109. Oh My Ears and Whiskers!

I usually have a rough idea of what my next two or three Blog Posts will be about, but every so often life intervenes. At the moment, life is intervening rather a lot. Here we are in Lockdown Two in England until December 2nd (2020). Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own rules so everything is totally confusing. Wee Nicola Sturgeon (all 5 foot 3 inches of her) has decreed that there should be no passage between Scotland and England. So, although Christmas might be ‘saved’ by us not going out of our houses for the next month, it might not be happening in our house if my brother can’t come from Scotland to stay. At least someone can get closer than 2 metres.

Head bumps

In Post 108 I mentioned that Sir Sean Connery had died and that I’d make a martini in his memory. The only problem is that, apart from espresso martinis, I’m not particularly fond of them, they are too strong. However, last Saturday I felt we definitely needed one to listen to the announcement by our Prime Minister and his medical / scientific advisors. After the first martini (way way too strong) I decided to go onto something else. Who was it that said you should just have the vermouth bottle in the same room when you make one? The vermouth was all that diluted it (pour gin into a chilled martini glass, add some vodka for variety and top up with vermouth). A ‘Man of the Moment’ beckoned as appropriate but scotch after gin seemed like a really bad idea. Instead I made a topical ‘Leap Year’ cocktail: 60 ml gin, 15 ml Grand Marnier, 15 ml sweet vermouth. On reflection (when I was able) this seems almost as bad as the martini.

Empty Log store

I naturally gravitate to pessimism: if you expect the worst it can only be better than that, right? Even I was brought low by the new lockdown announcement. I turned to Spotify. If Tom Lehrer doesn’t work in these mad days (as an example here’s a good maths song), try Fascinating Aida or Flanders and Swann (weather this time). All very amusing if (in places) rather rude, especially FA, which is why there’s no link to any of their songs here. Do your own searching. Actually ‘So Sorry Scotland’ and ‘Cheap Flights’ are not too rude and are funny.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_eT40eV7OiI ).

All were just what I felt we needed as an antidote to the announcement of another month in lockdown. Which, on Sunday, became at least a month, with no guarantee it will stop on 2nd December (2020). Then changed to ‘we’ll be back to our tiers if all goes well’. Then on Monday the PM said ‘humanity has defeated every other infectious disease’. Hmm.

Lone nerine (from last post)

Sorry, I was about to go off into another rant there. Let me just say I am very cross. Not as cross as the five-year-old George was on the day he found out that he had to go to school, even though his dad had a day off work. But still, very cross.

Meanwhile I think I’m going doolally. (From military slang, soldiers based in Deolali in India went mad due to boredom or contaminated water or both). Either I’m deliberately stockpiling butternut squash and fish curry or I’m forgetting I’ve made it. Neither bears close consideration. The freezer has three lots I’ve created since May, enough for eight meals, plus the one I cooked this week with yet more to go in the freezer. All are slightly different, depending on the vegetables I have to use up, but are basically the same recipe. Butternut squash, salmon and prawns in a home-created coconut Thai sauce. Cultural misappropriation? At least we’ll not starve in this lockdown, but might never buy a squash again! The last one was for a cake (think carrot cake) which was… interesting. As this latest curry has Brussel sprouts in it, I might feed it to JD, G and Y on Christmas Day and say it’s traditional. Do you think I can get away with it? They missed last Christmas so might not remember.

Dramatic October clouds

I made our Christmas cake earlier this week. Whether there will be anyone other than the two of us to eat it is another issue. What shall I decorate it with? This year orange icing (think about it), scythes and baubles with spikes (virus) seems appropriate but too downbeat and gruesome. Time to put my thinking cap on.

I’m reading a book about pandemics in the past, just to cheer myself up. It is very good, honest, called The Pandemic Century by Mark Honigsbaum (a medical historian and journalist). It would appear that we will have difficulty predicting and responding to new viruses when they pass from wildlife to humans. I think we’ve worked that out during the year. To balance this heavy scientific book, I’m also reading Nora Ephron’s ‘I feel bad about my neck’, a series of amusing essays about all sorts of things. As the sage said, let’s eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow…

Log pile

We (JD) recently bought a sound bar for our television. We do not normally get around to watching TV but in honour of this new bit of kit I signed up to Marquee tv https://www.marquee.tv/ which has hundreds of different things to watch. We watched the London Philharmonic Orchestra in a varied concert (‘Poems Old and New’) https://www.marquee.tv/videos/lpo-poemsoldandnew?start=4412 then the Royal Opera House’s ballet Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Christopher Wheeldon. https://www.marquee.tv/watch/royalballet-alicesadventuresinwonderland?start=7560 The former was live, performed in an empty auditorium, but the latter from 2017 was rather scary now in terms of the number of performers interacting on stage plus the full auditorium with people shoulder to shoulder. Strange how quickly perception changes.

Way back in November last year (Post 62 dated 30th November 2019) I mentioned that one of JD’s grandchildren had successfully auditioned for a film. We hadn’t realised but it’s now finished and was debuted at the Sitges Film Festival (which specialises in horror, fantasy and animation). I cannot find a link to the film itself but it’s called A Perfect Enemy and falls into the genre of horror. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt9421200/plotsummary?ref_=tt_ov_pl

Galling though it must have been, JD bought some logs for our fire! The cold wet weather might have played a part of course. Somewhere in this blog post you can see the empty log store (sob!) and the log pile awaiting attention.

Ah well, freedom was fun while it lasted. Here’s a photo of my car hob-nobbing with others in a busy street. A very common colour (or as my mother used to say, it’s not common, it’s popular). The poor thing will be confined to the garage now apart from the odd emergency dash to the shops for food. It still looks quite shiny here but looks can be deceptive.

My car nearest us

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