Stuck inside like most of us I guess, still it could be worse. The weather isn’t too awful, well not all the time, so the occasional walk can get us a bit of fresh air and I see, or at least hear, signs of DIY going on around the village. There's a limit to how long a chap can stay in watching tv when there are jobs to be done in the shed.
There are fewer folk than usual walking about with dogs, but I think that’s because they have all day now when previously many were restricted by work and school. It’s still fairly cold, six Celsius at the moment and there was a flurry of snow half an hour ago which sent the cats back indoors. The usual four seasons in an hour that we are used to. I’ve been doing a few bits of inside DIY myself, mostly little fixes and adjustments. There are plenty waiting outside, but I’ll wait until it warms a bit. The rental house will be needing a new tenant soon as our current occupant has bought her own two houses further up the row. We’ve been lucky so far, I think our letting agent is being quite careful, which helps, and all three tenants have been well behaved, although number two was a bit inaccurate with the decoration but it gave me the impetus to repaint and the determination to not allow tenants to do their own thing. Previously it had been a rather chaotic collection of colours largely inherited from the previous owner. Magnolia, which I used nearly throughout, is boring but easy to work with and 20 minutes later you forget it. Between tenants I’m hoping to replace the central heating system and the kitchen before putting the house back on the market. With a bit of luck I’ll be able to get some cash back (renewable heat incentive) by using an air source heat pump but I think my joiner is self isolated, so the kitchen may have to wait.
At home I have discovered quite a few alternative forms of entertainment. I prefer books but my bookshelves are full at the moment and relatively few are available as ebooks. I have found Tony Harmsworth and liked his SF novel 'Visitor' There's another author M T McGuire which I found very imaginative. Both are available on Amazon as ebooks and the real thing made from trees.
Podcasts make a reasonable substitute, the science hour for instance on R4 and there are lots that can be downloaded from the iPlayer archives. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p016tmt2/episodes/downloads and one called ‘you’re dead to me’ https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07mdbhg.
There are many others
Seen left-ish, the new telly. 20 years younger than the old one, so of course everything is different. A friend bought one that seemed identical but operates completely differently which doesn't help. It is a Sony so, being Japanese, it suffers from the same bewildering variations and instruction manuals as their motorcycle carburetors.
It took me a while to start understanding some of the different mind-set, and there are still several functions I can't get the hang of. I can understand how old people (I'm only 67) have problems with new tech, and I can only advise either giving up and fossilising or diving straight in. We now have 'smart' mobile phones, 'smart' tv and an electric car, new cats and a highly computerised heating system. Just as well my brain's still flexible...worn and a bit tattered but flexible.
Setting the tv up I do get the impression that simply watching BBC and ITV is not mainstream any more and ‘TV’ is simply one of several options. There's things like Netflix, Sky, You-tube and several I haven't heard of. I've allowed Amazon Prime in as an extra source because it's already paid for, but the rest that want money for stuff that'll be on the standard free channels sooner or later? Nae chance.
Of course you always have the option of mum’s stories http://wardrobestories.homestead.com There's an index on that page. Some are illustrated and a few have a sound track. Some are read by Mum and others by Rachel, who it is said, sounds disturbingly similar. The ones with the yellow dot have the sound-track thingie or audio-book whatsit.
Don't forget to ring her up and tell her you've heard/read some.
Bearing in mind the fizzy pop disease the new tv may have come at just the right time. I can spend ages finding out how this new electronic world works, and go square eyed (only it’s oblong now) watching the result. Having said all that the old equipment, axes, hammers, saws, chisels and the like are being kept. I like having Satnavs for instance, even with the endless upgrades and changes, but there will always be a map in the car just in case. I'll not be going down the 'survivalist' route, If civilisation really falls apart I think I'll just fall apart with it, there's a limit to how far 'prepping' makes sense. When the virus turned serious the British stockpiled toilet rolls, the Americans did too, but the gun shops sold out at the same time.
At the time of the tv photo the weather was nice for a while, the cats were exploring and we had opened three of the doors into the sun rooms where the temperature had gone above 30 Celsius. The little square thing seen near the top of the doorway is an electric thermometer and is reading 38 Celsius. It still drops to 3 degrees or so at night though, the price of a blue sky is cold nights. Sooner or later I’d like to put an additional hot air heat pump in so that I can save all the spare energy to a block of bricks in the cellar. Probably more work than it's worth but an interesting project if I can find a supply of free clean bricks.
Collecting a bit of combustibles, kindling takes a while to process so Fiona has been collecting and drying fir-cones that have fallen onto our back track. I put a few bits of recycled material together to make our small polytunnel frame a bit weatherproof. A handful or two makes an easy start to the fire.
I've been collecting a few logs for the local charity that I can split and dry for next year. These are the first two loads of about eight, I'm taking it slowly as, although it seems quite happy, I don't want to over-strain the EV, the tow bar or the rather ancient trailer. The trees had outlived their usefulness and were threatening a house as well as darkening the garden. Splitting the logs prior to drying will keep me warm for a few hours and I have a couple of volunteers who can reduce that to useful sized bits in minutes, although tea-breaks tend to double the time taken, and the 'crack' slows the process. I'd better get a ventilating cover over the logs as I don't know how long it'll be before such tasks can be undertaken
In the meantime Fiona has been pootling in the main poly-tunnel. I've no idea what is growing but they should get off to a quick start. This winter has been very mild, so the soil will be relatively warm. Climate change is being helpful at the moment, although I think it might fall short of pineapple growing conditions.
We've heard of some virus victims in the general area, although no serious cases that I know of in our immediate villages. We are building up a stock of food for any who become unable to get shopping. Most people seem to have adapted to the new environment and are self isolating according to requirements. Like most we don't have any testing going on so we don't know who is infected and who not. It appears that up to 80% are either symptomless or have had such signs masked by ordinary colds, which I may have done. The symptoms may take 10 days to manifest (if they do) so there are a lot of unknowns, but we are feeling fine so far.
One other bit of excitement, Mum fell over and broke her leg just outside Boots and above her knee. There was a period of much dashing about, mainly by my sister Julia, and then she recovered from the surgical repair at Lindy's while Julia got some electric chairs fitted for the stairs. By the time Fiona and I arrived as previously arranged, for her 91st birthday it was all sorted and mum is now walking about as though nothing happened. Quite remarkable.
I guess that'll do for a bit, so I'll hope you are all well and stay that way.