Covid-19 Shielding Diary

A blow by blow account, Month 10 continues from month9

30716/1The amber weather warning for snow turned out to be quite mild rain! Nipped to JL Food Hall to pick up milk and papers. Exercise today was a 45 min route past the station and back along the river side footpaths. On the display wired up the spacer dots and tested them successfully. The evening film was Our Kind of Traitor, a le Carré adaptation spy genre on the subject of Russian Mafia money laundering.
30615/1A new Bread machine (Morphy Richards fastbake) first run out. Used 50% white and wholemeal on the Basic recipe. Came out well. Good crumb, nice rise and tasty crust. Created the power train for the display project and tested, all 8 digits lit by manually setting each pair.
30514/1Morning video conference with the Tiered membership group to review research progress. Then took a refurbed chromebook to the ST Mary’s charity for them to give to needy family. Went looking for and found the PO special parcel drop off box on the Crossways. In the afternoon and evening completed wiring up the digits, next task is the spacer dots and the power rail. Did a WhatsApp happy birthday sing and candles with Sophie.
30413/1Got out for a longer morning walk of an hour in strange murky weather, visibility less than 100metres, glad we had waterproofs on it was Irish mist. Today’s bread was tasty, added 20% wholemeal flour and 10% more water than recent loaves. Did some work on 2 tier membership and the database. Completed another digit on the display.
30312/1Updated the PE Calendar and wrote to venues that would have hosted and a heads up to the Events Group. Completed two digits of the display testing as each segment completed so as to know if the data line was connected correctly. So now have four working digits.
30211/1Did the Monday morning cleaning exercise and bit of a tidy up. The grocery shop this week was an afternoon trip to pick up our click and collect at JL Foodhall. Very quiet we were nearer 20m distancing than 2m! Interesting finding with my 4 led test strip that it worked fine if I told the program there were only 2 leds, Must check tomorrow if program is working when it has more leds than are physically present. Had a short VC to discuss cancelling the early events on the Petanque calendar.
30110/1Morning walk round Castle Hill, no Observer at the Coop there! Noticeably frostier than at Ingress Park so 30 mins and we were done! On display project, separated my double digit but now the single digit test prog doesn’t work, very frustrating and messing with them is causing breakage of the contacts on pixel one so now definitely caput! Decided to do some more study on how to set the colours on my led strips and confirming the type, color_order and use of the HSV system rather than RGB.
3009/1Morning walk to Asda to get Saturday Guardian and then pruned the red currant bush and the dead mint stems. Two digits of the display are completed and worked individually but when joined to make a double digit – nothing. Could be the program for testing double digit is not right but suspect the reason may be physical. Watched Exeter v Bristol instead. A second consecutive below par Exeter performance saw them go down 7-20. Baxter has a job on, I would look at scrum half.
2998/1Set bread making in motion first thing, then back to bed with a coffee. Rise was not great and wonder if the flour is a bit low in gluten, will never know as that was the last of that bag. Getting very positive responses from PE members to the work we are doing to get through Covid. Got back to the display project 2nd digit soldered up and tested.
2987/1More PE Admin. Discovered that reminders were automatically being sent to about 2/3rds of members. Went through all the templates to turn reminders off. Watching CNN for the fall out on Trump’s people and their wild accusations. Very interesting interview by Wolf Blitzer of Colin Powell.
2976/1Major vacuuming effort – who needs exercise! Fielded questions on membership renewal and proposed a formula for calculating the 2022 Petanque England fees. Formed a bubble with S and boys. Amazing scenes in USA as protesters storm the Capitol to try and prevent the declaration of Presidential votes, They fail.
2965/1Made a white loaf which came out OK if a bit dense! Need to let it rise more or maybe get my yeast going before adding it. Spent nearly 3 hours on PE database queries and sending renewal notices to those who joined late 2019 so weren’t included in the 2020 auto renewal.
2954/1Did a big stint on the Display Project, Completed the drae wing and applied the led strips to the first 2 digits then cut the corner wired to length, and tinned the ends, tinned all the contacts (42) on the first digit and soldered it up. Continuity passed. Tried to test with the one digit programme but not getting signal propagation. Problem seems to be sizing of the resistor on the data line. Govt finally bite bullet and declare a lock down. Looks like we are paying for 4 weeks of hope and dither since the trajectory of infections was clearly set early December.
2943/1Morning outing to JL Foodhall for a big grocery shop. Change of practice to reduce our trips out by doing a week’s shop rather than 2-3 days. Mapped out and drew up the full 8 digits on the display board so as to accurately position the leds.
2932/1A brisk walk to Asda to get a Saturday Guardian showed my fitness is well down. Then a walk with M at the wharf. A nice change as it involved a take away Cortado from Costa. In the afternoon watched Wasps defeat a below par Exeter then made schnitzel and potato cakes for dinner. Watched the Dr Who from yesterday, not scary, just a bit silly.
2921/1So the New Year has arrived, Brexit will be a dead weight on our lives despite the silly hopefulness of Brexit ministers. Spent the morning reconciling our accounts and credit cards, no issues. M’s salmon curry in a hurry is always good but today she elevated it to new heights with the addition of yesterdays leftover lobster stew! Our walk took us out onto the marsh for the longest since the knee op but it was cold by the time we got back. Our film was Mr Holmes, sweet and a bit lugubrious. Thai Basil and Dill have germinated!
29131/12Activated the renewal PE membership process. A couple of issues immediately arose around the template email notice. Some were the old because not changed! One was the old despite having been changed which is a mystery. Had to bring the old website up to date reviving my ftp skills. New years eve dinner the Lobster/clam/langoustines in a saffron tomato sauce was prepared cooked and eaten! The evening film Dune drifter was a mistake, nothing to do with DUNE.
Happy New Year.
29030/12A morning of plumbing action. Replaced the weeping plug in the family bathroom and then replaced the flush mechanism in the toilet cistern in the ensuite bathroom. Now on drip watch – so far dry. Started reading up on RF remote control as it seems clear that I cannot get the range and accuracy required with IR for the display project. The outing today was the Gravesend promenade route which we cut a bit short as the temperature dropped significantly as the sun dipped.
28929/12Weirdly the float ball had dropped off the arm in family bathroom cistern! Found a new arm in garage and fitted it. Also tried to tighten the cistern plug that is weeping slightly but only partially successful – needs to come off and reseated tomorrow. All PE membership groups now poised for renewal. Sent out a link to latest Covid guidance. Our excursion today was to Waitrose for a big shop to take us into the New Year.
28828/12Worked on my display project getting the IR detector to work with my Arduino, Able to receive signals and demonstrate a rudimentary control of an elapsed timer. So clock and IR modules working at same time. Tested the range of the IR signal and not so good. More than 3m and though a signal is received the code changes and is not consistent. tried a number of transmitters with the same effect. Did some research and it seems that for a really good range I need to look at an RF solution. Got in a walk today but it was cold fingers and toes despite being well wrapped.
28727/12Completed reading “The world according to Physics” by Jim Al Khalili so now moving on to Christmas books. First up is Tim Harford’s “How to make the World Add Up. Moved members of the new Petanque NW to the correct groups on the membership database. Dinner was the oversize Christmas starter, Coquilles St Jacques en croute as a main with chips followed by the Apple Strudel Christmas pudding which was a bit disappointing. Desperate government spokes people are telling us what a good deal we now have with the EU. Hmmmmmm.
28626/12Happy Boxing day. Knuckled down and completed reviewing the draft organiser manual that has been sitting on my to do list for far too long. A rugby watching afternoon on TV, some of Harlequins 19-27 Bristol and all of Exeter 28 v 20 Gloucester. An evening watching a near interminable Montalbano!
28525/12Christmas day in the time of Covid! Santa has excelled with a big pile of presents. The internet held up well with family video chats working without buffering delays or drop outs. Some interesting gifts, his and hers Obama books, rugby origins, and .. M got me a herb hydroponic machine which I set up on the window sill in the small bedroom. Waiting for germination now. We made an excellent Rudolph and chestnut stew with creamy mash and broccoli for dinner. Starters were blini with cream chees and caviar. Helped down with a glass of champagne and then Chateau Neuf du Pape (thanks Tim). Only 2 degrees today so only a short walk round the estate.
28424/12Progress on the display project. Cut a piece of marine play to size and then painted it with white primer. On the programme front got the RTC working, set the time which it remembers! Able to get the date and time and to use it as a counter using an elapsed time variable. M’s plan for a party food worked very well so all set for Santa tomorrow.
28323/12Worked on the layout of my display project. Doing 8 digits the size and shape of the prototype would result in a display over 1.6m wide. So mocked up a scaled back version to get it on a 1.2m width marine ply board that I have. Also changed to vertical from slanted digit with 5 leds per segment instead of 6. Went to Wickes to get wood for the surround. All the electronics required have now been ordered and received. Rudolph (Santa) has delivered the forgotten parcel, great job UPS!
28222/12Up earlyish to take Santa’s forgotten parcel to the UPS drop off point in Swanscombe. Then to Rochester and Gravesend to drop off some presents and then finally to Waitrose to get something for Christmas dinner since our invitation to daughter has been cancelled. Clearly the population is now so demoralised that they cannot even do panic buying despite the Brexit Boys bringing Catastrogeddon upon us.
28121/12Morning exercise was a whizz round with the vacuum cleaner. The Govt. decision to blame a new variant for the spreading of Covid is scientifically dubious and is sure to backfire. Anyway, Christmas gathering is off so Santa went to Harlow park for our exercise and leave some presents in another car! Returned home to find a senior moment had struck and a very large present was still in the garage!!! Booked a courier service for tomorrow,
28020/12Morning spent making bread which turned out very good and was started for lunch. In the afternoon we did our exercise walk around the Gravesend fort gardens and then along the promenade. Spotted M’s sister at a distance and transferred a present. Made a nice Tandoori chicken and a potato and cauliflower curry for dinner.
27919/12Happy birthday Tim! Water is seeping round the hot tap pillar washer and onto the floor. Have to disconnect the tap to re seat it on the sink. Fortunately isolating valve worked but after descaling all the connections I couldn’t get the back nut to pull sufficiently tightly to keep the sink top water tight. Consulted Keith who suggested using a box spanner. To do that I needed a flexible connector so popped to Screwfix to get one (and a spare!). All back together. Then Boris comes on and confirms we are going to be having Christmas on our own, no travel now we are Tier 4. Government is blaming new variant which seems unlikely to be the only reason as all variants will be stopped by adequate distancing.
27818/12Out in the morning for our big pre-Christmas grocery shop at JL Foodhall. Managed to get the little tree presents I wanted for M. Finished all my wrapping! The Covid-19 rate in this area is going up despite the restrictions, not looking good for the Christmas holiday. responded to some interesting points on the Tiered membership raised by Ged.
27717/12Out by 9.30 am to Specsavers to choose new spectacles. Mission accomplished, lenses ordered, delivery in January. Followed up with our exercise walk by the Lightship on Gravesend river front. Dropped off the Hermes parcel that wasn’t collected, worked OK. Drafted a letter to go to PE clubs regarding the log books. Helped M dismantle her cardigan by unpicking the seams.