DAY 47: Wed 29 April

How not to do housework, and other diversions.

Steady spring rains limit options for the day. Well, that’s not strictly true as I was supposed to start de-cluttering, dusting and cleaning the living room today, so some absorbing prevaricatory activities are required to put that off as long as possible. 

First up it’s the chickens. They were well fed yesterday but kept in their not insubstantial coop. I will let them out today and they can have the garden to themselves. But before I have bucketed their overnight droppings for the compost and collected the first two eggs of the day, they are making a racket round by the back door where I keep containers with their feed. I find four of them are standing on top of it demanding access!

They had demolished enough food in their feeder to keep any reasonable brood going for days, on top of the treat of leftover rice, fruit and vegetable peelings. Clearly they are determined to punish me for unnecessary incarceration. When I shoo them off the container, Mother Hen has the temerity to peck at my naked leg (I am not yet fully dressed).  As my house guest later remarks “They’ll be speaking next!” That’s when my lockdown will finish.

Having filled a feeder for them I step back inside and look for the next distraction.  The Internet has its uses. A good hour on emails and twitter while my mind works on further alternative strategies. 

Ah… I have not had a sauna for a few days, but I shall have to wait a while until it warms up, and it’s pointless to start a job I can’t finish. So I make some coffee; put up a ‘Thank You, Postie’ sign on the front door for  #PostalWorkersDay and drop a bar of chocolate for her/him – never know with one is coming – in the milk box. Then I check the latest WhatsApp messages. There have been some amusing exchanges with my sisters wishing “God Speed” and “Safe Journey!” to my TV producer cousin who has announced that she is off to work. It turns out this means, turning her chair round from the breakfast table to her desk. And there is news of a possible Zoom link up with Dempsey relatives in America whom I have never heard of before. That could be fun.

It may be raining outside but that does not penetrate the greenhouse, so I have to pay a visit there before I settle down in the sauna with a good book (Still making my way slowly through on George Alagiah’s The Burning Land). By then it should be lunchtime and not a finger laid on the living room. It’s all going according to plan, especially as the greenhouse visit necessitated some replanting of Ocas (New Zealand yams) and a courgette.

A wild wind has broken out shaking up the garden and the chicken who hightail it for home. It has taken hold of two broken parasols that were lying about  and put at risk the fencing I had constructed to protect the fruit and veg. That has stood up well enough, but the parasols have had it.

I spend a long time in the shower, without my glasses, trying to remove what appear to be indelible stains on my feet, only to discover that it is sunburn from wearing sandals while working in the garden in recent days.

Shocked to discover that the BBC thinks the birth yet another child to Mr Johnson is the lead new stay of the day, while hundred of families are mourning yet another tranche of deaths at the hands of the virus which his administration has mishandled. I do not doubt that it is a ’good news’ story, but there are more deserving headlines as thousands lose their jobs and businesses collapse. Meanwhile the spike in Covid19 deaths in care homes is being blamed not on government incompetence but on relatives visiting their elderly parents and grandparents before the lockdown was imposed! The Tories are shameless.

On a lighter note I had almost forgotten that story reading time has been switched from tea-time to lunchtime. But grandsons 1 & 2, fresh from their morning’s home schooling, are more into mischief than the tense moments in The Master where it is clear he has read everyone’s minds about their planned assassination attempt ,and switched on his deadly vibrators. Planes fall out of the sky; ships drift powerlessly; the dead bodies of birds and fish litter the sea, and communications breakdown across Europe and Scandinavia. 

My grandsons could not care less today. They have found some nifty gadgets/apps on their mother’s laptop and are keen to show off their computer prowess to neanderthal Grumps. They do stop briefly to announce that they are “opening a restaurant“ for their dad when he comes home from work tonight. They will be serving home-made chilli con carne and rice, with tortilla chips and garlic mayonnaise, and a lemon drizzle cake for afters. Wish I was there for that supper!

So busy doing other things that I missed out on what I had hoped would be a highlight of the day, the defenestration of Ms Priti Patel by Yvette Cooper at the Home Affairs Select Committee. Did it happen? I hear that she is to be let off for her boorish behaviour to staff. No surprise there Like I said the Tories are shameless.

A neighbour drops off some geraniums for me, so I return the compliment with some gladioli bulbs. It means passing through the Back Lane which looks very pretty today, a confetti of hawthorn blossom on the ground with buttercups, wild garlic, forget-me-nots, borage, and speedwell, among other wild flower, offering a pastel decoration to the undergrowth.  

This evening I began a marathon binge of DEVS, broken only for a filling Iftar with my house guest and a discussion about how disciplining children has changed over the years and cultures, and then WhatsApp contact with my youngest son.

Not sure what It think about DEVS yet, other than it has successfully kept me away from clearing up the living room for the time being, Ah well, tomorrow is another day.

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