DAY 10: Mon 23 Mar

It’s those damned chicken again

At first sight another glorious day. I opt for breakfast in the garden – but find it is too cold to complete my muesli. The fish in the pond are still sleeping, but the birds are alive enough.

Today we shall need bread, and I feel like something different – a flat bread from the Mahghreb perhaps. But first I take my life in my hands and venture out into the big bad world. Well, actually I scampered down the empty Back Lane to return the rather delightful IKEA bowl in which last night’s supper was delivered.

Having washed it carefully (and my hands) I placed inside some fresh eggs – one blue, one big – wrapped in tissue, then wrapped it all in even more tissue, and placed it outside my friend’s front door. We had a brief chat at an appropriate distance. She tells me the vacuum cleaner has been out but idle for a couple of days, and she’s removed a few dead leaves from her bay tree, but plans to get down to some serious housework and gardening when she can get off her phone and her computer. I suspect she is among many with a similar dilemma. 

Back home it becomes clear I am not so hot on this multi-tasking malarkey. Having made my dough I headed for the greenhouse to plant some more seeds. A while later I abandoned some transplanting to duck back into the house to check on my dough. I discovered it had not yet risen enough for the next part of the process, so I made a cup of coffee and toasted a crumpet instead, as you do.

I did find it odd that there were no sounds for the chickens who would normally stalk me and gather at the back door hoping for titbits.  When I got back outside I found I had left the greenhouse door open, so the little blighters were having a field day. The place looked like the Somme. Green veg and herbs chomped, the strawberry plants scattered to the winds, freshly sown seeds unearthed and my radishes uprooted. The b’stards.

I warned them in no uncertain terms that they might live up to their nicknames sooner than they think – Tikka Masala, Bhuna, Tandoor, Nuggets and Sunday Roast. (I had hoped to upload a picture of them all trying to look innocent, but apparently the JPEG is too big for this site.)

The bread took much longer to prove than I had expected but the results were encouraging. I was experimenting with a Middle Eastern flatbread, Maneesh. It looks and tastes good covered in herbs and seeds. My North African house guest gave it the thumbs up and said he wanted to make the next batch. (Here too there was to be a picture of three flatbreads, but even they are too big for this site. There must be away – if you know, do tell.)

At tea time I had expected to hear Johnson announce the introduction of draconian measures to protect public health and the NHS after the weekend’s evidence that too many Brits think the coronavirus restrictions don’t apply to them. But no, he’s too busy having a Cobra meeting to address the nation. But we are told that he has been thinking about considering tougher measures. What the hell is he waiting for?

Meanwhile the mindless pillock who is supposedly in charge of the United States continues to spout dangerously stupid nonsense as if a border wall will stop the virus, or that it will all be over in a couple of weeks, or that reporters are bad people for asking sensible questions the public want answers to. 

With Trump if you don’t laugh you have to cry. The best antidote is Randy Rainbow (that IS his name). If you haven’t met him yet – check him out on Youtube. His is one of the funniest and cleverest satirists America has produced. An extraordinary talent who works alone, Randy has been touring to packed theatres across the States. Or was until COVID19 confined him his New York apartment where he constructs hilarious musical parodies with clips from the news. His first great hit was ‘Bragadocious’, during Trump’s first Presidential campaign, but my particular favourite is ‘A Very Stable Genius’. Go find and ENJOY.

To calm myself down I watched that nice Mr Osman’s House of Games with group of celebrities of whom I have never heard. I must be getting old. Last night I watched Celebrity Mastermind with another group of celebrities I did not recognise.

While I am having chat with grandson No. 3 in his bath, then reading the most exciting chapter yet in ‘Haroun and the Sea of Stories’ to Nos. 1 & 2, a friend texts to say she was going to ring for a chat tonight but she’s exhausted with so much WhatsApping and Skyping and Zooming. She apologises as she now intends to unwind with some mindless telly watching instead. Communication exhaustion will getting us all soon enough.

She did find time to regale me with details of her most recent vegetarian meal, however. But tonight I shall mostly be eating chicken curry – don’t worry, my birds are safe for the moment.

My sister has just sent me a warning text ‘If you receive an email with the subject ‘Ding Dong’ – don’t open it. It’s the Jehovah’s Witnesses working from home’. But the humour is short-lived. The next message from another sister is that her daughter-in-law has gone down with coronavirus symptoms. She has three young children. 

Blood pressure rather high this evening. I can only imagine it’s because I feel frustrated at not getting as much done today as I had hoped. Having eschewed exercise favour of some gentle gardening, I was frustrated by the wretched chickens who wrecked much of the work I have done in the greenhouse.

As I settle down for a very hot curry, I hear that a nationwide lockdown has been announced (imposed?) Better late than never.

I shall post this entry early and head for bed before midnight for once.

Mike J

Journalist, trainer, editor; storyteller; amateur historian.

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