The Coronavirus Diaries, 23rd January 2022, bleak times

Not sure I’ll complete this before I join Octavia for dinner, and afterwards I may just want to read my book, catch up on some television, or make tracks for bed.

I have had a pretty busy week, but in between working I kept looking at the newspaper to see what else was going on with this car crash of a government. The focus is all on the liar in chief, but you’d have to be deluded to believe if he went everything would suddenly be alright. The government is made up of MPs who voted for Johnson as party leader, who have consistently turned a blind eye to his failings, his dishonesty, his incompetence because of his voter appeal.* It’s only now when it looks like that appeal may have been irrevocably eroded that they want to ditch him. Note I say may have been. Johnson has a Teflon coating. Sleaze, lies, corruption slide off him. Yes they get stuck on someone else, in the same way what you clean off a Teflon coated pan does not disappear into thin air, but he has survived over and over again where others would have been forced to resign and live out their days in obscurity.

Continue reading

The Coronavirus Diaries, 10th November 2021

Big news: I am plaster cast free. Oh the joy. My wrist is stiff and a bit sore, I have to make sure I don’t lift heavy objects, I have a splint to wear when I am not exercising or engaged in an undemanding activity, and my sling is still a good idea when I am out and about.

I had been trying not have my hopes too high before attending fracture clinic this morning. Obviously I wanted the X-rays to show everything was healing well, but I didn’t want to pre-empt anything and come crashing down in disappointment. The waiting area is airy and light. We are all spaced out, or rather the seats are. Some patients might have been actually spaced out, I shouldn’t like to say. Michèle had been there yesterday. I don’t think there’s a way we can make our appointments chime, though it would be nice. Instead I wondered if I were sitting where she had sat yesterday (no, she was in the area reserved for wheelchair users), and that made me wonder about a series of narratives, tales of different people sitting in the same spot throughout the day.

I settled down to read more of The Sun is Open by Gail McConnell. Two weeks ago I became suddenly a fan, having previously been entirely ignorant of her work. It was while I was in Northern Ireland. Two days after Uncle Bill’s 100th, there were the annual John Hewitt Birthday Readings. For a while I have thought I’d like to attend, and that thought was cemented last year when Roger Robinson and Sinead Morrissey did the readings and had a discussion online. So Fiona and I had tickets. Only Fiona was not well, so I attended alone.

What a friendly welcoming bunch the John Hewitt lot are. A lovely man, very dapper and with silver hair took my name and made me welcome. I didn’t recognise his name, but it turns out he’s a literary agent and an actor. We were chatting, and he told me Tome French, one of the poets, was already inside ( I was the first member of the audience to arrive having allowed myself lots of time as I didn’t know where the venue was and thought it more than likely I should get lost). I picked up a book of poems by another of the poets Siobhan Campbell and was immediately taken by her work. Lucky perhaps, as she arrived while I was reading it. I bought two books of her poems as gifts, and decided to leave it there. The third poet arrived, Gail McConnell, dressed in black but with a bright yellow checked jacket.

I recognised some members of the audience from other literary events I have enjoyed down the years. People were talking to each other and it would have been easy to have felt excluded, but somehow I didn’t. It was as though I was included, though silently in the warm embrace of the John Hewitt Society.

It was a small audience, an intimate audience. I settled down in my seat. As it was in a lecture theatre at the university there was a comfortable ledge to rest my beslinged arm and throw my coat. I didn’t take notes. The lights dimmed. The evening began. The poets read in alphabetical order, so Siobhan was up first, then Tom, then Gail. I am not actually on first name terms with the poets, but I think if I were to move to Belfast I might be soon.

Continue reading

Password Spammed

If you have asked for access to password protected posts and not heard from me, please check your spam folder. If it’s not there, please contact me again. It turns out I am not very good at this. So I am going to practise!