SUNDAY In a rare moment of schadenfreude, the prospect of watching MPs on the government side dealing with the post-Brexit shitstorm was quite tempting.
📌 One of his posh mates has told Boris that he is not a Conservative but an “English Nationalist”. Given the PM’s desire to be loved by everyone, that must have hurt.
📌 There’s a cracking piece in It’s Nice That about rejected EU flag designs. Many of them were done by regular citizens using felt-tip pens and wax crayons.
📌 My wife’s sister’s choir has released their Christmas single.
📌 Shirley went for the nice-guys-don’t-win option and Ranvir got eliminated.
📌 Belatedly read Michael Heseltine’s big swipe at the incompetence of his Tory party inheritors.
MONDAY The pessimism around a crashout Brexit is starting to weigh heavily.
📌 This is sad…
📌 Boris and Ursula have agreed to go the extra 1.6km. And UK councils are taking Covid matters into their own hands and closing schools.
📌 Sam sent her version of last week’s Home Studio project, an unfinished portrait by Gustav Klimt.
TUESDAY Did I just hear a reverse ferret knocking on Gavin Williamson’s door? Or will Greenwich Council cave in and force pupils back to school for the last three days of term? Some UK schools are showing attendance figures as low as 37% in areas hardest hit by Covid.
📌 My wife has organised a community singalong for this weekend, so there’s now a mad frenzy in progress to ensure it is Tier 3 compliant. London is spiking.
📌 Started to acclimatise myself to a new Total Lockdown by sitting outside in the freezing cold with a hot drink, watching the roof repairers at work on the block of flats opposite.
📌 A Christmas gift I bought for my wife while drunk arrived by delivery. And an email arrived saying another one was on its way.
📌 Dominic Cummings is still on the payroll.
The government seems to be running a complicated algorithm where the worse you are at your job, the more money you get. Hence Dominic Cummings’s 40% pay rise.John Crace, the Guardian
WEDNESDAY People in Public Health England say they are being cut out of the £12bn national mass vaccination programme. A “venture capitalist” called Kate has been put in charge, answering directly to the PM.
📌 I never knew that the US President had the authority to order executions.
📌 Got some great feedback from the Y9 class in Cornwall who did the Guardian’s reinvented front-page workshop yesterday. The session sounded really exciting, which is how it should be.
📌 The reverse side of any stitchwork project can sometimes be more interesting than the clean, finished side. This is the Australia tote bag nearing completion. I flipped the image to put Tasmania in its rightful place.
📌 While Boris was making his Christmas Lite speech, Esther Rantzen was on the radio saying let’s cancel it for this year and instead have a big blow-out when the vaccine has kicked in and the weather’s warmer.
THURSDAY A story in the Morning Star is a cold reminder of what’s going on beneath the surface of seasonal good cheer and stoic resilience.
📌 The HuffPost describes Boris’s Condom Christmas speech as “Yuletide Fog”.
📌 The ugliest orchid in the world has been found at Heathrow Airport.
📌 I’ve fallen into the regrettable habit of checking the news every half hour to see if the virus restrictions have changed. What I’ve learned as a byproduct of doing so is that the Tier system is generally thought to be hopeless.
📌 Alice has been doing a YouTube Christmas carol/song advent calendar. Each day someone does a video introducing their chosen song. Today she fights with her son Hector over Kermit, who is presumably the signifier of who is entitled to speak.
FRIDAY The good news is that our local gym has re-opened, Covid compliant, and they were dishing out free passes. It was a delight to get back on the rowing machine with Spotify Easy 80s thrumming through the headphones.
📌 The bad news is that I got an email from Tash saying she will be leaving Headway in January. She will be sorely missed by many members and we all now wonder what kind of organisation it will become under new management.
📌 Emily got in touch with an enthusiastic response to the online Dubuffet workshop I pitched to her. Fingers crossed we get something worked out for when the Barbican exhibition starts in February.
📌 Another online workshop idea popped into my head straight after the message from Emily. The gist is to do action paintings to a Spotify playlist.
📌 Australia is finished, pressed and bagged.
The mappy stitchwork projects are a great way to travel in your head. In this case, lots of memories from our big trip to Australia in 1997 emerged, like that time at that camping spot just outside Coober Pedy when my wife tried to eat porridge through the fly net that was covering her face.
📌 Booze and fags have been the big supermarket sales success during the dark days of Covid.
📌 One year ago we’d just arrived in Tenerife for a 3-week holiday. It’s when this blog really started. At the airport waiting for our flight I did a sketch of Taylor Swift after seeing her performance on Strictly Come Dancing 2019.
📌 We got to the end of Ozark and marvelled at its brilliance. Not that we enjoy watching top British actors get their heads blown off, or anything. Series 3 explored the inner dynamics of the Langmore family. Ruth and Wyatt’s stories got firmed up and finished in a way that sets up Series 4 nicely.
SATURDAY Boris has not announced a UK travel ban (yet) and we’ve just been recommended a new Scandi-noir to fill the gap left by finishing Ozark. It’s DNA on BBC4 and stars Charlotte Rampling as a “chilly French cop”.
📌 Sometimes the realisation strikes in a flash that what you look like isn’t what you are.
📌 It probably breaks all the etiquette rules of blogging, but I stole an image from another blogger because I think it would actually make a good exercise in self-portraiture.
📌 Nicole, the musical director of the community singalong my wife has been organising for tomorrow just got in touch to say her Covid test came back negative. This is a major source of happiness because we have been engaged in a vicious circle of stress-induced bickering for the past four days.
📌 Got a “pint-a-goal” bet with Sue on the Palace vs Liverpool game.
📌 I won 7 pints.
📌 My six votes were split evenly between Bill and Maisie.
📌 Rosie won the family Zoom Christmas quiz. She knew an awful lot about The Gruffalo. My best moment was naming Clare Balding as the originator of Mo Farah’s Mobot.
📌 It’s the “found in suitcase” that makes this headline.
📌 From midnight we are effectively under house arrest.
Week 52 will be published on 26 December.