Covid 19 Shielding Diary, Year 2

A blow by blow account, Month 14 continues from month13

42817/5from today we can meet others indoors. For us that’s the end of this. We are double vaccinated, incidence of Covid is low we are moving to living with an endemic disease in our environment.
42716/5A Kent Qualifier day that alternated rain and sun. Our performances were a bit better than previous weeks but the results were worse and only won one game! Spent the evening recuperating and watching TV.
42615/5With the Kent Qualifier tomorrow it was Sunday breakfast on Saturday strategy, scrambled egg on toast, bacon, croissant, coffee. A good morning walk picking up a paper and usb enabled adaptor at ASDA on our way along the river bank nearly up to the QE bridge. Got back before it rained. In the afternoon watched Harlequins nearly do it again but Leicester hung on for a narrow win which was a portent for the FA Cup final 1-0 for Leicester FC! Worked up a schedule of prizes for the Titles Weekend.
42514/5A gloomy weather morning that continued all day. In the morning went to the club for the morning working party preparing the ground for cabins to be moved from the bowls to the petanque. There was a text from Homeserve with an engineer appointment so M went to do the big shop on her own and I stayed in. Then the gas contractor’s phoned to say the earliest they could source the flue and fit it was next Tuesday morning -said Homeserve didn’t know what the were talking about. Managed a practice in the garden before it rained. Evening curry from Waitrose was very nice. Dealt with a few petanque queries.
42413/5Spent the morning working on various petanque admin including trying to find a way to move on the Canopy project. In the afternoon the gas engineer returned and cleaned the upper airways and reassembled using the replacement gasket. Worked better but still not perfectly and diagnosed a corrosion hole in the balanced flue so inlet was sucking in exhaust gas. First enquiry was that replacement flue not available but then one was found so not a new boiler! However it cannot be used and is shut down and we will have to manage with the gas fire and immersion heater until it can be fixed.
42312/5Expected an engineer visit in the morning to look at boiler which is not working properly. He did arrive and agreed that it isn’t getting enough air so not burning properly. Thinks it may be the upper airway which cannot be opened without a new gasket so will reschedule. Now set for tomorrow afternoon. Made progress on some petanque loose ends, the IR rules, V2 of the membership preparation, and the Title weekend promotion. Did a bit in the garden, potato buckets are now full of soil. In the evening to the club for a practice evening. Again started very slow but did improve. Definitely heading for a position on the bench when we start league games next week.
42211/5Today a bread day – Walnut bread – M declared it the best yet! After an early lunch went to Bromley to meet Clive and get equipment from the petanque lock up that we will need for the Titles Events at Gravesend end of May. In the afternoon got in a practice, covered up the potatoes that are growing nicely in their buckets. We did an exercise walk round the back of the estate and took in the site of a where a Golf had crashed into a post and then driven off leaving chunks of their front end. In the evening a Zoom meeting to discuss the structure of the Inter Regional competition. After wrote up our decision on the time table and sent out a request for regions to review their team entries as we can accommodate a few more.
42110/5Our excursion today was to Central Park Dartford where first we walked around the grounds of Acacia Hall which has been restored to his former splendour. The stables where I had a laboratory when I first started work at Burroughs Wellcome are now in tip top condition. There is extensive parking that will serve the town well. Then we went through the park and the tunnel under Princes Road to Brooklands Lakes. There we did a circuit, quite a few goslings, ducklings and cootlings already out. In the lake we saw a pair of grebes fishing. Popped to Gravvesend to get some things from M’s mums and she dropped them off at the hospital as visiting is not allowed.
4209/5Earlyish start as M dropped me at GRFC at 9.00 for the second Kent Inter regional Qualifier. Did not go particularly well, only 2 wins. My contribution was not great, not helped by the application of extra grit on the playing surface so my practice there was negated. Meanwhile M had been dealing with her Mum’s admission to Hospital needing iv antibiotic for an infection in her foot. In the evening sent out the EG minutes and an alert to all members to our IR announcement.
4198/5Went for our food shop first thing and found an almost normally busy John Lewis food hall. Loaded our groceries in the car and then did a double circuit of Bluewater as too wet to walk outside. After lunch I watched some rugby and M watched some curling from Calgary but no sign of our friends who have just moved there. Heard that the PE Board have approved our Events Group plans for the Inter Regional and so drafted an annoucement and then sent out an invitation to Wales to participate. M made a very good curry and we went for a walk along the river in the late evening in a pleasant 15 degrees.
4187/5Completed first draft of the Events Group Minutes before setting off on our excursion to Barnet Hill Hotel to meet son and wife on the occasion of her birthday for lunch on the terrace. We had just enough sun to make it, Excellent menu and so good to get out and meet them after a year. Home and dealing with some petanque admin for the Eurocup competition and the inter regional championships.
4176/5Today I engaged in a life and death struggle with the floor steamer which had stopped steaming. After a dismantling I was able to inject citric acid into the little boiler and free the scale blockage. It even went back together and worked. Only distilled water from now on! Our exercise was a big walk round the station to pick up our tickets for the July trip to Scotland and back via Asda, the riverside, the polling station. M went to Bluewater for a bit of shopping while I did a practice petanque session in the garden. Made inroads into writing up the minutes of Tuesday’s zoom meeting and hit the phones to lobby regional presidents about our plans for the Inter Regional Championships.
4165/5The morning activity was a vacuuming all round. Then while M went to the shops I started work on our requirements for LoveAdmin V2, Updating the website (Covid guidelines, eurocup page). Put the bean seedlings outside to start hardening but cold driving rain in the afternoon caused me to get them in! In the evening we went to GRFC for a club night practice. Started a bit shakily but made good progress, M getting her flighted points working and me hitting a few rewarding shots, temperature dropping to 6 degrees at 9pm so called a halt. Found a small screw in hook that I squeezed into an eye to provide a place to hang the fob on the display unit.
4154/5First thing was a big shop to Waitrose which went smoothly, back in time for elevenses. The car was splattered with mud from the previous day so rinsed that off and did a quick wax and polish. After lunch did a petanque practice and some preparation for the Events Group meeting as we now have Board approval to pursue the Melton Mowbray option. Hosted the Zoom meeting in the evening, good attendance and good spirit.
4143/5The trip today was to Wicksteed Park which was not completely open and our day was soon marred by rain and wind. Consoled ourselves with sausage and chips while the boys made the most of it on the rides they weren’t too big for! How times change, it doesn’t seem long ago that the concern was finding the rides that they were big enough for! With the rain showing no sign of abating we headed home, arriving by 3.15pm. Ironically no rain in Greenhithe! There was wind though, the lilac had blown over so banged in some securing pitons.
4132/5A quick Sunday breakfast and then on the road to St Neots RFC to see boys and Sophie. To theirs for lunch and then drive out to see where the house is that S has put an off on. Has loads going for it an excellent choice. Then a walk through the woods, a very noisy rookery and brilliant display of bluebells. A dinner buffet with bar-b-q done by Max. In the evening S wanted to watch the final episode of Line of Duty, it was our first, seemed unsatisfactory.
4121/5Morning visit to GRFC to field test the display with the new RF system. Range worked well for the fob numbers 1,3,4 but for some reason it was a bit reluctant with the 2. Also did some practice then home for lunch via Sainsbury to get a paper and some flowers for M. In the afternoon went for a bee walk which was a bit sparse as the only flowers were daisies, buttercups which bumbles don’t seem to like and Maple trees which they do. Highlight of the walk was a pair of Marsh Harriers hunting over the marsh which added to the House martins makes this a bumper bird week. Did some PE work updating the playing rules with the latest kit examples. Still no board decision on the IR which is getting ridiculous.
41130/4Made a white loaf, (increased salt from 3/4 to1 tsp.)no sinking. Re-instituted the petanque practice strip using my tomato shield as an end enclosure. Managed 30 mins in one session. Did some tidying in the garden helping M re-pot her geraniums. Checked the spycam for footage and yes the fox had been snooping round, I guess it does a round, couldn’t get in the bean enclosure so went on its way. Did some bits and pieces towards the planning of the Inter Regional Championship.
41029/4Second morning no fox incursion evident. Installed the new RF into the display project by soldering into place on the shield. Decided to include the indicator led. Tested and found that the connections were inverted so reprogrammed the pin assignments (actually now back to original intention!) Spent several hours on documenting minutiae for the IR Board decision. Did the agenda and booked the zoom meeting for next weeks Events Group meeting. Made a very nice tandoori meatball curry while M took her mum out for tea and cake. Our eveing work was cut short by sqally rain and some hail!
40928/4No sign of fox incursion this morning. Replaced a split dripper on the watering now very low on spares so ordered some new ones from Screwfix. Got to grips with the new RF fob and receiver. Connected to an Arduino and 4 digit display and successfully programmed the buttons. Then began the soldering of the receiver onto the shield. Spent time working on questions about the IR proposal to go to MM and then in the evening we went to the club for practice.
40827/4Put Walnut bread on to make while we went to Lakeside to the DPD drop off. The bread was very tasty but did sink a bit, This was with the Dove Farms yeast at 3/4 tsp same of salt. Maybe drop the yeast by 1/8. In the afternoon went to the club to get some petanque practice in. Not used to that, 30 mins felt like a lot! Home for the big shop and then worked in the garden on fox proofing the bean patch. Our evening walk was rewarding, with 4 ship movements and the first sightings of the year of House Martins.
40726/4Breakfast and then packed the car for our trip home. Decided to go scenic, stopped at Calke Abbey, NT for a brunch stop. Then over to Leicester to see the new Petanque piste under construction in Western Park. Home via Melton Mowbray and the new A14. Delivered while we were away was some antennae for the display project remote control and a new Raspberry Pi Pico to investigate. Did some work on the seeding groups for the upcoming National Singles.
40625/4Mid-morning saw the arrival of my sister and husband for a visit and to continue the catch up that was started on Friday. First we went for a walk up to the Pic Tor war memorial then back down through Swan gardens to the cafe in the park for an outside coffee and a taste of Bakewell. We did lunch on the terrace, our first 3 course entertaining since the pandemic began. Log ife and Quantum of Solace on tv for our evening.
40524/4Lovely sunny day in Matlock. Set off to walk to Matlock Bath over High Tor. Quite strenuous as a lot higher than any hills around Greenhithe,

Lunch at a small cafe in Matlock Bath which was almost in full tourist swing! The same motorbike crowd as when I visited as a boy except they were drinking tea and eating fish and chips instead of drinking beer! Back to our cottage on the local bus, then some shopping for the meals for the rest of our stay and a a relaxed afternoon on the sunny terrace.
40423/4An early start for our trip to Derbyshire. First stop was Peterborough services where the Costa was open and inside tables were operational. Second stop my sisters in Nottingham where we had an excellent lunch in their new summer house and garden. Then on to Matlock where we found our holiday cottage without problem. Small beautifully renovated 2 up 2 down stone cottage. Did a small walk around the immediate environs. Looking forward to a few days relaxing.
40322/4Did some tweaking of the irrigation set up as it came on at 10.00. Had to replace a tee that the rootling fox had broken and a few old mid stream drippers that were cracked and spirting! After lunch we went to M&S to do a small food shop for our trip to Matlock tomorrow. Started work on redesign of the big display to utilise a new 433 Mhz RF system. Ordered an antenna and a Raspberry Pi Pico for study as an alternate controller.
40221/4This morning cleaning was upstairs and then the inside conservatory roof – bit of a struggle that one.
Excursion to Gravesend for second Covid vacination at Woodville Halls. In and out in 10 minutes and then on to Swanscombe for a haircut. Completed the review of the Micro:bit project and sent it off to and Kitronics to see if there is any interest. Started study of the new RF system from RF Systems. In the evening we went to the club for a first meeting of the GRFC Petanque group prior to the new season. Played a short gme but is was a bit cold. Home to coffee, brandy and biscuit! Dealt with some membership queries.
40120/4This morning cleaning was vacuuming downstairs and then the inside conservatory windows. Then into the garden to construct a fruit cage around the red currant and raspberry patch. Made the structure before lunch and then affixed the mesh in the afternoon. On the display projects applied the final coat of varnish to the big display and on the Micro:bit project finished the main write up. Just needs review and corrections before sending to Dealt with some membership queries.
40019/4A prompt breakfast and then straight to the club to build a surround to the water point pit so that the lid will fit now that the snaplock fitting is protruding above the rim. On the return went to Screwfix to pick up a 360 degree spray head. Home for lunch and M off on an outing to the Lion PH. Finally got to grip with the irrigation system. New nozzles on the manifold stopped them leaking and then rerouted and replaced a lot of the drip nozzles that had weathered badly and were were cracked and leaking. Mid afternoon stopped for a Webinar on the new version of our Petanque membership sytem.
39918/4Early start, with M taking me to GRFC for the first Kent regional petanque qualifier of the year. A bit of a shock to the system to be playing all day in a team with Mick, Joyce and Barry. Two wins out of 5 could have been better! There were 20 teams, so a reasonable turnout and the sun shone all day so no complaints there. Fortunately only a few admin matters to attend to in the evening.
39817/4For the first time this year the conservatory was warm enough for breakfast without having the heating on. Lovely scrambled egg and croissant. Made an excursion to M&S to get lunch for tomorrow and then to Homebase to get soil, compost, manure and a bundle of canes. Spent the afternoon putting up the bean cage in what I hope is a fox deterrent manner and planted out 8 bean seedlings into bed 1. Watched second half of Exeter v Wasps which began with Wasps 13-10 up and finish 43 – 17 down! On petanque, validated the Men and Women singles entries and sent them off to Steve.
39716/4First job was to uncover the strawberry seedlings of their frost blanket. Then off to JL Foodhall for the big shop in for the first time this year a properly open store. On return rinsed off the car which was covered by fine grey dust. Applied the first coat of varnish to the big display project and ordered a more powerful RF receiver and fob. Worked on the write up of the two digit display for sending to the by completing the pictures and commenting in the code.