The Coronavirus Diaries, 7th June 2022

It might be time to drop the coronavirus bit from the titles of these posts. Fewer people wearing masks, and that includes me, less fear of being with people indoors or on public transport. I hope it’s not all a false dawn.

Toady was one of those fairly dull days. I don’t mean the weather, it was sunny with blue skies, windows open, bare feet warm. I had tasks to complete, none particularly thrilling, and I was looking for some notes I know I made about a decade ago. I couldn’t find them. But after breakfast I had decided to have my first interaction with Too Good to Go, an app that aims to reduce food waste. I had a look at what was available in my area, and plumped for a vegan magic bag form an outlet on the Brixton Road I didn’t know. I paid my £3.59 online and wondered what I’d get.

The walk there in the early evening through Kennington Park before I reached the busy Brixton Road was an antidote to my day. It was dog walking time. I watched a young golden retriever enjoying a walk with her owner, bounding towards a canine friend for some racing and tumbling. Tails waving and ears cocked, they played on the grass. I had hoped I might see Tracey with her ageing Staff cross, but there was no sign of them.

Halfway down the Brixton Road, I felt a sharp pain in my right ankle. Strange. I hadn’t done anything. I walked on and the pain reoccurred. I stopped, flexed my foot a few times. That seemed to fix it. Good. At Pipoca people were enjoying coffees and eating snacks. I approached the counter, unsure of the protocol. I had Brough containers as instructed, but as I had no idea what I was going to get, I wasn’t sure if they were suitable. A friendly member of staff took me through the ropes and took my containers. I looked about me. What a nice place. The soup looked great, so I was really pleased when that turned out to be one of the things in my magic bag. That’ll do nicely for lunch tomorrow. I also got a wholemeal chocolate muffin which I ate for pudding, a pain au chocolat which I’ll have for breakfast, and little carton of milk alternative, a make I don’t know. All of it vegan. What an adventure!

Nice though the food is, the thrill was discovering Pipoca. Next to the café is a shop. a great shop. You can refill your bottles, buy food, ethical cleaning products, great soap. I found a soap bag. I only learned of them the other day, and the only place I saw them for sale was online where the postage and packing costs were more than double the price of the bag. I’ll definitely return, and I suspect Celia will be coming too.


On the way home I chose a different route. The sharp pain returned to my ankle. I loosened my shoelaces. Perhaps I had tied them too tightly. I limped for a bit, and suddenly the distance home seemed a very long way. More ankle flexing, more ankle rotation, more putting my foot gingerly to the ground. Gradually I was able to walk almost normally. I could still feel discomfort, but the sharp pain had eased. I enjoyed my walk home. I went by the end of the street where Celia and I met a woman called Michelle who gave us a bag of cherries in exchange for deadheading our roses. Her roses are blooming beautifully again. That was in 2020, during one of the lockdowns. Today I met a man with a beautiful Pomeranian who made friends with me through the fence. A pug being walked by a woman a little further along the path showed no desire to get to know me, and the woman didn’t smile or say hello. Oh well, not everyone is friendly, even when they have a dog.

Closer to home I admired Kenon’s garden. He has turned a limited space at the front of the house into a delight.

Kenon’s patch


Beautiful, Happy Boy

As some of you know, MasterB has not been very happy in our garden for some time. The problem, or rather problems, being the local cats who have designs on his territory.

However, last week in the few unseasonably warm days we enjoyed, he sat outside with me while I got on with some work and he was obviously relaxed, obviously content. It was like having my cat back again. I hope we have more days like these in the summer when it comes.

With bluebells

Showing his stripey jumper

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Yellow, Red and Beautiful

Most of the summer my night and early morning routine has included filling watering cans and soliticiously making sure the tomato plants had enough to drink. That reminds me we have had warm, even hot, days this year, hard to remember now when it feels more like late October than early September. Last night I went to bed in my winter pyjamas. I am back in socks, long trousers, jumpers and even a coat.

But each day, despite the gloom, we harvest. That watering has paid dividends. The basil has been bushy for weeks; the lemon balm is suddenly looking promising after months of being undersized and weak; the thyme, planted last summer, is absolutely settled and expanding; and the parsley, recovered from its infestion of white fly, is green and plentiful. The green beans are nearly over – though I ate one last night – the peppers are ripe and hot.

But its the tomatoes who are the stars. We have about eight plants; different varieties; some small, some large; some yellow, some red. And all delicious.

Just look.

Big Red and Beautiful

Big Red and Beautiful

I love this one so much I can hardly bear to eat it. Maybe I’ll photograph it being cut in half and incorporated into salad when I do. It is becoming redder and redder sitting in the kitchen.



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If You Don’t Like Pictures of Cats Click Away Now

I am guessing Uncle Bill will like this photo from last night the best, not for its technical skill (it doesn’t have any), but he seems to enjoy the ones of MasterB looking less than suave.

not a dignified pose

not a dignified pose

I prefer the ones I took today in the garden. This picture for instance.

tail up

tail up

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An Outing to Gardeners’ Question Time in the Sunshine

The route to our destination divided into parts. First I walked the couple of hundred yards down the road to Celia’s flat. I met her husband Charlie at the gate, off to watch some cricket. I’d already paused to photograph lilies and a poppy, and then found the garden at the flats a sea of white marguerites. Still in their pots, they are apparently destined for a promotion one of Celia and Charlie’s neighbours is involved with.

We set off on foot, seeing a couple of neighbours going about their Sundays. A pause at the local garden farm while Celia used the loo, and I left some flyers.

The farm has fabulous wisteria.

We wanted to get to the venue early as Celia had two spare tickets, and we also wanted to eat locally. we had loads of time, so we dropped by the local city farm.

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Of Spring Days, Happy Cats, and Supper in the Garden

Supper tonight at Octavia’s and some very bad pictures of the Grey Ninja who swarmed up her catwalk, slid behind the frothy blossom of next door’s tree and disappeared to her own private hunting grounds. She did make a sudden and rather speedy return, and when we stood up we saw a grey tabby following her. He changed his mind about coming closer in the face of our stares. As I said to the Grey Ninja, next time he asks you ‘you and whose army?‘ you can remind him of tonight.

Bad Photo of Grey Ninja and Pink Blossom

Bad Photo of Grey Ninja and Pink Blossom

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Scratch and Sniff: MasterB in the Garden; Cookie in the Bathroom

Still no joy with i-Movie and YouTube. I may need an i-Movie upgrade, but it costs around £10 and I want to be sure that’s the problem.

But home from work today and the Cookie Monster invited herself into the flat. MasterB headed for the stairs. I shut Cookie in and took my boy outside.

When I went back in, Cookie had availed herself of the facilities in the bathroom and had a poo. It smelled vile. Time to open the windows and be generous with the lavender room spray. Continue reading