Paul Clarke's Blog (Pauly's Soapbox)

Dug out the Trangia

Dug out the Trangia today, and cooked lunch in the garden. We were going to take it up to the woods, but not sure if we're allowed. The police have been clearing people having picnics on the beach during this coronavirus lockdown and didn't fancy the same happening to us.

Not done much else really, a little food delivering, and a little receiving of deliveries. We got a box from Nespresso today so we're good for coffee for a while, especially as we have all that loose coffee too to work our way through. I also got a delivery from The Firkin Alehouse and we're working through that tonight. A delicious hazelnut porter, the same one I had at The Beer Shop a couple of weeks ago, then an IPA, and a cider too. Yeah coronadryrus is over as now our circumstances have changed and I'm no longer on 50% pay. It might actually be less pay, I'm not sure yet. Also not sure if I'm meant to be working Monday or not, I must find this out.

17089 coronavirus cases, a big leap, but we're still eighth in the world. 1019 deaths, another big leap, and no increase in recoveries at only 135 so far.

In danger of forgetting the clocks go forward tonight, but what does it really matter anyway. We can't go out or do anything.

Sat Mar 28 2020...

This week 10 years ago

15 years ago
20 years ago

Run stats 28/3/20

14.2% fat

If it sounds too good to be true, then it's probably fine

That's what they say isn't it? Everyone being offered 80% of their pay from the government and not having to do any work for it, that all sounds fine doesn't it?

I went to Sainsburys today, for us, and for Jim, and so picked up a "is anyone going out" message from our neighbourhood whatsapp group too. I took something to the post office for a neighbour and the post office was crazy quiet. I went into Cheriton, past all the closed shops, and the big spaced out queue outside the Co-op. There was a small queue outside the post office too, but it was for the pharmacy half of the business. I breezed right into post office, no queue, never seen this before.

They were queueing right round the carpark to get into Sainsburys. We were queueing. Waited about half an hour to get in, as they were only letting a few in at a time. Inside it wasn't so bad, only a few things missing from the shelves. How did we get to this state though? It is still insane. The most insane thing is how quickly this is becoming normal.

Did a big group conference call with friends last night, like going to the pub but all in our own homes. As we live in five different towns across two countries we don't actually go to the pub very often anyway, so the old coronavirus has improved our lives a little here. Hoping to make it a regular feature of Thursday nights from now on.

Boris Johnson has coronavirus, Brighthouse is closing, and Sports Direct and Wetherspoons are facing huge backlashes. UK climbs to number eight in the total coronavirus cases chart:

Country casees deaths recovered
USA 93151 1382 2421
China 81340 3292 74588
Italy 80589 8215 10361
Spain 64059 4934 9357
Germany 49344 304 5673
Iran 32332 2378 11133
France 29155 1696 4948
UK 14543 759 135
Switzerland 12311 207 897
South Korea 9332 139 4528
Fri Mar 27 2020...

Another day another walk

Not done much today, but that's how it should be on a week off recovering. Went for a walk along Princes Parade with the boys. Not as many people about as earlier in the week, but still not quiet along there. Saw a couple of police patrols, it is insane how we are suddenly living. Tried to get some skimmed milk for Clare in the garage, as she couldn't get any in the supermarket, but none there either.

Boys are playing video games now. They've done some work today, including English and maths worksheets and then made their own comics in our creative time. We started to update the robot in our "science lesson" but we only got as far as reading the worksheet. I will prepare the next bits we need for tomorrow, it will involve fixing the distance sensor to the front.

Traffic to this website has got a bit busier since the lockdown. People must be bored.

Going to do a group zoom chat with some friends tonight, in lieu of a trip to the pub. I am sure they will be brandishing beers but I'm going to stick with not drinking a little longer.

Thu Mar 26 2020...

First day of everyone being at home

Clare is working from home today, the boys are working from home, and I'm still off sick following the cataracts operation. They all did the Joe Wicks workout this morning but are now struggling with everyone working at the same time. The boys are doing English exercises, thing one from his school workbook, and thing two from https://www.twinkl.co.uk as he has finished the workbook school sent home. Thing one says he has finished his school workbook but it seems he has skipped a lot as "the teacher said not to do it". It looks to be comprehension type stuff, which a) he needs practice and b) these are the exercises we've got for him from other sources anyway. He is not happy that I'm overriding what he thinks the teacher told him. Why would he have been told not to do this work? I can't think of a good reason that would apply to him specificically that would make it worse for him to do it than not do it. I hope it's that it was something they've not covered yet, or that wasn't suitable for the whole class, or that they'd come back to later. It can't be that the work is beneath his level.

Apart from that it is going ok. We got a load of free coffee from the National Trust, they had to chuck it out as it was at it's sell by date and they're all closed now so no more is being used. There is a freezer full of ice-cream that is going the same way but it might have melted before it got home. So one day soon we might take a trip there and have the run of the place on our own, eating ice-cream.

Clare has spent ages on the phone to work IT support, trying to get onto the VPN to do her work. I think it's a higher cost number, though probably not premium rate. It's a times like this I'm glad we don't have a landline. We have moved up to number 9 in the world coronavirus ranking according to worldometers. 9529 cases, 465 people have died with it, and 135 have recovered so far.

Thu Mar 26 2020...

Slight tweak to the clever iframe inlining

Here's my slight improvement to the inlining I use for the sidebar over there 👉.. this is how the sidebar comments etc are always up to date without me having to regenerate every page of this static site every time.

 <iframe src="/misc/sidebar2/" onload="a=this;b=a.contentDocument;a.before((b.body||b).children[0]);a.remove()"></iframe>

I can't remember where I got this code from originally, I think it was here, but it starts off as an iframe, then the content of the iframe pops right into the page. By the time you see it1 it's no longer an iframe, the content is really in the page.

My original tweak was to save a few chars assigning this to a variable and now I realise I can save a bit more. It's useful as it is repeated so much, every little helps.

1. and indeed the google sees it

Wed Mar 25 2020...

Walked to Sandgate

It's sad walking to Sandgate with no Inn Doors. I didn't even go close to the Inn Doors, we just walked / scooted to this end of Sandgate for exercise, and then home again.

Wed Mar 25 2020...

We fixed the robot

Taught the boys a little about the raspberry pi and electronic concepts, as much as I know myself anyway. We reconnected the raspberry pi robot components, hot-glueing it all together this time for a bit of sturdiness in the robot body this time. We connected the line following sensor and ran the code that shows "hey I can see a black line" and "nope the black line is gone now". Tomorrow maybe we'll try and make it follow a line along the ground, we need to write more code for that. It's a very gentle intro for them and a bit of python practice for me.

We got a delivery! A man came to the door! Under the new regime though he ran back down the path leaving the parcel at the door. I thought it was going to be a new Nespresso delivery; I'm still in credit there and have committeed to paying in for the rest of the year, so nothing to be saved by trying to cancel this outgoing. I ordered another 150 capsules yesterday, so at least while locked in we have coffee. But no, it's not coffee. It's a big heavy box addressed to Clare with BREWDOG on the side...

Another lovely bright clear spring day out there, a high of 10° and a low of 3° so not as warm as it looks. Still great to be able to sit on the balcony with a cuppa and a book and look out on a peaceful neighbourhood. You'd not know it was the end of the world.

Hmm off licences are now considered essential. I like a drink as much as the next person, possibly a lot more in fact, but this doesn't seem right to me. It doesn't quite tie in with the advice to only do one shop per week either.

Wed Mar 25 2020...

I have figured it out

Day three of coronavirus lockdown. The kids did Joe Wicks workout again, though this time thing one struggled and dropped out. Thing two was fine, though he puts slightly less into it. Clare did it but then went into work... School plan slightly skewed after this as we remembered during "English half hour" that Steve Backshall was doing a live Q&A on the youtube, and thing two is a super fan of his. So that pushed things back. Now they're on the trampoline, then in for maths, treadmill, science1, gaming, lunch, creative time outside time, then see if they earned any bonus gaming time after that.

I have come to terms with the coronavirus plan, and the outcome. We are definitely all going to get it, and nearly all of us will be fine. The only reason to limit the spread of it is not to stop people getting it, but to stop too many people who will get it seriously getting it at the same time and so taking up hospital resources at the same time. If lots of us got it to a critical level the hospitals couldn't cope (can't cope). So if we only get it a few hundred per day, then as the first people start to recover they will free up beds for the new people.

Starting to wonder if the rules from the government have not been left deliberately vague2 to make sure a steady trickle of people do keep getting it, recovering, building up immunity. But that is probably too clever. I am not insane and paranoid, everything is fine.

8077 coronavirus cases reported in the UK, 422 deaths and 135 recoveries so far.

Made a vegan chilli this morning and the boys are going to have that for tea too. I think I put too much chilli in it as I forgot we were all having it. I put less in than I would do for me, but more in than I would do for them.

No word from work yet on any change of plans, so I'll be on 50% time when I go back next week. I'm working Monday, Tuesday morning, and Friday. No sense in trying to leave early during these times, still no drinking for me (coronadryrus day 5).

1. Might squeeze robot building into this

2. Don't meet up with people outside the people you live with. Don't go out in groups of more than two except the people you live with. Er, what about groups of two who are not people you live with? You have left a gap here...

Wed Mar 25 2020...

Lockdown links for the day

Every day is a "good grief what will happen next day". Now we're at a level of personal lockdown, everyone stay indoors, only essential trips outside. This was announced last night in a special short TV programme1, all non essential shops and things to close now. No-one is being actually stopped from going out yet but we should not meet up with other people we do not live with. Clare is out now with the boys, in the woods, I assume not meeting anyone. She also went out shopping earlier for us and for her dad, so if anyone's about to be arrested it is her. There's still more locking down to be done I suppose, plenty more levels of madness.

The announcement is still confusing and vague, how can they keep getting these things wrong? "Don't meet up with people you do not live with, if your friend says let's meet up you say no", but then "groups of more than two will be dispersed, unless it is people you live with". This makes it sound like it is still OK to meet up, as long as it's only one friend. Boris Johnson all your communications are vague and confusing.

8077 coronavirus cases in the UK, quite a leap today. 422 people have died with it, and 135 have recovered.

Some thoughts and fun for today, DIY and bike shops staying open it says here so maybe not too late for me to get some paint and fertiliser to do some DIY and gardening next week. The main part of that story is that Sports Direct were hoping to keep open, we're different see, we're essential. I suspect the real reason for staying open is the staff are all on zero hours contracts, so not going to get the government deal so he keeps his stores open as long as possible to pay his staff. Still yet to hear how this "we will pay your staff 80% of their pay so you don't lay them off" deal might affect me at work. As far as I know we are still on 50% pay, 50% hours. A friend of Kerry's summed up how it would work, you agree to be laid off temporarily, company agrees to reinstate you when times are better, government pays 80% of your salary up to national average salary. The boys did Joe Wicks PE workout again this morning. There were 930,000 households streaming today.

Giving this one a go for the kids, spelling help for kids, as Susie Dent recommends it. She probably earns from it normally but it's free for the next twelve weeks.

The year sixes are all in a group Zoom2 chat again. Social media for ten year olds crept up on us here.

Kez also sent me this useful link Safe places to visit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

I'm still on the neighbourhood Whatsapp group. Someone else just forwarded an "omg forward this to everyone" message, another stupid hoax, the third one, and someone just quit the group again. Happens every time, soon it will only be me left, though I am just lurking. It's a terrible terrible group but I'm there just in case.

I made a slow cooker vegetable tagine out of stuff we already had in, and it's looking and smelling good. Out of date stuff we already had, but still. Don't tell me it's not a tagine as the tagine is the name of the cooking vessel.

Our little raspberry pi robot needs more sensors added, specifically one to tell when a seven-year-old's foot is coming down on top of it. Luckily we can rebuild it, give us something to do in creative learning time tomorrow...

It's not a purse it's a tactical gear pouch - maybe useful if we ever leave the house again.

I'm trying a new automated footnote thing3, will my posts become more like the page of a Terry Pratchett or Stewart Lee book soon? Not that it will become funny, but If I make it too easy for myself to write in this style it might be more footnotes than other content.

It is a beautiful day here, I'm out on the balcony, just finished reading that Ian Rankin book. It was OK. Next I have maybe another Ian Rankin, or maybe another Julie Wassmer. Been listening to podcasts, best thing I got from one was an appealing sounding cocktail from the newscast podcast, a "quarantini" - gin and lemsip. Chin chin4!

1. How special? Amazingly viewing figures of 27 million, more than the Den and Angie christmas divorce!

2. video conferencing thing I mentioned the other day

3. and here is an example of a footnote...

4. of course I'm still not drinking... keeping it up until at least the next lockdown level...

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Tue Mar 24 2020...

Paul Clarke's blog - I live + work in Hythe. Wed to Clare and dad to two, I'm a full stack web engineer, and I do js / nodejs, some ruby, python, php ect ect. I like pubs, running, eating, home-automation and other diy stuff, history, genealogy, Television, squirrels, pirates, lego, and TIME TRAVEL.