The C-19 Diaries. Duddingston Revisited.

Day 79

It was a grey, mizzly day today. Having noticed on my previous visit to Duddingston Kirk that, while closed for Sunday Services, they were open on Wednesday mornings between 10 and 10:30am for prayer, I decided to head over there this morning for some peace and solitude.

Duddingston Kirk was built in the early 12th century; accordingly it has witnessed a pandemic or two. In a season where everything seems uncertain, there’s something reassuringly unshakable about a building which has seen off the Black Death, the Spanish Flu and the Asian Flu. 

Given the damp underfoot conditions, and the Skechers on my feet, which provide excellent comfort and grip in dry conditions, but invite rain and any other water in like an old friend, and possess zero grip on wet surfaces, it was probably a curious choice to walk through the park. As I cut left off the road, onto a down-sloping grassy area, I did think the whole expedition might end in spectacular fashion.

But wet grass is surprisingly grippy, I discovered, and I made it all the way to the bottom of the slope without mishap. It was then that I trod on a bare patch of wet earth, and my right foot, and by extension, my whole right leg, disappeared underneath me in a south-easterly direction, at quite an alarming speed.

A hot millisecond after this began to happen, my ‘surefooted-as-a-mountain-goat’ reflexes kicked in, and I did whatever it is one does when one’s leg has disappeared to the SE, which I imagine is something like shifting my centre of gravity with an effortless core-shimmy, righting myself in a jiffy, before moving on, after a deep breath or two to gather my composure.

This, however, didn’t happen. Lockdown hasn’t been all that kind to my core, and whether it didn’t receive the message from the brain in time, or was unable to perform what was asked of it, matters little, as the result was the same, the result being that I continued in a graceful arc, landing quite perfectly on my side. The indignity of if it all was mitigated by the reassuring fact that no-one was around to witness it, and the sheer analogue fluidity of the parabola that I described through the air, which brought me great pleasure.

It also, it’s fair to say, reminded me of skiing holidays.

It’s the little things.

Duddingston Kirk was closed. I should perhaps have expected this, although I might also expected them to keep their information posters up to date. Covid-19 isn’t their first rodeo, after all, you’d think their pandemic communications would be finely-honed.

I walked home in the rain (via another route).

The C-19 Diaries. Mausoleums and Meanderings.

Day 61 [cont’d]

On the way home from the park, I notice that the price of a litre of petrol had fallen to below £1. I checked my records. Last time petrol was so cheap was in April 2009.

I would like to claim that I checked some sort of online archive to find out that particular stat, but no – I do indeed have records of the price I paid for fuel, and indeed the mpg of my cars, stretching back to 1999. It’s quite the spreadsheet. There’s a spreadsheet for every activity under the heavens, as a little-known translation of Ecclesiastes 3 reads.

Day 64

Fascinated by Christie Miller, I dig around on Wikipedia and find out that he was in fact the nephew of William Henry Miller, who owned the whole Craigentinny area of Edinburgh. I discover that old WH, towards the end of his life in 1845, commissioned an extremely grand mausoleum to be built over his final resting place. Now known as the Craigentinny Marbles, it has spectacular bas relief marble friezes (of those words I properly only recognise ‘marble’) on both sides, depicting Biblical scenes. He also stipulated that he was to be buried 40 feet under ground, in a lead-lined coffin, a task that took 80 labourers to complete.

It seemed disrespectful to not pay a visit, so today I did, on my way to my new Ghetto Squash venue in Seafield. At the time of its completion in 1856, the mausoleum stood in the middle of a windswept moorland. Now, it’s surrounded by 1930s bungalows, and is immediately adjacent to a bowling club. It’s a surreal sight.

Day 67

The FM eased the Lockdown situation today. We are now allowed to have furtive meetings with other households in our respective gardens.

Day 68

I miss Proper Lockdown already. I head to the corner shop to get some sausages, and have to wait actual minutes to cross the road it’s so busy. 

I surrender after two attempted corner shop visits. They’re both mobbed. Plus they didn’t have sausages. I consider a Morrisons trip, but I can’t face it. 

I return to the flat and make a lunch based on what’s left in my fridge. Last time I this happened I had a bacon, mushrooms and cheese toasted sandwich. This time I have no mushrooms but I substitute in a fried egg and all is well.

Day 77

I am on annual leave this week.

I considered a walk along the old Innocent Railway path, but I think it’s going to take more commitment to complete than I can muster right now. So I amble around Duddingston Village instead, where I discover a community land area complete with allotments and benches in the sun. 

I sat on one of those benches for a while, and tried and failed to listen to a couple of podcasts. I am hopeless at podcast-listening, and I’m not entirely sure why. It feels like I don’t have the requisite attention span, and yet I enjoy watching Test cricket. 

I wander round the Duddingston Kirk graveyard, and skirt round Duddingston Loch for a bit before climbing back up to the road through Holyrood Park. I walk past the fountain where I kissed my second girlfriend for the second time, and on through the little valley between Arthur’s Seat and Salisbury Crags, which I’d never been through before. 

Stopped off at Usave and picked up some cream and bacon with a view to making a pretty decadent dinner. 

All the time, having abandoned the podcasts, I was listening to Wiseman Wedding – a playlist I put together for the great man’s big day in 2012. I remembered this collection of great tunes as comprising some upbeat stuff followed by more laidback stuff suitable for dining to. 

Turns out it was 24-carat melancholy from start to finish. I think the most upbeat song was about the day Frank Delandry died. 

Sorry about that Wiseman. I guess my subconscious was mourning your loss to the ranks of the married…

The C-19 Diaries. A Tale of Two Christies.

Day 54

My sister sends me a video of my 7-yr-old nephew announcing “If you’re Uncle Andrew…” and then falling face-first onto the bed. 

I fainted once at high school, circa 1986. There were mitigating factors, including a freshly-painted door and a gas heater left on overnight. 

My sister’s version of this period of my life has been enhanced, embellished, and refined over the years, such that she will now regularly proclaim to any who will listen – primarily her children – that “Andrew was forever fainting at school.” 

Now Christie has joined in. I feel persecuted.

Day 56 

I’m getting fat. I go for another run. I am beginning to tire of running. I mean, it’s tiring. But also I am tiring of oncoming runners gliding serenely and effortlessly past me. 

While I am panting heavily up a slope (the slope is irrelevant), sweating hard, and sucking air in great ragged gasps, as though through a partially blocked straw.

I am tired of running.

Day 57

In a determined attempt to not run anywhere, I go for another epic walk. I wander down through Restalrig and on to Portobello.

Then along the coastline in a northwesterly direction, and I find myself seduced by what looks like a sort of causeway running round the outside of the sea wall. It looks adventurous, so I meander along it. Before long it becomes apparent – mostly via my sense of smell – that I am skirting the outer perimeter of the Seafield Sewage Works.

The aroma is not overpowering… but it’s there. And it’s there for quite a long time. I finally reach the end of the causeway-thing without my gag reflex kicking in, and head back towards where I think the main road must be, as in all truth I have no idea where I am and even Google Maps is failing to locate me.

I emerge onto the main road just across from Seafield Crematorium and Cemetery. On the footpath outside the gates, a trio of mourners are standing having a smoke. I am suddenly and forcefully reminded of Coco – a hard-drinking, chain-smoking swing bowler, raconteur and an integral part of the fabric of Holy Cross Cricket Club, who passed away last week. His funeral is also today, at a crematorium on the other side of town. Six Crossers have been permitted to attend – in more normal circumstances there would have been a massive turnout. 

The cricket season, like everything else, has been put on hold. Latest indications are that we might get to play some games in August. A memorial match for Coco is uppermost in everyone’s mind.

I deliver some nigh-on-unobtainable bicarbonate of soda (corner shop folks, the corner shop is always the answer) to my mum, and chat with her briefly, before heading up Broughton St and homewards through London Road Gardens, once again declining to put life and limb at risk by climbing a tree, but wanting to.

Day 61

It’s a blustery day. I go for a walk again. I am enjoying these rambling walks. Sometimes I take diversions down streets just because they have a nice name. For this reason, today I walk down Christiemiller Avenue, idly wondering who Christie Miller was.

Eugene Peterson wrote something interesting, that I read this morning.

“At our birth we are named, not numbered,” he wrote. 

The name is that part of speech by which we are recognised as a person: we are not classified as a species of animal… We are not assessed for our economic potential and given a cash value. We are named. What we are named is not as significant as that we are named.”

Later I would walk along streets and avenues named after Moira, Stanley, and others, still thinking about Christie Miller.

“The whole meaning of history is in the proof that there have lived people before the present time whom it is important to meet,” wrote Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy.

I make it to Portobello, where, despite the strong winds, the sea looks disappointingly calm. I like it when the sea is rough – reminds me of growing up on the County Down coast, and watching line after line of white-tipped waves pound the beach on stormy days. I guess the wind is coming from the wrong direction for that today. 

I stop at a kiosk and get an ice cream. Chocolate waffle cone, with butterscotch ice cream. Shortly after I walk away, the wind whips up some fine sand and showers both me and the ice cream with it. Thereafter it’s a grittier experience.

I think Benjamin Franklin, confident only of death and taxes as life’s certainties, could have added to his list the fact that – on visiting the beach – one will return home with sand in every known orifice.

I head for home, across a golf course, and stumble upon a park with a lake, an island, and a boardwalk, which extends out into the lake a little. I am reminded of boardwalk adventures shared with my friends the Robinsons – on the Gulf Coast of Alabama I think, and maybe Louisiana too. It’s fair to say the climate is not all that comparable.

Solo adventures are ok and fun in their own way. But sharing adventures with friends is better.

Looking forward to being able to do that again.

The C-19 Diaries. Late night snacking and long walks.

Day 48

Snacking, particularly late-night snacking, has become a thing. I am snacking HARD.

Also, I think I might be suffering from Delayed Onset Creativity Syndrome. On both occasions that I have owned flats, I wanted to do nothing to either of them for approx. three years, in fact, the very idea brought me out in a rash. And then, one day, I woke up positively brimming with creative intent.

When I say creative intent, I mean I wanted to paint a wall or two in the living room. But one has to start somewhere.

This year, three years after I moved in to my current flat, and before there were face masks, and painted lines at 2m intervals, I said to my Flatmate that we should really do something about the back garden. And we did.

After nigh-on seven weeks of forcing myself to run in order to get some meaningful exercise (besides stretching up to the top shelf to get a new packet of biscuits down), I decided to get more creative.

Today I played squash, by myself, against the wall of the local McDonalds drive-thru. I was going to use the back wall of the nearby abandoned car wash, but the wall surface was a little irregular, and there was a decent smattering of broken glass on the ground.

It was especially pleasing to do some exercise which didn’t involve running. I was initially worried that there would be an adolescent McDs manager lurking inside, who would come out all raging and fist-shaking and throw me off the premises, possibly calling the police, but nothing so dramatic happened.

I attracted almost no attention from passers-by either, beyond one guy calling out “Go on yersel’ bud”. I took this as encouragement.

I confessed to Nicola that I had violated a McDonalds drive-thru in this way. 

“That feels like you were dancing on one of my relatives graves,” she replied.

I knew I could count on her for a measured response.

I really need to step the McDonalds violations up to 3 times a week if I’m to continue with this level of snacking.

Day 50

Today I decided to go on an epic walk around Edinburgh. It seemed prudent to take the opportunity, while both motorised and pedestrian traffic is at a minimum, to explore. 

I found all manner of interesting closes and wynds. Some littered with broken bottles – remnants of late night revelry or attempts to stave off despair, I couldn’t tell which.

I walked along Royal Park Terrace, Royal Terrace, and up the Royal Mile. I ran up Calton Hill, or some of it, until I was fit to drop, and was concerned the family of four coming the other way might call an ambulance.

I ran up a flight of steps I didn’t know existed, connecting Greenside Row to Leith Street. The new St James Centre is finally beginning to take shape. Along Princes St to Waverley Bridge. It was about this point that I felt a coffee would be in order. But this proved troublesome. 

Williams & Johnson – closed.

Baba Budan – closed.

I found a place open on the Royal Mile, and bought my first takeaway coffee in months. It was terrible, and landed in the bin after a solitary sip.

Now on the High St, and under severe provocation from Disco Dave and Nicola, I tentatively swung around an historic lamppost, while listening to B*witched.

Cut down to Victoria Terrace, at the end of which I found the Edinburgh office of the Scottish Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association.

Along the Grassmarket, up to Lauriston Place, and via a back lane to Brougham St.

Machina Espresso – closed.

Into the Meadows, where there was a kiosk selling lovely coffee to people at 2m intervals. The barista was playing reggae from his twin record desks, as well as making stellar coffee. I decided I want to be him when I grow up.

Sat on the grass for an undefined period. Sun was shining, mostly. 

Called my mum from Meadow Lane and its row of colourfully graffiti-ed lock-ups. On past some pretty sweet-looking new apartments. Buccleuch Place, George Square, a deserted Bristo Square. Back to the Royal Mile and a quick visit to the Castle Esplanade, also deserted.

The One o’Clock Gun is still working. I guess the One o’Clock Gunner can’t work from home.

Back home through London Road Gardens, where I almost climbed a tree. I found myself unsure as to whether this would be an offence or not. I resolved to come back and climb it another day.

19,046 steps and 15km. And sore feet. 

But it was great.

The C-19 Diaries. Essential Shopping and Disco Dancing.

Day 23

My mum turned 80 today. My Sister and I had arranged for a hamper from a nice Edinburgh deli to be delivered. She seemed pleased with the contents. The nice man from the deli had described them to me over the phone. I recognised roughly one word in three, and by this I knew that mum would like it.

I sat in my car outside her house and joined a family Zoom call to sing her Happy Birthday. She also passed some cake out the window to me, which felt borderline illegal, but I took it and ate it while sitting on the wall.

Day 30

Many of my friends seem to be succumbing to the current fad of cultivating their own sourdough cultures with the aim of ultimately making bread.

I don’t quite know how to break it to them that someone seems to have got there first. It’s actually quite easy to just walk into a supermarket and buy a loaf of sourdough bread. I just did – at Morrison’s. I feel they will crushed to discover this, so haven’t had the courage to bring it up.

Day 39

Nicola and Disco Dave organised an actual disco over Zoom tonight. I became somewhat reluctantly involved as the technical director, which then by default meant I became the DJ. As a result I had to download a considerable number of tunes onto my laptop which would – under normal circumstances – never have been considered for inclusion into my music library. I am still actively seeking software which cleanses microchips from the corruption they have been exposed to.

One of the tunes on the playlist was Tragedy. I assumed they were looking for the Bee Gees’ version. It turns out that it had to be Steps. I was apoplectic about this, but my hands were tied by my contractual agreement. Steps it was, alongside S-Club and various other non-bands. Not even an Atomic Kitten track in sight.

Day 43

Mum coerced me to do some shopping for her. She “needed” some items from Waitrose. On pointing out to her that this might not be considered “essential shopping”, she quite deliberately played the “vulnerable persons” card. What could I do?

I consoled myself with the knowledge that I might find myself in a better class of queue outside. The sort of people that the Rector’s Administrator would associate with.

As it turned out, when one enters this particular Waitrose via the lifts from the car park, one bypasses the queue and the Supermarket Bouncers completely. Who knew? I proceeded guiltily into the fruit and veg section, and duly found myself in aisles stacked with products with unfamiliar-sounding names. Like “tomatoes” and “flour”. Except there was no flour. Seems like everyone’s baking these days.

Later, I went for a run again. Achtung Baby is the album spinning on my turntables – both real and virtual – this week. It brings back a hazy memory whirl of sixth form schooldays, my friend Raymond, who became obsessed with U2 around this time, and the excitement of newly-possible drives up to Belfast to buy records and books. The sound of Achtung Baby was such a departure compared to U2’s previous two releases – the inordinately successful Joshua Tree and Rattle and Hum, which has always felt like a non-album stopgap to me.

Anyway.

As I labour, gasping for breath, up the cruel gradient of Holyrood Park, I have Achtung Baby in my ears.

“Is it getting better?” asks Bono, gently.

No, Bono, it’s really not.

“Or do you feel the same?”

Yes, Bono, I do. I still feel out of shape and desperately unfit.

And I miss people.

The C-19 Diaries. The Haircut and the Run.

Day 15

The day finally arrived. I was so scared that I unearthed the instructions and read them cover to cover. They look like they’ve been Google-translated direct from the original Korean.

There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of guidance on offer beyond a basic suggestion that one applies the clippers to the hair, (once one has determined the length of hair of the pet in question), and chosen an appropriate guard.

That’s about it. I mean, what could possibly go wrong?

I decide not to shave my face. That way, by this evening, there’s a chance that at least some of my head will have some evenly-distributed hair growth.

As it turns out, the results are more impressive than I dared hope for. I hope you’re not all too disappointed. Disco Dave has warned me that I would definitely miss bits, and would become suddenly aware of some tufty patches in the days ahead. I can feel no such tuftiness. I feel flushed with my success.

I actually considered doing some press-ups and sit-ups today, but just as I was about to spring into action – in the nick of time, one might say – my back began to hurt, so I cancelled the home workout, to be on the safe side.

Instead, I went for a run.

Looking back, the logic of this decision continues to elude me. I haven’t been for a run for approximately three years.

Around 20 minutes into the “run”, just as I was transitioning gently out of the walking-warm-up phase, a lady, with what I can only describe as a slow and somewhat ungainly running style, ran past me. I felt confident of reeling her in without too much trouble before long. Not that it’s a race, you understand.

Minutes later, after swerving several times to maintain the requisite 2m of airspace between myself and oncoming pedestrians, I noticed that she was, actually, quite far off in the distance. Almost out of sight, in fact.

Then she stopped to take some photos. Ha. As she took the time to snap some pics of the bright yellow gorse, even taking some close-ups, I sped past, in my quite athletic running style.

Moments later, she shot past me again. I began to revise my judgement of her running style, and speed.

Made it home in one piece.

My flatmate goes for a run every day. After today’s experience I think I’ll settle for one run per nationwide lockdown.

Hair Update: Shorn. Evenly and beautifully.

Day 16 – Day 21

Too tired to blog. See Day 15.

Day 22

Went for a run again.

If anything, this time it felt even harder. There was a breeze blowing, which I am confident was a lot to do with it. But really, isn’t this supposed to get easier with practice?

It feels like I’ve been shot in the calves. Both of them, but from particularly close range in the left.

I am somewhat chagrined to report that I have noticed undeniable tuftiness on my head. Just to the left and slightly rear of the crown. Perhaps in other places too, I couldn’t possibly say.

Oh, well. Maybe home-haircutting improves with practice too.

Tonight, for dinner, I am going to have that Northern Irish classic dish: lasagne con potatoes. 

Molto bene, so it is.

Stay safe everyone.

Hair Update: Tufty.

The C-19 Diaries. Exercise and putting one’s feet up.

Day 11

Morrison’s was shut. Closes at 8pm now. So still no limoncello.

Missed another Big Clap last night, apparently. Not doing very well with the community spirit.

I exercised this morning, in the Dining Room-Gym. Managed 35 press-ups, and 100 sit-ups (not all at once, obviously, I was taking on sustenance throughout in the form of First and Second Breakfast).

Immediately afterwards I felt quite faint and considered taking the rest of the day off to recover. I opened the Dining Room-Gym window in case my flatmate found the combination of the Overnight Fragrance and the Indoor Exercise Aroma overwhelming. The feelings of faintness subsided.

Just before my shower I hopped on the bathroom scales. Not good. In the space of 48hrs I’ve gone from 90.5 to 199.2. 

I then realised my flatmate had switched us back to Imperial units. Turns out that 199.2 lb is 90.4 kg. So that’s a win. A whole 100g lighter! 

I contemplate putting my feet up for a bit and celebrating with a Caramel Wafer. Although that’s actually my working posture now – lounging in an armchair, feet up on a stool, laptop on my lap keeping me warm, eating Caramel Wafers.

I settled in the Multipurpose Facility, ready to do some work. I could murder an Empire Biscuit right now.

Later, my flatmate comes through from the Dining Room-Office, where he has been working. He is breathlessly excited.

“I’ve been given permission to go into the office to get some keys!”

“No way”

“Yes!”

He’s quite beside himself. Minutes later he runs out the front door.

Minutes later, he comes back through the front door. I fear that he has been thwarted by a new Police Anti-Movement barricade or something. But it turns out he has just forgotten his phone.

Hair Update: voluminous
Limoncello Update: no change

The C-19 Diaries. Video-editing and Cheese.

Day 9

Today was a quiet day, spent submerged in headphones, engrossed in a dual-screen world of video-editing.  I realised that my practice of working with my laptop on top of my actual lap is saving a lot of heating bills here in the bunker. One of the silver linings that come with the current arrangement’s cloud.

Decided to have a lighter lunch today. No boiled eggs. No eggs at all in fact. 

This proved to be a false economy. Was starving by 3:30pm. Snacked on raw carrot and nuts. That’s right. Read that bit again, mum. 

On discovering La Favorita has closed (non-silver lining), the flatmate and I ordered Dominos online and watched the first Jack Reacher.

Hair status: bushy
Limoncello status: dry

Day 10

Woke up in a cold sweat from a dream that I had began the much-anticipated haircut and the clippers’ battery ran out of charge halfway through the process. 

More video-editing. Got very hungry at 10:53. Looked around at what was within easy reach, and found myself momentarily considering dipping a Vitamin C tablet in the left-over BBQ sauce from last night’s Dominos. But I came to my senses and made the trip all the way through to the kitchen for a Tunnocks Caramel Wafer. It was worth it.

Had a Zoom chat with Disco Dave. He is doing ok. He enquired after my haircut status, and I explained that things were getting bushier up there. It turns out Disco is an experienced home-hair-cutter. He has moved on from an all-over number 2 headshave to a GRADED cut, what you might call a 4-3-2. I am in awe at his skills. He gives me some tips on what to watch out for.

“The crown’s really tricky – make sure you go over that a few times.”
“That’s not going to be a problem, mate.”
“Ah.”

Recently I discovered the most amazing cheese in our fridge. West Country Farmhouse Mature Cheddar. This cheese is so good that I have almost singlehandedly eaten two whole blocks of it. Regrettably it belonged to my flatmate. And so I must make reparation for my theft.

It’s only available from Sainsbury’s. There are two problems with this: Sainsbury’s is fractionally further away than Morrisons, and so can it be considered an essential journey to drive there? And secondly, the Sainsbury’s DJ just isn’t in the same league.

But it’s probably wise to give the car a bit of a run, after days of inactivity, even though that will inevitably mean losing a coveted parking spot on the street. As I’m fastening my seatbelt, I imagine myself getting pulled over by the police.

“Is this an essential journey, sir?”
“I mean… this cheese is unbelievable, officer”

I made it to Sainsbury’s without incident. Seemed like the Sainsbury’s DJ was working from home.  There were no tunes at all, not even bad ones.

The other thing on my list of “essentials” (there really were only two things) was Lurpak. But all the Lurpak had been panic-bought apart from the Lurpak-with-added-garlic. I didn’t feel that this would work all that well sitting between my toast and marmalade of a morning, so I passed and picked up Another Brand.

Completely forgot to get some more Limoncello. And I lost the parking spot.

Hair status: slightly bushier
Limoncello status: hold the phone. The flatmate’s gone to Morrison’s.

The C-19 Diaries. Early morning Morrison’s.

Day 8

Day off today – circumstances have aligned in my favour such that – at least for this week – a return to my normal Tuesday-off schedule has been possible. 

Lying in bed, I resolved to have a shower and shave. On getting up, I decided to skip that and go straight to breakfast.

Nicola calls, on the downhill section of a power-walk. We chat about various things including High School Musical, the misogyny in my early blog entries (she has resolved to start at its beginning, in 2006, and read a year’s worth of entries per day. Please pray for her), Zac Efron and the Backstreet Boys. It may be apparent who was driving the conversational content in this chat.

I think about having a shower, but am determined to experience Morrison’s in the morning, rather than at my usual about-to-cook-dinner-and-realise-I-have-nothing-to-cook slot. So I head there in my jogging bottoms and the t-shirt I slept in, accompanied by a cloud of undefined overnight fragrance.

It proves straightforward to maintain the 2m social-distancing bubble today.

Morrison’s at 11am is a revelation. The shelves full of things, mostly. Chicken is still a little thin on the ground. Are the NHS workers and the elderly scooping up all the chicken early doors? It feels churlish to call them out on this, but I may have just done that.

The Morrison’s DJ, confirming his status as the Best UK Supermarket DJ, throws on some ABBA. I try to listen for the chorus effect masking the overdubbing phase discrepancies, but it makes my head hurt and so I sashay out the doors into a mostly-deserted car park and the spring sunshine.

Back home I make coffee, and sit on the back steps, enjoying the view of a partially-cleared “garden area” complete with half a door lying flat on the ground.

Throughout the morning, the argument for taking a shower has become gradually more compelling. I finally cave in just before lunch.

Lunch includes boiled eggs again – which are excellent again, although I cracked one just trying to get it out of the carton, thus maintaining my average eat-2-use-3 egg consumption. Folks, if there’s a national shortage of eggs anytime soon, you know where to point the finger.

Today I should have had a haircut. Whether I pluck up the courage to don the full black-gospel-choir gown and shave my head today remains to be seen. But it’s been four weeks, and four weeks is a long time in the world of my hair. The time is coming.

The C-19 Diaries. Online church, Jack Daniels, and Haribo.

I apologise for the fallow spell, dear reader. I ran out of inspiration. But hey! Here’s a bumper edition with two days’ “activity”!

Day 6

Online church went well again this morning. We put together a worship set (non-churchgoers: think ‘music video’) which entailed me playing keys in my living room, and Neil playing guitar and singing in his spare room, on the same songs.

The feedback from the church congregation represented the diversity of technical knowledge in any group of people that size, from:

“I literally have no idea how you did that!”

to

“I like how you used a chorus effect to mask phase discrepancies across the overdubbing.”

Apparently ABBA were the first to use this technique to great effect.

I would like to make it clear that any employment of advanced dubbing-masking techniques in our recording process is entirely accidental…

Day 7

Meetings Monday. 

Becoming something of a Zoom Master. Something I really want to nail, though, is to somehow broadcast a looped video of me moving slightly, showing an interested face, while I am in fact in the kitchen making coffee. If anyone has the skills to make this happen, I will pay handsomely.

Today my new gooseneck iPhone-holder arrived. Means that I can ditch the car-airvent-phone-mount-attached-to-drying-rack-arrangement that I’ve been using thus far to record video for our worship music production.

A proper iPhone holder attached to a stepladder is slightly less Heath Robinson than the previous arrangement, and I can now hang my clothes up to dry again. The lack of drying apparatus was causing a blockage in the personal hygiene chain, and the dirty laundry has been backing up. So resolving this situation is a bonus for the whole household.

Tonight I celebrated a friend’s 50th birthday via a Facebook group. I toasted the occasion with Jack Daniels, and some Haribo. I would like you all to think that that’s a combination forced upon me by Lockdown and not one that I would ordinarily sanction.

My sister has been coaching me on the art of the boiled egg. Today’s were probably the best yet. I had no idea it was such a complicated thing. So many opinions to navigate.

Late in the evening, I realise that Monday is the traditional day of the week for having my world turned upside down by Boris.

I check in on the latest Government updates. Nothing big. It’s a relief. For the first time in what feels like several months (but is actually only two weeks), I think this week will look a lot like last week.