One year ago: Week 34, 2020


August 17-23…

MONDAY The Conversation has a story about face masks and their impact in the environment. We are compelled to use them but no guidance on how to dispose of them. They litter the streets, the beaches and the seas.

‘The majority of masks are manufactured from long-lasting plastic materials, and if discarded can persist in the environment for decades to hundreds of years.’

📌 Spent most of the morning clearing up after the flood. We need to hire a dehumidifier, but buying one is probably cheaper.

📌 On Quora

The top answer told of a half-hour on a Miami beach watching the faces of two sun worshippers as they engaged in mutual masturbation.

📌 Northern Ireland, then Wales, made a stand on the exam results algorithm fiasco. Then we got the news that the government had caved in and teachers’ grades will count in England, too.

📌 A new picture from Sam arrived by email. I asked her if the champagne bottle is full or empty.

TUESDAY The parquet floor tiles continue to pop up, victims of the flood damage. And it seems the woodwork beneath them, which rests on concrete, has been drenched, too.

We are anticipating an almighty fight with the council about this because they hold the bulding insurance and we hold the contents insurance. The Golden Lane Estate, like the Barbican, is Grade II Listed as heritage architecture, but the maintenance is poor.

📌 A blogger I follow asked himself what is the loneliest time of day, and reckons it is 3.30am. There could be a mental health issue involved in the analysis. He says 3.30am is…

‘…a time when you don’t exist, a between time, a hole in the clock’s ticks… when thoughts are both loudest and quietest… when screams are both loudest and quietest… when life is both dead and alive…’

📌 A correspondent on Quora asks what is the strangest thing you’ve seen on public transport? The top answer starts with a spoiler alert that what follows is “a bit naughty” then goes on to describe sitting opposite a man on a train with his “thingy madoobly” “hanging madly” from his short football shorts.

📌 Some small triumphs are bigger than others…

📌 Even middle-ground Labour fanatics are convinced by Boris.

WEDNESDAY The temptation to answer “from the allotment shop, stupid!” is almost overwhelming.

📌 And on the subject of stupidity, I’m still slightly baffled as to why some people still don’t know how to talk to a search engine. I learned some time ago that search engines are now so clever that they can practically read your thoughts. Practically. The problem stems in the transition from thought to word. I once typed into the empty grey strip at the top of my screen, “hook thing that looks like a question mark” and the machine located it in a jiff, best prices included. So my advice now to people who look stumped by the empty grey strip is DON’T BE! Tell it exactly what you’re thinking and it will do the rest.

The method did backfire once, when I was trying to repair a cane-work chair and typed “caning” into the empty grey strip.

📌 Posted another drabble today, a love story set in Postman’s Park. I really like the 100-word limit. It makes you work hard.

📌 I read an article saying that the owner of Zoom developed the virtual background thing so he could watch his kids doing sport and still attend meetings.

📌 String is off on another rant about going back to normal and how normal it’s not. Social distancing should be physical distancing. No one sticking to the mask rules, and those who even bother to wear masks see them as a green light to behave in the exactly the same way as they did before the pandemic. He lightens up only when talking about porridge. String is obviously quite weird, so I wasn’t entirely surprised to learn that he flavours his oats in strange ways. Eg, he adds ground pepper in winter, and sometimes single-malt whisky, too. I wrote saying I add sage & onion stuffing mix to mine.

📌 My wife noted a zero compliance to the mask diktat at Lidl, Hackney, where she insists on buying chorizo and washing-machine liquid. In The Guardian is a story about intergenerational Covid conflict. It quotes some young dude who has a nice chat with granny, takes her shopping list, then pisses off to an illegal rave at an airfield near Bath.

📌 When I asked which online weather forecaster we can trust, my wife replied that she always trusts the one with the best outlook.

📌 Another colour stunner from Sam…

THURSDAY I used the iPad for today’s Home Studio drawing session. It was a still-life supplied by Emily from an Instagram account she follows. I used Procreate and absorbed myself in all the different brushes, effects and colours for an hour. I should do it more often.

📌 I’m working my way into a headspace where I will write a letter of referral for the flood damage to each of our our NINE councillors and see what happens.

📌 A friend punted Good Girls as a follow-up to Dead to Me, but it’s a real turkey, though one of the three main characters does have a fascinating pair of eyebrows that appear to be acting in a totally different story.

FRIDAY The question on Quora was: “As a Polish person in the UK, which party most aligns with your views?” And the top two answers were UKIP and Brexit.

📌 Convinced that I’d lost my bank card, I phoned up to cancel. It turned into farce when I screwed up the security number and got a bit short with the nice Scottish lady. Then the penny dropped and I remembered where it was. I had to confess my stupidity and slope away humiliated. The nice Scottish woman was laughing as I went.

📌 Squeezed out another drabble – about the power of search engines – or possibly a rant disguised as a drabble.

📌 At the family Zoom, we spoke about how good the baddies were in Line of Duty. Lennie James was brilliant in Series 1. In series 2, Keeley Hawes made a soft start, but turned up the baddiness continually after that.

SATURDAY I guess I will never shake off my love if a good headline.

📌 I learn that over the past two decades fewer and fewer firms are listing on the stockmarket because listing would mean not only raising more capital, but closer scrutiny by the regulators.

📌 Melanie Sykes and the comedian Alan Carr share a Saturday-morning radio show. They have taken to describing it as the Mel’n’Alan show, which sounds like the manifestation of a skin disease.

📌 Nicola Sturgeon face masks are on sale in Scotland for £7 a pop.

📌 Wrote a quick crime drabble that came to me last night as I watched a man leaving Bayer House.

SUNDAY You can always rely on the child to screw things up.

📌 Some of my birthday presents. I also got a brilliant selfie stick and used it to video my wife doing something her parents told her not to do. She went mad and forced me to bin it.

📌 Back to another exhibition, this time The Enchanted Interior at the Guildhall Art Gallery. It was quite relaxed, until we got stuck behind a couple of obsessives, who think wearing a mask in a one-way system entitles them to clog it up.

We both got a lot out of these MALE depictions of women sitting and behaving meekly in their “Guilded Cage”.

The notable disruption of the the scenes came from WOMEN artists and photographers. But overall, we were glad we bothered to go.

Read all of my scrapbook diaries…

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