Lockdown Diary – Day 79

Wasn’t going to bother writing an entry today but what the hell. Here goes. After two months of perfect weather June is turning out to be the anti-summer. Those clear blue skies of April and May have been replaced by gloomy grey skies, rain and lots and lots of wind. Yesterday was a complete washout. Stayed inside all day apart from a quick trip to M&S (in the car) and only logged 2,000 steps all day. That’s the least I have moved since my epic 621 steps on 1 May, a record that may well last for years to come.

I did manage to accomplish a few things today. Got a run in before the rains arrived, well almost before, as I did get rained on walking back home from the park. Another decent time, though.

Then I spent more time on the phone (on hold, mostly) to the IRS trying to find out about my stimulus payment and then on another call to the Social Security Administration to find out if they had my correct address etc. They do, and I will just have to hope my payment shows up at some point. Also found out that my application to start collecting Social Security was on their system marked pending, so I should start getting that by this time next month, they said. So progress on several fronts.

Charlie and I have decided to go up to Birmingham on Sunday and get the rest of his stuff and officially move out of the house from hell rather than wait until the end of the month. He got very stressed out yesterday just trying to get things sorted with his housemates and that witch of a landlady. The sooner we get him out of this situation the better. It will be interesting to see what shape the place is in as nobody has been living there for nearly three months.

Lockdown Diary – Day 66

I was sitting outside with my coffee this morning on another glorious, sunny day. Suddenly a half dozen newly fledged blue tits descended along with their mum. They were all cheeping like mad asking to be fed and mum would go to the feeder and bring back a sesame heart to feed to each one. At one point three of them were lined up in a row on a branch of the viburnum waiting their turn. I went upstairs to tell Alice and to get the camera in hope of getting some photos. But by the time I got back they had moved to the big trees in an adjacent garden and I wasn’t able to get a decent photo. It really made my morning seeing this little blue tits, which I reckon had all fledged just hours earlier. Especially after the experience of our nestbox a few weeks ago.

After Charlie’s success at getting his stimulus payment confirmed I decided to try again, only this time using the link for non-filers and it actually worked! I haven’t got the confirmation that I will actually get it but at least they now have my bank details and can deposit it directly. So fingers crossed!

Thus in a heightened mood I put on my brand new running shoes and set off despite it being one of the warmest days of the spring. The shoes felt so much better than my old, worn out ones, but they didn’t seem to have much effect on my speed. When I hit my 5k goal I decided to keep going and ended up running 6k, the farthest I have ever run. It wasn’t a blistering pace, having taken me nearly 45 minutes. But it was also the longest I have run without stopping since I started this crazy running thing two years ago.

In the afternoon I went to Crawley to collect the groceries from Sainsbury. It took a long time to get down there because instead of going down the A217 I went via Redhill on the A23 and I got stuck behind a very slow moving hearse and a line of cars following it. The weird thing was at several points along the road there were groups of people standing and clapping as the hearse went past. Eventually, it turned off towards the crematorium in Horley. But I can’t help wondering who it was who drew people out to say goodbye like that.

We decided to treat ourselves to fish and chips from Sea Salt, and although a bit of an ordeal picking it up it was good as always. So having gone over two months without a takeaway meal we have had four in 9 days.

Oh, almost forgot to mention that Donald Trump is a psychopath and I can’t wait until he is in prison or dead.

Lockdown Diary – Day 65

One thing has remained consistent these past two months and that is I have had no trouble falling asleep. I like to listen to the radio through earphones when I go to bed, often it is the BBC World Service via the BBC Sounds app on my iPhone. It has a timer so you can have it switch off, thus saving you being woken up at 3am by the theme tune for the World Football show. There are also a couple of podcasts I like to listen to at bedtime, one called Shortcuts and another called Wireless Nights, which is a brilliant one by Jarvis Cocker of Pulp. There hadn’t been a new episode of Wireless Nights since January 2019, so I was excited to see one pop up on Monday. I started listening, but as usual fell asleep about 10 minutes into it. Tried to listen to it again the next night. Fell asleep about the same time. Ditto Wednesday night. So tonight I will try again to stay awake for a half hour so I can get to the end.

As for today, it was OK. The highlight was taking delivery of a new pair of running shoes. I had put about 600km on my current pair and they were so worn out I would probably have been better off running barefoot. So tomorrow I will have my first run in the new pair. It will be interesting to see if it has any effect on my time.

The other highlight was was walking into town and getting spicy wings for Charlie and I to have for lunch from Chicken Time. It’s a favourite of his (and mine) and they only reopened last week, and as he has now finished all his uni work for the year he deserved a treat. And so did I even though I haven’t done any work for two months!

Finally, I have been trying for weeks without success to check on my $1,200 stimulus payment. I never get past the first screen on the Get My Payment website despite having filed my US taxes for 25 years. I have been after Charlie to get signed up for it. He has yet to file US taxes but was still eligible for the stimulus payment. Non-filers use a separate site to check their payments and he finally tried it today and it went through first time and he has had an email confirming that the check’s on the way! No justice!

Lockdown Diary – Day 59

Well, so much for trying to write these entries earlier in the day. It’s 10 to 10 on a Friday night and I am about to pour my third pint of Pilgrim. It’s been a pretty good day. Got up about 7.30 to cloudy, windy weather. It looked like we were about to get a storm but of course we didn’t.

I went for my third run of the week, my second three-run week in a row. You’d think that running this often my times would get better, but you would be wrong. I blame my running shoes, which have 550k on them and have nothing left in the way of support. New shoes should arrive in a week or so.

Halfway through the run the skies cleared and it got a lot warmer than the forecast had said it would get. Came home to great news as Alice had got her Covid test result back and it was negative. Never thought it would be otherwise but good to get it officially confirmed.

Had about an hour to recover before it was time for the weekly adventure of driving to Crawley to get the click and collect from Sainsbury’s. For once they hadn’t screwed up the order or forgotten things so it was relatively stress-free despite being much busier (8 cars waiting) than last week when I was the only one there.

Spent an hour or two in the garden, the went for a walk with Alice so got 18,000 steps in for the day. We had a rare treat of having our supper (pizza) in front of the television. Before this lockdown we only had meals together at the dining room table maybe once a week.

Late breaking news: Dominic Cummings, the government’s official shitgibbon, is in trouble for breaking the lockdown!

Lockdown Diary – Day 57

Woke up at 5.30am and took a while to get back to sleep, so my streak finally came to an end. Got up about 7.30 and enjoyed the solitude with my morning coffee. Spent most of the morning procrastinating, if you can really call it that when you don’t have anything to do anyway. Finally went for a run about 11 when the temperature was already pushing 28 degrees celsius. It was more of a chug than a run, my time was so much slower. I do seem to run faster when it is cold for some reason. But it didn’t seem too bad until I got to the park where there was no shade at all. Then it really seemed hot (for England).

I’ve now put more than 500k on my running shoes so I ordered a new pair the other day. They won’t arrive until the 30th so will have to put up with the old ones for a few more runs. They are totally worn out and I am sure running will be a lot more fun once the new shoes arrive.

The big news was that it was pay day and I checked my balance to see that I had apparently been paid two months’ worth of my furlough money in one go! I wasn’t expecting that. So I am temporarily flush, but at the same time have no idea when I will get another pay cheque.

Spent yet another afternoon in the garden but despite my run in the heat I didn’t feel as listless as I did yesterday. Maybe my hay fever medicine has kicked in.

Went for a short walk around the cemetery. It is a fascinating place and a shame that we have spent so little time exploring it. Most of the gravestones are so old that the writing and dates can no longer be read. But there are some very, very old ones there, and no doubt a lot of interesting stories. There are also some very old, very large trees, like this one, a cedar I think.

I thought today was the day my US passport expires but when I checked it had expired on the 11th. Feels a bit strange not having a valid US passport and not knowing when I will get a new one. Charlie’s expired in February. At least we both have UK passports, thank goodness.

A courier came this morning to collect Alice’s coronavirus self-test. She should get the results in 48 hours. Fingers crossed.

Lockdown Diary – Day 53

Slept like a log. Got up about 8am and before I knew it it was nearly 3pm. Alice has spent the day in bed although she does seem to be getting a bit better. Hasn’t been sick anymore and seemed to sleep OK. But she hasn’t eaten much for the last two days.

I faffed around knowing I wanted to get a run in but did my best to delay it. It has been a much nicer day today. A lot warmer when the sun was out but still cool when it went behind the clouds. I eventually went for a run about noon and it was OK. Not to many people to avoid although the park was busy.

Tried again without luck to see about my $1,200 stimulus payment from the Trump Organization. But like thousands of other American expats I can’t get on to the system. Maybe the postman will eventually bring a cheque around.

Charlie and I had a nice supper, burgers, sweet corn and courgettes. Alice didn’t feel up to it, though she was feeling well enough to come downstairs in the evening. Tonight would have been the Eurovision Song Contest, always a big night in our house and across the continent. But as it had been cancelled they put on Eurovision: Europe Shine Light, which we found so depressing we switched off after about 20 minutes.

The skies cleared in the late evening and as the golden hour coincided with wine o’clock, I spent it in the garden with an Australian friend.

Lockdown Diary – Day 43

Forced myself to go for a run, since it was a nice day. But it took a few hours to convince myself. And when I finally started I felt I was really struggling and almost quit before I had gone 1k. This was my 152nd run on the Nike app and I have never quit without reaching my goal, but I came very close today. But trooper that I am I carried on and finished with a good time for 5k. I seem to have no ability to judge pace as I felt I was trudging along the first 2k but then ended up with the good time. I need to get two more in this week and get back into the habit of running three times a week.

Spent part of the afternoon watching the blue tits going in and out of the nest box feeding the chicks, which are now four days old. They seem to be struggling to find enough food and I watched them repeatedly take in bits of apple from one I had put out for them in the vibernum.

It was another cloudless day with brilliant blue skies, and the golden light in the evening was pure magic.

Meanwhile, it appears our idiot prime minister wants to start easing the lockdown from Monday, despite the fact that there were 6,000 new coronavirus cases today and the death total is now more than 30,000.

Lockdown Diary – Day 39

Oops, forgot to do this entry and now it’s late and I am very sleepy. So this is a placeholder until I come back to it tomorrow. Or not. Went for my first run in two weeks and it really felt great afterwards, if not so great for the first 2K.

Went down to Crawley on my own to pick up the groceries in the afternoon and the whole thing seems to be getting more chaotic each week. Waited for about 40 minutes and then got home to discover several things missing from our order. As I was putting stuff in the fridge I discovered a broken egg had dripped all over inside and I had to spend an hour cleaning up the mess. Just that kind of day. But hey, look, I have managed to write this entry after all! I am such a pro!

Lockdown Diary – Day 26

A day so productive that I am struggling to keep my eyes open past 10pm as I once again wish I had started this entry earlier in the evening. So let’s keep this short and sweet. Did the usual Saturday stuff, cleaning, laundry, crying my eyes out. Seriously, managed to get in another good 5k and and have now logged 150 runs totalling 704k on the Nike Run app. It was a cool, cloudy day so spent the rest of the day indoors apart from BBQing. Remind me again, it’s Saturday, right?

Meanwhile, 15,000 dead in the UK, 37,000 in the US and even the Murdoch press has turned against Boris Johnson and the Tories. Better late than never, I suppose.

Lockdown Diary – Day 22

A better day today. Had a pretty decent sleep last night for a change. Didn’t wake up in the middle of the night. Finally made myself go for a run and was glad I did. I set PBs for fastest 1k and mile. And my time for 5k was a full four minutes faster than my run last Friday, which was admittedly one of the slowest I’ve done. It didn’t seem like I was running faster so maybe my Nike Run app was just messing with my head. But since it’s failed me a few times I am taking this one as legit.

Managed to avoid the news all day just by keeping busy. I braved a trip to M&S to get milk and a few treats (pizzas and a curry for later in the week). There was no queue to get in and it wasn’t busy for the most part. But there always seems to be a few people who stand looking at something for ages while blocking the aisle, or picking things up and looking at them then putting them back. Alice insisted I take a mask, which I did but didn’t wear it (don’t tell her).

Charlie cooked dinner for us, a pasta bake with mince and mushrooms, and it was very nice. Caught up on the Scandi series Twin we’re watching and another excellent Better Call Saul.

So that’s was about it. Notice how I haven’t mentioned the C word or the D word? I think that’s the way forward. Ignorance really is bliss.