To be honest I do not know if I shall keep up daily diary posts if this goes on for six months. It would probably be good for my mental health and to look back at in a couple of years when I hope this all feels even more unreal than it does now.
Just a local walk today. I had already braved Morrison’s. I must take my camera next time so I can show my non-shopping friends the changes made to the inside of the shop to protect shoppers from each other. Ditto that thought for M&S. Loads of food on the shelves, even green veg, hallelujah. Lots and lots of bananas. So not like the war then.
Back home and down to work and then lunch, curried lentil soup if you’re asking, and still curried lentil soup if you’re not. I was down to the last few spoonfuls when the ‘phone rang. Not a number I recognised, but hey ho. It was Uncle Bill. I am so glad I answered. He sounded well, told me about the new wee hen that is in her socially isolated space until she has built up some strength to outrun her two new sisters or stick up for herself. She, like the others is an ex laying hen. That doesn’t mean she won’t lay eggs now, just that she doesn’t lay enough for the farmer who owned her to think her worth keeping alive. Uncle Bill was saying you might have expected some compassion from the other two hens, as they come from a similarly deprived background. But it doesn’t work like that. It’s a dog eat dog world in the hen hierarchy. There had been a previous hen, a very bossy one, who kept these two under the claw, but the fox got her. Uncle Bill hinted that this was karma.
We had a good old chat, around half an hour. Not just animals, though the dogs got quite a few chapters, and I learned a few sheep have now joined the menagerie, but also books, mobility, the mystery of Auntie Mary’s bicycle and who could have given it to her, family stuff. Memories. It was lovely, and I hope he calls again. He says he doesn’t read much now but misses the books he had to give away when he moved in with his son. We agreed books furnish a room. He has given up the computer, sold his car. I think he is 98, or will be 98 this year. The last of his generation, all siblings, all cousins dead. How weird must that feel? I promised to send him a links to my podcasts, and to an article in the Belfast Telegraph about another family member.
Afterwards I finished my cold soup and was just getting down to work again when I saw a message from Celia. We agreed to meet (at a distance) for our afternoon perambulation. It’s been a funny day weather wise; cold and grey to start, then the sun making an unexpected break through. Just before I left the flat it was raining slightly. I wrapped up warmly but needed my sunglasses. Black clouds were interleaved with patches of bright blue sky.
It was good to get out. Good to see the new plant growth, good to see the happy dogs, good to see the runners. Maybe we saw a mistlethrush in Kennington Park. It was certainly a bird with a very speckled chest. We returned to our bases via the Henry Moore sculpture installed on a housing estate in the hopeful days following the Second World War.
Things could be worse.