Nervous week . . .


It had been a busy start to the week at work. The cafe had been full on Monday which resulted in a later than normal finish. Tuesday was quieter, but we had a few customers that turn up five minutes before we close. They just sit for ages chatting whilst the staff are running around them putting tables away and generally tidying up. So that was another late finish.

The next day the eldest, his partner, and our granddaughter came for lunch. They usually arrive just after the young one has had a sleep. This often means they don;t arrive until about 2pm, which as they go swimming first makes lunch happen around 3pm. By that time, any feelings of hunger have dissapeared and the food just outfaces me. But it was a very pleasant afternoon.

Thursday morning started with a jolt. I received a message from a colleague who is also a neighbour advising that I do a lateral flow test, as another colleague who was working on Monday had tested positive for COVID-19. It was devastating news, as it could have massive consequences for us all. My test was negative thankfully and so was the repeat test on Friday. Another test this lunchtime showed negative again, so I guess I got away with it.

It’s reduced hours at the cafe this week, because of staff shortages. One is on holiday and two are self-isolating, so we are down to three staff on the floor. It’s going to be a long week for them I think.

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I’ve not been following the Olympics much, as I don’t think they should have gone ahead, given the way the pandemic is going in Japan. But with so many Leeds athletes taking part, you kind of get swept up and carried along. Especially when one of the athletes (Jessica Learmonth) is from the same village and has done so well.

It was also good to see the Diver, Tom Daley sat poolsside watching, whilst doing some knitting. He is well known for his knitting and I understand that he is quite acomplished. The only thing that slightly bugs me is that the only male knitters that you see are from the LGBTQ+ communities. Why are all the ‘straight’ male knitters hiding. I know they exist, as I’m one of them, but you never hear of them. If you go back in time to the Middle Ages it was predominately men who knitted. I’ve knitted on and off since my Grandmother taught me at the age of around 6 or 7 years old.

A little stressful . . .


The youngest is with us this weekend. He came home on Friday morning for his fortnightly visit. This is always a little stressful for us. The reason being, that before he can come home, we have to have a negative covid-19 test. His residential care home have provided us with a quantity of testing kits and we do our test first thing, then contact the care home and let them know it is negative. We have to go through the same procedure again on the Monday morning, before he is allowed to return.

It was very worrying when we first started the test. We were concerned that we were not doing the test correctly and even more worrying that the test would show positive. After a couple of tests we became quite familiar with the procedure, but there was always that nagging feeling that one or both of would show positive either before he comes home or before he returns. It is now even more worrying as things start to open up more and people seem to more relaxed about social distancing, that the chance of a positive reading is possibly greater now than it was a couple of months ago.

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We went for our, now usual lunch on Thursday at Bar3, a local Coffee, Bar & Kitchen (as it is called) bar in Wetherby. Neither of us can face a whole meal, so we tend to share a wrap or a panini and have it split over two plates . They don’t seem to mind this as a few couples do the same. The café where I work tend to frown on ‘sharers’. The boss sees it as lost income, but surely it is better to have two people share a meal, than have them go elsewhere? Some people do push it a little too far though. Three people came in on Tuesday that had been in before. They decided they wanted to share a Greek Salad. In my opinion the salad is too much for one, about right for two but not enough for three people. The boss was not happy about three sharing and told them that she would have to make a charge for using the cutlery and extra plates! She was even a less happy person when they said they wouldn’t bother and left.

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Coming back to the testing thing. On Saturday morning, the post arrived and the was a letter with the NHS (National Health Service) logo on the front. I’ve been waiting for a while to be contacted as I have a problem with arthritis in both knees. Back in late 2018, I had an X-ray on them and I was told that the Dr’s would be in touch. At the end of January 2020, I received a letter explaining that appointments have been delayed and I would be informed about my condition as soon as they were able to confirm a date.

The about three months ago I received a letter, from the Government department, DoHSC (Department of Health & Social Care) inviting me to take in an “Important Survey” to would supposedly ‘help the Government avoid outbreaks of COVID-19″. My name had been picked out at random from many thousands to take part. I read the letter and decided that I didn’t want to take part. I have enough to deal with these days without having to take part in ‘voluntary’ studies. I shredded the letter and thought that would be the end of it. at the beginning of May, I got a reminder letter, again asking me to take part in the study. another letter for the shredder. The letter on Saturday was my ‘final’ reminder.

I couldn’t help thinking, where do they get the resources to send out three letters to someone who obviously is not interested (I would have actioned the first letter if I had been). And, why use the postal system, when they have my personal email address that the Dr’s surgery contacts me by. But then at the end of the day, it’s not the NHS that is doing this. It’s the DoHSC in conjunction with a London college and a company that specialises in surveys and polls.

Good start to the day …


We have been hoping that our youngest can come home for a weekend visit today. He has been in ‘lock-down’ at his care home since he went back on 28th December due to him and others testing positive for the virus. The ‘lock-down’ on his unit was lifted on the 22nd and preparations have been in progress since the 10th.

So this morning, K*** and me had our Lateral Flow Test. Not a particular pleasant event, but the result came back negative. This (I believe) means that neither of us have the virus and that our son can come home for the weekend. So two great positives there.

Then, K*** got a text message from the doctors say that she can now book her test. Another great one. However, that was soon short lived as twenty minutes later she got another text from the doctors apologising for getting it wrong. Apparently the doctors had been given incorrect information. But here’s the interesting thing, she was half way booking online at the centre I had mine and decided that she would wait for the doctors to call. When the second message came through, she went back online and booked her appointment without a hitch. All a bit mysterious.

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I am giving the desktop version of WordPress another go. I had given up with the app because of issues I was not happy with. One of the issues is with the way when the app opens, it opens with the last post you have written with the app. In my opinion, it should open at a blank page with the option in the file menu to open a previous post. It gets a bit annoying if you create a couple of posts via the browser or Blogpad on the iPad, and then use the Desktop app and it opens an old post. In this (ver 6.10.0) and previous versions opening a new post is done via the Window menu which is a strange way of working. I have mentioned this in the forums and the answer I received was that the app was still a ‘work in progress’. There doesn’t appear to be much difference that I can see from the last few versions but I will persevere and see where it goes.

“Jab Done” …


I had my first Covid-19 jab yesterday. I had to go the a mass vaccination centre at Askham Bar Park & Ride car park, near York. I have to say it was an extremely well managed operation. There were signs on the A64, about a mile from the Park & Ride junction and once off the main road there were numerous signs showing the way. That, coupled with many officials directing cars made it one of the easiest things I had done.

Mass Vaccination Centre

Cars were parked with an empty bay separating each one. I was asked to wait in my car, and someone would come and tell me were to go. I was early by just 25 minutes and I told them I was not in any rush and didn’t want to queue jump. They told me that it wasn’t too busy and I could go straight in. Once in the centre, I queued along with the others for about 10 minutes before entering the ‘Vaccination Clinic’.

I was told to take a seat, whilst a member of the local Fire Service took my details. I had a list of my medications and dates of both my flu jab and last INR test. The doctor seemed a little reluctant at first, as he felt it would have been better if I had taken my last test last week. However I explained that if I had a problem, I could get an emergency INR test done the following day. I had the jab, waited in the car for 15 minutes and that was it. My second one is due on the 12th of May and the only side effect (and I’m not even sure it is a side effect) is a slight headache this morning.

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I noticed when I started WordPress up earlier in the week, that WordPress seemed to be a promoting a Podcasting service called Anchor.fm. After a bit of research, it seems that this is one of the biggest podcasting services around and it’s ‘owned’ by Spotify. From what I understand, it is only recently that WordPress.com has started using the service.

I have often wondered about doing some kind of podcast, but a couple of things have stopped me. Namely not knowing what to ‘cast’ about and the fact that I know what I sound like. I don’t like the sound of my own voice sometimes. There is a built in voice that will read text and convert it to audio. The downside is that the built-in voice is American as you would expect. I have tried this new service, and succeeded in converting one of my posts into an audio post (now deleted). It worked quite well, I thought but it sounded a little weird with the accent. I may have to give it another go using my own voice.

Nearly forgot the title …


Some people are really quite lazy. I had to take some bottles to the recycling bank in the village. The banks are Bottle Bankabout 300 yards away from the house so for me I have to use the car and I usually combine the trip with a visit to some local shops. I set off and as I approached the main road, a car reversed out of a drive at the end of our road. I stopped to allow him to get out and he waved a thankyou. He turned onto the main road and sped off quickly reaching 30mph (in a 20mph zone) before turning into the bottle bank site. He was out of the car, lighting a cigarette when I pulled up. He opened his car boot, took out 2 small glass Coke bottles and dropped them into the recycle bin. He climbed back into his car and sped of back the way he came. As I passed the end of my road on the way to the Post Office, I saw his car parked back in his drive. Considering that the recycle area is only about 100 yards from the end of our road, I thought it was amazing that he drove there.

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We had some hopeful news yesterday. Our youngest son, who is in lockdown at his residential CV19(3)care place my be able to come for a ‘home visit’ from 22nd of February. I say hopefully, as it all depends on there being no more Covid-19 outbreaks.  All the residents and staff will have had there vaccinations by then so it is quite possible. However I’m not that optimistic. Things like this have a knack of “coming up behind you and smacking the back of your head“, which was a phrase my ex-manager used to say. But we shall wait and see and keep everything crossed.

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screenshot_20210206-165022-1Looking like we are heading for a good week of snow and cold winds again. It is also looking like it might be a lot worse than last time. We are told that is very cold wind coming in from Northern Europe which will prevent the fast thaw we had before. Although the weather forecast seems to depend on which television/radio/app that you use. It also depends on what time of day you check the forecast. I have doubts on the accuracy of the outlooks sometimes. I’m sure the forecast on my phone app has changed more than once in the past couple of days.

More up and down …


downloadThis week has been a bit up and down again. The dishwasher was fixed. It seems there was a small piece of plastic stuck in the pump. It was only about the size of a small child’s fingernail, but was jamming the pump and stopping it from working. A local person came Tuesday lunchtime and fixed it within about 30 minutes, and that included having a look at our oven which hadn’t worked properly for a couple of years. That’ll be fixed over the weekend. We are going to keep this guy’s number.

Then came the downer! Our youngest son is Autistic and is in the ASDprocess of being phased in full-time residential care. He had been going on a Monday, sleeping 11 nights in his own flat and then coming here for a weekend visit. They test him on a weekly basis for C19 and unfortunately, he tested positive. They let us know yesterday morning. It’s a mystery how he got it though. His care team haven’t tested positive and being Autistic he doesn’t socialise with anyone else in his unit, so who knows. He seems to be okay and not showing any symptoms, but they are keeping a close eye on him. All very distressing. He was supposed to be coming home next week to have dental surgery, but that’s all put on the back burner for now. Looks like he’ll be on ‘lock-down’ until the end of March. The amazing thing is that for a person, because of his condition doesn’t accept changes easily he seems to somehow understand what is going on. We are very proud of him.

On the upside though, my father-in-law received his 1st vaccine jab on Tuesday. Which was a great relief for everyone.

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Then this morning we awoke to this scene:IMG_20210114_104851004_HDR It was expected, but not the amount that we have. At the time of writing (12:15) there looks to be about 4″ to 5″ at least. It seems to be getting a bit lighter and may even turn to rain later in the day. Not sure when it started.  I had to get up for a drink of water at around 5:00 and there was nothing then, so it must have come down quickly after then.

Difficult day tomorrow …


The youngest goes back to his residential place tomorrow. He has been home for the weekend which he does every fortnight. He knows he is going and we think (you never can tell) that he is looking forward to it. He sits at his computer desk with his legs crossed and waits for his transport to arrive. Then it’s a quick flick through a couple of YouTube videos and he comes downstairs to go.

He has a diary/calendar that shows when he goes away and the day he returns, as one of his Autism traits is that he needs to know what is happening. If he knows, then he seems to accept things better. It’s basically an Excel spreadsheet with different coloured cells for different events.

Tomorrow is different. Tomorrow he goes, and because of the restrictions, he will not be coming home until mid-December. This is different from the last time, during lock-down. Last time we didn’t know it would happen and there was no other option. This time, we do know and we could have had the option of him staying here with us. It may sound harsh, but he is better off in an environment that we know he enjoys, with staff that enjoy looking after him. When he is home, all he wants to do is be in his room. He will not go out unless it is on his planner, so it becomes very frustrating all round. He had to go for his flu-jab yesterday, and it took us nearly an hour to get him to go. Thankfully, the nurses at the surgery know him and were aware that he might be a little late. But they got there on time and all was well. The staff at the surgery are quite amazed that he just lets them do the injection, although he is like me (another story), he has to watch the needle going in so it doesn’t make him jump.

He does not know that he will not be coming home in ‘11 sleeps‘ as his staff will explain on Tuesday. He accepted it then, and it was felt that he may not want to go back if we told him. Very difficult decision.

Face coverings (Not a mask)


It seems to be a contentious subject. I think we all knew the new restrictions were coming . I remember say to my wife when it became mandatory on public transport, that wearing a covering in shops and supermarkets would be next. I just wish that this so called Government of ours were all singing from the same hymn sheet. On one hand we had A Government Minister (Micheal Gove) saying that it would be mandatory to wear one and two days later, the Prime Minister saying that it will be.

There seemed to be a lot discussions about the type of covering that we, the mere mortals should buy. We must not buy the proper disposal surgical coverings, as they should be kept for the health service workers. Although I didn’t think health staff would be nipping off to Aldi to buy a pack of ten coverings! But knowing how this Government has handled the whole PPE issue, maybe they are buying their own.

At the beginning of June, I took the plunge and bought a pack of four from eBay. They are washable, but no instructions included so assume they’ll have to be hand-washed. Not much to look at, from all accounts they will do the job they are supposed to … whatever that is! It’s not comfortable to wear, but you can take it off when you get outside as long as you use the sanitisers that are supposed to be provided. If the truth were known, it does make Mrs H move around M & S a lot faster and maybe spend a little less?

At the beginning of this month I decided that if face coverings were to be mandatory, then I wanted to have a little bit of fun with them. So it was back onto eBay. A quick search and I came up with these two charming ones. Roughly the same price as the first lot, but may cause a little bit of amusement.

The first time I wore my skeleton covering, I got quite a few odd looks in the supermarket, but now, nobody seems to bat an eyelid. It has become the norm for many people, but there are still a considerable number of people that don’t wear one, or wear them incorrectly.

Today, for example as I was getting out of the car in the supermarket car-park, a car pulled into the bay beside me. The driver was wearing a face covering and also those blue gloves that some people seem to like. He picked his shopping trolley and wandered into the store. As soon as he was out of sight of the ‘security staff’ on the door, the mask was pulled down to his chin. The world is full of fools!!

Life goes on …


It’s been nearly a month since my last post when my short series “From then to Now…” ended, and even longer since I posted a general collection of words. For a lot of people, it’s been a very strange time and very worrying time. My youngest son, who is Autistic has been in “lock-down” at his residential placement since the middle of undefinedMarch, and we have not seen him apart from the occasional Facetime message. The main worry was him accepting the fact that he could not come home. He was used to going off at 9:30 on Monday morning and returning at around 5:00pm on Friday. But he seems to have run with it and coped really well, mainly due to his support staff, who know him really well. It was explained to him from that start that he had to stay until August, and it looks like that might be the case. But who knows?

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Now for a bit of a rant. There are a few things that annoy me when RoundaboutI’m driving in the car. Firstly, those ‘people’ that do not acknowledge when you have given way to them, when you had the right of way. Doesn’t take much, headlamp flash, quick flick of the hand, anything like that. Then there are the ones that never indicate at junctions or roundabouts and the ones that are in the wrong lane at the roundabout. My instructor told me that in general terms, the left hand lane when approaching the roundabout is for drivers using either of the the first 2 exits with the right hand lane for all other exits. This of course only applies if there are no other indicator to the contrary.

Then we come onto the ‘cyclist’! I don’t understand why, when there is a safe cycle lane/path that the majority of cyclists choose to cycle on the road. I passed four Lightstoday riding the road next to a completely empty cycle lane. Why? I’m assuming, rightly or wrongly that it is because they have this sense of ‘green’ superiority and that they think we drivers should make way for them. Beyond me. Also, why do they all feel the need to were the full Lycra kit, when it is obvious that they don’t need to. And what happened to cycle headlamps?? All we see now is one of those little flashing LED lights that are too small to be seen until it is too late.