Corona Journal 2020


January - March


A mild winter continued at the beginning of the year, so no transport difficulties for Roger’s indoor bowls, though raising a full quota of players some weeks required a number of phone calls.  We also continued to enter the monthly pub quiz across the road.


On Sunday 2 February we went to the bowling club’s annual lunch, held again at Dumbleton Hall.  It was very well attended this year, and, as usual, good food and very well-presented.


On Thursday 20 February Teresa spent the night with Helen in Bristol, and enjoyed the following morning looking round the shops.  Helen was also able to spend the following week-end at home, and came with us to the pub quiz.


By March, concerns were rising about the Corona virus pandemic.  On Friday 6 we had to drive to Gloucester for an appointment with Juliet and Sam’s solicitors with regard to their planned house purchase – we are providing a deposit contribution.  That was to prove our last outing beyond the limited confines of our domestic existence for several months.


The bowls club Annual Quiz on Saturday 7 March went ahead with some limited attempts at social distancing, but we were, of course, crammed in six to a table. There were some attempts at social distancing, eg the Corona bump, but there were also many traditional bowls club hugs and handshakes.  Fortunately, there were no adverse consequences.  The quiz itself was a tight affair, going right down to the final question, and I’m pleased to say we just sneaked home.  Juliet and Sam had been able to join us for the evening, and, as usual, Sam’s determination on the picture round made all the difference.


On Monday 9 March we decided voluntarily to self-isolate, as we were both in vulnerable groups, Teresa on account of her asthma and Roger because of his age.  The following weekend all the remaining indoor bowls matches were cancelled, and the Government, belatedly in some people’s opinion, introduced the formal lockdown on Monday 23 March. 


Not being huge socialites, our regime did not seem too onerous.  Teresa used the time to tackle some of the jobs around the house that take a back seat in more normal times, and we tried to have some communal activity each evening, eg music or watching old films.  Nevertheless, we desperately hoped for the younger generation’s sake that the tide would turn, and we could resume all our normal activities.



Teresa and Juliet joined much of the country in clapping for the NHS on Thursdays, and decorated our front window accordingly.  A similar thank-you in the porch greeted the delivery men we heavily relied upon. 


The thank-you pictures were repeated in chalk on the drive until heavy rain washed them away. 






We have a kind elderly neighbour to thank for one of our regular lockdown activities.  She has a large garden, and thoughtfully asked her gardener to put a hole in the middle of her grassy area, provided us with a couple of clubs and golf-balls and invited us to play a few holes of what I can only describe as miniature pitch-and-putt clock-golf.  We have scarcely missed a day!  We are pretty evenly matched, that is both as bad as each other, but have had our moments:  Teresa has hit four holes-in-one and Roger one.         


We had to wrap up in March, but it got warm in April.  And see!  A hole-in-one for Teresa, together with the evidence.



















April – September


Lockdown restricted our activities.  Jay was furloughed from the yard at which she worked, but she had a horse to look after at another yard, and Roger drove her there once a week to keep the car in order.  Though food shopping was permissible, we preferred to rely on home deliveries (Teresa has used on-line shopping since it first became available).  Of course there was fierce competition for slots initially, but Teresa skilfully managed our regular Tesco deliveries with supplementary deliveries as and when wherever she could find them – Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Waitrose all came from time to time.  As a consequence, we only needed to venture out ourselves a handful of times.


The first relaxation we enjoyed was on Saturday 9 May, when we were able to meet up with two other people out-of-doors.  The weather during the summer was, of course, generally hot and sunny, and we laid on a barbecue for Sam and Jay, sitting at opposite ends of the sun-deck, and indulging in a rare celebratory drink.


Amidst this difficult background, Sam and Jay’s house purchase went through,  and Sam moved in, finding himself able to work from his new home for a couple of months.


Roger’s bowling club re-opened its green on 29 June.  Following Government and Bowls England guidelines, the number of players at the club and on the green at any one time was limited.  Social distancing was observed on and off the green, and all equipment was sanitised before and after use.  Apart from the area of the toilets and equipment storage, the clubhouse and bar remained closed for the season.  All inter-club matches had been cancelled, but there was some competitive play within the club:  a limited number of players entered a Men’s and a Ladies’ singles competition, and, in the latter half of the season, a round-robin for mixed pairs.  Otherwise, members could book rinks for practice or friendly roll-ups with up to three other players.  As all the activity was in the open air and we were on the move most of the time, it seemed a relatively safe environment.


Of the eighty-plus playing members, about a third made it back on to the green.  Many of the older members, of course, on account of their age or medical condition of themselves or their partners were effectively shielding from social events.  Roger managed to play a couple of times a week on average.  Most members agreed that playing a sport they enjoyed and meeting old friends and some new members was a welcome change from the months of lockdown, and brought a promise of a return to more normal times.


Roger celebrated his birthday on 10 August – strictly a family affair, but we did break some new ground:  a first taste of alcohol for over three months, and, for us all, a visit to the village pub, where Roger enjoyed a pint of lager for the first time for probably more than three years.  Teresa, as ever, provided superb birthday meals, and she and all the family picked some wonderful presents.  Invidious as it is to mention individual items, a set of garden lights (henceforth to be known as ‘the obelisk’, fashioned by a local craftswoman, and an actual copy of The Times newspaper from the day of his birth!


On 7 September, some two years after their first meeting, Jay and Sam re-visited the Burford Farm Park where they first met.  Unbeknown to Jay, Sam had planned to pop the question, and spent the afternoon with ring in hand waiting for the right moment.  Eventually it came, she accepted, and on their return home we went to the pub across the road for the second time in as many months to toast the occasion.


Roger played the last few games of his bowls season, and joined the small number of spectators to watch the Men’s and Ladies’ singles finals.





In July Roger had his annual eye-test and was told he would be referred for cataract surgery to the right eye.  He heard nothing more until November, when the hospital called him in for a pre-op assessment on Saturday 27.  This was half way through the second lockdown, of course, and was conducted under strict Covid precautions and took an afternoon of 90% waiting and 10% tests.  Teresa accompanied him, but they were separated half-way through, waiting in different areas.  The good news was that he was assessed as suitable for surgery, probably some time in the spring.


In early December both our Skoda and our old Fiat passed their MOT and were serviced.  They had done barely 3,000 miles between them in this Covid-hit year.


December saw Teresa turn seriously to Christmas planning, masterminding provisions and presents for all the family for the festivities ahead.


On Tuesday 15 we went with Jay and Sam to the Pheasant over the road for a Christmas meal.  The Covid-secure pods had been decorated for Christmas and heaters installed.  The food was excellent and a first glass of wine for several months went down very well.



Our Christmas week followed our traditional pattern (with the addition of Sam, of course, but without Helen, who was rostered or volunteered to work shifts all that week).  Teresa provided magnificent Christmas fare on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day, accompanied by drinks to taste.  However, in a variation which allowed Helen to join us via Zoom, we delayed opening the presents until Monday 29:  a lengthy ceremony but replete with imaginative and appropriate gifts for all.


As has become normal, we ended the year by time-shifting our celebration slightly so that we could combine the festive spirit with a civilised bed-time.