CORONABOBS ISOLATION DAY 130 – Diary of a Self-Isolator 30.7.2020 BLOG 1st August 2020

CORONABOBS ISOLATION DAY 130 – Diary of a Self-Isolator Thursday 30th July 2020

Yesterday was a special day for me and Mamma.

With all four of our grandchildren we have had at least one day of childcare from zero to starting school.

Our youngest grandson, poor old Little (But Big really) George had his run cut short. We were supposed to have one childcare day a week until the end of July. But Boris rudely interrupted that and brought it to an early end in March.

Often on our childcare days we would walk into Newark town centre two miles away. That was good going because it was down a steep hill. But hard work going back climbing up that very same but even steeper hill.

We mostly used to go to Stray’s coffee Shop where George was in a very strict routine of having a cheese sandwich, crisps, a cereal bar, a Fruit Shoot to drink and both mine and Mamma’s biscuits we were given with our coffee. Oh, yes and half Mamma cheese scone and cheese.

George had a very strict order routine of eating:

                1,             Grandad’s coffee biscuit

  1. Mamma’s coffee biscuit
  2. Crisps
  3. Mamma’s cheese scone
  4. Cereal Bar
  5. Cheese taken from his sandwich
  6. Finally, his bread and butter
  7. All interspersed with a quick slurp of Fruit Shoot – normally blackcurrant.

George enjoyed a leisurely lunch. It was not to be rushed. He needed not to be hurried. In fact he categorically refused to be hurried.

We usually got there at 11.30am. We needed to be back to collect sister Freya from school (to be safe) at 3.00pm. It was a tiring 1 hour walk up (There was no Running up that hill as Kate Bush sings. It took us all our time to walk up it) the big hill. So, we had to leave Stray’s by 2.00pm.

Usually we left at 2.00pm with George protesting and with a piece of bread in each hand.

We were really disappointed that we’d missed our end of an era, “Mamma & Grandad’s End of Pre-school Party Celebration”.

Today with the easing of lockdown, we saw the opportunity to put that right. We had “Mamma & Grandad’s End of Pre-school Party Celebration” at Stray’s Coffee Shop. We also invited George’s Mum and Sister.

But poor George. He launched straight into his eating routine that was the norm with Mamma & Grandad.

But Mum was there and intervened.

“No, George. No biscuits until you’ve eaten your sandwiches.” Said his Mum. “Sandwiches, crisps, Mamma’s cheese scone, cereal bar, coffee biscuits.”

Poor George!

We arrived 12.30pm and left 1.30pm prompt. Poor, poor George!

But I’ve no sympathy with him. It’s what you get if you chose a teacher for a mum.

We gave George a book as his “Mamma & Grandad’s End of Pre-school Party Celebration” gift. One of the most beautiful, lavishly illustrated children’s picture books in the world: Before You Sleep by Benji Bennett. A sumptuously illustrated book with beautiful rhyming text.

Actually, one of the joys of going to Stray’s Coffee Shop was it has a great bookshop attached. A double goody for me.

But sadly, I gathered when we went with George, that it has closed for good. I’m not surprised. Covid-19 was probably the final straw.

On returning home I researched it on the internet. I can find only one reference on the Newark Advertiser site which was as follows:

“By Sharon Hodkin – –  Published: 07:58, 25 June 2020

Following the recent closure of Stray’s Books in Newark I wish to pay tribute to all the staff who have worked there, but in particular to Karen Dowler, who worked there longer than any.

Quiet, but highly efficient, coupled with an extensive knowledge of the book trade, Karen epitomised all that was best in an independent book shop.

She always relished the challenge of tracking down the unusual title or obscure, long out-of-print books, invariably with great success.”

That is very sad news. Newark will soon have no shops!

When I did the search Tripadvisor entries came up for Stray’s Coffee Shop. I am not a big fan of Tripadvisor. I find it filled with self-made vigilante restaurant and café critics.

I did take a look at the 22 one stars of the total 348 reviews. I wondered if anyone was a little disappointed with their cheese on toast as I was.

But I came across this lady who said she’d saved 8 discount stamps on a Stray’s loyalty card scheme. She went along to claim her free cup of coffee but was told she could not have one because the card was out of date. There was no expiry date on the card. She asked to see the owner. He refused her a free coffee.

As the customer I would have left it there. Black mark against Stray’s (not efficient not having an expiry date on the card) but life’s too short, move on. But she left negative feedback.

But even worse, the owner has done a long rambling, poorly written, reply to the feedback. Mistake, big mistake!

A coffee would have cost him pence. All he needed to say was, “Sorry that scheme has ended but just for you I will honour it.” Cost to him 20p. But a very happy customer and I wouldn’t be writing this.

The owner being arrogant so puts me off the place. Many of the complaints were about the attitude of the staff. I’ll go with that one.

When we went into the coffee shop, we were a party of three adults and two children. We found a table suitable and there was one paper menu on it. Mamma picked up an additional menu from another table. A waitress came up and snatched it from her and said, “Due to Corvid-19 you can’t use menus from other tables.” She proceeded to screw it up and throw it away and put a clean replacement menu on the other table. She didn’t bring us an additional menu.

Ok, we were sorry we got it wrong. But why not leave that menu with us instead of spitefully throwing it away.

I do think the time has come for us to move on from Spray’s. Feeling Peckish have always served us well with their Big Breakfast!

There is always the Ice Cream Parlour “Happy Sundaes” – I love the Happy Mondays, I love the band, the members of the band and most of all the name of the band. So, what a great name for an ice cream parlour. The name gives you an insight into the owner!

Happy Sundaes – 48 Kirk Gate, Newark NG24 1AB

“Happy Sundaes Ice Cream Parlour and Sandwich Shop is located on the corner of Kirk Gate and Church St, opposite St Mary’s Church. We offer a great selection of hot and cold filled rolls, salad boxes, jacket potatoes, toasties, mezzaluna melts, soups, cakes & treats. We serve Super Crema award winning coffee, Yorkshire Tea, Slushes, Hot Chocolate and a selection of chilled drinks. De-caf tea & coffee, soya & skinny milk available.”

I was very excited that Escape to the Chateau was back on Channel 4 at 8.00pm tonight. But then disappointment set in. They’ve turned it into a DIY advice show were ordinary people video in their DIY queries. So sleepily boring! We gave up on it after 15 minutes. It doesn’t make for good TV.

We found the pilot programme of the new Lee Mack “Semi-Detached” situation comedy. Which was so over the top slapstick situation comedy. But funny. Very funny.





“Success is a lot like a bright, white tuxedo. You feel terrific when you get it, but then you’re desperately afraid of getting it dirty, of spoiling it in any way.”

— Conan O’Brien


Happiness is…Happy Sundaes


Why does ice cream always get invited to the party?

It’s cool.


Love is…what makes a moment unforgettable.

5 Things To Be Grateful For During Lockdown/Coronavirus

We are grateful  Lockdown gives us  a time…

  1. A time for Stray’s Coffee Shop…A time for Happy Sundaes Ice Cream Parlour
  2. A time for Stray’s Cheese on Toast…A time for Feeling Peckish’s Big Breakfast
  3. A time for Mamma & Grandad’s Pre-school Childcare…A time for Mamma & Grandad’s After School Club
  4. A time for Happy Mondays…A time for Happy Sundaes
  5. A time for Escape To The Chateau…A time to give Escape To The Chateau a miss.


DAY 117        16 Times – 144 Feet              Cumulative Total 17,415 Feet





©2020 Phil M Robinson