The Coronavirus Diaries, 3rd July 2020

I bought the laptop. Now I am finding my way around it. It may take me some time I feel. Today I tried to use it for a Zoom event. It all seemed fine, then I realised I had no sound. Nor could I understand how to get sound. It was a quick switch to the iPad. Now I need to use it to try to join other Zoom meetings while I work out what to do. Or is there another way?

This was after enjoying a cycle ride with Octavia. She has been cycling a great deal during lockdown, far far more than I have, and she has become more adventurous, more confident. It was great to go out with her. She’s off to Yorkshire and her mother in a couple of days, so I shall have to wait until she returns for the next spin. We went to places I have walked with Celia, just to the south of where we live. It was fun. It reminded me of my helming with Stuart, how being with someone who is calm, confident helps give you confidence. It’s a good feeling. Continue reading

The Coronavirus Diaries, 29th June 2020

It was a sudden decision to return home; the spur was the weather forecast. It has been windy since Saturday, and I really wonder why I have bothered to comb my hair, but when I saw that the wind speed of around 20mph was likely to increase to 40mph I decided to pack my bags and leave as quickly as I could. I had been planning to wash the rear cover, but it seemed likely it would end up being blown into the river if not the next county. Next time.

Last night MasterB was absolutely determined to march around the marina, albeit in his harness. The trees thrashed about above us and one very young calf was totally intrigued by my boy. He could not stop looking and came closer and closer to the fence for a better look. What he made of what was probably his first view of a feline I should love to know. The large black bullock didn’t care about MasterB, he wanted a head scratch and probably to lick a human arm too. It is shocking to think he’ll end up on someone’s plate. This is an animal who loves people and should be a companion bullock. He could probably have a whole career visiting care homes lapping up love and affection from entranced residents. He’s certainly a hit at the marina.

Thrashing willow

MasterB also made it clear he wanted some shore leave this morning, but when I did strap his harness on and liftEd him from the boat he was suddenly less sure, and most certainly disgusted to find this was a short outing ending in his travel carrier in the car. Continue reading

The Coronavirus Diaries, 17th June 2020

Last night’s supper with Octavia was great. The Grey Ninja was very welcoming and affectionate, and it goes without saying that the company was excellent. Tonight I have another supper date, this one’s by zoom. B&J, H&J and I will be eating and talking, drinking as well, in just over half an hour, so I need to write and post this quickly.

MasterB is in the garden, hiding from Romeo, Hartley and Mr Manx who are circling anyone who they see in the hope there might be food. I’ll pop out with a sachet and some biscuits and try to rescue my boy. Continue reading

The Coronavirus Diaries, 31st May 2020

Another month ends. Today has been one of my up and down days during this virus. A walk this afternoon did much to help. Celia was otherwise engaged so I walked down to Ruskin Park, following our now established route via the eastern tip of Myatts Fields and Loughborough Junction. It has been a beautiful day; warm and sunny with blue skies and a cooling breeze. It would have been perfect for a country walk. The three goslings are still alive and getting bigger. I reckon they are safe from gulls and crows now, but a fox could take them. Their parents seemed to want to shield them from the public gaze and kept them in the reeds and long grasses. The moorhens’ babies, I am guessing they are called chicks but I don’t know s do correct me if I am wrong, were on the water with their parents. Two tiny ducklings seemed to be swimming about on their own. Then their parents paddled over, gave one of them a nudge and left them to it. It looked pretty negligent to me. Another pair of ducks also had two ducklings. I am used to seeing ducks with a great brood of ducklings. These seem very small families. Admittedly the large families get smaller and smaller as the days pass with various predators picking off the wee ones. Maybe some family planning involved here for a manageable brood. I just hope they all survive.

Geese concealed

Ducklings too young to be alone

Moorhen family

Continue reading

The Coronavirus Diaries, 28th May 2020

My supper included butter beans and baby potatoes with sage pesto. Over the last few months sage pesto has featured heavily in my meals. It’s delicious, and it’s both very cheap and very easy to make. Usually I pick the sage from our garden where it grows in abundance. But there is some of the sage with the big leaves growing in a communal bed just down the road, so I picked that this time. Weirdly it tastes quite different, not as nice, and is much drier. I used the same quantities of everything, so I can only assume it is a singular property of this variety of sage. I don’t plan to use it again.

Still with plans, I finished the podcast plan, next I need to record it, but the duster called to me insistantly. With my windows open and breezy weather there was even more dust to disperse than usual. I’m not going to run my finger tip along the shutters tonight as I have a nasty feeling they are already gritty. I’ve already noticed stuff that’s blown through the window on the kitchen floor. However, the flat feels clean and there’s certainly less cat fur on the carpets.

My constitutional took me to Blackfriars where I dropped off a jigsaw for a friend. She’s not currently there, being one of those with two addresses, but the concierge took it to give to her. I think she’s going to be a member of our jigsaw syndicate when she does come to London again. The day was warm, but not as hot as it has been. Perfect for the boat, but Stuart plans to do some work there at the weekend, so I shall remain a landlubber for a few more days. I forgot to take my little Olympus with me today, so these pictures ae from last week outside the William Booth Memorial College.

Hope in Pictures

Continue reading

The Coronavirus Diaries, 27th May 2020

Well I did read the papers, and I can’t say I am reassured. If Cummings is the best advisor Johnson has, I’d hate to think of the damage the worst could inflict on us. Anyway I came across this thread on Titter and it is a wonderfully clear and concise breakdown of recent events. Do click and read it here. Clear and concise not being adjectives one can apply to Cummings, Johnson or just about any minister I have heard recently. Usually the words “we have been quite clear about this..” mean they have obfuscated and are continuing to obfuscate to a dizzying degree.

Thank heaven for cats say I. Continue reading

The Coronavirus Diaries, 30th April 2020

Well, I finished the jigsaw today. I was feeling pretty determined about it, though at one point i was just staring at pieces unable to see where they would go. But the beauty of this puzzle is the pieces are all so individual, so when you do spot a match you can make rapid progress. the pieces are often also beautiful, so there is a joy in just looking at them.

The finished article

When I began the other one I didn’t know that the end product was not going to be a rectangular picture as shown on the box.

The box picture

In fact that one was was fairly irregular in shape, where as this one I began to realise was going to have a symmetry to it. I just didn’t know what the symmetry would be. Several times I thought I had completed the outline in one part only to realise there was another layer or two to be added. Continue reading

The Coronavirus Diaries, 16th April 2020

I slept fitfully, dreams about coronavirus. I understand this is quite common. The things we think we are coping with during the day surface in our dreams more confusing, more menacing. Not nightmares, but unsettling.

Blue skies and sunshine helped dispel the mood. I got my washing in the machine and set to making some sage pesto. This has become my go to comfort food in recent weeks. Then some chat in the garden with a neighbour after I put my washing on the line. The morning passed in a trice. We had some post, but no New European. Last week’s didn’t arrive at all so I thought time to investigate. The website said they were not experiencing significant delays with deliveries. I rang.

Much as I love the New European I am not renewing my subscription. At the office end of things (it is published by Archant) it’s not great. I had to call before as according to my account I had received four copies when the first one was yet to arrive. It turns out my flat number was missing. Whichever neighhour received them by mistake did not give them to me. Today as then, the apologised and explained they could not supply the missing copies as they had run out. That’s fine, I said, Din’t want out of date copies. This seemed a concept customer service finds hard to grasp. The conversation continued in a circular sort of way. At one point I put my head down into a cushion in frustration. Continue reading

The Coronavirus Diaries, 11th April 2020

Like most people I think, I find some days under lockdown are harder than others. Today was a hard one. I read the news, read about people who have died, brief bios of people who most of us haven’t heard of, but who have lost their lives. A shockingly long list but just a fraction of the current total. Human faces showing the cost of this virus across the country. The Sun newspaper had a headline yesterday about Boris Johnson being out of ICU which ran something like Now That’s a Good Friday!. Yesterday the highest number of deaths from coronavirus in a single day across the UK. I am pleased Johnson is recovering, I want everyone to recover, but the focus over the last few days has been all about him. It’s wrong. we need to be informed, to be told the truth. The press briefings have been shamefully lacking in detail about what is happening, Matt Hancock not having facts and figures ready when questioned, journalists not pushing for answers. Johnson recovering is not going to solve the issue, and not spelling out how bad things are. There are still, heaven help us, people not taking the risk seriously. Don’t sell them some nonsense about herculean efforts by the government, Johnson recovering so all will be well.

I went for a walk in a local park this afternoon. It was after four, and I was hoping most people would have headed out earlier to enjoy the sunshine and gone home. They hadn’t. The park was heaving. Police were patrolling in cars. I saw them approach a family group sitting on the grass. I looked for space and fortunately found some, and beautiful trees in blossom. We need beauty at at all times, and especially at times like these.

Green leaves and blossom

Simply blossom

Continue reading

The Coronavirus Diaries, 8th April 2020

Another lovely day. But the news is dire. The UK is predicted to have the highest number of casualties from Covid 19 in Europe, around 40,000. Just let that sink in. The Prime Minister is still in hospital. No one in the cabinet is apparently able to act while Johnson is unwell. Just let that sink in too. Think about that photograph of the first cabinet meeting following the general election where all the members just parroted back what Johnson had told them to say. Dominic Raab does not have full prime ministerial responsibility while deputising, with no power to take major decisions without cabinet agreement. On a scale of one to ten, how confident are you that the government is working effectively to contain this crisis? Me neither.

The language of war is still being deployed. Johnson is apparently fighting the illness. He has been described by Trump and Raab as strong. We are told he will beat the illness. This ignores the evidence that fit, healthy people with no underlying health issues are dying. It is as dangerous as it is misleading. Do not think because you work out at the gym every day that you will be immune. Do not think because you ae in your twenties you are immune. Do not think because you are Prime Minister you are immune.

You may have realised I am quite cross about this. I believe it has lead some people to act carelessly by lulling them into thinking this is a virus that only affects select parts of the community. It does not check out your bank account, your step count before taking hold. However, if you are poor, living in unsanitary cramped conditions, then you are more likely to become infected. There was a heart breaking interview on Channel 4 news the other night. A child sitting with her family outside her slum home in Bangladesh spoke calmly about the situation. She was maybe in her early teens, articulate, clear-eyed, intelligent, exactly the sort of child this world needs. Yes, she said, we know abut social distancing but here in the slums we all live so close to each other, we cannot keep two metres apart. Yes, she said, we know about how important it is to wash our hands, but we have no water, little soap. She seemed resigned, not angry. Presumably already at her young age understanding that for much of the world her life, the lives of her family members, or her friends and neighbours are regarded as so much collateral damage. Watch the piece here. Continue reading