Life During a Coronavirus Pandemic: Week 112 Planning a Move

Life During a Coronavirus Pandemic: Week 112 Planning a Move

A wonderful day exploring Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens in West Sussex at the start of an eventful week for me.

Towards the end of this week I start the process of re-locating to Dorset and already I am appreciating the wonderful places around my new home that offer the potential of a great day out. I am also very close to Poole Harbour and enjoy watching the marine traffic going in and out of Poole Harbour as well as a variety of water sports on the shallow waters of the harbour, dominated by the kite surfers.

Leonardslee Gardens, Horsham in West Sussex

Monday 09 May 2022

An early start this morning as I am spending the day at the Grade 1 listed Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens in Sussex. As it is a long drive there I start my visit with a coffee and a snack in the Clock Tower Café. The path to this café gave me a great taste of what was to come as I walked through a corridor of brilliant rhododendrons.

Clock Tower Café in Leonardslee Gardens

Next stop the Rock Garden. These stunning garden are laid out on different levels surrounding a waterfall crashing into a pool below it.

The Rock Garden in Leonardslee Gardens

I move on to the Loderi Garden, the oldest part of the gardens featuring old rhododendrons, giant conifers and hidden palm trees. Beyond that we strolled through The Dell to a view point at the top.

The View from The Dell in Leonardslee Gardens

The Dell is also the site of the Memorial Table. This table commemorates Sir Edmund Loder who created and loved Leonardslee Gardens between 1889 to 1920.

The Memorial Table in Leonardslee Gardens

A sculpture walk is incorporated in some of the paths I follow and includes some very interesting pieces.

A Sculpture in the Loderi Garden at Leonardslee Gardens

Descending from the Memorial Table I join the path around the seven lakes, the central feature of the gardens. I pause for a while to watch two adult geese with six goslings waddle across the grass and flop into the water.

Greylag Geese and Goslings in Leonardslee Gardens

Then I spend some time enjoying the view down the lakes from the Clapper Bridge before re-tracing my steps to take the waterside path around the lakes. I get as far as the Engine House which has been converted to a small café. The choice of snacks is limited so I decide to walk up the hill and go back to the Clock Tower Café where I know I will find a good choice. 

Clapper Pond Beyond Leucothoe Pond in Leonardslee Gardens

Revived by tea and sandwiches I set off again heading for the Wallaby Enclosure. On my way, I walk past Leonardslee House, stopping to admire the large, copper sculpture of a tree and fountain with three large head-shaped sculptures as a backdrop.

Giant Copper Tree Sculpture and Fountain at Leonardslee Gardens

Inside the Wallaby Enclosure, most of the wallabies are sleeping off their lunch but one or two are hopping around and posing for photos.

Wallabies in Leonardslee Gardens

On my way to the Deer Park I skirt around the vineyard, cross the Camelia Grove and walk down the stunning Bluebell Bank. I continue my circuit of the seven lakes until I come to the entrance of the Deer Park. I do not see any deer in the park but it is a lovely walk through this natural landscape and back to the lakeside.

Deer Park in Leonardslee Gardens

It is time for a cream tea at the Clock Tower Café and I make our way back there. After scones with strawberry jam and cream (jam first) I visit the Dolls House Exhibition. The detail in the houses in display is exquisite and the exhibits cover a wide range of different properties. The diversity and beauty of these gardens contributed to an amazing day out.

Exhibit n the Dolls House Exhibition at Leonardslee Gardens

COVID-19 Update

Did Sweden’s Covid-19 experiment pay off? Sweden has one of Europe’s lowest Covid-19 death rates despite shunning most lockdown restrictions, new data released by the World Health Organization (WHO) suggests. Stockholm chose not to implement a full national lockdown during the pandemic, instead relying on “voluntary changes to behaviour”.

Brexit Latest

PM plans ‘bonfire’ of regulations Boris Johnson is planning a “bonfire of EU laws” in a bid to “reboot his government”. The PM, who wants to grab his last chance to implement significant legislative reform before the next general election, will announce plans to remove hundreds of pieces of EU law from the statute book.

In the News Today

EasyJet to remove row of seats to fly with fewer crew Airlines are struggling to meet an increased demand as international travel restarts after Covid-19 lockdowns. They must provide one member of cabin crew for every 50 seats. Removing a row of six seats on its smallest plane, cuts the number of passengers it can carry from 156 to 150, limiting its requirement to three rather than four cabin crew.

‘Chaos’ at Manchester and Birmingham airports as travellers face long queues Thousands of passengers have had to queue outside terminals at Birmingham and Manchester airports, and dozens have missed flights, in chaotic scenes underlining the aviation industry’s struggle to return to normal pre-pandemic service.

Tuesday 10 May 2022

Back to reality today after my super day out yesterday at Leonardslee Gardens. My removal date is looming next week. I have the gritty problem of final energy bills to deal with. Complicated by my buyer’s desire to send a team of cleaners into the property the day before completion plus changing their energy suppliers. Weather wise, it is a horrible start to the day, cloudy, drizzle and strong winds but it does clear up later and the sun comes out. I take some time out to watch the kites on Poole Harbour skimming across the grey waters against a blue sky.

Kites in the Sky over Poole Harbour

COVID-19 Update

Covid soars in New Zealand which has registered more than one million cases of Covid-19, after spending the first 18 months of the pandemic largely free of the virus.

COVID-19 Vaccinations

Fourth jab can boost defences beyond the level achieved after a third dose, a new study suggested. The UK is currently offering a second booster to people aged 75 or over, those living in care homes for older people and the immunosuppressed.

British Airways blames flight cancellations on Covid-19 – and refuses to pay compensation It has emerged that the airline is rejecting compensation claims for grounded flights. BA has serious resourcing issues which are leading to the daily cancellation of many domestic and European flights.

In the News Today

Anti-protest laws to be unveiled The government will push through police powers to prevent disruptive yet peaceful protests as one of 38 new bills in today’s Queen’s speech, reported.

Wednesday 11 May 2022

As it is raining early this morning I expend some energy on my exercise bike before having some breakfast and getting on with my day. I have some surplus furniture to get rid of so I advertise these items on the Freecycle website. The single bed and mattress are gone by 2 pm this afternoon but there are no takers for the other two items, a circular glass dining table and a large sofa bed. I spend the rest of the day making space for some of the furniture from the flat in Hertfordshire before taking an evening stroll to enjoy a strange sunset - it is just as well I don't believe in UFOs..

Strange Sunset over Poole Harbour

In the News Today

China planning Taiwan invasion US intelligence officials have warned that China is attempting to build a military capable of invading Taiwan. The threat to Taiwan between now and 2030 is “acute”, as China is “working hard” to get into a position in which their military is capable of taking Taiwan”.

Extension referendums to be held by neighbours on the style and size of extensions, new homes and conversions on their street under plans announced by the government.

Thursday 12 May 2022

At last, after a few days of bad weather I wake up to a beautiful morning. The sun is shining and the wind has dropped. I go outside to enjoy this lovely May morning and watch a man jogging along the beach. He is accompanied by two dogs, one very obedient and the other determined to do his own thing. So, the jogger has to stop jogging and go back along the beach to collect his errant companion, currently paddling in the sea. He has to change his strategy and put them both on the lead before he can continue on his way. Today is another day devoted to the big move next week and I finalise arrangements with my removal firm.

Jogger and Reluctant Companions

In the News Today

How Finland joining NATO could alter the balance of power Finland “must apply for Nato membership without delay”, in a landmark policy shift triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a decision on whether Helsinki will apply to join was expected within days. Membership “would strengthen Finland’s security”, while “Finland would strengthen the entire defence alliance”.

Why the Black Sea is key to Russian’s invasion of Ukraine The international community must act to end a Russian blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports that threatens to trigger a global food shortage,

Friday 13 May 2022

After a busy morning sorting out the documentation for completion on my Hertfordshire flat, I head for Compton Acres to meet some friends in the café there. I can never resist the cheese scones here so I have one with my coffee. As I have not seen them for a while we have a lot of news to catch up with. When we disperse I go into the gardens to see what is in bloom. Most impressive are the Fire Wings a variety of tulips

Fire Wings Tulips at Compton Acres

COVID-19 Update

Why are there so many new Omicron sub-variants? You’d think Sars-CoV-2 is a super-speedy front-runner when it comes to mutations. But the virus actually mutates relatively slowly. Influenza viruses, for example, mutate at least four times faster. Sars-CoV-2 does, however, have “mutational sprints” for short periods of time, our research shows. During a sprints, the virus can mutate four-fold faster than normal.

Can North Korea control its ‘first’ major Covid outbreak? Kim Jong-un orders strict lockdown amid ‘serious emergency’ in Pyongyang, plunging the country into a national lockdown after admitting to a “first” outbreak of Covid-19 caused by a sub-variant of the highly transmissible Omicron strain.

Saturday 14 May 2022

This morning I concentrate on sorting out my Dorset flat ready to receive the contents of the Hertfordshire flat. This afternoon I drive, with my friend, to the Hertfordshire flat to pack up the contents to go back to the Dorset flat. The removal company has left some boxes outside the front door of the flat. And, we get to work immediately. It soon becomes apparent that I have badly under estimated the number of boxes I require and I need to double the number originally requested. We work until early evening and then decide we will walk into Radlett and have dinner at the Italian restaurant, Vai Pensiero. The only time a table is available is 6 pm so, after a rapid change, we walk briskly to the restaurant. We both have the same lovely meal – pasta with smoked salmon and avocado plus a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc. I love eating but not very keen on cooking. Maybe it is time to do something about that...

Pasta Dish at Va Pensiero a Restaurant in Radlett, Hertforshire

In the News Today

‘Golden era’ of cheap food ‘over’ Former Sainsbury’s boss Justin King has warned households that the UK’s “golden era” of cheapfood is over and suspects what we will see is a higher proportion spent on food for the longer term.”

Government plans first Rwanda resettlement The government has told 50 migrants that they will be the first to be sent to Rwanda as part of the government’s resettlement policy. Boris Johnson said he expected a lot of legal opposition but insisted the government would “dig in for the fight”.

Kim announces Covid ‘disaster’ reporting 21 more deaths. A total of 27 people have died amid a rapid spread of fever since late April. The nation has shunned offers of Covid vaccines from China and Russia, and from the World Health Organization’s Covaxscheme, apparently because administering the jabs would require outside monitoring.

Sunday 15 May 2022

A mammoth task awaits us this morning – it seems we barely touched the surface yesterday with shelves and drawers still overflowing with my belongings. A planned Sunday lunch with friends appears to be in jeopardy. We pack up the few remaining boxes and throw out the boxes that arrived here with me eighteen years ago and have never been opened. During the day the furniture I advertised on the FreeCycle website is collected, so that is another item ticked off the list. By midday we have filled all the cardboard boxes and created a large pile on items still to be packed in the middle of the lounge. Having made such good progress, we get ready to go out to lunch and drive to the Roundbush pub a short distance from the flat. We have a tasty Sunday roast as we chat with my friends. It is sad to think it will be a while before I see them again but I have a new adventure in front of me to look forward to.

Chicken Sunday Roast at Roundbush pub in Radlett, Hertfordshire

In the News Today

Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra wins Eurovision won the Eurovision Song Contest after being given special permission to leave thewar-torn country. Sam Ryder came second for the UK, the country’s best result since 1998. Ryder was top after the national jury votewith 283 points, but there was a huge surge of support for Ukraine in the public vote.

Some Government Statistics

The government has changed the way it reports COVID-19 statistics and no longer gives daily totals but from Monday to Friday it gives a 7-day total with no statistics reported on Saturday and Sunday. In the last 7 days, by Friday 13 May (no statistics on bank holidays or weekends), the number of people who tested positive is 76,87 bringing the cumulative total to 22,159,805. The number of deaths within 28 days of positive test is 1,389 in the last 7 days bringing the cumulative total of deaths to 176,708. Total deaths with COVID-19 on the death certificate this week 193,713 an increase this week of 1,247.

More next week

Valery Collins is the Tips Travelogue Valery Collins the Tips Travelogue An excellent raconteur, Valery has been writing about her experiences on the road since she started travelling 25 years ago. After publishing four books she turned to online travel writing.