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.

Sunday 11/07/2021 – Day 479

It seems to be a very colourful day today. There’s a big orange thing trying to burst through a grey sky with hints of blue. I look out of my window on a sea of red and white flags and I am feeling in the pink. Not normally a big football fan as you all know, but this final has swept everyone along no matter how young or how old they may be. So good luck tonight England, we certainly need this win, after 18 months of coronavirus and sheer misery, it will give everyone a massive boost – no pressure then.

I wish to state two weeks into my retirement that I was forced into it. Yes, dear reader – forced! My local council decided that because I was working part time through retirement  then I should pay through the nose for the privilege. My council tax would have gone up from £70 per month to almost £200 per month. This is because it is Mrs H’s birthday on Thursday and the government have reluctantly agreed -after a six-year absence that she and countless millions like her were robbed of  –  to allow the dainty little lady to collect her pension. So, all those councillors who meet once a week and get paid for it have now agreed between them that I should work two whole weeks just to pay my Council tax while they sit in a beautifully decorated chambers and argue among themselves over who gets a grant and who doesn’t. I have reams of paper since April telling me that my Council tax has been altered, no less than eight alterations in the amount I pay, this has used up almost seventy pages of paper, ink and time and resources. If they got it right in the first place then they could reduce everyone’s tax, but it’s easy money isn’t it, So why should they bother? Well dear councillors – not as long as I have breath in my body will I give you any more money than I need to, and that dear reader is my official excuse for retiring.

On this day in 1859 Big Ben, in the clock tower of the Houses of Parliament, tolled for the first time.  But in September the bell cracked under the hammer, this was just  two months after it officially went into service. According to the foundry’s manager, a hammer more than twice the maximum weight specified had been used and for three years Big Ben was silent.

And on this day in 1950 Andy Pandy, Teddy and Looby Loo first appeared on BBC TV. The episodes were repeated for more than 25 years, until the film wore out.

Finally on this day in 1987 War veterans returned to the scene of the bloodiest battle of World War I to commemorate its 70th anniversary. The fields of Passchendaele in Belgium claimed the lives of 250,000 troops of the British Commonwealth between July and November 1917.

Anyone remember the door-to-door salesmen of the fifties  who toted their wares in large bags. These could be household goods like dusters, cleaners, new gadgets etc. Some even sold vacuum cleaners. They have all been replaced by cold callers, these salespeople are called cold callers because no-one ever lets them in even during inclement weather. I think that it’s reasonable to say that they are about as welcome as the pandemic or a plague of rats.

These unscrupulous callers have changed their plush cases for a beat-up old pick-up or a white van that has so many dents that it could be mistaken for a jelly mould on wheels. You watch from the window as two dubious spotty, well-built youths alight from the van which immediately breathes a sigh of relief and rises a further six inches from the road. They are looking up at your roof, rubbing their chins, then they make their way to your front door. They greet you cordially in an accent you have never heard. You do manage to  catch the words ‘roof chimney’ and ‘fall down’. The only other thing you hear prior to slamming the door in their face is £246,000.

Mrs H and I were sat quietly in the confines of our front lounge when I spotted a young smartly dressed lad coming up the drive. I was at the front door before he could ring the bell, I have discovered this always puts them on the back foot. Now then, the window cleaner had called two days previously and the windows which had been replaced twelve weeks ago are sparkling. So this lad stood in front of me and with a broad Liverpudlian accent asks,

“Iya mate, are yer interested in replacement windows, I can see they’re long overdue.”

Why doesn’t our local authorities allow us to pour hot oil on nuisance callers from the upper window,  like they did some 500 years ago?

There were 31466 new cases reported today with a further 26 deaths.

Monday12/07/2021 – Day 480

Since last Saturday morning, I have had a very sharp pain in my back, no, Mrs H hasn’t driven a knife in. The pain is worse when I breathe in. Mrs H did suggest at one time that it would help if I perhaps stopped breathing, I chose to treat the remark with the contempt it so rightly deserved. Anyway, she was very concerned and worried about the pain etched on my face. She made all sorts of queries. Things like ‘Where did you say the Insurance policies are? What did you say the password for the bank was?’

But to top it all, this morning she made me take a covid test. We have had these tests in our possession for a couple of months – just for emergencies you understand. Neither of us had deemed it necessary to test them until today when Mrs H got it into her head that I might have coronavirus. After studying the details for the best part of an hour she gave me what was basically a twelve-inch cotton bud and ordered me to shove it down my throat and then up my nose. I looked carefully at it and almost told her where she could shove it. Then I came to my senses as I really didn’t have a death wish.

I did put my foot down with her though, I absolutely refused to do it in front of her. So off I toddled into the bathroom clutching a cotton bud that could have been used as a javelin in the forthcoming Olympics. I could hear her stifling a laugh in the bedroom as I shoved the bud down my throat and immediately gagged. I heard her stifle another laugh as I shoved the offending article up my nose too sharply and met a gristly resistance causing my eyes to water.

I took the thing back to her and she put it into a little vial with liquid in it. The bud was swirled around viciously and then squeezed as she pulled it out. She then shook it vigorously any visitor could have been forgiven for thinking the Mrs H was mixing me a Pina Colada. Two drops were then put onto an oblong box. We had to wait 30 minutes while it worked its magic. If two red lines appeared it was positive, if only one red line appeared it was negative. Mrs H impatient as ever, checked it every five minutes, I am relieved to say that only one red line appeared. Then Mrs H wondered if we had done everything correctly and should I do it again. I don’t like bad language but in this case I made an exception.

I ended up getting the doctor to phone me. When I told him what was happening he suggested a divorce. No, just jesting, he did suggest however that he should examine me. The result is that I have to have a chest Xray. As long as Mrs H isn’t involved I am quite happy to do that.

Watched the match last night. I sincerely think that penalties should be banned in finals. There is no gamesmanship involved whatsoever. It should be a re-match after 120 minutes. I was however disgusted to see today that so called football fans had sent racist remarks to  the very same black players that were their hero’s 24 hours previously. One of the reasons I am not a great fan of football.

New figures rose to 34323 and deaths were 6.

Tuesday  13/07/2021 – Day 481

Much better day today with a promise of plenty of sunshine. I had to get up very early this morning to take paracetamol as the pain in my back woke me. Can’t believe that the doctor I saw yesterday never offered any type of pain relief, oh well. I had a full day of rest yesterday as ordered by aforementioned doctor, but I was bored stiff within hours!

I have found it strangely amusing that as I near the grand young age of 70 years everyone wants to offer me money, Allow me to explain. Fifty per cent of my emails each day have offers of loans platinum credit cards, money for cars or cheaper mortgages. We are fortunate enough to be financially secure, we don’t like credit, we have a nice car and we no longer have a mortgage. But it wasn’t easy getting here.

My point is, where was that snotty little weasel of a bank manager forty years ago when I needed him. I actually went into our bank to enquire about a personal loan. My manager made me feel as welcome as a dead rat in a box of cereal. He sat in his shiny black leather chair suppressing a smile as he read through my monthly statements.

The obnoxious wimp sat there smiling with that gap between his teeth and might as well have told me that a punter who’s only security was Big Bertha in the 4.30 at Kempton  was a better risk than me. Then they show you the door and ask you to perhaps try again in a hundred years.

The Bank manager has long since disappeared, either that or he is totally inaccessible, But if he were around today I would take great joy in telling the little runt where he could shove his credit card. He could then take out one of his own personal loans and pay a proctologist to remove it.

On this day in 1911 on the eve of the 1911 census. A suffragette hid in a broom cupboard in the House of Commons so that she could record The House of Commons as her address, ‘thus making my claim to the same right as men’.

Meanwhile, in 1955 Nightclub hostess Ruth Ellis became the last woman to be hanged in Britain – executed at Holloway Prison for the murder of her lover David Blakely.

After her death, the whole family suffered great tragedy. Ellis’s husband, George Ellis, descended into alcoholism and died by suicide, hanging himself at a Jersey hotel on 2 August 1958. In 1969, Ellis’s mother, Berta Neilson, was found unconscious in a gas-filled room in her flat in Hemel Hempstead; she never fully recovered and did not speak coherently again.

Ellis’s son, Andy, who was aged 10 at the time of his mother’s hanging, took his life in a bedsit in 1982, shortly after desecrating his mother’s grave. The trial judge, Sir Cecil Havers, had sent money every year for Andy’s upkeep, and Christmas Humphreys, the prosecution counsel at Ellis’s trial, paid for his funeral. Ellis’s daughter, Georgina, who was three when her mother was executed, was fostered when her father killed himself three years later. She died of cancer aged 50.

In 1983 The House of Commons voted 361-245 against the restoration of the death penalty.

And finally in 1985 two simultaneous ‘Live Aid’ concerts, one in London (Wembley Stadium) and one in Philadelphia, raised over £50 million for famine victims in Africa. Prince Charles and Princess Diana officially opened Live Aid. The 16-hour ‘super concert’ was globally linked by satellite to more than a billion viewers in 110 nations.

Once again new cases rose to 36660 whist registered deaths rose to 50.

Wednesday 14/07/2021 – Day 482

It’s a beautiful sunny day here in downtown Kidderminster and I feel crap. Mrs H has also informed me that she is aching all over too. The pain in my back is still there but I too am aching all over  and – like Mrs H  – feeling very lethargic. It’s the lovely ladies birthday in just three days so I hope she gets better.

Talking of feeling unwell, George called this morning on his way to a hospital appointment. It was around 10.30 am.

Mrs H.    What time’s your appointment George?

George,  About ten o clock, I think.

Mrs H.    But you’re already half an hour late.

George. When was the last time you had to visit the hospital? You get a ten-o-clock     appointment and by the time you arrive, there are already 20 people waiting, all with earlier appointments than you. Every one of the poor sods is very ill and you have to sit with them in a space about four metres square. There are only two consultants who saunter in around Ten o clock after eating a hearty breakfast which you were forced to miss because of an early appointment. They are already an hour late with their appointments.

Mrs H.    Oh I’m sure it’s not that bad.

George.  At 2.30pm after you’ve been seen you casually ask the consultants receptionist why  and how this has happened. She looks up at you over her glasses leaving her crossword book temporarily and gives you a look that would make Anne Robinson of the ‘Weakest link’ cower. So, if you want another appointment in the next ten years you politely wish them Good afternoon and leave.

On this day in 1939 The government announced that all infants and nursing mothers would get fresh milk free or at no more than two pence a pint.

Also on this day in 1962 The Beatles played their first gig in Wales when they appeared at The Regent Dansette Theatre in Rhyl. While five years later in 1967 Abortion was legalized in Britain.

And finally in 2014 2014 the Church of England General Synod approved women bishops. The announcement was followed by the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, leading the General Synod in a rendition of ‘We are Marching in the Light of God’. The Rt. Rev. Libby Lane became the first female Church of England bishop, when she was consecrated Bishop of Stockport in a ceremony at York Minster.

New cases went up by over 5000 to 41882, deaths were stable at 49, one less than yesterday.

Thursday 15/07/2021 – Day 483

They promised us sunny days for the foreseeable future, but it is as dull as dishwater out there at the moment with thick grey cloud everywhere.

Sarah had to go to Worcester hospital early this morning to have her lumber puncture treatment. Fingers crossed.

As to my own health, apart from the pain in my shoulder from an injury back in January, I am once again as fit as a Butcher’s dog. This horrible illness which I have bore very bravely (there, there) since last Saturday, has gone as quickly as it came, perhaps it’s gone to find a much younger body.

Despite our living conditions in the fifties and sixties I can hardly remember being ill or losing any time from school. When I was around eight years I had something that we then called ‘pink eye’ (conjunctivitis). If I remember correctly it started off as a stye. Gradually it got worse and worse, I would have to go to a local clinic every morning and have a scab taken off that had formed since the previous morning. It was a really painful process and left me with damaged eyesight in that eye – but I never missed one day from school.

Later on I would break my arm but there was no respite, I still had to attend school. I remember in 1965 when I was 13 years old, my best mate ‘onker’ Harris persuaded me to take my first ever day off from school. In other words, I played truant. We had cross country running that day so I was easily persuaded. I have to admit, it was exhilarating climbing trees and sitting on banks smoking dog ends (half cigarettes, relieved from my mother’s coat pockets including a red lipstick mark which we could both taste), I had at last lost my ‘goody goody two shoes’ image and become one of the gang.

We stood behind a tree watching the cross-country runners go past, puffing and panting, covered in mud and dirt. At  precisely 3.15 we headed of home. I got in the house where my mum was just getting a large tray of bread pudding from the oven. She asked me if I’d had a good day at school, I replied it had been ok. Then she asked what lessons I’d had, by this time I was getting a bit suspicious,. It was usually straight into the house, get changed and straight out again, hardly a word spoken.

Then my older sister Carol came into the kitchen with a blanket wrapped around her. “Feel any better?” mum asked her, Carol nodded and I was foolish enough to ask what the matter was. It seems that a boy was sent around to our house with a note from the school. (we only lived a couple of minutes away) it said that Carol was ill and could mum fetch her from school. This is how the conversation went when mum arrived.

Teacher.  So sorry to have bothered you Mrs Harvey, but she really was too ill to attend lessons.

Mum.       That’s ok, I’ll take her home.

Teacher,  Has young Eric got the same complaint? These things do go through families like a dose of salts. Only he wasn’t at registration this morning.

Mum.       Er, oh yes, I meant to send a note.

Mother was just about to cut into the bread pudding, she was wielding a large knife, she turned and gave me ‘that look’ as she calmly finished relating the tale.

I turned on my heels and ran. I kept running, I ran so far that I may as well have gone to school and done cross-country. Still got a belt when I finally went home  because I was so hungry.

That was the first and last day I ever played truant.

On this day in 1685 Charles II’s illegitimate son (the Duke of Monmouth) was executed for rebelling against James II. His head was then put back on his shoulders so that his portrait could be painted. Hence the look of shock on his face.

On this day in 1996 Prince Charles and Princess Diana were granted a decree nisi. Princess Diana could no longer be addressed as Her Royal Highness but was to be known as Diana, Princess of Wales.

And finally on this day in 2000 Two men caught on camera for dangerous driving escaped prosecution in a landmark case, as it had violated their human rights. This was the start of a great country going to the dogs.

New cases took another sharp rise to 48354 today, Deaths also went up to 63

Friday 16/07/2021 – Day 484

Mrs H and I are off for a walk into town this morning. We both have to have ours eye tested at Specsavers. They hadn’t been done now for three years. I am putting my glasses on to watch TV and when I take them back off the picture is cleare3r.We have also got to have an OCT test, how exciting for us eh. I am just hoping that Mrs H’s aren’t too good and she stands back in shock/horror when she next sees me.

What I am about to relate to you is true. Apparently, the inventor of Vaseline used to eat a spoonful of the stuff every day. Bit of a slippery devil methinks.

Good news. Sarah’s lumber puncture yesterday wasn’t half as bad as she was expecting, relief all around, we just await the results now.

It’s been a bit of a strange up to now. It is only 9’00am and so far I picked up a teacup this morning and the handle dropped off. I was drawing the curtains and the mechanism fell off. The thing is – I am now frightened to death to go to the bathroom.

I had a terrible fit of the hiccups this morning.  We were in a shop, fully masked I hasten to add, and every time I hiccupped I had to pull my mask from over my eyes and back over my nose and mouth. The more I tried to stop hiccupping the louder and more embarrassing they became. By the time we had reached the perfume counter I noticed that Mrs H had abandoned me as I was now hiccupping with such force that the glass mirrors in the display cabinets were rattling. Persistent hiccups are a bane of anyone’s life. But don’t despair over just a bout, American Charles Osborne had hiccups for 68 years, from 1922 to February 1990, and was entered in the Guinness World Records as the man with the longest attack of hiccups, an estimated 430 million hiccups.

Here is a list of ways of getting rid of hiccups that never work.

  1. Drink a glass of water quickly.
  2. Have someone frighten you.
  3. Pull hard on your tongue.
  4. Bite on a lemon.
  5. Gargle with water.
  6. Drink from the far side of a glass.
  7. Use smelling salts.

Here is a list of cures for women to get rid of their husband’s hiccups, guaranteed to work.

  1. Tell him you’re pregnant (the older you are, the better this works)
  2. Tell him the home help is pregnant (as above age wise)
  3. Tel him you’ve just maxed his credit card.
  4. Tell him you’ve just crashed the car – into someone else’s new house.

If all the above fail buy a stun gun or a Taser gun.

On this day in 1439 Kissing the missus when you left to plough the fields or shoe horses was banned in England because of the Plague.

On the eve of Mrs H’s birthday 1955 Stirling Moss won the British Grand Prix at the Aintree track near Liverpool – the first time an Englishman had triumphed in the race. His success in a variety of categories placed him among the world’s elite and he is often called ‘the greatest driver never to win the World Championship’.

Once again there was a rise in new cases today, for the first time since early January they were over 50,000 and the total figure was 51,870, registered deaths were 49.

Saturday 17/07/2021 – Day 485

I look out of the window and it is a perfect summer sky, azure blue and not a cloud in sight. How wonderfully appropriate for the good lady’s birthday. Yes, dear reader Mrs H has finally caught me up and become a pensioner. One week from today she will get her first pension payment. I will make an honest effort to spoil her rotten all day because she has been my rock for the last 50 years or so since we first locked eyes across a crowded room. I will tell you how it went tomorrow.

As we all know so well, life is full of disappointments, some are quite simplistic, things like finding out at Christmas that the last chocolate left in the humongous box you bought yesterday is a coffee crème. Or when you’re expecting an important delivery and you are slumbering in bed when the doorbell rings. You panic, you rush downstairs half dressed, hair a mess, only to find the postman clutching a parcel for next door, who have gone out because unlike you they are not lazy sods. Whilst the next day you still haven’t learned your lesson and you lie in bed when there is a large thud by the front door and the rattle of the letter box. You are thinking what a popular fellow you are with around ten items on the mat. But as you check there are three for pizzas which you hate to eat, one from Saga offering you a cruise at an exclusive and amazing price which you saw in the paper last week for two thousand pound less. Offers to join Reader’s Digest at a lower price for 12 months. A book full of exclusive offers for the elderly (how do they know? And furthermore, how dare they!) Conservatory brochures, offers of incontinence pads at a cut price, and then finally, you come to the only letter addressed to you. It’s a reminder from the council about your annual wheelie bin payment. You console yourself with the fact that it was actually addressed to you and not ‘The Homeowner’ or ‘The Occupant.’

But the good news is that Mrs H and I have enough money to last us the rest of our lives – as long as we don’t actually buy anything.

On this day  in 1917 World War 1: The British Royal Family, in a proclamation issued by George V, adopted the name of the House of Windsor in place of their German family name of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha due to the anti-German sentiment at the time.

In 1918 the RMS Carpathia, the ship that rescued the 705 survivors from the RMS Titanic, was sunk off Ireland by the German SM U-55, with the loss of 5 lives.

There were a further 54,674 new cases today bringing the weekly total to 299,229,  a massive rise of 86,741 on the previous week. The number of registered covid related deaths were 41 bringing the weekly total to 284 a rise of 92 on last week. There were 4,390,942 recoveries a rise of 35,519 on last week’s total.

Well, that’s it for another week, hopefully and God willing I’ll return next week for another seven days of garbage.

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

Let’s be careful out there.

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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