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Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Zoom and our town park

I'd never heard of Zoom a month ago but I am using it every day now. Before the lockdown I was asked to download it to access our bible meetings which were all stopped in the interest of safety. So that's twice a week then a few of us meet up daily for about 20 minutes to discuss the day's scripture and make sure we are all ok.

 Then last week my friend's mum died aged 89. Not from the virus but she was in a home due to dementia and keep falling and was poorly. Sadly none of the family had been allowed to visit for the last month. The staff were so helpful and tried to help her speak on the phone but she was so deaf and confused it didn't really work. My friend's brother lives in Brazil so he wouldn't have been able to get over for a funeral and it was decided to have a memorial service on Zoom. After the service there was a slide show of beautiful photos of friend's mum. Funerals are sad anyway but I did so want to give my friend a hug so technology has it's limitations. The family were appreciative that so many attended though and it helped with the grieving.

The other thing I have been doing this week is downloading loads of photos from my phone onto my laptop. It took ages sorting and naming them. Anyway here are a few from walks in the town park this week before the rain of the last two days.

Pet's corner shut down before lock down but plenty of animals in the paddocks and so lovely to see the little lambs calling for their mums.

Friday, 17 April 2020

washing windows and other activities

The other day I cleaned the windows with a so-called ethical product which was a little pellet which is dissolved in a bottle of water thus cutting out plastic bottles. I'm not very good at this job but I have never been this bad. I could hardly see outside afterwards. Anyway after consulting my vinegar book, today I cleaned them again with warm vinagry water then polished them with scrunched up newspaper. They now look brilliant so I will definitely keep to this method in future. Its very green as well. The tip given in the book is to clean from top to bottom on one side of the glass and side to side on the reverse. This way if you do get smears it is possible to see what side they are on.

Activities in the kitchen involved making a batch of marmalade from a can of mamade. I used to do this when the children were young then got out of the habit until over a year ago I had an urge to make it again. That batch is used up now both by me and as gifts.One new jar already been gifted as I find people love being given some home made goodies.

Today I made a big batch of my version of bolognese sauce. Pre-lockdown I bought ys low fat mince and put it in the freezer so I used that along with a tin of tomatoes and loads of veg from the fridge. Some has been eaten and some is frozen for a quick meal another time. The other day I made a big pot of carrot, tomato and lentil soup. Some of that has been frozen too.

I am enjoying my walks and discovering new footpaths.

The first picture was one of several of what I think is a cowslip but I do wonder if its a bit big for that and maybe its an oxlip but they are much bigger and I've never seen them around here. Its beautiful anyway.

Then part of a walk which I've wanted to do for ages but it involves walking a footpath which crosses the golf course. It is a public path but there is always the risk of getting hit by a golf ball. Of course at the moment the golf club is closed so I managed the whole circular route which also meant walking across a main railway line. That always makes me a bit nervous but there aren't as many trains as usual at the moment and I was very careful. About five minutes later the train came. The last photo shows a sign for one of the long distance footpaths - the Harcamlow way. It is 141 miles and runs a figure of eight course between Harlow and Cambridge.

I meant to post this last night but had gremlins in the works so abandoned it until I was more awake.

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Eastwick and Gilston

It has been getting more crowded on my normal walks so thought I would go off the beaten tracks a bit. Usually if I want to walk around the village of Eastwick I would drive although it is only about 15 minutes to walk there. The problem is it is across a fast busy road but not a problem at the moment as so little traffic about and not allowed to drive anyway.  My route takes me across the Stort Navigation then past fields and over the true Stort pictured here.

I saw something on the other side of the road which I had missed before being in the car.

A memorial plaque for a young man who was killed there some years ago along with a beautiful flower bed. There are a lot of accidents at this junction.

Normally I would drive to the far end of the village and park by the war memorial opposite the pub and walk the footpaths from there. As I turned off the main road there was a path on my right signposted Gilston church 1 mile. I knew the path was there but have never explored it so I set off across the field.

The building in the first picture is the old school house now converted into apartments.  Some years ago I walked round the village with a download from the internet. It was the history of the place and all about the buildings and was very interesting.

As I reached the top of the hill I saw a footpath sign to my right going through a little wooded area and with a handy bench beside it.

I was told we are not allowed to stop or sit down while we are exercising but as I pointed out when you are pushing 70 and have had a long walk partly up hill on uneven mud, you are allowed to sit for a few minutes for a drink of water and to get your breath for the next bit. There was not a soul around and all I could hear was bird song. So peaceful.

I had a look through the hedge and could see a big old house which has been converted into several dwellings. I know it quite well as I have walked there from the other direction.

It is Gilston Park. The original house was demolished in 1852 and a new one built.

I decided I had been out long enough so walked back to the main road, crossed it and walked down the lane which takes me back to the main river and then through the little nature reserve where hardly anyone walks and home. I am quite enjoying avoiding people and exploring different areas.

Thursday, 2 April 2020

Using what I have

Not just food but other resources too during these extraordinary times.

I made my own version of stovies by cooking sliced potato and sweet potato. Saute leek then add leftover beetroot from a vacuum pack and leftover chicken. Stir the potatoes into this mix and it makes a delicious dinner. I'm not sure if this would be counted as stovies in Scotland but it was near.

I had the ingredients for a batch of rocky road and am rationing myself to one piece a day. There are enough ingredients for another lot if I use the rest of the usual ginger biscuits and part digestives.

Savoury muffins were baked using up a jar of sun dried tomatoes and cheese. I had no chives or ham so used bacon and a small piece of finely chopped leek. These were fried together first.

Other resources are the internet. The worse thing at the moment is not seeing little GD who lives nearby so we are very close. We have been using the video on messenger to talk to each other and also skype. As GD is only two at first she was a bit bemused but has got used to it and gets very excited. They send me videos of her playing and I made a video of myself reading her a story. I had a job sending it but worked it out in the end by compressing it, saving it to google drive and sending attached to an email. GD loved it and kept asking for phone afterwards. I did try uploading it to Youtube and making it a private account then sending an invitation to DDIL but for some reason she couldn't open it. I thought Youtube would be good as they can put that on the smart tv

Messenger, Zoom, Whatsapp, Instagram and Facebook are all being used to keep communication open and check on family and friends. Plus good old telephone for those not on line.

My other resource is the lovely countryside around us for a daily walk. I do feel for people living in towns with the parks closed and told not to drive out for their walks. Here although living on the edge of a town I can walk for miles right from my front door.

So in spite of the difficulties there is lots to be thankful for.