Saturday 23 May

It is now 2 months since lockdown began: it was announced on 23 March. It is undoubtedly the strangest 2 months I have ever experienced. I think mainly because it is so universal. I have had unusual periods in my life before, but they were strange for me, for whatever reason (living and working in rural Kenya for example) and not for the whole world, and not as frightening. I heard from 2 friends today, both of whom live alone, and I can tell that the experience is getting to them.

I started the day being industrious in the kitchen. I made banana bread to take to a friend who does not do much baking, and prepared our dinner for this evening. Everything achieved by 8am. I rather like getting up early in the summer, it is light by 5.00 and if the sun is shining, it seems a waste to stay in bed. But then it is very tempting to have a siesta in the afternoon sunshine, and not make any further progress with the to do list. However I did manage to reline the hanging basket and put in some plants. Not exactly onerous, but I am a bit short of plants at the moment as the local garden centres have been stripped.

In the afternoon I drove to the other side of Croydon to go for a walk in Crystal Palace park with a friend. A large number of people there, some having very alcoholic picnics. But it is a massive place and easy enough to maintain a social distance once you are away from the gate. On the way there, I saw some very vibrant street art.

The large number of cyclists on London streets is becoming very noticeable. It will be interesting to see if this persists when lockdown eases. There are plenty of buses but certainly in this area they are carrying very few passengers. I can understand why Transport For London is running at such a massive loss. I am a great advocate of public transport but right at this moment, it is not the top of my list.

I thought it was going to be really summery today so gave the turquoise earrings a re-run, but in the end, it was very cool with a strong wind blowing. The old saying “Ne’er cast a clout till May is out,” was only too true. (For the benefit of my overseas readers, “clout” is an old word for clothing: you should keep on your winter clothes until the end of May!)

I am late posting this blog entry because for once I was very engrossed in a TV series, “State of Happiness” (Lykkeland in Norwegian). It was set in 1960’s Stavanger at the beginning of the oil boom, and as I visited Stavanger last year, and saw what an effect the oil industry had had on the old fishing port, I was curious to see a dramatisation of the background. The 1960’s fashions and cars were an added bonus. I also attempted to make sense of my very rudimentary Norwegian, by dint of looking at subtitles and thinking ah, yes, that’s what it means. But as it was in a West Norwegian dialect, it was what you might call challenging. Interesting series though. If you are interested, it is probably on iplayer for a while, BBC4.

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