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Blow The Man Down!

Did you bake banana bread at any time last year?  Or grow your own vegetables, fruit and flowers?  Or even your own sourdough culture (and name it)?

  No, Dear Reader, we didn't either, exactly.  Though there are some overripe bananas rattling around in the bottom drawer of the freezer.  Maybe this time?

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  So the latest way of keeping up our spirits while we wait for our vaccination appointments is Shanty singing.  We've already heard/seen the Socially Distanced Choirs who have gotten round the Restrictions and have managed not only to rehearse, but actually sing 'together'.

  The latest iteration of this has been getting together on Social Media/Zoom/Microsoft Teams/TikTok to sing sea shanties - the work songs of sailors down the generations.  After all, when you have to haul on ropes to move heavy sails or cargo, having a song does help you pull together.  Literally.

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  'K, dismounting (for now).  The washing machine has just landed (told you I'd learn it.  Won't be taking the 'L' plates off this month though.  H is producing a spreadsheet of 'Programs and Time taken' which we'll stick, or maybe write, on the kitchen wall til we have Learned.)  Today it is sunny, gotta dry washing when the sun shines.

  Y'all have a good day now, whether you're washing/ drying/ baking/ shanty singing/ fighting for Justice/ binge-watching Netflix/ whatever!
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Pooh and Cheeese!

For those who didn't know, yesterday, 18th January, was National Winnie-The-Pooh day.  A time to celebrate the Bear of Very Little Brain, his loyal if somewhat fearful friend Piglet and all the other wonderful creations of A. A. Milne.  If you haven't already got the books*, Dear Reader, go get 'em.  They've been in print since the mid 1920s so there are bound to be copies available, in varying degrees of (de)compostition, to suit your pocket.

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  Where should we walk, being Responsible people and not wanting to either spread or catch new SuperInfectious Covid?  And could we combine our walk with a spot of shopping, as we'd run out of cheese?  Current Restrictions suggest we should limit our outings to one per day, after all.

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  We celebrate these small things, because Bigger Things are in pretty short supply at present.  Even our anti-Covid jabs aren't likely to be done before March at the Very Earliest.  H qualifies before me, because Underlying Conditions, so we might be immune by, oooh, our Ruby Wedding Anniversary.

  Y'all have a good day now!

    *Yes, Winnie The Pooh first appeared in book form.  Followed by The House At Pooh Corner, When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six (not necessarily in that order.)  The films came much later.  Pooh, Piglet and friends really speak with the impeccable, possibly 'cut glass', English accents prevalent in the class that employed Nannies for their children back in the 1920s.
  Other recommended Reading - Christopher Milne's autobiography.  Forget the title, but he did indeed grow up.
  Recommended viewing - "Goodbye, Christopher Robin" which is kinda the back-story to the books, and a bit about the Milne family (plus toys.)

   **Or severe apprehension about what might happen tomorrow in DC, and in ensuing weeks.

  ***There's a bear, a pig, a tiger, a donkey, a rabbit, an owl, and two kangaroos who all Get Along Together.  Sounds pretty Diverse to me.

Ring Out the Old, Wring In The New

Did I mention?  Our washing machine died during Twixtmas (the period between Christmas and New Year.)  I shall not complain.  Turns out it gave us sixteen years of loyal service, and clean clothes.

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  And due to H having his wits about him while out the other day**, we have someone coming to take the old machine away.  For free!

  Whatever you're doing today, Dear Reader, have a good one!

      * They had an interesting list of places to which they Won't Deliver - basically anywhere which involves ferries, so no islands, not even Isle of Wight.  Or anywhere they're likely to have to drive along Really Narrow country lanes, although the bulk milk tanker gets up them regularly, and that's probably a similar size.  Or anywhere with an LA**** postcode.  Yorkshire folk apparently have Very Long memories!

     ** He's a real treasure.

   *** How much is 3Kg washing?  Turns out to be less than half a line, and our washing line isn't that long.  Do Full Loads!

  **** That's LA as in Lancaster, not Los Angeles.  If they don't deliver to UK islands, they definitely won't deliver to another continent!
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Not Going Out (Much)

Here we are again, Lockdown mark 3.  Stay At Home!  Only go out for exercise or if you Really Need to

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  So things seem to be pretty much 'Here comes the New Year, same as (most of) the Old Year'!

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  I shall refrain from commenting further on Politics, merely point out that somebody voted for these not-so-funny Clowns who have refused to take us, or Covid-19, or democracy seriously.  It is Serious, Dear Reader.

  Stay safe - when out wear a mask in enclosed spaces and on public transport; wash your hands/use hand sanitiser; stay in, or stay at least 2m from people you don't live with; and THINK, please.  Particularly try thinking about other people.

  Y'all have a good, careful and thoughtful day now!
Freakout Flower

Déjà Vu. Again.

Oh look, 76,000 Covid-related deaths and counting.  Hospitals around the country are either FULL, or nearly full, with Covid patients with complications (as well as the usual selection of patients; always more at this time of year because Seasonal Illnesses, even with 'flu jabs being administered to more people than ever this year.)

  Very thankful we have Socialised Medicine.  Always have been.  Cos without it, So Many More would be DEAD!

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  All of which is a somewhat gloomy outlook when facing a new year, but now that we're all shut in with Time On Our Hands, how about something to stimulate 'the little grey cells'?  Serendipity.  (No, Dear Reader, not the TV show!)  Try Radio 4, the pictures are better!  It's also less likely to take you up a thought cul-de-sac, into 'echo chambers' or real Fake News than surfing Social Media.

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  I'm off to do some more knitting, it's about the one form of stress-relief I have left.  Plus I've a deadline for these socks.

  Y'all have a good day now!

  *Matthew chapter 6 verse 28 (the Bible)

Out With the Old . . .

Happy New Year, Dear Reader!
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'The New' - which we will be welcoming in from our sofas/beds/doorsteps and not mad, drunken parties - will include more unnecessary deaths (over 73,000 in the UK so far), more mask-wearing, but will also include anti-Covid vaccines.

Dear Reader, do go for yours when it's offered.  That way we might all get to see in 2022.  Also our friends and families For Real, rather than on Zoom/FaceTime/whatever.  For that matter, we might actually still have friends and family members to be able to get to see.

   Just think, 2021 or 2022 — the year we got to have Family Gatherings and PARTY again!

   Y'all have a good day, and end of year, now!

Right, off to party, very quietly and sensibly, with H

You can get card with your statistics here!

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Christmas Eve

The sun is shining!  Reminding me that Christmas is all about the coming of the Light of the World, Son of God.

  Because Covid various things have had to change - we're here, other family members are 'there' (insert several different locations, all not 'here'.)  We may yet have a Zoom Christmas Dinner, or at least a Family call, yay Tech!

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  Another thing which happens at this time of year - the local cats which are still 'intact' start prowling the streets Caterwauling.  They're either advertising their availability, or their desperation, for a sexual encounter!  Should several turn up at the same point, they'll start a yowling contest.  Oh for one of those Really Big water pistol/guns that were fashionable a while back!

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 Merry Christmas Dear Reader
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Ending in Tiers/Tears

Things have moved on.  Saturday afternoon the PM made another speech and announced that, due to the Covid-19 virus having mutated into a super-infectious form, things were going to have to be Tightened Up, and, Very Sorry, but Christmas gatherings will also be Tightened Up/Banned.

  The Saturday before Christmas, he FINALLY gets round to telling us this.  Having insisted last Wednesday that he wasn't going to 'cancel Christmas'.  No, not never, whatever the Scientists, or even common sense, said.

  Cue much wailing and gnashing of teeth.  People had Made their Arrangements on the advice given last Wednesday - groups of up to six, from up to three families, over five days.

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  For us, H & me, it's not going to make that much difference.  It'll be our first Christmas with just the two of us since 1981.  So much Less Fuss!

  S is stuck in Wales, on his own.  BiL is stuck in London, on his own and worried.  We have each other, no matter how annoying H is!

  And there is always the Tech - email, texts, phone calls, Facetime (I dunno), even the overused Zoom.  I wouldn't necessarily recommend it for a 3 hour meal 'together'; but if you desperately need to 'see' a friendly face - better text or call first, just to make sure we have the Tech in place (BiL)  Cos we won't be going anywhere either.  Have you seen the forecast recently?

  We do understand if you're facing the next few days (weeks?) in not-so-splendid enforced isolation.  We really do.  We're praying for you.  Lots of people are praying for you.  Maybe you could Try Praying yourself?

  Y'all have a good, thoughtful, careful, and uninfected/uninfecting day now!
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There was much joy and rejoicing as the first people were vaccinated against Covid-19 in the UK this week.  A light at the end of the tunnel!  Woohoo!  'Normal life' can be resumed!

  Except it won't be, until at least 70% of the population has been vaccinated.  And that won't be until maybe 2023, because logistics*.

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  Y'all have a good and thoughtful day now!  Happy Christmas - however you decide to celebrate!

  *Logistics - having the ability to think things through clearly, with sufficient input to come up with a plan that will actually work, as efficiently and as quickly as possible.  Given the shambolic nature of Government reactions, policies, etc this year, what are the chances of that happening.  Pray for those in Government, they need it!


We watch the BBC 6 o'Clock News most nights.

  It's been hard sometimes this year: - the daily Covid-related deaths, the daily new infections, the rising total of Covid-related deaths (62,000 and rising), the level of what appears to be sheer incompetence and mismanagement from the UK government . . .

  But there's the odd bright light in the increasing darkness:- people going the 'extra mile' to ensure that neighbours who can't get out have their shopping done, people discovering their neighbours, getting to know them, checking on them that they're all right, even street parties - socially distanced of course.

  Or this - Lancashire drug dealer turned Pastor feeding and clothing the poor in Burnley.

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  "Truly, the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."  John 1 verse 5

  And that is the real meaning of Christmas - that Almighty God reached down into our broken, unequal, deprived world and came. In person - as a baby, into poverty, deprivation, as an oppressed minority, a refugee, a working man, homeless, . . .

  The baby in the manger grew up to become the Miracle Worker, the Itinerant Preacher, the rejected, beaten wreck on the Cross, the Resurrected Lord, Saviour of the World, and only Hope.  Ultimately He'll be Judge of the World too.

  Y'all have a good, caring, thoughtful day now, and if I don't get online again this year - a Merry Christmas!

  *Always assuming the person lives near a lake or the sea, and that pollution, or factory ships, have left fish in the sea!  If they live well inland, maybe teaching them how to farm in a way that is drought-resistant, water-conscious and appropriate to their location.  Or if they live in a city - a more appropriate trade.