DAY 29: Sat 11 April

Another hot day as another 900 perish and the chickens take charge.

No milk today as the deliverers have been given a well-deserved weekend off. However it looks like a fox has crapped on my milk box, which seems rather unnecessary.

Had a great call this morning from an online shop run by my 3 year old grandson. He sold me Easter Eggs, beer, chicken feed, and even checked my fridge and said I needed cabbage. The wonders of FaceTime! I put faces on a set of pullets eggs and when his dad passed by on his exercise bike ride, I was able to leave them out for the family’s Easter breakfast. 

Remembered to seek refunds for almost £200 of advance booked train tickets today, Full marks to Trainline who have made obtaining refunds really simple. Some were to take me to the NUJ Delegate Meeting in Southport later this month where we planned to show Ken Loach’s Sorry We Missed You at an Ethics Council event to encourage more accurate and less stigmatizing coverage of poverty. I wonder if people’s experience of lockdown and deprivation will change a few attitudes.

Another set of tickets were to take me to the North East to see my aged godmother now in her 99th year. She is safety tucked up in a rather splendid and isolated care home which was originally a medieval convent (but the nuns got naughty and they were sent away) and much later a TB hospice and then a maternity home. It is in sight of Roseberry Topping (which I used to call Raspberry Topping once upon a time). It is not so long ago that we last walked up there (well maybe 12 years). She has little interest in the outside world these days but I have no doubt she will be really peeved that her favourite hairdresser can’t come in to give her a weekly spruce up.

She and I did manage to talk last week, but she doesn’t always hear or answer her phone, and I couldn’t send her Easter flowers this year either.

I get messages from two neighbours to let me know that one couple in the street are making a bookcase for their front garden. We are all invited to donate books for others to read .Nice idea – one of the many example of communitarianism that is emerging from the lockdown. 

After all my hard work in the garden over the last few days, I get the distinct impression that the chickens are now trying to say something to me. I think it is ”This is OUR  garden, mister, and you are only allowed out if you are feeding us. It can be grain or it can be digging up worms, but just don’t get too comfortable.”

I got my own back later when my order for chicken feed at last arrived. (The local pet shop can’t get supplies at the moment so I’d had to order from a local farm.). The order included a green feeder to ensute than the new chicks got a look in. They are constanty excluded from the red feeder by the two ode birds. Well, its arrival caused quite a stir. All the chicks were non-plussed by twhat looked a little like an invader from outer space. They ran away from it, then circled around it, then the two older chicks came in for a closer inspection – and suddenly sussed that it enclosed FOOD. I had to move it then because the the two old hands were insistent that the new kids on the block should not get a look in. We shall see how things proceed.

As I write I am completely exhausted having spent the afternoon creating some wildflower beds, re-siting the water butts, and generally putting the final touches to the new look garden. All I need now is some more chicken wire to keep the birds away from the veg when i plant them out. 

But there is all the garden detritus to deal with too, so this evening, after a hot day’s work I spent two hours feeding the incinerator while the rest of the world watched Britain’s Got Talent. 

I managed to slump, stinking of the fire, in front of the Telly in time to watch the tantalising parts 3 and 4 of Scandi Noir Twin. I couldn’t be arsed to cook, So I made do with a few dry biscuits and some cheese – and a glass of very dry red wine.

No storytime tonight as grandsons 1 & 2 are sleeping out in a tent with their parents – taking part in the Easter Sleepover Bestival, which sounds like a load of fun. tTey has to walk for 1kilometre around their garden before they could pitch their tent. They said they took them 16 minute, but mum, who ran, took only 7! What a great idea.

I hear from my youngest son who has had a couple of run-ins with the police while out walking in the park; and from a former student from Germany now holed up in a shared house and stymied over her final dissertation. Both are finding the current regime tough. Another German friend sends Easter greetings. There is general anxiety about what will happen to us all.

I am glad I missed Ms Patel’s performance at the No.10 press conference this evening. She is so smug and self-satisfied. And her qualified ‘apology’ over the lack of protective gear for front line staff this evening could easily have resulted in damage to the TV screen. In the midst of the coronavirus crisis she has had the gall to issue advice to employers about who she will refuse visa’s to in Brexit Britain – and that includes foreign nationals currently and literally keeping the country alive – because they won’t be earning enough money! (but she will let in even lower paid agricultural workers (because Brits can’t be arsed to pick their own fruit and veg, (Check out Tiers 2 & 5 (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-application-for-uk-visa-as-tier-2-worker)

What’s has this country come to? I am going to bed.


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