The Coronavirus Diaries, 22nd April 2020

Fortunately no pre-eight in the morning power tools this morning. Not that MasterB allows sleep beyond seven. His breakfast is a fixed star in his day. He had woke me around half past three. The unmistakable sound of a cat about to empty his stomach. He was on the bed at the time. I was up in a trice, had picked him up gently and made it to the bathroom where there is a floor that is easy to clean before anything left his mouth. I was expecting a hairball, but this looked like biscuits. As his appetite was in no way impaired at breakfast time, nor for the rest of the day, I think biscuits eaten too quickly would be my diagnosis.

After breakfast he seemed to think we should get on with the latest jigsaw.

Let’s do this!

But I had other tasks in mind.

Use of washing machines is embargoed in these flats until eight, so I was ready with my finger on the button. White towels, bed linen, bath mat, face flannels, blouses and tee shirts all drying in the sunshine felt good. I don’t know why getting the washing out on the line, blowing about and drying in sunshine should be so pleasing to me but it is. Simple pleasures. I had other work to do in the garden. My friend Michèle kindly gave me some cuttings that have rooted, and I found geraniums at Sainsbury’s. It took a while, and Celia came round with the cat food which had been delivered to her address, and some very lovely bread. We talked and mooched a bit and then she left and I continued with my raking, trimming and planting. Fingers crossed everything takes. We are due continued fine weather, so at this rate even the tomato plants should be outside before long.

Celia reckons the skies are bluer now than usual for April in London. I may have to dig out some photos from last year to see. I reminded her of the Guildford circular walk we did on Easter Sunday in glorious weather last year. She was dismissive – you’d expect bluer skies in Compton, she said.

I read tonight that social distancing may have to continue until the end of the year. So that sounds like no blackberry picking walk, and no visit to family in Northern Ireland (and therefore no lunches at the divine falafel place by the museum in Belfast). I got a message from my cousin-in-law Michele to say Uncle Bill was well and had been out in the garden. That’s good news. I had seen a postcard of Ballynahinch where he lived before Aunt Ella died and he moved in with his older son. It was from the early twentieth century, posted I think by the Linen Hall Library, with the caption ‘social distancing Ballynahinch style’. I should see if I can find it to post here. Aha, I have it! Click here to see it. The end of the year – eight months. My hair already looks like a cross between a dandelion clock and a Boris Johnson wig. So far I have been thinking I’ll be happy if I can avoid the full Tim Martin, but eight months! And can you imagine how difficult it’s going to be to get an appointment with a hairdresser. December is a nightmare anyway. I’ll definitely have nail scissored my fringe by then.

We had post today, a mountain of it. Most could be divided into two groups; charities needing money and building societies where I have stashed my savings saying the interest rate is being lowered. At this rate it’s going to be less than the alcohol content of my Beck’s Blue beer (0.05% if you are interested). The charities are in real difficulties. Their shops are closed, shops where income is generated. With all the clearing of cupboards that people are doing at the moment they should get bumper donations when they reopen, but that’s not much help now.

There was also a letter for my ex-neighbours. I have been wondering how they are as they work in the hotel and catering sector. I sent a text to Jolita at the end of March and got no reply. The arrival of a letter prompted me to call. They are fine. She had changed her phone just after receiving my message and had not managed to copy all her contacts. We had a  long chat and she sent her love to MasterB. She’s promised if they become unwell or need anything – her husband is immune compromised – she’ll call me. They aren’t far away, Myatts Fields where I was on Sunday.

For our walk today Celia and I headed east to Surrey Square. Our route took us down pretty streets, past vast housing estates, across open spaces.

Mural

Just around the corner from the mural was one such space. It seemed the concept of social distancing had not reached this part of Walworth. If the group of men standing together in the corner all share the same house I should be very surprised. Ditto the various generations and their dogs further along. Celia and I walked primly through the middle, keeping the regulation two metres away from each other. It’s amazing how seeing people who flout the instructions makes one hyper-vigilant about observing them.

We were soothed by a small Nature Garden. As Celia observed, it didn’t seem to get a lot of attention, but it was pleasant and mainly clean. If you checked the path you could avoid the dog poo.

Nature Garden

Inside the Nature Garden

Our goal reached, we began to make our way back via different streets. This one was so quiet, so calm. Hard to believe the Old Kent Road was a stone’s throw away. There seemed an established neighbourhood style for NHS appreciation pictures. Very regular rainbows were posted in several windows. But what struck me was the telegraph pole and the wires, which tbh I only really noticed when I wanted to photograph a magnolia tree. Then it hit me; telegraph poles in London? Wires above the street? Was there a pylon nearby too? I want to know why.

Wired!

Telegraph Pole

I took a photo of a different magnolia tree where there were no wires in view, just a vapour trail. Yes, the odd plane is still flying. Half empty I imagine or emptier.

Vapour trail

When I was little my mother said the vapour trails were left by rockets. I believed her. I didn’t half get some stick at school when I repeated that.

Round the corner was a tree with a bird feeder. You don’t often see that on a London street.

Bird feeder

Onwards, no social distancing other than ourselves as there was no one else about. Beautifully planted, a delicious ceanothus and a moving and tasteful memorial.

Just gorgeous

Lee O’Callaghan

Community orchard to be

Sylvan

Our next open space was social distance observing, and with an interesting shaded seating area.

What is that?

We tried it out. It was good, though not somewhere you would sit for a long time. Perhaps that’s the idea. All the big parks have the seating taped off, but many of the smaller ones don’t. We suspect it’s due to lack of staff rather than a belief that small areas are safer, though they probably are. They certainly seem less busy.

We were nearing home, and came to the place I wrote about before. The old boozer turned cool wine bar. But I was completely wrong when I though I was not part of the demographic they want to attract. A young man, a Sardinian, came outside to talk to us. He told us about the stock and how they are managing. He was engaging, cheerful, friendly. We asked about the orange wine they had advertised. After all, both Celia and I are about to have birthdays. Celia’s is Sunday, mine the following Friday. He invited us in. The wine is pricey, but if I am solvent after this, I am going to go there to drink a glass of something nice. Both of us talked afterwards about how we admired the optimism, the positivity. It gives us faith, hope for the future.

Diogenes the Dog

Produce

Beers and gin

Wine

Maybe you will too.

I need to check on MasterB who has been outside for a while.

Keep well. Stay safe. Sweet dreams.

2 thoughts on “The Coronavirus Diaries, 22nd April 2020

  1. That bird feeder looks like some enterprising cat set it up to lure unsuspecting birdies into his clutches. I find myself emotionally prepared to continue shelter in place through June but mentally preparing to not leave the neighborhood for the rest of the year. I would like to take the vehicle out and maybe go look at the ocean, but che sera. Take care.

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