This is our blog for the week.
Today I had to tell my daughter that a friend of hers died of Coronovirus.
She was the youngest person to die in Suffolk. 31.
This has been a very sad time.
It seems to me there are two truths to our current situation. One is that we are staying at home to protect ourselves from the Covid-19 virus. The second, this is a virus which kills indiscriminately. When I received this week’s contribution from Susan Hughes her brevity demonstrated the bleakness for all who receive such sombre news.
Lockdown is the new normal; death is a constant invisible presence until it manifests itself; it is part of the human condition. But death in lockdown is a cruelty none of us wish to experience. My thoughts keep returning to Susan and Sarah since I received the email containing the message.
All of my contributors demonstrate robust determination to make the best of a shocking situation and by working hard to keep fearfulness at bay through good humour and an appreciation of Now. As ever, I thank them for their continued messages of just how it is to live through something approaching house arrest.
The notice outside Goslings Farm Shop
This week the Trimley Facebook page focused on the following topics:
Historical images/the natural world/ the N.H.S./ Internet reliability/ the financial difficulties of the District Council/ Public information notices including Planning/ Two Sisters Arts Centre/ offers of online tutorials/upcoming re-opening of the Fish and Chip shop/family history information requests/dog excretia.
Diary April 20 -April 27
Although unable to see our friends and families in the same way as before Lockdown, keeping in touch is a major highlight of each week. One of our dear friends over the bridge in Kirton has taken to dressing her Teddy, Barnaby in different poses each day. The pleasure she gives to youngsters, and those young at heart too, as they go Bear Hunting is just wonderful. I have always adored teddies, so each day I eagerly await the next posting to see what Barnaby is up to. Just to give you a taster, April 23rd he was dressed for St George’s Day Parade and Sunday geared up to run The London Marathon!
The extraordinary winds we had early in the week gave me the incentive to stay indoors and press on with PPE. Machine problems of last week were avoided and Monday saw me zigzagging my way through all the pieces!
Tuesday Heating Engineers arrived to drill for fitting new pipes for our heating system, I joined the ensemble by continuing my sewing! PPE top completed.
I have missed popping to shops, choosing what you’d like to eat. Morrison, Waitrose, and all major Supermarkets seem unable to cope with extra demands for online shopping. I decided to have a go on Iceland. I could browse, without being told I was in a neverending queue! All went well until I came to book a delivery slot, nothing available. My daughter in law advised just to keep trying, because she had been successful. On and off all day I kept looking, then late afternoon eureka! I got a slot the next evening! I think all Grimston Lane must have heard my squeals of delight as I excitedly ran outside to tell Clifford the news of a delivery slot. I text the family to share my excitement at having done my own shopping… “Well aren’t you a big girl now”, came the response from our son!
By the evening the wind had abated to an extent and we took a circular walk from Grimston Lane round to Gun Lane, where we had the delight of seeing two skylarks.
Wednesday saw me completing P.P.E. trousers. Will be starting my last set tomorrow!
Thursday tension rises in both myself and the sewing machine as new thread results in erratic stitching. Calm and beautiful weather, so feel I need the peaceful sanctuary of the garden and start attacking brambles! The highlight of Thursday is the Clap for Carers which brings us together with our neighbours, at a distance of course!
By Friday our new boiler is in working order, the Engineers very carefully observing distancing in our presence, but it did seem very strange having other folks in the house whilst in social isolation from nearest and dearest. Friday evening was an absolute delight, we went for an evening walk towards the river and heard the nightingales singing their wonderful tune. The glorious weather over the weekend saw us picnicking in our garden, thinking ourselves so lucky to have garden space to enjoy and realising what a different experience those living with little or no outside space would be having.
The service on Radio Suffolk and services led remotely by our local vicars do bring fellowship into our living rooms and their messages of love and hope I find most encouraging.
My neighbours were thrilled with an array of tulips in their garden and on Sunday we decided I could keep 2 metres away from them and see them. They truly were a lovely sight, and it was such a pleasure to chat, at a socially permissible distance of course!
I have been busy planting seeds and by Monday our porch looks like the setting for Jack and the Beanstalk. Clifford sets to make his Bean Wigwam! These things always take longer than expected but beans are now outside where hopefully, the forecasted rain will help them grow to fruition!
Sounds like the next few days will see indoor jobs being tackled, but the rain will be most welcome. The first, if it comes, since Lockdown.
Aren’t we lucky, that we’ve had sunshine for most of lockdown so far?
I once heard someone, might have been me, ‘if you don’t really have anything to say, keep quiet’ … On the radio this morning, someone said that to escape from lockdown. we should find somewhere quiet, twice a day, take some deep breathes, and sit for two minutes letting our minds wander…
I’ve seen the Queen twice, once at Harwich, when she and the Duke were going to catch a ship to go on a ‘trip’, we Sea Cadets lined the side of the road as they drove past. The second time was at the end of Old Kirton road, she went past on the A14, , going to open something at the dock. As Sea cadets, we ‘did guard’ for the Duke when he opened the Coronation sports field in Felixstowe.
I was with Peter Flatman in his motorcycle yard in Exeter Road. The Duchess of Kent, smiled and waved to us, on her way to open the sheltered accommodation bungalows.
Met Tom Stobard, the guy who filmed the Hunt / Hilary / Tenzing Everest expedition. He was filming, photographing, promotional stuff for the first Levington Compost launch …
Back to reality ;))
Ipswich is still there, I saw it yesterday on the way to a hospital appointment.
To anyone familiar with Outpatients, Entrance 6 yesterday, there were two receptionist girls, a porter and four patients. There were two staggered rows of chairs, about 8 feet apart in both directions. The young lady driver who brought me home, said that they were noticing a slow increase in the number of cars on the road.
First Mallard ducklings seen on Loompit. A friend said he heard six nightingales along the bushes at Loompit and the clifftop.
A bit like Piccadilly Circus at Thorpe Bay today (Thursday) but all well behaved.
Once or twice, I’ve seen ‘normal’ mentioned and thought, it is getting that way. BUT, I miss my trips to town on the ‘school bus’ Senior Citizens can make as much babble as the kids, it’s great! I miss seeing our daughter and family, they live in Kent. I miss the peace of Loompit, and the new bridge that everyone hates and didn’t want. I’ve never been alone on it yet. I’ve got out of touch, my brain is still on Skype, when did Facetime occur? It’s brilliant
I only had the mysterious illness for about 24 hours and then fully recovered. A retired nurse told us that it was very possible that hubby had had the virus. If so, then either the incubation period is at least three weeks or else he caught it off a delivery, as we haven’t been to any shops since lockdown and have been social distancing very carefully.
Before lockdown, I would endeavour to do some form of exercise every day. Hubby and I would go to sequence dance classes three times a week and a social dance on Saturday nights. If anyone has seen or done the ‘Gay Gordons’, then they will have a rough idea what sequence dancing is. It is a pre-choreographed dance, based on ballroom or Latin dance movements and made into a repeatable sequence that couples all do together. I would also go to a weekly line dancing class and swim and walk as much as possible.
After lockdown, Hubby and I would go for long walks in our wonderful Suffolk countryside discovering a new walk around Trimley St Martin almost every single day. For the past fortnight we felt we should stay at home but still thought it was important to keep fit. I tried jogging round the garden in the manner of Michael Gove who one journalist said “ Looks like a nun being chased by a bee.” There are too many rabbit holes in our garden so I thought it was safer to jog on the spot. I also tried doing my tummy flattening exercises. Okay I can hear you all chuckling, but I am the determined optimist and I always used to win the perseverance prize at school.
Some of our sequence dance friends are tuning into an organist who is performing daily (insert your own jokes here) with tunes they are used to dancing to. They are donning their sequins and having their own tea dance. We haven’t got the space for this and anyway we need to see other people dancing to remember the dances.
I tried searching for line dance classes on YouTube. Only one dance at a time is taught, not a series. The best was a Chinese girl who taught the dance in English and then the instructions were given in Chinese. So now I can do line dancing whilst learning Mandarin.
Then I tried Zumba for beginners. You had to be really fit to keep up with this woman and there was no way I could do her fancy steps. At one point she said she was going to slow it down. She lied. Then she did the splits! A helpful sign on the TV came up saying ‘Do not do the splits’. I wonder if there is Zumba for geriatrics with dodgy knees out there?
Finally, I tried a Joe Wicks workout for seniors. Joe is a personal trainer who at the start of the lockdown got his PE videos online for kids to do each morning. He has been very successful. Anyway, Joe was channelling his inner granny for the session I watched. He had his long hair tied back in a bun and was wearing glasses. But even he was getting us to touch our toes. I have to confess I got rather bored with his exercises. Hubby said that they were very like the ones that Chinese people did daily and what with my Mandarin learning, I was in good stead for when the Chinese finally take over.
The truth is I would much rather be doing my long walks in the countryside. I wonder when we finally get through this, whether people who have been used to doing their daily exercise as a chance to leave their home will carry on or revert back to just thinking about it.
Alison’s Clematis Montana
The woman creating a face mask out of a small scarf was skilled; the task looked fool proof, a few careful folds incorporating a couple of elastic hairbands to fit round the ears – job done. Sadly, it turns out I have the wrong sort of ears. I did mean to get out the sewing machine and make one, but then my sister told me that she had been busy sewing and had some spares, so I opted for the lazy way and waited for the postman to deliver my mask. It seemed like a good idea in principle, but now it has arrived the appeal has lessened. I wonder if people will find it easy to recognise others in the supermarket.
I have never been particularly keen on shopping lists, but, as we are expected to keep shopping trips to a minimum I have become a reluctant convert. Unfortunately, there are some things which are on the list every week and which seem never to be available. I can understand that people’s growing enthusiasm for making bread would lead to a shortage of bread flour and yeast, but why has cocoa disappeared? I like the idea that everyone is making chocolate cake – that is why I want the cocoa myself. It looks like a recipe adjustment to accommodate some very slightly out of date drinking chocolate is going to be my next step; then we can eat the cake and feel virtuous about clearing up leftovers at the same time.
Meeting friends on Zoom is an interesting experience. Normal social chats are naturally a bit muddled: people interrupt; sometimes a single conversation splits into two; people nod, laugh and frown; everything goes into the mix. On Zoom it is more difficult, a group chat with eight people was interesting, but a little bit disordered. This was our second attempt in the large group and I think we will get better at it. Family chats with the children are smaller and so much easier. and we have fallen into the habit of having these on Sunday mornings, just using Messenger. The girls turn up in their dressing gowns, but I feel I have to do my hair and look presentable. I think it is a generational thing.
Once again, the glorious Spring weather has helped and I have spent many hours pottering in the garden. I wage a daily war with our resident squirrel. Not only has he mastered the art of raiding the bird feeder, but I caught him digging up one of my seed potatoes and scampering off with it in his mouth. Very cute he looks too, but he’s becoming a bit of a nuisance, having dug up my newly planted broccoli and radishes. I have had to put wire netting over my lettuces and spinach, as he seems to like digging them up too. I’m beginning to feel like Mr MacGregor in his garden, and can understand why he got so annoyed with Peter Rabbit!
My daily walks have taken me down to Trimley shores, which I love, and through the woods off Howlett’s way over to Thurman’s Lane, where some enterprising person has used fallen trees to mark a cycle way for youngsters (and adults, presumably). It looks very good. Also, I am falling in love with the new horse bridge over at Grimston Lane crossing, something I thought I’d never hear myself say. The views are splendid and it provides a welcome circular route to walk/jog or run, without having to double back on myself. It’s been lovely seeing families out for cycle rides too, taking full advantage of the country lanes and quiet tracks. Trimley residents are very fortunate to have all this on their doorsteps.
The hardest thing for me, this week, is the realisation that things are never going to get back to how they once were, and even if they do, it could be in one, two or three years, not just a few weeks or months. No concerts, cinema, coach trips, theatre trips -nothing involving groups of people. Everything will be online. So I need to get my thoughts round that really, and accept that life has changed for the foreseeable future, or at least until they find a safe vaccine that works. No popping into the library to select a few books, or trying on clothes in a shop changing room (hated doing the anyway), or spending a day out at some castle, museum or beach with friends and family. And no weddings, or family parties, or birthday celebrations. It all seems so sad.
So, we have to make the most of it, and when depressed, we should eat cake. Which is exactly what I have been doing this week. During a sort out of my kitchen cupboard, I came across a very old recipe book of my late mothers which immediately transported me back to my childhood, when my sister and I would help her bake cakes by sifting the flour, and beating the eggs (and licking the wooden spoon). She had placed a tick beside each recipe she had used and I had kept the book through pure sentiment – I couldn’t bear to throw it away. I didn’t have all the ingredients, but I improvised, and I have to say, my date and walnut loaf cake was not half bad. Certainly cheered me up, anyway. There’s a lot to be said for the simpler things in life. Stay safe, everyone.
Lockdown week 5.
It would be wrong to say that self-isolation has become the norm but I have been surprised how quickly it is possible to adapt. It is hard not seeing the family or friends. Our children are all in their thirties and forties and we have grandchildren. The internet has truly come into its’ own. A WhatsApp family group has been set up and we can all talk to each other on that and post photos and videos. There are various video calling apps available and it is no more difficult talking and seeing my sister in Australia than it is phoning next door.
Shortly before the lockdown started a Book Group was started at the organisation I volunteer for. Unfortunately, lockdown prevents us from meeting up in person to discuss this months’ book but again WhatsApp comes to the rescue. True, you have to prepare what you are going to say so you can cut and paste to save time but it has worked for the last two meets. HOWEVER, I have recently seen the use of Zoom by another group. This has the advantage in that everyone can see each other in individual frames on the screen and you can talk just as you would (almost) when you are physically present in the same room. I think this is an improvement on using WhatsApp and I am going to suggest that my book group considers adopting it.
It has been interesting seeing the Trimley pages on FaceBook over the last few weeks. More and more people living here have been discovering the surrounding countryside walks. Some have asked where they are as although they live in the immediate area they had not realised what fantastic opportunities there are for their limited lockdown exercise. I live right by the footpaths and have noticed a large increase in the number of people walking, particularly families. I hope that when all of this is over they will continue to enjoy the benefits!
On a day to day basis we seem to have settled into a routine. Apart from the odd supermarket trip and a once a week late night trip to Ipswich (voluntary work) driving has almost ceased. I love driving and bought my “dream” car when I retired six years ago so I miss the fun of using it. However, this lockdown will not last forever so it will be doubly enjoyable when free(r) travel restrictions eventually emerge.
I have been a little lazy this week. Lots of binge watching/computer time and less model making or those d-i-y odd jobs when now is the ideal time to do them. Maybe I’ll have something to report next time!
It has been another week of glorious sunshine for those of us lucky enough to have gardens to be out there enjoying listening to the birds and generally drinking in nature.
For myself, apart from a few admin jobs, including writing a newsletter for the art group I help run, I have been busy in the garden plus on my allotment. I certainly have had a good workout on ‘lotty’ over the last couple of days due to digging holes and cementing in posts! Although I have my own stress situations at this moment in time, keeping busy and focusing on hope on the horizon keeps me going.
If you have been able to get out for a walk you cannot fail to see the display of rainbows in windows. No doubt this was chosen as it has such special symbolism of calm due to it often appearing following a storm. I noticed a large crocheted rainbow in one of our local Felixstowe shops, so bright and cheerful and just what I needed at this particular time. Quite a few rainbow pictures are also accompanied by teddy toys sitting in windows. This apparently was inspired by the children’s book ‘We are going on a bear hunt’ by Michael Rosen. One window I saw had several rainbow pictures plus about half a dozen bears looking out into the road which amused me for sure! I felt as though the child was determined to make us happy.
Adults are also being inspired to paint a rainbow and I heard one couple found that once their picture was installed people were waving to them which must have been rather pleasant and made them feel connected with the outside world. Bravo to them I say. Another sight I had the pleasure of seeing was a display of rainbow flags attached to bushes plus various shapes in coloured paper accompanied by crystals glistening in the sun. Today I remembered to take my camera so I could share this with you.
Although I didn’t have my camera when I saw a little family of ducklings bobbing along in the water down at Loompit Lake with their mother making sure they were all close by, it still brings a quiet smile at the memory.
Signs of the times