The addition of six dried chillies probably didn’t help
Saturday 21 March, London
📌 Yesterday brought moments of optimism and signs that London was up for the challenge. Prime minister Boris Johnson then announced a compulsory shutdown of cafes, restaurants and leisure centres, so I shot straight out to the chippy before it closed until further notice, maybe forever.
I bought far too big a portion, so there was a box of cold chips in the fridge this morning. I dug out a bit of red onion that was starting to rot, plus a leek in a similar state and blitzed it all together in an attempt to make a sort of allium and potato soup. Then I got too clever and added about six dried chillies. It nearly blew my head off and went straight down the toilet asap.
📌 Waitrose was busy with people, but not with Branston pickle. I had to make do with Waitrose’s own ‘Ploughman’s Pickle’. The buzz inside the shop had an air of desperation that seemed all the stranger in the presence of spookily empty shelves.
📌 Amanda is suggesting the gang “meet up” on an online conferencing app called Zoom. It sounds like fun. She is very worried about her aged mum, Naomi, but to cheer us all up she recommended this. My wife said it wasn’t her cup of tea.
📌 There are four drawers in our kitchen. Todays ‘World of Interiors’ photo project features drawer number 2, where carving knives, vegetable knives, whisks and other stuff that isn’t proper cutlery (ie, knives and forks) is stored, or maybe thrown is a better word.
📌 It didn’t take long for the old war films to appear on the TV. Today it is ‘In Which We Serve’. It was co-directed (with David Lean) by Noël Coward. Coward is also it’s lead. John Mills and Celia Johnson are other big names.
One of the ways I used to be able to make my wife smile was to sing Lionel Richie’s ‘All Night Long’ in the voice of Noël Coward.
Also in the film is Bernard Miles, who played Joe Gargery in David Lean’s ‘Great Expectations’ (also starring John Mills), who in one scene of ‘In Which We Serve’ describes the imminent onset of war to his gathered family as “The whole of civilisation trembling on the edge of an abyss.” Apt.
📌 We got a thankyou card from Séan for his birthday present (a globe lamp), which also seems weirdly apt right now.
I joked afterwards that he could have added a PS to his thankyou saying, “It goes so well with my pandemic”. My wife didn’t think that was funny.
📌 We’ve just been discussing the seriousness of the Welsh noir TV show ‘Hidden’. My wife says it takes seriousness to a new level and we wondered if the word “miserableness” exists, because ‘Hidden’ is very miserable. Tonight is the final episode. Will Cadi nail the evil psychopath Mia? Or is Mia really just one more of the victims in this grisly saga? Smile-counting was a habit we picked up while watching another Welsh crime series, ‘Hinterland’. We stopped counting with ‘Hidden’ five episodes ago.
📌 Our friend Graham writes in an email that in his neighbourhood in Figueres, Spain, the meaning of the term “confinement” is being tested by the Covid-19 crisis. There is, of course, confinement as punishment, and the incarceration that goes with it. But there is also confinement as fusion and clustering. The forced or enforced coexistence of couples and families in times of crisis, he says, creates a special, uplifting kind of unity. They are literally forced to make the most of a crap situation. And from what Graham describes, they do it with a passion and resilience that in cozier times might not have been possible.
Pop Quiz… Name that Tune…
“Lost in the Milky Way,
Smile at the empty sky and wait for
The moment a million chances may all collide.”