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Sunday 14 June 2020

Enduring the bubble

Side-effects of self-isolation. I thought I was impervious since Plague life resembled the previous twenty-five years of retirement. I was wrong.

Picking up The Guardian at the filling station. Two glassed-off check-outs now operate. So it's two in, two out. A family relationship has developed with the women who run things. They smile as I arrive, I smile back - a tangible exchange of warmth.

Singing lessons via Skype. More intense, more serious. But the squalor of my study - see above - is getting me down, it does disservice to the music. By contrast, lessons chez V, were held in a spacious living room; the piano - piled high with scores - was reassuring. A music stand allowed me to sing standing up. On the opposite wall a Pre-Raphaelite woman looked down wistfully, burdened by the many wrong notes she had heard.

Drinking. Will I eventually be able to cut down on the Bloody Marys? The ritual is as seductive as the taste. Shaking five drops (no more) of Tabasco on the ice cubes. Drunk far too quickly.

TV. We have Netflix and Amazon Prime for free, courtesy Bella and partner, Occasional Speeder and Darren. At least 90% of the movies are beyond any adult consideration. But how bad can bad be? Might one try?

Reading. There are limits to the number of books one may have on the go simultaneously (Kindle is a pernicious factor in this). Beyond four and you need a printed list of the characters in all the novels.

Gift deliveries. These are often unpredictable, being impulse-driven. The doorbell still isn’t loud enough.

Eating. More frequently, off our knees in the living room. Sloppy.

News about The Plague. One’s capacity is finite and now shrinks week by week.

Birds. More abundant. Might they take over?


  1. Strangers are smiling a lot at each other these days, aren't they? I can't help thinking that they are slightly nervous smiles though, as if staving off hysteria.

  2. You describe the times we are living in so well. Each facet of the daily or weekly doldrums. We have Netflix and Amazon Prime too.. and still find very little there that draws our complete attention. I'll confess to playing solitaire while we stream the video. I fear this pandemic is not going to end any time soon and will likely get worse this fall. Maybe I'll find some new card games. I hope the birds win.

  3. Tom: There was fear to begin with but it's strange what you can get used to. How did people manage to live through the Blitz without going crazy? Or high unemployment during the early eighties? I wouldn't say present-day cheerfulness is manufactured but it's not entirely natural. It's slightly over-assertive, as if for reassurance. I smile to prove I can smile.

    robin andrea: I have the complete BBC Shakespeare on DVDs. I've watched them all (even Timon of Athens) - a dozen of them several times. It's a good way of taking the intellect out for a trot on a metaphorically rainy day. Naturally I consult, since VR is far better educated than I am. This time she relaxed her grip and we watched Richard II (not to be confused with Richard III) and I was reminded that this is probably the crappest of what are considered to be the history plays. A bad tactical move. At a time when most of the country's values are under scrutiny it's not a good idea to re-discover that our greatest playwright wrote crap plays.

    I fill in the cracks of my life by playing Solitaire. It rapidly ceases to be a mental exercise, awareness reduced to the top joints of my fingers. Time slips by then rushes by. I am - in a sense - shortening the gap between being alive and being dead. But does this matter?

  4. They just re-opened up the wildlife drive near me where there are scads of alligators to view safely from one's car. Apparently the alligators are more plentiful than ever, and lie in road now. After a couple of months with no cars, they think they own the place.

    1. Hmm. I'm going to use this as my next blog post.

    2. Colette: Why don't you do "Before" and "After" posts. And then delay posting the latter, giving us all the heebie-jeebies. Nothing like controlling your audience.

      Hope your car is reasonably modern. I reckon even a baby alligator could chew its way in through the trunk of a 1970 Chevy Impala.

  5. Normally I would saw put the computer under the table. Yet when I see masking tape and a bungee cord, I defer to that guy. Great room. I should print your photo for motivation.