Diary… 19-25 April

‘She said her recovery from an ankle injury was going well. She could now put on her knickers without sitting on the bed’

Sunday 19, London I’ve discovered an app called ‘Break Your Own News’, with which you can make this kind of thing…

If only…

📌 In the Guardian, Andy Beckett speculates on whether the “one-party democracy” the Tories have cornered is actually a natural state of affairs. If that IS the case, Effective Opposition becomes even more important. Corbyn was a very effective antagonist; can Starmer The Charmer pick up the gauntlet?

📌 The bread-making burn wound is healing, so I decided to get back in the saddle and knock off another one of Auntie Tricia’s loaves.

Soda-bread secrets…

📌 There’s a lot of questions about what the government failed to do early in the Coronavirus crisis. And mutterings on Twitter that a legal outfall is inevitable. The European Convention on Human Rights seemingly insists that “avoidable deaths” should be investigated fully. One Tweet says this will lead to “the Mother of All Inquiries into UK policy failure… Like Hillsborough multiplied by Chilcot” and beyond.

📌 And the bad news for the government continues…

A neighbour, whose son is getting chemo for a brain tumour was part of this. I got a message saying he’d “finally” been put on the register and they’d got a Tesco delivery slot. Is there anything we needed? they asked. I said bread flour.

Monday 20, London In ‘Meet The Huggetts’ on the radio, Joe and Fred decided to “teach their wives a lesson” by hiding their vacuum cleaners in the garden shed.

📌 A thought: when all this has passed, will youngsters name their career goal as “working for the nhs”. Not “to be a nurse” or a surgeon, or a phlebotomist, but to be part of the thing everyone clapped and hit pans for.

📌 Socks & Crocs is still quite daring in this house.

Crimes of fashion…

So is buying empty paper tea bags off the internet and filling them with all that loose tea and other rubbish at the back of the cupboard.

Bags for tea time…

I’m nearly done with the bags of horse-strength turmeric powder my wife got off a friend as an anti-inflammatory. Next I will tackle an old packet of  “Christmas Tea”, whatever that is.

📌 I’ve recently started posting snippets of these diaries on Twitter. The drawback is that I’ve been bombarded by big-breasted pornographers. One asked if I’d like to screw my bolt into her nut. Or it might have been the other way round, my nut into her bolt, but that doesn’t make sense.

📌 We did a Zoom with an old friend in Winchester, who until recently had been struggling with an undiagnosed broken ankle (a dancing injury). She said her recovery was going well, and that the chief indicator of progress was that she can now put her knickers on without sitting on the bed.

Tuesday 21, London Conversations these days often end with a guess at what our lives will be like in the months and years to come. An article in Guardian Weekly quotes a graffito in Hong Kong stating, “There can be no return to normal because normal was the problem in the first place.”

Another clue arrived via Twitter.

A hint at what’s to come???

The Guardian article includes the following passage about the British experience.

“The definition of public service has been extended to include the delivery driver and the humble corner shop owner. Indeed, to be “a nation of shopkeepers”, the great Napoleonic insult, no longer looks so bad.”

📌 I’m trying to make illustrations on my phone using free artwork. Here’s one plugging an extract from my March Diary.

Or this…

Experiments in illustration…

📌 My Twitter pest pornographer today is Amanda, who wants to take me on a trip to Planet Orgasm.

📌 We did a pre-birthday Zoom with Rosie. She is being schooled at home and told us how Pandora changed the world forever by opening the box.

📌 My cousin Helen appears to know that trick, too!

📌 Then I spotted this, which was a jolt…

📌 I got a too-long email from a character signing his name “Doug Gurr, Amazon UK Country Manager”, which tells me how great Amazon has been during the Covid crisis. It finishes with a grand boast: “Nothing is more important to us than the wellbeing of our employees… in recognition of their incredible contribution, we’ve increased the pay for employees in our fulfilment centres and delivery roles, adding a further £2 per hour on top of our current starting rate… Those first six words say a lot.

📌 There’s a girl outside learning to ride her bike. An overweight male adult is running (with effort) alongside her, making sure she doesn’t fall off.

📌 The media is going in heavy on government failures, especially the lack of PPE and a desperate health service staffed by immigrant heroes. It’s sticky stuff.

Wednesday 22, London Here’s an illustration I made for a diary extract on Twitter in which I burble on about the Nordic Noir TV series ‘Twin’.

Those rabbit ears can be so confusing…

📌 I had a nice Zoom with Cristina and Dave about the Barbican video, then came downstairs to the most horrible drilling noise imaginable. So bad that I took my rage straight to the place it should never go…

📌 Getting a (scarce) supermarket delivery slot is the new national sport. My wife just nabbed one from Tesco on Wednesday next week (3-4pm).

📌 We will be seeing a lot more of these messages in the near future.

Thursday 23, London An article in the Guardian seems to state quite strongly that our government put its obsessive Little England  political aims before UK citizens’ lives by deliberately rebuffing an offer to join a pan-European effort to get ventilators into hospitals struggling with the virus. My reading of the article’s bottom line was that Boris and his bootboys weren’t going to let a few thousand prematurely dead Britons stand in the way of a Hard Brexit.

📌 I thought I’d lost this epic and timely quote on Facebook by Andy, but then I found it and primped it up in PicsArt.

There’s no fury like the fury of a large man in “Lower Roedean”…

📌 At the Brighton Zoom quiz, Janet & Dave joined, complaining that daughter Rhona was upstairs “sucking all the bandwidth”. They won. The best question was in the Food & Drink section: “What is Arachibutyrophobia?” The answer is, a fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth.

📌 A plug from the Economist on the current global positioning in the New World Order opened with the observation: “Perhaps it was a coincidence that China chose this moment to arrest the most prominent democrats in Hong Kong.”

Friday 24, London Maya and Nina are out playing on the lawn with dad Jez, running, jumping, giggling.

📌 Still trying to avoid the news, but one story refuses to stop dripping. Donald Trump told Americans that the best way to not get Covid-19 is to neck a bottle of Mr Muscle.

And from The Poke…

📌 Strange Lockdown experience. I was on the toilet, writing in my diary; my wife was downstairs Zooming with friends. I suddenly thought, maybe I should finish in the bathroom in case one of my wife’s friends wants to use the toilet…

Saturday 25, London The woman who says “Hello Moto” whenever I turn on my phone sounds like Yoki.

📌 For reasons I’m still trying to work out, ads like this keep popping up.

📌 We went out for a short walk and bought some veg from the safe-distancing roadside greengrocer. The emptiness of the city is eerie, but I guess we are where we are. Cities will need a new identity in the future. Their previous high density was a necessary part of their economic and environmental survival. So the challenge for the next generation is to uninvent and reinvent all at the same time, on schedule and to budget.

📌 I was “sucking the bandwidth” downloading some home video, so the All4 app wouldn’t play ‘Friday Night Dinner’ in catchup. So we watched the last two episodes of ‘Twin’ instead, and with half an hour to go were gripped by a ‘would-they-wouldn’t-they?’ In this case it was all about whether the concluding drama was greasing us up for Series 2. The answer was Yes.

♦️ Read my March Diary

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