DAY 61: Wed 13 May

Duvets, washing, rats (again, sorry), and an old French film

Late-ish up again today, after 8. I hurry down to the chickens and make some porage and a mug of tea to accompany Al Jazeera’s international news. 

Back up to the bedroom, where, to bring a bit of excitement into my life while changing the sheets, I put the duvet into its new cover THE WRONG WAY ROUND!  Normally the end of the duvet with three velcro pads to hold the two layers together would be at the head and foot of the bed. Today I have switched them to the sides! This is hardly a controlled experiment but it will be interesting to see if my tossing and turning tonight makes any difference to the state of the duvet in the morning. There is a slight flaw in the experiment anyway, as several of the button holes on the new duvet cover are torn (no doubt from past nighttime exertions, so I am not comparing like with like.  What sort of a state am I in!

A message from a friend this morning to say her ex-mother-in-law (sic) is dying of COVID19 in a local care home. An ex-husband is also still in hospital hopefully recovering from the disease; he has survived complications so far. This must be so hard to take. Thank  god our very large family as been spared the loss of life, though several have recovered from the virus. 

The big decision of the morning is whether or not to hang the washing out, There is a slight breeze, a weak sun, but grey clouds in the sky. I risk it, since I have shut off the heating so drying indoors will take for ever. It turns out to be a wise move – and all is iron-dry by teatime. Am I the only person who still does ironing?

Normally on a Wednesday I would be at Glenside Hospital Museum, now closed, and today they have put up a virtual tour which those on Facebook might like to take.

At lunchtime, bold as brass in broad daylight there is a rat clambering over the waterfall I have created in the front garden; looking for a drink no doubt. Then it wanders about as if the place were its own. 

Later Western Power, or the Electricity Board as I still prefer to call them, rings to say they’re putting down poison in the substation next door, but they suppose that the rats are “just passing through”.  

From my study window I notice that a black cat visiting my front garden is taking a stealthy interest in the ivy-covered wall beneath the apple tree, and pounces several times, then appears to chase an invisible prey. Maybe she as detected rats too. It is all getting rather unnerving, and when a neighbour who is collecting a prescription for me leaves an egg box on the garden steps (I have offered eggs to those who need some) I warn her I will have to deliver them later as leaving eggs out when there are rats about is asking for trouble. 

I consult with my neighbour out the back who says rats were seen in their  garden again last night, and they noticed the movement-sensitive solar light in the passageway kept going on. He has a look over the substation wall and notices some broken birds eggshells – which could suggest the rats have been marauding in local nests. 

I set up a wildlife camera along the side passage that leads to the chicken coop and the neighbour’s garden , since it appears to be part of the rat run. The council’s ratman should be back in the morning to check the untouched bait boxes, so we can share any footage I get. 

I was sent some intellectual Youtube videos about philosophy to help me understand the text I have to review. Could not get into them today, but they do seem interesting, That could be my pastime for tomorrow, once the ratman has done his duty,.

It feels as if this diary is taking over my days – as if it is the reason I am on lockdown. I must give this some thought. Never having kept a diary before, I wonder if that is a consequence of the practice.

The daily briefing from Downing Street is becoming increasingly frustrating, Today the so-called Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick proves that he can read a script while adopting a condescending tone, and somehow seems to think that because he says his statements are ‘clear, coherent, and comprehensive’ they must be. Not so Mr Jenrick. And if you are going to hold a press conference and invite questions ANSWER THEM. It is an insult to the people you claim to be leading, and working for, if you won’t answer the questions to which we deserve answers.

And journalists must not let them get away with their obfuscating replies. Keep asking the same questions until we get sensible and relevant answers. Kier Starmer’s pursuit of the lying Prime Minister today might offer an example of how its done.

Finished Quai des Orfevres this evening. A melodramatic policier with a crabby old detective played by Louis Jouvet who has been in the Foreign Legion and returned to France with a young African boy, whom we may assume is his son. It revolves around the murder of a dirty old man in the seedy world of theatrical agents and is in the grimy streets, clubs are lodging  of post-war Montmartre. It may seem full of cliche these days, but it remains an engaging film noir. Good night. 

Mike J

Journalist, trainer, editor; storyteller; amateur historian.

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