31 August 2020

Could it be Covid?

Paul was unwell over the weekend with tummy pains and diarrhoea.  More worrying was his very high temperature and slight cough.  I immediately de-camped to the guest bedroom.  On Sunday he still had a fever so we booked a Covid test at the local drive-thru centre.

The test centre was at the Lincoln Showground and was clearly signposted.  There were tents, portacabins and cones spread out over a large area.  At the entrance a man approached with a sign telling us not to get out of the car or open the windows.  We trundled on to the next checkpoint where a young woman indicated we ring the ‘phone number displayed on a large sign.  This was so that we could talk to her on her mobile and listen to instructions.  I suppose if you didn’t have a mobile they would just shout at you.

Paul was asked if he wanted to self-administer the test or have someone else do it.  He opted for the self test.  This may not have been a wise choice.  We trundled on to the self-test station.  Ring the number on the sign again.  Asked if anyone was sitting on the back seat.  What?  (We then realised that our rear seats have tinted windows so people outside can’t see in.)  I had to open the rear window so they could lob the testing kit into the back of the car. It was all starting to feel very surreal.

Trundle forward and guided to a parking bay.  There were stewards and cones everywhere.  We only saw one other car at the centre while we were there.  Paul opened the kit and read the instructions.  He had to swab his tonsils five times.  “Where are my tonsils, is it that dangly thing at the back of my throat?”  I told him to aim for the fleshy bits at the side of his dangly thing.  Of course it made him gag.  Then he had to put the swab up his nose before putting it in the specimen bottle and into a bag.

We then drove on to the next station.  Ring the mobile number again.  They checked the bag and scanned it.  Then we were instructed to open the car window and lob the bag into a bucket held at arm’s length by the centre worker.

We were thanked for visiting and guided out of the centre, cheerfully waving at the stewards. It was like a day out at the zoo.

Paul got a text and an e-mail today, 24 hours later, with the result.  Negative.  At least we know he hasn’t got Covid.  I’m still staying in the guest room.

26 August 2020

Splash of Colour

That was quite some storm that came through yesterday, torrential rain in the morning and very strong winds through the day and night.  Needless to say there were a few more blooms from the gladioli to rescue.  They certainly add some colour to my kitchen.  At this time of year there is always a large bowl in the kitchen with tomatoes, peppers, courgettes and fruit gathered from the garden.

The wind brought down a whole load of plums and apples, Paul raked them up this morning and put them in the compost bin.  A curious dog would easily get his nose stung by wasps if we left them on the ground.  There were still plenty of plums on the tree for me to pick.  I am very tempted to make the German Plum Cake suggested by Tigger (Tigger's Wee Blog) or Jenn’s Peach Pie recipe (coffeeontheporchwithme).  Watch this space.

Kat is moving around more easily now and accompanies Paul and Rick on their afternoon walks.  Today they walked up to the reservoir, the water level is still very low.  Rick would have loved to chase the ducks lined up on the opposite bank.

24 August 2020

Sunny Day

It's been a lovely day with clear, blue skies and a light breeze.  We have made the most of it because the next couple of days are going to be wet and stormy.  I picked another load of plums, de-stoned them and put them in the freezer.  I also made a plum tarte tatin and it came out as a sloppy mess.  Tasted good though.

Paul went to the local farm to buy milk this afternoon.  The milk is unpasteurised and sold in a self-service shack at the entrance to be farm.  I like to use it for making yoghurt, it's more creamy than the supermarket milk.

no milking stool required

Apart from doing two loads of washing I've had quite a lazy day, sitting outside reading, playing ball with Rick and just enjoying the sunshine.

These plants are pineapple lilies.  An interesting and structural looking plant, something new this year for our terrace.

Rick chasing his ball

21 August 2020

More Wine Making

It is incredibly windy today.  The potted Cordylines on the terrace have tipped over and several gladioli have snapped; I have a very impressive vase full of stems indoors now.  Luckily we picked a few ripe plums from the trees yesterday so their branches are unlikely to break.  Did I say a few plums?  We actually picked 9 kilograms!  After a dismal start we have had a splendid harvest of plums, with only a handful containing the plum moth caterpillar.

lush, juicy plums

So yesterday morning Paul and I sat down and quarterered and de-stoned the mountain of plums, while listening to Paul’s 60’s music playlist.  My fingers looked like they were nicotine stained by the time we had finished.

The first batch of early plum wine (one gallon) has been siphoned off into a demi-john where it should happily bubble away for a couple of months before being bottled.  The second batch (five gallons) is now in the fermenting bucket and should yield a better quality wine as the plums were bigger and riper.  Fingers crossed it turns out to be a nice, drinkable wine and not vinegar.

What’s next?  Well, the elderberries are just starting to look juicy and ripe…

Meanwhile Kat is just starting puzzle number five.

17 August 2020


When I take Rick for his walks around the local lanes I have to keep him on a lead. I would love to let him loose and I’m sure he would trot along nicely next to me.  But if he sees a car, a tractor or a bike he will charge off like a loon and give chase, he has zero re-call.  He therefore has to wear his harness but his leash is long and if all is quiet I let it out fully so that he can wander fairly freely and investigate all those interesting smells in the hedgerows.

This morning Rick took full advantage of his long leash.  I looked round and he had disappeared completely through the hedge and was very unwilling to come back. 

I think he had discovered some young rabbits playing in the field and couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t follow him through the hedge.  I had quite a tug-of-war getting him back.

back home with his toy bunny
waiting for papa to come home from the shops (he's not actually allowed on the furniture)

15 August 2020

Yee Haw

village hall

Yesterday the line dancing group officially restarted in the village hall.  Special measures were in place - hand sanitisers and disinfectant wipes placed strategically around the hall.  All the windows and doors were left open and we were careful to keep at least 2 metres apart from each other.  Coffee and chat after the session was not allowed.  These precautions made us feel slightly awkward and ill at ease.  Then the music started, we tapped our feet to the beat and we began dancing. It just felt like normal times again.

Of course I had forgotten some of the routines and had to quickly take avoiding action so as not to invade another dancer’s space.  Do you know that feeling when you turn and realise everyone is facing the other way and looking directly at you? But it was lovely to be back dancing and galloping around with the ladies of the village.