In need of a lick of paint, but could be cosy.
With horrifying images from Italy on our TVs every day, we had a sense of both disbelief and impending doom. Boris Johnson visited a hospital where patients with the virus were being treated and shook hands with everyone he met. This, presumably to prove that if he had nothing to fear from the disease then nobody else should be concerned either.
We passed this on our way home from Angles. I can't remember where it was because we took the pretty route home and meandered around a bit.
We spent spring and early summer mostly in our garden. The weather was unusually good. Gradually the restrictions were lifted and in late July we made it to France, staying for eight whole weeks. What precious weeks they were. Normally we are there for 26 weeks of the year but as the situation worsened again in September we cut short our stay, packed up early and came home. We have now been back in the UK for exactly six months.
Last year we got to France after being away for seven months but this year it looks like being nine, or even ten. Even when all we had was the little house in the village where we just spent our holidays, until 2020 we had never been away from the place for more than five months. (I dread that in 2021 it could actually be as much as a whole year.)
More of these seem to appear with every year.
So, one year and 127,000 UK deaths further on, we are still in lockdown. Things are looking hopeful as the vaccination programme takes effect. Numbers are still going in the right direction. They go up and down a bit in different areas but on the whole there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel. Well, on this side of the channel tunnel anyway.
I have begun to hear people say that they could live like this forever if need be. I couldn't. Well, I could if I had to but I wouldn't want to. I would never be content living like this, but I accept that there is no point hankering after what we can't have and we now keep a note of interesting places we could go and visit in the UK that we have never been before. This is a back up plan if we are allowed to travel freely here but the European borders remain closed. That's something we thought we would only do once we had finally hung up our travelling shoes and returned properly to the UK. Not yet, not now.
My dad is settled into his sheltered housing and doing well. We have completed the sale of his bungalow and re-homed most of his unwanted belongings, one way or another. There were inevitably a few trips to the tip but very little that was vaguely useful was thrown out. The local hospice charity shop had first pick of the furniture and with my limited computer skills I successfully used social media as a way of re-homing stuff. We sold furniture, record players, computer screens, drawing equipment and even the piano that way. Much, much better than simply paying a huge amount of money to someone to take it all away, although it was, without doubt, a lot of work. The trick is to make things very cheap to ensure a lot of interest and a quick sale.
Of course, that's not the end of the story. As always, after selling a house there is a good deal of paperwork to do, cancelling accounts for utilities, insurance, and so on. We have spent hours, days even, on the phone or in front of the computer trying to get various companies to answer our calls and emails. What an uphill struggle that is. These companies are so keen to assure us of giving their best possible service during these "difficult times" but the service is in fact often dire. After a good deal of persistence most of it is now done.
We do however, have a problem with the council. They send out a tsunami of printed material to his flat every week. Most of it is statements regarding his rent and other services. Occasionally there is actually an invoice that needs paying but poor old Dad, who now can't see well enough to read them properly, thinks everything is a bill. He's of the generation that is desperately keen not to have any unpaid bills or debts against his name and would be sending cheques off in response to every letter if we didn't intervene. So far this week he has phoned us four times straight after the visit from the postman to say another bill has arrived. Out of the five letters this week only one was something that needed to be paid.
The council's bill for all this postage and labour must be huge! There is an enormous amount of duplication of material. I expect there are legal reasons why they have to keep tenants infinitely informed but there must be a better way. We have requested that post be sent to us instead as we have LPoA , and that direct debits be set up for most of it, but so far those requests have fallen unnoticed into the depths of the slowly grinding local authority machine! We are making very slow progress!