DAY 23: Sun 5 April

Palm Sunday; the sun isn’t warm but the garden still calls.

Awake early again today but took it easy to rise – sun had been promised  but there was no sign it whenI opened the curtains, so I lazed around for a bit with and a Jesuit meditation for Palm Sunday complete with a handsome selections of sacred music. 

The sun was still finding it difficult to dominate so I made some muesli with mango juice and stewed apple and consumed it with a decent cup of coffee while watching Andrew Marr pontificating. Salutary contributions from epidemiologist Prof Neil Ferguson and Axel von Trostenberg of the World Bank, another faltering appearance from Health Minister Matt Hancock, a first appearance from Kier Starmer in his new role as leader of the Labour Party. A diplomatic contribution about ‘constructive engagement’ with the Tory government, which may not go down well with some Labour members. he seems relaxed and confident, more so that the blustering Prime Minister. Later in the day we hear that Johnson has been admitted to hospital, so who Starmer will now be dealing with? The first sign of his a “talented balanced Shadow Cabinet” would emerge later in the day. He says he will know if he has repaired the rift with elements of the Jewish Community when certain Jewish people return to the fold. that may raise a few questions among the many Jews who remained members and challenged the very basis of the ‘anti-semitism’ controversy. 

In between we got some sensible remarks form Gary Lineker about the controversy surrounding professional footballers and the venal financial attitude of the companies that own their clubs. The message from them all is that things must really change when this debacle is over. We shall see.

Somethings never change, At the height of this public health crisis somebody is STILL tossing used tissues down beside the bin outside my house.  I regard that as tantamount to a crime under current circumstances.

By the way, if it’s true that your quarantine theme song is whatever was No.1 on your 12th birthday (Fake news alert?), mine is ‘A Big Hunk o’Love’ (by Elvis Presley & the Jordanaires), I kid you not. I could not remember it (we had neither record player nor TV at the time) but it is a real old fashioned rock number,

Had my birthday been the week earlier it would have been Devil Woman by Cliff Richard or Lipstick on Your Collar by Connie Francis; the following week it would have been ‘Lonely Boy’ by Paul Anka, Now that’s what I call a lucky escape. This is a fun exercise which has been bringing back many (mostly) happy memories to family and friends all day.

Windy, cloudy and not really warm at all out, though my sisters send photos of sunny scenes further west further east. I retired to the greenhouse and left the garden to the chickens.

Each day I have had to escort newly hatched cabbage white butterflies out of the greenhouse. Today I found a big fat caterpillar of the Large Yellow Underwing moth hiding amid the splendid leaves of my mature artichoke (something I left off my list yesterday).  I resisted the temptation to feed it to the chickens.

Perhaps as a result they demanded to share my frugal lunch of soup and toast, as if I have no right to sit and enjoy my own garden.

Later as I turned over the earth on a new bed Mother Hen came to join me – she knows when worms are likely to be unearthed. When the Blue Moran came over to join in she was unceremoniously chanced away. The harridan will tolerate the Light Sussex but no other interloper. 

Old forms of barter are coming back. Having run out of paint pots a neighbour does a swap for some ‘tupperware’ so she can freeze meals for later. As I make one delivery I pass a house where children are playing noisily. It is wonderful sound, and I’d love to let their parents know, but they are behind a high wall.

Across another wall I swap an egg for news of another elderly neighbour  who has not been seen in his garden since planting out his onions and beans so neatly. He has had a stroke, and is now in hospital where other complications have been uncovered. Please god he will keep clear of coronavirus.

A short fun reading time ends with sharing music – I give them Lily The Pink and Thank You Very Much from Scaffold, and Monster Mash from Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett and the Crypt Kickers, plus a family favourite Donovan’s Mellow Yellow. They give me Yellow Submarine and what I think is some hip hop. We are nearing the end of ‘Haroun’ and tonight I have to sing badly as Princess Batcheat. I do not find that difficult.

A rather unsuccessful supper experiment with some chicken, garlic, cream and linguini needed to be washed down with a Sauvignon while I watched the latest episode of The Nest, which is shaping up nicely.

A bath before bed, and a vain hope that Monday will be bring a better sun to Bristol.

Mike J

Journalist, trainer, editor; storyteller; amateur historian.

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