Saturday, 30 May 2020

100 Days - 32nd


I like Trevor Noah and have enjoyed his Daily Social Distancing Show on Facebook over the last few months. His usual style is a witty takedown of current events but here we see him in a different light, giving some serious and important insights into events in the US surrounding the killing by police of George Floyd this week. I don't have the ability, nor the right, to add anything to his thoughts. Watch it through, and take it on board. 

Stay safe. See you tomorrow.




Friday, 29 May 2020

100 Days - thirty first: Birthday

Excitement over at the Osprey Cam because the first chick hatched today. Coincidentally it is my son Lewis's 32nd birthday today too. I did not want to post a baby picture, because that would not be who he is now, and I could not find the fabulous photo taken of him climbing at Brimham Rocks, but sometimes I think he might still be this person:
It is strange how you look at your adult children and still seek out the child that you used to know. I always thought he would be a tree surgeon; big trees and getting to the top of them used to be one of his main aims in life. He has done other things with his life, but even now if you take him for a walk he will find a tree to climb. 

Book to Make You Think, in the light of recent events in the US: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas from 2017

Stay safe. See you tomorrow.

Thursday, 28 May 2020

100 Days - thirty : Frances


I need to take today to think about my cousin Frances. It was her funeral today. She took her own life a few weeks ago amid the chaos of the pandemic that robbed her of her mental health support and the little family routines that had helped her to cope with her depression. We were not close, I only saw her intermittently though my life, but her death is a terrible loss for all the family. 
The top photo shows a Maguire family visit to our home in Neston during the seventies; Frances sits on the right of the front row with myself and my brothers.
The photo below was probably taken in the 80s, its hard to tell, mum looks very young still. From the left: (my mum's sisters) Enid, Iris, Ann (Frances' mum), Frances, Joanne (her sister), and my mum.

I just feel sad. It is tragic that she found life not worth living when she was still so young. And heart broken for my lovely auntie Ann.

Stay safe. Hug your loved ones, if you are able.



Wednesday, 27 May 2020

100 Days - 29

I have been reading, quite a bit. Intermittent insomnia has found me staring at the ceiling in the wee small hours, and another cup of tea and a few more chapters just while away the hours. 
'The Sixteen Trees of the Somme' by Lars Mytting (translated by Paul Russell Garrett) was one of those 'mysterious thing happens to character in childhood that he has to get to the bottom of' stories. An enjoyable meander from Norway to Scotland to France and back again. A lack of female characters annoyed me somewhat; the two young women vying for his sexual favours were one dimensional, but the narrative disclosure was very satisfying and the details around wood production were surprisingly engaging. Generally nicely written, well woven into the background history of the events and very atmospheric. Here Edvard is with the undertaker after his grandfather has died:

"She emerged from the back room wearing dark-grey office clothes. Walked around the counter, shook my hand and did not let go. She said nothing, but gave me to understand that I had been expected. At first I thought that this was a silence was meant for all types of bereaved: parents who were broken for life, having had to order a small coffin; the spouses of tyrants who were happy the bastard had finally gone. But Rannveig Landstad's silence flowed inside me like a sedative, and all at once - for the first time in ages - it felt as if I had something in common with others in the village. Other people had stood here and felt the same way, stood here shaken and destroyed in the antechamber of the churchyard, and I was not ashamed that I was red-eyed and out of sorts having wandered around the entire night burrowing through papers before lying sleepless, staring at the clock." (p.73)


I was a little disappointed by 'Postcards' by E. Annie Proulx, but only because I did not enjoy it anything like as much as 'The Shipping News' (which predates the blog so no review, another book I should reread some time). Loyal Blood rapes and kills his girlfriend, and to cover his crime pretends they are running away together. He never comes back, but keeps in touch with his family through a series of postcards. The book follows the different family members down their various paths in life. It is in essence a portrait of poor, rural America in the period from the end of the war; there is something of the American Dream for the family who's fortunes wax and wane over the years, sometimes by their choices and actions, sometimes by sheer chance. I was about to say it was another book without decent women characters, but then found that the quote I have is about Jewell, his mother, learning to drive after the father dies:

"Did men, she wondered, have this feeling of lightness, of wiping out all troubles when they got into their cars or trucks? Their faces did not show any special pleasure when they drove. Men understood nothing of the profound sameness, week after week, after month of the same narrow rooms, treading the same worn footpaths to the clothesline, the garden. You soon knew it all by heart. Your mind closed in to the problems of cracked glass, feeling for pennies in linty coat pockets, sour milk. You couldn't get away from troubles. They came dragging into the mirror with you, fanning over the snow, filled the dirty sink. Men couldn't imagine women's lives, they seemed to believe, as in a religion, that women were numbed by an instinctive craving to fill the wet mouths of babies, predestined to choose always the petty points of life on which to hang their attention until at last all ended and began with the orifices of the body. She had believed this herself. And wondered in the blue nights if what she truly felt now was not the pleasure of driving but being cast free of Mink's furious anger. He had crushed her into a corner of life." (p.143)

Looking forward to being on leave next week and enjoying some books in the garden, but will probably just stare into space and then beat myself up about wasting the time. Wish I could go somewhere but whatever ...

Stay safe. See you tomorrow (maybe).

#100DaysToOffload

Monday, 25 May 2020

100 Days: 8 and twenty - hot date


We usually avoid the bank holiday tradition of going somewhere to hang out with a load of other human beings, but today Dunk and I biked along the Floop to Gorton Upper Reservoir. (We took a joint decision not to risk the canal path down to Dunham Massey.) I was proved wrong yet again, in my claim that south Manchester is without hills. I mean it felt pretty flat on the way out, but then it was definitely downhill all the way home. Google maps shows a rise of nearly 200ft (I wrote metres but I think it's feet, 200 metres is huge) over the length of the journey. There were a few other people sitting on the bank of grass at the far end but it was not crowded. I made the rookie error of bringing chocolate on a boiling hot day, it was escaping the packet by the time I got home. Not sure if this counts as our annual date, there was no ice-cream so I am thinking not.

Stay safe. See you tomorrow.




Sunday, 24 May 2020

100 Days - 27th : Good and Evil

The "Evil God Challenge" by Stephen Law from Steph Hope on Vimeo.

Stephen Law always makes me think hard about stuff, and I like the way he often relates philosophical problems to what happens in real life (because philosophy is often connected in people's minds with the abstract and abstruse). Here is an animation explaining in layperson's terms his longer thesis challenging the notion of an omniscient, omnipotent all-good god.

In other news today, people died.
Watching the crisis unfold has often felt a little unreal, as if it is happening elsewhere to other people. I have felt that naming people, as happened a lot with the early deaths, and the deaths of medical professionals, is important so that we remember it is real people dying. The New York Times today printed over 1000 people's names, along with some detail about them. Here are some people who  have died: Solomon S. Podgursky, 84, New Jersey, loved to figure out how things worked; Ruth Skapinock, 85, Roseville, Calif., backyard birds were known to eat from her hand; Irene Gasior, 94, Pennsylvania, great-grandmother with a flair for pizzelles; Dale E. Thurman, 65, Lexington Ky., tailor known for his exacting work and strong opinions.

Stay safe. See you tomorrow.



Friday, 22 May 2020

100 Days - day 26

 I tried hard but today got me down somewhat.
Two messages for the great British public:
1 - READ THE FUCKING CARD
2 - PUT A FUCKING NUMBER ON YOU HOUSE

Stay safe. See you tomorrow.


Thursday, 21 May 2020

100 Days - twenty and 5 : bees

Mum tells me they are mostly 'weeds' in my garden, but you know what, I don't care because today they were covered in bees. Save the bees, grow some weeds.

Stay safe. See you tomorrow.


Wednesday, 20 May 2020

100 Days - twenty fourth: volleyball and jigsaws

Went to the park. Played volleyball. Well, we hit the ball in the air a bunch of times, sometimes we managing to hit it to each other. Monkey and Toby were very tolerant of mine and Tish's appalling hand/eye coordination. We laughed a lot, and got a bit bitten by midges. Monkey wants the sports centre open again even more than I want the library open.

this isn't happiness
Dunk sent me this from 'this isn't happiness'. There are so many graphs in the news at the moment but this one tells as much about the current situation as any of them.

Book to Make You Think - Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov from 2013

Stay safe. See you tomorrow.


Tuesday, 19 May 2020

100 Days - 23 days

I have made a conscious decision not to post depressing things, at least for a few days. Monkey was feeling down so I took her to see the cootlings and cygnets; you can't help but smile at fluffy baby animals. She showed me a path through the trees that I had not realised was there. We sat and watched some kids climbing trees, then the police arrived and scared off the pot smokers, then she made me a daisy chain (pictured with my Nomads dress that mum bought for my birthday). As we walked back we blew lots of dandelion clocks and made wishes. She pointed out how many of the wishes she made as a child eventually came true and we mused about the awesome power of dandelions.

Today's Book to make You Think, the completely lovely 'A Letter to D' by AndrĂ© Gorz from 2011.

Stay safe. See you tomorrow.



100 Days - two and twenty days

TFGM
In the face of all the shit going on in the world, that I started linking to and then was too overwhelmed by, I will just share a photo of the newly pedestrianised stretch of Deansgate in central Manchester. Small crumb of comfort in a shitty world.

Stay safe. See you tomorrow.

#100DaysToOffload
(darn didn't make it before midnight again - Monday's post)

Sunday, 17 May 2020

100 Days - day one and twenty

Not nice: many dead trees on Alison Street:

Nice: Dunk walking:

Three cootlings:

Three cygnets:

Thirteen on the iPlayer, and Tish, Monkey and Toby talking over it most of the evening because the plot had so many holes:

Hope your day had some nice to balance out the not nice.

Stay safe. See you tomorrow.



Saturday, 16 May 2020

100 Days - 20th day Houseiversary

Today is my houseiversary, a whole year since I got the keys to my very own house. I have pretty much fulfilled my challenge to myself to get the whole house painted within a year (Toby helpfully closed the door to the under-stairs cupboard so I didn't have to be reminded of the one little space left to paint). I continue to arrive home from work to a deep sense of contentment and security. Much as their inability to use the recycle bins properly drives me crazy, the neighbours all seem lovely, and none of them owns a noisy dog or plays loud obnoxious music. All in all I am satisfied that I made a good decision.


Stay safe. See you tomorrow.


Friday, 15 May 2020

100 Days - 19th day - did he jump or was he pushed

Lots of good news today. Rico Back 'quits' as CEO of Royal Mail, taking with him, of course, lots of money, and all the shares he's been acquiring over the years. The union is delighted because under his leadership there has been almost constant conflict between the union and management; they argued that his plans were a threat to the universal service (which he wanted to get rid of naturally) and were aimed at breaking up the company. He has been sharply criticised for 'running the company' from Switzerland for the last two months. I mean I know senior management are notorious for being a long way from the people on the ground doing the actually work but that is taking things to the extreme. Ever since privatisation there has been a shift away from the idea that we are a public service towards an emphasis on profits before people. Every year we do an employee survey on which I write that the company should be taken back into public ownership. And apparently we are all going to get a nice little bonus to thank us for keeping the economy afloat while nobody could go to the shops. So that's all right then. And I forgot to mention, lovely lady on Beech Grove gave me some choccies, just for being an excellent postlady.

I have been feeling bad for enjoying the chaos. Listening to the word salad that comes from the mouths of ministers as they try to explain what we are and are not allowed to do is just ripe for ridicule. Snarky articles in the Guardian like this one by John Crace are entertaining, because they need to show up the incompetence of the government's policies, but then I remind myself that it's serious. And then you read the latest reports from across the pond and it almost makes your feel better ... almost. If you are feeling that things can't possibly get any worse the advice from Oliver Burkeman is to accept the state of the world and stop trying to feel you have to fix it all. Good advice for me there.

Book to Make You Think - Inside the Wave by Helen Dunmore from 2018 (poetry)

Stay safe. See you tomorrow.


Thursday, 14 May 2020

100 Days - the eighteenth

What I really want to know is when are they going to open the libraries.
Trying hard to appreciate the positive.
Blue skies.
Sunshine.
Goslings.
Quiet roads.
Cats who roll over and let you rub their belly.
Rhubarb jam tarts.
Mangoes.
It's not helping.
Have volunteered to work Sundays collecting coronavirus tests from key workers. Hoping that making a positive contribution to the crisis might make me feel better.
(Listening to the others play Pirate Flux has worked a little bit)

Book to Make You Think - The Philosopher and the Wolf by Mark Rowlands from 2009.

Stay safe. Will try and see you tomorrow.




Tuesday, 12 May 2020

100 Days - day 17

Aaargh! We finished the new puzzle and there is a piece missing! It was secured under the sofa at night and no evidence that the cat had tried to interfere with it, but still, a piece missing. We have puzzle gremlins.

On the plus side I recycled some soap scraps and made a new little bar of soap. I even improvised a mould out of a yogurt pot lid. Tish warned me not to put it in the microwave, apparently it does not work, so I just melted the pieces in the pyrex jug over a pan of hot water.

The goslings are coming along well. Tish says they are considered an invasive species and the park keepers would usual prick the eggs so they do not hatch, but apparently not this year. Haven't seen the original cootling, which is making me anxious for it, but did see another family with three. We can't see the heron's nest any more now all the foliage is out. Dunk says there are four fox cubs in the garden ... but I don't get to watch them.

The finished puzzle is Antagony by Robert S Connett, produced by Flame Tree Publishing. While we very much appreciated the fact that there were two copies of the picture I was a little disappointed that there were a number of damaged pieces (outies that were bent or where the image was becoming detached). Also all the pieces were two innies/two outies. We like variety in our puzzle pieces. I think I will get Convergence back out now.

Book to Make You Think: A Long Long Way by Sebastian Barry from 2012. (And very much looking forward to his new book A Thousand Moons).

Stay safe (don't bother with the alert thing, doze on the sofa if you like). See you tomorrow.


100 Days - 16

Chatted with family last night over zoom; when I say chatted, I mean they chatted. I feel ambivalent on the subject. It's nice to be able to see them, it's nice to be included, but I have nothing to say. I don't feel it is conducive to conversation, it feels stilted. I also find that it makes me feel more remote. I have this sense of being on the periphery of everything; on the outside, looking in at people. I am not good at staying in touch and have gone long periods without seeing my family much. They all see each other much more frequently than I do so I have ended up feeling like an outsider, like I used to be part of it but am not any more. I have been struggling with a feeling of unreality, and then I have times like Saturday when the irrelevance of everything I do all just becomes overwhelming. 
This is not what I wanted to write. I wanted to write a nice upbeat little piece about how mum and dad shared their memories of VE day (they were both nearly 9 at the time). I wanted to say how I felt like an effective parent because Tish had a migraine and I helped her calm down and looked after her until she was able to go back to sleep. I wanted to say how nice it was to come home and find Monkey and Toby making the dinner, though by the time it was ready I felt sick and not hungry. I should be trying to focus on the positive things, how am I supposed to help Monkey be more positive if I can't even do it myself. 
Also why am I waffling on about what's going on in my head when what's going on outside in the world is so much more important.
It's late. (This is Monday's post, but posted after midnight).

Stay safe. See you tomorrow.

Sunday, 10 May 2020

100 Days - day fiveteen

Oh how I laughed. Look, parents are going to sue the government for failing to provide education for their children. Having been a home educator for many years with the Education Welfare Officer breathing down your neck every now and then, demanding that you demonstrate you were providing an education for your children on pain of having them forced back into school, I did find this report most entertaining. Call it karma or something. 

I have read, mostly on facebook, a lot of posts about people 'homeschooling' during the coronavirus lockdown, both positive and negative reactions. Lots of jokes about how teachers should get a big pay rise because making two children sit down and jump through the academic hoops you have planned for them is really hard. Others saying how much their children have flourished away from the stresses of compulsory school attendance. Also home education pages pointing out that what parents are currently doing is *not* home education. It is crisis management. If you're interested Idzie Desmarais writes at 'I'm Unschooled, Yes, I Can Write', and this article on National GeographicI hope that the experience, the enforced extended companionship of their children, has shown parents that children are people too, and that they don't need to control their every waking moment for them to be 'learning' stuff (whatever that means).


In keeping with the rest of the post, today's Book to Make You Think: Weapons of Mass Instruction by John Taylor Gatto from 2013

Stay safe. See you tomorrow.



Saturday, 9 May 2020

100 Days - day 14

You don't like my attitude? Who are you my fucking dad? What's my name? Martine. Would you like the manager's mobile number too? I'm sure that he would love to deal with a complaint about my lapse in politeness. I'm sure it would be high on his list of priorities today. So you go back inside your twee little flat on fucking lapwing lane and call him and he will say, really, Martine, that sounds out of character for her, but I'm sure he would be happy to supply you with a more polite postman in future, one who doesn't have an emotional response to the current stress of the job and life in general but who can deal with everything with a cheery smile. I'm sure that any discomfort you felt at my lack of politeness can be rectified by reporting me to my manager since people in twee little flats on lapwing lane should not be discomfited in any way and are entitled to absolutely politeness in all circumstances. But this will not come out of my mouth. I want it to. I want to stand in the middle of the road and scream. I want to walk away from the van and sit quietly under a tree somewhere until the desire to scream subsides. I don't want to be polite. I am sick to death of being polite, of being cheerful, of being helpful, of being obliging. Sick.

Stay safe. See you tomorrow.

#100DaysToOffload

Friday, 8 May 2020

100 Days - Friday the 13th day


Rebecca telling it like it is. I wish I could be this forthright. In my head I can, sometimes, but when I get angry about things it often makes me inarticulate. That's all for today, not up to writing.

Today's Book To Make You Think: Catch 22 by Joseph Heller from 2011

Stay safe. See you tomorrow.


Thursday, 7 May 2020

100 Days - twelfth day Tree joy

I gathered rather a lot of tree seeds during the autumn and did not plant most of them. (Not beating myself up about that.) Some that did get planted were left to their own devices in the yard over the winter. (Not beating myself up about that either.) Most of the pots have weeds in them. Last week I swear there was only weeds in this one... but I went outside this morning and found three little oak trees (one on the right is very tiny). Much joy. 

On the subject of trees, here are two of my avocado trees. You know all those complicated instructions for sprouting an avocado stone, involving suspending it over water for weeks waiting for a root to emerge? Well just forget all that nonsense. These were grown by just pushing the stones into some compost and watering occasionally. The third pot on the left there has a mango pit in it. When I cut it open there was a tiny sprout coming from it so I have planted it in the hope that we may get a mango tree at some point.

Today's Book To Make You Think: New Finnish Grammar by Diego Marani from 2013

Stay safe. See you tomorrow.



Wednesday, 6 May 2020

100 Days - day eleven Living Otherwise

I acquired Milkman by Anna Burns from mum when I visited, what now feels like years ago but was only in February. It has taken me quite some time to read as I kept falling asleep abruptly while reading then waking up half an hour later with a very stiff neck. None of the people in the story have real names. This matters because who they are is not important. The book is about this profoundly dysfunctional society (Northern Ireland) and the way it affects people's lives, their interactions and relationships and even what they think.

"I myself spent most of of my time with my back turned in the nineteenth century, even the eighteenth century, sometimes the seventeenth and sixteenth centuries, yet even then, I couldn't stop having a view. Third brother-in-law too, for all his exercise obsession and of whom everybody in my district could have sworn didn't have a view, turned out to have a sharp view. There was no getting away from views and of course, the problem was these views between the areas, between one side and the other, were not just not the same. It was that each was intolerant of the other to the extent that highly volatile, built-up contentions periodically would result from them; the reason why too, if you didn't want to get into that explosive upsurge despite your views which you can't help having, you had to have manners and exercise politeness to overcome, or at any rate balance out, the violence, the hatred, the blaming - for how to live otherwise? This was not schizophrenia. This was living otherwise." (p.112)

So middle sister, as she is called, likes to read while walking. Unbeknownst to her people are disapproving of this weird behaviour and she is being viewed as 'beyond the pale', a category of people who are seen as outsiders. However when out running she finds herself being stalked by milkman, a member of the paramilitaries, who has decided that she is the girl for him. She tries to ignore him, even when he makes veiled and not-so-veiled threats against maybe-boyfriend. The community notice this stalking and assume the worst. Even her mother does not believe her when she insists she is not having an affair with milkman. All the while she is trying desperately to get on with life but against her will is drawn into the world of renouncers.

It took me many many pages to understand. Why doesn't she just tell him to go away I wondered. But thats not how things work. Mum summed it up after I emailed her about reading it. She said it's about a society based on fear. Life has to be lived as is dictated by the paramilitaries; where you live, who you associate with, what you say, where you shop, how you behave. Because if you don't someone may just turn up on your doorstep and shoot you. Families are both guilty by association and protected by association. And it becomes so normalised that people police themselves, and each other, because they are afraid. I grew up during this period, and the 'troubles' was a constant feature on the news in my childhood. I never understood this division along catholic/protestant lines. I never understood how the disagreement went so deep that people could be killed for it. I'm not sure I do now, but this book has certainly helped me understand how people lived their lives and why.

This statement by middle sister about marriage sums it up (marrying the wrong person and her ma's pressure on her to get married are constant themes throughout):

"Of course there was the big one, the biggest reason for not marrying the right spouse. If you married that one, the one you loved and desired and who lived and desired you back, with the union proving true and good and replete with the most fulfilling happiness, well, what if this wonderful spouse didn't fall out of love with you, or you with them, and neither of you either, got killed in the political problems? All those joyful evers and infinites? Are you sure, really, really sure, you could cope with the prospect of that? The community decided that no, it couldn't. Great and sustained happiness was far too much to ask of it. That was why marrying in doubt, marrying in guilt, marrying in regret, in fear, in despair, in blame, also in terrible self-sacrifice was pretty much the unspoken matrimonial requisite here. That was why too, I protected myself by not getting married; further, by sticking to maybe-relationships in spite of my intermittent longing for, and futile attempts to mould me and maybe-boyfriend into, a proper relationship." (p.256)

So, there are far reaching and convoluted consequences to the situation, even though there is never a 'situation' between middle sister and milkman (not to be confused with real milkman, who is actually a milkman). People die. For random and often unrelated reasons. It is the uncertainty that keeps everyone in line. The notion that you don't even know what thing you might do that will be disapproved of. And of course people can take the political situation and use it for their own desires. But try and do that and they are still watching you:

"So they beat him up. And it was for his behaviour that they beat him up, not for the irritation of guns, for wearing a balaclava when everybody knew who he was anyway; not for threatening me either, a woman, one of their soul sisters. No. It was for being a man and coming into the Ladies unannounced. He had shown disrespect, been dismissive of female fragilities and delicacies and sensibilities, had shown no courtesy, displayed no chivalry, no gallantry, no honour. It was that he had no manners basically. If he chose to walk in on them while they were applying lipstick, adjusting hair, sharing secrets, changing sanitary towels, then so be it, there would be consequences. And here they were, those consequences, happening now. After the current consequences, after they told their men which they were going to do in a minute, there would be further consequences." (p.310)

So. I was just about to write that this was a 'proper' blogpost. Despite my original intent when I started this blog eleven long years ago I have drifted in to only expressing opinions about books. The purpose of 100DaysToOffLoad is to share what you are thinking. I am going to have to work on the idea that I can share opinions about other things too and it will be a proper blogpost. This book has caused me to think a lot. In fact that is why I like reading. Although I do read for entertainment the books I enjoy the most are the ones that make me think, the ones that show me something about life that I had not encountered before. So in light of that I am going to start a Books to Make You Think link in each of my posts: Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels from 2010.

Stay safe. See you tomorrow.

#100DaysToOffload

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

100 Days - day ten blog post

Here is a blog post about not having anything to write a blog post about. I can't let myself off the hook or I will abandon the 100 Days project, and it's late and there is not time to finish the book review post I started this morning. I made some red pepper hummus, but it lacks a certain something that the hummus from Unicorn has. I wanted to try and eat nutritious stuff for lunch this week rather than bagels with peanut butter which is my go to lunch when I can't be bothered to plan. Tish and I made baklava yesterday and I took some of that too, to balance out all the veggies in the hummus wraps:

There are now various goslings on the pond, and Tish reported seeing more cootlings too. No sign of any of the ducks making babies though. 
We ordered pizza for dinner because nobody could be bothered to cook. I was kind of saving getting takeaways until people might get sick and not be able to go out, but nobody is sick and being not bothered is the next best excuse. 

Stay safe. See you tomorrow.



Monday, 4 May 2020

100 Days - 9 (nine)

Osprey cam entertained today me when Louis randomly bought a huge twig back and then struggled to find a good spot for it. Other than that had a kind of meh day. You know what I mean; you start off thinking you will achieve something and then you just sit and play Words With Friends instead. I was going to hoover and then disinfect all the surfaces, door handles, light switches etc that I have done a few times over the last few weeks in a pathetic attempt to make like I am taking the virus thing seriously. I mean I never went out anywhere anyway and I still have to go to work so what can I do to prove that it is important. We have a sign up to remind everyone to wash their hands when they come in but I don't actually believe that I will catch covid19 from the egg box I picked up in Asda. I walk over to the park and the world is superficially exactly as normal, then I get there and I don't hold Dunk's hand as we walk round because I, being the person in contact with others, might be the one to make him ill. Julie and AJ came over on their bikes to bring rhubarb and stood in the road while we chatted, and there was nothing weird about it. It is all so surreal and mundane at the same time. 
Like this:

Stay safe. See you tomorrow. 
p.s. we found the puzzle piece, but it was after we put it away.



Sunday, 3 May 2020

100 Days - on the eighth day

The best laid plans of mice and men cannot contend with a very determined cat. I weighed down the rug with cushions in an attempt to prevent her moving the puzzle but this morning I found she had pulled out each of the boxes of pieces.
Tish came down and gave her her early morning fuss and brush down and then started doing some puzzle:
Lyra had trouble finding the best spot.


 It wasn't until we finished this afternoon that we found one piece was missing.
Lyra is denying all knowledge.
Barney's Newsbox was not working last week but seems ok now so we ordered something new. Who knows how long this thing is going to last, best to be prepared.

Stay safe. See you tomorrow. 



Saturday, 2 May 2020

100 Days - day seven

The world is packed with people on bikes and baby animals. Today in Platt Field park it was squirrel kittens in the hollow of a huge dead tree. I had only commented a few days ago how you never see baby squirrels, only grown up ones, and there I am, proved wrong yet again. Dunk and I broke from our routine and went down to the Floop, then up Wilmslow road, across Platt Field and back along Claremont to my road, covering nearly 4 miles.


We have had to do our most recent puzzle on the floor because it is more square, and too big to fit on the back on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Lyra is already known for her puzzle piece stealing proclivities so we made a vain attempt to prevent her messing with the half completed puzzle over night, but when I came down this morning to make tea this was how I found her:
We spent the afternoon listening to 1984 by George Orwell on Youtube. It was depressing to read the number of recent comments saying how life under the coronavirus is just like a totalitarian state, as if people didn't actually listen to or understand the story at all. The scene quite close to the beginning of the 'two minutes hate' was chilling, and reminded me unpleasantly of the atmosphere at some Trump rallies where he got people riled up against Hilary Clinton. People forget that Orwell was not writing about the future but about what he thought was already happening in society. Big Brother really is watching you, you just call it Alexa.

Stay safe. See you tomorrow.



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