Covid 19 Shielding Diary, Year 2

A blow by blow account, Month 13 continues from month12

39615/4Another morning at the club. Working on getting water to the terrain. The irrigation tap in the ground turned OK and with some fittings from the store that the groundsman had found we were able to connect a hose. However, irrigation port one is stuck open so the pitch started to flood and we didn’t have enough pressure because of the open tap. Need to think again! Tested my big display. Visibility was OK but the fob range is not adequate and the rf receiver had developed a loose connection during transport. The small coountdown clocks could be brighter. Repaired the strings and did another bag of weeding ready for Sunday. In the afternoon M was due to take her mum out for tea but the weather was awful so I served them in the conservatory. Ordered a longer range RF system. Looked at increasing the brightness of a small display but it seems to have blown the first pixel!!
39514/4After breakfast into the garden to plant the strawberry runners – Mara des Bois in last years vegetable table. It has some parsley in one corner but the rest will be strawberries. Then a shower and changed for our first lunch date outing since lock down! M an I went to St Pancras on highspeed and then the German Gymnasium outdoor terrace in mostly sunshine for a lovely two course lunch. Then went for a walk around the Kings Cross area where many restaurants were making a fist of terrace eating with plenty of customers eager to get out. Made some corrections to the PE website and solved a couple of membership queries. Evening TV was Masterchef final and the start of Sewing Bee!
39413/4A bright sunny morning so off to the club. Washed down all the mural panels, carried out some weeding and also got in some practice pointing and shooting. Home for lunch. Afternoon returned to the club, applied WD40 to the water tap and measured the size of fitting needed. The strawberry plants I had ordered arrived. Did some more weeding and then practice until the temperature dropped sharply after 4pm. In the evening talked to Ian and Keith about getting the terrain watering project underway. Dealt with a few membership queries.
39312/4Another cold overnight, only 9 in the conservatory this morning. On this first day of relaxation of restrictions. M popped to M&S for a few bits and then went to Gravesend for her first hair do in 6 months. I went on the bus to the dentist in Gravesend for quarterly hygienist. Definitely busier than recent weeks! Analysed the trap camera and there were two video clips showing a fox sniffing round the bean beds. With the seedlings nearly ready to go out this is a concern. In Petanque we reached the 64 entries for men and 30 for women singles so set up wait lists. We did a post prandial walk just as the sun was setting a mid length out onto the marsh and back.
39211/4Overnight cold ~2 degrees but bright sunny morning warmed the conservatory for breakfast in our traditional Sunday manner. The jig saw is finished. It was quite a struggle because being an impressionist picture the detail at the individual piece level is rather fuzzy and indistinct. On the petanque front dealt with 15 email queries and 6 texted on membership and entries. Did a good session on a prototype spreadsheet design to validate the Titles entries. After lunch M went to visit her friend ahead of her pre-op isolation while I made a chicken and vegetable pie from leftovers in the fridge. In the evening we watched the 3rd Johnny Worricker film, very Smiley, written by David Hare and can be viewed as a commentary on Tony Blair.
39110/4After breakfast we said farewell to the bubble visitors and then did bit of a clean around before an excursion to Waitrose to get our take away Indian selection for this evening’s dinner . After lunch I tidied the conservatory the scene of our display construction while M went to the clinic for her second dose of Covid Astra Zenneca/Oxford vaccine. All the bean seedlings are now through and one is nearly 8cm tall already. We just need the prospect of cold weather to recede so they can be planted out. In the early evening rugby Exeter got off to a good start against Leinster with 2 scintillating tries but couldn’t sustain it and went out of the Euro-cup. Watched the second Jonny Worricker spy film.
3909/4In the morning we completed the displays and were able to connect up the battery box and Micro:bit to test their working before making the final placements. Both worked first time! Then off to Knole Park for a picnic lunch and then a walk through the grounds. Quite sunny and pleasant. Concluded walk with an ice cream. Did a bit of shopping on the way home including some different logs but then it rained in the evening so not used! More events queries dealt with and a family film night “Little Miss Sunshine”. The only way to avoid wall to wall sycophancy on the passing of D. of Edinburgh.
3898/4Resumed the soldering of the leds until bubble went to Rochester to see other grandad. Spent several hours answering queries on the entris which are coming in thick and fast for the Titles weekend. In the evening we did bar b que sausages and got the new fire pit going. However the smokeless coffee logs made loads of smoke when the pit had too much ash. Put the bread maker on to make a big loaf for tomorrows picnic.
3887/4Today’s exercise was the big walk. Drove to St Margaret’s bay beach (slight detout onto the A256 instead of the A258!) Parked one car and then drove to White Cliffs National Trust centre where we got a sausage roll and cup of coffee before setting out along the white cliffs of Dover to the Foreland Lighthouse. A brief stop there for refreshment and then on down into the bay. I stayed on the beach while M went back to get the other car. Home to ribs and chips
3876/4Shopping in the morning to lay in supplies for our bubble arriving later today. Made preparations for the construction of two Micro:bit displays by two 14 year olds. A handful of queries on the events dealt with and spreadsheet data of event participant details worked on for the program team. Bubble arrived and time taken up looking after them. Made a start on display, sticking on the leds and making first steps in learning how to solder.
3865/4First job a big morning clean. Then after lunch putting the final touches to the Micro:bit Display project and then preparing the materials required to make two units for the test with boys his week. Cut 60 pieces of wire and stripped their ends for making the digit corners. Went out for a walk in the sun but the North wind did blow, only 7 degrees, so a smart tri down to the marsh and back along the river. An evening effort at finishing the jig saw failed!
3854/4Our now traditional Sunday breakfast, scrambled egg on toast, pancetta, coffee, croissant. Then a concerted effort to get Caillbot done on the jig saw – nearly. Then M made a sandwich and we went to Cobtree Manor for a picnic lunch and then a walk round the arboretum. Some vibrant cherry blossom and even a couple of early bluebells. Home to a bit of gardening and an icecream in the sunshine. Set up a new webpage for the National League.
3843/4Bread day, made a larger 50/50 loaf with white and mixed grain flour (420g). Very good result in both shape and crumb which is good with visitors next week. Spent the day repainting the contrast wall in the lounge. It is a warmer colour now than the previous purple a sort of burnt rose. A lot of european club rugby today saw notable wins for french over Wasps and Munster but Exeter came through after going behind 14-0 in the first 10 minutes.
3832/4A flurry of activity getting the Petanque Playing rules finalised and the online entry forms ready on LoveAdmin. A colder day but bright and sunny so our exercise was a longer walk round the wooded parts of the estate and out onto the marshes. Tried to register our Beewalk data but it wouldn’t save, Have written a report. Planted out the seed potatoes in their new bucket home.
3821/4April fools day but no one seemed in the mood this year. No bread making day because it was a supermarket shopping day, Waitrose and then M&S. Something has been messing with my bean bed which was covered with netting, pulling it back neatly. Set up the nature camera trap to see who the culprit might be.
38131/3Started the morning with a good jigsaw session while the light was very good. The beans that I had put to soak have germinated so I planted them into pots but am keeping them indoors because the weather forecast is set to go from the 20s to the 7s next week. While M did one of her occasional shops to Sainsbury I looked into the data load for events and checking the renewal template which I noticed doesn’t always pick up the user name. Also did some work on looking into the GDPR data consents for life members and those not consenting. M improvised a great tuna plait out of leftover pastry and used up odd bits of vegetable.
38030/3Bread day – light wholemeal included a teaspoon of sugar, good crumb. Spent the morning finalising the petanque playing rules while M attended her Art Society meeting. After an early lunch we made an excursion to Whitstable for a good walk along the promenade in the warm sunshine of a record 24 deg C. In the evening we tested out the new fire pit with a glass of prosecco.

On the display project took out the rtc and did the bst correction.
37929/3Significant easing of Covid lock down arrangements begin today marking the start of return to normal. Or it will be when the powers that be accept that the vaccines do work! A lovely sunny day so into the garden. Prepared the first half of the bean patch, dug out all the soil, laid plastic to deter the raspberry roots, back filled with layer of soil from the veg trug, a layer from the composter a final layer from the veg trug. Used the ex bean soil into the veg trug which will be used for strawberries this year. Laid netting over the bean beds to deter animals that dig in the night. Reported my finding on the template variable to LoveAdmin appearing to be mandatory but isn’t. They confirmed it is a previously unreported bug. Largely completed the build instructions for a shot clock as a Micro:bit project. WIll test with the boys next week.
37828/3Clocks have sprung forward some resetting needs to be done. A big Sunday breakfast before our excursion today was to Asda to get petrol and a paper and then to Sevenoaks for a walk in Knole Park. Tested the cafe for a coffee and a snack, fully operational with distancing. Had a pleasant walk round the estate, deer and rooks were the main wild life along with many families. No trees in leaf or flower and no spring flowers, I guess the deer eat them all! Discovered that the PE President’s mail bow was full so did an emergency redirection for him.
37727/3Started work to re-instate the garden irrigation system. Set up three working controllers but some of the piping particularly going behind the Bay tree seems to be blocked and kepr blowing off the manifold! The afternoon rugby was Bristol-Harlequins which the former squeaked home with a score at the death. A cook fest for dinner, M made a leek broccoli Stilton soup from first principles and I made a pizza dough and then a pizza with loads of leftovers from the fridge.
37626/3A bread day, made light rye with my bargain bag, 10p, spelt and rye flour. A sunny morning so did some sorting for the jigsaw in the bright light. Prepared the event templates on Love Admin for the coming season and did some testing. Found that the field for recording team mates works correctly as a mandatory field when set to a single line, but in multi line form it doesn’t force or prompt for an entry. Will need to talk to LA on Monday. The culmination of the 6 nations was a surprise win by Scotland in Paris which gifted the championship to Wales. France may be the most talented but showed that in rugby you need concerted team effort as well if you want to win.
37525/3After a bit of jigsaw work we set off on the day’s excursion. Picked up a sandwich and a drink at M & S and then on to the Rainham Riverside country park. We walked along the estuary bank all the way to the corner beyond Bloors wharf. Tide was out so not many birds on the mud flats near the shore apart from black headed gulls and goosander. Home via the Garden Centre to get something to go by the front door, primula and snakes head frittilary. Also got a tree stake to hold up the blackberry bush. Did some work to finalise the 2021 playing rules.
37424/3This morning we did our big shop for the week shop not busy but well stocked. After lunch we went on the first Bee walk of the year, not having done any throughout last year. Weather was fine at 13 degrees and light wind. In the end we saw 10 bumble bees, some were flying so difficult to ID but all the others we saw were buff tail queens. Their food source was tree pollen, willow, and blackthorn blossom. Completed the car valet by vacuuming the interior and polishing off some water spots. Completed some work on petanque events budget and a bit of jigsaw in the evening.
37323/3Today I set out my seed potatoes to chit in the conservatory. Meanwhile in the garden started preparing the bucket containers with the first layer of soil. For petanque I revised the Playing rules document and sent out for review. Tested an idea for a simple slot arrangement to hold a micro:bit on the back of the shot clock display. It was a nice sunny day so our walk was right round the estate and back along the river.Gave the car a good clean, a wash and polish! In the evening started a new jig-saw, a 1000 piece The luncheon of the boating party by Renoir.
37222/3Today’s bread bake was a light rye using the mix of recent days, tasty but probably just a bit too much water compared with the white recipe. M had a morning course, last of her portraits while I finished the small display, works nicely and so kept it on the rest of the day to test battery life. BY evening it was pretty dim. The blue perspex is effective indoors but not great outside in bright sunshine! The nose buffer on my glasses fell off! Fortunately M was going to collect new specs at Specsavers so she got them to fit a new one. Our excursion was to B&Q to get paint for our contrast wall, some batteries, garden bits was disrupted by a fire alarm going off. Mildly exciting. Washed and polished the car when we got home -weather was that good.
37121/3Sunday breakfast in the conservatory, must be spring! Today’s excursion was to Rainham marshes for a walk around the sanctuary. It was partially open and there were the usual duck s and geese, some grebe and a very friendly couple of robins. May be an image of bird and nature
Bought a take -away coffee and biscuit to support the cafe. Home via JL Foodhall to pick up a paper and a potato gratin dish to go with our lamb kleftico dinner. An interesting rugby match Newcastle-Bristol dominated for most of the match by Newcastle with Bristol strangely playing a lot of a kicking game until the last 10 minutes when they reverted to running and scoring to achieve a late win! Spent a lot of time trying to adapt some old solar panel garden chargers to contain the batteries and Microbit for the small display. In the end just not quite big enough so had to settle for a switched power unit for the Microbit and a separatee battery box to poser the leds.
37020/3After breakfast into the garden to wrestle the two fence panels that I had repaired into place. Naturally one is slightly bigger than the other so it wasn’t straight forward. Anyway, got them in with M’s help and secured and then fitted a top rail to give some rain protection. Finished soldering the two digit display and the Micro:bit program for the display and a second as a remote control. Works nicely just need to sort out the battery box, some enclosure for the Micro:bit and an on/off switch. Last day of the 6 Nations saw England revert to their hopeless penalty ways after their dynamic performance against France the week before and Ireland ran out easy winners. I just don’t know what they can be doing at their training camp! Surely Eddies Jones has had his day? In the more interesting game Wales continued to improve, what a great job Pivac has done in transforming them from the Gatland bish bosh to a creative dynamic team. In the end France had too much ability and discipline and squeaked home with a winning 4th try in the last play of the game.
36919/3Bread making today with a new yeast, Allinsons instead of Dove worked well, white loaf on Prog 2 no sinking and good crumb. At last a sunny day, so fixed some trellis on the wall for the trumpet vine to grow up and then concreted in the renovated fence post. We did a walk along the river for exercise and M managed to get in a coffee morning walk with her friend. I prepared links for the small display project and started to solder the demonstration version. Friday curry night and rugby Newcastle v Wasps 18-20. Friday is Graysons Art Club guest was Jonny Vegas.
36818/3Today was M’s double art day u3a group in the morning and wea in the afternoon. I started to write up a “How To” for the smaller two digit shot clock and teenage build by making one at the same time. I am using the leds from my original prototype, had to cut out and use pva glue to fix on the board. Cut some beading strip to make the spacer and started cutting wire lengths to join the corners. Explored several ways to strip the tips none of which seem good for kids! Petanque work – wrote up the minutes of the Events group and sent them out.
36717/3A bread day, light rye with Caraway seeds. Found some white faced hardboard in the garage to use for the two digit display project, cut three to size and one piece of perspex with a thin blade hacksaw which surprisingly was not a great success causing some splits. Will use the jigsaw next time. In the afternoon we did our big shop at the JL Foodhall which was the quietest we have seen it, easy distancing. 25m vaccinated reached today.
36616/3YEAR 2 Began today with a shower! Spent most of the day repairing the two fence panels that I had taken down earlier. Quiet hard work but satisfying.

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