The Coronavirus Diaries, 17th-18th August

I am hoping to meet my neighbour Cynthia in an hour or so for a walk with a pub as our goal. Our local pub closed at the start of the lockdown and has not reopened. It may have been sold, the owners tried to get permission for it to be converted into flats some years ago. Since then it has been listed as a community asset, and that listing is up for renewal. Some parts of London are rich in lovely pubs, Camberwell for instance. Walworth has few pubs I want to enter, so if our local does close, it would be a blow.

I have been working through tasks work related and domestic today and feeling pretty pleased with my progress. The bossy neighbour has been out which always makes for a more relaxed atmosphere. Her unshakeable belief that we are all accountable to her is somewhat wearing as well as wrong. So I have swept up leaves, hung washing out, planted some bulbs, put fat balls in the bird feeder. Romeo had a good sleep on my car. He seems to approve the new cover. I don’t like it as much as my last one, it’s much harder to do up the ties, and will be harder still in bad weather. I need it to protect the paint work from the cats and foxes.

I tried out the television from the boat and got it working, though the DVD/CD player seems to have had it. I do quite enjoy watching television on das Boot when the evenings draw in, so this is timely. The one thing I really miss about buying a hard copy of the Saturday Guardian is the the tv and entertainment guide. I switched to an online subscription shortly after lockdown began. I like not having piles of newspaper about, but I know I miss lots of articles. On the odd occasion I buy a hard copy and it’s much more satisfying. Still, the subscription means I can read the Guardian six days a week, and The Observer on Sunday. Swings and roundabouts.

I am loving A Suitable Boy. It is so well done. I caught up with Mrs America which friends have been raving about, and I enjoyed that too, but A Suitable Boy is one of my favourite novels and this tv adaptation is excellent. Andrew Davies has not lost his touch. I can see me watching the whole thing again when it ends. Continue reading

The Coronavirus Diaries, 15th May 2020

There was a piece in the Guardian at the time of the VE day commemorations about weather forecasts. It said that 9th May 1945 was the first time in five years that the British people were treated to a weather forecast. During the war the weather prospects were an official secret, the Met Office was moved out of central London to Bedfordshire and forecasters produced updated forecasts as often as every half hour. All general forecasts were banned and ordinary people fell back on folklore and their own observations.

We in this country are known for a particularly strong interest in the weather, it is a regular topic of conversation. I am wondering if this was always the case, or if it is something that began during those five years of weather forecast deprivation. The fact that this pandemic has coincided with the spring, the lengthening days, the mainly blue skies, warm, even hot weather, and the promise of abundance as each tree and plant acquires a glossy dress of leaves has been hard. The turn of the seasons is always important, and as spring now turns into summer we realise just how long our movements have been restricted.

My most recent jigsaw has made me revisit winter, and the country. It is small, just 250 pieces, but delightful, a Christmas present I had been saving.

Small but Perfectly Formed

It’s a wooden jigsaw with ‘whimsical’ pieces which have a connection to the picture. Continue reading

The Coronavirus Diaries, 2nd May 2020

A Saturday evening, and I have done a pretty good job of reading the paper from cover to cover. I woke to blue skies and sunshine, but the temperature was in the low teens, so I dressed accordingly and set off to buy and deliver the newspapers. Outside, I realised it was actually pretty warm, and I rather regretted my warm top. Never mind. It was a nice walk and I achieved my purchases without hindrance or fear at Sainsbury’s. I delivered the first of the papers, dropped mine off at home, and then set off to deliver the third. All done before lunch, and my step count already nudging 10k. The Fitbit is still going, it has its moments of hibernation, but it’s not destined for the electrical recycling facility just yet.

At home I opened the windows and settled to read some of the paper before preparing my meal. The something strange happened. I began to feel very cold. I was shivering. I got up to close the windows and saw people outside in shirtsleeves, even some in shorts. I seemed to be in my own cold micro climate. A quick inventory established nothing else amiss but I reached for the blanket that lives on an arm of the sofa and snuggled under it. Danny rang. I kept expecting him to say something along the lines of “I’m calling you because..” but he didn’t. I think he just wanted to talk. So I stayed snuggled and listened. Naturally part of the talking was about coronavirus. One of these days it will drop from our conversations, but now you can be pretty sure it crops up in any and all in some shape or another. He wanted to know how I was coping. I told him about my obsessive jigsaw habit. I have been feeling a bit sheepish about all the jigsaws I have been doing since lockdown, but the book I mentioned yesterday has helped me understand why I am finding them so compelling. I believe they represent the restoration of order from chaos; a metaphor for the confusion of these times and the promise that things will be resolved. Danny is a trained counsellor, and this idea interested him.

By the time the conversation ended, I was feeling warmer, and hungry. Whatever had made me feel cold certainly hadn’t affected my appetite. But I thought I’d probably stay home quietly for the rest of the day, which is what I have done.

I have some pictures from yesterday’s walk to share. This shared garden is in front of a block of flats on s street I have walked down many times. Until yesterday I had never noticed the garden, screened from general view by a hedge. I think it’s rather fine.

Shared garden space

The MI6 building is famous around the world due to the James Bond films. It has various nicknames, Legoland and Ziggurat on Thames being the most popular.

MI6

Battersea Power Station, now being transformed into luxury flats, is another iconic London building recognised by people around the globe, particularly Pink Floyd fans.

Battersea Power Station

This is where Vauxhall becomes Battersea, run by two local councils, Lambeth and Wandsworth. It’s also an area where there is a huge amount of building going on, most of it tall and expensive.

Cranes and tall buildings

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