Covid Isolation Week 7 Day 2 – Rain rain rain rain beautiful rain

Two interesting things happened today:-

  • I learnt that a little bit of rain stops 95% of people venturing outside
  • I got offered a Data Scientist role in work

 So all in all a good day.

The data science role is one I’ve been cheering for and promoting for a while and when the opportunity came up I went all in. It’s definitely my area of interest so it’s great to get some alignment between work and play interests.

One of the key things that nailed it (probably) was my summary diagram:-

This focused not just on the crunching of data but importantly on how that data is then conveyed.

I like it and so did they…

As for the wet weather – it didn’t stop me and Isaac having our normal ramble…

Covid-19 Symptom Check

Damp but doing good

Covid Isolation Week 6 Day 1 – close call

I actually came close to thinking I might have contracted the virus….close.

I was aching yesterday morning from the Chest and Triceps workout the day before but then about lunchtime I just got hit with a wave of tiredness…accompanied by a killer headache. It was to the point where I had to go to bed – and pretty much just passed out for a few hours. Even after that I didn’t feel right – slightly light headed and ‘spacey’. However, temperature remained ok and after a good night’s sleep I felt a whole load better.

I’m putting down to over working and not getting enough sleep – but I really did think it might be Covid at one stage.

So today was back to the normal weekly routine, which Isaac has been getting used to (last week he was great all week), but today he had a wobble. Not sure why it started with school work and him essentially trying to get us to do his work for him – but it quickly spiralled into a full on meltdown. Now this isn’t the first time and given the current situation isn’t surprising – we’re all feeling the frustration, but it’s almost as if his frustrations build up to a point where it has to hit a crisis point before it can get better. After his melt-down he was back to being his normal wonderful self for the rest of the day. 

I need to start working our the warning signs and start trying to defuse them ahead of a meltdown – easier said than done.

But we did have a great walk in the woods and across the ridgeway…

Covid-19 Symptom Check

Close but ok so far

Covid Isolation Week 5 Day 6 – it’s been a busy week

Not sure if it’s people finally getting settled into this new way of life – but this week has been full on busy. Mainly work and requests coming in left and right but also home life seems to have been more full on.

So there has been less time to blog.

I’m also starting to find it frustrating that I’m not getting time to work on a few side projects with the new routine. I suppose gone are those few hours each week where Steph would be off doing her thing – leaving me to catchup on things. Hopefully now that people are getting into the lockdown groove and it seems more like a normal routine then this will improve. I’m also hoping that getting a new laptop will mean I can continue doing a few things without having to head up into the attic. I’m actually (quite sadly) looking forward to getting the new laptop – I need to have a think about what to get installed on it (I might turn that into a post).

Anyway the virus continues to impact people – death rates remain high but look to be peaking.

The big question is what’s next and that is linked to how much of the population has been exposed to the virus. The testing rates are well publicised but what we don’t know is how much of the untested public has encountered Corona and developed antibodies. 

There are two potential views on this – that the virus has spread further in the population or that lockdown has been very effective and kept the spread to a minimum.

If the virus has spread further than expected – following NY where initial general population testing has shown 1 in 5 have antibodies (NYTimes article), then potentially the virus isn’t as strong as previously thought and measures can be relaxed as fewer will need critical care.

Conversely, there was a California serology studies that put the figure of general infection there at 2-4%. Which if this was the case in the UK would show that lockdown had been successful in keeping the peak below the ICU capacity but would mean there was a long road ahead.

Interesting article here:-

Either way, even if the death rate is lower than 1% it’s still going to mean far more people suffering and losing loved ones and we will easily pass the governments initial aim of keeping it under 20,000 deaths in the UK.

Sobering times….

On a lighter note, the sun is shining and walks in the woods are fun 🙂

Covid-19 Symptom Check

Still all good in the hood!


Covid Isolation Week 4 Day 7 – the dangers of mixing drinking with House Party

So last night we joined the DJ gang on House party….they been getting together on a Saturday night since this whole thing started and after ducking a few invites I finally go around to installing the app. And it was a good laugh and a few hours quick flew by, as did a couple of bottles of wine. 

Which I think was the first mistake…

I’m not sure how we got on the the subject but I think someone mentioned hair-cuts. Now a few days before I’d joked about this being one of the few times you could shave your hair off with minimal impact on your life… well next thing I know Steph had trotted off to find the clippers.

So there I am, drunk, with Steph wanting to give me a buzz cut – in front of a rapturous audience waiting to see me crack and back out.

Now I’m fairly sure she thought I’d back down – certainly I thought she wouldn’t go through with it.

I didn’t…

Nor did Steph

The result was a stark lesson in finding out that as you get older you still do stupid stuff while drunk.

After about 20 minutes of having a Steph cut I got fed up with it being patchy – so took myself off to the bathroom to do a propper job. I struggled with the clippers as well and so I broke out the razor and took it all of – cursing Steph as I did.

The end result…

Alcohol – it’s not big and it’s not clever.

That said we’ve all had a good giggle about it today, after calming Isaac down about it. For a 7 year old it was quite a massive change to adjust to first thing in the morning – poor thing 🙂

Covid-19 Symptom Check

Stupid drunken tom-foolery: 1 

Covid-19: 0


Covid Isolation Week 4 Day 5 and a half? – 3am reflections

For the first time in a very long time I can’t sleep.

Often when I’ve had a few drinks (or more accurately more than a few) I wake up early – so maybe this is linked to too much alcohol and too early a night. Or maybe it’s more things on my mind…

This virus is taking its toll on people and getting ever closer in terms of people we know – i just pray that they find an effective treatment or vaccine soon. 

Prayer is a funny thing that I never quite believed the power of, and it’s easy to pass things off a co-incidence. But more co-incidences happen when I pray for them than when I’d just have a desire for something to happen.

I suppose part of the power of prayer is taking the time to reflect on what hasn’t gone right in the day, saying sorry and accepting that it’s ok not to get things right 100% of the time. That forgiveness is good for your mental health. The next part for me is linked to reflecting on the day and saying thank you for the good things in it. Those are easy things to take for granted and again its good for your mental health to reflect on what’s good in your life. Then finally it’s about looking forward and asking for help with things – which helps focus your mind on the important things in the future.

So my reflections tonight are more on that last part of prayer…asking

…and in that I ask that in this time of change and isolation I hope that people can reflect on the modern routine of life and take time to pause and in pausing feel the closeness of the holly spirit that is there for all of us. And for those battling the virus and battling for their lives I hope that they lift the cynicism of the modern view of God and reach out… and in reaching out find comfort and peace.

Covid-19 Symptom Check

All still good

Covid Isolation Week 4 Day 4 – Seagulls

I’m not sure if it’s related to the lock-down but there seems to be far more seagulls around.

Living in a city you tend to get more pigeons than gulls…and certainly I can’t recall ever really noticing the sound of gulls of a morning. After-all it is very distinctive and reminiscent of holidays. But the last few days have started with the streaks of gulls. Maybe it’s them moving further in-land due to fewer people heading to the coast. Certainly there have been stories of rats migrating away from closed fast food outlets and even goats reclaiming deserted streets.

So today has been another quiet one. 

I decided to take a few days off work before it gets crazy busy next week. Not that we can do anything – but I just feel my Monday to Friday has very little me time. This is mainly due to how we’re having to split up the day and look after Isaac:-

  • I get up early and try and get logged onto work for 7 to 7.30
  • Then I work through until 12:30…
  • Lunch and then I take over looking after Isaac
  • Take turns to have a shower and get dressed
  • 2 mile walk down to the nature reserve and along the canal, while doing maths (maths on the move)
  • 20 mins of reading and copying out a page of the book to practice his hand-writing
  • This normally takes us up until 3pm – so it’s free time for him (xbox/youtube) and back to work and a few emails for me
  • Around 5 I log off and we normally play a little minecraft
  • Then it’s dinner and the bedtime routine…getting him down around 8
  • Then we eat dinner normally watching some series (Ozarks or Better Call Saul at the moment)….which takes us up till around 10
  • ….and by that time I want to head to bed….

So not a lot of time just to pick up the usual projects.

But then I’m in a better situation than most….so I’m not complaining.

Other acheivement of today (before I forget) I helped Isaac build an Airfix Spitfire – took me right back to my childhood. Although I did most of the work – it was damned hard and fiddly.

Covid-19 Symptom Check

Still all symptom free….yay!

Covid Isolation Week 4 Day 1 – Lockdown Blues

It’s been an odd Easter – odd times….same refrain.

Nothing much is happening in terms of the virus – the rate of increase looks to be flattening – so the peak is within sight. Or at least that’s the propaganda at the moment. The issue I don’t get is how we get out of this lock-down scenario without a vaccine being in place. It’s understandable that as the death rate lowers people will naturally think they’ve made it through – but the infection/death rate has will drop due to the lock-down impact. Relax that and the virus can spike again – similar to what the WHO is warning about. I suppose the country to watch would be China but their reporting seems a little too good on the numbers. The next one would be Italy – so we’ll see what this next few weeks holds in store.

The other complication in all this is the recent reports of re-infection in South Korea. Hopefully this is just down to some false test results as this could get very very bad if having the virus doesn’t give you some form of immunity to future inflections.

So in other news Easter came and went yesterday. It was a bit of a reflective day filled with too much food and chocolate (as to be expected). We’ve got into watching a film from our youth every Friday and extended it to Easter Sunday. Surprisingly the Easter film doesn’t seem to attract the same kudos as the Christmas film – so on this we had ‘Knocked Up’ which was just as funny as I remember.

Apart from lashings of chocolate Isaac had a few little gifts from the family – the current favourite being a cheap Meccano set. He was really good at it in fairness.

Covid-19 Symptom Check

Stir crazy: 1

Covid-19: 0

Covid Isolation Week 3 Day 6 – something of a nothing day

It’s been an odd one today – more meh than anything…boredom is setting in.

But then I always find the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday a little…meh… It’s kind of not one thing or the other – a day of waiting more than anything. And given the current situation, there’s more focus on the waiting.

It was definitely a day of low motivation levels. The most I achieved being some exercise and getting my work-out routines changed around a bit.

I did play a good solid 3 hours of minecraft with Isaac – which he loved…but nothing productive.

The highlight of the day was probably Isaac beating both of us in Monopoly in just over an hour….he was so happy…

Covid-19 Symptom Check

Apart from a slight tight chest – all is still well…

Covid Isolation Week 3 Day 5 – the blackest Good Friday

Well today seems the bleakest Good Friday I think I’ve experienced.

Growing up and through most of my adult life this has been the start of a great weekend (usually) – no work, drinking, dancing, partying…life lived to the full spending the fruits of hard work on having a good time.

But over the years the meaning and significance of Good Friday has crept up on me.

I don’t normally talk about my faith but it seems apt today in the midst of this weird period we find ourselves in.

For me there has never been a crisis point that led me to faith – I’ve never hit rock bottom, never messed things up on such a scale that I had no where else to turn, or a plan to get things back on track. I didn’t come to believe out of desperation or  losing everything. For me it’s always kind of been there and as I’ve gotten older I see His hand more and more in life around me.

I have a comfortable life, one of contentment, close family, good friends and all my needs fulfilled. I can’t say I’ve always worked hard, the truth is that in the past I’ve always been able to do just enough to get by. That being said when needed I have worked hard to get things done and I’m especially good in a crisis – where a stoic practicality keeps me calm and focused. I often see solutions quicker than others.

There are many things that have shaped that – the whole nurture/nature debate. But as I get older I see more coincidences that join up and light a path to Jesus. People I’ve met, situations, opportunities – that could be passed off as simply that coincidence but when those coincidences stack up it makes it harder and harder to ignore.

This seems the start of a longer post about the events and people that have brought me to faith – which wasn’t my intention for this post…

Today it struck me that isolation is insulating us all from the harsh realities of how things are out there. We all watch the news and hear the statistics and talk of flattening peaks. But the reality is that for thousands of people across the country (millions across the world) this is the blackest/bleakest of a Friday with no goodness. They have lost love ones, or are maybe separated from friends and family, unable to reach out and offer comfort. Or maybe they are in hospital, worried, fearful unable to breath and scared about what happens next.

In those moments I pray they feel the presence of the Holly Spirit and take comfort in the knowledge that this is all temporary, there is a better place and entry is simply through belief.

John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may diehe shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die

How things get presented…

The reality for many across the world…

Drone pictures show bodies being buried on New York's Hart Island

This picture was taken in New York – 40 people buried in a mass grave in the leading Nation of the World.

Covid Isolation Week 3 Day 4 – Video editing on the fly

All those years in tech support is standing me in very good stead over this lockdown. As mentioned before everyone is getting to grips with technology and learning new skills and I’m in the fortunate position of being able to help. So the highlight of today as been helping Lynn get his recorded Maundy Thursday service saved off and across to me for editing. This is no mean feat given that he’s on a Mac using unfamiliar software and I’ve no way of seeing what he was doing. But we got there in the end and I managed to get the 1Gb file down to 40Mb for posting on FB and the site. 
I did miss a bit he wanted editing out but I’m sure he didn’t mind – it makes it more authentic 🙂

So Maundy Thursday – the last supper and the first communion.
Like many things at the moment it’s required adaption and instead of being around friends celebrating a Passover meal it was just me and Steph sat quietly listening to Lynn and sharing wine and bread. 
The pic below is what I shared to Instagram – which I think was lost on most people, thinking that it was the start of a night of drink rather than recognising the significance.

I also offered Isaac some bread and a taste of wine (dip his finger in) but no, he had the bread but told me off as little boys don’t like wine!

We all went out in the street to clap the front line staff at 8 – which felt a little odd actually seeing people we know and being able to interact after this strange solitary life. Once this lockdown is lifted I think life will go back to normality quite quickly but I hope that everyone remembers this time and is a little kinder and appreciative of the people around them. Modern life, as was, needs that injection of community.

Covid-19 Symptom Check

Still all good…

Maundy Thursday

Central to today is Judas and his betrayal, and it’s one of those odd roles in the bible. On one hand he is vilified as a traitor, and on the surface his motivations seem financial given the 30 pieces of silver – which Lynn pointed out was less than the cost of a gored slave in those times. Maybe he didn’t see where his betrayal would lead – maybe there was a deeper motivation keeping on the right side of the Jewish elders…it’s one of those topics that has always interested me – why did he do it. There’s also the role of satan in all this:-

John 13:27 New International Version (NIV)
27 As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. 
So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.”

Was it satan’s work all along or was this just him making sure that Judas carried out what he had set in motion.

But then that leads to the role of satan in all of this and how that ultimately fits into His plan for us all.

Anyway…Harvey reminded me of one of my favourite Bill Bailey jokes…