Day 11: ‘I have started to multiply my plant supply in isolation, I thought I would share some tips on what works for me’

Contributor: Jamilah:

“I, like most on this street during this period of isolation am filling my time inbetween meals, sleeping and cleaning. For me, house plants are a huge part of my life currently and I will count down to the day when I can spend hours in a garden centre or nursery circling the isles looking at the strange and exotic green beauties that could potentially become my ‘pets’. My husband often has to remind me that we had already been down that aisle on a number of occasions. I don’t care though as I am happiest there and I don’t want to miss anything.

I have started to multiply my current supply whilst in isolation and I have found that I have been very successful so far, thus I thought I would share some tips on what works for me. I will select one plant type per week over the coming period to share my ideas on how to breed these pretty little buggers.

Monestera Adansonii

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The great thing with a Monestera is that you can propagate this really easily in a couple of different ways, either directly into water or straight into soil. I prefer the water technique. 

Using a sharp clean knife or scissors, find a stem growing out of another stem, the great thing about the Monetera is that they root very easily and therefore you do not need a root hormone to grow and multiply your plant 

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You’ll see a node popping out just after the stem appears to be bulkier, cut just below the node. 

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Place in room temperature water, you will need to change the water every few days. Also make sure your little experiment is getting a good amount of indirect sunlight. Humidity is also a big bonus with this plant. After a couple of weeks you will (hopefully) see the root come through.

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This can now be transferred into soil. Also, fair warning: the leaves on your plant may begin looking a bit sad as the root adjusts to its new home. They should be kept moist, but don’t worry too much about sunlight, they have an odd way of reaching towards dark areas in search of something to climb on. But have some patience and you will fill your home in no time.”

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Day 11: ‘My neighbours have become more like extended family – a comfort blanket to share our highs and lows’

Contributor: Chris:

“The wall between our gardens can only be described as the Korean demilitarized zone that splits the two countries. My two cats spend hours on the wall acting as sentries to maintain the status quo”

As my second week of shielding draws towards completion, I wanted to take stock of any major positives that have materialised as a result of our current situation. After mulling this over from many different aspects, I have decided to focus on an area that we all take for granted on a daily basis… Our Neighbours.

At first glance, my family’s relationship with our neighbours Richard and Jo may appear unchanged, but on deeper reflection it is at this point that I realise how much I have become dependent on the hour or so a day that I spend in my back garden chatting with them over the back wall (government distancing rules followed at all times).

The wall between our gardens can only be described as the Korean demilitarized zone that splits the two countries. My two cats spend hours on the wall acting as sentries to maintain the status quo. Prisoner exchanges take place every couple of days in the form of food items being left on the wall from either side ranging from something so simple as some cans of chopped tomatoes or tinned fruit, up to some Black Bomber and Colston Bassett cheeses coming my way yesterday. These small gifts give me the confidence that as a society we will get through this due to the spirit of sharing that is clear to see.

The conversation that flows comes in many forms, the usual check-ins that family both close and afar, are all healthy and safe. This topic often takes on a sensitive side as we mull over if and when we will see certain loved ones in the future, which is a difficult contemplation, but when shared with others in the same situation gives hope around this. Another topic is the disdain for the elements of capitalist greed that rears its head globally on a daily basis and always serves as an opportunity to vent some aggression verbally when required. 

The conversation always takes a comical downturn also on a daily basis. As I’m married to a Muslim, our neighbours find it hard to hide the fact that they do eat a lot of pork in their diet on a weekly basis, but this has now become a common source of humour and always leads on to discussions around what will be served for ‘our tea’ that evening. The opportunity to vilify ourselves and our partners always takes centre stage and proves that we have all reached a point where physical appearance, queens’ english and social correctness have all gone out the window.

With sport always filling a large area of my life through cricket, football and rugby, a large void has now also been left to fill. Richard and I have succeeded in this area so far through comparisons on post 1980 World vs England 11s in both football and cricket (although there have been some questionable entries so far) and I’m sure that more sports will follow. My wife and Jo share tips around garden plants regularly and on various days some plants have defected over the wall in the hope a better life. We also take note of the ever changing environment around us – the bees that have started to pollinate, the Great Tits that sit in the Buddleia teasing my cats and the roses that can be seen flowering down on Westcotes Drive allow us to look forward to the warmer months heading our way and hopefully the opportunity to spend them freely. These shared interests provide great solace when needed and provide much great relief from the large Covid-19 cloud that hangs over us.

So where would I be without my ‘neighbours over the wall’??

I think the above sentence needs to be reworded as I don’t view Richard and Jo as neighbours now rather they have become more like extended family – a comfort blanket to share our highs and lows, a communist grocery store where goods and information are shared freely, a source of freedom to express ourselves and share laughter during this period of great uncertainty.

…But also the chance to drink a shitload of coffee, tea, beer, wine and whiskey!!!

Day 11: ‘Too often underlying health issues are used in reports, suggesting the deceased was surplus in the first place’

Contributor: Tony:

Amongst the outpouring of news from the BBC, a web article appeared today under the headline: ‘How deadly is the coronavirus?’

You may think that this is strange given how the BBC in the company of other media outlets pour figures out every day of the deaths that have occurred where the virus was present. 

But that’s the point.

It is always of those who have died with the virus in their body.

It is never reported that people have died due to the virus itself, or if it is, I stand to be corrected but I have never personally seen it. 

Nick Triggle, the BBC’s health correspondent, writes: 

“The death figures being reported daily are hospital cases where a person dies with the coronavirus infection in their body – because it is a notifiable disease cases have to be reported.

But what the figures do not tell us is to what extent the virus is causing the death.

It could be the major cause, a contributory factor or simply present when they are dying of something else.”

Triggle goes on to say that the death of an eighteen-year-old was (at the time) the youngest recorded, but it was later revealed that sadly it was “due to a separate ‘significant’ health condition and not connected to the virus.”

Of course, to balance this, we have now heard of the death of a thirteen-year-old who it is believed had no underlying health conditions. 

Every death is a tragedy for family and friends and, whether this novel virus played any part or not, they will remain so. 

But I have two issues.

Firstly, I thank Nick Triggle for his article, but the media (including the BBC) stand guilty in my opinion for very regularly presenting news as if it were macabre entertainment.

Too often, I believe underlying health issues are used in reports as if they were some kind of Space Invader target, suggesting the deceased was quite surplus in the first place.  

Secondly, Triggle says later in his article that “the Office for National Statistics [ONS] is now trying to determine the proportion of these deaths that are caused specifically by coronavirus.”

I think that this is absolutely crucial.

If we are going to find a defence to this virus, we have to understand its real nature and how and to what degree it is a (or perhaps the) lethal agent.

That’s why I think the work being done by ONS is so important.

Work that might also in time give some context to the terrifying headlines that none of us seem able to avoid.  

Day 11: ‘This freedom of working from home has let me tap into the other learning resources. Maybe this is the work/life balance that I never made time for before’

Pecha Kucha – a great way to present and learn

Contributor: Jennifer:

‘Today I have realised that I have slipped into a new way of working. With this extra time I have found that I have been able to find loads of online networking and question/answer programs, where I can either be a visible part or watch back. 

This is fantastic – I feel that this extra time has meant that events where I would have been at work and unable to attend or even not have noticed it has now changed to a resource that I can tap into. I have been part of a Pecha Kucha on Tuesday, with listening back to an artist interview this morning and now part of another seminar. This freedom of working from home has let me tap into the other learning resources out there. Maybe this is the work/life balance that I have personally been missing, and I never made time for before, since there was always someone to meet up or yet another job in the house to do. If I take one thing away from this, it will be that I need to put more time into my side projects and interest. 

What is out there for tomorrow – who knows. 

This is a contrast to how I felt yesterday, I found myself intensely frustrated at being stuck inside, irritated at a computer system (turns out it wasn’t my fault) and overall feeling a little disheartened. I have thought today, and have come up with projects that I want to create and smaller bite sized things that I can put the time aside to learn. I didn’t like the feeling of yesterday so I am fixing it. Typical Wednesday…

We had our work group chat and the inevitable chat around how long this is going to last came up. Some were wondering if it was going to be longer then three weeks, others estimated 6 weeks and then others were saying its until September. People were planning and pondering what we would need to get ready for returning to work, discussions felt like we were talking about next week, and busying our minds with discussions over trivial matters – were computers off, would they have the updates, would summer workshops happen, would the workshops have the materials they needed if we came back straight into the new term. It struck me as strange that we were in a sense trying to plan for every eventuality. With a quieter week online, I feel that people have in a sense almost started to try to find something to be concerned about – thinking about life after Covid-19. Its understandable in some senses to return to what you are used to and can plan for, as for at the moment we are all walking in the dark waiting for someone to have an answer or solution. One lady was talking about the beer she saw in her fridge on Monday morning and had considered it… and its only week 2.’