Dedicated with thanks to Matt, Claire and Lorraine
It being a really busy road – well, you know what Cockfosters is like at the best of times and today it’s pouring down – we were lucky to find a parking space so easily. “If you take her straight into the vets, I’ll sort out the parking meter,” I say.
So ActorLaddie sets off with Willow in the cat-carrier – heck, that’s seen better days. The carrier, that is, not Willow, who has been remarkably trouble-free in her sixteen years. So far.
The parking meter takes me a wee while to figure out. You have to feed it with these metal disk things called coins; they have a certain novelty value but I don’t see them catching on. Ticket in car, check. Car locked, check. Mask on, check. And off to the vets.
“I’m with the chap who has just come in with a cat,” I tell the receptionist.
“No-one’s come in with a cat,” she says to me. “We’re expecting Willow but no-one’s come in.” I go back out, look up and down the parade of shops but there’s no sign of a cat in a carrier with an elderly actor that’s seen better days. There is a sign for another vets down at the far end of the parade of shops. Could he have headed down there, by mistake? I ring his mobile and, eventually …
“Willow’s escaped from the carrier,” gasps ActorLaddie. “She went under a stationary lorry, run across the Cockfosters Road and down some side street. We’re trying to find her.”Continue reading →
I’m bored of Parkinson’s. Let’s talk about something else.
Perhaps she was disorientated by being on the first floor. They hadn’t been long in the rented accommodation where Harriet Neate was now living with her son Harry, his wife Millie and their children Violet (nearly eight) and Arthur (a toddler). For most of her life, she’d lived in the ground floor accommodation attached to the Beer Shop which was the family business. Perhaps she’d got up in the night and lost track of where she was. For whatever reason, in April 1934, at the age of seventy four, Harriet fell down the stairs and died. The timing could hardly have been worse.Continue reading →
“For Pete’s sake, look at the time!”
It’s been a leisurely start to the day (like every other day, in fact). I’m eating porridge while idly scrolling through my phone – I’ve fallen in love with one @HenryRothwell on Twitter who shares works of art: landscape paintings, largely, which are pretty much the only way of stepping outside right now. Like this one of Scarborough, painted by Carl Herman in 1930. Isn’t it wonderful?Continue reading →
“There were so many old people!” says Ma.
Well, yes. A vaccination centre for the over 80s is likely to contain folk of a certain vintage – and all a jolly sight wiser, for sure, than the idiots who have spray-painted ‘Covid hoax’ and the like onto the walls of said centre and of our local station.Continue reading →
with apologies to Thomas Hood
No pubs - no gyms -
No bars - no swims -
No dawn - no dusk - no proper time of day -
No sky - no sunny view -
No distance looking blue -
No sag-aloo – (unless for take-away) -
No shopping just for fun -
No picnics in the sun -
No coffee with your mum with cake and biscs -
No film night with the gang -
No jigsaws with your Nan -
No meeting kith nor kin, no Rule of Six -
No galleries, no plays -
No Homes and no Aways -
No birthday celebrations -
No romantic trysts in stations -
No rousing hymns in chapels -
No bobbing for no apples -
No visiting things pastoral -
Not even Barnard Castoral -
No sooner up, it’s dark -
No kickabouts in park -
No travelling at all - no friends to stay -
No where to hang the washing
No thing to do but noshing –
No place to go - it’s raining anyway
No buses, so the car but there are jams - nowhere to park it (PARK IT!))
No loo rolls yet again - no friendly caff - no Christmas market (MARKET!)
No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No cinema, not even for a member -
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds, -
It’s Sunday afternoon and we’re facing some tricksy decisions, ActorLaddie and I.
A.L. has been canvassed for his views on re-starting practices for – shall we say – his Interpretive Cross-stitch Group. And I have been asked where I am on this Sheep Scale:
An answer is required from ActorLaddie, so we mull. On the one hand, there has been a full risk-assessment of the school-hall used for practices and the Cross-Stitch committee are happy with it. There will be much gelling and the group will not share needles.Continue reading →
“It was a dark, black mask and I thought it looked OK, it looked like the Lone Ranger,” says Donald Trump.
ActorLaddie looks up from his book. “Surely the Lone Ranger wore his mask over the eyes? And anyway, why on Earth are you watching Donald Trump?”
“I’m not – I’m watching Sarah Cooper. I went onto YouTube to check some face-mask stuff and I got side-tracked. Wanna watch?”
ActorLaddie joins me at the table and together we watch Sarah Cooper lip-syncing to Donald Trump talking about masks. Then one of our old favourites: Trump talking about injecting disinfectant. Then – oh, there’s a new one! Trump talking about ‘acing’ the Montreal Cognitive test.Continue reading →
If it’s true that we are but toys for the Gods, then my sister-in-law is definitely their Etch-a-Sketch.
I guess you could say that it all started with the Golden Giraffe.
Tasteful, or what? One of my brother-in-law’s finest creations: essence of plastic giraffe, with an artisanal wooden mount and golden overtones. Such simple beginnings; such magnificent results.Continue reading →
Right now – Boxing.
Alex holds up to the camera a notebook on which he has written the word ‘Boxing’.
Two forward, two crosses, two up. And I’m looking for eight out of ten from you. I want to see eight out of ten for effort. Ready?
Ready, I say. Though as we’re all Muted, only the cat hears and she’s too polite to listen. The bell rings and we’re off, PD Warriors together, bashing the hell out of thin air, at a rate of eight out of ten for effort.Continue reading →
It’s threatening to be a day of hiding under the duvet and reading about people doing stuff, rather than actually getting up and doing stuff myself.
Specifically, I’m about to tackle a Guardian article Shelf isolation: stylish reads to keep your spirits up. This is by way of window-shopping really: my actual reading in lock-down has stalled at Harry Potter. I do love a good school story. I hated school, mind, but I have memories of a blissful week in bed with some childhood disease, working my way through a pile of June and Schoolfriend annuals bequeathed by my slightly older cousin.
So, now, essentially, I’m hiding in Hogwarts: back on the school stories but with the added resonance of being books I read aloud to YoungLochinvar and the InfantPhenomenon in happier times.Continue reading →