Saturday 16 January

For all you followers of Dry January (I am not) or Veganuary (I am not), the good news is that we are now halfway through the month. Not really sure how to process this event: the calendar still yawns fairly emptily ahead. Although in a phone conversation with my friend in Germany today, she did comment that I seem to do quite a few online activities, which is true. Somehow 8pm Zoom call is not quite the same as 7.30pm visit to National Theatre.

Vaccinations seem to be proceeding apace but have not caught up with me yet. Would I have one? Certainly. My main reservation is not that it has not been tried and tested enough, but that we do not know how long it will be effective for. Perhaps we will have to roll out the entire programme every six months. After all, flu jabs are annual, as the “normal” flu keeps mutating. As an infant I had a smallpox vaccination, I have the scar to prove it, and this disease has now been wiped out. Polio too was a scourge but has now been almost eliminated. So here’s hoping I will soon receive the call.

I went for a walk to Little Woodcote. We had snow this morning but it thawed rapidly and was 8C this afternoon. Extremely muddy. The horses enjoyed the hay in the field.

The light was incredible. I wish I were a painter to capture the wonderful colours. Long shadows, and pink and steel grey clouds. And an awful lot of mud.

A new event today: cooking together on Zoom. My daughter, daughter-in-law and I each prepared a Nigella recipe, and then cooked it together and compared notes. It worked really well and was great fun. Lots of chit chat in between but we felt we were all doing something together. Much to be recommended.

I wonder how many of you will remember the inimitable Flanders and Swann? As I squelched my way across the fields, I indulged in a rousing chorus of The Hippopotamus Song.

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