DAY 65: Sun 17 May

It’s Sauna Sunday, and baby it’s cold outside.

Woke around 5 am, but managed a little more shut-eye before 7.

I decided the noisy brood could stay in their coop today by way of  a reminder that my asparagus bed is as much out of bounds as the greenhouse and the vegetable plot. I doubt they will take much notice of my ‘social distancing’ order, any more than a day or two of ‘lockdown’ will dint their enthusiasm for eating anything the takes their fancy.

I spent the pre-Marr Show period (I thought Angela Rayner held her ground well, Gove was, well, Gove, and wondered why neither Rudd nor Pym picked up on the Kier Starmer millionaire/donkey story in the Mail) reviewing 876 shot recorded by my wildlife camera last night.

Not a rat in sight. Positioning is all. It should have recorded their entry from the front garden but instead it’s angle picked up every dry leaf’s flutter in the overnight breezes which drive them up the back passage. (No sniggering please, it’s a Sunday morning and I can’t be arsed to change what I’ve written.) However I noticed a fresh hole in the chicken coop and blocked it up.

It is Sauna Sunday for me. The heel of my right foot is painful – it feels like a bruise, dunno where it has come from – and that’s my excuse for not using the gym equipment this morning. I managed only half an hour in the sauna, but got 20 pages into John Bew’s massive tome (564 pages) about Citizen Clem (Atlee). It was a gift from old friends on my 70th birthday and has been glaring at me from the bookshelves for two years. In my defence I was also given many  more books, some of which I have got through. 

I particularly enjoyed John Pinfold’s  Petrograd 1917 – first person accounts of foreigners who were present as the Russian revolution broke out – and 1947: When Now Begins by the Swedish journalist Elisabeth Asbrink. This latter is a remarkable book, a mosaic of events and memories worth reading even if you were not born in that fateful year when the summer was hot and the winter bitterly cold so I’m told).

Today and over the next ten days there are birthdays galore in the family across several generations. I hope I remembers them all. Messages from my sisters indicate that, apart from birthday Zoom parties, jigsaws are taking over their lives. I do have two in the ‘games drawer’ but I also know that one or two pieces are missing from each and that puts me off doing them again. (Evidence of an anal personality no doubt.) I do enjoy and miss board games. Perhaps I will get the biggest and most complex one (3,000 pieces depicting an over crowded novelty shop) out and see if my house guest would like to share the challenge. It also might get me off the dining table with my laptop and into the ‘Study’ where there is much work to be done. 

My right heel seems to be getting worse. I am limping or shuffling around. When I go to get eggs from the chicken coop I notice that the rats have opened up the hole I blocked near the hutch. I reposition the camera inside the coop in the hope of finding out more about their movements tonight 

There is a chilly breeze, and I feel like doing nothing. Apart from some washing up and a brief bout of dusting. I am not up to ‘distance drinking’ with neighbours in the street, so I watch an odd film called Faults in which a cut price psychologist (played by Leland Orser who resembles a thinner Dustin Hoffman) becomes possessed by the young woman he is supposed to be deprogramming. Very odd. 

An excellent Thai fish and vegetable curry for iftar. Then I watched Night Moves, an ‘eco-thriller’ directed by Kelly Reichardt and starring Jesse Eisenberg (who reminded me of comedian Simon Amstell for some reason, possibly because he looks a bit like him). It is a slow-paced, moody piece as much about motives and guilt as anything else.

I plan to go to bed now and see if the French Canadian Ghost Town Anthology on MUBI is worth staying awake for. A demain.

Mike J

Journalist, trainer, editor; storyteller; amateur historian.

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