The Coronavirus Diaries, 6th April 2020

I think today’s post should be about counting blessings. I’ve witnessed a couple of things today which suggest some people are not coping with the situation we are in at all well, are resentful and angry, wanting to blame someone, anyone. It doesn’t help. It won’t make the pandemic come to an end faster, but it may speed your end if you give way to these feelings. I am not saying people don’t have a right to feel the way they do, I am saying they need to find a way of managing this feelings which doesn’t involve dumping on someone else. We are, as David Cameron said once, in it together.

One of my bad habits is keeping magazines and supplements I have not had time to read in the misguided hope I shall one day read them. I seldom do. However the other week I caught up on an a short interview with Adam Kay about his reading habits. You can read the whole thing here. The book that changed his mind? His answer: I thought my opinion of David Cameron was immovable – that he was a terrible prime minister. His autobiography For the Record made me appraise him anew. I can now add “grasping, desperate shell of a human who exists in a moral vacuum”.

That’s pretty savage, but I tend to agree. I was once forced to shake Cameron’s hand. I felt sullied by the experience. Not that our current prime minister is any better. But for tonight, I hope he is comfortable and cared for, having just been transferred to ICU due to the worsening of his symptoms. Much as I loathe Johnson, I wouldn’t wish coronavirus on anyone, so I hope he recovers well and quickly. I just wish he weren’t prime minister. I have to remind myself there are others who would be even worse in the post.

So blessings I can reel off pretty quickly and in no particular order would include:
MasterB, without whom this whole lockdown business would be immeasurably harder. I had a night of broken sleep last night. I woke at four in the morning worrying about money. It was listening to MasterB’s gentle breathing that got me back to sleep.

His Furriness

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Table of Delights

Decadently sipping red wine in my pyjamas while I wait for the washing to finish downstairs. I think we have at last reached the tipping point in Aunt's flat where there is now at last less to clear than has been cleared. I was helped today by two friends. They met Mother and Aunt years ago, there's an NI connection, and that was that. Part of the family now. They dropped by before lunch, went away, obviously thought about the task and called to offer their services this afternoon. Five hours later I told them they needed to go home for their dinner.

But what a difference it makes having three pairs of hands, three pairs of legs, three pairs of eyes. Were you to walk into the room where I am sitting now, you might think my excitement rather premature, but bags and bags of stuff have gone to the recycling, the charity shop, the rubbish, and the chemist. We have reunited separated parts of a food processor, found pictures of Aunt that made us stop and reminisce. There's a letter, a testimonial written for Aunt by her first employer that she had promised to look out for me. Definitely one for the family archives.

At the scheme there is a table opposite the laundry room where people can leave bits and pieces they no longer want for other residents to take. I have been putting cleaning materials there, coffee sachets, a tin opener, an egg slicer. You get the picture. Often when I visited Aunt I would bring magazines and leave them there. They always went really quickly. Aunt and I would wonder who took them and why. Yesterday I left two full bottles of carpet cleaner there went put to the car came back and the carpet cleaner had gone.

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Ginger Wailer

I have tried to learn from last night and I have stopped work clearing Aunt's many many effects to spend the evening with MasterB. I can't say it's going terribly well; he did play with the dangly toy for a few minutes, but he declined to come with me to the laundry to check on the nth load of washing I have put in the machine since arriving early yesterday afternoon. Right now he is curled up asleep on Aunt's chair having spent large parts of the day on top of the kitchen cabinets.

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Some of Those Little Things

There is still a shocking amount of kitchen stuff in the sitting room; mostly cleaning materials, some of which I inherited from Mother; some almost ancient history; things forgotten and duplicated down the years.

Not a care in the world

Not a care in the world


How come I have so much black shoe polish? Do I even have any black shoes these days? Well yes, one pair, worn rarely and polished once a year if they are lucky.

Not quite the stuff I can put on e-bay.

My measuring jug collection is pretty impressive too. And if anyone needs some toaster bags, I’m your woman.

But anyway, now for some pictures. Continue reading

Of Banking Mysteries, Swotting for Work, Memories of Mother, and a Happy Aunt

Back in London my local bank is being decommissioned. The letter I received explained that more and more people are turning to internet and telephone banking with the result that the footfall in branches has fallen. It suggested we could use the Post Office instead, or go to another branch some two miles away.

Goodbye NatWest

Goodbye NatWest

There are obviously a couple or three things wrong with that. A bank two miles away is a lot less convenient than one round the corner from where I live. But it also ignores the fact that this was the busiest branch of NatWest I have ever used. Absolutely no sign of reduced footfall there.

Bizarrely, other branches where there are acres of floor space and no queues stay open. I would guess that the author of the letter has never been in our local Post Office, where the queue often snakes out of the door.

I suspect it will be turned into a luxury block of flats. Everything else is.

I have quite a bit of work to do for jobs I accepted with gungho confidence, only to realise once committed that they are somewhat out of my sphere of knowledge. So some mega swotting required. The dusting will have to wait. Continue reading