25/07/2021

Greetings from the far south

Mark Waller, Pretoria, South Africa

The riots and looting in and around Johannesburg and parts of Kwazulu Natal, which dominated the international news a few weeks back, have a clear connection with the Covid-19 crisis.

 

The trouble started when supporters of a faction of the ruling African National Congress decided to try to make the country ungovernable. This was in the wake of the jailing of former President Jacob Zuma. There’s a dubious populist ruse of this faction that posits Zuma as having been a champion of the poor and an exponent of “radical economic transformation” to make this most unequal country fairer. This is pure bunk, as under Zuma little was done to reorganise the economy on a more equal basis, unemployment soared, and there was widespread looting of state resources by Zuma’s cronies and along their various chains of patronage.

 

South Africa’s impoverished communities, which hold the majority of the population, are on a hair trigger. Official unemployment is over 32% but in reality about twice that part of the adult population is jobless. The Covid-19 pandemic and various lockdowns of the last 16 months have entrenched joblessness and deepened poverty. More people are homeless, shack settlements are expanding faster than ever before, there’s widespread hunger and dispossession. The meagre social grants and emergency relief, the latter just Rand 370 a month (£17.50), constitute a very wide-mesh safety net.

 

All the malls and shops that were ransacked during nearly a week of rampage and total lawlessness were in the townships. It took very little for the organisers of the disturbances to get people to rush en masse to the shopping centres and start ripping them apart and hauling off whatever they could lay their hands on. TV and other media coverage focussed a lot on those who carried off pricy stuff like fridges, flatscreen TVs and furniture. But there were also hundreds of instances of very downtrodden-looking folk carrying away bags of groceries or sacks of rice and mealie meal. One TV news clip showed a boy of about seven dressed in ragged jeans and a thin, dirty shirt with a few items of clothing — just some underpants and socks — he’d grabbed from a discount store.

 

Things have quietened down now, and vast squads of police and army are raiding people’s homes in the poor areas to “recover” stolen goods. How they will match the thousands of items they seize to the stores they were taken from is anyone’s guess. News reports today had footage of the police confiscating bottles of tomato ketchup, beer and tinned food from one dilapidated house in Sebokeng township, south of Johannesburg. No search warrants are being used and often the occupants of the houses raided are not at home. As the eNCA news anchor remarked, if this happened in a middle-class suburb there’d be an uproar. But frustrations are suppressed by the big police and army presence. It won’t take much to ignite them into renewed fury should those behind the efforts to destabilise the country try to do so again.

 

It’s reckoned that apart from anything else the mass gatherings of the riots were super-spreader events. Many vaccination sites had to close and the vaccine rollout has been suspended in some areas ravaged by the unrest. There are now about 16 to 20 thousand new infections a day and about four or five hundred deaths, mainly from the Delta variant of Covid-19. 

 

I missed a lot of the news coverage of the rioting and have only been catching up on the details in the aftermath.

 

The weekend before the rioting began, I was in my garage doing some painting. I had a mug of coffee with me and I noticed I couldn’t taste it. I sniffed at the bottle of turpentine. Nothing. I sat down and thought Oh bugger. I also had a bad attack of sinus infection coming on. But otherwise I felt OK.

 

I couldn’t get to see the doctor for a test for a few days but decided to act as if I had the virus and self-isolate. I sent Gracey to the store to buy a big bag of macaroni and a kilo block of cheese and then made several mac-cheese meals for her and her younger brother Masana. Then I went to my room with some books and my laptop and got in touch with the kids’ mum and aunt to see if they could come and take care of things if I became really sick. That was agreed without too much discussion, and then I decided to stay put.

 

I’d had the first jab of the Pfizer vaccine about a month before and thought that might ensure I’d only have mild symptoms. But, being the utter hypochondriac that I am, I was scared shitless and could only think of the inevitable one-way trip to ICU, fret about what would happen to the kids, imagine my funeral, wonder who to contact to say goodbye. I was consumed by self-pity.

 

I got my test result on the following Wednesday, four days after I’d noticed the first symptoms. Sure enough it was positive. But I still felt pretty good, just stuffed up and unable to smell or taste anything. At times I’d get an attack of chills, but no fever. The kids were fine, spent most of the day playing outdoors with their friends. I was able to do their meals and leave everything where they could find it. They didn’t seem too worried. They missed getting hugged and having me chase them around the garden, but I think that because I didn’t seem ill they didn’t become fearful.

 

The doctor’s office got the pharmacy linked to it to deliver me a bag of meds, which I was able to pay for by card at the door. They included inhalants and tablets normally used by asthma patients, anti-inflammatory tablets normally prescribed for gout but which are supposed to alleviate some of the inflammation that Covid-19 can cause, and a few other things, supplements mainly.

 

The days went by and I felt the same. The infection didn’t spread south and I could breathe freely. After about a week I noticed that I could smell and taste things again. I felt knackered and slept and dozed a lot. I could get up in the mornings and work and do other stuff but by mid-day I felt I’d aged 20 years and had to rest.

 

I’m OK now. I was lucky, not least because I’d got my first jab when I did. I can get the second after four weeks have elapsed following the disappearance of symptoms.

 

I haven’t heard of anyone who has had the first jab getting very sick, so it does seem to ward off severe illness. I think of friends who died before the vaccine became available here and feel miserable and the white noise of unreality that fluke and blank chance trigger.

 

It seems that this plague will be with us for far longer than we thought, despite the existence of vaccines. My GP says she thinks it’ll be around for the next ten years, at least. The current vaccines give only temporary protection — just how temporary we don’t yet know. Maybe this beloved Plague Journal will be needed for far longer than we might think.

25/07/2021

Restrictions for many

Hilde Schöning, Buchholz, Germany

The weather has been very changeable during the last weeks with devastating floods about 400 kilometres away from us. There is a great wave of solidarity for the poor people who have lost loved ones and their homes.

 

We personally spent our holiday as a staycation like last summer, and we discovered quite a few gems on day trips on foot, by bike and car. Several family members and friends visited us and it was lovely to be able to receive guests. We also attended my nephew's confirmation which took place open air at a small lake usually used as a natural swimming pool. It was a nice ceremony. And I painted our garden hut, now gleaming in fresh colours.

 

The status of vaccinations has reached 60,6% of the population on the whole and 48,5% of full vaccinations of the population. By now the pace seems to be getting slower. 

 

Schools reopen on the second of August, and I hope for them to stay open during autumn and winter, even though my students were able to cope with the conditions last year.

25/07/2021

From St Just

Jane G, St Just, Cornwall

This entry was to have been written yesterday, from a train somewhere between Penzance and Banbury, but Track & Trace intervened. The Paddington train was cancelled, but we were told we could get the slow train to Plymouth and change there. On arrival, that Paddington train had been cancelled too. We were then told we could get a CrossCountry train and change at Bristol Parkway - but, 10 minutes later, that CrossCountry wouldn't take anyone who didn't have a seat booked, and that we should wait an hour and a half for the next Paddington train up from Penzance. At this point I spotted a train heading back towards Penzance and took it. Other people evidently weren't lucky enough to have that option, and struggled on. Since I saw from overhead displays further down the line that the next London train was cancelled too, I suspect they may still be at Plymouth, or just possibly Exeter.

 

This was all because so many staff had been pinged to self-isolate that there weren't enough drivers to go round. Several of the people on the slow train were uniformed GWR staff who should have been working on the first cancelled train, and they said that - in Devon and Cornwall, at least - over 50% of trains were being cancelled. I can't see the sense or even the legality in this. How can it be right to tell someone they can't go out if they have had two vaccines and have also had a negative test result since being pinged, and so demonstrably pose no risk to a population that itself contains no unvaccinated people with Covid risk factors? And ethics aside, the direct consequence of cancelling a 12-carriage ventilated train was that its would-be passengers crowded onto a 3-carriage unventilated train, in addition to the local passengers it would normally have carried. More and more joined at each station, and from Truro we gained passengers from a further cancelled train as well. It was like a pre-Covid commute: all seats taken, people standing the length of each carriage, sitting in the end-of-carriage luggage racks, and crowded in the vestibules. And as it became increasingly difficult to breathe, most masks were removed: the risk of transmitting Covid to someone with immunity was conspicuously a lesser evil than imminent asphyxiation.

 

There were probably around 600 people on a train that could have carried around 450 with all seats taken but no standing; according to current statistics, probably around 6 or 7 of them had Covid - and they certainly couldn't have helped transmitting it to the people they were jammed up against for 2 hours, masks or no masks. All this, to prevent a driver with a negative test working alone in a ventilated cab.

 

Other things have happened in the last month and almost all of them were less irritating, less idiotic, and less likely to be in contravention of human rights, but this is most on my mind at the moment. So to working out an alternative mode of transport.

25/07/2021

Hello from Eastbourne

Shirley-Anne Macrae

Ping! By Shirley-Anne Macrae

 

The Pingdemic is causing mayhem. I haven't been pinged, on account of deliberately not having the app but it has still caused me to be extra busy.

 

Many local businesses have had to temporarily close due to staff being pinged. Charleston was prepared and we have been divided into staff bubbles, to keep the organisation open. Thus I am here full time for the next few weeks. This has collided with the school holidays and we have no childcare. Mr Macrae is working from home and Fortnum and Mason are more or less amusing themselves by television bingeing. There is nothing we can do, it's only for a few weeks then I'll be back to trekking the local landscape with them. I think they quite like the telly though.

 

That all said, Charleston remains beautiful and inspirational. We had a Garden Festival here a few weeks ago. Visitors watched Dan Pearson and the Land Gardeners, they bought plants, ate lunch, drank wine and I even saw a few folk dance. It was just like life used to be and if it weren't for masks and social distancing and the constant cleaning, you would never know. 

25/07/2021

Words from Wood Lane

Susan Neave, Beverley

Since the last edition of the Journal we have had our three-day trip to the Cotswolds, with visits to both David’s sisters, neither of whom we had seen since before the first lockdown. The villages and small towns were looking as picturesque as ever, apart from the cars of which there were far too many (including ours!). I should perhaps gloss over the visits to antiques centres where D bought two books we later found we already have copies of (not the first time that has happened). My essential purchases included some very pretty Georgian silver sugar nips, the sort of thing that every household needs. We had pre-booked a visit to Chastleton and although we found the house interesting there was no access to the long gallery or the kitchen, presumably because of Covid and the need to social distance. We have a NT life-membership, but it would have been a slightly disappointing visit had we paid the full entrance fee. No café, but fortunately tea and excellent home-baked cakes were being served (in aid of charity) in the churchyard. 

 

Back home we went to a good exhibition in Beverley Minster of linocuts done mainly in the 50s/60s by our very talented friend Andrew Anderson (who used to have an architectural practice in the Close at Norwich, but now lives here.)  We've also been to York open studios, although it was a hot morning so after visiting Mark's house, always fascinating, we only managed a handful of others nearby. I've also had a day trip by train to visit my eldest sister in Sheffield.

 

One day, before the weather got so hot, we had a walk down to Spurn Point, Yorkshire's 'Land's End'. It's about three miles from the visitor centre where we park when we go pebble hunting at Kilnsea. It used to be possible to drive down there – in fact the lifeboat crew and their families lived in cottages on the Point until 2012, but the narrow sand and shingle spit was breached so often that the road was eventually abandoned. A safari vehicle takes people on special tours, and you can hire bikes, but most people go by foot. There were three ships heading from the North Sea into the tidal Humber (Marvell writes of 'the tide of Humber' - his father drowned when crossing the estuary). One of the vessels we saw was carrying giant towers for offshore wind turbines. The blades are made in Hull and fitted to the towers before being taken out to sea. At the beginning of the City of Culture celebrations in 2017 one of the 75-ft long blades was placed as a sculpture in the city centre. It was transported from the Siemens factory on Alexandra Dock in the middle of the night by a large team of workers sworn to secrecy, so appeared as if by magic. The green energy industry has given the city a much-needed boost.

 

This week we've had the much-heralded 'end of lockdown', which has made no difference to ours lives. We continue to wear masks in shops etc., and have no plans to visit the cinema or theatre - or even a nightclub! At the moment four teenagers in our wider family, including our grandson, have Covid. Fortunately they only have mild symptoms, and haven't passed it on to parents, but all the households are having to self-isolate. I'm relieved to report that we haven't had contact with any of them recently!

 

The weather has been too hot to do anything very constructive this week. (Yes, this is England, and yes, it is too hot for us - my ideal temperature is one where it is just cool enough to put on a cardigan although what I really prefer wearing is a cord skirt, thick tights and a cashmere sweater!) It means I have time to write the Journal entry. We are really looking forwarding to our weekend in Norfolk - the party on 7 August then an evening with friends in Norwich, and a few hours in the area on Sunday before we drive home. Will we have to try and guess who everyone is on Saturday? I must look back at previous Journal entries to get some clues.

25/07/2021

Home thoughts

Hilary Q, North Norfolk

I have met a follower! A customer at the bookshop, on completing her transaction, asked if I was the person who contributed to the Plague Journal. I assumed that she was about to tell me that she wrote for the Journal too but no! She was a reader! She didn’t know any of us! She made some very kind remarks and left as anonymously as she arrived. Margaret wondered if she might have asked for my autograph but that thrill still eludes me!

 

In a nutshell... and I do love those tiny books sometimes found in a hinged walnut shell... I am about to embark on another first. I have been summonsed to jury service at the highest crown court in the land - the Old Bailey! My concern is that I might be assigned to something extremely harrowing but right now my imagination is jammed with images of Rumpole and an expectation of exceedingly clever repartee from the wigged ones!

 

This will of course interrupt the current bliss of the heatwave but will offer some respite from the constant call of the rampant garden and nestling patrol. More seriously it will remove my current dependence on reading fiction and cause me to face reality... London Transport, the consequences of the Great Ping and some of the awfulness and tragedy of the lives of others.

25/07/2021

Bookbinding

John Underwood, Norfolk

“If yer knows of a better ‘ole…”

 

The last month has flown by, and the garden threatens to overwhelm us with growth. I knew that things would catch up after such a delayed start, but we have rarely seen such rapid progress in the vegetable beds. Our new wildlife pond planting has also made steady progress, with water plants and marginals establishing themselves. We had to fence the pond to deter a friendly duck and her six ducklings who were very interested in the new pond plants, but the fencing was useful as a deterrent to our granddaughter and her cousin who stayed at the house last weekend with their respective parents. They took over the house while we were away on our boat which had been out of the water for a couple of weeks having some work done. It is now shiny with new varnish, and has some smart new seating. 

There seems to be a rather jolly term “pingdemic” being bandied about in the media, and by some politicians. Not so jolly when you consider that a hundred and fifty thousand people have died in the U.K. with Covid 19 being given as the cause of death, and that the reason for the six hundred thousand or so pings on the NHS Covid app are the result of a rapidly rising infection rate. 

Here we go again.

We also had the horrible spectacle recently of the unpleasant Robert Jenrick being interviewed by a reporter who has been very busy uncovering some dreadful local authority  housing conditions. Jenrick tried to blame local authorities and housing associations, deflecting the questioning into an issue about the pay given to some officials in charge. It was rather squashed when it was pointed out that Mr Jenrick’s party in government had been responsible for a 38% cut in funding to local authorities in the last ten years, and the appallingly low numbers of low cost social housing units built in the same time period. Mr Jenrick also claimed that he was often out and about visiting people in their distressingly poor and unhealthy housing. I would really love to have access to his diary…

Dominic Cummingssesss (something of Gollum about him my precioussss) was entertaining us about his opinions of Government ministers too. I found myself agreeing with him which is worrying.

His account of the squabbles at “No 10” between his nest of vipers and the current Mrs Boris Johnson beggar belief. He had a rather unpleasant smirk on his face during the interview which just added to the deliciously horrible scene. Shudder... But we are all rather used to that now. Lies, chaos in government  and indifference the new normal.

25/07/2021

My feelings on paper

Barbara Warsop, Sheffield, Yorkshire

New Covid Rules.

Back to normal or not as the case may be. I am staying safe masks and all.

Even Boris has had to back track as it backfired on him. Retreating to his hideaway in Chequers. What a situation to put our NHS and staff in. Would a few more weeks wait until everyone had been vaccinated made much difference? We will never know now, as covid cases rise.

 

The last few weeks has been better for me as I venture out more. My daughter Sarah took me to Graves Park one of Sheffield’s wonderful parks that covers a huge area with wonderful Lime Trees that were covered in blossom with intoxicating perfume I was in seventh heaven. As we walked further, we had a cream tea from the café sat outside in the rose garden on a glorious day.

I have started my walks up the lane again and some kind person cheered me on my way with small animal figures placed on a wall for all to enjoy. Then my daughter Karen took me to Cleethorpes in Lincolnshire last week our nearest seaside place. We laughed so much it was like a tonic. The weather was blustery and dull but warm. We walked the promenade for fish & chips and ate them in a park where there was a statue of the working Donkey with a tribute to Gladys Nuttall who had given service to the visitors for many years. We laughed as Karen tried to get on it. Hardly anyone was on the beach but lots of people on the promenade and the tide was way out, it’s the estuary of the river Humber a very dangerous stretch of water but beautiful sands stretching for miles not good on a windy day as it blows in your eyes.

 

As we walked on the front there are beautiful gardens and a lovely one set out in memory of Diana Princess of Wales. The statue is called the Man with the leaky boot and has been in Cleethorpes for many years as I remember seeing it as a child. His boot drips with water. Apparently, it was made in Germany and refurbished for the occasion. We drove further on and couldn’t find anywhere to park for an ice cream and drove on to Grimsby for ices and toilets and laughed as we only found Asda and parked there to shop for ices and toilets. We fancied a look at Grimsby Docks and drove to the East Dock only to end at a Gate with a barrier and a man in a box there for trespassers and workers. We told him we were lost and he guided us through the gate to the small island to turn round as we were not allowed in. So, we then drove to the West Dock as we thought we could get in there and as we drove around, we ended up at the same gate we had just left. We were laughing so much the chap just let us do another U turn. Enough is enough so we drove home laughing at our antics of the day.

25/07/2021

Thoughts from the Top of the Hill

Linzy, Pateley Bridge, North Yorkshire

I am waking earlier than usual at the moment after the restless hot nights. Just after dawn the hill is shrouded in mist and through the open windows I listen to sheep eerily bleating from across the valley and the pigeons cooing on the roof of the barn next door. A noisy cackling draws me to the window to hiss at seven jackdaws furiously fighting over the peanuts intended for the blue tits and woodpeckers. Last week we had a kestrel visiting in the afternoons and we think it had a chick in the building along the yard. We watched it through the binoculars with great excitement, as it was chased around by the swallows who were frightened of being caught in midair. It's moved on now, so the chick must have flown the nest. Now the little swallows are taking up their perch on the basketball ring, awaiting flying lessons.

 

There was a ripple of activity in the last couple of weeks as the farm dog, Lad, went missing. He lives in the shed under the pigeon loft and goes out for a long run alongside the farmer's buggy when he drives out on his early morning tour of his land. His daily route takes him up onto the moor and usually he leaves Lad to mooch around while he goes to look at the cattle higher up. Lad always meets him back at the same place but on this particular morning he was nowhere to be seen. Every day for eight days the farmer went up there and called him without success. Then on the eighth day a gamekeeper came to the farm and there was Lad, sat in the back of his trailer, a bit thin but none the worse for his adventure. The keeper, a lanky lad called Courteney, had been putting food down for the grouse way up on the moors some miles away, when he heard the dog whimpering. He needed a bit of gentle persuasion to come back with him and I wondered if he was glad to be out of his shed, but he was delighted to be reunited with the farmer and all is back to normal.

 

So, the new normal. Freedom Day has come and gone and there is great disagreement between different factions of the Great British Public about how things are going. Some say it's a terrible mistake and will end badly, as evidenced by the mind-boggling number of new infections. We now have the highest infection rate in the world, maybe even more than Brazil if that's possible, and we have learned a new word recently, 'Pingdemic'. Six hundred thousand people a week being 'pinged by the app' and told to self-isolate. However, the government have had to back-pedal on that to keep essential services and food supplies going, so some people will be exempt as long as they are double vaccinated and have a negative test every day. Then there are others who say we have to 'learn to live with the virus' and get on with our lives, night clubs and all. Some are going back to that tired old adage, 'it's just like flu'. Personally I would rather live without the virus than with it and will carry on wearing a mask and being careful. I'm glad to say that locally people are still wearing masks in the shops and practising social distancing.

 

Old news now but the Health Secretary had to resign over his affair and we haven't seen him since. However, maybe the devil you know etc, as I think the new one is more liberal-minded and doesn't have any urge to enforce lockdown measures. We have had yet another U-turn when he tested positive and the PM and Chancellor were pinged and told to self-isolate. They announced that they weren't going to do that as they were taking part in a special pilot but very quickly changed their minds when they saw the avalanche of derision coming their way. One rule for them, another for us, was the general cry. It must be hard to need popularity so much.

 

We have been experiencing a record breaking heatwave and naturally we Brits shout hooray, another lovely day, and head for the beaches and beauty spots. Perhaps we should be thinking hang on, the record breaking temperatures in the USA and Canada have been devastating to people there, especially in areas where they have never needed air conditioning before, there are forest fires and melting permafrost in Siberia and devastating floods in Europe and China, so perhaps our warm weather isn't the blessing we like to think it is. It makes me realise how very tenuous is our existence on this lovely planet. In the 'developed' world, which has of course caused the changes to the climate, we live out our safe little lives, trying to 'protect our borders' and maintain the veneer of civilization, while the world is busy doing something else altogether. How fragile we are.

25/07/2021

Jane, just south of Norwich

Jane, Eaton

Wednesday afternoon, 21st July and my phone says it is 26 degrees in Norwich. Too hot to do very much except pour a cold drink and start to write a few notes for this month’s Plague Journal.

 

It has been a sociable month with the highlight being a postponed family wedding in the heart of Dorset. It was a magical wedding with a woodland ceremony, a reception in three vast open-sided tee pees complete with kitchen area and stage for the live music. The food was delicious and the sun shone and it was so good to see the UK family all together at last, albeit socially distanced. The only masks to be seen were those worn by the waiting staff (a pretty mask made for me by a friend to co-ordinate with my outfit stayed in my handbag). All 80 guests had been asked to carry out a test prior to the wedding. We felt as if we had stepped back to pre-pandemic times and had escaped from the real world for 24 hours.

 

Back in the real world, we continue to wear our masks in shops and on public transport and where we think necessary - ‘Freedom Day’ to my mind is a bit of a mis noma. The advice from those who make the decisions is, to say the least, confusing.

 

This month I have also met up with fellow Plague journalist Mary (Burlingham Blog) who has moved to Eaton. In the heat this morning we had a gentle local walk down the lane to Keswick Mill and the river, with future local walks planned across the marshes. Via the Journal it has been a treat to meet Mary and be able to welcome her to Eaton.

 

Walks often bring surprises and early this morning (Thursday) on my weekly Nordic walk at the University of East Anglia, our group came across a brand new sculpture just having the final touches to its installation.  It is enormous, is called Goodwood Steps and is by the late Sir Anthony Caro. I like it. It seems to suit its backdrop of the stepped Ziggurats and the modern location. It will be interesting to know how others view it. I returned this morning (Friday) to take a picture. (Photo below). Above the fourth structure, if you zoom in, you can just make out a figure on the UEA roof – part of another installation, this time by Sir Antony Gormley – also controversial when it first appeared.

 

I look forward to 7th August and meeting other Plague Journalists. If anyone should need last minute accommodation, I am sure Margaret or Sheila would pass on my details, we have a self-contained annex that sleeps 2 and you would be very welcome.

 

Good wishes to all.

25/07/2021

Bunny and me

Henrietta Corbett, Leicestershire

Oooh its hot, but let’s not talk about the heat.

 

Far more interesting to talk about my new keep fit regime! 

So I’ve decided to take up skipping, yes you heard it correctly ‘skipping’

 

I recently read this amazing story about a girl called Lauren Flymen. 

She lost her job during the pandemic and was worried about falling into a sorry state and scared stiff she would end up with depression. She decided to teach herself skipping. She bought a rope and started training. The actual term is not skipping but “jump rope”

The article was tilted “Lockdown made me jump rope”

 

I was quite taken with the idea and it looked easy enough, okay she is 20 something and I’m nearly 60, but surely a skipping rope and a few jumps it’s easy to try. No major outlay no expensive gym membership or high end equipment to buy. So I bought a jump rope from Amazon and watched the tutorials on Instagram to get the hang of the technique (and there is a technique even to  just holding the rope!)

 

Bunny looked on from his new bed in the undergrowth... one eye one me and what I was going to do next, one eye firmly closed. He maintained the curled up position even when I started the first jumps. 

 

I managed 6 jumps! It was tricky getting my feet off the ground in quick succession to keep time with the rope. The second time I managed 9 jumps and the third time I got to 11.

By this time Bunny had both eyes open and was clearly annoyed at the disturbance. He moved position, going round and round before flopping down with his back towards me. A definite sign of non involvement.

I was red faced and panting, but one last attempt saw a score of 24. 

That was day one. 

I’m on day 4 now and oh my this is harder than I ever imagined 

It isn’t going great, I’ve managed 49 jumps (skips).

They make it look so easy in the tutorials but what I have learnt is 

1. Go to the loo before you start..

2. Do not have a glass of wine beforehand.

3. Put the wine on a table within sight as a treat for getting past 40 jumps

 

I’m hoping very much to have improved my results by next month’s journal, either that or I’ll have decided on a different venture...

 

To see how it’s done look up larenjumps it’s truly amazing