DAY 35: Fri 17 April

A wet Friday with no shortage of things to do

Just noticed I’d made yesterday’s entry Day 44 instead of 34. I would say that proves no-one is reading it since no-one pointed it out, but in fact I got several responses to yesterday’s slightly ‘down’ piece. Old friends (and family) got in touch to make sure I was ok. I was just a bit freaked out by high blood pressure which now seems to have calmed down.

Thanks for all the good wishes, folks (and glad to know some people are reading this. It may be useful reminder of these days sometime in the future, but it is a comfort to know I am not writing into a vacuum).

Once again I was determined to get some exercise in this morning – it looked like rain outside, but things conspired against me, though I was up before 8. After catching up on news I got a message reminding me a neighbour needed the anti-ant powder I have not used in aeons. We had a house invasion some time ago, and I knew I had some left, but where was it? It looks some time to locate and deliver, by which time my resolve had deteriorated and more messages were demanding attention. By mid-morning my aching limbs persuaded me to switch on the sauna while I sorted out the washing and lined up a few things for ironing. And then it was nearly lunchtime.

After a sauna, a shower, and a shave all seemed right with the world. All I needed to complete my sense of well-being was a sardine sandwich and a fresh injection of news.

A surprise delivery of gardening materials was swiftly followed by the arrival of ‘the fish man’. I had not expected to see him until the crisis was over, but there he was, standing at a distance with his trusty Good Taste Foods van and some ’good offers’. He always has ‘good offers’ and I am always a sucker for ‘good offers’, so I had soon parted with almost a week’s pension on some vegan pies, some salmon and some exotic fish. They will last us a goodly while – but the pies will no doubt be snapped up by my kids.

Only two eggs from the chicken today. They have spent many hours roaming the garden with occasional forays to the back door to remind me it’s time for treats. None were forthcoming today. 

Speaking of roaming chickens, friends stuck in Barbados tell me they have been feeding numerous chickens that turn up in their garden, chicks in tow, but they have yet to discover where they lay their eggs. Their call comes late the evening (6pm local) after a couple of abortive attempts. Thanks to WhatsApp video I am able to get a glance of their surroundings. 

They have vain hopes of getting back to Britain at the end of May, but despite an idyllic setting they are unable to visit family because of restrictions in place there. They can get an occasional visit to a nearby beach, but booze is in short supply. It is hot and there is an effective curfew from 6pm to 6am. Shopping trips are restricted with three separate groups allocated to different days depending on where the family name falls in the alphabet. 

It sounds like they are kept well informed about developments via Q-fm Barbados, which makes an effort to a answer everyone’s questions as well as supplying news, and music, of course.

I had spend part of the afternoon revisiting my poems of unrequited love from much younger years, having gone in search of a photo of #MeAt20 for the latest Twitter craze. Nostalgia can be a good and a bad thing, luckily today it was not unpleasant. Another Twitter craze is recounting things from your past that young people today would struggle to understand. My contributions thus far have been ‘Collecting orange juice from the Council offices’ and ‘Changing the ribbon on a typewriter’.

Rereading my agonised words from almost 50 years ago reminded me of many amusing interludes, as did photos of the time from other old friends. I get message to say that a temporary mortuary is being set up on the campus of Sussex University, where I studied. It cannot be pleasant for the international students still holed up in halls of residence. As another contemporary, broadcaster Robin Lustig, commented “It send a shiver down my spine”.

When will the Tories realises that Ashok Sharma is the last person they should allow to do the 5pm press conferenceI(apart from Priti Patel, of course). He is about as sincere as a damp rag, however many ‘tributes’ he claims he wants to pay to the ill-equipped health and care staff, let alone the business community for which is supposed to be responsible. He burbled on as per script, largely ignoring or duck-shoving questions. His refusal to answer a direct question about HS2 was an absolute disgrace. It must be embarrassing for the ‘experts’ lined up beside him, although they too are beginning to sound like automatons. Sharma lacks charisma, conviction, and credibility, and while that may also be true of Donald Trump at least his press conferences have a certain ghoulish entertainment value.

Around teatime my houseguest deigned to emerge, utterly perplexed to know it really was Friday, His sleep patten is so shot to pieces, that he had worked out today was Tuesday! 

While he gathered his wits about him I read the next chapter of The Master to my grandsons. Seems like everyone wants to get rid of the ancient tyrant who has plans to encircle the globe with his anti-vibration rays and hold world leaders to ransom (in those days it was Eisenhower, Kruschev and Sir Anthony Eden!)

Afterwards I made supper with my houseguest. Swordfish steaks topped with a home-made rosemary pesto with peas, spinach and a mash of root vegetable, washed down with an Italian Rose. Then all that was left was to watch Have I Got News for You (ihis social distancing from home format is NOT working – evidently wit needs an audience to come alive) and the weekly pick-me-up with Gogglebox.

Having missed out on exercise and serious housework today, I suppose that is what I have to look forward to tomorrow. Goodnight. 

Mike J

Journalist, trainer, editor; storyteller; amateur historian.


  1. In the first sentence of this post alone, there are two glaring typos. Followed by a line admitting to getting the date wrong on the previous days ‘blog’ post. So far I am not impressed but at least there is a certain ghoulish entertainment to be found here.

    I was amused by the arrival of the, I expect fictitious, ‘fish man’.


    1. Thanks for the heads up on the typos, Ron – now put right. The ‘fish man’ is not fictitious at all, and would be most annoyed to be considered so. But glad to provide some ghoulish entertainment, that’s what we’re here for!

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