Thursday 26th March 2020
My tea consumption, and I guess that of the nation is getting out of hand.
I decided on scrambled egg on toast for lunch. I took two mugs, broke and whisked an egg in one, put the bread in the toaster, switched on the kettle then put my tea bag in the cup with the egg. A message has gone viral amongst the family asking for a recipe that will incorporate the result.
Yesterday and today I have embarked on a project to walk up and down my stairs ten times none stop each day. This has started with good intentions, any bets for how long it will last?
I will be going for short local walks on the roads. Until a few days ago I thought I would be doing no harm if I went into a remote area for a walk knowing that I would meet nobody, or at least maybe one or two other walkers. Now I realise that our voluntary Mountain Rescue teams will be compromised in the same way as our public services and it is not fair to go off somewhere where you could become a casualty as I know too well, although when that happened to me I did manage to get out on my own, but of course we who go out often tend to think we are well competent and it wont happen to us - DON'T DO IT.
I am well equipped for solo existence having lived on my own now for twenty three years - I read, blog, cook, watch tele, play with Photoshop Elements, and communicate also by email with a network of a dozen or so friends and relations. I am not one for pubbing or clubbing and am quite lazy these days about making the effort to go to the cinema or other manifestations of the arts. My major interest is walking, most often on my own, but also very enjoyably with one or two very good friends and that is the thing I will miss most, but living with my own company is no problem. I know many people find that difficult and I sympathise.
My last book club read was a 500 pager - An Officer and a Spy, Richard Harris. That was a docu-novel about the Dreyfus affair, a true story of a Jewish French army officer wrongly accused of spying, an event that split families and the whole country down the middle according to which side one took - a brilliant read handled by Harris, a master story teller. Shades of Brexit, a word I haven't seen anywhere in the news for the last few days - do you think it has gone away?
We are now embarked on our next book - Charles Dickens, a Life - Claire Tomalin. I am 200 of the 400 pages in - not quite as exciting as the Dreyfus but an amazing amount of meticulous research and certainly worth a read - D was a far more complex character than I knew.
Arising from the Dreyfus it is well known that Emile Zola wrote a pamphlet in defence of Dreyfus called "J'accuse" and one of the book members was trying to find a Zola biography - I found one and left her a copy on the doorstep - this one is an 800 pager! A couple of days after I sent J an email asking if she had finished it yet - "only another 799 pages to go" was the reply. I also have a copy - it may well last the duration of our incarceration.
At some point in the year I convert from long trousers to wearing shorts most of the time. Yesterday out came the shorts - a double edged event, firstly a symbol of Spring, longer days and better weather, but on the other hand a reminder of how little those events will be taken advantage of, or perhaps a challenge to find worthwhile substitutes.
For years I have hated gardening - it is hard toil and whilst I enjoy and appreciate the results they are all too short lived and the weeds and grass have grown back in no time and you start all over again. But, I have spent an hour or so each day over the last two days concentrating on one small area each time and I can see that now being housebound for a long period I will be able to continue without the temptation of rushing off into the wilderness. I may even get to enjoy it - perhaps many of us will develop new skills or take up new pastimes?
Of course I am already longing for an end to all this and following in the footsteps of Mole in The Wind in the Willows - the quote is listed here in my sidelines, but no apologies for repeating it here.
Mole has suddenly realised that Spring has arrived.
"...he suddenly flung down his brush on the floor, said ”Bother!” and “O blow!” and also “Hang spring-cleaning!” and bolted out of the house without even waiting to put on his coat. Something up above was calling him imperiously..."