Tuesday 26 January

In some ways it has been a bit of a nothing day, which is no doubt what it is for most people every day. Sleep. eat. work. repeat. There is still snow on the garden and it is very cold, so no gardening. I am fed up with housework: I could clean windows I suppose but it’s all so tedious. And no one to admire my handiwork anyway, no visitors. So I returned to my embroidery, which is always better done by daylight. I am increasingly conscious that my vision by artificial light is not so good.

I did go out for a walk, around Coulsdon. I went to the Cane Hill estate, a development of 650 houses on the site of the old mental hospital. I have to say it is quite well done. They have preserved many trees and planted more. However at the entrance to the estate is a triangular plot, I believe owned by Barratts, which is totally neglected.

It is an ace location but seems utterly abandoned. Perhaps they are bankrupt.

I wrote emails, made phone calls, set up a Zoom chat which was fun, but there is a feeling of same old, same old. The government says, do not even contemplate a foreign holiday this year. And I wonder, are they playing good guy, bad guy? If you citizens all behave yourselves, we might permit you one week in Majorca in August? Walking round Coulsdon, it was interesting to see how many shops have remained open. The cycle shop (essential) the pet shop ditto, hardware, off licence, corner shop, supermarket: the restaurants are nearly all offering take away menus and click and collect or free delivery. It’s the smaller more specialised shops which are closed: will they ever reopen?

I thought you may like to see how enterprising my neighbours are with a bit of snow.

And finally: I wonder if you are aware that a craze for sea shanties has swept through the social media, on TikTok especially. I am alerted to this by Emma, otherwise I would not have an inkling, but my children try their best to keep me auf dem laufenden, up to date in English. I then had to check on the derivation of the word shanty. But it is not necessarily chanter, to sing, but more likely from chantier, meaning a woodyard, or shack, hence shantytown. So here you are, the latest earworm, the Wellerman.

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