DAY 22: Sat 4 April

Leak and potato soup, and tears at bedtime

Up early, but had to finish off yesterday’s diary entry having again gone to bed very late. Saw to the chickens instead of getting on the exercise bike, then switched on the sauna for aslow Saturday morning soak.

Toying with the idea of a short bike ride to drop off a book at a friend’s. I have not gone beyond the confines for three weeks. But all these ‘stay at home’ messages is making me nervous and maybe I shouldn’t – just get on the exercise bike again…

Anything to avoid that. Sort out the chicken run; water the garden (we are promised a sunny day). Make a list (ah, yes) of all the things you’ve got growing – so you don’t start duplicating. 

Fruit: Apples; Black currants; Gooseberries; Grapes (red & white); Pears; plums; Red currants; Rhubarb; Strawberries; Tomatoes; White currants. 

Herbs: Basil; Bay; Chives; Coriander; Dill; Fennel; Mint; Mustard; Oregano; Parsley; Sage; Thyme; Wild garlic.

Vegetables: Aubergines; Beetroot; Broad beans; Butternut Squash; Chard; Courgettes; Cucumbers; French beans (green & yellow); Garlic; Kale; Lambs lettuce; Mange tout; Mizuma; Oca (red & white); Peppers; Onions; Radishes (Red & White) Runner beans; Spinach; Spring onions; 

The promised sun was short-lived. I had to cover in the greenhouse when th wind got uo and the cloud turned the day cold. By the time the sun next came out I had given up and started cooking.

The most shocking news of the morning was the staggering death toll in Spain – 11,000 and growing. 

Less shocking was the victory of` Keir Starmer in the Labour leadership ballot. He may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but he won comfortably and I just hope Left Labour activists recognise that and work together to make the party electable. I have never belonged to a political party although I have worked as a press officer for the Labour Party, and worked with Labour MPs in parliament. However I have great admiration for Jeremy Corbyn whom I have had dealings with over the years and have shared platforms with him. He is a thoroughly decent man who has stuck to his principles in ways that many other politicians would not dream of doing. But it was evident that he could not win over an electorate whose attitudes towards him had been shaped by the poisonous press campaign against him. Had he won in 2019 I very much doubt we would be in the mess we are now.

It was good to see Angela Rayner win as deputy. She is quite a forceful character. I was impressed when she made time to address journalism students I had taken to Westminster. Her story is a great example of surviving adversity and developing a socialist perspective through personal experience rather than reading theory. I worry that she may been promoted too early in her political career, but I anticipate that she will be with us for a goodly while. She appears to have the nous and personality to win over any doubters about the new regime – if given half a chance.  I hope she will recover from her bout of COVID19 and get to work.

A host of leeks from someone’s allotment were being distributed among friends so a whole lot of leek and potato soup was being made in the neighbourhood. I made so much that most of it had to be frozen. I also made some soda bread and they went together well for supper, with a savoury pie to follow. 

I gave the statutory coronavirus press conference a miss today. And the boys were more up for playing than listening to stories tonight, so we had a laugh as they burned off their energy larking about. 

Watched the new Nordic noir Twin. Hasn’t excited me overmuch yet but the settings so raw and beautiful I shall no doubt continue, But the documentary that followed Twin Sisters: A World Apart had me in tears, as magical as it was tragic. Identical Chinese twins abandoned in a box, and put up for adoption by an orphanage that denied they were twins. Mia given to a childless American couple, Alexandra to a childless Norwegian couple. Luckily their new parents formed a bond which has kept the girls in touch. The intimate filming of their lives felt quite intrusive at tome. It sent me to bed with plenty to ponder.

Mike J

Journalist, trainer, editor; storyteller; amateur historian.

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