The new way, Week seven.

Saturday 02 May 2020 – Yep, London.

I started the week off feeling very lack lustre and a bit over it all. I am bored, the lockdown is starting to get to me. After reading the blog I posted yesterday Eleanor asked me if I was OK as the tone of the post felt slightly negative to her. I said I was perfectly fine, which I was when I posted on Sunday. Monday was not so fine, though things improved during the week, and I think by week end I was back to my mostly normal and perky self.

Our illustrious leader is now back at work, and his heroic return speech was full of the rhetoric of war; ‘battle’, ‘fight’, ‘wrestle’ ‘victory’ etc. Sub-par, sub-Churchillian bollocks. So much blather, so little leadership. This is part of what brings me down.

One of the few, and it is a very small benefit of this event is that I have finally started working on a novel I have been pondering for ages. By start I mean I have some a basic plot outline and characters, and have started buying second hand books to provide some of the background. I may take a couple of days out and go to the flat and actually start writing. Its not like I am going to be using my annual leave up on anything exciting this year.

Sunday
We took an early morning walk up to and then along Hale End Rd, along the River Ching Passage, passing a house Eleanor lived in as a child, then alongside a mostly deserted North Circular, past the Arsenal Youth Academy ground and back home via Chingford Rd. It was not a usual route for walking, nor the most attractive, but it was somewhere different, so I took some photos on my phone. A very quiet A406, North Circular.

The Ching Path.


In the afternoon we had another supermarket shop to collect, driving over to Finsbury Park. It was mid-afternoon and there were more cars than the last time, but nothing near normal. There were a lot of people out on bikes, I have never seen so many cyclists outside an event, and they were everywhere. It was great seeing families with children making use of the mostly quieter roads. My one hope from covid is that we change the way we move about our cities and towns.

In the evening we watched Fear the Walking Dead at the same time as some friends and used Skype to discuss as we watched. It worked well, and I very much enjoyed the chat and extended company.

Monday
Lousy sleep so no pre-work morning walk. This was regrettable as I had a pretty crap day and so did Eleanor. Talking to some friends who do similar things to me, a good week last week and a terrible day today was a common trend. I felt that we were less alone, sad for everyone else, but pleasing nonetheless.

I did take a lunch time walk, it is much cooler today and rain came in the afternoon, settling for a few days I think. I am glad I got out for a loop of the park. I cannot believe the queue for the small post office near the end of our road. I have never seen a queue go round the corner before.

The prime minister came back to work today. This must mean there will be some good, or at least, less terrible, news is to come.

The one positive from the day was starting to thrash out some of the characters and timeline ideas for a novel I vowed I would start writing this year. I have had the general idea for a while and have been buying books that detail some of the historical background, but they are down at the flat. I did buy another book today, about smuggling in the 19th century in Sussex, and ordered another record…

New Zealand has done remarkably well so far in its handling of covid, excellent, trusted and empathetic leadership makes a difference. They have relaxed the strict lockdown a bit and my daughter was able to go to the beach. I was not jealous in anyway, oh no, not at all.

Tuesday
Up early and went out for a walk with Eleanor in light rain, it was nice for a change, the constant sun was getting me down. The sun wasn’t the problem, the not being able to properly enjoy it was.

The rain is good for the garden, and the reservoirs; Eleanor has been doing a bit of garden work over the past couple of weeks, starting to grow a few vegetables, partly as a just in case and partly as something to do. The garden is nice, we are lucky to have access to one.

When we were out I missed a package delivery. Typical. Waiting for days for something exciting to come through the mail (records) and we were out when it was delivered. I love getting things in the mail, even if it is just something I have ordered myself. The old ways are sometimes the best ways. Sod all this electronic communications.

I had a much better work day than yesterday, thankfully. Seems Monday blues were the cause rather than some endemic system issue. Whew. I made fishcakes for lunch again as I had leftover mashed spud, they were nice and I regret not taking a picture. Not that food porn is my thing. I have taken a temporary respite from cake making, due to waistline expansion.

I watched last night’s BBC Panorama programme on PPE. I will say no more.

Wednesday
Up early again, and out for a walk to pick up some biscuits that formed part of what turned out to be a long conversation on Twitter. It was good to have a reason to go for a walk, I was otherwise tempted to  just stay in bed.

It was a really busy, and partly frustrating day at work, though it was good have a lot to do. I didn’t realise how tired I was until I stopped.

I need to read more books, and less social media. One of the reason I stopped Twitter last year was to read more paper based product. Failed miserably, though. My unread book stack is growing weekly, I mostly view this as a good thing.

The postman delivered the first of the The Stupids LPs I ordered online. I have been bad these past couple of weeks. My bank statement is no longer a stream of daily coffee and lunch purchases, it is now a stream discogs records and ebay books. I like that much more.

Thursday
No walk in the morning, though it was briefly warm and sunny. I stayed in bed till 7:30 then started work soon after getting up, the clouds rolled back over as we ate breakfast and the temperature plummeted.

I started the day listening to a slow electric blues playlist on Spotify. Another really busy day at work, got a fair bit done and had a few interesting work related conversations with people, which made the day pass pretty quickly. It was also frustrating at times, I am not used to being out of the loop with things technical and I feel there are decisions being made that I should be influencing and I am not able to.

The highlight of the working day was a new instrumental track from Mogwai being played on the radio, a very rare outing to radioland for me, and I thank Twitter for alerting me to it, the very reason I rejoined.

In an effort to try and be as normal as possible I had an after work beer with ex-work colleague Joe, one of the few people I have worked with in the UK I like and miss seeing. I enjoyed catching up, moaning about work and drinking a couple of beers. Doing what we normally do when we meet, just over the internet rather than in one of the many boozers around Westminster.

I seemed to have not taken any photos today. Disappointed to have broken the run.

Friday
01 May; a new month. We have spent over a month in our version of lockdown, it is more obvious when defined periods are ticked over. The last month has equally been the longest and shortest month ever. Time blurs and almost seems irrelevant now. I am writing this on Saturday morning, sitting at the same desk I sit at Monday to Friday, listening to close enough the same music, drinking the same instant coffee and drinking from the same water bottle. Do days really matter anymore, does anyone really care?

Eleanor and I went for a pre-work walk, up earlier than usual. My pre-work mandatory morning meanderings have taken on a bit of a ‘must do this for the sake of routine’ feel this week. Hopefully we will be at the flat soon and we can walk somewhere less dull.

The postie delivered this book today, more background reading for the novel I (probably fantasising) am going to start writing. At least I have undertaken to start the research and have most of the materials now, one more book to come, though I am now not entirely sure I ordered it, forgetting things.

It rained a lot today, quite heavily at times and there was hail in the early evening.

Eleanor had an online catch up with friends in the evening so I watched an average, though entertaining movie on Netflix, something I have not done for ages.

Saturday
Amazing, actually had a pretty good sleep, the first one in ages. When I was fully awake I rolled over to look at the time and was utterly amazed to read it was 9:30. The latest I have slept in weeks. Turning the clock back up the right way I found it was actually 7:15, a more believable yet somewhat disheartening and disappointing time. The key thing was I felt refreshed.

We went to the co-op on Wood St to restock on fruit and vege and other basics; red wine and cheese. I took a couple of photos on my phone as we walked, trying to keep up some sort of photo taking routine over lock down, though I find it hard to take photos around here.

Most of the rest of the day I did stuff all, I bought second-hand records on line, mainly old punk bands. I must stop, and this will be the end of it. I hope. I cannot keep buying things, even if they are cheap. I finished one of the five books I tell myself I am reading; Jolts by Fernando Sdrigotti. Most of those books have been languishing in the half read pile for a while. I restarted reading ‘From my land to the planet’, a Sebastio Salgado book on photography that was my daily commute read, it has been buried in my work bag as I am longer commuting. I will finish it next. It made me want to go and take photos, which got me out in the garden where Eleanor was working, though it was a little breezy to be taken photos of plants.

In the evening we watched three episodes of Devs which I am really enjoying, and then a film on the political group ‘Rock against Racism’ and the big RAR gig in Victoria Park in 1978 with The Clash. I enjoyed that too, though the footage of 1970s London was a bit grim. Those Brexiteers who hearken back to the mythical glory days of the 70s need to have their heads checked for severe memory loss; or stupidity.

Week 8 tomorrow. What delights will it bring. There is going to be an announcement on Thursday on the plan for the UK to start exiting lockdown, though word is I will unlikely be able to return to the office for at least a month. I do not necessarily view this as a bad thing.

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