The Coronavirus Diaries, 20th May 2020

I’ll steer clear mainly of politics for this post, though I shall include a link to a great article in the Guardian Review from last Saturday.
This sentence made me laugh out loud, albeit in a somewhat cynical way: Johnson, like Donald Trump, represents people who believe in the value of hard work, but don’t do very much of the really unpleasant hard work them selves, either for reasons of wealth or age. Here’s the link if you’d like to read the rest.

But today is a day for celebration. I have had a few minor successes I have been feeling very pleased about, and shortly we have a socially distanced glass or two of champagne to toast Michèle because today is her birthday and next week her new book comes out. So, how you might be thinking, can you top that? Well here’s how, my friend and neighbour Mark was diagnosed with throat cancer last year. He had the treatment. It wasn’t fun. He was anxious, lost lots of weight as he couldn’t eat much without discomfort or worse. But he came through that and started looking more himself just as we went into lockdown. Each time I’ve seen him over these last weeks he looks better and better. But you never know, do you? So he’s had the scans, the tests, and now the appointment with the consultant and he is all clear. Could there be better news? It’s just wonderful. Continue reading

The Coronavirus Diaries, 16th May 2020

Have I missed an announcement today? Are the rules on social distancing being relaxed so that we can receive visitors in our homes? I am pretty sure my ground floor neighbour has a visitor, and I am quite unsettled by it. I had just come in after a very pleasant walk and was struggling with my shoe laces (why do laces always form a knot when you are in a hurry?) when I heard the street door open and Ground Floor Neighbour come in talking to someone, then her flat door being opened and the voices vanished inside. Up until now when I have come through that street door I have felt safe. There are only four of us using the communal hallway at the moment so it’s easy enough to maintain distance and wipe surfaces, but if all of a sudden there are going to be more people coming in and out it feels less safe.

My friend Maria in Barcelona says she has heard that tomorrow will be the last time residents stand on their balconies to applaud key workers. There are so many many more cars on the roads. Last night when I went to bed, for the first time in weeks, I could hear traffic. Celia pointed out that more planes are flying. We aren’t the only ones to be avoiding parks on our constitutionals, but we are probably still in a minority. London is being punished for not using public transport to keep safe by being told there will be a hike in fares, and that free travel for children will be suspended, as it will also be for the over 60s during peak hours. I can’t help but think that if we had a Conservative mayor of London the government might en a bit more helpful, but this is a chance to make life difficult for Sadiq Khan, who took over the post from Boris Johnson and has been, by and large, a good mayor. The mayoral elections are next May, delayed for a year due to Covid 19. Continue reading

The Coronavirus Diaries, 26th April 2020

A bit of a break from the doom and gloom as it is Celia’s birthday today. We set out for a walk in glorious sunshine. It had been chilly when I woke, but the sun’s warmth was evident by ten and I wore my jumper tied around my neck for the whole outing. Celia liked the card I gave her. It was in the drawer but I have a sneaking feeling I may have bought it with her in mind. Card shops are not essential so there was no question of choosing one last week. I had hoped to have a small gift to give her On the Day, having given her a hula hoop a few weeks a go as an early birthday present cum exercise opportunity in lockdown, but despite it being due on Friday, the she will have to wait until later in the week.

We headed up towards the river. At West Square there were signs for a Mayathon. It should have said Aprilathon as we quickly realised it was happening while we were there. Today should have been the London Marathon. There were certainly lots of runners about.

West Square Mayathon


Here comes a runner

Another runner

Continue reading

The Coronavirus Diaries, 22nd April 2020

Fortunately no pre-eight in the morning power tools this morning. Not that MasterB allows sleep beyond seven. His breakfast is a fixed star in his day. He had woke me around half past three. The unmistakable sound of a cat about to empty his stomach. He was on the bed at the time. I was up in a trice, had picked him up gently and made it to the bathroom where there is a floor that is easy to clean before anything left his mouth. I was expecting a hairball, but this looked like biscuits. As his appetite was in no way impaired at breakfast time, nor for the rest of the day, I think biscuits eaten too quickly would be my diagnosis.

After breakfast he seemed to think we should get on with the latest jigsaw.

Let’s do this!

But I had other tasks in mind.

Use of washing machines is embargoed in these flats until eight, so I was ready with my finger on the button. White towels, bed linen, bath mat, face flannels, blouses and tee shirts all drying in the sunshine felt good. I don’t know why getting the washing out on the line, blowing about and drying in sunshine should be so pleasing to me but it is. Simple pleasures. I had other work to do in the garden. My friend Michèle kindly gave me some cuttings that have rooted, and I found geraniums at Sainsbury’s. It took a while, and Celia came round with the cat food which had been delivered to her address, and some very lovely bread. We talked and mooched a bit and then she left and I continued with my raking, trimming and planting. Fingers crossed everything takes. We are due continued fine weather, so at this rate even the tomato plants should be outside before long.

Celia reckons the skies are bluer now than usual for April in London. I may have to dig out some photos from last year to see. I reminded her of the Guildford circular walk we did on Easter Sunday in glorious weather last year. She was dismissive – you’d expect bluer skies in Compton, she said.

I read tonight that social distancing may have to continue until the end of the year. So that sounds like no blackberry picking walk, and no visit to family in Northern Ireland (and therefore no lunches at the divine falafel place by the museum in Belfast). I got a message from my cousin-in-law Michele to say Uncle Bill was well and had been out in the garden. That’s good news. I had seen a postcard of Ballynahinch where he lived before Aunt Ella died and he moved in with his older son. It was from the early twentieth century, posted I think by the Linen Hall Library, with the caption ‘social distancing Ballynahinch style’. I should see if I can find it to post here. Aha, I have it! Click here to see it.  Continue reading