Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Yorkshire where every things done proper*

I looked out of the window this morning to see these two having a proper social distanced chat, it made me smile.  I was careful not to let them see me taking the snap in case they thought I was going to report them for being out.

* I can make no claims for this slogan, it is used in some brilliant tv adverts for Yorkshire Tea featuring Yorkshire stars.  Do have a search on youtube, use the heading, and enjoy.  My favourite is the Kaiser Chiefs,  Michael Parkinson and Sean Bean are also wonderful.  Feeling proud and smiley.  

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Nothing new

This may be a new post but really there is little new to say.  
On Monday we went into a much more extreme lock down, people with health issues are being told to self isolate for 12 weeks.  We are shopping once a week, taking it in turns to do so and other than walking once a day, separately, we are at home.  We feel blessed to have our lovely balcony and so far the weather that has been nice enough to have the doors open.  
Fortunately I have a few house plants, one that survives outside while we are in Italy and a couple of newish ones, they make me happy and I'm looking forward to the amaryllis flowering, I have another in the kitchen. 
A few things make me less happy.  Looking out this week I watched a man come and clean the whole of the square we look down onto, power washing the surfaces, except the dirty wall which could have done with some attention, for hours and hours.  For some reason it made me cross, I know people have to keep working but I thought it was essential work only and buffing up a pavement is hardly vital.  I'd have been much happier if he'd put in a few cheery plants or done something with the tatty box hedges, but he was obviously only the power washing department  and he had to use his special equipment, which I put into the same category of pointless items as leaf blowers.
The car park for the memorial gardens which are just down the road from us was closed, presumably to discourage day trippers who come out from other towns for their exercise.  Some idiot had simply moved the barrier aside and there were half a dozen cars parked, plus quite a lot on the moor side road.  The next time I went that way the barrier was back with just one car in the park.
Over this week I have seen less and less people, now folk do step away and its not always me who walks out into the road to keep a distance, gradually the message gets through.    I've never seen so many clean cars or people working in their gardens.  I have noticed a huge number of black plastic bags stacked at the front of houses, presumably full of garden rubbish that cannot be taken to the recycle centre as its now closed.  I hope eventually people will think about composting.
Over the week I've watched the children in the houses we look onto come out to play in their gardens, to read and in one case to chalk hopscotch and pictures on their drive which I thought was nice.   As the week progressed this has happened less and less until Friday we had the first outdoor temper tantrum when a little girl in her ballet dress screamed her head off until her mother eventually picked her up, by this stage the child was rigid and difficult to handle, and took her indoors.
Yes we all feel like that don't we, a good howl would be nice, but we just keep on doing out best.   One week in I've already cleaned the oven and washed all the windows,  its just so annoying that no one gets to see the clean tidy apartment except me and Mr FF and I think he hardly notices.
Keep safe, keep well and keep saving the NHS by staying home.

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

It gets worse before it gets better

Yesterday afternoon Mr FF and I took a lovely sunny windy walk onto the moor.  to here
Photo from Happy Hiker
It is glorious up there with very few people around, although we did meet one lively couple in their 90s enjoying fresh air and a steep climb, well done them.
We came home feeling envigorated to see on tv the latest government advice on social distancing and isolation, plus the news that this virus is here for a while.
Mr FF and I are both 71 with no health problems and good strong legs.  We intend to continue walking while keeping away from people and we will shop only when necessary, probably once a week.   I also hope I can continue to use the library otherwise I will start reading my books collected for Italy.
Businesses in town are suffering, Betty's cafe is closed until further notice, community centres that provide a sociable place for the elderly and some sheltered accommodation are locked down too but enterprising bakers and butchers and some restaurants are offering a either a delivery or drive through service.
We are now getting our communal area, lifts, door bells, handles etc disinfected daily and there have been kind offers of help from younger neighbours if we are in need.
I seems we are here for the long haul, I am considering planting up the balcony for the summer and wondering if despite our regular exercise Mr FF and I will go a little stir crazy.  Day one of social distancing found me considering if it was worth getting dressed for the day, but then I always was a slob.  
In our village in Italy, where residents are not even allowed out for a walk, our wonderful friend Bruno has been out on his balcony singing.  
Keep safe, keep cheerful and keep well.

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Now wash your hands

Chatting in a shop today I was told that hand sanitiser is being sold for a premium on eBay.  I checked, a 50 ml bottle of gel that cost 49p in Lidl is being offered via the online marketplace for £14.50, identical products.
I also saw somewhere an article on how to make your own hand sanitiser.  I didn’t take a lot of notice but I think it involved vodka and essential oils.  My suggestion would be to drink the booze and take a scented bath
Last night on our local tv news people in our town, where we already have one confirmed case of corona virus, people were being interviewed about their concerns.  Several said they were worried then there on the screen was our lovely 87 year old neighbour. Margaret.  Bright as a button she said she wasn’t concerned she was washing her hands with soap and relying on that.
Two kinds of people, I know which I prefer.  I’ve already told Margaret she deserves an Oscar, the opportunists deserve to be locked up for exploitation.
Mr FF and I have never used hand sanitiser, we use soap.   I was brought up on a farm where hygiene was never a strong point, I was probably exposed to a lot of germs, my immunity is high.    Neither my brother nor I have ailed anything and we are either side of 70. 
Don’t think I’m not taking the situation seriously, I did offer to knit Mr FF a mask.  He declined but I wonder if they’d sell on eBay? 

Thursday, 27 February 2020

The great flood

Its quite a while since I posted, put it down to February ennui not that things haven't happened.
The weather has been brutal.  After the first weekend of flooding we had the army in town putting up barricades along the river in advance of the next storm,  we hit hit the national news.  That weekend we had no flooding.  Last weekend there was more flooding but not quite so severe.  In between we had a few inches of snow that closed roads and caused the usual chaos, these last few days we've had brilliant sunshine, cold winds and a bit more snow.  I'm getting out and blasting my eyes with sunlight.
Meantime we had a water leak in our building, in the roof space above the fire escape.  It wasn't major but for some reason it wasn't attended to for 10 days and walls and floors were getting damp.  The joys of paying a property manager to ignore your problems.  
Finally the plumbers arrived to fix things, the water was turned off for a few hours and they left around 4 pm.  Mr FF and I had just sat down to dinner at 7.30 when there was an almighty rumbling, we thought maybe a very low flying plane.  Then our boiler started vibrating in an alarming way, Mr FF switched off the power and then the water but still it rumbled.  It was quite frightening as we thought the whole thing might explode.   We eventually went outside, into the escape stairwell and found water pouring from the recently repaired mains in the ceiling.  By this time the water had percolated down to the flat on the ground floor (through two others) and the owner was out in the atrium asking for help.  
We alerted our in house management board members, two were resident at the time, and the emergency plumber was phoned.  He was a good half hours drive away, meantime the basement was under 2 inches of water.  Mr FF took control, you can always rely on an engineer, and eventually managed to turn off the the incoming supply.  He had a lot of difficulty as the wheel is large and stiff from calcification, there had been a problem not long ago when the water board had to be called in to turn off the supply as the plumbers couldn't do so.  Why this wasn't freed up at the time is beyond me, it still isn't corrected.
All this happened two weeks ago, apart from our lovely cleaners coming in and hoovering up water with a special machine there has been no progress.  The floor in the escape lobby has started to swell with damp, goodness knows what is happening in the damaged apartments that are unoccupied.  We are told the owners are aware of the situation.  
We were all without water for two days until a further repair could be made, we did try to question the plumbers about what had gone wrong but they were very evasive, muttering about the pipe possibly being from a bad batch and refusing to let us see what pipe they had used for the repair.  We have a suspicion that it wasn't of the correct grade as it split completely a few hours after installation.
All this is nothing compared to all the poor people who are flooded but its still very annoying and was probably avoidable.  No one from our property management company was here to oversee the repairs or investigate the burst.  There will now be lengthy discussions and negotiations with the plumbers and our insurers.  I hope we might learn from this, get the stop wheel fixed so it works easier, find an emergency plumber who isn't 20 miles away,  but I doubt it.    
Maybe its just a coincidence but the two board members who were involved on the night of the great flood have both put their apartments on the market.   At least Mr FF has checked that no water main runs over our apartment and we always turn off our water when we are away so one less thing to worry about.
When not concerned with the effects of the water leak our thoughts should be turning to Italy but we can only wonder about the Coronavirus and when and if we will be able to travel. 

Sunday, 9 February 2020

Stormy Sunday

I woke this morning expecting the much forecast Storm Ciara to be battering the windows and rattling the roof tiles, fortunately it was fairly quiet so I briefly imagined that it wasn’t going to be too bad.  Wrong, apparently it has been the worst storm for almost a decade.
The overnight rain must have been torrential, it was shocking to look down onto our town and see how much the River Wharfe had risen bursting out beyond the rugby club.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen the lido under water.  In many parts of our region homes and businesses are flooded again.
Mr FF and I risked a short walk out this afternoon for the newspaper, for a while the rain stopped and there was blue sky.   Water was pouring off the moors, drains were unable to cope and streets had turned to rivers, in fact roads in and out of town are closed, there are no trains or buses and shops closed early.
Now it’s dark, the rain is pouring down again and the wind has started gusting, the effect exaggerated for us up on the third floor.  The storm is due to continue through the evening, keep safe.

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

For the girl who has everything

Mr FF returned safely last night from his week in Tenerife and life in the penthouse returns to normal.   He had lots to tell me about the trip, mainly about the all inclusive meal plan.  Its nice to have him home looking tanned and relaxed.
What present did he bring you I hear you ask, he told me to close my eyes and hold out my hands, this is my gift. 

Yes 2 kilos of Canarian potatoes, he'd told me how much he was enjoying them.  Mr FF is noted for the strange gifts he gives me, I have in the past received tools for the Hoover, an industrial size blow torch for weeding the drive, it was so heavy I couldn't lift it and we ended up selling it on eBay.  At least these will be useful and hopefully taste as delicious as he suggests.  Lucky I am easily pleased.