Friday, 3 April 2020

Lit up by rainbows

I've been taking a lunchtime constitutional each day, as permitted by The Rules.  Often, I make a circuit round our streets.

Painted rainbows have been appearing in windows and they have made it a joy.

The Rainbow is not a single focused campaign but a general movement stimulated by sharing on social media.  It is spreading, dare I say it...virally.

The message is one of hope and reassurance - like any storm, this will come to an end.

Recently, I've seen a variant - children have been chalking colourful rainbows on pavements and walls.

It lifted my heart.

But one family had to go and take it just too far. 

There on the pavement in front of me was a sequence of chalked instructions:
"Tip-toes....walk the tightrope....five star jumps....six hops"

Dammit, they had created a pavement exercise routine.

Feeling threatened, I returned home at once.

Thursday, 2 April 2020

The thrill of the food cupboard

It’s now two weeks since I last went to the shops or had a delivery.

By now I am working my way through little-known corners of the larder.
I thought I had everything neatly arranged in boxes.
How great was my happiness to discover that things had been flipped out and lodged behind the boxes.  The jewel in the crown of my discoveries was…a pack of dried pasta. 

Okay, so it was wholewheat, but nothing is perfect.

I’ve stopped tidying the larder just now – hoping to find some more surprises tomorrow.

Mustn’t overexcite myself.

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Lockdown for Burglars

Recently Nigel left his keys in the front door.  On the outside.

I helpfully pointed his lapse out to him, but he made the point that actually a burglar would be hard put to it to find a moment when we were both out.

Think about it.

For a house robber, their way of life has pretty much dried up.

Nigel said, “I notice Rishi Sunak didn’t announce any financial relief for burglars who can’t get into people’s homes at the moment.”

“No, I guess they’ll just have to show a bit of initiative and live up to the challenge of these trying times.”

And judging by the number of Phishing texts/emails recently, seems like quite a few have.

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Donald Ducking It

I was on a Zoom call with Nigel and the children last Sunday.  Each of us was present as head and shoulders.  Pascoe asked,
“Anybody Donald Ducking it?”

That sounded rude.  “What on earth do you mean?”

“Think about Donald Duck, Mum.  What does he wear?”

“A sailor hat and a sailor top….and not much else.”

“Precisely – he doesn’t have any trousers. Now we’re all working by videoconference, nobody knows what you’re wearing under the desk.”

He was right – I’d put on a respectable shirt but beneath the table lurked ripped gardening trousers.
Since then, I have taken full advantage of this partial view.

On Monday, I went to work in the unflattering purple jeggings that I was a fool to buy, even if they were a knock-down bargain.

Today I am sporting the slim-fit black jeans with a silver snake-skin pattern which Carenza persuaded me to buy in a fit of overconfidence that she had on my behalf.

And guess what -  none of the pupils or coworkers I’ve met with on videoconferencing has said a thing.

So for tomorrow, I have got out my red sparkly leggings – seems a waste only to wear them on Christmas Day.

Monday, 30 March 2020

Nettle Soup

We are keen not to go to the shops until we absolutely must as that seems the most likely place to catch Corona Virus at the moment.

Foraging has been our hobby for many years and it is now coming into its own.

Yesterday I boiled up a load of young nettle leaves with some three-cornered leek that Nigel had weeded out of the garden, whizzed it up with lemon juice , olive oil and seasoning, added a can of lentils and made enough soup for three days.

Its colour is very green indeed, and of course it is green in other ways too.

I’ve also noticed bittercress growing as a weed in our garden (like mini watercress) and hedge mustard sprouting at the wayside – leaves to look forward to in a salad.
(Pics below)

Tip 1 Pick well back in the hedgerow so no dog has been there.

Tip 2 ALWAYS remove the garnish before eating the nettle soup!

Bittercress and three-cornered leek

Hedge mustard

Sunday, 29 March 2020

Stir crazy

During the week, Nigel and I were both really busy rejigging our jobs to work from home. 
Boredom was not even a remote threat.

However, at the weekend, Nigel has been getting through his tasks in the house and garden at a rate of knots, and finding more unusual things to do.

I discovered him in the kitchen sifting through an entire sack of dove food* for coarse husks which might jam the mechanical feeder.

“Who asked you to do that?  It wasn’t somebody called Rumpelstiltskin was it?”

Surprisingly quickly, he had processed the entire sack and was stalking the garden. Presently, he put his head round the back door and asked,
“Can I have a drop of sunflower oil please?”

“Sure,” I said as I went to fetch it, “What do you need it for?”

“Oh – it’s for my butt – I want to put some in to stop the insects.”

I nearly dropped the bottle.

Seeing my face, he realised what he had said.

“I mean the water butt – a drop of oil on the surface of the water means gnat larvae can’t breathe and die out.”

“Ah.  OK.”

…I wonder what he will get up to next.

*If you’re wondering what the difference is between dove food and pigeon food, it is that the person who sold it to us crossed out the word ‘pigeon’ on the label and sharpied ‘dove’.


Saturday, 28 March 2020

Home Sweet Home

A few weeks ago Nigel, Pascoe and I were on a long-planned jolly to Lille when France suddenly shut down.  It felt like being inside a trap and hearing the mechanism clicking into place.

Everything was lovely on Friday, including the weather so we went to stroll in the grounds of the Vauban Citadel.  We would visit the massive art museum on Saturday.  But on Saturday, it (along with all museums) was declared shut. 

We began to feel uneasy. We would come home early.  But Eurostar had picked that weekend to renew its computerised ticketing system.  We could not change our tickets, not online, not on the phone, not even in person. 

We would just have to make the best of it. 

We lounged in cafes having a truly relaxed lunch and dinner.

But on Sunday, everything that wasn’t a food shop or pharmacy shut.  The fun really was over.
Our train was not until three - a whole day to kill.

We hiked to the legendary market at Wazemmes and marveled at the beautiful fruit and veg piled high.  However, we could not relax as there were so many people it felt like the Covid 19 version of Russian Roulette.

Even departure was challenging – Pascoe was booked on a later train but with the rapidity of the lockdown, I worried the border might suddenly close. 

Luckily, many people more cautious than us had cancelled their trips and there was a spare seat on our train for Pascoe.

The whole experience made me realise that if I were to be locked down or ill I would much rather be in my own home, surrounded by my own stuff, and supported by kind neighbours.

Home Sweet Home.