The Coronavirus Diaries, 25th January 2021

So the last time I posted it was before the first episode of It’s a Sin. Tonight I binge watched episodes two and three. So you can probably guess I think it’s great. Heartbreaking and great. The twists and turns of how we slowly became aware of the AIDs pandemic and the lack of information are spelled out in beautifully written and acted scenes. The end of episode two was so shocking after the first of the friends dies and you see the family destroying everything to do with him; the childhood photographs, the toys, his clothes. Everything. They wipe him out of their lives and their memories. I didn’t know of anyone doing that but I am guessing this is something that happened. I’d like to think we have moved on now. Learned some humanity. I do hope we have.

Saturday night was a birthday evening by Zoom. Not my birthday, my friend Chris’. Her partner had arranged for a bunch of us to join in a Murder Mystery event. Chris knew nothing about it until Saturday morning. It was fun, much better than I had expected, and next year, if we are allowed, we are going to do something similar but all be in the same room. Just imagine!

Sunday morning it snowed. I hadn’t realised it had started until I saw a tweet from Louisa @ElephantCafeUK which made me look out of the window. It was actually snowing quite heavily and of course at first it looked beautiful. My neighbours with a small boy who turned one just before Christmas brought him outside. He wasn’t sure about it, and after only a minute turned to James, his dad, and raised his arms to be lifted up. Across the street a young black cat bounced on snow flakes. MasterB did not venture out. But I have some footage of him from several years ago when he was quite vocal on the subject of snow.

Snow Business

By today the snow had gone. Some slushy water in the gutter was almost all there was to show it had been. The skies were blue and cloudless and it was cold. For once I spent most of the day indoors, only venturing out to run errands and give clean dishes to Joe for the outdoor cats. Tomorrow is one of my days to feed them. Joe fed them today, but when they saw me the boys hurried over and followed me, evidently hoping for a second breakfast.

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The Coronavirus Diaries, 22nd January 2021

A beautiful day of blue skies and a slight breeze, but cold without your gloves. So a very big surprise this evening when there was a sudden heavy shower of rain. Octavia who I saw briefly this afternoon spoke of the possibility of snow. Oh I do hope not. Snow is fine in the country, but in town it becomes dirty, with cold slushy puddles in the road which heedless drivers drench with pedestrians by driving through them at speed. The roads are gritted but seldom the pavements which become slippery death traps. No thank-you. No snow please.

I have and am continuing to have a week of Zoom. Perhaps at last I have caught up with the rest of the world and am becoming more comfortable with this way of socialising. If I have spent much of the day working at the computer I am not wild about sitting in front of it to talk to friends. Screen life balance. Tonight I have listened to the News Quiz on Radio 4, watched Channel 4 news, and at nine I plan to watch the new Russell T Davies series It’s a Sin about AIDS and the 1980s. Then if I can keep my eyes open I’ll round off Friday with The Graham Norton Show.

I remember when AIDS became an all invasive menace, though listening to Russell T Davies on the news tonight I realise I was some way behind as I don’t believe I was aware of it until the mid 80s and he was talking about 1981. I started thinking about one of my colleagues, I’ll call him by his initials SR, who was gay and suffered verbal abuse from older boys who burst into his classroom ‘to protect’ his pupils. Given how many gay men there were on the staff at that school in senior positions it seems extraordinary that more wasn’t done about it. SR was a friend, totally out in the staffroom and occasionally quite outrageous. He later died from AIDS. Such a waste. I have photographs of him on school trips we were on together to the Netherlands. He was generous, kind, sometimes intensely annoying, and of course, in my memory, forever young. I’m glad to be remembering him. I can see him just after he had said something very naughty, all wide eyed innocence, just waiting for your reaction before his face split into a smile. He made life better. AIDs was seen a gay plague. The nonsense that was written, the hate that was unleashed, the shaming, the blaming, the rampant homophobia. Ugly.

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