Disinfectant a new cure!

So here I am. Ready and raring to go. I have my disinfectant and my syringe but just a bit unsure about where in my body I should be inserting this powerful COVID19 eradicator. What…you mean it is dangerous…but the President of the United States just said it was a good thing. Are you saying he is wrong? But half a million people in middle America have already been shooting up. Oh, I see never trust a man whose brain has gone AWOL. Just as well then that I haven’t started the procedure.

Remember Rowan Martins Laugh In –  How I wish it was still on. The daily Trump fiasco would be great fodder. Each day gets more bizarre – actually I rather enjoy the comedy and the anticipation of what on earth will he top it with today. It would be funny if he wasn’t the President  of what used to be the free world. And that thousands of people are dying because of his egomania. But what is not funny is that there is still a large portion of America following him. “Oh, I know he is a bit cuckoo, but I like what he stands for and he has done great for the economy.” Oh, year well watch your screen idiots the economy is fucked.

And what do these loyal Americans think when there are 50,000 dead in their country — from supposedly fake news — and yet their President has refused to lower the American flag.

Toby says that he is hoping it will be natural selection. That all the idiots following the idiot President  will rebel against lock down  and then  die from COVID19. One way he says to get rid of the rubbish. Sadly, it will not be the case as we know they will just infect others. But it is a good thought and although I have never encouraged killing, I must say of late I have been very tempted.

Yesterday was a nothing day. I didn’t feel well and flopped from bed to couch. Which is why there was no blog. A mixture of physical and mental.  While I have remained relatively positive throughout the last 5 weeks  just focusing on each day, hearing the Health Minister’s pronouncements yesterday  that it is going to be well into 2021 before anything gets back to any kind of normal,  sent me into a twirl. And I don’t do well in twirls.  So much so that at 2 in the morning my throat was enlarged, I had a headache and my heart was beating too quickly. I  was sure that I had Coronavirus.  Happy to report that I woke up feeling fine. 

Note to self:  You need to make a Will

Back to issues much closer to home. My cousin sent me the post below and it was a stark reminder to me that no matter how much time I have I am never going to have an organised clutter free home.  I had always thought that there was minimalist inside of me  just waiting for the opportunity to show itself.  But I now know this is just  wishful thinking.   If you could see the upstairs of my house, you would understand. It is days since the loft was emptied but have, I sorted any of the boxes – have I heck – no they are just sitting there causing havoc as we manoeuvre are way around them to get to the toilet. Instead I have been seduced by the sunshine and my patio Saying to myself this won’t last and when it is raining, I can go through all this stuff. Fat chance

 

 

 

 

Glad that I have got that out of the way!

I did however have a rather poignant find in one of my mother’s box of letters. it was her hairnet and 15 years later I could still smell her on the net. How remarkable is that?

Apparently, there is a phenomenon which is called “phantosmia” or “phantom smells.” According to Professor Gottfried,  a neuroscientist who runs the Gottfried Laboratory at Northwestern University. He says that the  sense of smell is our most ancient, primal sense and has intimate and direct control over our emotional and behavioral states. He explains that this  is especially true for personal, meaningful memories that tend to get stamped into our brains very robustly.  Maybe it is all in my mind but whatever it is a good feeling and I shall keep sniffing.

.

“Let’s be careful out there”

 

The House At The Bottom Of The Garden.

Today’s debate centred on whether we should dismantle the large 20 foot by 20 foot shed at the bottom of the garden. This will be Toby’s next project and he is keen to get started. Admittedly it is falling apart and currently inhabited by an assortment of wildlife. But it holds many memories for me both good and bad. It was a rites of passage for all the boys and their friends and indeed most of the teenagers in the neighbourhood. It is where they had their first joints, drank alcohol and where some even lost their virginity. Its reputation proceeded it and The Abyss, as it came to be known as,  was spoken of with pride.

A good distance from the house it was a perfect hideaway and could be reached by  the  path at the side of the house. Thus not having to meet with any parents!  Some might think I was irresponsible but as the mother of 3 very opinionated headstrong boys it was my saving grace.  Better that I didn’t know what they were doing down there and much better that they were here rather than  in a park somewhere. 

So today I am going to reprint an article that I wrote for The Guardian in 2004. The first incumbent of the Abyss was my first-born Zak. He was having a particular difficult adolescence and thus he needed space as did we. 

Enjoy

Go to your shed

What’s the worst thing about being the parent of a teenage boy? Is it the noise? Is it the mess? Is it their friends? Is it the almost daily trek you need to make to the supermarket to keep them stocked up with nosh? Is it the appalling language, the irregular sleeping patterns, or the continual drain on your bank balance?

Clearly a difficult call. So what parent wouldn’t want to eliminate most of the above? What parent wouldn’t want to put at least 100 feet between themselves and the source of all this misery? What parent wouldn’t want to do as we managed to do – send their 17-year-old son to live in the garden?

Here’s what we did. One, bought a 20ft by 20ft wooden shed-cum-house. Two, erected it on a concrete platform at the end of the garden. Three, installed running water, heating and electricity. Four, sat back and enjoyed our regained space and peace. Now we can only vaguely hear the music; we hardly ever see our son’s friends; he has his own stash of food, and he doesn’t disturb us every few minutes.

It’s a great solution to a problem that had its roots when our son – the eldest of our three boys – got his first surge of testosterone. At the time, I was totally unprepared for the radical change in our relationship and the impact it would have on our lives and that of the two younger boys.

My son is a talented musician, a creative, individualistic and strong-willed boy. He has two demanding, goal-oriented, and egocentric parents. Not surprisingly, the result is fireworks – not just your odd sparkler or banger, but full-blown November 5 all the time. We both needed our space, so when, in the midst of one of the daily arguments, I suggested he go and live in a shed at the bottom of the garden, he took me up on it and, like a dog with a bone, didn’t let go until it became a reality.

Six months later, and £8,000 poorer, we had the shed (complete with own front door, windows and Yale lock) at the bottom of the garden. It is far enough from the house to give him his privacy and independence and us some peace. That was 18 months ago, and it really has changed our lives for the better.

But would it work for every family? Social psychologist Richard Stevens of the Open University thinks separate living space for older teenagers is a brilliant idea. “You can’t kick them out at 17 because they are too young,” he says. “But this way they get the excitement and freedom of having their own space with the security of still being linked to the home. It is like a halfway house to independence.”

Some of my friends think we are too liberal and that we will all suffer as a consequence. What about boundaries and rules, they say? In the past we had lots of boundaries and rules, but they were constantly being broken and the resulting scenario was perpetual conflict. Now, because he has his own space, there are fewer rules and subsequently fewer conflicts. It is hard to be a gatekeeper to teenagers, but there are still some regulations. If he doesn’t go to school, then he has to deal with the consequences. If he gets kicked out, then he will need to find a job and pay rent. If he is not coming home at night, I ask him, out of courtesy, to text us and let us know.

Am I concerned about what he gets up to at the bottom of the garden? Not really. I am sure he does things that I wouldn’t particularly like, but at least my two younger sons and I don’t have to see what is going on. He is discreet and I don’t ask too many questions. I have a spare key but don’t enter without permission unless it is an emergency. It would be hypocritical of me to come down as the heavy parent – I was a child of the 60s and 70s and by 16 I had left home and was living a life my parents certainly wouldn’t have approved of in southern Spain.

My biggest worry is that I have made the house at the end of the garden too comfortable so he won’t want to leave home. Will he still be in the shed, enjoying his space and freedom and proximity to London, at the age of 30? It’s a worry, but we have a cunning plan. We won’t push him out, but his younger brothers will. They, after all, deserve their time in the garden house: moving in there will become almost a family rite of passage. The 13-year-old plans to oust his brother when he gets to 16: in anticipation, he’s already planning his first party.

“Let’s be careful out there

The Diary

I had a moment at 3 in the morning – it is the time to have a ‘moment’ and in all fairness I have not had very many moments. And then I woke up at 6 am to a beautiful sunny day with the birds chirping magnificently and the moment had passed. I could have easily lazed in bed with a cuppa but forced myself to get dressed and start the day with a walk. I was not alone – it seemed like a good percentage of my neighbourhood had decided that a 6.30 walk was a good idea. And just in case any of us were confused about the 2 metres social distancing – park authorities were there to remind us. Or maybe it was a concerned resident. And they were right to do so.

social distancing 

Today I must return to looking through the boxes of papers that were retrieved from the attic.  It is quite a mammoth job and takes me down memory lane where I can easily lose myself for a good few hours. It has made me realise how much I didn’t know about my parent’s life and I so wish that I had asked them more questions. I would urge any of you who have parents alive to ask them about their past, about their extended family and commit it to paper or computer because we all lose our memories at some point and our children ll want to know too.

I found my mother’s diary today from 1943 when she was in the ATS. It was fascinating and very emotional.  No wonder they enjoyed being in the army they seemed to have a great time. Drinking, parties, dancing, concerts, tennis and an abundance of men to have fun with. I am surprised they had time for war time activities.  Mum did seem to have one preferred companion – Ernest – I wonder what he was like? I note that he kept ploughing her with eggs – as it would appear did others. My mother was very good looking. Maybe they thought it would help in the seduction process.  Receiving an egg in 1943 was a big treat.

Mum’s diary from her years in the ATS

 

I was amused to see numerous references in her diary to “went to bed with hwb”   and mum told me she was a virgin when she got married!  It wasn’t till I got to the end of the diary that I saw that hwb was a short form for hot water bottle. That will teach me to read my mother’s diaries.

The problem with deciding to clear out the loft on lockdown is that there is nowhere to put the stuff you are throwing out. The dump is closed, the bin people are only coming every two weeks and the charity shops are not open.  Last night I heard on our Watsapp group that the bin men were coming in the morning. Opposite me lives a very odd little man who has two bins outside his house which he never ever puts anything in.  So once dark had fallen, I crept across the road and quietly deposited some of my discarded loft goods in his bins. I think I was caught as I spied two little eyes staring at me through the letterbox.  I just might get a visit today.  

Interesting email popped into my inbox today from my financial advisor saying that it was time for my annual review.  Me thinks probably not a good idea – do I really need to know how much money has disappeared. But all is not lost I was tagged again and Eisvert has bought me for $11,117,902! Do you think I can call this in?

I am a bit disappointed in myself because you might remember I had this long list of stuff I wanted to get done during this lockdown. Besides the loft I have not done any of things on my ‘to do’ list. And the loft wasn’t even on the list. I haven’t learnt a language, I haven’t emptied my in box, I haven’t cleaned and sorted any cupboards, except the one drawer which I only partially did as I lost interest, I have given up on my mediation, I have hardly made a dent in the weeds in the garden and I haven’t ironed the sheets I washed today. Well I do have another ???? weeks/months to go so need to rush right?

“I am so busy doing nothing… that the idea of doing anything – which as you know, always leads to something – cuts into the nothing and then forces me to have to drop everything.”  Jerry Seinfeld

Let’s be careful out there”

 

 

 

Food

Anybody else here obsessed with food. It’s about all I can think of. I wake up and immediately my tummy is saying what’s for brekkie? And by the time I have had my coffee, gone back to bed with my iPad, had breakfast cleaned up it is time to think about what is for lunch and before I can say hey presto or whatever one says it is dinner time.


Planning meals especially now Toby and Linda are home takes up a good half of my day. The other half is taken up with what the fuck am I going to write about today?


I imagine there is some comparison to cooking in times of Coronavirus and cooking during rationing. Only ‘some’. I have to think creatively with what is in the larder. Eggs are much too precious to waste and as there is no food order coming need to conserve on the butter and oil and well a whole host of other products. Still have sugar though which is something my mother never had until rationing was eased. I kind of wish it had never stopped being rationed. As soon as it was freely available my mother served up sugar with everything. A staple diet in our house was dripping sandwiches and white bread and butter with white sugar. Rhubarb dipped in sugar. Banana mashed in sugar. Hot milk with sugar, apples with sugar and many other sugar infested foods. Not surprising then that my mouth resembles the black whole of Calcutta – every tooth has a minimum of two fillings. When I asked my dentist about the state of my mouth he diplomatically remarked, “I can see that your mouth has been heavily worked on.”

Actually, it is surprising that I am such a good cook because I was never taught. Unlike many Jewish families I don’t come from a family of good cooks. My mother’s repertoire was limited. Being strictly kosher and with no money, cooking was just a chore that had to be fitted around everything else. She used to say how wonderful it would be if you could just take a pill rather than have to make the food. Think how much time you would save. No shopping for food, putting it away, cooking, eating it or clearing up. Of course, the whole thing was made a lot more difficult because she had to keep milk and meat and in-betweens separate. And wo betide any of us who put a milk fork in a meat dish.

Our garden was full of knives and forks sticking out of the soil” Why do you have so many forks in the garden,” remarked one of my confused school friends. To us it was normal as soon as we made a mistake with the cutlery into the soil it went to be koshered. But try explaining that to a non-Jewish eight-year old.


My mother’s claim to fame cooking wise was biscuits with a cherry in the middle, chocolate eclairs and egg and real chips. We only ever had chicken twice a year and that was when Grandma supplied it for the Jewish new year and Passover. Kosher chicken was very expensive, and Grandma would split it with us. As we were four and she was just 2 she would give us the legs. So, for years I thought that chickens had 4 legs. Well you would, wouldn’t  you?


The beginning of my cooking experience was a little alarming. I had taken a job on a huge American yacht in Marbella in the late 60’s. I was just 17. I needed to leave Marbella in a hurry, and I won’t go into why – let’s just say better than ending up in Franco’s prison. The yacht Krapfcandoit owned by a very wealthy construction family in Delaware were looking for a deckhand and a cook. My boyfriend at the time was a deck hand and I – well I needed a job quickly. So being a little economical with the truth and confidently cocky I applied for the job. Mrs Krapfcandoit wanted to be sure I could cook so she gave me a trial menu before we left the port and on the menu was sweet potatoes. Well I am a girl from Leicester and bought up on a meagre kosher diet of very boring food. As you can imagine sweet potatoes didn’t feature on the menu. Unfazed I set about preparing the meal with the sweet potatoes. I mashed them with sugar – seemed a bit odd but hey they are Americans.

kraf

They laughed so much that they hired me saying that anybody who could do this was going to be a lot of fun. And this was the beginning of my cooking. Everything was trial by error. And there were a lot of errors.

How amazing is the internet I just decided to look up Krapfcandoit and there he was Jim, the son who was a few years younger than me with his own boating and yacht company and, of course, very successful and very rich.

Now I consider myself a fairly accomplished cook and a soon hopefully to be baker if I can locate any eggs. Interesting then that my middle son is a wonderful and creative chef. Albeit not the best profession to be in right now.

Just read an interesting article in the Guardian which says that we are becoming a more abstemious nation and making our food go further and throwing less away. So, another Coronavirus silver lining making us more appreciative. Not sure if I should admit this but I am quite enjoying it. No expectations, do what I like, watch lots of movies, no makeup, no need to blow dry my hair, just taking it one day at a time. What’s not to like. Except of course the risk of dying!
The Guardian article quoted a commissioned poll which showed that 90% of consumers said their shopping and cooking habits had changed since the coronavirus lockdown started. More than half (57%) admit they value food more now since the restrictions kicked in, with 43% enjoying it more. And how wonderful that families are eating together, for some this is an entirely new experience and children are learning to cook.


Of course, I realise this is not the situation for everyone. There are many people struggling to get food on the table for their families with increasing numbers of people resorting to food banks. So, while I write this blog from the relative luxury of my home and enough food to feed my family, I am very mindful on how fortunate I am.


So, signing off with dinner in the oven – its Lasagne and jelly for desert and a little aperitif beforehand. Single Malt on the terrace. Not bad eh.

“Let’s be careful out there”

Nostalgia

A walk or shall I say delve into the past. Toby, in search of a project, decided to clean out the loft. OMG You cannot imagine what we found. And just as well really because should something happen to me in these uncertain times, at least the boys won’t be left to make derisory comments as they sort out my families past history.

Mum died 14 years ago and there is still a lot of her stuff in the loft. She was a collector and a hoarder. She loved brick a bac and her prize collection of Capodimonte. Hoarder in that she had enough plastic bags to supply supermarkets shoppers for an entire week. And for some reasons boxes of salt and pepper sachets. She also had the proverbial emergency cupboard full of tin goods just in case…. In fact, this situation is exactly what my mother was predicting. And there would have been a lot of ‘told you so’s’. Mum was great at ‘told you so’s’. She also had the memory of an elephant, until she got dementia. Never forgetting who had wronged her and refusing to forgive them.

I remember her saying when the dementia first started,“I know I don’t like that man but just can’t remember why.” I fear I might have inherited this trait.

So many memories and each with a story attached such as the ‘lady’. It used to sit proudly on our mantelpiece and was very very fragile. Brian and I were forever breaking bits of it off as a ball would accidently get hurled at her and then we would hurriedly try to glue them back on without mum noticing. One time unable to stick the hand back we thought it best to hide it and feign ignorance of where it had gone. Elizabeth the cleaner found it behind the sofa which resulted in a good whacking. From mum not Elizabeth.

Then there was dad’s stuff who died 22 years ago and Brian’s stuff who died 7 years ago, and Tods stuff who died nearly 2 years ago — his motorcycle trousers still smelt of him. Isn’t it wonderful how evocative is smell? I just sat on the floor with my nose buried in his motorcycle trousers. Think Tod would have appreciated that!

Added to this is Zak and Jake’s past contents from their flats, and even past au pair’s things which they promised to return to collect but never did. And most precious my grandmothers, ivory satin wedding dress from 1899, a child’s 18th century little smock dress and clothes from when I was a baby. I won’t bore you any longer, but this is only a fraction of what we uncovered. And did I say that my mother was a hoarder me thinks chip of the old block. I mean how many tea sets does a girl need.

maybe it’s time to throw away the mugs

Somebody pulled me up on the last post when I said that the actions of the female leaders were to be highly commended as they had taken early decisive action which reduced the number of both infections and deaths. Unlike our current male leaders. They thought I was being sexist. So I apologise and I am am sure that had there been the right men in power they too would have taken decisive action and done exactly what the women leaders had done.

So where are all these ‘right men’?

I hate to admit it, but I am failing miserably on the book front. I still find it difficult to focus and remember what I have just read and in fact have any inclination to read at all. I am only on page 85 of Sapiens. And the pile of books by my bred remain untouched.  So I was heartened to read Sophie Vershbow’s article in Vogue I Can’t Read a Book Right Now—And I Am Not Alone.

“It’s as if there’s a fog cast over my brain, preventing the words from seeping in. Over and over I find myself reaching the bottom of the page only to realize I hadn’t the faintest idea what I’ve just read.” I am feeling less like a failure now

https://www.vogue.com/article/why-cant-i-read-books-right-now

I am adjusting to having people back in my life. Because until a month ago I had never lived on my own I hadn’t really noticed people’s energies. For the past 35 years I have been surrounded by quite strong male energy. And none of my 3 sons or husband had a strong female side to them. This was just my norm. So, this last month has been an eye opener for me. The only energy in the house was mine and maybe my female animals. With Toby back the energy in the house has shifted again. I am not complaining it is lovely to have company and to share in his drive to organise the house. He is a great kid – well 26-year-old – but it takes a bit of getting used to.

Without Toby of course, the attic would have remained a dumping ground. Now it is the hallway which has become the dumping ground but at least I have a good few days to sort it out. Bored? me I don’t think so. But there will be a good few tears as I go through numerous cases of old papers, cards, photos, school reports, and so on. I  will keep you posted.

“Let’s be careful out there”

The Community

I know we are living through a nightmarish scenario, but I have found a few silver linings.  One of which is a renewed sense of community – certainly more than I have seen in my adult lifetime.  As a child it was different. I grew up in a two up two down terraced house in the Highfields area of Leicester.  We were working class but with middle class values. If that isn’t an oxymoron.  Everyone on the street new each other and spent most of the time in an out of the different houses.  If one mum was working (it was a given that all men worked) then other mums would mind the children. We had no phone, no car, no television, no washing machine and an outside toilet. We used to get bathed in front of the fire on a sheet of asbestos. Maybe that is why I have COPD now.  In those days no one realised asbestos was dangerous.  The same with cigarettes. Both my parents smoked incessantly, and mum probably had a fag in her mouth when she was breast feeding me.

Oddly I remember a lot about the road even though it was eons ago.  The Batkins lived opposite and their son Terry was chronically shy and used to hide behind the sofa at birthday parties, even his own. The street flirt Jean, quite the glamour puss with her big breasts and tight jumpers fancied my father and wasn’t backward in coming forward in letting him know.  The German spinster who lived next door refused to talk to us because we were Jews until her house caught on fire and my mother saved her life. The Plumber boys were the resident bullies who lived at the bottom of the street and terrorised us kids into supplying them with bounty which was usually sweets or the odd penny.  I remember Brian and I barricading ourselves in the house while they threatened all sorts of nasty things should we ever come out again. And the lovely Polish family – who were ostracised by the rest of the street – not sure why maybe because they were foreigners – but they made fabulous goulash and kuchen which I was forbidden to eat because it wasn’t kosher.  I suspect I must have tried it otherwise how would I remember it being fabulous.

As soon as we were in lockdown someone on our road in North London started a WhatsApp group. And within days there were offers of help and goods being exchanged. The group has been quite wonderful. When my boiler stopped working within hours a local plumber was on hand.  When I was looking for yeast as I had no bread somebody left a box on my doorstep and when they knew I was on my own another neighbour left a bunch of daffodils to cheer me up.

This week the family 2 doors from us had a tragedy. The mother, in her early fifties, had an aneurism and was rushed into hospital where she has been operated on and is currently on a ventilator.  And within hours the street had rallied around to offer support to the devastated family.   A food rota was set up and I am making dinner on Saturday. It is heartening to see how much care there is

I am sure we are not alone and there are similar set ups all over the UK. My Scottish girl friend who lives in a small village sent me this pic below.

phone box

 

I do think we will all be changed by this experience and it goes without saying how tragic it is for all those who have lost their lives and their loved ones, but maybe we will come out of this with a different  and better perspective on life  I know that I certainly will.

Last night I couldn’t sleep as I was thinking of Helen. Only at the weekend we had swapped cakes. I had made banana cake and she had made cupcakes which we left on each other’s doorstep. And now she was in critical care. I think it is the randomness of it all.  It is not something I used to think about but now  I do dwell on it.  You can be a very good person live life healthily and then get cancer and die or walk in front of a bus or….and alternatively you can be a despot, liar greedy and cruel and live to a ripe old age.   And if it really is all random then where does God fit into this.   I know deep stuff.

And it is Thursday again and its clapping time.  Really where on earth did the last 7 days go? I know I keep banging on about this but how can time just keep flitting by especially when I manage to achieve less and less each day. I love the clapping it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside. I usually end up crying.  But at least tonight I won’t be returning to an empty house as I have company now.

So today was the first day that I have shared the house in 4 weeks. It is lovely but it takes a bit of getting used to.  It is odd talking and getting a real person answering me.  I am very disappointed though with Izzi who has been my constant companion never leaving my side, even following me to the toilet. And now – where is she? Well not with me. She is following Toby around.  And where did she sleep last night? With Toby.  She didn’t even come into my bedroom   – – where she has slept for the past 4 weeks, to say good night. Oh, you fickle creature. When they move out again, I will not forget this behaviour.  Don’t think it will all just go back to how it was when it was just the two of us.  And Mo is no better. She has spent the entire day fast asleep on my bed because that dirty little stop out didn’t come back all night.

 

mo

“Let’s be careful out there”

They’re Home

Today’s blog is short and sweet as I have had too much sun and have a headache.

I realise you have probably seen enough of me by now, but I  am quite chuffed that I have found a way of hiding my grey hair.   Not bad eh. And as it is my blog then I guess it is  my prerogative to post what I like – within reason.  However, I will try and refrain from posting any more Roma pics unless something momentous happens.

Tomorrow is GROGH (get-rid-of-grey-hair) Day – so I might just be going back on my word.

For the first time in a week I walked in the woods at 6.30 – they were heavenly. I needed some more garlic as I am cooking a welcome home dinner for Toby and Linda, roast chicken and roast potatoes and maybe if I have time a cake. I also got to have a little chat with Tod at his bench. It’s been a while. I usuallly visit him every day. It is incredible how quickly the trees have transformed. A week ago, there were just a few buds and now look at it. It must be Tod’s ashes that have given it that extra nutrition. I always knew Tod had good genes.

 

 

Just a few joggers this morning and yes there was one who ploughed on through without a thought of perhaps moving to the right or the left. What is it about that mentality? “Oh, look at me doing my thing – and look at you just ambling along.” Actually, I am not ambling I was doing a power walk. I am not going into a rant again, but I am not alone here – there was a whole discussion on Joggers on The Next Door local website last week. I won’t relate it in its entirety because it got very heated, but I will share with you one comment which I think says it all. ” Non-runners should be grateful to us. We are keeping ourselves healthy, so we are less likely to succumb to the Virus, so we are keeping the infection rate down.” Yes, he really did say that and probably believed it too.

I read an interesting article in Forbes magazine today entitled: What Do Countries With The Best Coronavirus Responses Have In Common? Women Leaders

https://www.forbes.com/sites/avivahwittenbergcox/2020/04/13/what-do-countries-with-the-best-coronavirus-reponses-have-in-common-women-leaders/#526db17c3dec

Backs up everything I have always believed about women in politics – well those that don’t try to emulate men. We are not so impulsive or volatile and are better equipped to empathise and offer support. We could do with a few of these women here and certainly America needs them right now. I loved a recent comment on twitter when one woman said “What time is the Trumpaganda press conference today? I want to schedule a time to clean my shower drains”.

Yay they are home

 

 

 

 

Slobbing it

Today is my last day of slobbing as tomorrow there will be 2 witnesses. I am definitely going to have to clean up my act as I have become embarrassingly lazy. Which is all well and good when it is just me but as you can see from the image below appearances have always mattered to me and I don’t want to set a bad example to my son.

 

So, this morning was set aside to clean the house leaving me the afternoon for my last bit of slobbing. I have to admit it I am one proud Roma. Anthea Turner has nothing on me (A sort of British Martha Stewart) My house is now immaculate you could eat off my floors – which I did this morning when I dropped my toast fortunately buttered side up, on the floor. Certainly, could not have done that before. The floors only got washed every 2 weeks when the cleaner arrived. Talking of cleaners, I don’t think I will be needing one anymore. I can do this. I have become a ‘can do’ person. I can deal with the mice that Mo brings in, I can deal with bumble bees, I can sort out locks and I even helped a poor little spider – note the emphasis here is on little – get out of the bath.

It might be difficult though to fire the cleaner. Despite being the world’s worst cleaner, she is a lovely loyal woman, a Kosovan refugee who spent 2 years in a camp before being allowed into the UK. She has been burgled in her small council flat 3 times and last year her husband had a major heart attack. How can I possibly fire someone who has been through all that? No, the cleaner has to stay.

When I was little my mother used to have a cleaning lady once a week called Elizabeth. A little old lady with a grey bun. Funny how these images stay with you. Mum used to say, “come on kids hurry up we need to clean up before Elizabeth arrives.” We could never understand why you would need to clean before a cleaner came. But I did exactly the same and my children were also bewildered by this. I guess you have to have a cleaner to understand.

It’s nearing the end of Passover and for many Jews from all levels of observance the Matza Brie debate continues. The Yiddish translation for Brie is fried which aptly describes the dish. It is a kind of Jewish equivalent to breakfast cereal a Hebraic French toast. It originated among central European Jews and is matzo fried with eggs into a kind of frittata or scramble, depending on how you cook the dish. Everyone has his or her own favourite recipe. It can be served savoury, with herbs, onions, smoked salmon or other inclusions; or sweet, topped with jam or syrup or cinnamon.

The big question is “to soak or not to soak.” (I can hear many of you saying what is she talking about) For centuries people have debated on the best way to make this staple Passover dish. My father would soak it in water then mix it with egg. My mother’s beady eyes watching him intently just in case he forgot to take out the white bits attached to the yolk. (She wrongly believed they were the umbilical cord and thus not kosher they were however called chalaza and the function was to hold the yolk in place.) My father invariably would not take them out if mum wasn’t watching. And who would blame him as they are little devils to extricate. It was a case of crack the eggs and immediately start whisking before mum arrived on the scene. “Did you take out the whites,” she would say accusingly, “Of course answered my father.” “Where are they,” she would ask,” and he would reply that they had been put down the sink. We all knew he was telling little porkies. Dad was a great porky teller. And I had been at the end of these porkies many a time. “Yes,” he would say “I have got rid of that great big spider in your bedroom.” Only to see it a few hours later crawling up my wall.

Yes, I have digressed again. My grandmother would soak the matza in milk and then mix it with egg. I sprinkle it with water — so it is not too soggy, dip it in egg then fry it in butter and sprinkle on top a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. It is delicious and incredibly moorish. Please do send me in your own Matza Brie recipes.

I am only thinking about this because when Toby gets home tomorrow it will probably be the first thing he asks for. So, I am ready for them. There are bluebells from the garden in their  room, easter eggs on their pillows and clean ironed sheets on their bed  – have I mentioned what a good ironer I am? — and I have ordered an organic chicken so I can make a roast dinner.

I am practically perfect in every way.

“Let’s be careful out there”

 

Angry

I know I know getting angry isn’t going to help anything or anyone but sometimes you just have to let off steam. So, Boris is recovering, and I am pleased I don’t wish anyone ill health but – and there is a very big BUT here I am angry no I am  livid  with him and the rest of the government for putting so many lives at risk here in the UK. We have to rely on government to act in a way that will keep us safe and they have fallen down on all accounts. 

On Sunday there were 737 new Coronavirus-related hospital deaths, and this does not take into account the deaths that occur in the care homes. Sir Jeremy Farrar — and this is what really got me this morning when I finally managed to fall out of bed at 11 am (bad night’s sleep) who is a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) said that the UK would most likely to be the worst effected of all European countries. Really?  Behind Italy and Spain. What is that about? We knew this was coming in fact the world knew there would be a pandemic. And yet we did nothing to prepare. Germany has way more cases than us and yet there death rate is so much lower. Why? Well of course they are better organised but also they are testing, testing testing. And we are just testing.  

On a more mundane note Yesterday I ironed my first ever bed sheet and it was surprisingly satisfying. How come it has taken me so long to release my inner domestic goddess? So much so that last night, when at 2 am I was still awake and eating an early breakfast,  I decided to tackle another few sheets. Actually, I am not bad. Shame there is nothing else to iron in the house. I suppose ironing my sweat pants and underwear might be taking it a bit too far.

My nocturnal ironing did mean, however that I only got out of bed at 11 today and missed my morning Yoga session. In fact, just about missed the entire morning but hey – who cares? There is something very liberating about this experience – no one expects anything from me. If I want to be a slob and lay around in my pj’s all day well so be it. Except, of course, the returnees will be here on Wednesday and I guess I will need to be a bit more responsible.

 

Note to self: Change your clothes, brush your hair and perhaps put on a bit of lippy on Wednesday. You don’t want to frighten Toby and Linda.

I thought today I would tackle some of the 14,940 emails in my inbox. And I came across numerous ones entitled Tagged which read: “Trevor G bought you! Your value has increased to $9,188,349.” Really someone bought me. Am I really worth that much? And how did they find me and who the hell is Trevor? Scroll down a little further and I see Peter bought me as well for $8,353,045 and much further down I see that Vicky bought me too for $2,419,579. I guess I am not worth so much to those of the same gender. I’m not fussy but obviously I would prefer to go to the highest bidder. But can anyone throw any light on all this buying and selling stuff. Feels like I am in some kind of human trafficking market.

I had a social media melt down today. Shame just when I thought I was beginning to get to grips with it all. It started when I tried to upload a video for you guys. WordPress told me that I had to upgrade at £48 to allow my blog to accept videos. Ok I can do that. But then it said it was in the  wrong format but didn’t specify what format. An hour or so later and wondering why on earth I began this and really is the video that important — I upload the same video in another format. No, it is not accepting this format either. I wonder if I can get my £48 back. And then my internet stops working. Really if I have to survive Coronavirus with no internet then not only will you no longer be receiving my blog but I will have reached the point of no return.

The end product of all of this is that today’s blog is a bit rubbish. But as you can see the internet is back. I have run out of steam and patience and am in dire need of a large single malt.

Note to self: Add whisky to the Waitrose order.

See you tomorrow

“Let’s to careful out there”

 

The Thingamajigs

Please don’t tell me that you don’t have a junk drawer. That you are one of those people who says, “there is a place for everything.”  Yes, in the junk drawer. I come from a long line of junk drawer families. It is in my DNA. My mother was forever  saying, “look in the brown drawer,” and invariably whatever I was looking for would be there. I am always  finding things that  don’t have a specific place, so they go in the junk drawer. Usually  before reaching the drawer they live at the bottom of the stairs waiting to be taken upstairs in the hope that I just might find a place for them. Of course I don’t so they live upstairs on the banisters for a while, then get taken back downstairs to the junk drawer.  If you don’t have a junk drawer what do you do with your thingamajigs?

drawer

Today, as promised  is  Day 1 of my new schedule   — sadly it is without  yoga or pilates because yesterday I bent down the wrong way and my back went into spasm.  I realise that you are running out of sympathy for me, the boiler, the tooth, the front door lock and now my back. It’s ok  I can’t see or hear you so I can pretend that you are empathising.

My first task is to tackle the thingamajigs that have lain for many years in the junk drawer.  I know I am going to come across Aunt Billee’s ashes. I had kept some of them in an envelope since 1992 when she died in readiness to take to China  (highly unlikely now) as she had always wanted to visit China. I did once try to send them to Israel when my cousins were going there but  DHL rejected them.

I am also preparing the house for the return of Toby and his girlfriend Linda who have been self isolating in their Air b & b for 2 weeks so they can return home.  We are all excited, but it does mean  that life, as I know it is going to change – again.  Actually, I have quite  enjoyed this month of solitude. Slouching around the house in my pj’s,  leaving the toilet door open, walking around naked — no embarrassing groans from the animals however I did catch the neighbour opposite grabbing a sneaky look. He must be desperate  or just very bored which I can well understand.  Peeking at my  rapidly going south saggy body  might well be an amusing distraction from the monotony of his two kids and the television.  Honestly once I was a size 10 with perky breasts, a flat stomach and quite passable legs.  Fond memories.

I  digress, yet again.  Think I shall call this a ‘Ronny Corbet’ moment. Some of the Brits from my generation will understand.  I also have to curb talking to myself  which has definitely increased over the past 4 weeks.  I have explained to the various objects with whom I have developed quite a meaningful relationship that  things will change  from Wednesday and most of them understand. The spoons however were not so amenable and there were quite a few tears in the cutlery drawer.

I have the table tennis game ready courtesy of Amazon (being politically correct in the Coronaviris era is a little difficult)  The lawnmower is aching to be used and my hair is more than ready for  Linda’s colour application so I can regain my somewhat youthful appearance  – one can always hope.

I was feeling a little nostalgic yesterday  listening to BBC Radio 4  Loose Ends and remembering my time producing the show with Ned Sherrin.  I can hardly believe it was 18 years ago and that Ned died  in 2007.  Every Saturday  I would get up at 7 and not return home to around 2 pm. Tod was in charge of the boys and I only found out a few years ago that they used to run riot every Saturday morning, raiding the chocolate hiding places and  playing non-stop play station  while my lovely husband lazed in bed, read the papers and smoked cigarettes.  Apparently about 30 mins before my return he would galvanise the boys saying “come on quick let’s get this house in order before mum  returns.”  and I was never the wiser.  The boys said they looked forward to those Saturday morning.

220px-Ned_Sherrin_Portrait

Ned  was a legend in so many ways but not the easiest man to work with.  That said he was definitely the most consummate presenter I have ever worked for. He wrote all his own scripts in long hand made sure that he had read the guests books, attended their shows, watched their films and listened to their music before the show.  Which made my job incredibly easy.

I remember on my first day I very nervous as I was a huge Loose Ends fan. We were still live  then and editing  feature inserts for the show on tape.  Ned was sitting at the desk where the tape recorder was  situated, and I politely asked him if he  would mind moving for a moment while I cut the tape. His answer was classic, “I am a creature of habit, I do not move, you are welcome to lean over me to edit.”  Another classic;  I would be testing the microphones and head phones pre transmission and I would  say to Ned, “just testing that you can hear me.”  And he would answer, ” I can hear you just fine, but I do not want to hear you during the show !”  Loved working on that show.

I will leave you today with a wonderful  Dr Suess quote that I found which is so apt for our current situation

“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until becomes a memory.”

“Let’s be safe out there”