Thursday 16 April

Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition: the laptop appears to have reinvented itself. I have to say I had a somewhat sleepless night, fretting over the inadequacies of technology and at the same time, being cross with myself for being so enslaved to it. But since all the “home workers” must feel the same way, and with a great deal more urgency than me, I should try to keep a sense of proportion.

Today we went on a small expedition to a local farm shop. It is a family run business and has excellent meat, eggs and vegetables. 2 people ahead of us, and the shop is virtually in the open air so I feel minimal risk. We have stocked up for at least a week. It is near to the Oaks Park in Sutton, so we went for a walk round the perimeter of the park for our daily exercise. Some dog walkers there but otherwise lightly populated. Originally there was a fine house there, long gone now, but the estate remains. It has some very fine trees, rather like a NT estate, and a small formal garden with some flowers. It seems that the public parks are being maintained, as the grass had recently been cut. On the way back we stopped at a nursery which I usually patronise, and I was delighted to find that I can phone up with an order and they will deliver it. Many local businesses are taking this option which is good for everyone.

In the garden we have a crazy fox, who is delighting in excavating holes in our lawn. And in our neighbours’ I have to say. No discrimination. But it has also run off with a glove which I had left out because it was soaked in creosote. Funnily enough I saw it with a glove in its mouth recently (not mine) and was curious. I think it must chew the leather bits. Desperate times.

I have received a couple of “chain” emails, which I have to admit, I have reservations about. As a child I used to get chain letters, either with a religious content, God’s love going round the world sort of thing, or to do with stamp collecting, which I was rather more interested in. I was a very enthusiastic stamp collector, and particularly liked the countries with exotic sounding names like Tanganyika, Nyasaland, the Gold Coast. I also liked the German stamps overprinted for thousands of Reichmarks. There was a chain letter which promised that if you maintained the chain, you would receive thousands of stamps from all over the world. Needless to say, I never received a thing. I used to like the little stamp hinges which you licked, folded over, and stuck the stamp in the album. I think my love of maps stems from this time, as I would get out the atlas to find out where the countries were. My father was a reference librarian so there was never any shortage of encyclopedias, atlases, dictionaries. I still enjoy looking things up in books as it is wonderfully easy to get diverted on to something else.

My earrings are pearl studs. I have lost more of these than I care to admit to, but as they are universally suitable for any occasion (see HM Queen), I keep replacing them. It is said that pearls mean tears. I confess that I am more frequently close to tears than normal, which probably reveals that I am more on edge than I think. The 3 year old granddaughter of friends was recorded singing “You are my sunshine” to her mum: I was completely dissolved.

More clapping for the NHS and carers tonight. It is actually a nice opportunity to have a shouty conversation with the neighbours. We are all keeping a very low profile in general, but it great to hear that everyone is coping. And so we enter the next phase of lockdown, till 7 May………….

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