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After yesterday’s adventures there’s been very little excitement today as we haven’t moved from home all day. There’s been no need to go to any shops as we’re stocked up with everything we need right now, especially as my delivery from Virgin wines arrived today to go with Tony Allan’s beer gift yesterday!

Dawn’s been slaving away over a hot keyboard (either computer or phone) whilst I’ve been busy trying to get as many old rail slides scanned as possible. I had to admit defeat by mid afternoon as I was getting bog eyed and the weather outside was beginning to warm up. It’s been a beautifully sunny day, but not particularly warm so I was happy to stare at screens initially, then I decided to make the most of the weather and go stuck into some gardening as a mix of therapy and exercise. I’ve been meaning to replant part of our front garden for a couple of years but the time’s never been right. Today, it was. I’ve dug up an old azalea bush which is one of a pair but that was starting to dominate its sector of the garden. It’s been transferred to a pot that I can put out of the back of the house and its spot has been taken with a young Acer bush which will add colour at different times of the year. I’ve also split a huge Hosta which had got too big for its spot. It’s been quartered and 3/4 of it now resides in other flower beds or pots. As I was digging these things up I also sieved the soil and removed enough pebbles and stones to make a small beach!

All this activity has made up for not going for a walk today, so I don’t mind or feel guilty about the fact we didn’t get out for our traditional constitutional. Instead, I had the chance to sit in the late afternoon sun for a little while to pretend I was a lizard and bask, topping up my Vitamin D levels, which is something I’ve really missed with not having our normal January jaunt to warmer, sunnier climes. The way things are at the moment I’ve no idea when that opportunity will come around again.

Whilst I’ve not been out I have tried to keep up with the news. You may imagine my wry smile when I head that both the Prime Minister and the Health Secretary had tested positive for Coronavirus. Wasn’t Johnson boasting the other week that he’s shaken hands with Coronavirus patients? Awkward…

Apropos of this, I had a quick chat over the garden fence (as it were) with some Neighbours earlier. One of them is a hospital Anesthetist. Did he think think this lockdown would be over by the Government’s 3 week review? No. His view was that 12 weeks is more likely. I’m certainly planning for the long-haul – at least by then I won’t have to worry about getting all these slides scanned anymore! Talking of slides, here’s a couple from today’s batch. Both were taken at Liverpool Lime St and show why regional rail liveries aren’t always the best idea – even in BR days.

It’s a Pacer Jim, but not as we know it! When the railbuses were first introduced some of them were branded ‘Skippers’, painted in a faux Great Western Railway livery and sent to Cornwall to work some of the branch lines. They were a bit of a disaster due to excessive tyre wear and the fact they screeched around the sinuous curves, deafening passengers and locals alike. They didn’t last long and were soon transferred North. Here’s 142516 at Liverpool Lime St with a service to Wigan North Western on the 17th June 1991.
Same day, same location. Only this time it’s Network SouthEast liveried 86401 that looks very much out of place. The Class 86 had been repainted and renamed ‘Northampton Town’ to work the ‘Cobbler’ commuter trains between Euston and Northampton. Of course, it never stayed on those diagrams, hence it turning up in that well known outpost of Network SouthEast. Err, Liverpool…

On Fridays a group of us would often meet in our local pub (The Big 6) for an unofficial Quiz night. Our friend Mel would read out the questions from the brain-teasers in the local ‘Pub Paper’ in her finest broad Lancashire accent, which made it doubly challenging. First we had to work out what she was saying, then we had to work out the answer to the question! As that entertainment avenue’s no longer open as the 6 is closed to us a couple of folks had the idea that we should recreate the experience over Snapchat, so we tried it for the first time tonight. It lacks some of the atmosphere, but the humour and daftness was still there and it was great to be able to interact with familiar faces in a way that we’ve been deprived of. This could become a regular Friday feature of lockdown. When needs must…

Tomorrow’s the weekend – the first of the lockdown, but it’s rather lost its meaning as it’s going to be no different than any other day. That’s one of the problems right now, it’s difficult to tell the time. Clearly, we’re not alone in this as I’ve seen several friends comment about the way they’re finding it difficult to keep track of the days. How are you coping, wherever you are?