As Plato put it: Music is a moral law. It gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, and life to everything. It is the essence of order, and leads to all that is good, just and beautiful, of which it is the invisible, but nevertheless dazzling, passionate, and eternal form.
Whatever the outcome of today’s general election, the lyrics of this fugue will still be true. Unfortunately.
St David’s day. Appropriately I have daffodils, two bunches, two different varieties, in two separate vases. One vase is in the bedroom, the other in the living room. There may be more daffodils in the garden but I’ve not been out much since Friday.
Friday was glorious, warm and sunny as early April, and the weekend and today have continued in the same vein. B and I strolled down to Loughborough Junction admiring this and that on the way, until I realised our admiring, look-at-that-ing risked my late arrival for the appointment with my Covid vaccination, so the last few minutes were more a brisk walk.
It was all very streamlined. I was back outside in the sunshine with B in a few minutes. I had the Astra Zeneca vaccine. B was there in case I had a bad reaction. I so didn’t have a bad reaction we almost forgot that I might have done until we were nearly back.
So much good stuff today. I am quite excited. So it seems appropriate to have a Pointer Sisters moment now.
My friend Chris told me she and her partner have both had their first vaccinations. What? I was jealous. She told me to look online and see if I could book one. I was sceptical, but guess what? tomorrow I am booked in for the jab. Woohoo! B is going to be my vaccination buddy, so we shall walk the mean streets in February sunshine tomorrow morning. Is it going to be Pfizer? I don’t know. Watch this space.
A short walk today with Celia. We have both been busy with other things though the fine weather was calling at least one of us. It was hard to turn away, sit down at the computer and spend the hours inside. MasterB sunbathed on the sitting room carpet. But we had the consolation of yesterday’s walk which was a good one. We met in the middle of the afternoon and, at Celia’s suggestion, walked up to St James’ Park via Lambeth Bridge. We were obviously not the only people who thought it would be great place to go. For those of you who are unfamiliar with London, this is the park that flanks the Mall (pronounced to rhyme with gal) which leads up to Buckingham Palace. It’s a bird sanctuary, has has wonderful flowerbeds, crocuses in the grass, and wildish areas for the birds, bats, and whatever other creatures make their home there. I know there’s at least one fox.
The geese were convinced we must have something for them. They came over to us, talked to us eloquently and energetically, but to no avail. Our pockets were empty. A squirrel was even more determined and climbed up Celia’s leg. If I were a St James’ Park goose I would be muttering about the parakeets. Parvenus: loud, aggressive, confident, they were the ones most people were offering food to. I’m guessing if a goose tried emulating their behaviour and landing winsomely onto an outstretched hand it wouldn’t go down too well. Again there were signs asking people not to feed the wildlife. Ignored signs by and large. People had come armed with tubs of bird seed. The joy we humans get from feeding wildlife is fascinating to witness. A heron seemed to be following us. Then we realised it was watching someone else: a litter picker who when his work is done stays on to offer feed the birds. He offered us fish to give to the heron and Celia accepted without hesitation.
Oh my what a weekend of lovely weather. Spring pushing away the cold of winter, filling longer days with light and promise, and filling the parks with flowers and buds, and filling our heads with giddy thoughts of post lockdown socialising.
There have been hints that we may soon be allowed to meet up with friends. Hints that have been taken by some as permission to jump the gun. I really don’t want another lockdown when this one ends so I am torn. The feeling of excitement and anticipation that the rule of six might be restored is making my heart leap. Today I sat in the garden with Hartley on my knee and thought how much he’ll love it if our drinks and nibbles routine starts up again.
But I am moving too fast. Millions have had the vaccine but I haven’t. I don’t think it will be long now, but seeing groups of twenty somethings sitting in a circle on the grass yesterday, older people going maskless into shops, some people strolling in groups of three or four down the centre of the pavement worried me. Don’t get me wrong, in the same hours that I saw these things I also saw people standing patiently in socially distanced queues, people wearing masks o the street, assiduous application of hand gel inside shops. I should hate to have got this far Covid free only to succumb the virus in the next few weeks or months.
I have a new plaster cast, the same blue as my cast seven years ago. I also have confirmation that my wrist is broken. In three weeks I return to the fracture clinic. Life goes on. Doing the washing up, opening cans with ring pulls, sweeping up litter MasterB has enthusiastically excavated from his tray, multi-tasking, all are difficult. Chopping onions, chopping garlic, impossible. I need to vacuum but to do that means getting the vacuum cleaner out of the cupboard and assembled, then disassembled and back into the cupboard. That is daunting. I am not sure if changing the bed linen ranks higher in the daunting ranks, but it’s certainly a close rival.
So fifty years since the UK switched from pounds, shillings and pence to decimal currency. It was my cousin Georgina’s birthday, so the date fixed in my memory. I don’t know if there were any commemorative events today. If there were, I missed them. Until that day your purse would be a history lesson with coins from Victoria’s reign onwards. We knew what the young Victoria looked like with the *bun* pennies, and then how her jawline dropped as the reign went on. As Elizabeth II has reigned throughout the last fifty years there are coins which show her ageing, but the idea of a coin with someone else’s head on it seems quite odd.
Tomorrow I have my appointment at the fracture clinic. I am excited to learn if my wrist is fractured or not. It probably won’t make much difference, if any, to the treatment I’ll receive, but anyway I am curious. I have been spreading the rumour that my fall was due to Celia shoving me. I’m not sure the two children I told that tale to this afternoon believed me, but they were very keen and interested in the metal in my right wrist. More interested I’d say than in anything else I have ever told them. There’s a moral in there somewhere.
Tonight the wind is biting. I popped down the road to deposit something in Celia’s brown bin as we no longer have one. I had intended to ring her doorbell and have a chat, but it was so cold all I wanted to do was get home again. It’s been cold all day, but also sunny which did much to mitigate it, so long as you were on the sunny side of the street, which by and large B and I were. I was her escort or minder for the walk to and from the venue where she had the first of her Covid jabs. Pfizer for those of you who like to know these things. For once I hardly took any photographs, although there were a number of things which caught my eye. It was all too much of a faff as I am again one handed having fallen the other day and put out my hands to save myself.
My accident was like a study in the effect of falling on different surfaces, one kind, the other unyielding. One hand landed on grass and I got a muddy glove but no injury. The other landed on the pavement and the pain had me wincing all the way home and especially when I tried to take off my glove. I thought, I hoped, it was just a bruise, maybe a sprain, and wrapped an ice pack round it, covered it in arnica, put it in a sling, took paracetamol. In the morning it still hurt, but one bit where I could see a large bruise blooming, hurt more, hurt a lot more. I went to A&E at Tommy’s.
I have successfully recruited Celia and Charlie to the millet gang. Woohoo! I made a vat of the red bean stew last night, had some myself with millet and leeks and today took portions of stew plus uncooked millet and instructions for how to prepare it to B&J and to C&C. I’ve not heard from B&J yet, but C&C had theirs for lunch and I received a very positive text from Celia afterwards. Not only that but when we met up later for a walk she gave me a bag for millet she wants me to buy for her on my next visit to Fare Shares, our local co-operative shop.
I am imagining a near future where millet becomes the in thing (and probably quadruples in price) featuring on menus in all the hippest restaurants and recipes. C&C and I will be saying things like, “Millet? Oh yes, we’ve been eating it for years. Have you tried it in a pilaff?” I’m going to be a tad deflated if B&J turn round and say, “Nah, not for us.”
A few months ago I had never tasted millet, this morning I pulled Foods for Health by James Hewitt, a book off the shelf that was Mother’s, and read this:
“‘Millet is rightfully the king of all cereals,’ says Dr Paavo Airola.”
Naturally I read on. I had looked on the internet, but although there were lots of sites which mentioned millet, none looked very reliable. Later I thought of trying the Vegan and Vegetarian Societies websites and they endorse Dr Airola. So.
Maybe I am turning into my mother. Oscar Wilde said that was a woman’s tragedy. Maybe. Or maybe I just grew up with a parent who was interested in nutrition and cooking and some of it rubbed off on me. So I am rather excited to learn about millet’s amazing properties, high in protein (though not as high as quinoa), low in starch, contains more iron than other grains, digests easily and does not cause flatulence (!); it contains lecithin, and if I had known it was gluten free when Mother was alive I might have added it to the meals I made for her as she had Coeliac disease, was gluten intolerant.
I’m sure there’ll be another ingredient I’ll go mad for in a while, but right now I am Millet Woman. My fifteen-year-old self would be disappointed in the way I have turned out.
We are having lots and lots of sudden heavy downpours of rain, usually at night, and out of the blue. Toady was more like the end of March than the start of February: blue skies, warm sunshine, a gentle breeze. The flowers are all appearing, hyacinths pushing their heads through the damp earth, snowdrops in clumps and drifts, crocii, even daffodils, and others I can’t name. Why didn’t I take pictures? Soon. Tho’ tomorrow it is set to be damp and there is even talk of snow on Sunday.
It’s J’s birthday today. Celia and I were able to present her with a bunch of flowers were had been invited to take from St Peter’s across the Walworth Road. Yesterday there had some filming there for a new tv series called Tailspin which will be on Apple TV. I don’t have Apple TV so I doubt if I shall see it. The member of the crew I spoke to yesterday could/would only tell me the title of the programme, but another today told Celia the church featured in a scene where a bride was arrested by the FBI at her wedding. Is the FBI allowed to arrest people here? I asked. Sounds unlikely. As Celia doesn’t have Apple TV either we shall probably never know.