The Coronavirus Diaries, 21st May 2020

I am wearing a sticker that says I gave blood today and asks people to be kind to me. So far so good. No one has been in the slightest bit unkind. I made the appointment before lockdown and received my reminder last week. I rather assumed I’d be swabbed to check if I was ill, and my blood tested for anti-bodies. Actually neither of those things are part of the donor service plan. I arrived hot and red faced having marched from home on a day that was considerably warmer than the forecast had led me to expect. I had to rush because I had cut things a bit fine. I had been doing housework and not wearing my watch. I’d also had a long ‘phone call with a friend, and of course I needed to eat before making my donation.

We donors were invited on chairs spaced two metres apart while our personal details were checked and we answered the health questions before we went on for the blood test (for iron) and then the needle in the arm bit. The venue was the William Booth Memorial College at Denmark Hill where there is a lot of space and beautiful grounds.

William Booth Memorial College

Tower, William Booth Memorial College

Accommodation William Booth Memorial College

I’m not ready to sign up for the Salvation Army, a lack of religious faith would seem to preclude my membership anyway, but they are good lot, and their brand of practical Christianity appeals. There was a half finished jigsaw in one of the communal areas I had to ask through. How I should have loved to have sat down and fitted a few pieces in.

Celia had said she would see me in Ruskin Park after my donation.

Entrance, Ruskin Park

When we met she had already checked on the goslings and established there were now only three. After sitting on a shady bench in the flower garden and applying sunscreen we went to have a look. A youngish man on a bike accompanied by a youngish woman also on a bike displayed his ignorance in confident tones. He referred to the birds as ducks, and their offspring as chicks. Celia and I looked at each other. Anyway, there were adorable whatever you want to call them.

Geese and goslings

We found ourselves engaged in conversation by a woman who said she visits Ruskin Park every day. She seemed convinced the crows had had the two missing goslings. Another woman was watching the pond. At a pause in our conversation she said the moor hen had hatched her eggs and there were two babies. At first we couldn’t see them at all. I didn’t have a long lens and Celia didn’t have her binoculars. I should like to return soon to see how they have grown.

Of course I may have the chance to see more geese and goslings soon. The boat goes back in the water tomorrow and the Environment Agency has said we may visit our boats but not go out on them. I was thinking about going this weekend, but I received clarification to say we can visit but not stay on boats. However, that may change in the next few days and almost certainly by 1st June. As I had been thinking we would probably be banned from the marina until September this is very welcome news.

In anticipation of some days afloat I bought a box of low alcohol lager, tried to recall what food I have in the store cupboard onboard and finally decided to mend the quilt cover which I like to take. It’s old and worn, so worn a hole has developed at the top end. If I sewed a a new seam a little further in it would be fine. I have a Bernina sewing machine my parents gave me for my eighteenth as that was what they gave my sister who was, and I believe still is, a keen sewer. I am not, and never have been, a sewer. Knitting was my thing before cats and carpal tunnel syndrome. So I haven’t used the sewing machine for some time, though it has in the past done me great service making curtains and cushion covers among other things only requiring straight(ish) seams.

I got it out from the bottom of the wardrobe, dusted off the cover and set it up. My goodness it was difficult to thread the needle. Such reminders of eyesight not being as good as it once was are most unwelcome. I thought I was good to go, but when I lowered the lever which should have seen the foot press hold the material in place the foot press did not move. I tried several times, read the manual from cover to cover, and reluctantly gave up. Then I emailed Bernina for advice. A woman called Hannah got back to me today with the telephone number of the nearest Bernina service centre. Impressive.

Oddly for a self-avowed non-sewer I have a second sewing machine, an old hand operated Singer which my parents bought for me second hand after I had an unfortunate accident involving one of my fingernails while using my mother’s electric Singer. I have an affection for this old machine that goes back to my childhood. And my goodness I am glad I do, otherwise I might have parted with it years ago. It was, I was pleased to see already threaded up with a colour that matched the quilt cover. In a trice the job was done. It was very motivating. I began to think of other things that could benefit from its attention. First I need to remember how to fill the bobbins, I hope there’s something on YouTube I can watch.

Could 2020 be the year I take to sewing? Possibly, but only if I can find some way to make threading the needles easier.

Stay safe, keep well.

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