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Damsons, Deer & Digital Dabbling

Its now been 8 months since Paddi passed away yet I still find my self up & out the door as I have been for more than a decade to wander the fields behind the house. As the seasons change so does environment so the view is never really the same twice & if I’m lucky I get to see wildlife too.

The wheat fields were a golden colour & the gentle rumble of the combine will be felt as the lane fills with tractor & trailers in a frenzied bid to get the harvest in.

Covid may have wreaked havoc on the wider world but not in these fields. I consider myself most fortunate to have been able to escape here on a daily basis to try & cling on to a sense of personal freedom.

Freedom like trust a very flimsy often underrated commodity until you no longer have it. Whilst lockdown had the feel of living in some sort of house arrest now our mobility is being governed by need to zealously conform to a myriad of conflicting rules & regulations.

So with no gigs to go to the answer was to set up a fund-raising project that led to hosting what I have dubbed a ‘micro festival’. In the role of ‘crash test dummies’ we live streamed a segment into an all day music event with a largely virtual audience. The scaled up version is likely to take place later in the year. This project is still ongoing but has been severely affected by the unpredictable announcements connected to covid concerns. More of that to follow as time goes on so be warned!

Then when out of nowhere came the chance to travel North for a live music it was too good an opportunity to miss. Daughter & I set off to Newcastle for a hotel I last stayed at back in the late 1980’s. With The Hunna headlining supported by Jaws & Bare Roots it was a total ‘no brainer’ to go especially as we could combine our visit with some sight seeing & meeting one of my daughters old ship mates.

Searching for our Pen

It was a curious set up but for all intents & purposes it mostly felt like a gig & the portaloos were the cleanest I had ever had the privilege to use. So may be some of the changes were for the common good! I certainly am glad I made the six hour drive to listen to those bands play they were all awesome in their unique way.

Sat in our ‘Pen’

The staff at the venue were lovely & I have never in all the gigs I have gone to been greeted by name when collecting my preordered drinks. My daughter & I joked that perhaps we were the only ones drinking Pimms but hey who cares it was a warm evening & that was the perfect beverage. We bought a mask to support the organisers in the hope they will get to run more & I was given a Hunna Hat as a thank you for organising the trip.

The Hunna

Live music lifts your soul especially when you can sing at the top of your voice & dance along even if a little self consciously in your own little pen. Quite a contrast to the gig I had attended in London prior to the lockdown where 10,000 of us had jostled together in an amorphous blob.

Not sure when we get to alight from the current crazy train but for now I have the memories of those few days to sustain me. The measures currently emplace seem to be designed to suck every ounce of enjoyment from peoples lives. As the dark nights approach coupled with the restrictions I can only wonder at the impact to the nations mental health. I now also have major reservations about the methods of data collection that inform these decisions. I am not convinced that young people are responsible nor is the virus spread just limited to social situations. The work place seems just as likely & it will be interesting to see how the incidence of sick leave rises with the approach of ‘cough & cold’ season where it will be virtually impossible to differentiate between the conditions.

Angel of The North

Newcastle we loved you, we had a fantastic break returning home to gloriously un-seasonally warm, balmy weather to catch up on some gardening. Bye for now & stay as safe as you can.

Covid Clear & Digging Deep

Well in the strangest lottery I have ever unknowingly been entered into my name was plucked at random from my general practitioners to receive a covid 19 test. So in a weak moment of curiosity combined with the sense of doing ones civic duty I agreed to take part.

exploring how to keep covid clear

Parcel arrived & I got to grips working out what to do, the trickiest part seemingly was to master the ‘origami like’ box construction as the cardboard seemed determined not to co -operate.

Rising early on the allotted day I began the procedure that basically involved copious hand washing & poking a stick down the back of my throat & up each nostril. Twizzling it 5 times & putting in a tube to send for analysis. Box sealed & collected it was time to complete the online survey.

I’ll be honest, up until this point I felt it was a useful thing to be doing however I began to have doubts when trying to answer the questions. For example one asked if I had been out & about & own up as to whether for ‘essentials’ but visits to pubs & restaurants? Honestly the chance might have been a fine thing. Unless I had been inhabiting a different time & space continuum to that of the author of this quiz all these places have been shut many never to reopen. Equally baffling was the one asking me to whether I thought I had actually had previously contracted the condition.

I suspect that unless one had contracted the severe form requiring hospitalisation then it would be very difficult to differentiate between covid symptoms & other infections with similar symptoms with any certainty. Anyway the result was that I was negative on swab day so now I know for certain that for 24 hours I didn’t have it. As for any other day it’s back to guessing along with everyone else & wondering how this kind of testing & data collection is informing us in the longer term.

dressing up like a bandit with daughter to go shopping for a new phone

As the lockdown eases so we can expect to get out more but in reality this is still a slow process. No word from the dentists surgery yet but the makeshift tooth repair is still holding which is good but will be interesting to see what he makes of my handiwork when I finally to get the call. Maybe its the upside of having to wear a mask outside!

All this ‘me time’ as enabled me to go mining to see if there are any nuggets of creativity lurking within. So far I have drafted the lyrics to the perhaps aptly named ‘Isolation Song’ & now working on the music all the while trying to work up the courage to record it in a sort of ‘warts & all’ video. Its not the first song I wrote that is still lying around & I revisit it occasionally but to be fair the second is closer to being finished.

in my office

I have also been practicing my juggling & unicycling but perhaps its currently safe to say that I am unlikely to be running away to join a circus anytime soon.

Stay safe everyone what ever you are up to.

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