A Simpler Time (Sort of)

This is odd. Every time I sit down to write, the situation has escalated. 2020 will be henceforth known as the year that was cancelled. Bars, pubs, clubs, restaurants, gyms, cinemas, cafés, concerts, events, conferences closed or cancelled.

In what would be a hugely important year for Plymouth, the 400th year anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower, we have ended up in a near lockdown. Countless people have lost their jobs, and madness rules the minds of shoppers. Panic buying is rife, causing artificial shortages of goods (and common sense, apparently). Why? People are afraid.

Things are ramping up, and I’m living with the strong possibility (becoming probability) of being redeployed from pathology to the wards. Back into the front line. Not a thought I relish, to be perfectly honest, as my last few months of clinical medicine were tough. Working long hours under significant pressure to see a lot of patients. This time it will be worse, with sicker patients and overwhelming pressure, but this is part of the deal. Being a doctor means having to step up when you’re needed, and it will be all hands on deck. Time to get out the clinical handbooks!

A slight double meaning…

Time for something completely different

So it’s stay at home year! I’m on board. My sourdough starter is working overtime, and I’ve started brewing kombucha. We also started sowing seeds in preparation for planting in our (future) raised bed. The rest of my day was spent digging out yet more bamboo, and extending the herb bed. The GIF explains it all.

I bought decking planks from Homebase, and moved/reclaimed one of the old ones. It’s not perfectly squared but I was fairly happy for my first attempt at something of this nature. The next step is to take herb cuttings from my in-laws and get them started in the new bed. I’m also looking to source oak railway sleepers to build a large raised bed on the patio. Drainage will be one hurdle but we’ll find a way to overcome it. Treated sleepers would be a cheaper option but there’s always a risk of preservatives leaching into the soil and contaminating it.

The picture shows the bed before and after expansion, offering a lot more planting space and better symmetry with the other side. This will be the kitchen/herb garden featuring thyme, oregano, sage, rosemary, mint, and potentially lavender. In the vegetable bed we’re going to grow carrots, broccoli, parsnips, spring onions, beetroot, and salad leaves.

Orange and purple carrots, purple sprouting and tenderstem broccoli

Inside the house

DIY isn’t limited to the garden. The current LED lighting under the banister is not nearly bright enough (an essential, of course) and not at all versatile. A good idea in theory, but how can it be improved? More power? Yes. More colour? Certainly. WiFi? You bet!

I picked up some Teckin LED strip lighting from Amazon. A project for a day in the near future.

A symbolic replacement of pathology with trite DIY tasks

My message for the day

Don’t panic buy. Just be normal, and use shops as you usually would. Stay in the rest of the time. Keep in touch with friends and family. Help your neighbours. And most importantly, wash your hands!

Stay safe, and look after each other. That’s how we’ll get through this. Together

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