The Coronavirus Diaries, 29th May 2020

It’s my cousin Russell’s birthday today. I hope he’s having a good one. We are planning to meet up, walk and enjoy a pub lunch when that becomes an option. Perhaps it’s appropriate that I should have a highly sociable socially-distanced evening ahead of me. First there’s the non-alcoholic drinks and nibbles with Michèle, then back home to use the loo, been MasterB and get ready for a socially distanced, Zoom enabled dinner with two lots of neighbours, B&J, and H,J&I. B&J are the hosts, they have invited the rest of us to say thank-you for our shopping trips. It’s a lovely idea, and it’ll be even lovelier when I can ask them to come here for some non-socially-distanced drinks.

I seem to have on the go a lot today, but I can’t say I have achieved a great deal. My efforts at recording my podcast have failed for a variety of reasons – the ‘phone ringing mid recording, Podbean freezing when i tried to upload and then my achieved recording vanishing, my tongue tying itself in knots, and that old mistake of forgetting to cancel the pause button. Maybe tomorrow. I was out in my car briefly and noticed much more traffic.

I see we are allowed to meet in groups of six from Monday, so presumably we can have conversations with more of our friends about the Cummings fiasco. Perhaps we’ll even be singing this song which I found last night on Twitter. I see it has it’s own GoFundMe page. I think I’ll have to fork out a few quid. Continue reading

Strange Times

I saw Michael Gove yesterday. He saw me too, but I doubt if he’s blogging about it. He wouldn’t know me from a hole in the road. It was at Westminster tube station, late in the afternoon and it looked like he was heading into the Palace of Westminster. Maybe he’s got some prep to do before next week’s party conference and decided to do it when fewer people were about. I don’t know what his popularity ratings are, but I’d be surprised if people are rushing to sit with him in the canteen.

He didn’t look great; rather pudgy, as though he’s been comfort eating. Ah well. It’s not every day you do your bit to lead your country to a disastrous referendum vote and then find yourself voted out of power. I am indebted to Ken Clarke, words I never thought to type or say, for his pithy summing up of the situation in which we find ourselves. It is bizarre that I and people like me who voted remain are now hoping and praying that we can make leaving the EU work, while those who voted leave snipe from the sidelines and demand that the things they thought they voted be enacted in every tiny detail. Ken is a heavyweight survivor of the Thatcher era. Not my favourite politician, though perhaps I should be careful what I say as his London pad isn’t so very far from my own abode. However, according to Sky News, this is what he said.
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December Days

It was the arrival of the parcel that jolted me today. My friemd in Skye is obviously a great deal more organised with her preparations for Christmas than I am. Though given the havoc the Desmond has been wreaking, I am quite surprised she’s been able to make it out of the door. Skye is a windy place at the best of times. And if it’s not a wind that stops you standing upright, it often still has a knife like power, meaning you can forget about elegance and instead dress for survival. This little video from my YouTube channel, a channel now strangely inaccessible for me to post, may give you some idea,

December is a week old. Cards have begun to arrive. I’ve not written one or wrapped a present yet. Despite all the festive decorations, the gorgeous trees and the plans for meals with friends, the sitting down with the address book, a book of stamps and a box of cards has not thus far featured in my plans. Maybe it’s because the pictures of robins perched on snowy branches, the icicle decorations in shop windows are in stark contrast with the mild weather we are having, which feels more like late October or March than December.

Howver, I feel I need to get those first cards into the post box to get me in the swing, so tomorrow I shall settle to the task, if not with zeal, at least with purpose.

Despite our increasing secularism, and determination to turn Christmas into something that is primarily a celebration of consumerism and over-indulgence, many cards will carry messages of peace on earth, goodwill to all men; will remind us that the Christmas story is about the birth of a child, a vulnerable and helpless child who will grow up to preach a message of love.

This is a story that runs entirely counter to the narrative being offered by our government. To the established targets of the sick, the poor, the unemployed has been added that of External Threat.

Our newspapers are full of stories about the likelihood and reality of terror attacks in the four corners of the globe, and the idiotic responses of people who should really know better. This story in today’s Independent is both striking and frightening. Continue reading

Afloat Again

Having not listened to the radio this morning, I was pleased at how little traffic there was on Jamaica Road. So it was an unpleasant surprise to find the Rotherhithe tunnel, my route out of London when I go East, was closed. I circled the roundabout and headed back to cross Tower Bridge. I worked in Bermondsey when I first came to London, in a boys’ school the local police called Fagin’s nursery, and I can still find my way around the back streets. But there is only one route over Tower Bridge, and after sitting in almost stationary traffic on the approach to the bridge for twenty minutes, I did a u-ey and headed home.

MasterB, who had not been that keen to get into his travel basket in the first place, was pleased. He stretched, explored the car’s interior, and then rolled luxuriantly on the grass.

I consulted Twitter, and went indoors to use the loo. Twitter told me the tunnel was due to reopen soon, but advised me to wait.

I had some lunch.

Twitter still advised me to wait.

I weeded the trunk, and reached for cherries from the tree.

Twitter told me the tunnel had reopened.

MasterB had gone AWOL. He came back after a while and settled himself under a car. I think he realised my behaviour was unusual and he didn’t want to take chances. It was a couple of hours, and a lot more cherries, before I managed to get him into the car. Had it taken longer, I should have abandoned my plans and settled for a weekend at home.

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Wig Heaven

Ir started with a conversation on Twitter about hairnets, though as I wasn’t in at the beginning of that one I couldn’t explain how the topic arose.
Anyway, I mentioned that multi-coloured hairnets are widely available locally, and that we have a wig shop. Evidence of the hairnets was asked for and duly tweeted with a picture snapped on my ‘phone. There was interest in the wigs too.
So last night, on my way round to Octavia’s for dinner, i went into the shop and asked if they’d mind if I took some pictures. The assistant looked a bit nervous, but agreed so long as I didn’t photograph staff or customers, and that I was quick.
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