When Celia and I were walking in a rainy Burgess Park this afternoon, a man walking towards us said, “Hello, my name is Corona Virus”. He was smiling, as if it were a joke, he didn’t stop, he just walked on. Celia and I looked at each other. I said something like “unfortunate name” and then, “why would anyone say that?” Under her umbrella, Celia shrugged.
Rain was forecast for today so it was hardly a surprise. It hadn’t started when I woke up, but the temperature had definitely dropped and the skies were that exhausted greyish white. Rather like someone who has been badly ill now I think of it. When the rain came it was serious. Your average London rain is a desultory drizzle or an intense shower that drenches you immediately and then stops. This was the real deal. I found it rather exotic after days and days of blue skies and sunshine.
My intention was start my tax return several months earlier than usual. I opened up a file, sorted out headings and stopped. You’d have thought a rainy day ideal for starting a tax return, but something in me was refusing. I read some of The Mirror and the Light, stripped the bed ready for when the rain stops and I do the weekly linen wash, finished Saturday’s Guardian. I bought a hard copy for the first time in weeks. The thin Guide was a startling reminder of how all entertainment venues are closed.
At eleven, I joined Celia and Charlie at the end of the square where we observed a minute’s silence for the key workers who have died in the UK so far during this pandemic. Celia had directed me while I was still drinking my morning coffee to John Crace’s piece in ten Guardian. She is kinder to/about Johnson than I am, and felt Crace had made the point while still respecting Johnson is recovering. Make up your own minds. You can read it here.
I used to merely despise Johnson. As Mayor of London he was a disaster. Now I loathe him. I didn’t want him to die when he fell ill, but I should like to see him retire and do something harmless. However his return to work, or rather the office, since work and Johnson are not well acquainted, was apparently desired by senior Tories who felt his charm was needed to get us, or at least the government, through this crisis. Johnson’s charm eludes me. He must have it or why would people vote for him? They certainly don’t vote for his coherent policies and strategic planning because he doesn’t have any. I suppose it’s like fox pee. Some people can smell it. Some people can’t. I can, and I infinitely prefer it to Johnson. I do however feel if he needs to convalesce he should be allowed to do so.
Anyway, that’s enough about him for the moment, or possibly for ever.
I read a bit more of The Mirror and the Light which is superb. I don’t know what else is in the running for the Man Booker this year, but Mantel has to be a contender. If she doesn’t win it’ll be an outstanding novel that gets the prize. However, my concentration since lockdown is not great, so I stopped. This book is too good to read with less than full attention. I broke up the last jigsaw and decided to do one I received for my birthday last year. It’s less than half the number of pieces than the ones I’ve been doing these last weeks, but the pieces are extraordinary shapes. There are dogs, birds, strange things that look like undersea creatures. they’d make beautiful jewellery. I’ll take a picture tomorrow.
Then I called Celia. When we met in the morning we agreed we’d go out if the rain eased. It had. Like me, she felt she hadn’t achieved a great deal in the day. The only goal was a trip to Longdan to buy tofu. We set off to Burgess Park. I have been avoiding this open space, and I think Celia has too. Bordered by main roads it gets very busy. Too busy for my liking. We guessed correctly that the rain would have reduced the number of visitors. It also reduced the number of photos I took, but I did manage these.
I’m not sure what this is about but I liked it.
The flowers looked beautiful in the rain.
When we left the park we saw this combination of flags and a banner. The flags made me uneasy, they suggested a nationalistic mindset.
I was happier with these window boxes in a nearby street.
Longdan is never busy, but there are usually several customers roaming its aisles. Celia has not been shopping since lockdown. There is a new plantbased section with its own entrance next door. I suggested Celia shelter there as I have never been in there with more than one other customer, so it seemed a safe option. Also I wanted some pizza bases I could get there, and I’d be popping in there once the tofu run was complete.
Well, what a success. Celia was the only customer. She had the run of the shop, a shop she had never been inside before, and she liked what she found. By the time I joined her her arms were full of delights. Next time she’ll need to borrow Charlie’s trolley, or hire a van.
So we began the walk home on a high, stopping to watch the rolling video showing how we should be washing our hands plus a message from Her Maj looking fetching in a green dress and pearl necklace.
I can’t speak for Celia, but our walk and little shopping trip brought a shine to the day, even if I did have to change my jeans for something drier when I got in.
Stay well, keep safe.