The Corona Chronicles ~ 2

Well that’s my first week of isolation done, and no symptoms so my clients at work were presumably all clear, at least when they saw me. Phil of course is still going into work. Although there have been 3 C19 deaths at his hospital so far they haven’t had to use the Operating theatre staff, but they are wearing protective eyeware, plastic aprons and gloves to deal with the emergency operations they have to do. When he gets home he heads straight to the shower, puts all his clothes in a bag and they go straight in the washing machine. I open all the doors so he doesn’t have to touch the handles. Any shopping is disinfected and decanted into clean pots where necessary, and the kitchen surfaces disinfected afterwards. Bags all discarded, hands scrubbed with soap. I haven’t been out except once to the local shop and though we shoppers stood 2 meters apart, the corridors are thin and the lad filling the shelves brushed by everyone on his way, sigh.

Last week the nation stood outside their houses or leaned out of their windows and clapped and wooted and banged saucepans to applaud our NHS staff. When we heard it was going to happen Phil said he didn’t need people to clap for him, he needed the NHS to be better funded, have personal protection kit, and for people to stop voting for the Tory Bastards as he calls them. But when it kicked off and we could hear the amount of people on our estate who participated he was quite surprised, and a little chuffed I think. It IS nice to be appreciated.

Luckily we have had some sunny days, even though it was too cold to bask in it, and I turned my camera on now and then and took some photo’s. My blossom tree is shedding petals now in the wind and looks a bit bare, but it was lush when it reached full bloom and I sat and waited for the blutits to come so I could get a picture of one amongst the blossom.

bluetit and blossom

I turned the Helios loose on the tree too,

Last year I bought a Japanese maple which doesn’t like wind and as we had a surfeit of that last year it promptly died, or so I thought, but it appears to be working again so I thought I’d best catch it quick.

Resurrection

Mum’s plant is firing up, I can never remember the name of it, though someone tells me anytime I post a picture of it, it will always be just Mum’s plant in my head.

Just before the red leaves appear, it produces tiny bell shape flowers which the bees seem to love.

Bee bells.

There’s a lot of huge bees around this week, mostly getting trapped in our conservatory and having to be rescued and released. Maybe Queens looking for places to nest. I found one in our water barrel on it’s back, flapping it’s wings and buzzing for all the world like it was having an angry swimming session, I rescued that one too. 🙂

The conservatory plant, another resurrection, is up and running with new leaves

Wait for me!!

and my Mothers Day flowers from Shelley and the kids are still going strong after 3 weeks.

Phil finished his labour-of-love tank last week, most of you have seen the work in process shots I’ve taken along the way last year. He photographs it against a white card backdrop which he tapes to the conservatory table and pegs up on the clothes drier. On Thursday he went to take his shots of the finished tank, and when he’d finished, cleared away the drier having forgotten the tank was still on the table. ‘Oops’ was not the word I and the rest of Gateshead heard as it shimmied off the paper and crashed to the floor.

He’s had to put it all back to rights of course, but was not a happy person for a few days while doing so. All done now though, and the little men in, I’ll get a shot of it when it’s sorted and on the base, (before he drops it hopefully 😀 :D)

At the weekend we had a video call with Phil’s son and daughter which lasted an hour. It’s a good way to keep in touch and just have a chat and a laugh.

I’ve decided to work on a couple of books of photos I’m planning on doing, and that will take some time to sort, so I’m definitely making the most of the lockdown, just got to decide what I’m going to do, I’m thinking of a book on the castles I’ve photographed for one, arty farty flowers for another, and maybe Newcastle, but I’m not sure which to choose first, if at all. I don’t suppose it matters, they’re only for me.

I am restricting my input of news, reading the paper each morning and hear the odd snippet on the radio, is bad enough and I may have to stop reading the paper and go straight to the crossword, as mostly it’s bad stuff and there’s nothing much I can do about it. Instead of the 6 o’clock news we watch Narcos on Netflix, before that it was Narcos Mexico so I’ve learned a lot about how not to run a drug cartel 🙂 and am not adding Mexico or Columbia to my list of places to visit before I die. Though at this rate I won’t be visiting anywhere except the back garden and my shed.

I started doing excercises last week. Most of the country and lots of people in other countries have been doing the Joe Wicks live stream excercises on Youtube at 9am here. He started doing it for kids, but because he looks like a cross between Jon Snow, & Heathcliffe all the Mummy’s hearts went a-flutter and now everyone’s joining in and he’s getting famous. Yes he gets revenue from adverts on his channel but he’s donating 100% to the NHS so he’s nearly a saint now. I did his workout last Tuesday afternoon, and couldn’t walk without ouching for 3 days, sitting down and standing up was like a knife sticking in my bum, and I’ve just about recovered enough to sit on the sofa and watch him! 😀 😀

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=joe+wicks

So week 1 over, and as Phil is not at work today we are planning a walk into the greenery around where we live this afternoon, if the rain holds off, and I’ll take a camera with me. Hope all my pals who visit here are keeping well and sane,

stay frosty my friends!

Jan 6th – Movie Monday

Here at Fraggle Towers we have 2 movie nights a week, Phil’s ‘Grim Movie’ night on a Thursday, mostly consisting of war movies so far, and my ‘Fun Movie’ night on a Saturday, so this year I’m going to tell you what we’ve been watching, and maybe you’ll be inspired to see one, or most probably inspired to miss them!

Last weeks Grim was possibly the grimmest yet that Phil has subjected me to, the title of which is City of Life and Death (2009. It is a chinese production directed by Lu Chuan and is set in 1937, not long after the start of the 2nd Sino-Japanese war. It tells the story of what happened when the Japanese Imperial Army overran Nanking, and the dreadful acts carried out over several weeks by the Japanese on the Chinese civilians, and captured soldiers, historically known as the Nanking Massacre. The only other film I’ve seen about this is another chinese movie, Flowers of War (2011), but that had Christian Bale starring as John Rabe, the priest trying to save chinese refugees in the city, so that it would appeal to western audiences. City of Life and Death does not pander to Hollywood. It is beautifully shot in black and white, and won several awards for the cinematography by Cao Yu. There is no music soundtrack, and it didn’t need one, you can’t set this much awfulness to any score. The acting is far beyond anything I’ve seen in other chinese movies, and the actors and actresses involved invoke emotional responses that touch the depths of the soul. It caused a fair bit of controversy in China when it was released, as part of the movie is told from the perspective of a Japanese soldier, and he is humanised, compassionate even, and conflicted by the events unfolding around him. It was nearly pulled from theatres and the director received online death threats. The movie is both brutal and gentle at times, visceral and sensitive. It is one of the best films I’ve ever seen, and if you can handle it, so worth seeing.

Most of you know I’m a Marvelholic, and for several Saturdays now we’ve been doing the MCU movies starting with Iron Man, and we will eventually end with Spiderman Away From Home. This Saturday we watched the first in the new Spiderman movies, Spiderman Homecoming (2017). Firstly I’m going to have to say Phil is not a Marvelholic, but he has a softspot for Spiderman from when he was a lad and he has mostly enjoyed the movies we’ve done so far. Unfortunately this version of Spiderman in the MCU is really disappointing, and neither of us were sad to see it end. The cast is fine, lovely to see Marisa Tomei as Spidermans Aunt, and Tom Holland as the new Spiderman does a good job with what he’s given, but for us it was all a bit juvenile (I know, he IS a teenager!). Spidermans sidekick Ned is played by Jacob Batalon, and the dialogue between them is annoyingly superfast and hard to follow, and quite asinine , unless you are under the age of 12 when perhaps it sounds cool. It was funny though to see a former Batman, Michael Keaton playing a bad guy in a ridiculous flying wrap around tank. Spiderman Far From Home has had a much better reception, so I am hoping it is a damn site better than this junk. I have seen the earlier Spiderman movies with Andrew Garfield in the 2012 and 2014 versions, much better than the 2017 one, and also the Tobey Maguire 3 movie series which kicked off in 2004, and those are far and away the ones I would recommend.

Back to work today, and the rather droopy plant, (some kind of orchid I think) that I chucked some water on before I left my clinic, has produced a copious amount of flowers whilst I was away, somethings are better left alone it seems. Especially Spiderman. 🙂

Day 281

We are well into cold weather now, though no rain today. Over the past couple of weeks all my garden flowers have died, no more dahlias, viola or lilies left. But the begonia is blooming away, ignoring the fact that winter is coming, and I’m happy to see it when I look out the window.

Day 281 ~ Begonia not begoing.

Weird thing happened last night, all the hedgehog food had been eaten, but nothing was caught on the trail camera. Something must have a Cloak of Invisibility. We did catch a cat at 6am, but he/she didn’t go near the food tray. 🤔

Day 236

Two days into my 60’s and already my immune system is deteriorating 🙄 . I woke up this morning wondering why my vision included a weird bulge under the right eye. When I looked in the mirror the soft skin under that eye is swollen up and filled with fluid. Also most of the right side of my face is puffed out. On further examination (prodding) I found it hurt to do so, and am assuming now I have a tooth abscess. FFS! I’m majorly fed up as I scrupulously clean my pegs and floss at least 3 times a day because I don’t like dentist trips. I envisage a trip to the dentist next week though 😢

Consequently it’s hard to take photographs as I use my right eye and anyway I can’t go out looking like I just about survived a round with Mohammed Ali so I did my beautiful lilies instead. They’ve really opened up now and their perfume is pervading the whole house. Gorgeous!

lily

one is never enough though 🙂

day 236 ~ lilies

Day 233

Today is the last day of my 5th decade. Phil’s lovely daughter delivered my favourite flowers (seen here) and wine and chocolates for me to have tomorrow, and Phil is taking me out to lunch. I keep thinking phrases like ‘in the twilight of my years’, ‘eligible for a senior railcard’ (thanks April!) ‘over the hill’ and ‘sixty is the new 40’ (no it isn’t – and thank god for that, a lot of my 40’s were horrendous!) but really I’m still 20 in my head, so none of it makes much sense and I’ll carry on being me regardless.

(I wish the bloody Govt hadn’t altered retirement dates, I should be retired tomorrow and having a high old time, but a couple of years ago they moved the goal posts and I have to wait until I’m 66 now 🙄 as I need the pension I get then, not being a wealthy Tory politician or the like). I love my job so I probably would have stayed working anyway, but it’s the principal.

Anyway here are my lovely lilies, they smell devine and the aroma is spreading through the house. Lovely!

Day 233 ~ lily day

Day 223

Sophies other half is visiting her (he lives in Spain) at the moment, so Phil and I were due to go on an outing with them today. Hadn’t quite decided where, but since seeing the weather forecast, it was decided not to go, and good job too. It started raining here at 11am and it’s still raining now 9 and a half hours later, with no sign of stopping. I will need an ark to go to work in tomorrow. So a leisurely Sunday indoors, and I cooked a Sunday lunch instead, which was yummy, but I’d rather have gone out in some sunshine!

Couldn’t get inspired for photography I’m afraid, so just a boring shot of the roses I got the other day.

Day 223 ~ Roses

Day 219 & Tales from Fraggle Towers

WTF is going on with bugs this year?? I’ve now been bitten quite badly twice since the last one I posted about. One on the other arm which is quite itchy and painful and at the weekend some nasty blighter crawled up my trouser leg and got the back of my knee! Didn’t know of course til the next day when the excruciating itching began. It turned into a really hard lump with a black thing in the middle of it, so last night I got Phil to cut it open and scrape it out and he did a good job, seems to be getting better anyway. I never normally suffer from bites, so am feeling quite peeved that whatever is out there is looking at me and seeing lunch! Consequently I am slathering myself in Jungle Formula (50% DEET) every morning in the hopes of fending them off, but Chanel No.5 it ain’t!

Also WTF is going on with peoples ears?? I am maxed out on appointments at work, since the kids broke up for school, and having to double book appointments to get through them all. Good job I’m super speedy and efficient! I guess everyone’s saved up their waxy ears for when they are on holiday so they don’t have to take time off work to get them done. Roll on September and I might be able to catch my breath.

Talking of September, it’s only a month until my holiday, and I haven’t even started researching where I want to visit or thinking about clothes etc. AT least my camera lenses are sorted 🙂 I have 2 new ones of late, one a Fuji 16mm (the older cheaper one) and the other a £40 old Russian Helios 44 I had to buy a special mount for to fix it to the XT2. The Helios I have fallen in love with. I’ll do a post on that if I ever get time. Life is so busy!!

Anyway I bought some flowers to play with in the shed, and here are the results, taken with the Helios. Did I say I’ve fallen in love with it? 🙂

Day 219 ~ Roses and swirly bokeh