The Coronavirus Diaries, 27th May 2021

I’m guessing quite a few of the readers of this page have also read about Dominic Cummings performance where he dished the dirt on Matt Hancock and Boris Johnson among others, admitted he lied, and confirmed much of what we already knew or suspected, that this government is rotten to the core. I find it bizarre that so many reporters refer to Cummings as Dom, as though he is their best mate. Dom and Boris, two first name first class shits, a double act from hell. I’m not sure which was more disgusting, Cummings dishing the dirt as though he believes he is now a knight in shining armour, or backbench Tories smirking and sniggering when Keir Starmer questioned Boris Johnson during PMQs about the tens of thousands of avoidable deaths caused by the casual incompetence of said Johnson and his pals of yes men in cabinet. Actually the most disgusting thing is the way this will slide off our Teflon coated PM like so many other things which have should have sunk him and people will continue to vote for him. I saw a headline in one of the red tops, I think it was the Express, on the lines of ‘ok the government made mistakes, but the Cummings’ show was pure revenge’, as though we should feel sorry for our sorry mess of a government and simply spurn Cummings. Spurn the lot of them. and check what is going into our drinking water while you’re at it. Something surely must be going on to make the public so supine and apathetic.

Other things. On Wednesday at the hospital I had the dressing on my leg changed. The wound was cleaned, examined, and acquired semi celebrity status. I’m half expecting it to be invited into Graham Norton’s show, my healing wound with me as chaperone. The nurse, Caroline this time, originally from Jamaica, fetched Sergei, the surgeon, so he could examine his handiwork. He was pleased. He summoned his boss, whose name I did not catch, who was also pleased. there was a lot of smiling and nodding. Then the chief nurse popped in, more approval, more smiling, more nodding.

Then they all left and Caroline got on with the job in hand, or on leg if you prefer. I think it’s going to be a fairly impressive scar and there are bunches of skin at either end so my leg she will be different. I’m not sure who is more keen to see this scar, me or Celia, We are expecting it to be the twin of Celia’s scar as she had a melanoma removed a decade ago from the same place on her left leg. Snaps! Last week I had promised Sergei and nurse Sonia my business card after we had bonded over our cats. So it was natural that the pet conversation continued with Caroline. I learned all about her dog Fluffy, how much she had loved him, how he had been beaten to death by burglars who broke into their home, how she had never been able to bring herself to have another pet because it felt like a betrayal of Fluffy. How long ago was this? I asked, expecting this death to have occurred in the last ten years or so. But no, she had been a teenager at the time, and Fluffy had been her close companion. MasterB features on one of my business cards, so I gave her that one. Oh, she said, her eyes widening and her mouth curving into a smile, he’s beautiful. Maybe she’s one step closer to giving a needy animal a home where it will be loved.

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The Coronavirus Diaries, 15th May 2021

There’s a slender silver sliver of moon in the skies tonight. It’s beautiful. I saw it a moment ago when I went out to retrieve the Boys’ dishes. The Boys are of course Hartley and Romeo. Tomorrow is Sunday, so it’s the day I am on breakfast and dinner duty. Romeo missed his breakfast with Joe this morning. Sleeping in was Joe’s verdict, and when he, Romeo, saw me mid morning he was hopeful I was bearing food. I wasn’t. I was bearing a stack of clean dishes to return to Joe, so I told him (Joe) about Romeo and the next thing Romeo got his breakfast. Or maybe that should be brunch. Hartley’s brother Smudge approached me while I was talking to J by her front door. I have a mission to get Smudge to trust me so I can start work on the dreadful knots he has in his fur. The trusting and the removing may take many months.

April was dry. There’s a rhyme about spring weather: March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers. I used to take comfort from it when I was a child as most of the cousins on my father’s side of the family, that is the cousins who I saw on a weekly basis as opposed to the Irish cousins who I saw every other summer, had March birthdays. Mine is in May. I felt a bit left out. But this year April was windy and May is showery with temperatures see-sawing. I was working today and got caught in a couple of showers. They were short but effective. The damp has brought the slugs and snails out in the garden. I avoided them when fetching the dishes, and was relieved no slug was actually in either dish. I know Celia will pick up slugs, but I am more prissy.

Work was good for several reasons, one being it involved walking. I mean to pack a decent walk in every day until Wednesday, and shall probably walk to the hospital before my movements are curtailed for the next few weeks. Mother used to say she wanted to keep her mobility. I know what she meant. Being able to get out and around on your own two feet is a freedom beyond price.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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