The Coronavirus Diaries, 27th December 2021 Boxing Day Plus One

I thought today was Boxing Day as it’s a Bank Holiday and the day after Christmas Day is called Boxing Day and is usually a Bank Holiday but this year it was a Sunday, so the Bank Holiday is today, but Boxing Day was still yesterday. Confused? Join the club.

I was working yesterday. It was outside and first thing in the morning the rain was pelting down. I was wondering how my clients would react if I turned up in waterproof over trousers but fortunately, as promised by the weather forecast, the rain eased off.

Some people are lucky and they love their work. On days like yesterday I am one of those people. I just enjoyed the whole day. Then at home I read the paper. Finally it appears people are waking up to the reality of Boris Johnson, liar in chief and total disaster for this country. Maybe I should be happier that the truth is dawning on so many who have chosen to follow his lies, but the fact that they have so eagerly believed his nonsense makes me wonder what sort of country I am living in. And heaven help us, there are still some who think he’s doing a good job and that Jacob Rees-Mogg is a gentleman. The future does not look good. Also if BJ goes, who is in line for the job? Liz Truss perhaps, Dominic Raab, Rishi Sunak, or maybe Michael Gove who has recently been very silent, suspiciously silent in my opinion. None are examples of politicians who put country ahead of personal ambition.

I strongly believe no one should be able to be a representative, elected to the Commons, or nominated as in the Lords, who does not pay their full share of taxes to the treasury, has offshore investments, hedge funds, owns or has shares in companies who practise tax avoidance, has money left in trust funds to make sure their funds remain intact, or at least very lightly taxed, for future generations of their family while the playing field for others becomes less and less level. If you are in position to make decisions on how taxes are spent you need to pay them. Actually, even if you aren’t in that position you need to pay them. We need our roads, our hospitals, our schools.

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The Coronavirus Diaries, 9th May 2021

I woke up thinking it was Monday. I have spent most off the day working, so in a way, if I had a regular nine to five job, it makes some sort of sense. The work was satisfying. but I was also treading water as I had an arrangement with a colleague to go through something we are working on together. I worked all. morning and heard nothing. Time for an early lunch. I sent a text, how about 1.30? It was a lovely day and I wanted to get out and especially to get away from the computer for a while. I hate waiting in without a definite time to meet; it feels like having one foot nailed to the floor.

A message came back, she was meeting someone for lunch. How long? I asked. Hours! came the jaunty reply. Ok, I thought, threeish at the latest. I went for a walk. Home by half past four. No message. Had past five came and went. No message.

As is our habit I was eating with Octavia tonight. My turn to cook, and unlike our usual practice, instead of cooking everything bar the veg at home, I was going to cook everything from scratch when I got there.

Finally, just before half past six I got a message to say my friend was home, and suggesting we talk tomorrow. I have things to do tomorrow. I really wanted this sorted today. How about now? I said.

It turned out she hadn’t done any more work on the project. You know I was going out for lunch, she said. Somehow, I didn’t find that excuse convincing. We had had an agreement. I’d kept it, she hadn’t. Lunch, for me at least, doesn’t generally last six hours, especially when I have agreed to do something. So I agreed to ten tomorrow morning, but I am underwhelmed.

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The Coronavirus Diaries, 21st August 2020

I feel quite tired. This is good as I should like to get to sleep early and get up early. But the best laid plans etc etc as MasterB is currently asleep but almost guaranteed to wake up, yawn, stretch and decide on some outside time just as I make tracks for bed. Tomorrow morning I am going out to work for the first time in five months. Putting everything I shall need in my bag surplus to the pre lockdown requirements made me think of those bags new parents carry. My biggest concern is finding a loo before I start working. Many are still closed, so the early start is more to give my bladder time to deal with the effects of morning coffee than anything else.

While I was talking to Chris yesterday her partner was reading a message from their local council which warned that the second wave of the pandemic is likely to hit in September and to be worse than the first. If this is right my return to work may be very short-lived. Chris was in her garden, torturing me with descriptions of ripe pears and lots of tomatoes. I have four tomato plants this year. One ripe tomato.

The ripe tomato

I haven’t picked it. I am hoping by its example it will encourage the others to turn red. Continue reading

One of Those Days

The alarm didn’t go off. It could have been a disaster, but fortunately I woke up ten minutes later and checked the time. Out of bed in a nano second; cat food in the bowl; kettle on; coffee in the filter cone; egg in the water and bread in the toaster.

It was all a bit rushed, but I got out of the door more or less on time and even managed a few minutes frantic play with MasterB who evidently had plans this morning that did not involve me going anywhere.

I delayed my rush to the bus stop to take bad pictures of the new planter made from an abandoned trunk. It is wonderful to me. I am gradually filling it with herbs, and just looking at it fills my heart.

Transformed Trunk

Transformed Trunk

The traffic was slow. London, and particularly my patch, is plagued with with road works and traffic jams due to various good causes that include the Cycle Super Highway that should make cycling around the Elephant and Castle for those brave enough to try it less like a two-wheeled version of Russian roulette.
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Dreaming of a Catflap and My Own Garden

It was only as I reached the door, where Cookie was waiting impatiently having raced ahead of me up the stairs, that I realised how tired I was, and how I really didn’t want any cat politics tonight.

An eleven hour day, which was fine while I was working, but which suddenly caught up with me, and made my whole body sag. All I wanted to do was fuss MasterB, feed him and let him out while I ate a quick meal before bed.

Celia had called in to see him in the afternoon, but her text message said he hadn’t wanted to play or to be affectionate, but had eaten and then groomed himself intensively. Sorry Celia. Continue reading

Working for a Living

I didn’t get wet today. The rain which was pelting down when I got up had stopped by the time I left home. Wrapped up in several layers and my warm coat, I was pretty toastie. A hot chocolate shortly after starting work had me warm on the inside too.

Working means talking, and I have talked all day. My throat feels uncomfortably raw. Tomorrow I am working from home, so no talking, unless I need to use the ‘phone, and lots of hot drinks, though probably lemon and honey rather than chocolate.

No voice means no work. No work means no income. But not talking can mean more thinking time. There was an item on the news tonight about Grant Shapps, the Conservative party chairman, who has been caught out being, as it is referred to when our elected representatives dissemble, ‘economical with the vérité’. I didn’t see the whole item, as MasterB wanted to go out, but I did catch the bit when he bizarrely dismissed the revelation as an anti-business thrust by the BBC, the Guardian and Labour. Really? If so, quite what does that say about Mr Shapps views on honesty and business? One can only hope that other business people take a rather more serious view of telling the truth.

However, recent news stories might suggest that would be an over optimistic hope. Hardly a day seems to pass without some individual in receipt of eye watering amounts of cash intimating that the rules that govern the rest of us somehow do not apply to them. I am constantly reminded of Leona Helmsley’s comment that ‘we don’t pay taxes. Only little people pay taxes.’ She said it, but it seems an awful lot more people believe it.

On the train in the middle of the day, I found myself wondering how Rona Fairhead got her £500,000+ non executive position at HSBC. After all, if she didn’t actually have to read the reports herself, how difficult could it be? Where could I find an equally lucrative, responsibility free income? How do they advertise these posts? Continue reading

Weather, Work Changes and a Cat Called Trevor

Rain, wind and sun. We have had it all today. Though fortunately no flooding. Apparently the Thames Barrier has been put to use for the eleventh tide in a row. I thanked my lucky stars that I was working from home. MasterB, currently lying beside me on the sofa, took himself back to bed in a drawer in the divan base. As I had to turn on the light at just after ten in the morning in order to see what I was doing I was tempted to follow his example and crawl back under the quilt.
However, this evening finds me feeling things have been achieved and a few more items have been crossed off my list. Having given up my salaried job, the calls I received offering me freelance work were more than welcome. Whether it brings in enough to keep the wolf from the door remains to be seen. Friends’ reactions to my decision have ranged for congratulations and cheers, to shaking heads and forecasts of doom. Financially I admit to misgivings, but there are times when you have to take risks. I am not going to go into detail about what I am doing, but writing is going to play a bigger part in putting food on my table than it has for a while.
Do feel free to commission me!
Trevor the cat has given me pause for thought. Cat rescue certainly doesn’t pay the bills, but it is very satisfying, more satisfying than anything I have done recently. However, I can’t see myself retraining as an RSPCA officer. Continue reading

Of Coffee Stains, Interviews, and Food Before Art

Within the first hour of arriving at work I spilled some coffee on my nice white linen top. Never a good look, but worse because in the evening I had an interview for the BA in Creative Writing. I was in a meeting, so I couldn’t really rush out and rinse my top under the tap immediately as I should have liked. I began to feel very impatient with one of the meeting who said the same thing about six times in not very different ways.

And I am not exaggerating. Or at least not about the impatience. 

When she finally decided that we had heard her opinion as much as we could take, the meeting ended and I shot off to the loo where fortunately the hand basin is also behind a locked door. The next hour was fairly damp, but the worst of the stain was gone.

At lunchtime, I left that place of work and set off to another of my jobs. Today was warm, and by the mid afternoon sunny with blue skies. Anyway, I had an enjoyable time at work and then just an hour to kill before my interview.

I was pretty relaxed, more relaxed than I have ever been previously before an interview. I had so little to go on and had not submitted an application form so I didn’t really know what was going to happen, but I did have some questions of my own to ask.

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Glorious Summer

It has been a beautiful day, and we are at that time of year when our days are long and our nights short, so when the sun shines, summer seems expanded. The poppies are still flowering and the hollyhocks are getting into gear. MasterB is in his element, spending hours in the garden, coming inside to sleep and recharge his batteries.
Going to the theatre twice this week was great, but it has meant tonight I have been bent over my papers in preparation for work tomorrow. I haven’t quite finished, but I am taking a quick break. I still haven’t caught up with the blogs I follow. Hopefully in the next few days. Continue reading

Evening Plans

I’m feeling quite pleased with myself. The flat is a tip, but I have just completed a draft for a presentation I have to give and it is atking shape nicely.
Now to fetch MasterB from the great outdoors, snatch a bite to eat and race out to the theatre. I may leave the bioy outside if that’s what he wants, then with luck, this is how he will be when I go to bed.