Thursday 26 November

So it’s official, we will be back in Tier 2. I’ll have to read the regulations all over again but I think it means aquafit will resume, and that galleries and museums will reopen. But another week to go yet.

My day’s excitement was a visit to the dentist, long overdue. I had to wait outside and phone the receptionist, although she sits in the window, 6 inches from where I was standing. She said, someone will let you in when they’re ready. Fortunately it was a mild day, so I hung around outside for about 5 minutes: it would not have been much fun in the pouring rain, or if you are a shade fragile. I was allowed in, hand sanitised, temperature taken, questioned, did I feel in any way unwell? Finally got to see the dentist, who had a quick whiz round my mouth and agreed that the tooth did have a jagged edge so she would apply a temporary filling, but I need a special appointment in January for a proper filling, as they only use the drills on certain days, as it creates spray which is so very dangerous and they have to then wear the full PPE kit. An article in the Times today takes issue with the slogan “Protect the NHS”, saying, I thought the NHS was in existence to protect us, not vice versa. Food for thought.

I was thinking today about going on holiday (those were the days) and what the essentials now are, in my case anyway. It used to be, passport, money, ticket: now it is mask, medication, phone charger. Perhaps I should add to that, reading glasses. I was doing some sewing today, and even threading the needle in daylight, always better than artificial light, is a bit of a challenge. The times they are a’changing.

My thoughts turned to my time in Kenya, teaching at Eburru School. While there, I invited a group of musicians to come and visit, and play for the pupils. Kenge Kenge are a well known band, of Luo origin, playing traditional instruments, including the nyatiti, a form of lyre, which is how I came to get to know them. There were no musical instruments at the school, no music tuition. Most music was in church, where they sang in magnificent harmony. Kenge Kenge came up from Nairobi on a matatu (minibus of dubious quality) and I picked them up from the main road and brought them to Eburru. The whole school sat outside and we had a wonderful afternoon. Even the teachers had never seen anything like it before. I was so pleased to be able to do this: the pupils talked about it for ever: thank you madam, they said. (I was always madam) In the video they are learning a dance. There are more comprehensive videos of Kenge Kenge’s music on YouTube but this is a trip down memory lane. I can be seen at about 2.08 and again at the end. It was filmed by my friend Jennie.

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