The Coronavirus Diaries, 17th September 2020

So what have I done today? The military aircraft continued their fly overs much later than I expected, so my early night didn’t happen. I was in my pyjamas, but the noise kept me awake, so I read and MasterB slept on my feet.

During the night I woke briefly several times, mainly because I needed to change position which isn’t always easy with a cat who has decided to sleep on or as close to one as possible. Around six he came under the quilt, curled up by my chest and we slept companionably until half past seven. The morning wasn’t as cool as I was expecting, but the windows in the rear cabin where we’d slept were covered in condensation. Even so, it was obvious it was going to be a beautiful day. The light was gorgeous. I emerged from the boat in time to see a swan flying low over the river. It’s moments like this when it feels unthinkable to give the boat up.

I‘ve been puzzled by a bit of broken ceramic, tonight I got the answer when the bathroom shelf fell off the wall and I could see where the piece fitted on the back. Since it was fine on my last stay and Older Nephew and his partner were the last people to use das Boot, I assumed they had had a mishap with the shelf. He says not. Strange. The shelf didn’t get back on the wall on its own.

Anyway, MasterB and I enjoyed our respective breakfasts and then I read for a while, feeling rather contented and lazy. But there was shopping to be done at Reach. I wanted carrots, salad and a marrow. I didn’t find any of them, I ended up with squash and fresh walnuts. There weren’t any water melons either. I wasn’t expecting them. They are not the sort of fruit I expect to find on an organic farm in Cambridgeshire, but a woman who was there at the same time as I was waxed lyrical about them and was very disappointed not to get one today.

I turned down the lane and picked blackberries for a crumble I have made this evening. I had half feared there would be no blackberries, that I’d be too late, but I think these were on a north facing hedgerow. I’ll go back and pick more before I go home and I have two orders for sloes, both I think for gin. I may try sloe chutney. I have only had sloe gin once,  an ex neighbour made it and it was so strong I thought I’d go blind.  Continue reading

The Coronavirus Diaries, 28th May 2020

My supper included butter beans and baby potatoes with sage pesto. Over the last few months sage pesto has featured heavily in my meals. It’s delicious, and it’s both very cheap and very easy to make. Usually I pick the sage from our garden where it grows in abundance. But there is some of the sage with the big leaves growing in a communal bed just down the road, so I picked that this time. Weirdly it tastes quite different, not as nice, and is much drier. I used the same quantities of everything, so I can only assume it is a singular property of this variety of sage. I don’t plan to use it again.

Still with plans, I finished the podcast plan, next I need to record it, but the duster called to me insistantly. With my windows open and breezy weather there was even more dust to disperse than usual. I’m not going to run my finger tip along the shutters tonight as I have a nasty feeling they are already gritty. I’ve already noticed stuff that’s blown through the window on the kitchen floor. However, the flat feels clean and there’s certainly less cat fur on the carpets.

My constitutional took me to Blackfriars where I dropped off a jigsaw for a friend. She’s not currently there, being one of those with two addresses, but the concierge took it to give to her. I think she’s going to be a member of our jigsaw syndicate when she does come to London again. The day was warm, but not as hot as it has been. Perfect for the boat, but Stuart plans to do some work there at the weekend, so I shall remain a landlubber for a few more days. I forgot to take my little Olympus with me today, so these pictures ae from last week outside the William Booth Memorial College.

Hope in Pictures

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Would the 17.4 million please stand up

Johnson, Gove et al appear to be engaged in some political limbo challenge. How low can you go? Hey I can go lower than that. So we are being shamed almost hourly by the ridiculous sabre rattling, the aggressive speeches, the threats against those who oppose them and their dangerous alt-right fuelled dreams.

I say shamed, but terrified would be more accurate. How many of you saw the Leave poster yesterday? It’s been taken down now but I may be able to find it on the web to show you. Well that didn’t take long, you can see it here.

One of the backers of this campaign is Arron Banks. Not the man you’d like find moving in next door. All the hallmarks of fascism are stamped over both Leave and Johnson’s government. The playbook is lifted from the rise of the Nazis. We are constantly told leaving the EU is the will of the British people; that to ignore the result of the 2016 referendum would be undemocratic, would let down the 17.4 million who voted in favour of ‘going it alone’. Never mind that the population is more than four times that number, that quite a few of the people who voted are now dead, and every poll shows most people want to stay in the EU, that large numbers of those who voted Leave are horrified at what is being done in their name. No, the tail must wag the dog and pull us all down. It would be nice if the 17.4 million stood up now and told the government to stop. It may only be if they do that the madness will end. Continue reading

The Wheel Will Turn

Anger is only useful if it fuels action.

Yesterday’s anti-Brexit march felt useful. I wasn’t on it as I was working, but just seeing the pictures gave me a sense of solidarity, a sense of hope; this madness will stop.

If it doesn’t, those of us who wish to remain in the EU will continue to campaign to return. Please don’t talk to me about the will of the people, or democratic process. When the referendum was held in the early 1970s and people voted to stay in the EU, or Common Market as it was then known, the leave campaign sprang into action immediately. To paraphrase a meateater’s saying, what’s sauce for the lentils is sauce for the butter beans.

Democracy is about argument, not things set in stone.

My outrage meter was just returning to somewhere above normal after POTUS’ announcement that he would reverse his inhumane decision to separate children from their parents and then blame the Democrats, when I realised it doesn’t apply to those families already separated. The trauma those children have undergone for this Trumplestiltskin to make a point, beggars belief. I cannot begin to imagine how this is going to affect them in their adult lives. The insecurity, the realisation at a much too young age that their parents cannot always defend them will leave an indelible mark. And all because this man likes to think he’s strong, and that this is the sort of thing strong men do. The truth is he’s weak, and the weak never know how hard they are hitting you. Continue reading

First Anniversary

This Saturday will be the 14th January. I understand that on the other side of the pond the floss-haired one will be inaugurated as President of the United States, something that strikes me as a being a joke too far, as well as being a jolly disrespectful thing to do on the first anniversary of Aunt’s death.

Or so I thought, but Lyn has just emailed me to say it’s the 20th, not 14th, so goodness knows where I got that idea from.

 

Auntie Mary october 2015

Auntie Mary October 2015

I meet quite a few Americans through my work. I have yet to meet one who says (confesses?) s/he voted for Trump, which may be significant in itself as I am meeting those who travel away from their home country, and I know a large number of US citizens never acquire or use passports.

A woman today, I’ll call her Jane, told me she is returning on Saturday, and marching on Sunday as a Nasty Woman who is not going to be quiet. She won’t be alone; just her party comprises two busloads of similarly nasty women. She cheered my heart. Continue reading

#moreincommon

It seemed people didn’t want to leave. I had been working and so unable to be in Trafalgar Square this afternoon, but I wondered if there might be some remnants of what had been going on, so I walked down from Green Park to have a gander. As I turned the corner towards the National Gallery I could see the flag still flying at half-mast, and a number of police in hi-viz jackets standing looking relaxed.

The screen caught my attention.

Thank-you

Thank-you

People talking quietly; some on their own looking thoughtful; some huddled together silently.

MORE IN COMMON

MORE IN COMMON


Hope

Hope

Today I pledge...

Today I pledge…

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Jo Cox 1974-2016

Like many people I have been on Twitter this evening, and on the internet. I have watched the news obsessively. The first I knew of the shooting of Jo Cox MP was when I picked up my ‘phone early this evening and saw an email from a newsfeed saying there had been reports of an attack on an MP.

Jo Cox was one of the few MPs in the House of Commons who made you feel every word she said was genuine. She was bright and funny, serious and committed. I am sure I am not the only one to have noted her as a future leader of the Labour Party, and a future Prime Minister.

For all my news scanning and watching, why she was killed is still unclear. There are reports that her killer suffered from mental illness, that he was normally a gentle person who did work in other people’s gardens for free. Other reports say that he shouted “Britain first!” before pulling the trigger on his home made gun. Continue reading

Journey into Light

The second part of the journey was on a much busier coach. People are quite amazingly selfish. They put bags on the spare seats beside them, drape their coats across them, lie across them.

 

Excuse me, I said, is this seat free?

Barely a look.

A hunched shoulder and the sulky gathering up of belongings.

Thank-you, I said.

 

She wanted to get off at Cambridge, but didn’t seem to think it necessary to say anything to me. As she started to stand up, I looked at her. Do you want to get off here? Grunt. I stood. She moved past me. No thank-you, no acknowledgement of any sort. She’ll probably be Chancellor of the Exchequer in a few years. Continue reading

The Naked Arm

I could show you a picture of my newly naked arm. The consultant pronounced my healing stitches beautiful, which was enough to let me know I wouldn’t be asking him for art exhibition recommendations. I hope and expect it’ll look more pleasant in time. I scar fairly easily, so I anticipate a visible line down my arm for the rest of my days.
So instead, here’s a photo of tulips and ceanothus from the hospital grounds.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

London has moved on from cherry blossom to ceanothus and lilac. The shrubs and trees in their glorious blues, mauves and white obtrude prolifically across pavements and brighten the dullest corners.It is incredible how, in such a short space of time, leafless trees are thickly green and abundant; roses have burst into bloom; the cherries are already forming as the blossom petals still carpet the grass. Spring is my favourite season; the embodiment of hope and possibility. Funny to say so when the first anniversary of Mother’s death is only a week away, and I hope it presages a new acceptance, and a shift to good memories infusing the future. Continue reading

Anniversary Days

It’s a year since I wrote this post.
I am so glad I was blogging a lot then. Now it is the anniversary of Mother’s last weeks and by reading back, I can follow the trajectory of those days; my visit in mid April and then the call to say she was dying; the five days leading up to her death. Afterwards.
Octavia and I were talking yesterday about the power of first anniversaries. Why does it feel so important that this month, day by day, I follow, relive, what happened then? The waiting for the inevitable; the knowledge that each time I left her might be the last time I saw her alive. Dementia robbed her of so much, but she was still recognisably my mother. Still someone I loved, with whom the connection was strong. So often those living with dementia are spoken about as though they no longer exist; no longer have rights; no longer have claims to be as human as us.
In the current issue of of the reader there’s a poem written by a woman about her mother who has dementia. It’s warm, celebratory, about the person not the illness. Continue reading