Planet Earth… Closed!

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So, how are we all doing out there? I hope that you are all well, and keeping safe in this Stephen King novel we all seem to be part of. Or are we part of a Black Mirror episode?

On Monday night, we were told that we could not go out unless, for essential shopping, medicine and exercise once a day. The company I work for was part of the companies that are able to stay open (construction), but, the owner decided that we would finish on that Tuesday. We came in and finished off what we needed to do and got out products that were needed, I did the month-end accounts and then did out lockdown procedures. However, the next day there was talk about opening up again as construction was still continuing and the government had no intention to stop it. I was chatting to the owner who’s son wanted to open and carry on, but after me telling her of a girl who had just died due to the virus at the age of 21, she decided that it was not going to happen and we would remain closed until the government lifts restrictions. We have all kept in touch via WhatsApp and are checking up on each other. One of the lads who is a driver for us told me yesterday that he thinks his wife has the virus, but from what he said she does not have the symptoms. She is a hypochondriac which does not help, and he seems to believe everything he reads on Facebook. On the last day of work, he told me that over 500 people had died in the UK the night before and argued that it was right. I did point him to the official website tracking the infection and deaths and the conversation was quickly changed. Therefore I am not concerned for them just yet.

I have noticed that the streets are a lot quieter, but from what another workmate tells me when he had to go out that the local town was busting with people going about as though it is a national holiday. Some really do not get it.

I had to go to the shop to get some supplies and although the place had very few people in it, some were not observing the social distancing that is in place, which they are reminded of when entering as there are signs quite literally everywhere. I was rude to a woman who had as much etiquette as a truffle pig, as she was sidling up to people as she was shopping, touching everything including people. She gave me a look that said fuck off, to which I responded with “wanker”. It was all I could do rather than punch her in the face, which I could have done as I was wearing latex gloves. I also noted that the main culprits were old men, I say old, ones in their 60’s. I think if you do not follow the rules and become infected then you do not deserve to be treated in hospital in a live by the sword die by the sword attitude.

We have been out to walk the dogs and get our once a day exercise, but we have been doing this at dawn, no one about and social distancing achieved, but the dogs are not too happy as they are walked a few times a day when I am at home, but I am sure they will get used to it soon enough.

As well as finishing M’s scarf I have frogged 2 projects and am well on my way with another Stephen West blanket “Bit of Iceland”. I have made this before for us and one for M’s mum, but I decided to do another on in colours that would compliment the bedroom. I am enjoying it as it is a large project, and those who know me, know I love big projects.

Yesterday I decided to bake cinnamon swirls as I have 1kg of fresh yeast, although I have frozen most of it.

One final thing I got was the Vogue Knitting book. I kept seeing it, but thought the £35 price tag was a little excessive, however, I found it in my rewards catalogue, therefore cost me nothing. Not expecting it for a few weeks and it arrived on Friday so bonus lockdown reading.

Let me know how you are all doing…

Panic on the street of London…

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Now, I will preface this post that I understand that many people have died due to the coronavirus outbreak about the planet.  That aside, I have never seen so many bloody idiots about reacting to the news.  I have witnessed people stealing from other people’s trollies, people running about supermarkets like they are on supermarket sweep.  I went into the supermarket this morning to get bananas at 7 am, and the place was rammed full of people panic buying.  Most of the shelves were empty and one woman had a trolly full of toilet roll.  As she went past me I shook my head and muttered “idiot”, she saw me shaking my head and shouted at me, I am a mother, which my reply was “no, you’re an idiot stockpiling”.  I understand people want to have things in, but they forget there are other people about, and what about the elderly who have not been able to get supplies?  I also wanted just one bag of sugar and a carton of orange juice too.  Due to the stripping of the shelves, I was faced with a 5kg bag of sugar which I did not want and a four-pack of orange.  The orange was not a problem, but I was forced into getting this huge bag of sugar, all because of the dickheads acting like it’s the end of the world.

We have not gone mad, and we have enough food in the house for a few weeks, but that is usual, so no stockpiling.  One of the things I noticed was the lack of pet food as people have stripped the shelves of that too.  The big supermarket close to work has no meat, poultry, tinned food, rice, pasta, pet food, frozen chips/fries, cleaning products of any kind, long-life milk, sugar, tea coffee, water, and the list goes on.  My friend who works there said she has never seen so much greed in her life and that people are fighting over things.  However, the supermarket has a big responsibility to stop people doing this by limiting purchases to stop hoarding and madness, but so far nothing has been done and they are letting the raids carry on.

Our government seems to reflect that of the USA, and are doing very little about it all, and their so-called measures are just laughable.  I think our PM watches the great Cheeto and follows his lead, and we all know the Cheeto buries his head in the sand and patronises his nation with instruction to calm down as it’s all fine.

Our latest instructions are that those over the age of 70 and people that are in “risk” groups have to stay in for 12 weeks, and others should not go out, “even for food and essentials”, but, can leave the house “for exercise and, in that case, at a safe distance from others”.  So, they can keep fit, but cannot buy food, in essence, could be the healthiest corpses about.  The blind leading the blind in the UK.

One of the things which are becoming annoying is the lack of information.  We are not getting told any demographics about those that have died, those that are ill, and those that have it and are fine.  The news from the USA is that the average age is 80 and all had underlying health conditions, but we are in the dark here.  Although we live in the country, we have a city 24 miles north, 17 miles south and 40 miles east, the Irish sea to our immediate west (safe zone lol) and all cities have reports of people with the virus, so the circle is slowly closing in.

Where I work we are suppliers of building materials, so are in contact with people all the time.  It is a family business, so we are all involved with every aspect of the company and as such are all in contact with customers, who are in contact with their customers, who are in contact with many others, therefore, we cannot hide from it. The owner is off ill, and now her son seems to be coming down with the same thing, which she said is norovirus as she if vomiting and can’t get off the toilet.

Today more and more people were calling to see if we were open or we had closed due to this virus. A lot of customers visiting were asking the same thing, so I think it will be a short time from now till we have to close for isolation.

Now, on the positive side, I have just taken delivery of 20 balls (4000 meters) of aran yarn to start making The Great American Aran Afghan which will be quite exciting to do. Remember all you who do knit and crochet, this is the time we have been training for all our lives. Isolation and a massive stash of yarn. It’s going to be like the perfect holiday. Needles going, Netflix playing, feet up and tea to keep us going.

Stay safe.

These things take time…

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M asked me to make him a scarf in the same yarn that I used for my last project Paris Toujours. The yarn is nice to work with, so I agreed. He didn’t want anything fancy, and wanted something quite plain, like a moss stitch, but I decided that I would do a ribbed type, but without the aid of purl stitch. Let’s face it, purling gets to be a bit of a drag after a while. This pattern is simple but has interesting results. The pattern is just knit stitch and S1wyif. I used a twisted cast-on as it is good for scarfs, and it is a tougher edge. This is it so far.

KAL – Paris Toujour

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Well, I finally finished knitting my Paris Toujour scarf.

I used Hayfield Spirit yarn which was really nice to work with, as is all their yarns. I should have finished it for the 15th February, but, due to M’s birthday (15th), work, baking cakes, and my birthday jaunt to Prague I ran out of time, but what the hell, it is done now so who cares lol. The KAL challenge was made by the guys at FiberHustle, the pattern was designed by Isabell Kraemer.

So let me know what you think!

Short Jaunt…

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For my 50th, my friend surprised me with a trip to Prague, she paid for a 4-star hotel bed and breakfast, transfers, flights and 20kg bag in the hold. I am not too sure if airlines about the world are as tight fisted as the UK ones, but Ryanair you have to pay for literally everything. Seating used to be free, but now you have to pay for that on top of the flight. Baggage is extra no matter what now, apart from a very small bag that can go under the seat in front of you, no overhead lockers in use now.

So, off to Prague, we go tomorrow (Sunday) for a few days. The dogs have been booked in with the kennels, paid for our seats, booked parking, which is expensive too, and special assistance for M. The special assistance is usually great as we get through the airport in no time as we are escorted to a disabled section, and M is taken in a wheelchair through, so no hard slog walking and I don’t have to push! Not sure on the way back though. Rome was great, Amsterdam was crap, Ireland a dream, so fingers crossed.

We are staying at the Grandior Hotel & Spar in central Prague, and have decided not to plan anything, just go with the flow, so we will not be restricted. I am looking forward to all the food I will admit. I like to try all the foods on offer when in another country, no point sticking to familiar food, we have to live a little, although I doubt it will be as good as the food in Italy, but not as bad as that in Amsterdam, which I thought was really bad, even the burgers, well, apart from Burger King, which was okay.

Since we have a good few hours in the airport, the flight which is only 2:15 I decided to get a new book (why as I have loads not read yet) to while away the hour traveling.

We have decided this will probably be our last foreign jaunt as it really takes its toll on M. We live in one of the most beautiful countries in the world with massive changing landscapes, mountains, lakes and so much more, so why not explore our surroundings. Wales is quite literally on our doorstep, we can see the mountains from our beach each day, and to the north, we can see the mountains of the Lake District. A 20-minute drive and we can see the start of the Pennines, so what’s not to love. Also, we can take the dogs with us everywhere we go, not to mention saving a fortune on kennel fees.

This time tomorrow we will be on our way…

Audiology

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I went for a hearing test just before my 50th at Boots and was told that my hearing was a little below what they would consider normal/age-related, that I could not hear the ends of words properly and that my tinnitus could be looked at. I have never heard pure silence for as long as I can remember, so the high pitched sounds of tinnitus at what silence sounds to me, thus I am used to is, but it does do my head in when it gets really loud and drowns out talking or competes with it.

If you have never been in an acoustic room, it is bazaar indeed. When I walked in it physically felt different and as the room seems to have a deadweight feel about it, it is quite the sensation, or lack of sound to be exact. I could hear the air conditioning, the girl moving her foot on the floor like it was all next to my ears, as I said, a very odd sensation.

I was put through lots of questions on what I had difficulty hearing, what I found comfortable and uncomfortable, what I miss in conversations and what sounds if any give me discomfort, and if any of the things we talked about bothered me and what scale it was. All in all, I was not concerned about my hearing, but it did bother me slightly when I missed conversations, but I explained that I do lipread so when I struggle I use this technique. One of the things we discussed was my facial trauma when I was 17 (face smashed in), and that this could be the route of the tinnitus, however, if I could not remember hearing properly prior to this we will never know.

I did sounds tests, speech tests and one that the tiny speaker sat on the bone behind my ear. The conclusion was that my hearing is fine apart from a tiny loss in my left ear in the higher frequencies, which she said was within normal parameters. She did say that we all have different levels of volume that we feel is “right” for us and exampled this with her and her sister, she preferred the TV on quietly which was perfect for her, but her sister liked it loud which she, in turn, found too loud and uncomfortable, but assured me that her sister had perfect hearing. My tinnitus needs to be worked on, and she gave me papers on this and advised using brown noise and nature sounds when in a quiet room as this will stop the “ringing” being overbearing as the nature sounds etc will take away the focus from it. Another example she gave was that we are “hunter-gatherers” and as such when things go quiet our ears go into overdrive listening for predators, and when in the dark there is no stimulus to the eyes, so hearing is even more aware. This all made sense when she explained it as at night when trying to fall asleep the “ringing” seems to be mega loud and kept me awake. Funny enough when I went to bed I told my Echo Show to wake me up at a certain time and she asked if I wanted relaxing sounds, which was white noise with bird sounds in the background, and hey presto, I did not notice my inner noise, so top marks to Alexa for that.

The speech test as odd and the person speaking was an American lady and I had to repeat what she said. I could hardly get the last ones, but did manage to pick out some words, so did better that a lot of people. Great stuff!

Although she said that hearing aids could improve clarity, she did not feel it necessary, which I could not agree more with. I do not feel I need hearing aids at all, I just need to start concentrating when people are talking to me and stop zoning out, as this cold be my problem.

So, what more can I say but great results, I’m not deaf or hard of hearing, just switching off LOL.

Family hey!

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I have written about my paternal side of the family in the past and the fact that they are distant due to my father and his lies.

For those who do not know, my father was having an affair from when I was a baby and continued for 15 years until my Mum filed for divorce. The man was a bully and outright shit! When Mum divorced him he told all his family not contact us and then told them that we had moved to another town and he had no idea where we all went. My Mum still lives in the same house and has done for close to 50 years. This was his way of abandoning his kids and becoming a father to her kids. That’s the long story short.

So, one of my cousins C contacted me and asked if we fancied meeting up, which I did, and we met up quite a few times with her sister and M too. I took them all out for lunch a few times too and we got to know each other all over again. However, September last year C and her husband were having a party as it was their 25th wedding anniversary. Unfortunately, we were in Ireland visiting M’s parents and could not make it. I let her know, and she said it was a shame, and that was that. A few weeks after she sent me some photos of the party, which looked sombre, to be honest, and I replied with “looks like you had a great time” and other platitudes whilst she told me how great it was.

After not hearing from her I decided to message her to see how everyone was and was told: “K and I have taken retirement, nice to hear from you, take care.” Well, that was short and sweet. M and I took it that her reply was a polite way of saying “fuck off I’m not interested”. Her attitude surprised me as she was the one who contacted me and wanted a social life with us. However, I would guess that our absence from her party is the crucks of her problem and she decided to spit out her dummy/take her ball home as we say. I even asked my friend who I work for what she thought and she agreed that it was exactly that, and maybe because we were not fawning about her then she was not interested. Obviously, not having contact with me for close to 40 years she would not know that I do not and never have fawned over anyone. It is not my style and neither is it M’s. We are sociable, but not to the point of a lot of people who do not seem to be able to function without others being around them. I find that type of life stifling. When I was young I was a social butterfly, but being old now, I have settled down. Again, we enjoy the company of others, but do not feel the need to be in the company of others all the time. Maybe we are the odd couple, but I know lots of people who are like us, as some who do not socialise at all.

I wonder how many readers are social butterflies or like us, happy to socialise, but it is not the be-all and end-all.

Taking the piss, an update…

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The more I thought about it and the more I read your comments, the more shocked by the audacity of the wealth management guy. I knew I would have to bring it to a close.

So, the WM guy was emailed and told that his ideas were not plausible, not only for the amount of disruption that we would end up with, which frankly was the main reason, but the drain on my power, that I pay for and in the end are responsible for. Other things that I was not willing to deal with would be if we were away and their use of gates, lights etc tripped my electrics and caused a power outage that would bring about the death of my livestock, also, if there was a problem with equipment, then they would need me to be there for electrical contractors to fix and for my power disrupted at the same time. If I was away and the gate failed, then no one would be able to reset and get them out, and these were just a few high hurdles that I was not willing to deal with or be exposed to. A single LED light would have been fine, but this, no, no and no!

He was polite about it, as he had to be as I am not beholden to him. He was told at the time that no one was going to do anything with the land, and if he wanted to fix it up then it was on his own head, and with as little disruption to everyone. In the UK (not sure if it is the same anywhere else) commercial rentals are the responsibility of the person who rents them, that is, decor, alterations, repairs etc., basically, whatever you want to do, you have to pay for, which he knew. He was given a rent-free period as he did quite a bit of work to get rid of the crap that was on the land and removal of a makeshift storage building. I say building with the loosest of definitions.

He has decided now to run the cabling from his building and will tarmac all the areas between his place and ours all the way to the rented area (which has a concrete floor), and “make it nice for you”. I think the use of “you” was his way of an apology for the messing about, but in the end, it will benefit him and his workers. The work will be done in March now.

One of the agreed parts is that they have not stuck to was that the areas gates had to be closed and locked every night. So far they have used it three times, twice I have locked it up, but this evening I came home to find it all open and decided screw this, so left it open. M thinks because I locked it all up the other two times that he has not realised that his staff have not done their job and by leaving it open will point to it not being locked and he will kick someone’s arse. I hope so!

Scientology with Joe

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Thanks to some of my readers I watched the Podcast/Videocast of Joe Rogan and Leah Remini talking about Scientology. I really like them both, so to have them on the one show talking about the aftermath of Leah’s journey within the “church” was inspiring. Joe trying to convince Leah that she should do pot was brilliant, and I could almost be convinced that she would have gone for it if he had pursued it a little more.

If you have not seen it and are interested in watching this 2:15 video, then look no further.

One thing I think I have in common with others outside the “church” is a deep fascination with the whole “religion”. I am currently reading Bare-Faced Messiah by Russell Miller, and am enjoying reading about LRH’s real and fictional madcap life. Even the parts that are true are almost tall tales in themselves. I can see why he was a prolific fiction writer.

Over the weekend I also watch Going Clear. I have the book by Lawrence Wright and am looking forward to reading that as I presume it will be a lot more educational than the film, but the film was very interesting. I have seen it before, but at the time I do not think I took too much interest in it. This time I absorbed it from start to finish.

We also finished watching Leah’s second series of Scientology and the Aftermath, and I have to say I am hooked. Leah has a quality in doing these documentaries that I really like and as for Mike Rinder, he is just a fountain of knowledge. The last episode made me laugh as Aaron Smith-Levin’s dog is not considered an SP (suppressive person), or should that be an SD? Along with the fence between him and his Scientology neighbours, it finished on a high.