The Coronavirus Diaries, 19th November 2020

I have not been at my brightest and best these last couple of days; nothing wrong with my physical health, just a bit of the Coronavirus/Lockdown blues.

The urge to hibernate is very strong when I feel like this. So far I have resisted and today I enjoyed a walk with Cynthia which helped. I am doing another jigsaw which Charlie has passed on to me.. Taking things slowly, taking things easy. It’s about removing pressure, eating well, playing with MasterB. It’s just that it feels there is nothing positive on the horizon. A letter in the post reminds me it’s time to renew my contents insurance. Necessary but not exactly a cause for celebration. There is a vaccine, but I doubt a) if it’s vegan and b) if I will be able to get one any time soon. Brexit gets closer and closer and the only good thing I can think of about that is that it will mean the day we rejoin the EU will also advance.

Continue reading

The Coronavirus Diaries, 17th November 2020

The semi-finals of GBBO tonight. I have been rooting for Hermine. Fear not those of you who fret I am going to give away the result before this season airs in your country. I am not planning to give anything away. So I’ll stop there before I say who else is still in the tent.

An early evening walk with Celia and we saw more Christmas decorations, but I didn’t have my camera. Celia tells me the early appearance of Christmas decorations is so widespread this year it’s been reported in the press. I know some people put them up in Lockdown1 which seemed completely nuts to me. Now I am wondering if they ever took them down. I hope they did, otherwise their rooms are going to look like an homage to Miss Haversham. I’m looking forward to hearing what the psychologists have to say.

I’m just making comfort food. Last night it was rumbledethumps, a Scottish leftovers dish closely related to Bubble and Squeak. I had some swede, not my favourite vegetable, which I wanted to use up and it seemed a good idea. I substituted vegan cheddar for real cheddar. I’m not a big fan of fake cheese, but I have had it melted and been pleasantly surprised. But what to have with it? Beans of some sort, but rumbledethumps is fairly beige in colour apart from the cabbage part, so I decided on red kidney beans. Again not my favourite bean, so that’s three ingredients not on my loved list.

Continue reading

The Coronavirus Diaries, 15th November

Octavia and I realised on our evening walk that these next few weeks are going to be enlivened by Christmas decorations.

Only six weeks until Christmas

Obviously the shops have gone all out on Christmas since the day after Hallowe’en. It seems more than one Londoner has also decided the jolly season has begun. Octavia reckons it’s lockdown and people looking for enjoyment where they can find it. I am not so sure. Some people just love Christmas decorations. I have only once spent Christmas in the US. It was something of a culture shock. After lunch on Christmas Day we strolled the neighbourhood where every house, without exception, was decked in lights, lawn displays, roof displays. The national grid must have been going quadruple time. I had never seen anything like it. Except of course I had, because such scenes often figure in US films set at Christmas time. I just don’t think I had believed they were real. It was like having far too much sugar to eat in one go.

Continue reading

The Coronavirus Diaries, 12th – 13th November 2020

I started reading Brendan Cox’ book about his wife, the murdered MP Jo Cox. It is not a good book to read at bedtime, not just as I weep buckets over every chapter, but it also stirs up all those feelings around the referendum again as we lurch towards a no deal Brexit with no safety net, and while we are still dealing with the pandemic. However, Dominic Cummings has now resigned, so cause for a glass of red wine this evening, and I got all my washing dry on the line yesterday.

As relief from tearful reading I picked out an unread novel from my shelves, How to Measure a Cow by Margaret Forster. The title’s great, but if this were the first novel I’d read by her it would almost certainly be the last. Clunky, unsatisfying, but I shall finish it and it can go into the bag with other offerings for Oxfam Books when the charity shops reopen. I also have a bag of objects, two bags now for the charity shops near home. In my on/off moving mood actually looking at objects, particularly things I have been given and would not have chosen for myself, leads me to thinking that I do not want to take them with me if/when I do finally move. So that has made me decide they can leave me now. Except they can’t yet, so the bags are sitting on the bedroom floor. I may weaken.

We are only a week into this second lockdown but it feels much longer. I don’t know why I am finding it so difficult. I wonder if it’s because in many ways it seems very much like when we had eased out of lockdown1. Most businesses are open, the streets are busy, there’s lots of traffic. But we can’t socialise. Numbers of deaths have risen and numbers of confirmed cases.

Continue reading

The Coronavirus Diaries, 10th November 2020

So having seen our first Christmas decorated balcony the other day Celia and passed a house with a Christmas tree all set up in the living room. I have received my first Christmas card and I saw a woman wearing a Christmas themed bobble hat although the day has been extremely mild. Are these all symptoms of lockdown stress?

Not this lockdown is anything like the last one. Loads of businesses are open, we saw a P5 bus (a route that for reasons that remain a mystery to me Celia has a particular fondness for), and we stop and talk to neighbours in the street more often than we wave at them from a distance.

One thing that is the same is the resumption of daily walks. I have walked with Celia, with Octavia and on my own. I expect to walk with Cynthia in a day or two. My bike helmet broke but Bridget has rescued me by lending me one of hers; next to pump up the tyres and dust off the leaves and spiderwebs which accompanied me on my ride last week.

Celia and revisited Cancell Road and saw a house for sale. I looked it up when I got home, over £1million. So somewhat beyond my budget. Octavia and I were very taken by the furniture made from pallets by workers on the super sewer at Vauxhall.

Outside seating
A closer look
Continue reading

The Coronavirus Diaries, 8th November 2020

Celia and I saw our first full on Christmas decorated balcony today. I think I need to go back and take pictures one evening when night has fallen. It was quite a sight and made us gasp then laugh. We were out for our first constitutional since learning that Trump had lost the election. Well that’s a relief.

Obviously there are still some 72 million people who voted for him which suggests something extremely worrying, but at least the Toxin in Chief will soon be gone. I have no doubt he will attempt all sorts of tedious and potentially dangerous things to overturn the result and to make things difficult for Biden, but it was amazing how in the space of a few minutes he became yesterday’s man, an annoying and loud irrelevance. We drank champagne to welcome the change.

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, 20th October 2020

I am quite pleased with myself. I have found a way around the new block editor here at WordPress. It was by accident, as so many discoveries are. I didn’t have time to finish a post so saved the draft. when I returned to edit it, I saw there was an option to continue in classic editor. I hope this option remains.

We have just been sitting outside drinking wine. Three bottles (not necessarily all emptied) and members of three households. I had an early dinner as wine on an empty stomach isn’t a great idea for me. The others left for their evening repast a little while ago. We can meet as different households outside. Today has been warm, and tonight is very mild. Still, having Hartley on my knee as a furry hot water bottle was still pleasant. Coming inside to a cuddly MasterB nicer still.

Still no joy with my internet provider who also is my landline provider and to add to my woes the tv box (same provider) is no longer talking to the tv. So everything hinges on my ‘phone. I watched television last night courtesy of my phone’s hotspot, am posting this courtesy of the same. Amazing.

B had tried to fix my sewing machine, a gift from my parents when I turned eighteen. I am not, and have never been a keen sewer. But my older sister was, and that was she got when she turned eighteen so the precedent was set. It has been useful. I have made curtains, cushion covers, maybe even a dress, I’m not sure now. Knitting was more my thing. But when during lockdown I got it out to sew some seams which had come apart, the foot did not respond to the lever which should have clamped it to the material. b tried to mend it but no luck. Norma, a neighbour who sews and knits and bakes and cooks and gardens, and is a one woman craft factory advised me to take it to a place in Tooting, ‘by the Craft Centre’.

Back in the day I used to go to Tooting a lot. My friend Sue, now in Houston Tx, lived there. But as the years ahve passed my Tooting visits have dwindled. Craft Centre? I had no idea. Fortunately a quick duck duck go search (we don’t all want Google tracking our every move) located it. It shares a website with the sewing machine menders, and I presumed, a premises. Sewing machines are heavy. Did they have a car park? They did. I drove there yesterday, parked and joined a queue for the wrong building. It’s counter service only during the pandemic at the Craft Centre. Fortunately, an employee walked by, spotted the fairly obvious machine by my feet and directed me to a queue-free building further down the road.

It was not quite how I expected it to be. The door was open, there was no queue. The building was anonymous. There was a sign on the wall.

Sewing Machine Centre

I stepped into an area with a number of sewing machines and a staircase which had a barrier across it. No sound, no sight of anyone.

Display


Continue reading

The Coronavirus Diaries, 16th October 2020

Unusually I am writing a post in the middle of the afternoon. I shall be going out shortly and then later meeting B&J for some socially distanced socialising outside. Which reminds me I need to put some Becks Blue in the fridge now.

Yesterday’s jaunt to Wivenhoe was both delightful and depressing. Delightful because each time I go there convinces me this is a place I could live. Depressing because the properties I looked at did not suit. I’ll do the depressing stuff first. I saw a very pretty cottage in a good location. As I had feared the living room was very small, but the garden was great, there were all sorts of quirky and interesting storage places, original features and cleverly adapted ones, but the real decider was the staircase which was vertiginous. The second property, also in a good location, in many ways suited me, but did not suit MasterB as there was a long balcony, but nowhere I could fit a catflap to give him access to the real outdoors. I haven’t completely ruled it out, but as it will probably be snapped up quickly it may rule me out. The third property was lovely, perfect in every way bar the location. It looked ok on the map but I tried the walk to the station and it was around twenty minutes. As my working day involves a lot of walking, the idea of struggling up the hill and into a housing estate in all weathers reduced my enthusiasm. It was also in a housing estate and I couldn’t see myself there.

Parts of Wivenhoe are surprisingly enthusiastic about hallowe’en. I mean it was 15th yesterday, so the decorations are going to be up for a while. I’m not a fan of hallowe’en, but I do like the neighbourhood witch sign. I think I’d keep that the year round.

A skull on the table

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