Monday 5 October

A real actual Pilates class again. Everyone is becoming more relaxed and there is a bit of banter. The Zoom classes filled a gap but as the online school teaching revealed, there is nothing like face-to-face contact. Afterwards I went to the little haberdashery shop in Coulsdon to buy some buttons. It’s the sort of place I feared might go to the wall: a one-woman show with a niche market of ribbons, buttons, cottons, knitting wool, artists’ materials…………but no. People have rediscovered an interest in sewing, knitting, crocheting, and she also runs a good side line in hand-made cloth masks. I had to pay £2.05, in cash. She particularly asked for pennies. The system is, she has a desk across the door, and you have to request whatever you want and she will find it. The coins were laid on the table, and she swept them into a small metal bucket. I enquired facetiously if they would now to put in vinegar (as in Eyam during the plague) and she replied, “No, they are quarantined in the bucket for 3 days before going into the till.” Where do these ideas come from? Ironically at the weekend I had read an article (Times or Sunday Times, so tolerably reputable) saying that it has now been shown that the virus cannot live on hard surfaces, so all the wiping of light switches, door handles, the billions of pounds spent by schools, pubs, restaurants etc on deep cleaning, were wasted money and effort. Hand washing and face masks remain the best preventative measure.

In the afternoon I did some gardening as the weather suddenly became sunny and bright. I planted an acer and a gooseberry bush. I have shrouded the acer in netting as I saw 3 deer in the garden in the morning and they are dreadful, eating everything which looks tempting. All the flowers on a late-blooming shrub have gone. I am hoping the prickles on the gooseberry will be a deterrent. It is so annoying. Everyone thinks it is so romantic to have deer in a suburban garden. It isn’t, they are very destructive.

Aquafit in the evening. Some of the ladies have not been swimming since March and there is an atmosphere of hysterical excitement at being back to “normal”. As I drove through central Croydon I noticed that there seemed to be less traffic than before. But as I drove past the shuttered Fairfields Halls, I realised that there are few evening activities which people can do. No theatres, concerts, choir practice, drama societies. Very sad for the Fairfield as it had only just re-opened after a major refurbishment. We had just got used to returning there for concerts. Heartbreaking.

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