Staying at home 2: Day… um…

I’ve stopped counting the days, I think its counterproductive or something or other, no pun intended, we are where we are and it is what it is and god how I hate those trite sayings but at the end of the day, platitudes will get us through, maybe. Hate them. This morning I really had to concentrate on which day it was, I eventually plumped for Saturday, which was lucky because it was indeed Saturday.

I’ve also stopped my morning and evening rituals of watching the news on TV. I’m subscribed to emails from so if anything changes, I’ll know. But what’s going to change in the near future? I did the big no-no, reading up on how people react in times like these, constrained to stay indoors; not watching too much news was high on the list of things to help with such situations but I’d come to that conclusion myself some days before. Not sleeping well is apparently one of the side-effects of this stressful situation in which we all now find ourselves.
Me? I’ve been sleeping like a log of late, I’m obviously not taking all this seriously enough.

One thing I haven’t stopped is tea in the mornings, it’s good to break a routine sometimes but it’s also good to have a routine and an early shuffle around the house, a few tentative steps around the garden, checking to see that neither of the neighbours are out there too, good grief, who’d have thought that it would come to that?
Standing in the middle of our rather small garden I’m about 10 feet from either garden fence, that’s a nat’s over 3 metres, so exceeding Government recommendations by about 1 metre, should one of the neighbours be standing at the fence.

Crap times my friends, crap times…

Anyway, after a cursory garden excursion I brew a pot of tea, take the tea upstairs, get back into bed and listen to the wireless for a bit.

On weekdays, we (that’s me and Her indoors – yes, watching Minder on ITV4), listen to Radio Caroline; a fair bit of good music, no news and fairly light on advertisements although the Marsh Industries ones constantly cajoling me to buy a sewage treatment plant do kind of grate in the early morning.
Weekends, Rockserwis FM, a Polish station that doesn’t have any advertising and plays some really good music, interrupting itself only infrequently for a station ident.
That’s early-ish in the mornings, after a while Her indoors tunes to Radio Merseyside, for the banter. We used to favour Planet Rock as the station of choice but the constant inane advertisements for, this that and the inconsequential just got too much, that and the incessant reminders that “we play more music” whilst they were patently not, playing more music.

Minder though, curiously being presented in 16:9 screen ratio, I’m sure we didn’t have “wide-screen” TV in those days, but that’s probably another story…

I’m too young to remember Radio Caroline in its first flush of youth but I did listen in the 70 when they were broadcasting from the Motor Vessel “Mi Amigo”, Radio Mi Amigo 06.00 to 18.00 and Radio Caroline 18.00 to 06.00… and in the end, the love you take, is equal to the (lah, lah, lah, lah) love, you make… They always finished the broadcast with that, usually preceded by “For No One” by Barclay James Harvest – great musical times.

As I’m lying in bed, the chimneys of the houses on the opposite side of the road are visible above the half-length net curtains. A pair of jackdaws are building a nest in the middle of a cluster of eight chimney pots. I’ve been watching them alighting on the roof with bits of twig in their beaks and then jumping up onto the stack and disappearing between the pots. Naturally, as soon as I decided to try and photograph this endeavour they became very evasive.

At first I thought; “Why aren’t they staying at home?” I don’t know why I was thinking that, you just become so used to the current situation so frighteningly easily that you begin to transpose it onto animals and the like. Then I thought, “Well, they will stay at home once they’ve built it”. But of course, for them, for all birds and animals, it’s life as usual; lucky them.

Two days back I was out in the garden (observing neighbour-watch as mentioned above), in the sunshine, doing something that at least gave the illusion that all was “normal”. I wanted to put a small circuit of old Tri-ang railway track on the small garden table and run a train, outdoors in the sun. I’ve done it before, it’s fun (well, fun to me you understand, I’m easily pleased), but the table is quite small and the railway journey is very short, once around the table.

Ah, but then I thought; “I’ve got a few sheets of MDF in the loft, I could cut two of them into a roughly semi-circular shape, hole in the middle (for the garden parasol) and clamp them together on the table thus affording a slightly longer run.” So that’s what I did. I found the power jigsaw, fired it up – it worked perfectly after many years of inactivity – and set to.

And now to the sad news…
I thought I’d be a bit clever and drill a couple of holes in the board to feed a wire through to power the tracks, 12,000 mV as usual, and solder the wire to the underside of the rails. Popped upstairs to my “home office”, plugged-in the soldering iron and… Nothing.
It had died. Well, they do eventually I suppose. I’ve had that soldering iron since… I can’t remember, certainly 40 years or more. Oh well, it had a good innings.

I ordered a new soldering iron on-line, then straightaway afterwards felt selfish and almost guiltily ashamed that I’d be sending some delivery driver out on the road to bring it to me. Silly, I know, the Government is urging us to make use of home deliveries, still, there you are. Anyway, the soldering iron arrived this morning, unlike the beautiful sunshine that we’ve had for the past few days. So, time to get the track fixed onto the board and wired-up in anticipation of the next sunny day.


Barclay James Harvest – “For No One” 


The Beatles – “The End”


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