Diary: November 2020

SUNDAY 1 In Canada there’s been a new twist on Halloween as an occasion not to remember the dead but to build on the body count.

# It would be nice to think the new Lockdown announced by the PM last night a had some kind of strategy behind it.

If he’d said, “Heads up. The old economy is dead, we need to build a new one for the Virus Age” he might have got more sympathy. Instead he persists with his very own brand of cluelessness, which is now wearing very thin.

# The people who contribute to Quora deserve some kind of blessing. “It’s just a jail thing” is like a line from a movie.

# Will Hutton always makes a good case for the death of democracy being greatly exaggerated.

The postwar settlement our predecessors devised – national and international and with fairness at its heart – created 30 years of prosperity and embedded the legitimacy of democracy; its subsequent unwinding by the Anglo-Saxon right and indifference to the growth of inequality have led to today’s debacle.

The Observer

# We found another hidden stash of rubber walking-stick ferrules. I now have a collection of 16 in various styles and sizes.

MONDAY 2 The failure to implement a remote-learning plan will soon bring another headache for the government.

From the Morning Star

# An article in the Guardian argues for the imposition of the east-Asian model of virus suppression.

…stronger border measures to prevent reimportation of the virus, good guidance to the public about how to avoid crowded settings and, most importantly, a robust system of testing, tracing and isolating…

The Guardian

# Sam sent her picture of Connie in Halloween make-up. There is so much thought in Sam’s pictures of people. Everything we know about Connie is in that face.

Connie, by Sam Jevon.

# It was good to discover that Poundland now stocks oil pastels in packs of 5. If the Poundland Portraits workshop ever becomes a reality again, these will be in the user kit.

Now available in Poundland

# Got quite angry reading an article in the LRB about the vast amount of “emergency” pandemic cash that has been handed to crony clients of the Conservative Party.

# The Dug reckons the PM’s top adviser, Dominic Cummings, is not as good at predictions as he thinks he is…

He’d struggle to forecast a nippy arse after eating a red hot chicken vindaloo

Wee Ginger Dug

# My wife is upstairs at her online choir practice. I’ve never heard any singing from these sessions, so I suspect “choir practice” is code for money counterfeiting.

TUESDAY 3 Marge says she heard something about the PM and a Russian violinist.

# The US Presidential Election results will hinge on the dodgy system of electoral college voting. Strange that so-called democracies in both Britain and the US are run on discredited and wholly unfair voting systems. Make Votes Matter reports that in 2016, Donald Trump “won” with 46% of the popular vote, and Boris Johnson’s Conservatives with 44% in the UK elections of 2019.

# Looks like Liverpool is once again to become the lab-rat in a grand Tory experiment. In 1984, the then Environment Minister Michael Heseltine made Liverpool the site of an International Garden Festival. This was designed to attract tourists to the city in the wake of the poverty it had suffered under an austerity plan inflicted by Heseltine’s own government. Flower Power. Today it’s announced that Liverpool will become the site of a pilot scheme for mass-testing for the Coronavirus.

# There’s a playlist on Amazon Music called Dad Rock. I spent far too long on it.

WEDNESDAY 4 Determined not to slavishly follow news of the US elections, but forced myself to check out Marina Hyde’s early analysis.

# Protestors in Leyton laid the ghosts of hedgehogs on the site of a proposed new ice rink.

# Visited the Wellcome Collection to remind myself how brilliant the Gallery and Reading Room are. They still have a copy of Matter on their magazines table.

Matter, the magazine made by members of Headway East London

The standout piece today was a short film, T3511, by artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg, which “explores a semi-fictional relationship between a biohacker and their subject”. The drama of a voiced email thread  shows powerfully how “close” we all are to one another, genetically and otherwise. Another film shows a McDonald’s restaurant underwater as a comment on Climate Change, floating french fries all over the place.

McDonald’s under water

THURSDAY 5 Someone on Quora asks what rights a UK citizen has if pulled over in a vehicle by police and questioned. The answer is surprisingly few.

# Twitter is putting public warnings on Donald Trump’s messages to the world.

# My carer went into a rant about the Lockdown 2.0 and the lack of social distancing.

# Weird dream last night in which I drove to Wallingford for a lunch with relatives, deposited my wife at the restaurant, went to park the car, but then totally forgot the name of the restaurant. This was before everyone had mobile phones, so I was forced to hand myself in to the police, stating pathetically that I was lost.

# There’s a brilliant line in one of Zoe’s confessionals: “I’ve always been on an interesting divide when it comes to cops.” This is after driving through a red light.

# At the Headway Art Cafe today I finished the doggy stitchwork tote bag and started on Italy. Got an email later from Sam asking for an Australia.

# Our date-night tapas supper will be nice. The red-onion and goat’s cheese tortilla went a bit flat, but the garlic mushrooms look good.

Garlic mushrooms

# Can someone please press STOP on the coverage of this sodding US election.

# Numbers in headlines don’t always work, but this one is a success.

From Global Citizen

FRIDAY 6 The council want to glam up Petticoat Lane market to make it a ‘destination’. They held a Zoom meeting with City residents to introduce a community banner-making project to focus on Petticoat Lane’s historical role in the textiles and clothing industries. The sounds, the smells and the pure theatre of the market and its characters was the dominant memory recalled by those at the meeting, so you end up asking yourself, apropos banner-making, what fabric might best call to mind the smell of a freshly made bagel, or the fleshy whiff coming from the open door of a kosher butcher’s shop?

# Trump won’t go easily. It’s too late to start a war with China, but a new US Civil War could be his dubious legacy.

# My junk-food taste buds stood to attention by the idea of a whole Christmas Dinner in one tin.

But a second course of two mince pies after a first course of scrambled egg and bacon just seemed a bit too weird.

# Football fans will be familiar with the person who becomes an arsehole when their team wins, but when their team loses normally has the sense to keep their arseholesomeness to themselves. #uselections

SATURDAY 7 7am. It’s still not finished! Biden has been “inching closer” for three bloody days!

# Two very nice short pieces this morning: the Dutch blogger Zoë on her demons, of which we’re led to believe she has a healthy collection. And Shawn doing a funny interview with a vampire, who admits that the night life has lost its charm: “Give me a quiet night with wine and a veggie Pad Thai and I’m all set.”

# There was an epidemiologist on the radio saying the government should incentivise Lockdown 2.0 by giving those tested positive a month’s free subscription to Netflix and an account at the local takeaway.

# Boris is reported to be having a chat with that dignified woman from the EU this afternoon. It’s fascinating to imagine what tone he will adopt.

# The printer wouldn’t work. I changed the ink cartridges and it still didn’t work. Then my wife pointed out subtly that I’d failed to close the lid to the ink compartment. Then the printer worked.

# A recipe I looked at  recently required “pork floss”. Seems it is pork that has been stewed in soy sauce until it disintegrates, then dried, then pulverised until it looks like fluff, then sprinkled, or put in sandwiches.

# And finally, they finished counting in Pennsylvania.

From the Guardian
From Facebook
From WhatsApp

# Someone in Philadelphia told Donald Trump to put his “big-boy pants on”.

# I’m not a numbers person, but the adult population of the USA is roughly 220 million. Biden and Trump both scored around 70m votes each. Which suggests the country is split 3 ways and not 2. One third of the adult population, for whatever reason, is not covered by the voting system.

# I think the Spanish cowboy looks quite good with a black background.

Spanish cowboy at night

SUNDAY 8 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.

From the Guardian

# 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 9 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 10 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 11 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 12 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 13 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 14 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

SUNDAY 15 The media has been picking over the Prime Minister’s character. Not all of the analysis is positive.

From the Observer

# Donald Trump has finally admitted he lost to Biden.

# My wife has set up a Twitter account for her singing project, but no one can see it.

# The Italy stitchwork project is moving slowly but enjoyably. The aim was always to make Italy look like a colourfully decorative thigh-length boot in a comedic Anne Summers style. There’s still some work to do, but it’s already looking quite pervy.

Italy area in stitch
Feeling pervy looking at this?

# Just in case you wanted to know what people round here are worried about.

# I’m a Celebrity… is from Wales. Alfie Moon and some fella who was sick before the show started got picked to do the first trial Welsh Food trial. My wife’s surprised the show isn’t an animal-rights target.

# Queen’s Gambit is our new go-to serial drama, with Stath Lets Flats as the short comedy interlude, even though the title is a bit of a tongue-twister.

MONDAY 16 Does anyone really care who killed Lula Landry?

# Prince Charles went to Germany and said “no country is an island”.

# Lockdown casualties will one day be mourned in the way war veterans are today. A friend of a friend had for months been suffering a persistent cough. The doctor thought little of it and consistently failed to make the correct diagnosis. The patient is now riddled with cancer and will soon die, alone.

# My wife recalled the school dinners that included a brown burnt custard for which the convent school pupils wrote a silly chant. It went:
Diarrhoea custard
Diarrhoea custard
Would you like to try some?
Mmm, yes please!
There was an alternative last line for those not in the mood, which went, “No, not me!” The childhood revelation was prompted because I made a savoury porridge for lunch and flavoured the water with Marmite, which made the ensemble look like Guinness sick.

# Boris has been forced to self-isolate because he stood too close to one of his mates who had The Covids. He phoned the radio to tell them he was fine working at home, that wiping the baby’s arse is a breeze and that he is “fit as a butcher’s dog”. One of those three descriptions is a lie.

# The Guardian’s Country Diary was always likely to be a hard sell to a seasoned city boy like me. But the writing is so good it would be insane not to stop by occasionally. A recent one from Yorkshire started, “Winds have stolen much of the autumn colour”.

# Now that Trump has grudgingly conceded defeat, attention is turning to America’s place in the world.

# The Eclectic Light Company tells us about Pan, the Greek god of nature who the Romans knew as Faunus and who was a goat from the waist down. Images of Pan are strewn across the history of art, normally in scenes involving full nudity. So no one could ever say Pan wasn’t a faun guy.

# The doctor called with the results of my wife’s recent blood test and it came back positive for Covid anti-bodies.

TUESDAY 17 It didn’t take long for Rishi Sunak’s bubble to burst. Or for someone to say something nice about Dominic Cummings.

# Endurance is still the keyword.

# There are Covid patients in the US whose dying words are to deny the existence of the virus and to complain about Biden’s election victory.

# After the departure of the two enfants terrible Boris counted as best mates, he went in search of attention and found it in Scotland. Devolution was the worst thing that ever happened to it, he said, which prompted Marina Hyde to describe this kind of Boris behaviour as his attempt “to play Falstaff to his own Prince Hal”.

# Ever the glutton for a cheap pun…

From HuffPost

# Sam sent her portrait of Grayson Perry, which makes mine look feeble.

# “Don’t spew!” Vernon screamed at Todd. He didn’t, but Vernon did when he tried to eat a deer’s testicle.

WEDNESDAY 18 One of the bloggers I follow writes an occasional series in which she relates the ups a downs of online dating. In a recent posting she used one of her native Dutch expressions to describe how some of her potential suitors might see her…

# The vaccine producers are all rushing to the starting line. Meanwhile, vaccines might not be the best answer. If the future is about dodging viruses, early detection could become key. And news that The Covids can be detected in sewage means it won’t be long before our toilets start telling us to go and get tested.

# An “audacious middle-aged couple” have been roaming Norfolk in search of gullible pub landlords who will let them eat steak, guzzle whisky and sleep it off in one of his rooms. Then they will scarper without paying, leaving behind a dubious yarn about a redundancy cheque they’ll get “in a few days”.

# Putting headlines on T-shirts is an old trick, but still lots of fun, especially when you doctor them in Procreate.

# Discovery of the day is that Nils Lofgren played piano on Neil Young’s After The Gold Rush album.

Words from the song After The Gold Rush

# Bad day for Jeremy Corbyn. And Boris has just nicked his “Green Revolution” policy.

THURSDAY 19 This Corbyn business is turning into one of those dodgy 19th Century circus acts involving dwarfs and amputees.

From the the Morning Star

# I wonder how many students are secretly hoping the lockdown rules DO NOT get relaxed at Christmas so that families can be reunited.

# At the Headway Art Café Tirzah and Trevor did some fabulous bickering, and Jason joined in.

# The PM’s newly announced Green Industrial Revolution is aspiration camouflaged as commitment, says the Guardian. Like everything Borissian, what is said and what gets done are often very different things.

# On hearing that my wife tested positive for the Covid anti-bodies, one of our friends asked to sleep with her. I’m told anti-bodies cannot be shared in this way.

FRIDAY 20 Stuart is starting to sound like a Bruce Springsteen convert. The other day we exchanged messages about Nils Lofgren, including his role in the E-Street Band.

And yesterday Stuart messaged about Blinded By The Light, whereupon I launched into a pompous sermon about the Springsteen original being vastly superior to the Manfred Mann cover version.

I included in my delivery from the pulpit a host of lyrical detail pointing to Springsteen’s great songwriting talent, and was convinced Stuart had turned a significant corner when a message arrived late last night saying he was listening to The Rising and “feeling quite emotional”.

# Hackney is having a public vote to name its nine cycleways. Understandably wary of asking for suggestions (the last time that happened, the public named an Antarctic explorer ship “Boaty McBoatface”), the question is multiple choice. A) “Tao’s Route”, after Giro d’Italia cyclist Tao Geoghegan Hart, who lived locally. B) “Starley Freeway”, in honour of locally-born J. K. Starley, who is widely credited as the inventor of the modern bicycle. C) “Bernie Grant Cycleway”, after the Tottenham MP.

# The PM can’t afford to lose any more of the nasty people he likes to keep close to him.

More on this…

# At the Headway Home Studio we did a picture of Alex in Bauhaus-inspired costume.

Alex in her Bauhaus phase

# Full Fact reports: “At Prime Minister’s Questions, Labour MP Ruth Jones claimed that the English contact tracing programme system cost £1,700 per person.” The report goes on to say that this figure is not for England alone but for the whole of the UK.

# Heard that Ben is leaving Headway to return to the parental home in Somerset. More and more people are doing this now. I’ve been asked to do a farewell video message, which I’m dreading.

# Hey, Boz, sometimes the attempt to appear visionary is simply not enough.

From HuffPost

# I don’t know why I’m surprised, but Neil has lived in Norway for what seems like forever, yet his sense of humour hasn’t budged an inch.

SATURDAY 21 Looks like “investment in defence” is code for buttering up the arms dealers.

From the Morning Star

# Tim Dowling finishes his column with a quote that can be stretched way out of its own context.

From the Guardian

# The Conversation also has an animal story to get us standing to attention.

From the Conversation

# A line in one of Lucy’s poems jumped out: “the vagrancy of a dream”.

# Can you have “lopsided playing field” that needs levelling?

# Boris is “sticking with Prit”.

# Tabloid headlines are still among the best. Even the long ones…

From The Mirror

SUNDAY 22 Watching the humiliation of Donald Trump was last week’s guilty pleasure. Pity might be this week’s.

From the Guardian

# There’s a heartbreaking set of stories in HuffPost about second-wave Covid deaths.

# I might have worked out how to do Ben’s farewell video message. Will shoot it tomorrow.

# Art Garfunkel sings a song on his Angel Clare album with the subtitle, Do Space Men Pass Dead Souls On Their Way To The Moon? Discuss.

# Stuart pointed me to an especially chilling Nick Cave version of Garfunkel’s Down In The Willow Garden.

# The Italy stitchwork tote bag is finished and bagged.

Italy, complete with accidental boundary modifications

MONDAY 23 A brilliant crisp sunshine soon gave way to grey as the Prime Minister’s announcement about Christmas drew ever closer.

# My wife opened a parcel delivery believing it to be our new, much-needed Netgear wi-fi booster. It was one of her very few Christmas presents.

# Needless to say the Farewell Ben video message was a bad idea from the start, so I just ended up talking to the wall instead.

Talk to the wall

# I was scolded for speaking while Alexander Armstrong was counting vowels.

# The BBC has an interview on its website with a “Smell Historian”, who wants to use computers and AI to log what stank in the past.

From BBC News

TUESDAY 24 Edge of Humanity magazine has a fabulous photo-essay on the Earth’s polar regions, its settlers, its wildlife and its fragile natural environment.

# It looks like stitchwork has become my surrogate form of travel and exploration. At the moment I am revisiting the countries we have holidayed and the memories of our adventures there. In 1997 we did a fabulous road trip in Australia.

A “sofa” road trip down under

# As lunch baked, his nose got a gentle reminder that the cooker needs cleaning.

# Did a nice interview with Deborah for the Evening Standard about Headway and the studio’s work.

# Expecting to be in the new Tier 2, but the whole system seems to embrace the expression “fail to plan, plan to fail”. This government is pathologically incapable of using enforcement for the greater good.

# Doh! Laura and Cristina used to sit next to one another in the office. But now they are working separately from home, your message cannot be guaranteed to be shared.

# The short answer is No.

Read the long answer

WEDNESDAY 25 The ‘good’ news yesterday of the extended Christmas bubbles didn’t last long.

From the Guardian

# Posted two News Diary illustrations…

# Biden has told Boris that if he screws up with the EU on the Irish Border he can kiss goodbye to a US trade deal.

# I hadn’t intended to pay any attention to Rishi Sunak today, but then this caught my eye…

# The green and gold of South Australia is looking nice.

South Australia in stitches

THURSDAY 26 Stuart asked me if the Mersey had ever frozen over. I said I didn’t know but thought not as it is very tidal, and deep.

# Alex was chuffed with her Nova stitchwork tote bag.


# I’m turning into an accidental vegetarian. Headway meals are nearly always veggie and at home my wife has been of that church for some time, so I’ve been converted.

Lunch today at Headway

# I was flattered to be asked, but I said no to joining an interview panel for Headway CEO.

# Massive problems and communication screwups following a power outage. But a new speculative bunch of threads were delivered, and I’m happy about their weight.

New threads

FRIDAY 27 If anyone was giving the PM the benefit of the doubt, they won’t be now. The new tier system is a real tipping point of faith and trust. The government is facing a massive rebellion from the public and its own MPs.

From Paul Waugh in HuffPost

Marina Hyde in the Guardian sums it up: “It is fair to say the reaction to yesterday’s announcements is widespread WTF-ery…”

# Wales is facing a bio-security problem of a different kind. Exotic insects and other species imported from Australia for the TV series I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here have escaped into  the local area around the castle in which the series is being staged. Species said to be wandering around Wales include cockroaches, whip scorpions, mealworms and crayfish.

# The scheduled Home Studio session with the Barbican on Jean Dubuffet was postponed until further discussions about alleged racism and Nazi involvement have been held.

# Mysteriously, I have a Facebook friend I don’t know. Where he came from, I can’t be sure. I never request Friends, but I do say Yes to anyone who asks me to be their friend. Worst thing is, this mystery Friend is a bit of a twat.

# It will be remembered forever as the night they tipped a box of naked rats onto AJ’s head.

SATURDAY 28 As the headless chickens continue to race around in circles, I got quite ranty.

# In search of a calming moment, I turned to the BBC Sounds app and a brilliant edition of Adventures In Poetry about Casabianca, by Felicia Hemans, the poem best known for its first line, “The boy stood on the burning deck…”

# We both agreed that if Maisie got kicked off it would be a miscarriage of justice.

SUNDAY 29 My wife says the Christmas tree can’t go up until December.

# The Poet Daljit Nagra has become a proper noun in the fashion of The Rabbi Lionel Blue.

# There’s a weird hiatus thing going on, as we wait for the end of Lockdown 2.0 and the beginning of the much despised new 3-Tier system.

# Human Geographer Danny Dorling outlines the socio-economic national spread of Covid.

By Danny Dorling

# In different times, turkeys getting the winter flu might seem like a stab at dark humour…

Read the full story here

# The Green Cross Man (aka, Darth Vader) is dead.

# There’s an awful lot of random coitus and masturbation in the TV series Industry. Boiling an egg one moment, knickers down the next. I wonder if this is how  City whizzkids tell if their eggs are done yet.

# Gaming the Covid rules has become a national pastime, but trying to use the Magna Carta to defend the indefensible is just silly.

From Twitter

MONDAY 30 A constant state of alert and the willingness to shut up shop, stay indoors and take the hit is maybe a way of life from now on. If everyone could agree on that, the government could shift gear and work out a new way to make things work again. But I’m not sure it has the skills.

# Tinder Tales by Dutch blogger Zoe is a guilty pleasure. Today she has it in for men with “neck beards”. I’ll be watching out for them from now on and wishing Zoe’s dislike at them with a withering stare.

# There’s some debate about who is in charge of the country at the moment.

Read the full story here

# Philip Green is pulling another one of his spivvy cowboy capitalist stunts and folding Arcadia.

# Matt Hancock says the virus is under control and we can all sleep easy and dream of Santa squeezing down the chimney with a bag load of treats.

# Big shock to see two women on each of the teams in University Challenge.

See all of my Diaries

6 thoughts on “Diary: November 2020

  1. When did you collect the ferrules? How many walking sticks do you have?
    Here Government school children are suffering because online classes are not possible because most of the are in the low income group. lessons are being telecast on TV but it is difficult for children to understand everything.
    Have you told your wife what you think about her choir practice 🙂 ?
    Please do not accept friend requests if you do not know them or at least you must have mutual friends. I used to accept requests by looking at the mutual friend list, then I realised I did not even know them so I unfriended them.
    Our grandson likes craft, last week my daughter got a kit and both sat and stitched and made a mouse 🙂 And whatever our grandchildren do is wonderful 🙂
    Thank you for a fascinating diary. We wish you and your family a happy Christmas.
    Take care and best wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Lakshmi. Happy Christmas to you and your family, too. I have lots of walking sticks and they all need ferrules. I suffered a stroke in 2012, so my mobility is poor. I prefer teaching face to face but the youngsters seem to be getting familiar with online learning, so I am doing my best to enjoy it. I will keep trying. I look forward to your postings. You have a beautifully gentle writing style.
      Best wishes for the new year. Hope it is better than the last one.


      1. Thank you Billy. My son, Aravind attended a conference in London in 2015 , he is fascinated with wooden walking sticks. He searched in the internet and with his cousin went to a very old shop, I forget where, and bought three walking sticks. One was for my father, after he passed away in 2016, my mother is using it regularly.

        Liked by 1 person

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