Diary: Week 17

April 25-30

SUNDAY The view that Boris used a deadly pandemic to shield dodgy Covid Cash payoffs to his mates is sticking fast.

“The argument goes that Mr Johnson won’t be much hurt because an expectation that he will behave badly is already ‘in the price’. “

πŸ“Œ The three punctures in my right arm following a visit to the “cheerful” sight-impaired phlebotomist last week have healed surprisingly well. The single puncture in my left arm, made with a “baby needle”, has left a big bruise.

πŸ“Œ I forgot to check if Waitrose has changed from Chicken Kiev to Chicken Kyiv yet.

πŸ“Œ The Hampshire stitchwork tote bag is finished and ready to carry potatoes and carrots.

Hampshire in stitches…

MONDAY Keir Starmer has screwed up on Twitter by getting his facts wrong about the Matchwomen’s Strike of 1888.

From the Morning Star…

πŸ“Œ While listening to Bernard Cribbins singing Right Said Fred on the radio and reminiscing about the Two Ronnies, we started to wonder what makes teenagers laugh. So I Googled it and it turns out they laugh at one-liners, wordplay and hipster jokes (eg, Q: How do you drown a hipster? A: In the mainstream.).

πŸ“Œ I might be borderline obsessed with the Swedish folk duo First Aid Kit. Maybe it’s a classic western white male retirement crisis thing, dwelling on a pair of 30ish Swedish sisters, who warble.

πŸ“Œ Governments could easily save money by improving the environments of their citizens. New research shows, as if it wasn’t obvious, that people who grow up in cash-strapped, violent households will end up physically and mentally screwed.

πŸ“Œ Stuart sent a video clip of John Lennon getting angry during an interview. At one point he tries to carve out a reasonable argument, but beneath it all he is rushing headlong to boiling point.

TUESDAY An article in The Conversation describes the gender imbalance among the UK’s powerful Metro Mayors in the run-up to the May local elections. Tracy Brabin in West Yorkshire is one rare exception… If she wins. Her Wikipedia entry is written in Yorkshire dialect, so she’d get my vote, if I had one.

πŸ“Œ Determined once and for all to learn Procreate. Getting some help from Lisa Bardot and just finished messing with shadows.

πŸ“Œ Is it me, or is Boris’s trajectory starting to look a lot like Sarkozy’s?

WEDNESDAY Still waiting for Stacey Dooley to report from 10 Downing Street for a special edition of her TV show This Is My House. Marina Hyde got in early.

πŸ“Œ Reading my diary from this week last year I remarked how Zoom has an inbuilt safe-distance mechanism. And one year on I still prefer it to meeting some people face to face.

πŸ“Œ What was pitched as a short telephone survey on transport use for the disabled turned into a marathon. Sorry, Beverly, lovely to talk to you, but you don’t half drag things out.

πŸ“Œ Headway’s Summer collaboration with the Barbican is now three projects rolled into one. I hope it can still be fun with such a compound identity.

πŸ“Œ “Bossnapping“. There’s an interesting new word to play with. I wonder what the equivalent might be for a non-hierarchical workplace.

THURSDAY The Cash for Curtains story just wont let up. Who knew that a home makeover had such far-reaching political implications.

If we could peek inside No10, writes Zoe Williams, “what we’d see is not timeless English class, but a billionaire oligarch’s idea of what an aristocratic English interior should look like.”

πŸ“Œ I’m sure Kate is only Kate because Catherine won’t fit across a single tabloid newspaper column. Anyway, she’s been married to William, aka Wills, for 10 years today.

πŸ“Œ Pavement portraits using a receipt printer. Is that a viable proposition?

πŸ“Œ It’s like Boris sees himself as the eternal naughty boy caught with his fingers in the pie. His desperate need to tell lies seems to be hard-wired into his personality. The idea that he lies deliberately in order to get found out is a new one on me, but the theory does have a ring of truth.

πŸ“Œ It only seems like a matter of time before the rump of the Conservative Party turns on its leader.

His performance when questioned in Parliament yesterday was an embarrassing spectacle.

At one point he seemed to lose all control and slipped back into his seat red in face and full of fury.

The metaphor of the slipped mask is an overused one, as is the one about where the bodies are buried. An emboldened media has him on the run now, and the media is a permanently hungry animal.

One by one, even his closest allies are shifting silently away from the epicentre of shame. It might only be a matter of weeks before the trigger is cocked.

FRIDAY We’re still using what’s left of the lockdown, plus the chaos of the home refurbishment, to binge-watch TV we never saw the first time round. We’ve just gone right back to the beginning of Call The Midwife, and I notice that the nuns know instantly that the surname Cholmondeley is pronounced Chummly.

πŸ“Œ Pleased to discover that Kezia Dugdale has lost none of her spirit or enthusiasm for progressive politics. Scottish politics is distinguished by its prominence of women. Dugdale (formerly Labour), Ruth Davidson (Conservative), Nicola Sturgeon (SNP). And they are all “flawed” in various ways, which makes their successes more fascinating.

πŸ“Œ 49 years later… Still fascinated by Carly Simon’s pronunciation of the word apricot.

πŸ“Œ The Home Studio session was all about the harlequin, with Alex posing in a costume she got in a job lot on eBay. She started by showing us various harlequin pictures from traditional representative paintings to some weird ones by Picasso. I wasn’t sure how to tackle it, so I went weird…

Alex as harlequin…
Billy attempt 1…

…and then even weirder…

Billy attempt 2…

πŸ“Œ The 12 prefabricated undercover market stalls outside our local supermarket that have never been used have now found a use, as an outside undercover drinking area for fun-loving post-lockdowners who buy their drinks either in the pub over the road or the supermarket, where the bottled beer shelves had large gaps.

Read all of my scrapbook diaries…

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