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THE COVIDIARIES - DAY 26 - 11th April 2020

What a joy to read Jane’s diary entry with news from the other side of the water. Fremington seems like another world at the moment.

Book tips are always useful although I only tend to use my kindle when I am backpacking. When we did the first five hundred miles of The Camino I took Diarmuid McCulloch’s thousand page book on The History of Christianity, thinking it rather appropriate on a pilgrimage. Prior to leaving I ripped out the index, photographs and the cover to keep the weight down in my rucksack. Each night I would read and then dispose of the read pages in the wastepaper basket. You could trace me from Le Puy en Velay to St. Jean Pierre Le Port by the pages. When we went back to do the next five hundred miles through Spain I took a kindle with the whole of the ‘Outlander’ series’ and a couple of unread Jilly Cooper novels.

Two days ago I released my bicycle from the garage to cycle to the beach rather than walk down through the sandhills. This is my newish sit up and beg bike, which is only six years old. Prior to that for fifty years I pedalled a Raleigh British racing green ladies bicycle, still with its original Brooks saddle, three Stumey-Archer gears, low, medium and high, and a skirt guard on the back mudguard. About six year ago when I was really struggling to pedal I bought a bright yellow bike (the colour was so I could be seen and pedestrians and cars could take avoiding action) with SIX gears, but still the problem did not improve.

A couple of months later we went on a biking holiday in Holland, staying on a converted barge for accommodation and cycling from Amsterdam to the Friesian Islands and back again. The weather was atrocious, with the wind blowing south as we headed north and north as we headed south and just to really compound it we had driving rain. I found the trip a tremendous struggle. Four months later I was at the neurologist and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and immediately put on levadopa. It was like a light bulb being switched on, an hour after popping my multi-coloured capsule my body started to move, my coordination and balance returned and then I have the strength to rotate the pedals. If it had been fifty years ago there was no medication and it would have been rapid curtains.

Set off to cycle to father’s this afternoon and half a mile from the house there was a tremendous bang and my back tyre blew so it I was left to trudge home pushing it. Hopefully Southfork, in Braunton, will be able to sort me out on Tuesday and in the mean time I hope to borrow granddaugher’s, but there is one hitch in my plans in that it has twenty gears and a crossbar.

Spent the morning making ice cream and chocolate mousse and Reed’s turned up with a couple of quack quacks for our social distancing meal tomorrow; I was number twenty on a delivery round of sixty. I am rather enjoying all this delivery lark as I loathe shopping.

Lovely to have Pennie continuing our gardening section and I hope your telephone is back on line soon because I know how much you rely on it. “So yesterday I got compost and veggie seedlings to plant instead of the usual annuals - petunias, lobelia etc. My effort last year to grow beans succumbed to the slugs - how I don't know the little blighters got across the divide it's still a mystery to me. So last night the seedlings still in the containers they came in spent the night on the shed roof! As I still have a dead mobile phone there's no pictorial update - hopefully I'll be able to revive the phone sometime next week if the repair tools ever get delivered! So watch this space! My home phone number is xxxxxx if anybody wants to talk to me - I usually spend Easter and Christmas home alone but losing Whatsapp has been a pain. Take care all and have wonderful weekend.”

Jo has given a lovely long update on life in her household and I cannot wait to read her poem. I know that she has been busy, with my father, listing all the new jargon for our coronavirus era.

Happy Easter to everyone stay safe and keep doing what you're doing and this period of time WILL pass. I would just like to say (you may not have noticed but I have been quite quiet on here) We all all safe and well in our household thankfully and hope you are all too. I know its a very tricky time for us all just now however life throws these curveballs for reason and we will all be stronger afterwards I'm sure of it.... in many many ways personally and professionally too.

Personally I have been generally good walking lots and keeping in good spirits. I am aware its a roller coaster of emotions on every level for everyone and if you need a chat rant moan or a virtual hug I am more than happy to help and listen or whatever I can do to help so please please reach out to myself or a organisation that are there to help for your needs at any time not just at the moment . I'm not gonna lie its nice not to be 100 mph everyday and sit and either blow bubbles in my garden or do my colouring.....ever the child clearly....I'm not a TV person so binge watching is another no no for me. I miss, as you do no doubt, the physical contact of friend's and family (as you know I hug everyone all the time).

For me I am at a point I am finding it difficult for other reasons as my family are miles away and I can't physically see them to make sure they're as good as they say they are so my usual daily contact has been stepped up to more than once a day. Facetime and other technical apps have been a new friend to me although I'm not sure the zoom thing helps as I find it quite irritating and somewhat frustrating but I will continue to at least try and be sociable on it. I have found that I actually don't miss a lot of things and miss things I thought I would be OK without which is kinda strange. So just to re enforce the point that this episode will pass and "we will meet again" and be better people for it I'm sure. Love to you all as you do "Raise me up" at times when you don't even know if you're doing it "the fields of gold" are waiting for us and "Wherever you are" I am only a message away.”

Recipe from Jenny followed by a comment from Lisa, “I used to live for your chocolate brownies after dropping Tristan off at nursery once a week and then popping into Jenny’s cafe.

8oz / 200g dark chocolate (you can use cooking chocolate or bournville ) roughly broke up 7oz/175g butter ( I had to use stork ran out of butter!) 13oz / 325g sugar 5oz / 130g plain or SR flour ( whatever you’ve got to spare) 3 eggs 1 Creme egg or chocolate drops or similar to go on top Preheat oven 170 C / 325 F / gas 3 Melt chocolate on a low setting in the microwave Add butter mix until smooth Add sugar mix Add flour mix well Stir in eggs mix well Pour into a 33x23 baking tray ( or something similar to that size ) lined with baking paper Cook in the oven 30 mins Near the end of baking quickly put the chopped creme egg or chocolate on top When it’s ready to come out It should be crispy flaky on top but soft underneath Leave in the tin until cooled Should Cut into about 12 portions

You probably have not noticed that we have been pretentious enough as to put names at the bottom of each diary, that is because we have some new recruits and we need to know who wrote what.

Thank you Estelle and Hayley for stepping into the breech with the diary. So far we have done twenty-five days of the diary, Shona three, Jane three and myself nineteen. Once Monday's is published we will have been hard at writing for four weeks, which was my hopeful estimate on the first day, the seventeenth of March.

Sadly there will be many more weeks, even months, to come. So as of next Monday, if our choir are happy, I will continue with Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. Shona and Jane, if they are happy too will keep their Tuesday and Friday slots. That leaves Estelle for Thursday and Hayley for Sunday. Happy writing. Will have a new recruiting drive in the coming 'monthsssssss.'

It is Easter Sunday tomorrow and so I wish you all the best day that you can have under the circumstances and pray that we will see these terrible times through as safely and quickly as we can.



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