Diary: Week 46, 2020

November 8-14

From the Guardian

SUNDAY It’s so hard not to laugh, but there’s still a worry that Donald Trump is out there, a wounded animal with a disturbing glint in his eye.

# Lakshmi says gudde means hill in Kannada.

# Did spatchcocking for the first time today, on a Waitrose chicken.

# In the window of a flat opposite there is a life-size cut-out of Charlie Chaplin.

# One of my Facebook friends is getting golf-club invoices for a millionaire couple in California with the same surname as hers. She lives in Hackney. Lady Millionnaire spent $200 in two days in the bar and $8 on golfing equipment. Over three days, the couple’s total bill was $2,000.

MONDAY The Hackney Citizen has another of its fab food-history pieces, ‘The Joys of Sludge‘, on food colours, plus a fresh warning on the dietic dangers of refined sugar, whose pure whiteness disguises its evil intent.

# The President hasn’t shown up for work.

# Another gem turned up in Quora.

The answer gets straight to the point: “Have you even bothered apologising? Because you really should be grovelling right now. Honestly, I don’t even care if he did take your book because you called the cops on him – OVER.A.BOOK! If he is able to forgive you for that level of crazy then he deserves a lot of accolades.”

# If you were glad to see President Trump come unstuck, enjoy it while you can because according to one author his Republican successor will be twice as nasty and a lot smarter.

TUESDAY Dumbestblogger has a story about a woman who has a compulsion to steal pizza cutters, but nevertheless has a keen sense of pizza-cutter price point.

# A vaccine by Christmas is a nice idea, but will everyone agree to be vaccinated? One report claims that 17% of Britons intend to say No.

# One of the bloggers I follow writes to say  “Your diary came just as I was examining my life, which has become very dull. I am going to use you as an inspiration.”

# Another blogger reports disappointment that the the imaginary sex she has during sleep does not burn as many calories as the real thing.

# Someone in America asked Quora, What does it mean when a British person says, “I work in boots”? I have no idea what boots are other than a certain type of footwear. The query was answered by a capital letter. Turns out the questioner should have asked, What does it mean when a British person says, “I work in Boots”? That is Boots, the large retail pharmacist.

# The balconies of our flats look into a vast open space of walkways, piazzas and lawns. Because we are all locked indoors because of ‘The Covids’, the chances to socialise with neighbours are few. Nevertheless, my wife recently suggested a mass Christmas singalong would be possible from the balconies, joined a group to apply for community funding and held meetings with professionals at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama who might help make it happen. They found out today that the funding application has been successful and it’s all systems go. Jingle Bells here we come.

# The climate crisis means that big archaeological finds are more commonly found in ice than in rock. In one article, the archaeologists talk of the exciting frisson that comes with a discovery. On finding a Bronze-Age arrow, one of them describes the feeling that “I am the first person to encounter this since the original user.” I know this feeling from my voluntary work cataloguing photo negatives at the Guardian Archive. That you are one of two or three people ever to have seen what you are seeing.

WEDNESDAY We are trying to fashion a pigeon deterrent for a corner of next door’s balcony. They are away during Lockdown and we are caretaking their flat. Pigeons moved in, had babies, departed but have now returned to somewhere that obviously feels like home. We used to have a hawk patrol as pest control, but that has stopped. Scent of Killer Bird is what I want to spray over the target area, but it doesn’t exist.

# Did an interview for the radio about life in Lockdown and was thrown into dark memories of the First Lockdown when panic took over and all hope seemed lost. Then I plugged the Zoom fundraising quiz night I am co-hosting tomorrow.

# The stairs have been pressed into service as a filing system, though what is systematic about it I cannot see.

The new filing system

THURSDAY Every year our friend Jan sends us the recipe for her Gin Christmas Cake. This year she asked us to file it as she is far “too tired” to keep typing those long words.

1tsp baking powder
1 cup sugar
Half pound butter
1 cup water
1tsp salt
1 cup brown sugar
lemon juice
4 large eggs
1 bottle of gin, large
2 cups dried fruit
4 cups self-raising flour


* Sample a cup of gin to check quality.
* Take a large bowl, check the gin again to be sure it is of the highest quality, then repeat.
* Turn on the electric mixer.
* Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of sugar. Beat again.
* Try another cup, just in case.
* Turn off the mixer thingy. Break 2 eegs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit.
* Pick the fruit off the floor, wash it and put it in the bowl a piece at a time trying to count it. Mix on the turner.
* If the fried druit getas stuck in the beaterers, just pry it loose with a drewscriver
* Sample the gin to test for tonsisticity.
* Next sift 2 cups of salt, or something. Check the gin. Now shit shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts. Add one table.
* Add a spoon of sugar or somefink. Whatever you can find.
* Greash the oven. Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over.
* Don’t forget to beat off the turner. Finally, throw the bowl through the window. Finish of the gin and wipe the counter with the cat.

# One of our friends messaged to say they won’t be at the quiz tonight because they are “buying a new horse”. The last one was a biter.

# The big question is whether all this suffering for a while will make us better people.

# Shawn has written a hilarious story about a guy who makes road signs for a living. It contains the epic quote, “The street-sign business may not sound like a no-holds-barred thrill ride, but I assure you that this level of innovation and diverse market share is unparalleled by any industry.” 

# At Headway I tried to tune a ukulele to Open D for the Elvis Costello song, but it sounded rubbish.

# The studio has been asked to submit some portraits of Grayson Perry for consideration in a book project. I chose to do a pastel monoprint of him not in costume, with his handsome good looks on show. I think I made him look like a young Richard Harris.

Grayson Perry made to look like Richard Harris
Grayson Perry in bad monoprint

FRIDAY Went to bed last night intending to write a sentence in this Diary before nodding off. It was: “The PM wanted to give his friend Lee a job, but his girlfriend said no.” Then I wake up this morning to discover that he is to lose another friend, Dom, by Christmas.

# A Tory politician on the radio described the departure of Lee Cain and Dominic Cummings from the heart of government as “mucking out the stables”.

# At today’s Headway Home Studio, we did mark making in response to sound. When we heard Pink Floyd’s ‘Money’, my response was…

Rhythm picture made to Pink Floyd’s ‘Money’

# The London Mayor’s office is really rather good at consultation and goes to great lengths to be inclusive and diverse in the subjects it tackles on its Talk London site. today it sent a summary of a recent consultation on housing and listed the main findings as:

* Housing should be a major priority for local and central government.
* Shared ownership doesn’t get to the root of London’s housing problem.
* There should be more regulation in the rental/housing market.
* London Living Rent needs to be affordable.
* There needs to be transparency over long-term costs and risks for these affordable housing schemes.

# Last night’s quiz to raise funds for Headway made over £600.

# Dominic Cummings is now leaving his job immediately. The stable has been “mucked out”.

Source: Twitter

SATURDAY Another beautifully written Leader in the Guardian has the Cummings saga nailed, despite a lapse into one especially pretentious-sounding flourish. It concludes that with bad-boy Cummings now removed, the PM will be fully exposed as incompetent.

# Student protestors have occupied my old halls of residence.

Read the full story

# The Morning Star has a story saying that Peter Sutcliffe, the notorious serial killer who died in prison yesterday, had reportedly refused treatment for Covid-19.

# The most common comparison in the media for Dominic Cummings today is not, as has been prevalent, with Rasputin, but with Trotsky. That’s enough to make any stale old Tory quake in [select pronoun] boots. The comparison crops up in a superb political portrait of the PM in the Huffington Post.

# The document shredder is overheating.

# It’s been some time since we heard from the US President.

Source: HuffPost

Diary: Week 47 is due on November 22.

See all of my Diaries.

4 thoughts on “Diary: Week 46, 2020

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