The Coronavirus Diaries, 20th November 2022, Brunch, Board Games, and Big Houses

But I don’t think I can bear to do any politics, it’s too darned depressing.

Today Celia and I returned to Pipoca for lunch, the menu calls what we ate brunch, but we’d both had breakfast. I opted for the Mexican Brunch, apparently their best seller, Celia went for the Brixton Brunch. Next time I’ll follow her example unless I have the spinach and mushroom galette again. The Mexican Brunch was fine, but the Brixton one looked better: more greens, black beans rather than red kidney ones, mushrooms. Mine included tofu scramble which I often make at home. My tofu scramble is better.

We were both quite full by the time we left, so a wander about the back streets between the Brixton and Clapham Roads helped our digestion. From the Brixton Road you can see a park, and a church spire framed by trees. We started with the park. More street art. Or should that be park art?

There were people playing football, a young dog racing around the dog exercise area with a toy in its mouth while another dog sat sedately watching it. There were lovely trees, a children’s play area with an attractive train, an adventure playground, and sunshine.

Across the road the exit stood the church. A service was going on onside. The congregation was sparse. A small group of people engaged in a private ritual which meant something to them. We walked quietly away. Opposite the church there was an amazing house. It made us look at the other houses, some divided into flats, some still apparently single family dwellings. They were evidently built for the well to do. Tradespeople rather than gentry. The rising middle classes of the nineteenth century. Servants must have lived in.

We turned onto Stockwell Park Road. A blue plaque. Lilian Baylis! if you live in south London and love theatre Baylis, manager of the Old Vic and Sadlers Wells. is a legend. She was also a character. There are lots of stories about her. One of the best known is when staff asked for a pay rise they were told that Baylis would have to ask God. God’s response was always the same: ‘Sorry, dear, God says No.’ And her favourite prayer was said to be ‘Dear God, send me good actors but send them cheap.’

Reaching the Clapham Road (the A3), the houses are still grand, but mainly run down. Some still have visible original features: fanlights, railings, lamp holders. We peered at several, were intrigued and amused by one sign in particular. I rather liked the house with the bright pink door.

Last night we gathered at Reinhild and Mark’s to play a board game they have been given. It’s called Going Going Gone! and is themed on art auctions. Mark has retired now, but is an art historian and worked for many years at the V&A. He’s had some serious health issues, and it’s great to see him so much more better and socialising again. I won, which was a nice surprise, at least for me. We started playing board games occasionally during one of the periods in lockdown when we were allowed to meet inside each others’ homes in groups of six. I dusted off the Thames of Cluedo and Monopoly I’ve had since childhood. It worked. We ate nibbles, drank tea, water or wine, played the games with various levels of skill and seriousness and had fun. I’m trying and failing to think of an alliterative title for a WhatsApp group for when any of us feel like playing a game. Polite suggestions welcome.

And do leave a like and/or a comment if you’ve enjoyed this. It’s very lovely to get positive feedback, and some comments really give me food for thought!


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