Saturday 28 November 2020

A Lump In Your Throat

I've got a desk, which is very lovely and probably something everyone acquired in lockdown! Going through stuff to file in my new drawers I came across these snippets of rambling in a notebook. 


In November 2016 a lump appeared in my jaw line, it was bonfire night and when I caught sight of myself in the mirror, I noticed a swelling on the right side of my neck.

Initially I was alarmed but talked myself around, blaming the residual lingering cold I had. However when it was still there two weeks later my friends nudged me towards the GP. 

The doctor had a feel and referred me for a scan - just in case.

I had a simple jelly roll scan at the Whittington Hospital, the guy doing it got very excited: 

‘I know exactly what this is, but I've never seen one in real life - it is a plunging ranula, a mucoid cyst of the sublingual gland but it needs a deformed jaw muscle to drop through which gives it the plunging bull frog effect.’

[A rare benign acquired cystic lesion usually occurring on the floor of the mouth from minor salivary gland retention.]


Okay then, completely harmless, just looks weird, plus the bull-frog look was playing havoc with my jumper necklines.


In early May 2017 I dutifully went for an appointment at The Eastman Dental Clinic near King's Cross. The consultant told me although they were quite rare, he had recently performed surgery on one and it really needed to come out, as it might become infected.

Karlos his assistant asked all sorts of questions about allergies and whether I'd had an anaesthetic before.

I emerged to a beautiful day, the sun was beaming down and Calthorpe Community Gardens opposite was just opening up. I popped across for a coffee. The nursery plants and pots around the café looked absolutely parched, I offered to water them and trailed the water hose around after me for a joyful half an hour.

After the summer was over I went back to The Whittington for a repeat neck scan before the plunging ranula was to be removed. The young lady doing the jelly roll scan said:

‘Oh you have another little lump, have you noticed that before, I'll take a quick sample, just in case.’

I was referred this time to UCLH, I knew deep inside it was not going to be good news. TheGR asked if I wanted him to come with me, yes, I said I do.

In a different hospital, with a different surgeon:

‘We have found...’ he starts.

‘...cancer’ I finish.

‘Yes, you knew?’ the surgeon responded.

‘FUCK’ shouts TheGR.

[Post removal of my thyroid gland I need to go back to hospital for radiation therapy, to mop up any rogue bad cells.]

Monday 11th December 2017

High up in the lead-lined room on the 14th floor of the hospital I watch the cars and people below go about their daily business. A tail of red brake lights lead off into the distance towards Great Portland Street. 

Someone has left a pair of binoculars on the windowsill, I look through and make out a patch of snow still clinging to the hillside on Primrose Hill. 

It’s 2.30 in the afternoon, minutes ago I took a radioactive iodine pill. The pill was administered by a pharmacist, using a long glass tube from behind a lead-lined screen. It was wheeled to my room in a lead-lined suitcase cushioned within a lead-lined pot, lead is very heavy, hence the wheeling.

I have put on a pair of disposable gloves to write this. I have been instructed not to touch anything that may leave the room with me, without protection.

My mobile phone is in two disposable gloves. I don't think disposable gloves really offer much protection from radiation but I’ll do what I have been told to do.

There is a large flat-screen TV on the wall facing the bed, 3 remotes and a playstation. This room, it would seem, gets a lot of outside donations.  I try all the remote and get Judge Jules, three piles of DVDs sit on the windowsill, I organise them in size order.

The entrance to my room is a sliding door, which has now been sealed shut behind the pharmacist has a huge picture of a summer meadow, pink, yellow, green, ladies smock, dandelions and buttercups - a view I've not seen since I was 10 years old laying in the grass on Salisbury downs.

14th Floor UCLH

I’ve been instructed to drink plenty of water and given an anti-sickness tablet. I crack open a green smoothie and ration myself a cocoa and vanilla flapjack. 

I ponder the fact that everyone asked me if this was my first time and I don’t like it and determine it will be my first and last time for radiation therapy.

I watch the sun setting over the West End of London. It is 3.40pm, a deep orange disc slipping from the sky behind wisps of violet cloud, it picks out the silhouette of cranes and gleams from the sides of mirrored tower blocks, the room fills with an orange glow. 3.45pm two planes pass on another silently on the horizon.

14th Floor UCLH

The sky is dark but the city twinkles and moves with lights.


Every day has a sunrise and sunset we just choose whether we see them or not. 

Sunday 8 November 2020

Christmas Gifts Supporting Small Business & Wildlife

 Shopping online and supporting small businesses is they way I’m doing Christmas this year!

I’ve always been a fan of Seedball, the fact their wildflower seeds are all native and beneficial to so many different types of wildlife, plus they always work. The seedballs are cleverly made using clay, compost and chilli powder, giving the tiny seeds a head start for germination and protecting them from pests. It is basically gardening for idiots and almost fail safe! I’ve had foxgloves from their Bee Mix pop up in the scrappy inch of soil in the front garden. Red clover at my allotment that has flowered and flowered and flowered bringing in pollinators, it is still blooming now and being visited by late bumblebees. I also adore Oxeye daisies and have had vases of them all summer from their oxeye daisy Seedballs. 

They now have a gift section on their website supporting other like-minded small businesses, there is a super cute felting kit that I’m itching to try but will give to Erbie and the Belle Mere will definitely be getting the indoor watering can! I’m even considering using their limited edition gold tin as this years tree bauble. The festive set is a wildlife loving gardeners dream especially gifted with Dave Goulson’s book on gardening with the tiny things living all around us in mind.  

The beautifully scented bee-themed handcreams will be going to my sisters and aunty and the mini-meadow pots to my social butterfly friend whose bubble can never be big enough. They are so easy to use, you don’t even need to buy soil, hopefully we will all be able to visit her in the summer when they are flowering.

That’s Christmas sorted!

Wednesday 19 August 2020

Alexa Is Listening

Whilst briefly away from home the other day, it occurred to me that the lengthy pains I’d been taking to keep Erbie’s upcoming birthday presents secret, were instantly nullified by the fact that Alexa had been gleefully announcing their imminent arrival.

Technology in the modern house has pitfalls and bonuses. For example Erbie, myself and TheGR all get to watch whatsoever we choose with no hurumphing or demands for the remote. The television has become the old school domain of TheGR, Erbie has a computer and Playstation in his room and I have a laptop.

This is, until the Sky television stopped receiving a satellite signal two weeks ago, causing TheGR to rage and fret for 24hrs, all to no avail as the call centre is obviously still in a country with a monsoon climate, although needless to say this could be Durham in a couple of years, the only offer was for a technician call out in 2 weeks time.

We now haven’t seen the news for 16 days, which is refreshing and probably in its own way a rebellion against the current government. TheGR is happily rewatching DVDs of Seinfeld. Erbie has just binge watched the entire new Star Wars - Mandolorian series on Disney+ and I have actually got over halfway through reading Donna Tart's, The Goldfinch - which I had previously started 3 times, never getting further than the first chapter. 

Alexa, is now, or was once, an integral part of family life, why check your phone for the time when you can ask Alexa. Why press buttons when you can ask Alexa to put on a timer, why worry your partner to remind you to do something, when you can program Alexa to. 

Alexa open Spotify, Alexa play murder mystery, Alexa how do you spell...? 

The only thing Alexa isn’t so good for anymore is announcements: ‘time to get to school’; ‘time to do your homework’, time to have a life.  Life is now on hold, crystallised in Covid, no school, no work, nowhere to go, humid days and nights of August holidays, with the strange sensation of skiving, yet actually having nothing, yet lots to get on with. A limbo lobotomy. The whole country slipping into economic destitution. 

My supermarket checkout lady tells me her grown son cried the other day, forced to take a lower wage to keep his job at a travel agency, he is suffering anxiety, struggling to buy food, a new father, his take home pay is £1500 a month, his rent £1300. 

The local pub can now only open from 4pm, the manager cannot afford staff for two shifts in one day. Four excellent bar-persons run around after about 6 customers, they have no time to stop and chat or take a break.

Alexa can you save the country? I’m sorry I don’t know that one. 

Saturday 9 May 2020

Lock Downer

It’s no longer April

The home-schooling has taken a decisive turn for the worse, mummy is feeling trapped, neither child or parent are getting outside which is really fucking with our mental health. A vicious round of negativity circles through my head: get outside you’ll both feel better - don’t feel up to it. Get outside you’ll both feel better - can’t get the motivation, get outside you’ll both feel better - I’m basically rubbish at parenting. 
The Scream - Edvard Munch ©Tate

Both mine and Erbies physical demeanour is noticeably degenerating, along with our posture, as our middles expand and our shoulders slouch, we move from bed to desk. One day we spend over an hour just trying to log onto a virtual exercise book for a lesson. It is frustrating beyond words with no reward. For one lesson, Erbie concludes, apparently wrongly, that The Metamorphosis by Kafka is about mental health not being recognised in 1915 as Gregor Samsa had a nervous breakdown. This he is told is incorrect, it is an essay on communism. 

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
By the end of the week, I am starting to lose water from my eyes, not something I’m prone to do. Hot, salty tears creep out every time I get a moment of solitude. I snap at Erbie to make more of an effort. I start sleeping, a lot, at lunchtime, in the afternoon, as soon as I get into bed at night. I wake at 5am. The 3 year old packet of Prozac in the medicine cabinet is winking at me. I swerve Zoom meet-ups, silence phone calls and socially distance myself from texts. I fill in the online government forms incorrectly and panic. 

TheBelleMere sends another shopping list for gin, coffee, wine, tonic and loo roll.

I swear a lot in my head and quite a lot outside of it. The kettle blows up, I flick the switch off at the socket as sparks fly and a tiny flame flickers from its base.  

Thankfully TheGR steps in and starts taking Erbie out for a morning walk/run around the local wood, (yes there is a wood literally over the road and we still hadn’t made it out). Erbie charts his daily PE and the morning walk has gone from a 2 to a 5, on the point system of enjoyment, 5 being 'great fun'. 

We go for a family walk. Plants are delivered for the garden I maintain. I go to my allotment and re-pot stuff, I make a card as a favour for Annie and she pays me in Booja Bouja truffles and Whispering Angel. 
Whispering Angel rosé

Booja Booja dairy-free chocolate truffles

Erbie had an online audition. My lily of the valley blooms. The sun comes out. Debs invites me for a socially distanced glass of wine and I accept. They have tadpoles. 

Wednesday 22 April 2020

Home Schooling In The Flat

Hi love,

I have been quarantined at home this week, not with the virus but with the secondary virus which is 'home-schooling' Erbie, having done a sterling job of it before the Easter holidays, has gone into fully blown head in the hands - 'I can't take it' crisis mode, which I am gently trying to coax him from. The only way he will do anything school related is if I sit beside him - all day. 

Yesterday, I learnt the historical beginnings of the Muslim religion, the word for 'snow shoes' in French - (raquettes de neige) at least I hope that's what the translation is! I also spent a painful hour hindering the multiplication of negative numbers. As I mentioned before, me and numbers do not fit together well. Science involved learning about salts, this was interesting, did you know that a metal and an acid make a salt? Sodium chloride being table salt, although how anyone is supposed to learn the spelling of phenolphthalein and a simpler explanation of tritiation might need a little more time. The day ended with Dickens.
His bigotry surrounding the Jewish faith and his usage of slang in his work 'Oliver'. 

By 4pm Erbie and I were done, figuratively, mentally and physically. Obviously we didn't go out for a long walk to stretch our legs and stare longingly at other peoples gardens, which would have been sensible, good parenting and self-care, oh no, I had a large glass of wine and Erbie got on. the PS4 with his friends.

It's times like these that really bring home the insecurities around parenting. at least if they are at school for some of the time, someone else is responsible for their learning, you don't have to take all the flak. In lockdown I imagine thousands, if not millions of parents everywhere are rapidly becoming reliant on their alcohol fix at 6pm and trying to scream louder than the voices in their heads shouting: 'your'e no good at this.' All hail the teaching professionals.

The truth is none of us know what we're doing, we were just better at covering it up with our busy ness. 

Things I thought I'd miss but haven't: 
1.) Clothes shopping, probably because there is nowhere to wear them, and the ever expanding waistline.

Yup, that's it, I miss everything else.

Things I thought I'd get done but haven't:
That list is way too long. 

The kids are all desperate to go back to school and that's something none of us thought we'd hear. 

Anyway time to start another day, the school bell would have gone half and hour ago, must have more coffee.

Fake Butterfly In A Jar

Monday 20 April 2020

Shopping For The Vulnerable

Hey babes,

It's Monday which means, I will be talking to my ladies who lunch on Zoom this evening - it’s Bingo tonight. I’ve not played Bingo before -there’s no way I’d choose to go out and spend a night with numbers. Me and numbers have never really got on.

I’ve just received the latest shopping list from the Belle Mere:
Top of the list is
GIN (large bottle) I like Dry Gin so Bombay (London) Dry Gin. (if they have it). If not, anything except that Green Bottle that I think is Sainsbury's own)
Tonic x 2 large bottles if they have it).
Milk x 2 green top semi each 2x2 lites 4 pints)
cheese ( only Lancashire will do!) It's in a special packet usually on the top shelf)
pan scrubs (packet of 4, six or 8?)
Pasta (tortellone with spinach & cheese).
Bread- more Vogel if they have it.
2 x tins of tomatoes.
2 x bottles of dry white wine (can be Sainsbury's).

How the hell am I supposed to carry all of that! Seriously, my arms are going to be on the floor by the time I get to her house! We have stopped using public transport and I don’t drive.

Erbie had his first day back to home-schooling today after the Easter break. He was not his usual cheery self, in fact the only way I could parent that situation was by literally sitting beside him for most of the day. 

I now have serious lockdown loco fever. An hour a day does not keep the head doctor away especially as my only trip out today was to queue briefly (not even a long queue when I really needed it to be) for Sainsbury just up the road. 

I actually look pregnant, my wine belly is so big, today I was going to start the exercise regime, healthy eating, getting out, time management thing - yeah we’ve all heard it before. It started badly with left over Easter egg for breakfast and went consistently downhill from there.

Perhaps I should just embrace the wine baby.

How the hell are you doing?

Friday 17 April 2020

Lockdown Recipe - Stifado - Week 4

As with everyone in lockdown, mood levels vary from day to day.

I am able to measure mine by bra wearing, there are bra-days and no-bra-days. A no-bra-day is not so good, clothes have probably not been put on, hair not washed, sensible food surpassed for chocolate and way too much coffee. Exercise has almost definitely not been taken. No-bra-days are especially bad if they consist of actually leaving the house ‘sans brassiere’, much like today, which involved queuing at the local supermarket to buy wine with the sole purpose of returning home to drink it.

This is throwing in the towel (or bra) not as it once was seen, as a caution to the wind type thing,  but more as a ‘fuck it I cannot go on with out alcohol’ type way. My online health guru, Kris Carr, would call this: ‘numbing’ the senses with wine rather than ‘self care’ chillin’ with a nice glass and something to eat.

I have also decided to make the hearty flavoursome dish: Beef Stifado. I loosely follow Tonia Buxton’s (The Greek Kitchen) recipe. Tonia’s recipes are really authentic and I also have a slight girl crush, check out: ‘Eat Greek For A Week’, yup, okay, not a problem.

Tonia Buxton - all woman
Stifado, according to Tonia, means ‘stuffed’ as in ‘stuffed full of flavour’.

A ladleful of the unctuous broth, full with Greek flavours of fennel, bay and cinnamon is enough to transport me to a tiny harbour taverna, a cold bright sunny afternoon, the blue Aegean lapping at the shore with brightly painted fishing boats bobbing on its surface. Ah...

For a properly authentic recipe, search up Tonia Buxton’s - Beef Stifado.

Here is mine:

400g shin beef diced
2 red onions chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic crushed
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 bay leaves
1 piece of cinnamon bark
1 tsp cloves
1.5 tsp fennel seeds
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
Salt and pepper

I use a heavy based cast iron casserole dish, it’s not Le Creuset, but it works perfectly well. Put on hob and turn up high. Brown the meat in olive oil and add the onions, gently cook until caramelised.

Brown the beef with onions in olive oil
Add the crushed garlic, I like to use a microplane grater.

Add crushed 2 cloves crushed garlic
Followed by the red wine vinegar.

Add 3 tbsps red wine vinegar
Stir and add the cans of chopped tomatoes, plus one can of water. Rinse the empty cans and recycle!

Add I tsp cloves
Add cloves, bay leaves, cinnamon bark, fennel seeds, tommy paste and season with salt and pepper.

Add 1 tsp fennel seeds, bay leaves and cinnamon bark
Add 1 tbsp tomato paste
Turn down heat and simmer with a tightly fitting lid for at least 1 hour this is not a dish to rush.

Simmer for at least 1 hour with the lid on.
It is the kind of dish you can happily leave bubbling away in the kitchen, while you have your lockdown-text-off with friends, and it won’t spoil if you drink an extra glass of wine before you bring it to the table.  

Serve with a green salad and toasted pitta bread or mashed potatoes and steamed kale... whatever you fancy really.

Red wine and ouzo optional.


Stay safe. Stay home.

Wednesday 15 April 2020

Lockdown Week 4

TheGR apologises for being an arse and decides drinking lager is not the way forward. Having the favourite pub shut means real ale is now only available in cans, we all have to make sacrifices!

Maybe his whole family dynamic ran on ‘fight or flight’. Why do we tap in to that when the stress trigger is activated rather than zen calm. I guess Buddhist monks spend years teaching themselves how to tune in to inner calm when triggered rather than the ‘fight or flight’ response, so I shouldn’t be too surprised.

Day 23 of lockdown, we are all feeling the pinch, the kids really want to go swimming, the joggers don’t want to be puffing past, they want to be on a treadmill at the gym, which was once part of their morning routine, on the way to work., now they’re working from home. Everyone knows the acronym WFH.

7 of us got together last night online, it was daylight when we went on and dark when we got offl. We did a quiz, I had a cup of tea, some had wine, one an Easter egg, another a beer. The quiz was light-hearted, it was lovely to see everyone. We all found the filter button, backgrounds were changed, suddenly the Easter egg eater was in the jungle, my Spanish friend didn’t really say much at all, thinking back, I should call her. Katherine, the GP said there were no babies in her surgery, which isn’t good as it means no one is coming in for vaccinations.

The Easter holidays are over. The sun is out. 

cherry blossom 2020

Erbie and I walk down the railway path, cow parsley, dock, hawthorn buds about to burst, bee-flies and honeybees buzz past. The pink cherry blossom is already fading and clumps of it litter the gutters. No bunches of lilac from the florist this year. I wonder where Kate Moss is? Highgate or the Cotswolds.. Where is Mick Jagger, where are all the famous people? I heard Marianne Faithfull went into hospital with coronavirus but that was 2 weeks ago.

I have lockdown belly. My shoulders ache with stress, yet I’m not really under any stress, I’m obviously under stress, we are all under stress.

I called my auntie yesterday, it would have been mums birthday, she was on a ladder in the garden talking to the neighbours saying: ‘it would have been my sister’s birthday today’. They haven’t been out for 4 weeks. My cousin shops for them and drops it off.

We’ve been shopping for the Belle Mere, the shopping lists are obtuse. TheGR was instructed and duly got a pineapple and green and blacks organic cocoa powder, plus 4 pints of semi skimmed milk. I did the next round, 4 pints of semi skimmed milk , 2 bottles of tonic water, a double pack of Lavazza coffee and a melon. We don’t question it.

It transpires, of course, the BelleMere hasn’t been obeying lockdown rules. She’s been popping out daily for her paper and fags and probably got a few trips to the supermarket in as well, judging by her insider knowledge on the queues and shelf stock situation. We’ve just been getting the heavy stuff for her!  She goes very quiet.

The BelleMere is convinced she has ‘the virus’, ‘I know I have it’, she calls 3 times in the middle of the night, my phone is on silent. I email to say I will call at 11.30am, I know she’ll be asleep before and I will panic if she doesn’t answer the phone.

I call at 11.30, she has the poorly voice, I tell her there is nothing to do but stay in, look after yourself, stay hydrated, take paracetamol, eat well, watch telly, sleep, don’t go out to get the paper or fags. Call 111 if you can’t breathe.

She calls the next day to apologise, she’s fine, false alarm, the threat of no paper was too much. Actually that’s unfair, we are all ‘the worried well’ and slightly hysterical, have I got it, what’s this cough?

I’m doing a 1000 piece jigsaw swap with friends.

Monday 13 April 2020

Lockdown Fever

TheGR shouts at the top of his voice, at the television, but not really at the television. The ticker tape at the bottom of the news bulletin reads, daily exercise may be removed if people continue to flout social distancing rules. 

The downstairs neighbours never did move out, their sale got shunted at the last minute for all sorts of reasons, mainly them. The lovely Spanish couple that were due to move in and expecting a baby bought a flat around the corner. 

TheGR is besides himself with rage, but also drunk having not had alcohol for 10 days due to illness, have we all been sick with coronavirus, we don’t know, we didn’t lose our sense of taste or smell, but we did have aches, temperatures and coughs and extreme fatigue and weird chest and back pains.  Today is the first day we’ve both felt well enough to eat and drink and be merry, it’s obviously gone straight to his head.

'I feel like smashing something, why don't I get any thanks, how can they not understand the terms and conditions of the lease, he stares out of the window at the offending downstairs neighbour, yeah that's right... he says menacingly, I'm talking to you.'

He’s passed out on the sofa now, I’m at my makeshift desk, especially for lockdown, half of mum’s antique table top balanced on the piano stand, a jigsaw of butterflies 3/4s finished underneath my laptop.

I took Erbie out for a walk around the block at 7.30am this morning, it was sunny, the first time he’s been outside for 20 days. The skin at the parting on the top of his head looks blue like a polar bears, from lack of sunlight.

A family three doors down are all doing Thai Chi in their back garden and have put up a swing. They’ve been hanging their bedlinen out on the washing line, I’ve not seen any washing hung out on a line since we’ve lived here, now it’s daily occurrence in clement weather.

TheGR wakes up stomps through to the bathroom and pulls the bedroom door shut, I take it he’s angry with me too then. Why do I stay? Why do I stay? Bathroom door closes, front room door shuts with a loud click. 

The downstairs neighbours have been in their garden all day in the Spring sunshine, he has turned pink, he’s talking at his mobile in Dutch. They are drinking champagne from flutes and wearing flip-flops. 

The beautiful lady renting the house adjacent to ours, I’ve not seen in the street with a single hair out of place – obviously very high maintenance, hasn’t been dressed for over a week. She’s been in the garden in slippers, a fluffy dressing gown, all kinds of leisurewear in fact, hair pulled back in a pony or sort of non-descript fuzzy.

It’s the first week of April 2020, everyone has been shut in at home for three weeks, some people are coping better than others. We are stressed, having bad dreams, drinking too much, eating too much, not exercising enough if at all. We’ve been sick and our energy levels are low. We’ve got lockdown fever.

Monday 23 March 2020

It is with a heavy heart we regret to inform you…

Monday 23rd March 2020. 

This was supposed to be a good year, this was going to be the roaring ’

20s, things were going to go well, money was going to be made, goals achieved, limits smashed.

WTF happened.

Today was the first day of home-schooling. Erbie’s school is providing an amazing service, lessons were as his regular timetable and came through online with a  teacher offering feedback to questions. 

First thing, Erbie looked up a Hama bead tutorial and proceeded to make a cartoon skeleton called Sans from Underworld in tiny plastic beads which I ironed into a solid image for him whilst he cleaned his teeth.

When Alexa’s timer told him: ‘Time to get to school’, instead of reaching for his coat and running out of the door he ran up and down the stairs twenty times.

I spent a stressful hour checking finances, should we take a mortgage holiday, is it a possibility we might be able to freeze credit card payments, how much left to come in. The GR has literally had all of his work in the creative industry cancelled for the unforeseeable future.

I had good intentions, yoga, meditation, make my own toasted granola, soda bread, carrot soup, set the table up for a jigsaw, get crafty, many, many good plans. The reality was sitting in my inside out jumper braless without a comb through my hair, top lip peeling from dehydration – strange how drinking copious amounts of wine doesn’t hydrate one. Wine belly too snug in my PJs. STRESSSSSSSSSED.

And breathe.

I went to bed to work, I post cheery things on social media about the natural world, it was not flowing. Sometimes finding an image first helps, baby birds, hedgehogs, bees, we’ve been slowly killing them and now we are dying too. 

TheGR starts drinking at 10am, the day may end well, or it may not. 

Chaffinches, hedgehogs, bees, flowers, nests, brambles. 

My thoughts wander to the allotment. Will I be able to vist? Will it be total lockdown soon? Why did someone strim the whole bramble hedge that abutted one side of the entrance, what were they thinking - a mass of wildlife habitat wiped out in one fell swoop, nesting birds, visiting bees, hungry foxes, sheltering hedgehogs, to look neater? 

Today I should have been on my gardening course at Capel Manor in Regent’s Park, the course I signed up for as a sanity treat. Just as Spring hits and the weather soil warms up, things begin to flourish and grow. Who will water all of our seedlings carefully pricked out and potted on in the poly tunnel. 

3.30pm Erbie’s home school day ends, there have only been a few tears, none from the grown ups. I go to my allotment with a flask of tea. The usually bustling high street is as empty as a month of Sunday in the 1970s. I social distance every time someone comes past in the opposite direction, sometimes walking in the road to do this, it’s okay there is hardly any traffic. A solitary bus goes past with a driver and one passenger.

Debbie’s sister cancelled her wedding in April and had a quick registry one at the weekend instead, 5 people max, no family went! They tried to live stream it but couldn’t get it to work. Debbie is a nurse, she’s just gone back to work, we joke about timing and how her old ICU training will come in handy. I have learnt that ICU stands for Intensive Care Unit very recently. Katherine, a doctor, jokes that as she doesn’t have ICU training she will be on palliative home care – only neither of them is really joking.

Yesterday was Mother’s Day, it could be lots of mums last one.

Several WhatsApp groups are sending the same memes, jokes, videos of people trying to laugh through the pain, some of them are funny, they get shared everywhere, I’ve seen the same guy voting to self isolate without his family shared on 8 different groups.

2020 is cancelled,  loo roll is worth it’s weight in gold, dogs are exhausted.

Watching the news is stressful, none of my friends are sleeping properly, everyone is drinking too much tea, wine, gin, anything. 

I sit in the sunshine at the allotment and drink tea. I water my seedlings. 


I walk back past the closed up shops, the bike shop, travel agent, pub, shoe shop, coffee shop, ‘It is with a heavy heart’, I read again and again handwritten or typed, on every shop door, a lump rises in my throat.’ 

Other nonsense

Quote of the day

‘They tuck you up your mum and dad...’
Anon - after Larkin

“Philately will get you everywhere”

“It’s not the despair, I can handle the despair. 
It’s the hope I can’t deal with”

“Each new friend represents a world in us, a world not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”
Anais Nin

‘Come on Dover move your bloomin’ arse’.
Eliza Doolittle