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17th May 2021

We spent a few days in a B&B at Rye Foreign, and at last got some use out of our annual NT subscription by visiting both Sissinghurst and Scotney Castle. We also met up with Dave & Sarah Horne and with Emma and Stevie for an outdoor lunch together at Winchelsea. Fortunately the sun shone at all the right times!
Spike Milligan's tombstone was just across the road from the pub in Winchelsea, so we all went over to pay our respects. Perhaps fittingly, the 'What 3 Words' location for his grave is: 'packet.laugh.notes'.

General view of tower and
gardens at Sissinghurst

Dil by the pot in the arbour
at Sissinghurst

Holiday house
at Sissinghurst

Lucky black cat
on road sign

General view of
Scotney Castle

Dil outside the ice house
at Scotney

Spike Milligan's grave
at Winchelsea

Lunch at the New Inn, Winchelsea

10th May 2021

More 'liberation moments' – lunch in the courtyard of The George in Petersfield, in the garden of The Crown at Arford, and The Links at Liphook – all a bit on the chilly side. Do they add 'death by exposure' to the list of Covid-related problems?

Yesterday we checked that the contents of the Theatre Club sheds next to the village hall had survived a year without costumes going mouldy or any other calamities ocurring – all seems well. At the moment we're hoping to put on a production in mid-July called "Here We Are Again". Fingers crossed!

26th April 2021

We drove to Southsea on Tuesday and had fish & chips on the beach in the sun. And on Thursday we took a picnic and sat on the Downs overlooking Chichester. I wonder if we would have bothered to do these things if life had been 'normal'? But we're feeling the need to make the most of our 'liberation' at the moment!

19th April 2021

We had our first 'post-lockdown-this-year' meal in a pub garden on Sunday. The sun was out and so were the people, even though the air was on the chilly side. I sat with a blanket over my knees!

12th April 2021

From today we're allowed to use pub gardens, but the weather forecast isn't exactly encouraging. A light dusting of snow this morning!

5th April 2021

After a few bursts of spring-like weather, we're now told there may be snow on the way. Oh, to be in England now that April's here!

29th March 2021

Today we were allowed to have 6 people meet in a garden – so we fired up the fire pit, got out the chairs and blankets and invited four friends to join us for the evening. It was a bit chilly, but it was freedom!!
Meanwhile, my daughter Sarah sent me a link to an old Youtube clip that she'd just come across, of her playing jazz clarinet. Have a listen – I think you might enjoy it as much as I did.

22nd March 2021

Every year around this time, I think about clearing the accumulated fallen leaves out of the ponds in our garden. It used to be the case that I'd either do it before the frogs had spawned, or wait for the tadpoles to develop into frogs and do it later in the year. I remember one year a grass snake appeared and hoovered up all the tadpoles, but the frogs were back the following year.
However, over the past few years I've noticed no frogspawn at all in any of my garden ponds. The frogs seems to have just disappeared, and I think that's rather sad.

15th March 2021

Yesterday I upped my calorie count from 300 to 400 – that is, the figure on our static bike showing the number of calories used in a ride. It wasn't pre-planned, but I had Alexa playing Status Quo tracks and I just got carried away. I didn't feel too over-wrought afterwards, so perhaps it'll be my new goal.
They also say that some mental activity while pedalling improves the generation of endomorphins, or something, so as well as playing music to keep me going, I also look at the shelf of random books in front of me (see picture) and as I pedal along I try to remember what's in them. I suppose they show a broad range of my interests. What do you think of that?

8th March 2021

I've been putting video recordings of some of the old Headley Theatre Club performances up onto YouTube (see list). It's a long process, and the quality of the original recordings isn't always brilliant – but it helps to pass the time!
I'm also trying to remember to do half an hour or so saxophone practice each day – yesterday I had a Zoom 'consultation' with daughter Sarah (see her playing) and we came to the conclusion that my current instrument, which had just come back from being repaired, wasn't playing well so it'll have to go back for a check. Luckily, I still have Deb's old sax which plays tolerably well, so practice will continue.

1st March 2021

Spring is sprung! Let's hope for some good weather and a chance to get out more.
Last week I dusted off the dulcimer which had been lurking on top of a chest of drawers in the back bedroom. Neither of us had touched it since we bought it on a whim some years ago. As encouragement, Dil ordered a book of Beatles songs that could be played on the instrument – and on Saturday I performed "I Feel Fine" at the on-line folk club. But I don't find it a very satisfying instrument – effectively three strings tuned to two notes, and all the interesting frets missing so you can only play 'pentatonic' tunes. I think it may well go back on the chest of drawers. Sorry. [And thanks to Chris for moving our freezer out – see last week.]

22nd February 2021

This week it was the saga of the freezer. Our big American-style one had stopped freezing and we decided to replace it with a smaller one, which was duly delivered by Currys on Saturday. We'd also paid for them to remove the old one – but the men took one look at it and said it would have to have the doors removed first, and as we hadn't paid for that they couldn't take it! We can't remember seeing that mentioned on the Currys website. After they'd gone we removed the doors, but too late. It's now standing in the middle of the kitchen (see pic) waiting for us to find another way of getting rid of it.

15th February 2021

Every day I try to remember to do 30 minutes on our exercise bike, or more precisely keep pedalling until the 'calories' counter rolls round to the magic figure of 300.
I'm quite enjoying it. I get our "Alexa with a screen"' to play music to the right rhythm, and watch the words to familiar pop songs scroll by on the screen – and realise that I obviously never listened to the lyrics first time round. Now that I see them in front of me, some make more sense than my dreamed-up versions, but some make far, far less sense – what were they on, these writers? (But since most of the music is from the 1960s & 70s, I thuink we might know the answer to that!!)

8th February 2021

Not much to report this week, other than that we are alive and well. The weather has turned cold with a touch of snow on the ground and bitter winds – so no great incentive to go out and break lock-down rules!

1st February 2021

I had my first Covid-19 jab on Wednesday, with no ill effects. It was the Oxford variety. Not sure when I get the second one – there seems to be some uncertainty politically whether to prioritise second jabs over a wider distribution of first jabs or not.

25th January 2021

I suppose the big news internationally was that they finally got rid of President Trump in the US of A last week. Or at least, they hope they did!
Over here, we still have to soldier on for a few more years under the motley crew we elected in last year. Well, I didn't but the collective 'we' did, bless them!

18th January 2021

One aspect of this continuing pandemic is that local societies have less to say about what they're doing, and as a result I've been given far less copy than normal for February's Parish Magazine. As a result I had to do some creative writing to fill the gaps and make up the page count. Finally finished at 10.30pm last night. You can see it under 'Parish Magazine' on the Headley Village website.

11th January 2021

The first Zooming of Headley History went well last Thursday evening. We had over 50 screens logged in, and estimated that nearly 90 people watched it from as far afield as Huddersfield and Herne Bay.
Sadly we forgot to press 'Record' on the night(!), so next day I did it all again, just to myself, and the recording of that is now on Youtube.

The other event of the week was managing to get to the dentist, during lock-down, to have a filling replaced. The staff were dressed like storm-troopers, but we all survived the event.

4th January 2021

The start of another year – hopefully better than the last! On the positive side, we've all learnt how to Zoom to good effect, and had no excuse not to do all those things that were waiting for us to get a 'round tuit'.

Last week we held a Games Evening on Zoom with 5 households spread out between Yorkshire and Kent contributing – we wouldn't have thought of doing that this time last year. Also, it's prompted me to develop some presentations on local history to run on Zoom instead of bringing people out on a wet, dark winter's evening to sit in a hall and listen. The first is this coming Thursday – let's see how it goes.

Continued …

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