The Coronavirus Diaries, 30th January 2021

I have never given someone a trifle as a birthday present until today. Trifle as in a dessert of fruit, cream and custard. But that is what I was advised by J that B would like, and her face did light up when she removed the wrapping paper so I know J was right. We celebrated tonight, as has become the custom, by Zoom and with chips. The audio on my Zoom was not working very well, but I have also realised that I am often much quieter at Zoom meetings than in real life where, in common with most of my family, I am generally a talker. I think it’s because I associate screens with passive activity, watching television and seeing a film, not conversing. So I am happy attending online talks, that sort of thing. That said, I did enjoy my one to one conversation by Zoom with my cousin Russell a week or so ago. When there are just two of you it’s easier to know whose turn it is to speak. I miss those social signals in an online chat.

Today has been wet and windy. Apart from trips out on errands it has been an indoor day. A grey day. That meant I got a certain amount of work done which feels good. I was domestically occupied too, cleaning the kitchen and the bathroom, washing out the cat litter tray. plumping up cushions. Dull in its way, but it wasn’t a day when I wanted excitement. My work was interesting and lead me to read and reread things which caught my imagination and stimulated my curiosity. I often find mundane tasks are conducive to new thought; as I dust or wash up I may go over things I have read, just as I do when I go for a walk or a cycle ride. New thoughts occur, new questions I want answers to. I am not saying I should like to be cleaning all day long, but it does surprise me how random and useful thoughts often arrive when I am thus engaged. There’s also the satisfaction of a tidy room, a vacuumed floor, additions to the bag destined for the charity shop when it reopens.

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One Weekend, Two Aunts, Two Birthdays

Two of my aunts have birthdays this weekend. Both are Mother’s younger sisters. On Saturday, Aunt, who lives relatively near Mother and visits her as often as she can, turns ninety. The baby of the family, Aunt-in-Belfast, is a mere eighty-six on Sunday. I am feeling quite pleased with my organisation. Flowers will be delivered to the remaining sibling, Mother’s adored younger brother. He and she are only eleven months apart and were like twins. She still talks about her brother, though she hasn’t seen him for several years now. She had two more brothers, but Brother is the one she loved and loves jealously. He will take them to Aunt-in-Belfast who is very bad at answering the door. He has a key.

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