Monday 18 January

Monday 18 January marks ‘Blue Monday‘, the most depressing day of the year. It’s the day when the financial pressure of the Christmas just passed hangs over us most, the weather is at its worst, and the extra pounds we’ve acquired over the holiday season are proving harder to shift than we anticipated. Well, I thought you’d like to know this, and that’s just under normal circumstances (always the third Monday in January) let alone under lockdown.

Yesterday one of the Times’ journalists wrote that he had lost all sense of urgency. He said by lunch time, the children are half dressed, half toileted, half educated, and he is still in his pyjamas, his only achievement so far is to peel a carrot. I know the feeling. I started out with lots of good intentions. I did my Pilates class, tick. Then I had a series of interesting emails to read and reply to, then some riveting phone calls, then lunch. Rod wanted to do a little drive in his new car, so we went out a little way, but did manage to stop off for a walk round Coulsdon Common. Overheard from a lady walking a dog with her friend: “I need to lose a few pounds, dear: too much gin!”

I did manage one item on my to do list. I have been intending for ages to contact some Arts Society groups, as I am an accredited lecturer now with a Zoom presentation on my track record, but I needed to formulate an email, find the attachments, locate suitable email addresses………..not such an onerous task, but fiddly. Anyway, I have started, so I am very pleased.

I saw this morning that 2 foxes seem to be bedding down in a corner at the top of the garden. They look very cute of course, but I really do not want a family of little fox cubs rampaging around. Maybe the time to lay down a barricade of holly twigs so that it is not too cosy.

Yesterday evening I had a long Zoom call with my friend Bill Taylor, a harp player who lives in the Scottish Highlands. I got to know him in the course of the Lyre of Ur project, and indeed, he was one of the first players to create some tunes for the lyre. He and I performed together in the early days, with me reciting the poetry with the lyre accompaniment. But more of that at a later date. Now like so many other musicians, he is entirely dependent on giving online tuition and performances. However, the upside of that is, that he has students in New Zealand, Japan, indeed around the world. Bill plays many instruments but his speciality is the clarsach, a Celtic harp, wire strung, from Scotland and Ireland, very much in the Gaelic tradition. Here he is playing a traditional melody. It will counteract the Blue Monday blues.

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