The new way, Week six.

Saturday 25 April 2020 – same as always (London).

So, week six of lockdown has passed. While incredibly unexciting it was a pretty good week, the best working week so far. I was in a work zone, and while I did not contribute hugely, nor directly, to the effort to get us through covid19, my work does allow others to do just that.

Outside of work we didn’t do too much; no group quizzes, nor family video-conference sessions, though there was a bit of exercise. I have listened to a lot of punk rock this week, I don’t think this was in response to anything emotional. An article in The Guardian about the band Discharge started it off.

The sunshine has been off, but mostly, on since lockdown commenced, though it has been quite cool outside. Not this week. Friday was very warm and as we walked back towards home I started thinking about shorts. We had lunch most days in the garden. Vitamin D levels must be improving over the last week, though I take a tablet each day just on case. I have been doing this for quite a while and it is the only supplement I think I need.

Vitamin D is on the list of things that you should consume to boost natural immunity, and a healthy immune system is critical at this time. There are boundless stories, rumours and recommendations of things to consume to protect yourself or reduce the risk of getting sick, or improve chances if you do. Many are debunked almost immediately, particularly the latest mad utterings of the US president. Sunshine on the inside and getting disinfectant into your blood. WTAF! Madness!

I cannot believe people believe or support this man, though I guess we are not much better here. The latest debate is whether we will be forced to wear some form of mask when we leave the house. I suspect we will and it will not be far off, the government message on the benefits of masks seemingly changes  daily. In my mind it is part of their signalling strategy, warming the population up to the idea so it is less of a shock when it comes.

I have been pondering the flat a lot this week, I might have to make a run down and stay for a few days in the near future, especially if the weather continues to be so lovely.

Sunday
Eleanor had to work from 9:00 to 13:00. I had thought about going for a bike ride but am still tired and would rather have the energy to ride in the mornings before work. I spent most of the morning writing, editing and posting last weeks epicly long post. I had  planned to keep it shorter this week, though I have utterly failed.

I made fish cakes with a SE Asian flavoured salad for lunch using left over mashed potato from last night. I must remember to do excess potato more often, and then not hoover it all down as seconds or thirds.

In an effort to give myself more space to work I have taken over one of Eleanor’s sons bedrooms. Moving his bed out of the way and his desk in front of the window I now how have a lot more room to work in. This will hopefully improve my sleep as good sleep hygiene is to only use the bedroom for bedroom activities. Working is not considered a bedroom activity, at least not in my profession.

We went for a late afternoon walk to the shops, passing through St Mary’s Churchyard where the bluebells are popping some colour between the monochromatic gravestones.

We have started wearing masks when we go into the shops, I am not wearing mine on the street as I walk, though some people do. At least we are prepared for the inevitable day that they will become mandatory.

Monday
Another sunny but cold day, we were out early for the pre-work commute walk. We walked through Walthamstow Village as I am getting sick of the park. I took a photo suggesting that we were not in NE London but somewhere more genteel.

I started working from my new position in Eleanor’s son’s room, then realised it just didn’t work. There was less desk space than I thought and even with the sun not shining directly in the window like it will later on it was still too bright for working. I moved myself back to my corner desk in our room and will have to think of plan B.

Work was OK, did stuff, and the day passed quickly enough. No reason to complain and I am definitely in the work from home groove now.

I made vege burgers for tea, and then unsuccessfully made a chocolate cake. The cake tasted OK, and was mostly cake-like in appearance. It would not make it far in Bake Off, so no photo was taken. I have vowed to buy two cake tins that are the same size before the next cake gets made. Though that was not the reason the cake didn’t really work.

Tuesday
Even though we went to bed at 11:00 last night, outrageously late for us (morons down the road playing music loudly) I was still awake about 5:00. I will never shake off the tiredness. I have been having really weird dreams lately. This morning I managed to half note the dream and will create a short weird/horror story from it. Possibly, maybe, one day. Writing stories are always on my one day list.

The thinking on weirdness and horror put me off the route I had planned for this morning’s bike ride. I ended up riding to nearby Wanstead and Chalet Wood to see the bluebell display, even though I said last week I wasn’t going to. FOMO got the better of me in the end. I am glad I did, the bluebells are glorious this year.

I got lost on the way. This is the first time I have cycled there, we usually get the train and walk back, going in the opposite direction was not quite as simple as envisaged, nor had I fully remembered the way.

I found Chalet Wood, and was very glad I did.

Work was OK, another pretty good day, and I knocked a couple of tasks off the list, one of which has been weighing me down for ages. It was a relief to get it done.

The keys I sent to my flat neighbour arrived today and he checked my place out, nothing to report and nothing going off in the fridge. This news, A) lifted my massively spirits as I have nothing to worry about, and B) lowered my spirits as I missing my flat.

Wednesday
I think I just need to get used to waking at stupid o’clock. I might change my routine and just get up at 6:00. Get out for some exercise, then read the news and social media over coffee. Start and finish work a bit earlier.

El and I went for a walk to some of the small supermarkets to pick up groceries before work. Our diet is primarily vegetarian, though we aren’t vegetarians. I was craving meat, so bought some beef mince.

Work was pretty good again, maybe listing to loads of punk rock this week has made me more productive. I watched a short documentary that featured the 90s English hardcore band The Stupids. I loved them at the time, but did not own any records. I amended that this afternoon and ordered two on Discogs. They were cheaper than I expected, a lot of old punk rock on vinyl is ludicrously expensive.

I had intended on getting my haircut, and then lockdown happened. The mop is getting unruly and I am torn between letting it grow or shanking it all off with the beard trimmer and some blunt scissors.

I made meatballs in a spicy paprika tomato sauce with orzo for dinner. It was excellent.

Thursday
I was up early again for a pre-work walk. I took a different route and walked along Hoe St and then up Lea Bridge Rd. It is not the nicest route, and does not look like I was walking through a village. There was an article on thrash metal band Slayer in the paper this morning, so I listened to them while I walked. They seem appropriate for this sort of inner-city suburban walk. There has been an increase in the amount of traffic on the roads, but it is not apparent this early in the day.

Even though I ended up getting bogged down in some ultra-tedious and ridiculously last minute budget spreadsheeting, it was not a bad day. It had to be done, someone had to do it, and it was good to get it out of the way. I listened to Superchunk all day. They were one of my favourite bands around 1990, they came to Auckland twice, which was unusual for an American band. They have an affinity for NZ and have recorded covers of songs by both The Chills and The Verlaines, this made me love them even more. They are still going and released an LP in 2018 and it is pretty good. I made a playlist for that future day when Superchunk is the musical answer to the what do I want to listen to question.

We had on-line drinks again after work which was a bit of fun, I enjoyed socialising with colleagues, something else I miss, though I did not do it often when we were in the office. Sometimes it is the small and unexpected things we miss the most.

Friday
Woke early and could not get motivated to go for a walk, even though it is really nice outside. I was up and working before 8:00. There did not seem be much point in staying in bed any longer and it was good to get the work day done. It was OK, I did not achieve a heck of a lot, but I did a bunch of work admin and am well set up for next week being productive too. This was the most positive work week I have had since lock down. I have cracked it I think. Fingers crossed!

Eleanor and I went for a walk at lunch time, it was warm, verging on hot. I was in t-shirt and jeans and by the time I got home I wished I was wearing shorts. Friends had tofu for us from a supermarket delivery so we collected this, and enjoyed a safely distant conversation with them in the sun. Actually talking to people face to face was a joy, doing so under a warm sun was doubly good.

I got sidetracked in the afternoon when someone posted on twitter that they were listening to Rise Against. I have not listened to them properly for quite a time, I have a couple of tracks on a punk play list, but that is about it. I made another playlist, but it just seemed to be entirely made up of the first four albums, the ones I travelled with. They were my go-to band while I was travelling, particularly in moments of loneliness or when I was feeling down. I listen to them differently now, I think. I am never quite 100% sure where my head is at and in these uncertain times I am sure there is more stress and anxiety going on than I will admit to.

I used the mince I did not use in Wednesday’s meatballs and made a very small meatloaf, with mashed spuds and vege. It was good, I am really enjoying cooking at the moment, and am glad we share the task. I made sure there was left over mash for fishcakes another day. A lesson was learned.

Saturday
The asshats at the end of our road had a party again and played bloody awful loud music to 2:30am. I was fuming, but the council no longer have an anti-social behaviour team, apart from the police there is no-one to call. I had a terrible night, even though I attempted to sleep in a back bedroom. Grrrrrrrrr.

Due to tiredness we did chores in the morning instead of a taking the planned long walk. I made soup for lunch as we had an ancient squash and a couple of old spuds that just needed to be eaten. It was good soup, though the squash had lost some of its flavour. It was four months past its best-by date!

Eleanor had to work in the afternoon so after editing some photos and writing most of this (now novella length) post I rode the commuter bike down to Shoreditch to see if any street art had happened in the past couple of years. The answer was not a lot, but here are some ropey photos of some of what I found;

Shepard Fairey, with a Ben Eine ‘R’.

Mr Cenz and someone I have forgotten, I am pretty sure I have posted this before.

Alo. I am so glad Alo is still adding to London’s walls.

Crano and the balloon is by Fanakapan.

Random paste-up artists. I love it that Jacinda Ardern can share a paste-up with Drumpf.

I should know this artist, but cannot pin a name to it. I will update if it comes to me!

This space used to be dominated by street art, now it has a garage, but the entrance is still covered in paste-ups, stickers and scrawling.

It was great to see that Thierry Noir still has a few pieces left, I am a fan and have a print in the flat.

I stopped to take this photo of the gravestones that have been relocated in one of the churchyards in Hackney as I cycled home. I may have to come back to this spot for a better look.

The roads were pretty quiet, not many cars and no trucks, making for a much improved road riding experience. There were a lot of people out on the street and in the parks, mostly sticking to social distancing guidelines, though Broadway Market was not open it was really busy in the street it is held on. I avoided it.

It was good getting out on the bike, for what was my longest ride in quite a while. I am getting a little fitter. Though this was ruined a bit in the evening as we ate take-away pizza and drank wine in front of the TV.