The Coronavirus Diaries,3rd November 2020

I don’t know they are coping in the US but I am finding this presidential election nerve wracking. I cannot watch the news. Today I client (English) said with absolute confidence that Trump will be re-elected. He also made some positive comments about Trump which just had the effect of depressing me. Continue reading

The Coronavirus Diaries, 1st November 2020

It’s my half birthday and the universe seems to be telling me to leave things alone. I repeatedly forget to buy a lottery ticket in a shop, when I try to buy one online it doesn’t work; I make the decision to put my flat on the market and I turn down the virtual tour option, a second lockdown is announced immediately. Return to Go, go back two spaces, miss a turn, or whatever board game cliché you like.

I’m not sure how I feel about the flat, certainly some relief, but whether that is simply to do with knowing I can duck out of the stress of selling and buying for a while, or if I don’t really want to move, I don’t know.

I do love London in the autumn. With the dark streets lit by the lights of cafés, bars and restaurants I almost certainly shan’t go to, even the wettest night – and we’ve had a fair few of those this past week – takes on a fairy land look. Riding on the top deck of an almost empty bus, looking out at the capital is a pleasure. Then Celia and I came across a vegan café not far away with outdoor space where, when we can socialise again, we should be able to meet, and my world seems complete.

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The Coronavirus Diaries, 28th October 2020

Wow, I am reconnected: television, internet and landline. Will it last? I do hope so. It meant however that I had the dubious pleasure of watching some of the news and seeing news from Wisconsin where quite normal looking people said they intended to vote for Trump because they ‘don’t trust Biden’. I felt this needed more explanation. especially what they trust Trump with that don’t trust Biden with, though I have a feeling that would probably worry me quite a lot.

Toady has been busier than anticipated. I think I have said that before. I eventually cleared the sitting room floor of paper, but the papers weren’t as ordered as I had hoped. Still, it’s a start. Michèle gave me an old hand made quilt. I am not sure where she got it, but it was a bit damaged and rather grubby. I asked Carol’s advice about putting t in the washing machine. Yes, she said, but I’d need to repair it first. So sewing was added to my to do list. I can’t say my repairs were professional, and I think they are more temporary than permanent, but hopefully sufficient to stop it falling apart in the machine. I used the sewing machine and MasterB was intrigued by the moving needle. Not a good idea.

Parsley soup was on the menu for lunch, and I took a break from papers to make it. I had some squash to use up, so I popped that in too. Usually parsley soup is a lovely deep green colour. I can tell you that adding squash makes it look like a swamp. Tasted ok though. Continue reading

The Coronavirus Diaries, 27th October 2020

There are some advantages to being disconnected from the internet. I have no idea what Trump has said or done in the last few days, and Boris Johnson may have exploded for all I know. I nearly said or care, but some poor soul would doubtless have to clear up the mess and I doubt if it would be Patel, Gove or Cummings.

I took fright at the idea of a virtual tour of my home after reading the email from the company outsourced to do it. ‘Viewers will be able to see into every corner’ they said breezily, then some stuff about putting away works of art and personal things. Where? I wanted to ask. If there is a big store cupboard I haven’t found in thirty-four years of living here I should like to know about it. And what about the patches on the walls and the empty picture hooks, or holes where they have been? So it’s photos only. I am engaged in clearing away bits of paper and reorganising files. It is quite enjoyable, and a task I have been meaning to tackle for a while. I often move furniture around, and that is when the clear outs happen. This time I am moving furniture out. A chair has gone temporarily to Celia’s. Another is off to be reupholstered. B&J have taken in two of my boxes while my Great Aunt Eve’s bone china is also with Celia. Continue reading

The Coronavirus Diaries, 25th October 2020

Things have gone well, not so well, and badly.

We didn’t manage to winterise das Boot for reasons too tedious to go into here, but in some ways it was a silver lining as the weather which had been promising turned wet and very windy. We did drink some very good cava, and toasted my father’s memory while we ate pizza afloat, and nibbled on an array of very delicious pickles.

I returned to Wivenhoe to view two houses. One I was very excited about as it ticked most of my boxes. The second was really a make weight. Well, that was what I thought before I got there anyway.The promising house turned out to be less promising inside. The bedrooms were strangely small. The master bedroom, though it had an en suite (tick) had no room in it for anything other than the bed. The position was great, the downstairs rooms fine, the garden, garage and extra parking space all wonderful. The house had a nice feel, but I reluctantly concluded it was not for me. So off we went to the other house. It is at the limit of where I would like to be in Wivenhoe, a ten minute up hill walk from the station. 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.


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The Coronavirus Diaries, 18th October 2020

I was working today. The person answering my increasingly irritated queries on Twitter for TalkTalk was working today. The engineers weren’t. They don’t do weekends. Unbelievable. The internet has become like water and electricity, a utility, but it seems the engineers do office hours. I’ll leave it there

So some more Wivenhoe pictures. I am not sure now that we are gain living restricted lives if I’ll be able to return soon. I somehow doubt if viewing properties will be on the menu.

The path to the river

I have never been inside the church before, but on Thursday it was open. There was a meeting going about some music, possibly something that was going to be transmitted.

Wivenhoe church exterior

Wivenhoe church, interior

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The Coronavirus Diaries, 11th October 2020

So another weekend draws to a close and tomorrow we shall learn what restrictions are coming into force this week. Or maybe we shan’t learn. Nothing so far has been very clear, and most people seem to have almost given up trying to follow the details. We manage Rule of Six, Two Metres, Wash Your Hands, and Wear a Mask. The rest is often confusing and contradictory.

I’m just back from supper with Octavia. My offering this time, so corn on the cob, a side dish of butterbeans in sage pesto, home made hummus and a mixed salad. Octavia provided very good wine and dietetically differentiated puddings. I loved the raspberry coulis. At the door as I left we realised we are both fans of Gogglebox. There may be more sharing of our favourite moments when we next meet.

Yesterday I went to the Museum of London in Docklands where Celia joined me. The morning had been fine, but as the hours passed the skies turned grey and the wind picked up. It’s a great museum and one any visitor to London should definitely have on his or her itinerary. Outside I saw the smartest dog poo waste container I have ever seen.

Smarter than the average dog waste bin
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The Coronavirus Diaries, 9th October 2020

A bit of change of subject today. I spent a fair amount of time travelling backwards and forwards to the West End. I can’t say it was an entirely successful use of my time, but I did get stuck into The Nickel Boys by Colston Whitehead, a book that has been on my to read list, as opposed to the pile by my bed, for some time. I found it and Margaret Attwood’s The Testaments in the Barbican Library yesterday.

Celia and I walked uo to City. Both of us were somewhat overdressed. Not in the sartorial sense, though Celia was undoubtedly smarter than I was, more in anticipation of rain which did not come (at least in the quantities expected), and temperatures lower than they actually were. Celia has a pair of waterproof trousers which are very smart. Much smarter than my over trousers. I have waterproof trouser envy, something I have never before experienced.

We ate our packed lunches under cover. There were an awful lot of cigarette butts about. I thought of the City’s campaign to get people to dispose of chewing gum and cigarette ends responsibly and realised it had failed.

After the library, which really I shouldn’t gloss over because the Barbican library is a joy, we went to the conservatory. Celia was ahead of me as I was looking at Which? reports of cordless vacuum cleaners. If anyone reading this has a Halo Capsule (with bag), a Tineco A10 Hero, a Vax Blade 4 bagless, or a Jashen cordless, please get in touch.

Since finding Billy Mann and his blog every time I am near the Barbican I wonder if unknowingly I shall see him. Maybe I did.

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The Coronavirus Diaries, 7th October 2020

I emailed Michèle to offer her a pot of the sloe and apple jam I made yesterday. She politely declined saying she didn’t eat jam because of the sugar, indeed barely ate fruit because of the sugar. The jam bit I got, but the fruit denial shocked me. Especially at this season when we have had month after month of abundance and are now just getting to the end with the nuts, sweet chestnuts and the satsumas hitting the market stalls.

Like many of my generation and background the main autumn fruits of my childhood were apples, plums and pears. My parents grew five apple trees in our back garden, two were Bramleys for the pies, crumbles, tarts and other puddings my mother baked; then there were two Worcesters, and one Ellison.

Thinking about it now I suppose that familiarity of different apple types learned at an early age was also common to my generation. They also grew raspberries which were heavenly. Strawberries were exotic and it’s strange that supermarket strawberries are significantly cheaper than raspberries. Hedgerow fruits, blackberries and cobnuts made the end of summer exciting. At Christmas there were nuts in their shells. I favoured hazelnuts, every other member of my family preferred Brazils. Then there were mandarin oranges. A special treat.

We never say mandarins anymore, they are called satsumas now. Then there are tangerines, clementines and the big thick skinned oranges which peel easily, the blood oranges which don’t.

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