Scrapbook: Week 48 , 2021

November 27 – December 3…

SATURDAY Zadie Smith has updated Chaucer’s Wife of Bath and named it The Wife of Willesden.

📌 The Golden Lane Stitchers, a makeshift social needlework project we started three weeks ago, did well at the the local craft market, taking £105.

📌 The House of Gucci, a film that came highly recommended turned out to be a turkey. Yes, Lady Gaga obviously succeeds in the acting game where Madonna failed, but this film was far too long, tediously dragged out and lacking any real drama.

📌 My wife is seriously disenchanted by the Judges’ voting on Strictly Come Dancing. Marks for a dance being “joyous” particularly irritate her. I expect a similar tirade tomorrow when the voting intentions of the viewing public are included in tonight’s total.

SUNDAY The pattern is now familiar: a new variant of the Covid virus is detected in a faraway place and very quickly crosses borders to infect the entire world.

Scientists can predict this easily, but what has also become familiar is our government’s failure to listen and act. In its rush to “get back to normal”, biosecurity has been ditched and is now presumed by most citizens to be a thing of the past.

The story of the latest “new variant” is that managing the spread is a never-ending global project from now till the end of time, and a failure to plan is a plan to fail. The vaccine preparations for the new variant have not even started, which puts Britain in a perilous place.

Our government’s determination to stand alone economically, to put personal freedom above all else and to arrogantly shun cooperation with other nations might sound quaintly intrepid but it doesn’t sound like a viable option for getting “back to normal”. A new normal is waiting to be built out of our current perilous predicament and our leaders look ill equipped to do it.

📌 Captains don’t want their boats to capsize and sailors don’t like seeing people drown, says Andrew Rawnsley in the Observer. He cites this as a reason Boris and Priti’s tough-guy act on migrants crossing the Channel is doomed to fail. When there are dead people on your doorstep, the finger points at you.

📌 Sandra said that when Terry worked as a photographer in the music industry he got to play darts with Bruce Springsteen.

📌 I never thought I’d ever hear my wife utter the words “praise the lord” and “hallelujah”. Both came out of her mouth during a concert at the Barbican this evening, in which she sang with the LSO Community Choir.

At the Barbican…

Our line of vision was obscured by the tubular bells that had been placed right at the front of the stage. The highs and lows of the evening thus became regulated by the anticipation of their use. Waiting for a cymbal crash was quite exciting.

MONDAY BBC Radio 4’s flagship Today programme went silent just after 7.30am when an alarm was heard blasting around the studio.

📌 I have a first edit of 43 pictures assembled for the digital curation I’m doing with Art Et Al.

📌 There’s a crazy map website that looks at nations in a different, sometimes very funny, way.

📌 I’m currently working on a stitch work pattern for Sam’s legendary ‘Legs’ drawing.

Then I noticed in the studio that she is starting a collection. She’s called this one ‘Hairy Man’.

TUESDAY Labour under Keir Starmer looks more and more like it wants to attract the softer red side of the Conservative Party, leaving Boris to bed down with what David Cameron called the party’s “mad swivel-eyed loons”. And sidelining anyone who might question this drift seems to be the force behind his latest shadow cabinet reshuffle.

📌 Got an email from someone at UCL (University College London) inviting me to a webinar. She signed off by saying she won’t be able to reply to any emails in the next three days because she is on strike.

WEDNESDAY Happy to report that the parcel delivery by DPD arrived bang on time.

📌 Had a weird fleeting moment when I thought Starmer might just be onto something with his advances towards the red Tories who can’t stomach Boris.

📌 When Sam goes surreal she really gives it the full welly.

Frog & Tea Cup, by Sam Jevon…

📌 Drinks reception at the Barbican scheduled for Monday has been cancelled.

📌 In the USA there’s a day for everything and today it was Old Brown Shoe Day. This was therefore our task in today’s art class. I chose an old Blundstone boot combined with a sketched map of our road-trip route in Australia, 1997.

THURSDAY The Guardian has a good analysis of Keir Starmer’s reshuffled shadow cabinet but warns that squeezing key left figures such as Angela Rayner and Ed Miliband from the main picture will prove to be a vote loser at the next election. Coincidentally, or maybe not, the party’s chief funder, the Unite union, has announced a slash in its donation to Labour saying the party no longer offers political “value for money”.

📌 There’s a spooky déjà vu vibe in the bitterly cold world outside. The government is telling us to keep calm and party on. The scientists are saying go easy on the snogging under the mistletoe. Germany is clamping down on the unvaccinated.

FRIDAY German buskers are switching from rock to classical because the pay is better.

📌 Those who predicted Britain would bounce back from the Pandemic have been proved right…

📌 The Tortoise reports that broccoli pickers in Lincolnshire are still earning £30+ an hour despite competition from an AI broccoli-picking robot called RoboVeg.

📌 To the Spoons in Croydon for lunch with Sue and Margaret. Margaret gave Sue a knitted tree bauble made especially for a Palace fan. Chicken with stuffing burger for me.


📌 The new mandatory face-covering rule is being widely abused. I guess the Prime Minister is secretly pleased about that.

📌 Spotted a smart trailer, which doubles as a mobile bar, parked outside our local pub. It’s shape is reminiscent of a Morris Minor crossed with a Volkswagen Beetle.

Read all of my scrapbook diaries…

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