Corona Chronicles ~ 8

I’ve been back at work 3 weeks now, the first two weeks I did full time hours to clear the backlog of people wanting wax removal. When I returned for my first day my clinic room had been completely revamped!

New flooring, new furniture, everything very minimal and easy to clean. Over the past 3 weeks I’ve de-waxed 146 people. We provide them masks and hand sanitiser before they come in to see me and I am gloved aproned and masked!

The Creature from the Black Lagoon!

The goggles are magnifying loupes with a head light, but I am getting a fancy-pants new one on a headband soon as this one is past it’s sell-by date! So far it all seems to be working well, but I am booked solid every day now so knackered by the end of the shift. I was quite worried when I first went back and didn’t sleep too well wondering if I was going to be infected with the damned plague, but I seem to be OK (so far) and I’m all ‘que sera sera’ now. Have done my best to minimise risk for me and the patient, and that’s all I can do.

In total, 1,415 people who had tested positive for coronavirus have died across the North East’s hospital trusts according to data released by NHS England today. According to the latest figures released by Public Health England yesterday there are 10,535 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the North East – a rise of 7 from Monday, June 22. Still sneaking up.

Our bonkers Prime Minister has loosened the lockdown yet again so people can go to pubs and the hairdressers, which is good for all the people in danger of losing their jobs, but not so good for those that will catch the plague from enjoying this new freedom.The North East where I live is very pub-centric, yes you get a few wine bars in Newcastle but the towns and villages have proper pubs, and Mackem men in particular are known for spending Sunday afternoons down the pub while wifey cooks a Sunday roast so I imagine it won’t be long until the 2nd wave kicks off up here. I can’t see them wearing masks whilst having a beer with their buddies!

Anyway I’m taking no notice of BoJo, will keep at 2 meters or more from everyone and I didn’t go to pubs anyway so they are not on my radar. Not done much photography of late though I keep up with my weekly challenge shots , HERE.

Our wildlife are still entertaining us, Halfmags is still hopping around our front and back gardens, but getting a picture of him now is difficult as he runs like the wind if he gets a sniff of the camera. Hedgehogs are still coming most nights and we’ve 2 trail cameras on the go now for the front and back gardens. They tailed off after the rains started, so presume they were finding bugs and the like more easily with the ground being so wet, but we still get a visitor or two most nights. Sparrows, Blackbirds and Bluetits have all had chicks, and I caught this one having a rest in our empty bird food jar.

He stayed there quite a while having a little snooze πŸ™‚

Phil’s hospital has resumed doing routine operations on non-covid people so there’s a let up for Phil, he doesn’t have to wear the full astronaut gear when he’s doing those, so saying he sent me a text at work today he was doing a covid patient not only dressed up in full gear but also having to wear a heavy lead apron throughout as X-rays were done all through the operation. I can vouch that even wearing aprons, gloves and a mask makes you hot & sweaty so he must have been melting under all that.

The weather is hot here today, and likely to be again for tomorrow, but only for two days with more rain predicted for the weekend, saves me watering the plants I suppose! So that’s all from Fraggle Towers.

The Corona Chronicles ~ 6

It’s been a couple of weeks since my last update, really nothing much changes here at Fraggle Towers. The rest of the country has changed though as now people can drive to where they want to go to do their exercise. Social distancing is supposed to be still ongoing, but that’s failing everywhere with public transport packed to the rafters as people who can’t work from home are now supposed to go back to work. My eye rolling is continuous when reading the newspaper, it’s all just bonkers. There will be a huge second wave I’m sure.

I am still mostly staying at home, and Phil is still working in theatres. He went in today and told me the traffic is back to normal, and he saw quite a few groups of people on his way home not doing the distancing. I’m thinking there’s a lot of people who either a) misunderstood what the advice was (easy when the government are such a shambles) or b) just don’t care anymore and are throwing caution to the wind. I keep my eye on the audiology group on facebook where there’s been tons of discussions/arguments about returning to work, the PPE we need for earwax removal and publishing of our governing bodies advice, which boils down to ‘go back to work and do your job but at 2 meters apart, unless you have to do face to face procedures when you have to have PPE’. Quite a few companies are opening up now and going back to doing wax removal, so I’ve done an online course in preparation which is all about PPE, donning, doffing, disposal of and the types you need for all situations. (Passed the assessment 100% πŸ™‚ ) So far my boss hasn’t called me back in, so I will wait and see how she plans to handle it all before I jump.

Before lockdown I was forever on a diet, lots of salads and healthy eating, and a fair amount of walking, but that’s all gone out of the window, and I’m cooking comfort food. Annoyingly I haven’t put any weight on, which is a good thing really, but begs the question, what was all the depravation for??

chef’s corner

This year was supposed to be my year of film shooting, but that’s off now, yes I could do some rolls, but the lab I get them developed at isn’t up and running at the moment, so I haven’t the heart for it, but I’ve got a few instax films to get through as consolation.

I’ve also made a first attempt at making pastry and pasties, corn beef with veg, and chicken, bacon & mushroom, they turned out quite well and the one we had for dinner was so yummy! I am turning into a proper Geordie.

Pasty day

Also made a lamb byriani from scratch, (see chef’s corner above!) which was yummy too.

I will no doubt be appearing on Masterchef or British Bake Off if I keep this up. Not! πŸ™‚

lamb byriani

We have had another wildlife addition to the garden. It started a few days ago with a commotion in our conservatory, and when we looked there was a magpie in there who had got confused tripping about in our blinds. He’s had some sort of altercation either with other birds or a cat, and didn’t have any tale feathers left, with a raw bum where they should have been.

I took a quick snap before placing a towel over him and then Phil lifted him out and put him in the garden. He seems to be OK and runs around really fast, which he has to do because he seems to be on the run from two flying magpies who swoop and attack him when they catch site of him. He is hiding in the Leilandi at the back of the garden, and they couldn’t find him yesterday, but today I saw them swoop into the hedge.

The Hunted One

I haven’t seen him yet today, so they either killed him off, or he’s keeping schtum. The pair of blackbirds who live in there and I think are breeding, are not too happy about it all, and Mr. Blackbird spends a lot of time patrolling under the hedge. We have nightly visits from hedgehogs, 3 different ones last night and I’m keeping the hedgehog Youtube channel up to date when anything exciting happens, mostly they just visit the feeding station, snuffle about and then disappear, but I did get some of the daft mating ritual which went on for 2 nights! There’s a lot going on in our little urban garden!

Hopefully, when the novelty of driving to places for exercise wears off for people, Sophie and I will have a meet up. Unfortunately she doesn’t drive, so it will have to be somewhere in Sunderland, I’ll be all right if I wear a crucifix and a garlic necklace. (Just kidding!! if any Mackems are reading πŸ™‚ )

Well that”s the end of this update, so far so good, and Phil and I are doing OK. We are keeping well, and have our hobbies that keep us busy and out from under each others feet, and we get on really well when we spend time together, but I know that isn’t the same for everyone, so feel quite lucky in that!

Stay alert people! 🀣🀣🀣.

Stay tooned for Monday Movies next week.

The Corona Chronicles ~ 5

Here we are again, it’s kinda like that movie Groundhog Day, only more people are dying every day so perhaps not. Sorry, just watched last nights Panorama on the lack of PPE for frontline workers in the hospitals, and seen the exposure of the incompetence, and stupidity of the government, and the lies they have told. It is criminal. There is still not anywhere near enough protective kit for the length of time this virus is going to be with us. The programme made me so angry, and I cried over it. Probably not the best thing to have watched straight after Phil has gone to work his first night shift this week.

My hubby.

He worked some shifts last week, and it isn’t easy to do 13 hours in full astonaut kit sometimes for 3 or 4 hours at a time during an operation. In ICU the nurses do it in 2 hour swaps, so they get a break, but there’s not enough staff to do that in theatres as they’re either off sick or seconded to ICU πŸ™„.

I heard on the news we’ve become 2nd only to Italy in the European Death Race, go us.

OK sorry, sorry, Fek me I don’t mean to be a doom and gloom merchant, but it’s just so astronomically sad, and it didn’t have to be like this.

I needed to get that off me chest!

Onwards ever onwards, what is going on with the weather?? It’s been almost summer-like here for about 3 weeks. I guess really this is what Spring used to be like before clouds took over. I have been musing that perhaps because there is so much less shit being put into the atmosphere from planes and boats and trains and cars, that there’s nothing to make many clouds from any more. πŸ™‚ It has been so cool to see video’s of animals ‘taking back the world’ too, this makes me smile. 😊

I have returned to playing with Potatoshop Photoshop to make twirly things out of normal photos.

I made this from the photo of the sunset I posted in my last Chronicle.

Wardley Sunset

and this from a collage of iphone selfies I took on our travels abroad, that I then made into a Wedding Anniversary card for Phil (8 years last Monday!) I’ll spare you the original 🀣

Groovy

I’ve also been esconced in my shed with bits of wire, water,dandelions, and little people.

seed
Seed Forest
Shelter in a storm
Wiggles
Domination
Hanging On
Bound

A fair amount of mess was made in the process. I need to perfect these somewhat, they’re not bad for first attempts but hopefully I will regale you with better ones next time.

Ther has been an affaire du coeur in our garden last week. We had two hedgehogs snuffling together in a mating ritual that was a) funny as fek, b) interminable and c) noisy. The chap Hedgehog (they’re called Hogs, and lady hedgehogs are called Sows, but they seem too cute for that), snuffles around the Lady Hedgehog, going around her in circles and snorting at her nether regions. It goes on for ages. We kept popping out from watching our movie to see if they were still going, and he was snuffling for about 3 hours all told. Dammit though they went off to the dark part of the garden where the cameras can’t pick them up, still I got videos of the 2 of them in the garden and it’s up on the Youtube Hedgey channel. (Link in the menu) If they did The Deed, (and I so hope they did!) the hoglettes will be out and about at the beginning of July. Fingers crossed they turn up on camera.

So that’s it folks, hope you are all well, keeping your chins up and staying frosty.

The Corona Chronicles ~ 3

Week 3 and things are deteriorating at Phil’s work as the Corvid cases increase in the North East. On Sunday (while social media was posting pictures of people gathering in parks and not social distancing), Phil was seconded to the Intensive Care Unit for the first time, where they have a couple of CV19 cases. First he had to be sent to have a mask fitted, there are 2 types of fitted mask, and once it has been fitted to your face they then test it’s efficacy. Neither mask worked for Phil, and leaked when tested on him, so he had to do without. Back in ICU they had him being a ‘runner’, which means he stands in the corridor outside a cubicle in which there’s a patient being nursed by a nurse in full astronaut gear. She holds up the patients readings and he copies it onto a sheet outside the door, and passes through anything the nurse asks for. The corridor is narrow, no social distancing possible and lots of people in it. By the time he did his next shift, yesterday, it was decided he couldn’t go to ICU without a fitted mask, nor could he do his normal job, as intubating patients in theatre carries a risk of airborne infection and all patients, in the absence of testing, are deemed CV19 positive until otherwise informed. So he is now a runner outside the anaesthetic room, passing through equipment etc to the anaesthetist and Operating Dept Assistants inside. We are, selfishly, quite glad it worked out that way, as he won’t deal directly with patients, but he’s not holding out much hope of the virus bypassing him, 3 of his colleagues are off sick or self isolating, and one of his colleagues’ Mum was diagnosed with it on Wednesday and was dead by Sunday. He came home last night after a 13hr shift completely drained, and is thankful he went part-time a year ago, though he may be required to do more if the staff are depleted too much.

I am cooking nice things to cheer him up! I have been amusing myself with my camera, and yesterday afternoon spent 2 hours doing splash photograpahy. I don’t have the right lighting for it but had a go anyway in a sunny patch in the kitchen, 284 photo’s taken and all got deleted! 🀣 but it was fun trying and making a mess. I tried again today in the garden hoping sunlight would do the trick, and had better results, but still pretty rubbish.

Diving Homer

Because I’d not been happy with the afternoon’s results yesterday I thought I’d have a bash at shooting the moon, but first I tried a shot of Venus, which is really bigger and brighter than other stars and planets at the moment. I don’t have a superduper lens to get any detail of it, but if you click on the picture to embiggen it you can also see the constellation Pleiades (known as the seven sisters) just below it.

rubbish shot of Venus and Pleiades.

the moon was easier πŸ™‚

it wasn’t pink

Also to amuse meself I’ve been creating arty farty abstracts from old flower shots,

helter skelter
portal

that one is my favourite so far.

I haven’t been out much, walked up to the shops and back but it’s a pain dodging dog walkers and kids on bikes along the way. I started a Yin Yoga course to keep me fit which I’m actually liking doing so might stick with it!

The hedgehogs are back and we are getting 2 or 3 visiting in the wee hours, here’s last nights visitors, click on through to the big version on Youtube, you can see the hedgies better, there are a few more there from this week too.

I’m keeping up with my 52 frames weekly challenge over on the universe blog, thanks to those of you who’ve visited and commented, I really appreciate it. This is the link https://fragglerocking.org/project-type/52-frames/

also I’ve done another section for the Photographic anthology here https://fragglerocking.org/project-type/anthology/

(Kim the links might work for you now πŸ™‚ )

and so a little smile to end this one with….

🀣🀣

Day 284

I have kept this Basil plant alive for 3 days now, though I fear for it’s life. It needs so much water and I forget. So long as it lasts long enough to embellish my homemade tomato soup nexxt week, I will be happy.

Day 284 ~ Basil

Night-Garden News- we found out that we didn’t have a hedgehog with a cloak of invisibility, we had a rat. πŸ™„ No hedgehogs for a couple of days. We noted the rat, or Roland as he’s now known, visited at the same time every night, well morning really, 1.27am as it happens. So we made the decision to put hedgey food out, but take it in at bedtime. That night Roland came, got a bit confused when it wasn’t there and buggered off. Then half an hour later a HH turned up and so had no food. Groan. We did the same the next night but Roland didn’t turn up (hah we thought, sorted) but the HH did after the food was removed. So we went back to leaving it out and guess who turned up? but the HH didn’t. Back to taking the food in again at our bedtime. Over the past couple of nights we’ve had Mini-Mouse in the food bowl & Cyril snail, but the HH comes after the food is indoors. No further sign of Roland. We’ve also had visiting cats, Stripes & Mrs Fuffy, they know there’s mice living in our Bar-B-Q!! Any way if you need a laugh I keep the Hedgehog Cam (link in the menu up top) up to date with new characters and goings on.

I feel like I’m living in a wildlife programme, as at the front the happy eater tree is serving a herd of spuggies,blue & great tits , a couple of robins, 2 collared doves and a magpie. There were a couple of thrushes which I hadn’t seen any of in a long time, but not spotted those yet since the move back to the tree.

Off out with Sophie tomorrow to see a 14th century pele tower. I do love me some medieval architecture!

Day 280 ~ Hedgehog News

Over the past couple of weeks the Hedgehog sightings have become fewer and fewer. Henrietta has been the longest term visitor, but we hadn’t seen her for about a week now. We thought she was possibly pregnant and birthing had happened, but no sightings of her with hoglets sadly. Harriet is long gone, Mr.Munchy was here for 4 nights last week but then no more, Archie & Slash both were two nighters. Then we’ve had 2 nights without any HH’s at all, but last night Miss Splotty turned up for a while, and later on I’m sure Henrietta came back, but looked smaller, so whether it’s a different HH with very similar markings, or she’s had her babies, I can’t really tell.

In the forums of Hedgehog street website this happens at this time of year, and loads of HH watchers are saying the same thing, as hibernation starts to kick in, though it seems a bit early to me.

We’ve got quite fond of Henrietta and bought a hedgehog house for her to have her babies in, tucked under the Leilandi at the back of the garden, camouflaged with branches over it, and dry leaves inside for them to make a nest. It’s quite roomy in there. Unfortunately Henrietta disappeared before it arrived πŸ™„. I am thinking that like the birdbox I put up on the fence 5 years ago, and the bug hotel I put up 2 years ago, nothing will ever use it! Still, early days! We live in hope! Anyways this is it .

Day 280 ~ Hoggy Home.

Day 249

I’m just about packed and ready to go at 5.30 tomorrow morning πŸ₯΄ flight times are so awful sometimes! I’m leaving you with an update on Garden Watch. This morning, as in most mornings, the Band of Spuggies had a bath in the hedgehogs drinking water,

Day 249 ~ Spuggy splash

I’m still setting up the trail camera every. night and so far we’ve identified 3 different hedgehogs,

This is Stripey, not sure yet off it’s a boy or a girl
Harriet, definitely a girl
Rodger the reprobate (he pillaged Harriet at the beginning of the week)

finally a very short video of Stripey and Harriet sharing dinner πŸ™‚

Harriet & Stripey