Thursday 29 October

I should have said that yesterday we had lunch at The White Hart, Sevenoaks, and we were lucky to get a table. They said they had 132 covers to provide at lunch time. I was so pleased, as the hospitality industry has taken such a hammering. They said that lunch time is now better than the evening because people don’t like the 10pm curfew. I have to admit that would not affect me: I am early to bed and early to rise.

A dull dreary rainy day, so time for some housework. If we have another total lockdown, we will all have immaculately clean houses and perfectly tidy gardens. When else do you dust the picture rails and clean every mirror and picture in the house? Tackle the ground elder…..? This afternoon I went into the centre of Croydon, as I needed some real shopping (walking trousers, and books on the Vikings for Yannis). I rarely go into Croydon nowadays and I was shocked. 50% of the shops are closed. The Whitgift Centre is a ghost town: all the mini outlets in the former Allders have gone, it is clearly bankrupt. Debenhams has gone, the only department store is the House of Fraser and we all know it is tottering. Smaller shops are boarded up. The number of staff in the remaining shops is minimal. I went to W H Smiths: utterly hopeless. One assistant on newspapers, and the other tapping on the computer unwilling to engage with me. At least Waterstones came up with the goods. Trespass has a permanent closing down sale, although they are patently not closing down as people are actually there buying outdoor clothing as I was. Hiking and cycling being the new lockdown pastimes.

This is something new: I have seen condom machines, and tampon machines, but masks??

You could have surgical quality, standard………………..Rod says, are they all made in Wuhan, with guaranteed Covid?!

This evening I attended a webinar by the British Institute for the Study of Iraq. I used to enjoy going up to London to attend their lectures, but they are doing their best with internet delivery. But like me with the Arts Society presentation, they are all feeling their way with the technology. The danger is that we will all be so accustomed to staying at home for our entertainment that we won’t be bothered to go anywhere ever again. Although I think I will, as it is a bit lonely just sitting in front of a computer screen. The glass of wine and chit chat with other attendees is as much fun as the lecture.

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