The Coronavirus Diaries, 7th March 2021

I am counting down the hours to my appointment at the fracture clinic. Please please please may I be cast free by Tuesday lunchtime. This is such a different experience to the fracture of my right wrist. This one was not a bad break, and over the past few days I have felt irritated by my cast, as though it is an unnecessary encumbrance. When I broke my right wrist I was almost frightened of losing the security of the cast. Though I was delighted in other ways to be rid of it as frankly it smelled. So if I am wrapped up again on Tuesday I shall not be happy. Fingers crossed.

Quite a lot has been written about lockdown puppies and how they are going to cope if and when their humans return to their places of work. In the last few weeks when friends have called round with chopped onions and carrots, gifts of flowers and snacks I have realised that MasterB has lost the habit of socialising with anyone other than myself. It has taken several visits from Celia for him to relax and go out to greet her and then spend time with her. I know they say cats don’t have long memories, but I have seen MasterB react with delight to people he hasn’t seen for a more than a year. I fear the effects of this last year may take some undoing.

Continue reading

The Coronavirus Diaries, 24th February 2021

A short walk today with Celia. We have both been busy with other things though the fine weather was calling at least one of us. It was hard to turn away, sit down at the computer and spend the hours inside. MasterB sunbathed on the sitting room carpet. But we had the consolation of yesterday’s walk which was a good one. We met in the middle of the afternoon and, at Celia’s suggestion, walked up to St James’ Park via Lambeth Bridge. We were obviously not the only people who thought it would be great place to go. For those of you who are unfamiliar with London, this is the park that flanks the Mall (pronounced to rhyme with gal) which leads up to Buckingham Palace. It’s a bird sanctuary, has has wonderful flowerbeds, crocuses in the grass, and wildish areas for the birds, bats, and whatever other creatures make their home there. I know there’s at least one fox.

The geese were convinced we must have something for them. They came over to us, talked to us eloquently and energetically, but to no avail. Our pockets were empty. A squirrel was even more determined and climbed up Celia’s leg. If I were a St James’ Park goose I would be muttering about the parakeets. Parvenus: loud, aggressive, confident, they were the ones most people were offering food to. I’m guessing if a goose tried emulating their behaviour and landing winsomely onto an outstretched hand it wouldn’t go down too well. Again there were signs asking people not to feed the wildlife. Ignored signs by and large. People had come armed with tubs of bird seed. The joy we humans get from feeding wildlife is fascinating to witness. A heron seemed to be following us. Then we realised it was watching someone else: a litter picker who when his work is done stays on to offer feed the birds. He offered us fish to give to the heron and Celia accepted without hesitation.

Continue reading

The Coronavirus Diaries, 17th February 2021

I have a new plaster cast, the same blue as my cast seven years ago. I also have confirmation that my wrist is broken. In three weeks I return to the fracture clinic. Life goes on. Doing the washing up, opening cans with ring pulls, sweeping up litter MasterB has enthusiastically excavated from his tray, multi-tasking, all are difficult. Chopping onions, chopping garlic, impossible. I need to vacuum but to do that means getting the vacuum cleaner out of the cupboard and assembled, then disassembled and back into the cupboard. That is daunting. I am not sure if changing the bed linen ranks higher in the daunting ranks, but it’s certainly a close rival.

Continue reading

The Coronavirus Diaries, 25th January 2021

So the last time I posted it was before the first episode of It’s a Sin. Tonight I binge watched episodes two and three. So you can probably guess I think it’s great. Heartbreaking and great. The twists and turns of how we slowly became aware of the AIDs pandemic and the lack of information are spelled out in beautifully written and acted scenes. The end of episode two was so shocking after the first of the friends dies and you see the family destroying everything to do with him; the childhood photographs, the toys, his clothes. Everything. They wipe him out of their lives and their memories. I didn’t know of anyone doing that but I am guessing this is something that happened. I’d like to think we have moved on now. Learned some humanity. I do hope we have.

Saturday night was a birthday evening by Zoom. Not my birthday, my friend Chris’. Her partner had arranged for a bunch of us to join in a Murder Mystery event. Chris knew nothing about it until Saturday morning. It was fun, much better than I had expected, and next year, if we are allowed, we are going to do something similar but all be in the same room. Just imagine!

Sunday morning it snowed. I hadn’t realised it had started until I saw a tweet from Louisa @ElephantCafeUK which made me look out of the window. It was actually snowing quite heavily and of course at first it looked beautiful. My neighbours with a small boy who turned one just before Christmas brought him outside. He wasn’t sure about it, and after only a minute turned to James, his dad, and raised his arms to be lifted up. Across the street a young black cat bounced on snow flakes. MasterB did not venture out. But I have some footage of him from several years ago when he was quite vocal on the subject of snow.

Snow Business

By today the snow had gone. Some slushy water in the gutter was almost all there was to show it had been. The skies were blue and cloudless and it was cold. For once I spent most of the day indoors, only venturing out to run errands and give clean dishes to Joe for the outdoor cats. Tomorrow is one of my days to feed them. Joe fed them today, but when they saw me the boys hurried over and followed me, evidently hoping for a second breakfast.

Continue reading

The Coronavirus Diaries, 6th December 2020

The sixth of the month and wrote and posted six Christmas cards. It had to be done. Not only will writing the cards be a task tackled, the vagaries of our postal system means that if I get them all written and posted this week there’s a chance they may reach the people I am sending them to before 2021. I felt very virtuous as I popped them in the postbox. Then Celia and I set off for a walk to Tate Britain and beyond to enjoy the Divali lights covering the main entrance and to wander St James’ Park in darkness, look at the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square, then onto Covent Garden which was heaving. En route from Trafalgar Square Celia treated us both to vegan hot chocolate. It was made with hazelnut milk and delicious. Had I had a spoon I should have scraped every last little bit from the cardboard cup. We looked at lit windows of flats above shops, noted closed restaurants and wondered if they would ever reopen, dark pubs where there ought to have been light and life.

Lots of people were walking about. It was the same in the City yesterday. Families, small groups of friends, couples, all socialising outside. It’s cold but dry and there are no strong winds. We aren’t allowed to meet up in our homes so we have taken to the streets. There were dogs in Christmas outfits; dogs not dressed festively; a cockerpoo who took a shine to Celia. We stopped to look at the ducks and geese in St James’ Park. Amazingly there were ducklings too. A couple of rats scurried sleekly beside the water. They looked fat and healthy.

Continue reading

The Coronavirus Diaries, 5th November 2020

So here we are again in lockdown, but it feels quite different to March. I remember being worried about the do not leave your house instruction last time since I have to go out for MasterB, to put out the rubbish, the recycling. This time we know a bit more, it’s more familiar. We are psychologically better prepared. There are no long queues outside shops, no scared looking people on the pavements. Is that a good thing? I don’t know. Maybe. Maybe not.

I had a bit of a retro reaction knowing I was in lockdown. Time seemed to slow. I found it difficult to get through my to do list. Celia rescued me when she called while I was having lunch to say she was not making much progress with her chores either, and how about a walk. I didn’t need much persuading.

The day had started misty and grey, but as the sun rose it burned off the mist and revealed a beautiful sunny day. We set off for Vauxhall. I wanted to include some purchase of green vegetables in our outing. There’s a branch of Sainsbury’s at Vauxhall.

Also my chair was returned today by the London Upholsterers and to walk past the premises seemed an appropriate thing to do. The walk to Vauxhall was uneventful but uplifting. so many more businesses are open than in the first lockdown, so the streets were quiet but alive. the sun shone on Spring Gardens. The light at Vauxhall Cross was wonderful

Vauxhall Cross

Vauxhall bus station

Ken Livingstone’s two fingers to Tony blair

Love different, love Vauxhall

The bus station had a remembrance message.

Remembrance at Vauxhall Bus station

At Sainsbury’s we separated, I to roam the fresh veg counter, Celia in search of bread, soup tins and kitchen roll. We have different priorities. Then we headed for Wilcox Road and the London Upholsterers. We saw a puppy. an adorable German Shepherd puppy, too young to know how to control her ears and with paws she needs to grow into. She was twelve weeks old, and I fell in love.

Persephone

Persephone

Continue reading

The Coronavirus Diaries, 14th October 2020

Each time I elect to write a new post I see the new block editor again and my heart sinks. I know readers can’t see it, but I do not find it an improvement at all. I still haven’t worked out where I need to go to choose the size of any picture I want to post. Anyway.

The Ginger Ninja calendar is with the printer and we are discussing the finer details. The price should be the same as last year unless I have miscalculated the VAT. I do need to check out the post costs though. But do register your interest if you have any, and I shall I put your name on the list. I am only having twenty printed this year. The printer called me today and said he thought I could sell far more. I said if he could find me a buyer ready to order hundreds I’d happily do it. Alas he couldn’t. I think MasterB may have a new fan, and maybe there will be an extra copy of his calendar finding its way into the printer’s home.

Tonight we have candles burning in our windows to remember H&J’s fathers, both of whom have died recently. It was H’s father’s funeral today. She says it went well with good music and memories. Usually we light candles in our windows for pets, and I was a bit cautious about suggesting it for a parent, but fortunately it didn’t offend. Continue reading

The Coronavirus Diaries, 30th September 2020

The month comes to an end with a wet evening, although this morning was dry and warm. Last night we sat in a group of six in the dusk then dark drinking and talking, nibbling on crips, or in my case water melon. Actually we were seven, but before your outrage and rule breaking surges, the seventh was feline. Not MasterB who was snoozing indoors, and took his constitutional later, but Hartley.

Hartley had a lovely evening. He found B&J before they even had time to sit down. He made sure he acknowledged each member of our little group, and checked out Celia’s bag in case it had anything for him. J groomed him and his face expressed his bliss. Later Celia groomed him as well, so if he keeps a diary I suspect yesterday would have been a five star day.

Celia had returned from Wales earlier in the day and rescued me from the computer screen by suggesting a walk in Burgess Park. It was another beautiful afternoon. And very autumnal. There were swathes of michaelmas daisies.

Michaelmas daisies en masse

Michaelmas daisy close up

The South London Botanical Institute is not offering fungi identification at the moment, though I notice it has an open day tomorrow to visit its garden. Celia’s interest in fungi has not waned and we spotted a wonderful specimen at the base of a tree.

Not everyone was interested in fungal growths. The park wore an air of contentment.

By the lake

By the lake

Continue reading

The Coronavirus Diaries, 24th September 2020

It’s hard to believe that two days ago we were enjoying warm sunshine. Today the temperature suddenly dropped mid afternoon and tonight I have put on an extra layer and started thinking about making soups. I’m watching the Grayson Perry programme. The first was on last night and I watched it earlier this evening on catch up, but I see the other programmes in the series are also available, so when I finish writing this I am going to settle back and watch the second one.

He made the programmes last year, travelling to different parts of the US by motorbike. The episode I have seen was about his visit to Atlanta and the main focus was on race. He’s a good listener. Maybe he has learned from his psychotherapist wife Philippa, and he says back to people what he has understood them to be saying which allows for further clarity if he has got it wrong. There was a performance poet whose name I didn’t get, but whose work I should like to know more of. Some of the conversations have a greater urgency about them now due to events this year – George Floyd’s killing, the BLM protests, the news today about the acquittal of the police officers who shot and killed Breonna Taylor, the death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Trump’s intention to replace her with a judge who supports him, the increasing threats by Trump to disrupt democracy at the election. Continue reading

The Coronavirus Diaries, 14th September 2020

Time for some cat pictures I think. Just the one cat, MasterB, though I seem to be spending a great deal of time with Hartley and slightly less with Romeo. Hartley is a human seeking missile. B&J came over to the garden this evening and Hartley found them within seconds.

On the landing window sill

Carpet lounging

Teatime nap

Continue reading