The Coronavirus Diaries, 10th July 2020

Almost a ‘normal’ day: two lots of washing done and hung on the line, then a bus to Westminster to leave my next bag of books and esoteric magazines at an Oxfam bookshop, a chat with the woman in the shop about the various hand gels available, and then resisting buying at least four books from the stock as I had more to do and I didn’t want to carry them. Then another bus to Fleet Street, before heading into the City where it was a mixed story of shops open and shops closed.

Leadenhall Market was newly festooned with fake flowers and bunting.

Leadenhall Market redecorated

Say it with flowers

And yet more flowers


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The Coronavirus Diaries, 9th July 2020

Writing these daily diary entries brings home to me just how many days are spent in the pursuit of minor tasks, sometimes bringing minor triumphs – hurrah the washing dried on the line before the rain came down – but mainly very ordinary stuff that needs to be repeated a few days later; things like dusting, changing bed linen, cleaning the fridge, buying toilet roll. Today was another such day where my greatest triumph was a charity shop accepting a bag of very old clothes for textile recycling. I failed to understand the council’s website and still don’t know if I need to book if I walk over to the recycling centre with a small bag of defunct small electricals or not. As they don’t weigh much I may just try it. If I am turned away I’ll know I need to book. But not tomorrow. I need to go to the City to take photographs for an online presentation. I would have gone today, but the skies were once more grey and tomorrow it’s supposed to be sunny.

I am getting impatient to return to das Boot. Monday I hope. So some discipline regarding work to be done at home before then where I can usually rely on the internet.

It was nearer five than four when Celia and I went for our walk. There had been no call from the hospital and so the next time I see Celia she will have had her haircut. She’s going to say she wants an inch off, knowing a hairdresser’s inch is greater. We went to Burgess Park which I have mainly avoided as it gets very crowded. The advantage of a dull day is fewer people venture out. You wouldn’t have described it as deserted though. We met two very lovely dogs, both female both very young, both playful, both accompanied by young women. The flowers looked beautiful in a wild sort of way, and the lingering raindrops balanced on their petals only enhanced their beauty.

Wildly beautiful blue


Made more beautiful by drops of rain

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The Coronavirus Diaries, 25th June 2020

Tonight the ducks are back, one strutting in a proprietary sort of way along the gunwale. The other perched at the back of the boat. When one of them flew up to the roof MasterB’s hunter instincts kicked in and he made to chase it. The doors are now shut. I am beside the only window open far enough to allow him out or a duck in. After our stroll last night I was sitting in the forecabin with my book.the lights were on as I thought all the windows were shut. Open windows and lights mean a boat full of flying insects. Not my idea of home comfort. Illoked up to see MasterB sauntering along the gunwale. I had left a window in the aft cabin wide open. Fortunately he responded to my opening the window loop window by coming in to say hello. I rewarded him with biscuits, shut the offending window and tried to still my pounding heart.

At the moment he is sitting on top of the back seating cushion looking out at th field. There aren’t any cows in sight, and now I come to think of it we haven’t seen much of them today, but there is a black bird bobbing about and one of the ducks is being very vocal at varying pitches. It sounds rather like it is practising a scale. The boy is definitely in hunter mode. He has walked stealthily along the top of the seating cushion to beside and above me where the window is open. Nearby some people are enjoying some drinks and we can hear their voices. Normally that’s enough to put MasterB off the idea of shoreleave, but I wonder tonight if he will be bolder.

I was in two minds for most of the day as to whether to go home and avoid being in board for the anticipated storm tomorrow and rain on Saturday. I bought provisions, including a bunch of cornflowers from the farm. That made me think of Aunt as she chose a bunch of them there the last summer of her life. But provisions can travel, and wherever I am I need to eat. As well as shopping at the farm I went to a big supermarket. There was hand gel, signs directing customers around a one way system, reminders to stay apart, but no one seemed that bothered. I think complacency has well and truly set in. This evening, for reasons I shan’t go into here, I decided to stay. If the storm does break over our heads MasterB is going to need a lot of reassurance. Continue reading

The Coronavirus Diaries, 24th June 2020

Forget what I wrote yesterday about needing to do any physical work by eleven. Today by half past nine I was working up a sweat just walking from one end of the boat to the other. MasterB has spent most of the day stretched out on the floor below water level in various locations, mainly where I can see him, but sometimes under a rug. I did two small lots of hand washing, and, using a broom handle as a support, rerigged my washing line, doubling the length of line available, and got everything dry.

Lying in a cool spot

The windows and the door are open, and there is a slight breeze. It’s cooler by the car under the trees, but people walk up and down the path which the boy wouldn’t like, so in solidarity I have spent the day on board with him.

It’s very easy to just sit thinking how hot you are and not get anything done, so I pulled out a file, made some notes and recorded a new podcast. If I can get the internet to play I should be able to upload it this evening. It was a good thing to do. While I worked I was less distracted by the heat. I drank copious glasses of water. Most of my exercise today has been walking backwards and forwards to use the loo in the shower block.

There is still something leaping from time to time, but I never seem to be looking at the spot, I just hear the splash and then see the concentric circles in the water. The fish I can see a re small with red fins. Normally they dart about, but I was watching them a little while ago and they seem to be just hanging in the water, a little below the surface. I am guessing they are enjoying the heat as otherwise they could swim down to the cool mud. They certainly dive when they see my shadow.

Spot the fish

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The Coronavirus Diaries, 23rd June 2020

It’s been really hot today. I have had all the windows open on the boat most of the time. Only when I made a brief sortie to Reach to but tomatoes and other salad stuff did I close them. I don’t know the young master would have tried to go ashore, probably not, but it was a risk I was not willing to take. So windows were left very slightly open but locked to stop a keen paw pushing them wider. I know if he lies on the floor it’s below the water level and so cooler, but the hot weather means I am reluctant to leave him for more than a short time. Oddly, he likes to sleep under the quilt, or even under the pillows in the heat of the day. His fur feels cool to the touch, but it wouldn’t be my first choice.

Last night he almost came ashore for a walk. It was dusk, his favourite time.

Dusk on the river

He sat at the window and did a sort of green cross code to see what was about. The cows got a particularly long scrutiny.

Is the coast clear?

Ah, cows!

We were scrutinised in return by some of them, and one calf seemed very interested.

Are you looking at me?

The geese were again in the field, the adults and their collective young. When I moved to look at them the adults hurried the goslings to the water. I took a break from watching MasterB to see the whole raft of them on the river.

A raft of geese

I don’t know how he made his decision to stay onboard, because it seemed a perfect evening to me for a stroll, but although at one point he was out of the window and on the gunwale, he turned and jumped back into the forecabin. Tonight we have neighbours on a boat moored nearby at right angles to us. They have been sitting at the back reading, but are now zipping the covers on as the day cools, so maybe the boy will venture out in a while.

Something big has been diving in the marina. I would love it to be otters which I know are on the river, but I am guessing it’s a pike. People here used to talk about a very large pike they nicknamed Moby. Maybe it’s the same one.

I was planning to watch the news tonight, but my television, which was working perfectly last time I was here, is showing no signs of life. I tried changing the fuse, hoping it was something that simple, but no joy. So my social distancing has become more distant. Or maybe that should be social isolation. Right now I don’t have internet access, my phone signal is dead. I’ll try again to see if I can post this. It can be irritating but in many ways I like it. Technology is wonderful, but it is also wonderful to be disconnected for a while and to take time out from receiving calls and emails.

I have asked one of the family members who own the marina if they have a wallpaper table or similar so I can give my covers a scrub. It would definitely be a morning task, as by eleven the sun is too hot for energetic labour. I brought details of a walk that started nearby I thought I might do, but unless the temperature drops, I shan’t be doing it this time.

Once again I am enjoying the peace and quiet. I have several books to read, and some work I’d like to do. My store cupboard is full, I have fresh vegetables and salad, enough low alcohol lager for the next few days and my new soda stream which has done valiant service today. I have grapefruit juice, elderflower cordial and ginger cordial. I brought both my little Olympus and my bigger Lumix.

I don’t think I’ll be bored.

Stay safe, keep well.

The Coronavirus Diaries, 22nd June 2020

Back on the boat and it’s more than warm. There was definitely more road traffic than last time, but again I did not drink coffee at breakfast time so there was no need for a loo stop en route. My seating cushions have been returned. Jeckells have done a very good job. I can understand why they are so well regarded and successful. I am very pleased.

I had texted Janet and there where eggs waiting for me to collect. I have seen two kestrels, the wood pigeons are being noisy, the geese were in the field last time I looked. MasterB has just emerged from under the quilt, has eaten his dinner and is now looking with some interest at the windows from his position on the floor. There were more people here when I arrived, I am guessing some of them had been on their boats for the weekend, but most have gone. The only ones remaining are at the far end of the marina, so MasterB may be brave enough to go ashore for walk before I want to go to bed. It won’t get dark until ten, but I am already tired, so I may not last that long.

Not a bad view

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The Coronavirus Diaries, 14th June 2020

My mental health day was a success. I have returned home feeling  stronger and happier. The world seems a bigger, better place with more possibilities. There were more people on the train than I had anticipated, but it was still easy to keep apart. The bus only accepts twenty passengers, and fortunately for me that number had not been reached when I boarded the bus this morning or the one this evening.

I heard a cuckoo calling in the woods, met several friendly dogs, one friendly cat who bore more than a passing resemblance to MasterB, though with very short whiskers, and lots of very friendly people. My faith in human nature went a long way to being restored.

Short whiskered MasterB lookalike

It helped that the weather was gorgeous, warm without being hot. I ate chips while I sat on a bench looking at a river and no gull bothered me. I chose streets where I’d like to live. I had a chat with a talkative toddler. Continue reading

The Coronavirus Diaries, 12th June 2020

Just a few photos tonight from the boat. I have not been in great spirits today, and I’m going to have an early night and hope that dos the trick. Michèle thinks the period we are now is putting us all under great strain, with lockdown easing but not over, the prospect of an imminent recession of biblical proportions, a future which seems precarious. She’s right I think. Lockdown is ending not with a bang but a whimper and the messages are very confused. I can hope that it’s this strain which is making my bossy neighbour behave as she does, it is probably what is amplifying my anxieties in response; feeling trapped, not sure in which direction we are headed. I shall be glad to get back to the boat next week to take delivery of my repaired seating cushion and find a balm in nature.

MasterB will be able to renew his acquaintance with the ducks.

Who’s that on the gunwale?

Listening to ducks above his head

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The Coronavirus Diaries, 11th June 2020

A very short post tonight, but even so I am over the midnight hour and therefore into 12th June.

I have come back to London. I love the space I have in my flat after the very restricted space on das Boot, but am already thinking about when I shall return to the space of the fens. MasterB may think otherwise. He was delighted to be in the garden, even though both Romeo and Hartley were there. Continue reading

The Coronavirus Diaries, 9th June 2020

I am still thinking about George Floyd and all the issues his murder raises. Thank-you to the people who made such interesting comments. They have given me much to think about. So tonight I am going to let those thoughts percolate, and write about other things.

Jeckells, the firm who made the original upholstery covers, has been in touch and Mr Jeckell no less is going to come to das Boot so he can give me a quote on Thursday. Jeckells are a very well know firm, and I am expecting the quote to be high, so I was grateful to Stuart for giving me the name of someone else I have now contacted so I shall have prices to compare. If Jeckells can’t supply the same material as before, and I am guessing it won’t, then a cheaper source will be my preference. I have been wondering if Impala can be used on boats. Maybe the London Upholsterers are back at work and I can ask them.

Slowly slowly the ticks are growing on my to do list. Stuart is doing much of it – new light in the galley tonight and the opportunity for me to meet his lovely dog Rio. Rio sat on me and I sat on the grass. MasterB his from Stuart under the pillows. Rio is only nine months old so very much a puppy still. He spent quite a while studying the bees.

The ducks seem to have decided I am a dead loss as a food source, so maybe no more pictures like these.

Who’s that on the gunwale?

Listening to ducks above his head

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