Saturday, May 30, 2020

Birthday Boy

      Well today is Big Grandson's 16th Birthday, and we had a glorious day for it. I sang Happy Birthday to him on the phone  this morning, and then later Daughter had a barbeque in her garden. After the bbq we had Prosecco and cake as well, and sweltered in the sun. Lovely! And Granddaughter had a really lovely time in the paddling pool, changing her swimming cosie several times and ending up quite happily in the nude under the hose (she is nearly six, so nothing inappropriate there). Grandson's presents were brilliant: he had a fabulous camera (Canon) with all the bells and whistles from his Mum and her Bloke, which he really loved (he will hopefully be doing Photography for one of his A Levels). And  he had a pair of cool red Vans (trainers), T Shirt, various bits and pieces and some money from  his Grandfather (my ex in New Zealand), my Sister (Nana Rosie), and me. I've also got him some cool (his description) headphones which are coming from America, They are on the way, shipping is confirmed, but as they hadn't arrived I gave  him a bit of money in his card. On the whole it has been a very nice day. I was reminded of his actual birth day, back in 2004, when Son and I drove up from  London to Pontefract Hospital in Yorkshire, where Grandson was about to be born. It was Bank Holiday Sunday, a lovely day, and we arrived at the Hospital in good time for the birth. He actually made his appearance at 10.44 pm, and he was quite blue, with the chord around his neck. Nobody panicked and he was fine. His father Simon was there and my ex Husband with his new wife (they had come over from NZ for the occasion) plus Simon's Mother and her partner. A bit of a motley crew, but I was so pleased we made it in time.
       Ah well, memories. And now he is 16 and 6 feet tall. And a lovely boy too.
We are at the  end of May, and after two months of Lockdown nothing much seems to have changed.  I have to say that I am not impressed with the way Bojo and his Clowns have managed things. I don't believe all their propaganda, and our record of infections, tests and deaths is dreadful. I think we are second only to America in numbers of casualties. And as for the dreadful Dominic Cummings and his comings and goings, I am totally disgusted with the double standards that have been applied, not to mention outraged at his arrogance and total dismissal of what any of us, the real people who have lost loved ones, might feel. Of course feelings are probably not on his radar. He is no doubt very clever; so was Machiavelli, and Robespierre, and Svengali and Cromwell... and look what happened to them.
       I  could go on, but you get the picture.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

It ain't half hot Mum!

      Well it's steaming hot here, just like Summer, only I'm trying not take it for granted, as I'm sure we'll revert to chilly days again. It's weird, but the heat is making the lockdown even quieter. When I step outside my door there's a sort of stillness, a desert feeling - I can't explain it any better than that - and I half expect to  see weary, thirsty travellers making their way to my door. In fact, I already have a visitor in the shape of Big Grandson, who is staying for a few days just for a change. And it's true to say that he is always thirsty, and hungry, though not exactly weary as he doesn't do much except "chill" and chat away on his phone with his mates. He has been an exceptionally good guest, very grateful for every meal and drink, and as Daughter supplied me with a bag of food for his visit, I haven't had to do any big shopping. He is actually very good company, which is not bad for a teenage boy (due to be 16 on 30th of this month). We have taken a bit of gentle exercise and played a few games of Poker (he was given a Poker set for an early Birthday present) and tonight he is going to be my partner in the Virtual Pub Quiz. This will be very exciting for me as I have been playing on my own (with 180,000 other people, virtually) for the last three weeks. Daughter and her Partner also play, and the Spanish contingent of Son, Partner and Little Grandson with any luck. It doesn't start until 8.15, so is a bit late for Son and Co as they're an hour ahead. Anyway, we shall see if they join us. I'm expecting great things.
      It's odd, but I'm feeling rather tired and achy generally. This is extremely annoying as I don't normally  give in to this kind of feeling. Maybe it's just the Virus getting to me - I don't mean literally, but it's the  Lockdown and the general doom and gloom. Ah well, I'm off to put a pizza in the oven and sip a glass of Rose Spritzer before the Quiz. Let's hope Grandson brings me luck : )

Monday, May 11, 2020

Staying at Home...

      Actually I'm going to ignore the so-called advice from our incompetent PM and stay at home as much as possible. I annoyed my Daughter last night when she asked me if I had watched Boris on TV and I admitted that I hadn't. Her angry response was that I'm lucky I don't have to go out to work or worry about sending children to school - and of course she is right and I am (once again) in the wrong. It's ok for me, was the implication, because I'm a pensioner and don't have to find the money to pay rent!! There was really no answer, except I'm pretty sure that I am one of the expendables (in the malevolent eyes of  Dominic Cummings, advisor-in-chief to our PM, who patently doesn't give a shit about getting rid of us oldies). I couldn't say that of course without inflaming the situation further so I just avoided any further comment. I do worry about her though,  because she is anxious to get back to her normal routine which means sending Granddaughter back to school too. How you keep children of 5 and 6 at a safe distance from each other I don't know - it's a minefield and could be really dangerous. How will we know who has been in touch with whom, and whether they have the bloody virus. A silent enemy is always dangerous, but one which is also invisible is impossible to deal with. I have no answers, I only wish I did, but in the meantime I'm staying home.
      Blowing hot and cold is the weather at the mo! I'm still occupied with sorting out my bit of front garden and waiting for the seeds to germinate and show themselves. I also, quite accidentally, inspired my neighbour to get to grips with her front garden, which was terribly overgrown with ancient shrubs. She has cleared them all and we were actually sewing grass seed together. Very companionable. I also went down to the beach and collected some large-ish stones to edge my border and am very pleased with the result. There was practically no-one about on Shoreham Beach, so it wasn't difficult to be socially distant - I combined my daily walk with collecting a few stones and felt that I had actually accomplished something And I don't think the beach will miss my stones - though I acknowledge that we wouldn't want everyone to do the same. That's about the extent of my misdemeanors for the time being. I'll try not to upset Daughter again, and I'll keep away from those tempting stones.
      I know my place.
       

Monday, May 4, 2020

Another day, another dinner...

      In this time of Corona Virus, meals are becoming all-important aren't they? When  I speak to friends, which I do every day to save my sanity, we always discuss what we might be having for supper and compare notes. The lucky ones are those who are growing their own vegetables, like my Aristocratic BF who has an enormous garden (and two chaps to help) and who grows just about every vegetable: potatoes, beans, tomatoes, kale, broad beans, lettuce, radishes and even asparagus! She is also growing strawberries (wild and cultivated) and raspberries. So her cup, or plate, is overflowing. I must admit I'm pretty envious, especially about the asparagus and the raspberries. However, I am re-doing my little front garden and putting some edible treats in pots, where I hope they will thrive in the sun:  I am sewing spinach seeds (the everlasting variety) and nasturtiums because you can eat the leaves, flowers and the seeds (and they are lovely to look at too). I also have a couple of green bean seedlings which I hope will flourish in pots and I  have two wild strawberry plants which simply appeared in the garden. I'm also taking cuttings of Sage and Rosemary to go with my self-seeded Chives and the aforementioned Aristocratic BF has promised to send me a root of mint too. As I am inexplicably off vegetables in general, those should keep me going. I can still manage Spinach and Carrots but the thought of Broccoli or Cabbage or Kale makes me feel physically sick! Weird I know, but there it is.
      My most successful meals so far have been chicken breast wrapped in bacon (cooked in the oven with a sprinkling of garlic, herbs and wine) and dear little lamb chops treated in much the same way, both with the addition of Aunt Bessie's Roast Potatoes! These last were a gift from my nextdoor neighbour, courtesy of the Co-op who were giving them away one day last week. I had never tried them before, but I have to tell you that they are amazing. When I think of all the years I have spent peeling, par-boiling, shaking them in flour to fluff them up and then popping them in with the roast,
I do wonder. Aunt Bessie's are just popped into a hot oven for half an hour and come out perfectly cooked. Sorry if this is beginning to sound like an advertisement,  but they are truly sublime
       Heigh-ho! I'm obviously another victim of lock-down deprivation, but I think I'm staying sane. Only time will tell :))

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Virtual Life...

      It's funny, but as life becomes more strange, the more we try and make it seem like normal. This last week, for example, I took part in a virtual Pub Quiz with Daughter, her Partner and some of their friends, We all had our individual glasses of wine and were sat on our individual sofas, and we wrote our answers on our individual pieces of paper. It gave us the illusion of being part of a team, though of course we were all in competition with each other. See what I mean by strange? We could see each other and talk to each  other, but no touching allowed. And actually there was no team spirit either, we all, individually, wanted to win! Weird. Of course I didn't win - there was only one of me, while  the others all had partners and so got two bites of the cherry, metaphorically speaking. I did enjoy the experience though, and will probably do it again this week.
      Another thing I've agreed to is a video/phone chat with some old friends on Tuesday morning.  We have agreed to virtually meet at 11.30 (coffee time) and will no doubt exchange Corona Virus experiences and points of view.  They are very old friends, so we can be absolutely honest with each other and I guess it will be a virtual success.
      Before I go, I just have to comment on the dreadful orange POTUS's latest foray into Corona Virus "cures". What is he thinking of when he recommends that disinfectant, or even bleach, taken internally, could be a cure?? My first thought was that he was trying to kill off half of America, but surely not? If it wasn't so dreadful, it would be the best joke of the year. The man is seriously deranged if not completely mad. I pity America, with such a clown in control what chance do they have? And that is not a rhetorical question.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Solitude in the time of Corona Virus...

      It is Saturday and the radio keeps me company as usual. Everywhere it is unusually quiet. The loudest sound is birdsong, and even the buzzing of bees is loud when I go outside. There are no aeroplanes overhead.  Nor is there any noise of traffic, even in the distance. It is all slightly unreal, though becoming more normal every day.
      Of course not everyone is alone at this time, and for some it is a time of heightened anxiety and plain fear: those who are at risk of domestic violence are in a fearful position from which there is no escape. I remember the very brief time when I was in a similar situation: I was madly in love with  a very charismatic man who was totally charming , loving and reasonable when he was sober, and a monster when he was drunk. I lived in fear for a while, and finally escaped from the relationship by having a nervous breakdown! Luckily for me he was reasonable enough to let me go - but I can imagine the terror and horror of being trapped in that situation. I feel so strongly that families in similar situations should be protected at all costs. I was very lucky that I was helped out of that affair by an understanding employer and an excellent  therapist,  and by the ability to simply sit in silence, with  tears rolling down my cheeks, until the fear had passed. It took three months of total retreat and complete solitude - my mind was allowed to drift and heal until I could cope with normal life again. And in case you wonder why I have taken  this stroll down memory lane, I'm sure that experience has allowed me to cope with every hit I have taken since: divorce, single parenthood, a brain tumour, all have been water under the bridge. And now Corona Virus, the biggest global disaster to hit humanity for 100 years, is giving millions of people an extended dose of solitude at the very least. For some it has meant awful sickness, mortal danger and even bereavement. Our Doctors and Nurses are struggling to deal with this, but are underprotected and under-equipped, and we have an incompetent Government which refuses to acknowledge any responsibility. And this state of affairs is set to  continue for god knows how long. Perhaps until we have truly learned respect for our planet, and the value of humanity and compassion in our lives.
      I don't hesitate to say that I feel very fortunate at this moment (fingers crossed) that I cope quite cheerfully with this imposed solitude, and that  my beloved family are all safe and sound, and healthy. May we all come through this somehow, living to face another day in a better world.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Nearly Easter...

      It's sunny and warm today, and we are another week into lockdown and one week into April. So far all my family are well and coping with the situation. I cannot stress how lucky I feel just to be able to say that. All over the world families are losing fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, children: all relations of every kind and all ages it seems, are at risk from this ghastly virus. My Daughter, who is a hero to me, is juggling her job (working from home), the family of six (and the dog), doing the shopping for them and for me, and remaining both cheerful and positive while  keeping all the balls in the air! Of course I know that so many people are far  worse off than we are, and I'm eternally grateful that we are keeping healthy. Wherever you are, I wish the same for you.
      In the meantime, I'm doing a bit of work in my garden, which is a small blessing in itself. I may not much like living in Shoreham, but I must say it has come into its own now because my house is tucked away in a quiet spot with just a few neighbours and we have a lovely area of grass and trees where we can sit out and the children can play while still keeping a safe distance from other people.
And I have been regularly Skyping with my Son's family in Spain. They are in even more lockdown than we are, and only one person can go out at a time to do essential shopping. My little Grandson hasn't been out for 4 weeks now, and we have been doing drawing and colouring on Skype just to keep everyone going reasonably. Luckily they have the most wonderful terrace/balcony with amazing views over Sitges from the sea to the mountains. So they have fresh air, and can sit and eat outside in the sun. I think they are managing brilliantly and keeping pretty cheerful.
      Strange isn't it that suddenly there is only one subject we are all concerned with: the daily news and the latest from around the world, numbers of new cases, people in hospitals and deaths. And because we all want to survive, this is all that really interests us.
      And in case you wonder why I'm not including news of our Prime Minister in my blog, it's because I  don't have a great deal to say on the subject. He may, in due course, regret the fact that he and his despicable bunch of Tories cheered as they voted down long-overdue increases in salaries for Doctors and Nurses not so long ago. I wish him well to have the good luck to survive the virus and show his long-overdue appreciation for our NHS. Nuff said!