DAY 15: Sat 28 Mar

A quiet Saturday (what is not quiet these days?)

It looked quite reasonable outside, at first sight, apart from signs of a breeze. That breeze turned out to be a chilly, swirling thing that put paid to any idea of another day in the garden.

But things have to be done on a Saturday, like clearing out the chicken run. I had determined sometime ago to make some changes, partly to disorientate the two older hens so the new arrivals would feel more at home because they knew no other layout. But things did not pan out at the right moment, so the transformation has been gradual. So today it was to get the complete makeover while they were out transforming the garden, again.

Much of the morning was spent responding to messages and forwarding innumerable funny clips and song parodies which have become the stock in trade of coronacrisis communications.

The postman called with two packages. My ‘slow journalism’ fix – the latest edition of ‘Delayed Gratification’ – is a splendid compilation of features and infographics looking back in more depth at the key news stories of the past quarter – what happened next and what was left out at the time.

The other intriguing little package had the look and feel of the protective masks I had ordered, but turned out to be the egg rack missing from the new fridge-freezer I had had to get when the old one decided to pack up rather sneakily over a recent weekend, ruining lots of food.

Today is also another family birthday – this time it’s ‘gran’s’ and that means another get together scheduled for noon on ZOOM. Could I get into the meeting? Not for 11 minutes as the technology failed me, or perhaps I failed it. By the time I got there it was in full swing, but smiling faces make such a difference to the day. Grandchild No. 3 insisted I reprise my rendition of the Troll song which once frightened him but now gives him the giggles. 

Unable to decide whether to settle down to binge a box set or to clean my bedroom, I sold the dilemma by remembering the chicken run changes.

When the chicks returned from their perambulations it was going to be fun to watch their reactions. But of course they just dug straight into the kitchen scraps and it was only when Mother Hen took exclusive control of the feeder that the youngsters began to explore the new perches I had installed. (Apparently you are supposed to spend time just watching your chicks so you can determine whether there are any significant changes in their behaviour – but it can be quite fun, and relaxing too.)

Then it was into the sauna to warm up followed by a hot shower and shave. I had toyed with the idea of growing a beard during my incarceration but decided against it – so I wouldn’t get too slovenly. I have often had a beard a and only shaved off my Father Christmas growth at the start of the new year. I remember a house guest, a young woman, reminding me to shave each morning for the sake of work colleagues ( it was when we had quite a few staff at MediaWise) . She said the boss going in mis-shaven can give the wrong impression and is not good for morale. So shaving will be a morale booster for me and for the children.  

Slumped on the sofa I began to catch up with ‘Noughts and Crosses’. I had never read the book and while the concept provides some useful challenges, I had not got beyond episode one which had the discouraging feel of a Romeo and Juliet remake. That is still there but the plot has got more ‘political’ in terms of with social and personal relationships.

Then it was off the the City of Gup for the latest instalment of ‘Haroun’ for  grandsons 1 & 2. And immediately after tds to was off to Vilnius by Skype to chaos with an old friend who is now locked in after returning from her travels with a bit of a temperature. Lithuania is in lockdown, like everywhere else. Then a lonely supper with the heated up remains of yesterday’s fish pie and the rest of the white wine, and some rubbish on TV.

And so to bed knowing, I shall lose another hour’s sleep because of the clock change. Now is it ‘Spring forward, Fall back’ or “Spring back, Fall forward? 

Mike J

Journalist, trainer, editor; storyteller; amateur historian.

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