasant surprise as well, it was nowhere near what I expected to pay.

On this day in 1986 The ‘Hand of God’ football match. England were beaten 2-1 by Argentina in the quarterfinals of the World Cup in Mexico. Both Argentine goals were scored by Diego Maradona – the first with the deliberate use of his hand which went unseen by the referee. It was the first match between the two countries since the Falklands War in 1982.

Also on this day in 2001 The Parole Board decided that Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, the two schoolboy murderers of 2-year-old James Bulger should be released, and their identities protected, after serving just 8 years for a crime that shocked the nation. James was lured away from a shopping centre when his mother took her eyes off him for just a few seconds, he was taken to a railway line and was tortured and murdered.

A sharp rise in new cases saw them rise by over a 1000 to 11625, there was also a dramatic increase in registered deaths to 27.

Wednesday 23/06/2021 – Day 461

Another wonderful and sunny day here, Shefali has promised us a rain free day with temperatures up to 21 degrees.

I finally got the middle shed sorted out yesterday, Mrs H can now walk in and access any garden tool she requires without having to do her imitation of Sherpa Tensing and climb mountains of stuff to get to them. We went around to Gemma’s house last night to watch the England game against Czechoslovakia, which England won 1 – 0, making them top of their group.  Commiserations to the Scotland team who were bottom.

Whinge of the week. Have you noticed how your bills are increasing suddenly? This is because the cap has been lifted off the price of energy. It gives the energy companies a licence to charge whatever they want to. My electricity provider, Bulb were the cheapest on the market. Then they raised the price in March which I suppose was fair enough. But then I had a letter two weeks ago saying a further rise was due in June. That was bad enough , but then an email from Martin Lewis’s money tips said, ‘If you are with Bulb you need to find another provider, they are hiking their prices in June again and then once again in October, this will eventually make them the dearest company on the market.

So, I searched the website and switched, I am now paying just slightly more than previously, but I’m safeguarded for the next 2 years, no more price hikes, result!

Also went to fill up on petrol last week, what the hell happened to the £1.21 a gallon? The robdogs down the end of my road were asking £1.33 a gallon, whilst the supermarkets wanted £1.29. Supermarket prices are increasing despite them making record profits during the pandemic.

And as for the council tax, well that is a disaster. I started the year paying £20, then £21 in May, For June they require £72. If I return to work next month as planned, it goes up to £198 a month. I only earn about £100 a week part time, so I will have to work 2 weeks to pay the greedy B’s at County Hall.

I guess my point is that now we are almost out of the restrictions the caring Government have given everyone a licence to re-gain all the money they have lost during pandemic. The virus may have gone but we have to say a big hello to the return of ROB or Rip off Britain. Whinge over.

Mrs H says that all this taking of your temperature when you are entering a store is a scam. It actually erases your memory. She went in for bread and milk and came out clutching six bottles of wine!

On this day in 1940 The BBC’s Music While You Work programme was first broadcast on radio to brighten up the lives of munitions workers doing boring factory jobs. It was announced in the Radio Times as a “half hour’s music meant specially for factory workers to listen to as they work”. It was broadcast twice a day. The first two programmes featured Dudley Beavan at the theatre organ in the morning, and organ trio The Organolists in the afternoon. It proved a hit with general listeners too, becoming a light music institution which outlasted its origins in the dark days of Work War II. From October it also boasted a memorable theme tune in Calling All Workers, written by Eric Coates.

The final edition of the original run of Music While You Work came in 1967, with a performance by Jimmy Leach and his Organolians, a new version of the band that first appeared in 1940. The programme was revived briefly in the 1980s and 1990s.

1989 The Home secretary announced that the West Midlands Serious Crime Squad had been disbanded in the wake of allegations of malpractice. I should think so, I got a parking ticket back in 1988.

On this day in 1997 Diana, Princess of Wales was forced to  apologise for taking her two sons, Princes William and Harry, to see the 15 certificated film The Devil’s Own, about an IRA assassin. Little did they know what tragedy would occur just nine weeks later.

And finally on this day in 2016 at the EU Referendum. The UK voted to leave the European Union. (The Union reached its 28 member countries with the accession of Croatia on 1st July 2013. The British public voted by 52% to 48% to leave, This would be disputed many times over the next four years and the nation would be divided with long lasting friendships cast aside with the mark of a pen.

I remember when we had our first GPS in our new car. We were heading off to Telford to visit  the graves of Mrs H’s Gran and Granddad. We entered the nearest postcode and the name and were really pleased with the clear and precise directions. All was fine until we reached the cemetery gates and the lady proudly announced, ‘You have now reached your final destination.’

There was a four and a half thousand increase to the new cases figure today which saw the total at 16134, this is the highest daily figure since very early February. Deaths registered totalled 19.

Thursday 24/06/2021 – Day 462

It’s a DAD day today (Dull As Dishwater) although we’ve just had a sprinkling of rain. I’ve seen wetter babies nappies. As you all know,  football is dominating our TV screens at the moment. It seems that Portugal completed 850 passes in their match the other night. The only way England could equal that is if they put Harry Kane on Mastermind. There is no need to worry too much about the heavy and over the top football coverage because Wimbledon starts on Monday for two weeks of agony.

Spoke to Sarah yesterday, she is doing really well and now has regular carers who actually do care, the previous carers were temporary and said they weren’t allowed to do anything except for bringing her a bowl of water to wash. I must get round there and finish painting her shed, and I daresay the lawns need cutting again.

It is my youngest grandsons birthday today. With Hatton reaching the grand old age of 13 it now means that all our grandchildren are now teenagers.

Had my four Weetabix this morning as usual and my mind drifted back to when I was at school. My Mum always made sure we went off to school with something in our stomach. Breakfast in those days was classed as the ‘best meal of the day’. During the colder months there was always an enormous saucepan of porridge on the top of the gas cooker. (I realised much later that this enormous saucepan was the same one that mother used to boil the babies nappies, ugh!)

Then during the warmer months there was toast, there was no electric toaster in our house, the toast had to be done in the ‘eye-level grill’. It would be a few years before we woke up to a full English. But. Having said that, around 1960 when I was only knee high to a grasshopper, there was a young twenty-year old chap in our street called Ron Hadley. He was a Co-op milkman and had the biggest milk round in the area. On a Saturday morning I would get up around 4,00am and go and help him on his round. Saturdays was the traditional day for paying your weekly milk bill. In those days it was safe to leave cash out by the empties. If you didn’t want to do that you could go to the Co-op store and purchase plastic milk tokens. All these would have to be collected on the way round and then marked off next to the customer’s name in the book.

Customers also had little plastic crates with a dial, the arrow would then be pointed to the number of bottles required. It’s surprising how many people had sterilised milk in those days. When you got to the posher areas the orders would change to pasteurised or full cream. In the winter months the milk would freeze and push the top out with the cream. It was a common sight to see a Robin helping itself.

But the best part of this tale was when we got back to Ronnie’s house in our street. It would be about 10.am and marked the halfway point on his round. We would enter his mum’s house and there would be a proper cooked breakfast waiting for us. Proper free-range eggs, bacon where the rind actually went crispy, mushrooms, and either tomatoes or beans or both. There would be fried bread or toast and a hot steaming cup of tea. To an 8-year-old lad this was sheer luxury and I had never seen the like. After eating we would carry on with the round and eventually finish around 1.00 pm. Ron would give me two shillings (an absolute fortune for a lad back then) and he would head off back to the depot, which used to be at the end of the road I now live in.

I helped Ron for a few years until during one particularly bad Winter, he was delivering to an old couples house who hadn’t managed to de-ice their path. Ron slipped and fell onto his smashed bottles, the glass sliced through his wrist, I had never seen so much blood. He was taken to hospital by ambulance and was off work for months. Meanwhile his round had been split into two separate rounds as no-one else could cope with it. Ron never went back.

Once again the new case total exceeded 16000 at 16703, Deaths registered today totalled 21.

Friday 25/06/2021 – Day 463

Ok, so I said to you all at the end of last week that I had to make a life changing decision. Well today I have made it, Mrs H and I are going to get divorced – just joking dear reader. The truth is that I Have today decided to retire fully. I have been working at Screwfix part time since just before my 64th birthday. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time there and have made some fantastic friends, every one of them a lot younger than me lol. I am going to miss them all terribly. But the situation with this new Delta virus is far too risky, my doctors keep telling me that I should take no more risks than necessary and that if I can avoid people then I should. So, sadly, from the 1st July I am retired, unless my children find me lots of work!

Of course, the only problem with retiring is that I am basically no longer self-isolating. Should I change the name of my diary or stick with it – over to you.

Had a most wonderful night at Gemma’s house last night. Although it hadn’t been sunny during the day, it was still quite warm, so Mrs H and I set off to Gemma’s house for Hatton’s 13th birthday at 4.30pm.. It was a family only affair so we were all safe. The food was absolutely delicious and everyone had a great time, in fact it was so good it was 6 hours later when we finally arrived home at 10.30pm.

George heard about my pending retirement and popped around for the first time in a fortnight, he had the Schitzpoo  puppy called ‘Sweety pie’ with him. It seems that the dog had now become HIS problem since it soiled Rose’s best white shag pile carpet in the lounge. For some unknown reason we got around to talking about the Euro’s football. Then George came out with this gem…

“Since the Euro football began, Rosie and I have discovered a new favourite sexual position, we call it ‘The England Football Team.”

I was almost frightened to ask, “Why?”

“Because neither of us know why we’re there. Neither of us know what we’re doing. There’s no passion, There’s no communication and we never make it past the first round. It’s over far too quickly and when it is, we know it’s not going to happen again for another four years.”

On this day in 1967 An estimated worldwide audience of 350 million in 26 nations watched the world’s first, live, televised satellite hook-up; the Beatles’ recording of ‘All You Need Is Love’ at Abbey Road. The event, which lasted just over two hours, had the largest television audience to date and around 10,000 technicians, producers and translators were involved.

There were 15295 new cases today with a further 18  reported deaths.

Saturday 26/06/2021 – Day 464

What a storm yesterday, it left a lot of local areas flooded. Many cars on the road outside our house were forced to drive slow as their wipers couldn’t keep their screens clear. The rain was bouncing up off the road about six inches and Lake Geneva (the massive puddle outside the house) made an appearance within seconds. Even though the torrential rain eventually abated it rained all evening.

Mrs H and I lived dangerously yesterday and went out to buy new shoes. When we returned I placed them on the table – and all hell broke loose. Mrs H started shouting “Get those off the table, it’s bad luck.” So I googled the question and it seems that there are lots of reasons why it’s considered bad luck to put your new shoes on the table – none of them are pleasant. Let’s look at the death-related reasons first.

It could have been because criminals were often hanged still wearing their shoes, or because it’s associated with a laid-out corpse. Back when shoes were more expensive and poorer folk had only one pair, it could also be a way of identifying a body. Which brings us to why new shoes are thought unlucky; when shoes were pricy, they’d be passed from the dead person onto another family member, as a “new” pair. If not for deathly reasons, you don’t need to be a mastermind to understand why you might want to keep the soles of shoes away from anywhere involved with food. Back in less hygienic, less medicated times, it was quite possible the resulting illness could lead to another pair of shoes going spare…

Here are a few more interesting facts for you to ponder, that last one is particularly relevant.

  1. In the 1400s a law was set forth in England that a man was allowed to beat his wife with a stick no thicker than his thumb.

Hence we have ‘the rule of thumb.’

  1. Many years ago in Scotland , a new game was invented. It was ruled ‘Gentlemen Only…Ladies Forbidden’… and thus the word GOLF entered into the English language.
  2. Doornails are the large-headed studs that were used in earlier times for strength and more recently as decoration. The practice was to hammer the nail through and then bend the protruding end over to secure it. This process, similar to riveting, was called clenching. This was the source of the ‘deadness’, as such a nail would be unusable afterwards, hence ‘Dead as a doornail.
  3. In Shakespeare’s time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes. When you pulled on the ropes the mattress tightened, making the bed firmer to sleep on. Hence the phrase……… ‘goodnight, sleep tight.’
  4. It was the accepted practice in Babylon 4,000 years ago that for a month after the wedding, the bride’s father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead he could drink. Mead is a honey beer and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the honey month, which we know today as the honeymoon.
  5. Since 1966,England fans have said they are going to win the cup at the start of every football competition, hence the phrase ‘deluded fool.’

Mrs H and I signed up to a weight loss club. The introduction told us to wear loose fitting clothes. If we had loose fitting clothes, we wouldn’t have signed up in the first place!

There were a further 18270 new cases today bringing the weekly total to 117,620 a massive rise of 53,853  on the previous week. The number of registered covid related deaths were 23 bringing the weekly total to 119 a rise of 45 on last week. There were 4.314,125  recoveries a rise of  14290 on last week’s total.

Don’t forget if you want to read more of my ramblings or poems just go to www.erhblog.co.uk

Well, that’s it for another week,  I just need to know, should I change the name of my blog now I’m retired, or should I keep it?

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.

More from eric1

Diary of a self-isolator - week 71
A light-hearted look at a few memories and the situation over the last seven days in our house...
Read More
Diary of a self-isolator week 70
 A light-hearted look at a few memories and the situation over the last seven days in our house...
Read More
Diary of a self-isolator - week 68
A light-hearted look at a few memories and the situation over the last seven days in our house...
Read More
Diary of a self-isolator - week 66
 A light-hearted look at a few memories and the situation over the last seven days in our house...
Read More
If you enjoyed reading this, show your appreciation to the author with a thumbs up!

eric1 would love your feedback, please leave your comments below:

Loading Comments

Showcase your literature

Not a member?

You need to be a member to interact with Silversurfers. Joining is free and simple to do. Click the button below to join today!

Click here if you have forgotten your password
Click here to visit the showcase home page