WHAT DOES THE DOCTOR THINK THIS MONTH? May
As I write this, just before Easter weekend, we have been in “lockdown” for three weeks. We are lucky in that we have a lovely house and family nearby to leave food on our doorstep every now and again. We arranged a Tesco order two weeks ago; the first delivery slot is 5 weeks later. Our freezers are always stocked to busting so this is an excellent opportunity to rationalise the situation by eating all the contents. Obviously, Head office and I discussed matters as we went into lockdown; we have always worked together and have never really been separated for the best part of 40 years so the chance is that we shall not fall out due to close contact. Of course, Management's ability to organise and my sunny, all-forgiving personality will see us through. Our only problem is accepting that we are “frail elderly”, not to leave the premises, with neighbours offering to get our shopping and prescriptions. We decided to turn the situation to our advantage. Firstly, on dull or wet days, I would blitz my study. When we moved in two years ago, I just filled all the cupboards at random, with no sense of order and I am happy to say that a few wet days have ensured that the study is mostly sorted out. Secondly, we would get the garden into shape. The beds were solid, rock-hard clay and the only way I have found to deal with the clay is to use my 6ft massive metal digging bar, throw it in and wiggle it about to loosen the clay. Then, I use my multipronged twist cultivator (you should see my muscles now!) to break the clay up further. Next comes the metal rake, used with the shaft vertical and the metal work horizontal, to break the clay up even more. Then, the ground is raked with the metal rake followed by a leaf rake, all the time bashing the clay to turn it to something approaching a tilth. Then, dig in a mixture of peat, farmyard manure and topsoil and re-define the lawn edges with a spade followed by an edging tool. Now and again, there would be a half-day delay while I dug out the massive lumps of concrete kerbstone, lengths of brick wall, etc., using ropes to drag the concrete lumps out of the ground. Matters have been complicated because the garden waste collections (brown bin) have been cancelled as the men had to be moved onto ordinary waste and recycling, and, disaster, the recycling centre (tip) just up the road has been closed. Similarly, our local garden centre, 300 yards away, is also out of bounds. Fortunately, good plants are available online so I shall be able to stock the garden. I had always thought that our new garden was small but, having spent three weeks as above, I now think it is enormous! Thirdly, our wonderful new double garage is racked out full of all my “stuff” moved without sorting from the barns at The Old House. That will all be “rationalised “ after the garden is finished. It shouldn't take more than a month or more! Oh, and then there is my store facility in Belbroughton. Fourthly, I have several photobook projects to start, using colour slides from my youth, ancient pre-war photos of my family, and photos of our family since the 50's. I have long thought that old albums and camera cards will be pretty useless in 50 years' time but these photobooks, one of each book for each of our children, will be sitting on their bookshelves for them to show their grandchildren. So, there is plenty to keep us busy. Management is running the house, the kitchen and the laundry, organising her cupboards and sorting out boxes from the loft, not seen since we moved. She communicates with the family through her Ipad and they have discovered ZOOM, a computer platform which enables half a dozen or more people to be on the same site, chatting or playing Charades, All in all, we are well placed to deal with the situation, not like the poor folk in tower blocks or living with abusers. We often think fondly of all our patients and friends in Norfolk and we miss you all. Stay safe. We worry for our children and grandchildren, some exposed to potential financial disaster, and we will do all we can to help them.
Look after yourselves and keep in touch. All good wishes, Ian Nisbet