The Coronavirus Diaries, 6th January 2023, Socks Ain’t What They Used to Be

I really I would know someone who makes sock puppets. I have quite a few pairs of socks. Some are in better repair than others. I am trying to wear the ones which are either older or which I like less rather than shove them to the back of the drawer and wear the ones I prefer. Chief among my targeted socks are some black ones, five pairs actually, all bought together. I like black socks, and these are cotton, and initially very comfortable. However these are socks which are fine in some shoes, but in others, and always in slippers, slide down to bunch around my toes. When I was little we used to say this was our socks going to sleep. I don’t know if anyone understands that phrase today. These socks don’t just go to sleep, they hibernate. I was looking at one pair I had worn and washed to see if there was any sign of them wearing out. Maybe. But it was another sock, one from one of my newer pairs, and indeed a favourite pair, that has developed a hole. I was shocked. Darning socks is a skill I never learned. I mend them badly. I have some socks which are literally years old, undarned and still going strong. The socks I buy now seem to have a very short life, unless I actually want them to wear out.

Yesterday evening we had a neighbourly game of Cluedo. Just four of us. Andrew, Marcelo (who hardly swore at all), Celia and me. The Lovely Lola was also present but didn’t play, though Marcelo drew her chair up to the table. We ate lots of nibbles, Marcelo had mulled some wine and then we shred a bottle of red. It was fun. I have had a very restful, quiet weekend. Just what I needed. On Friday evening I met Cynthia, and that is when my alcohol abstinence ended. We were in a pub near Brough which was comfortably populated but not heaving. At first conversation was easy, but the pub filled up a bit, some of our fellow customers were evidently more serious drinkers than we were and the volume grew. So not a late night, a good one.

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The Coronavirus Diaries, 25th August 2020

A lovely evening with my friend and colleague Chris. We trained together twenty six years ago which seems an impossibly long time in the past. I always say we are friends due to our postal codes as I realised at the start of the course that she was a nearish neighbour. She probably thought this woman saying ‘oh we live quite close to each other’ and expecting a connection/friendship on those grounds was bonkers. Maybe I was. But it worked and we have been friends ever since. We ate. I cooked a curry, Chris brought a very nice bottle of wine. We drank. We talked.

I showed her pictures of possible houses and we discussed their potential. I realise now I didn’t show her a flat in further south London which had caught my eye. Maybe that means something.

I worked on notes all morning and met a neighbour at lunchtime. She is fostering a cat for the RSPCA and I was offering her some of MasterB’s cast offs and toys he has rejected. She has sent me nice pictures of her cat enjoying them. She told me RSPCA Putney is closing down due to lack of funds due to the pandemic. This is big. RSPCA Putney is the flagship here in London. If they are letting that go the charity is in trouble. If the charity is in trouble animals are in trouble. Continue reading

The Coronavirus Diaries, 23rd August 2020

I am pleased to say that work went well and was very enjoyable. My face shield was a bit of a problem as the weather was windy and the face shield threatened to depart for other places. Otherwise all was fine. I think the adrenalin got to me, because mid afternoon I could have very happily gone to sleep. MasterB did go to sleep, leaning against me, and then taking the space I had occupied when I got up to answer the ‘phone.

Then I started a jigsaw. It was one I had given to Charlie for his birthday in April. It has done the rounds of our cartel and come back to me. It’s weeks since I did a jigsaw, and part of the desire is to do with The Pattern in the Carpet by Margaret Drabble which I am reading. It’s a memoir, and she uses jigsaws as a way of linking her thoughts and experiences. It is oddly enjoyable. Another spur is that I find jigsaws relaxing in a meditative sort of way. My thoughts can drift around, take time to clarify. Continue reading

The Coronavirus Diaries, 30th April 2020

Well, I finished the jigsaw today. I was feeling pretty determined about it, though at one point i was just staring at pieces unable to see where they would go. But the beauty of this puzzle is the pieces are all so individual, so when you do spot a match you can make rapid progress. the pieces are often also beautiful, so there is a joy in just looking at them.

The finished article

When I began the other one I didn’t know that the end product was not going to be a rectangular picture as shown on the box.

The box picture

In fact that one was was fairly irregular in shape, where as this one I began to realise was going to have a symmetry to it. I just didn’t know what the symmetry would be. Several times I thought I had completed the outline in one part only to realise there was another layer or two to be added. Continue reading

The Coronavirus Diaries, 29th April 2020

I didn’t get any further with my tax return today, but I did make progress with the jigsaw. MasterB of course joined in. This is how it and he looked this morning.

MasterB and parrot

I’ve done a bit more tonight. What you probably can’t see in that photograph are the pieces. Here’s one which looks like a dog.

Dog shaped piece

Here it is once I saw where it went. It’s got another piece beside it now, I should take more pictures as I get on.

Dog shaped piece fitted into the puzzle.

Keir Starmer did a stonking good job at PMQs today, though the PM was absent, presumably cuddling his latest child. His eight? His ninth? I don’t know and apparently neither does he. Anyway back to Keir Starmer, and his excellent performance. Well I thought so anyway. He knows his stuff, is polite, never descends into sarcasm, gives credit where it’s due and keeps on with the business of holding the government to account. This si not going down well in some quarters, but it’s the first time in ages have seen government minsters squirm at PMQs. As Starmer is so polite it gives the government little opportunity to go for the veiled and unveiled insults they have favoured for far too long in place of actual debate. empty rhetoric Starmer receives with requests for clarification and forensic questioning. It’s a joy to watch him. Continue reading

The Coronavirus Diaries: 31st March 2020

It’s astonishing how quickly I have become shop phobic. Only a week ago I was wondering how I was going to manage without my almost daily popping into a local shop to buy one or two items. Now I am delaying, and yesterday when I came home clutching a big bag of spring greens I was thinking I could be shop free for several days at least.

The third podcast went up today. I seem to be more relaxed about leaving verbal stumbles and errors, but I am confused by the amount of ambient rustling n this one given I was sitting still. Or did I just think I was sitting still? Those of you who have taken to studying philosophy while confined at home can wrestle with that one.

No pictures today, or at least no pictures from today as my camera battery was flat. I took a couple of photos on my ‘phone, but although I have plugged it into the computer the two do not seem to be talking. That’s annoying as I wanted to decant all my ‘phone pictures onto my laptop as the memory is full. Normally I’d ask Ahmad at All About Phones and he would sort it out for me, but of course the shop is shut. The things we take for granted until they aren’t there.

The amaryllis are doing nicely. MasterB is taking quite an interest.

Checking on the amaryllis

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The Third Day of Christmas

Back to work this morning and I was amazed at how many people were about. Some neighbours are coming round shortly for drinks and nibbles, so the party season has not entirely given way to shopping in this locale. Let it last. The build up is long enough. The shops were heaving on Christmas Eve when I popped round to the largest of our local supermarkets to recycle some old batteries. I can only think the compulsion to head up to the West End and the Sales is born of habit rather than need.

I’ve had a rest from shops and the internet. It’s been really nice. I was offered a place at the dinner table on Christmas Day by some well meaning neighbours. I smilingly refused. I’d have been countimg the minutes. We’ve been in and out of each other’s houses, and I am uncomfortably aware that the cheese I am serving tonight falls a long way short of the cheddar I was given on Christmas Day morning when we sat in front of a log fire sipping bubbly. It’s a different set of neighbours tonight, so I am hoping they are less fastidious. The Prosecco should please at least.

The jigsaw is coming along. MasterB seems a bit confused by it, but he’s only walked across it, not lain down in the middle, so my tactic of fussing him hugely every time he comes near it seems to be staving off any Love Rival behaviour.



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