Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Who would have thought ......... 13th May 2020

Wednesday 13th May 2020

If you had said to me a few months ago that I would find something so simple as a walk that was not around our estate so exciting, I would not have believed you!  For the past 8 weeks the car has sat in the drive and we have just walked around our estate.  To say it is unbelievably boring would be an understatement.  We do have grass spaces and have managed most of the time to maintain social distancing.  The trouble is that it gets busier every day.  Our biggest problem is the runners - well not all of them, but there are sufficient that come up from behind with no warning and make no attempt to keep their distance.  We have 8 quiet roads to cross, so it is one long training session for Monty, but he is very good and sits and waits at each one before proceeding.  As you can see from the picture below there are (in most parts) quite wide grass verges to enable us to keep our distance.  
Monty has been 'bomb proof' as far as bikes go since he was small (tow path training!), but he is a timid soul and hates the noise small wheels make and also that of bouncing footballs.  8 weeks of close contact with a lot of those and he is getting more used to them. From today we were allowed to go out in the car to get to somewhere else to exercise, so we decided to go for it!

Chris ran the engine yesterday and checked the tyres, so we were good to go as soon as Tesco had delivered our weekly shop.  We went the long way round both going and coming home to get the engine up to heat and what a treat we had when we arrived at a bit of towpath we know is usually very quiet with no moored boats on the towpath side.  We were prepared to give up if it was busy.  As we arrived two cyclists appeared on the road form the footpath - I enquired if it was busy - they said they had not seen anyone, so off we went.

It was utter bliss.  To see the canal, vegetation, wide open sky and well just anywhere that was not our estate and also very quiet was just amazing.  We did meet one other couple - we found a slightly wider bit, tucked ourselves into the fence with our backs to them as they went past.  Not 2 metres apart, but we reckon safer than the estate which now people can go out for as long as they want and as often as they want will, we think, get busier and busier.  

The camera worked overtime!  It is a stretch we know and love, but I never thought it would mean quite so much to me!

 One happy dog!


First bluebells we have seen this year!

 We did resist the temptation to have a go on the swing!  I would love to be have been watching when someone rigged it up there!  It can't have been easy.

 To the top of the path and through the gate

along the footpath

to be rewarded with wide open space -  the first we have seen for 8 weeks

 Almost back where we started - it was good to see a few boats afloat

 Behind the towpath were a lot of very free range chickens

Turn right before the paint shed and you are back onto the road.

It was blissful on so many levels.  I will never take my freedom for granted again.

Having said that we will not be going far for a very long time, but if we can continue to find isolated walks we will both for our sanity, our health and for Monty who was quite surprised when he was told to get in the car this morning!

ps - my enthusiasm and excitement got the better of me!  I must add that the only reason we chose this bit of towpath is purely because we knew it was likely to have very light, if any footfall, and most importantly that there was very little chance of anyone being moored along here.  We are aware that there are many of you who are 'hunkering down' in an effort to keep safe and understandably do not welcome footfall.  Had we come across a moored boat we would have turned around and gone home.  We have been walking this stretch for around 9 years and have never yet seen anyone moored, so it was a safe bet that we would not put anyone at risk.

Friday, 8 May 2020

What should have been - Friday 8th May 2020 VE Day

Friday 8th May 2020

One month on from my last post I just thought I would pop in to let you all know we are alive and kicking and thankfully Covid free.

In our pre lock down days we should have been on day 3 of a Birmingham Canal Navigation Society Explorer Cruise.  Today would have been around a 7 hour cruise from Longwood Boat Club to Walsall Basin.  This evening was planned as 'an independent evening', but allowing for the fact it is VE Day and the weather is so fantastic, I am sure the BBQs would have come out.  That is what should have been and will be again - maybe next year for us.

Chris is one of the vulnerable ones, so we have been nowhere since I last posted.  The daily Monty walks are our only escape, but we are both well and manage to keep busy.  Quizzes seem to come in from all sorts of sources and some have kept us busy for hours.  This week's from 'The Happy Puzzle Company' is particularly hard, but it keeps me quiet!  I have also made quite a number of laundry bags for health care workers.

Family Skype sessions continue twice a week.  We played 'The Logo Game' with them a couple of weeks ago.  I thought we would be rubbish, but we trounced them!  Today we met early (09:00) and Chris' brother and his wife joined us from New Zealand.  I am certainly talking on the phone to people I don't usually call, so something good is coming out of this situation.

We have continued to manage to get Tesco slots and we share some click and collects with our daughter.  There is a local farm shop (we did not know it existed before lock down!) that delivers as does our local butcher/green grocer/deli.  At weekends we treat ourselves to a 'proper pudding'.  Chris did an amazingly good syrup sponge two weeks ago.  Last week's was not a great success and although we ate most of it we won't do it again - the centre was a bit too much like blancmange for me.  That is one of the few things I really dislike.  This weekend I will be making lemon yogurt sponge cake with boozy prunes.  Fingers crossed it is a success.

I continue to make cards and keep busy with my crochet in the evenings.  You would think I had got all our Christmas cards done by now, but sadly no - they have not been started yet.  There are too many tomorrows to do them in!  I am enjoying the streaming of National Theatre productions and tonight we are going to watch the Andrew Lloyd Webber production of 'By Jeeves'.  I have to say that the internet has made this lock down a lot easier to cope with.

We have a lot to be grateful for in our lives.  Everyone in our family is well and those that are working are still in work and being paid.  Our pensions remain the same.  There are so many people in desperate need at present.  I count my blessings every day. 

So stay well and stay safe until the next time I pop in.  I do love my blog catch ups, so please keep them coming!