S I D (Self Isolation Day)

Posted on 18/03/2020 By


We started a story called “What if”. It’s still relevant and follows later. But, as we all know, the situation is changing so rapidly that by the time this is posted it will have completely changed again. So we are posting an exceptional mid week blog.

Today, Monday 16 March, is SID (Self Isolation Day) at Laurel Cottage. Waking up to the sunshine of a world in turmoil. Bobby himself with “elderly and heart condition” qualifications to choose to self isolate. During that first hour we walked round the cottage taking pictures. No idea why, but it seemed a good idea.

S I D (Self Isolation Day): A bare foot and the sun streaming in through the window.

“When I wake up in the morning”
Bill Withers


But first. People choose all sorts of ways to express their emotions. Creative people may compose music, write poetry, write stories. Some create unique artwork, like our friend Kate:

Drawing of a women entitled "Am I scared", with the words "yes" and "no" written several times all over.

We are delighted to tell you that Kate has agreed to honour Mindfully Bertie by presenting an exhibition of her unique artwork on a future blog.

Pictures at 08.00 on 16 March. S.I.D.

Bertie in a double bed alongside a pillow that reads "Best Grandad in the World sleeps here Love from Giselle and Daisy-Mae xx"

Thank you Giselle and Daisy-Mae.

View through a window with the bright blue sky and a window box full of daffodils in bloom.

Looking down on the window box and its daffodils.

Looking at the window box through the open window.

The window box.

A table loaded with books, a DAB radio, notebook a light and a "Mindfully Bertie" business card.

Football. Reading. The Life and Times of Mr Pussy. The all important notebook.

Bertie sat on a cupboard with a wall full of family pictures behind, along with a lit London Underground roundal.

The family.

Bertie sat on a window sill with another window box with daffofils in outside.

Another window box.

Looking through the open lounge door to the hallway and the closed front door.

The front door. Not a prison door, but a door to the countryside. Avoiding social contact.

View through the kitchen window.

Window on a beautiful world. The garden, the birds and Redlands in the distance.

Looking through the kitchen window to the birdfeeder in the garden.

The birds that we will look after, no matter what. Goldfiches. Siskins later. Woodpeckers, Nuthatches, Tits, Robins, Starlings, Blackbirds, Greenfinches and more.

Tea Towels and Posters on the wall and fridge freezer. Some fridge magents above.

Tea towels and posters. Rude magnets from Diddley.

Three pictures on the wall. A poem, Diddley and Bobby outside the Shredded Wheat factory (with matching Shredded Wheat umbrellas) and Hefyn Hare - a talking picture.

Our favourite poem. Our favourite picture. The new member of the Mindfully Bertie team to be introduced soon. Hefyn Hare. A Welsh talking picture.

Looking through the front room window A bay window, with a straight window sill full of a plant, flowers and nicknacks.

Through the front room window.

A shelf of models. Mainly planes, but also a bus, car and bicycle.

Doesn’t he just love those planes and vehicles. Especially Concorde and the Vulcan.

A mantlepiece displaying model buses.

Old and new buses. Some 1950. Some 2019.

Bertie looking a a picture of Bobby and his sister, Wendy, when they were children.

Brother and sister. Bobby and Wendy.

Bertie and the "Bluebird Window".

Diddley’s favourite. The bluebird window.

Tracey Emin deckchair on the staircase wall.

Tracey Emin deckchair on the staircase wall. Don’t magnify the writing if you are easily offended!

Bertie and team with Bobby 2.

Where’s Eamonn? With Carol who knit his new scarf.

Bertie, with Bobby's stash of toilet rolls!

Panic buying. Who noticed? The bow tie is back.

Just a few days ago, before S I D, we started drafting “What if”. Seems a pity to waste it:

What If?
What if, what if, what if, what if,
What if, what if, what if, what if, what if,
What if, what if, what if, what if, what if,
What if, what if, what if, what if, what if,
What if, what if, what if, what if, what if,
What if, what if, what if, what if, what if, …

Rear view of Bertie and Bobby on Diddley's Bench.

Bertie: “You OK, Bobby?”

Bobby: “Yes! Why?”

Bertie: “You seem distant. A little preoccupied. Miles away. Maybe a little GADish, do you think?”

Bobby: “No… I am no different to anyone else. With so much going on in the world, it’s only natural I am thinking of ‘what ifs’. Even on S I D.”

Bertie: “But how often you think ‘what if’ is the clue to how normal or how GADish you might be? How often in an hour, day, week, month do you think ‘what if’? Honestly?”

Bobby: “Honestly Bertie, the only time at present I am not thinking ‘what if’ is when I am distracted.”

Bertie: “Like how?”

Bobby: “Going to the gym. Exercising with headphones from Chopin to Dire Straits and all in-between.
Going to Al-Anon.
Going to the pictures. ‘Portrait of a Woman on Fire’ was good.
Sitting on Diddley’s Bench with you.”

Bertie: “Umm. A couple of years ago, you told us how a bad attack of GAD was relieved by the Flying Scotsman.”

Bobby: “You wont believe this, Bertie. The Flying Scotsman has helped me back onto the right track again. At the Watercress Line a few weeks ago. I didn’t take you because, much as I love you, you distract everybody and I craved anonymity”

Bertie: “Seen it all before, Bobby. I did like Thomas the Tank Engine.”

“Why Worry”
Dire Straits

Album cover: Dire Straits, Brothers in Arms.

Finding Serenity with the Flying Scotsman at the Watercress Line.

Ropley, Flying Scotsman.

Ropley, Flying Scotsman.

Flying Scotsman at Ropley.


Ropley with "Flying Scotsman" bunting.


View from a train window, with light white clouds in a blue sky.

From out of the window on a glorious day

30925 "Cheltenham". Schools Class.

“Cheltenham”. Schools Class.

Alresford. Flying Scotsman.

Alresford. Flying Scotsman.

Alresford. Flying Scotsman.

Ivatt tank engine. 41312.

Ivatt tank engine.

View from a First Class window. Blue skies with a scattering of white fluffy clouds.

View from a First Class window. Blue skies with a scattering of white fluffy clouds.

Last Train of the Day.


Last train of the day pulled by 506… “Tony’s engine”.

First Class coach interior.

First Class. So comfortable the silly old sod slept through most of the last journey of the day.

And Finally, Some Station Posters.

Poster advertising "By Rail and Sea to the Continent". Two steam hauled passenger trains alongside an ocean liner.

Terence Cuneo painted the original. He will be the subject of a future story.

Poster warning people not to open doors before the train has stopped.

Bleedin dangerous years ago.

Map of the Isle of Wight, showing the once extensive rail network.

We love the Isle of Wight.

"Address your packages clearly and help railway staff to help you."

Poster advertising the new Southern Railway streamlined "West Country" locomotives.

Trainspotters loved the “West Country” engines. Bobby had to wait until adulthood before he finally visited those magical places in the West Country.

The Flying Scotsman departing Alresford in an impressive cloud of steam.

Cheerio for now, Flying Scotsman.

Click here to see the video!

Lighting a Candle to Diddley.

Since we wrote this, all those distractions bar one have gone. So now it’s the biggest one of all. The glorious countryside. Not just here at Denbies Hillside, but all over the place in reach of a car journey where we can walk on our ownsome away from people. We did go to one last concert at our local church, St Mary Magdalene. An amazing piano recital by possibly the only one handed (left) pianist in the world.


But for now, it’s a world where no-one knows where we are going next. If you are self isolating and having an S I D, don’t expect too much of yourself. It’s a completely new experience for most of us. One that will take time to adjust to. Those who have lived frantic, creative lives have always yearned for ‘more time’. Now they have got it, they may not know at first what to do with it!

Our advice is to take it easy. Try to eat well. And, if you can, the fresh air will lift our spirits.

A lit candle for Diddley, on a corner table.
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