The Coronavirus Diaries, 22nd May 2020

A day of domestic successes and failures, a day of acceptance and and adjustment, a day of conversations with neighbours.

Had you told me two months ago that I should be happily engaged sewing seams on aged pillow slips and a small back pack on my old Singer sewing machine I should have stared at you in disbelief. But that’s what I was doing in the early afternoon. I almost wanted to find pillow slips in need of new seams. YouTube came up trumps with a couple of videos by showing how to fill a long bobbin, load it, thread the machine, and another with a tip for using a piece of white paper or card behind the needle you are threading to help see the eye. It was all very satisfying.

The failures were with washing. after dinner last night I realised I had an oil mark on my dress. This was odd on two counts. I had been wearing an apron while I cooked, and my meal had contained very little oil. I examined the apron, and realised it has an oily patch on the bib. So I soaked the dress overnight and today put it, the apron and some other clothes in the machine together with a product that promises to remove oil stains. I can tell you now that it doesn’t. Fortuitously my neighbour Carol called me as I was finishing the last pillow slip. She wanted to know if I’d like to go for a walk. We arranged to meet in ten minutes. Carol’s elderly dog, a miniature pinscher called Rosie, who is now deaf and blind, sniffed my hand and wagged her tail. In her day she was a demon for games and I used to make toys for her and play with her. It was nice to be recognised and even nicer that she was pleased to sniff me. Coronavirus and the lockdown has made Carol decide she is going to move out of London to the Sussex coast. She wanted to tell me of her plans. It’s all very exciting and I shall miss her if she moves, but she sounds pretty determined. Now you’ll have noticed I used the word fortuitously and so far nothing I have written seems to warrant that word. But Carol is immensely knowledgeable about fabrics. She deals in lace and linen, her laundry skills are second to none, so I was glad to ask her advice. I have yet to put it into practice, so I can’t say if it has worked or not. I know my rhubarb and apple cakes have worked, and the smell is curling deliciously around my home. Continue reading

Of Autumn, Boot Cleaning, Strawberry Tree Fruit and Filing

I didn’t get as far as St James’ Park today, but I was in the garden. It’s autumn there too.

I went out to scrape the mud from my boots. Mud from the moat at the Tower of London. They are not my best boots, and I was planning to get rid of them, but after being at the Tower, I thought I might use them for wet and cold days in town. So I was a bit put out to find the sole was coming away on one of them.

I took my camera out too. I was hoping MasterB would come with me, and I might get a picture of him on the same lines as the one I included in the calendar when I was cleaning  another pair of boots; my second best ones. I have three pairs of boots of varying vintage, comfort and waterproofness. My best ones are brown leather, currently cleaned and polished so they look like shiny conkers. Cleaning walking boots is somehow very satisfying. Meditative too. I find myself reliving  the walk where they got dirty; wondering if a future archaeologist will come across some mud that does not fit with this part of the UK, and come up with a theory as to why it is here; thinking about other walks I should like to do.

But I digress.

MasterB had gone back to bed. We had played extensively indoors, he had been out and about after breakfast, and we had played again when he came in. He lost his favourite mouse, a gift from the Lovely Ex-Neighbours. I thought it was under the fridge, but no amount of swishing about with the fly swat brought it to light.

Unusually, there was no sign of Cookie outside either, though an hour or so ago she followed me round to a neighbour’s house where I had something to deliver. So my pictures are minus felines. And minus sun. Today was damp and dull.

Continue reading

A New Kitchen Goddess

My lovely lazy day did not, alas, result in a good night’s sleep. My dreams were troubled and I heard Big Ben strike three, then the quarters round to four. So I am bit heavy eyed today, and planning a very early night. Normally at this time of year that would seem a complete waste of a light evening, but today the sun has struggled to make itself felt through dull cloud. Global warming again resulting in our spring being lacklustre.
I have a double reason for wanting sunshine over the rest of the week. My new washing machine arrives tomorrow sometime between two and nine pm. When I got home two weeks ago after Mother died, my current machine achieved one reluctant wash. An engineer came to look at it a week later and declared it defunct. My neighbour Carol has kindly been letting me use her machine, but I am looking forward to have my own again, and to drying the laundry on the line outside. I have far too much for it all to fit on the ceiling airer. My last two machines were washer driers, but I seldom used the driers. Maybe half a dozen times, so this time the budget has been for a washer only, and I have gone for a Miele. Are you impressed? Surprised? I am. Coo get me; buying the Rolls Royce of home laundry machines. I had been advised, by the engineer, to get a German made Bosch, or a Miele if I could afford it. A trawl through the reviews decided me that a Miele was worth years of lentil eating. I like lentils so I’d be eating them anyway. Frugality has its advantages, as does a vegetarian diet. Continue reading


It’s raining. Hard. I thought it was just going to be a light shower. But it moved up through the gears so first I shut the windows, then the doors. Shortly before it began I threw my rubbish to the path. I intended to take it up to the car. Now it sits on the gravel, reproachful in a white plastic bag. I shall have to get off and deal with it sooner or later. The neighbours will talk.

The forecast meant ex did not come. He rang and asked how it was. Dry, I said truthfully. Hmm, he said, rain is coming. And he cancelled his visit. So I have been domesticated and restful. I tried out my new water pump and cleaned the starboard side of the boat until my back ached. My vacuum cleaner has broken, so I swept the inside with the rubber broom, collecting unfeasible amounts of fur, hair and dust. NotCat went ashore and had a pee. I can hear him at the litter tray now, so he may at last be having a poo. That’ll get me off the boat. NotCat’s poo makes your eyes water from twenty yards. And this boat is a lot shorter than that.

Excuse me. I shall be back.