Tuesday 2 February

I should have noticed that yesterday was a palindromic date: 1.2.21. Still, there will be another in a few days time. How such things exert a fascination. What, bored; me? Never! But funnily enough it is becoming more noticeable how bored people have become. The first lockdown was almost a novelty, frightening because we did not know what to expect. But now we do know, and it’s not a jolly prospect, merely tedious. I see bored children going to the park and the playground yet again, I see bored teenagers kicking a ball about, I see bored adults trailing round the supermarket. Last Saturday when it was pouring with rain, I thought about how I would have kept young children amused on such a day in times gone by. Perhaps swimming, together with friends, or the cinema, or bowling, or out for a pizza. Anything but hang around in a dank park or watching yet another cartoon on TV. Everyone’s horizons have shrunk so dreadfully.

That all sounds rather gloomy but I did in fact have a nice day. I made quite a few phone calls, wrote 3 letters, some emails, and went for a walk in the locality. I walked up the hill from here, to a bridle path which goes over towards Woodmansterne. You might think that the path would be clear, being high and wide, but…

it was a quagmire. I detoured to a field in order to continue, which was not too bad. I thought the view of the wintry trees in silhouette against the afternoon sky, was rather fine.

I bumped into one of my neighbours, out on his electric bike. Aside from the usual pleasantries, we had a discussion about the benefits of an e-bike. I could be tempted. The quiet roads round here are all hilly so a bit of extra oomph would not go amiss. He was saying that during previous lockdowns he had exhausted all the walking possibilities, but the bike now widens the range of exploration. Yes, could be a good diea.

As I put a bottle into the recycling bin, I remembered my grandmother’s saying for such an item: “There goes another dead marine.” Such an odd turn of phrase. It is apparently either Australian or American, but I think army or navy slang, as that was her family background. How many other people have “family sayings”? Or made-up words which only the immediate family would understand?

I see that La Fille Mal Gardee is available to stream from the Royal Opera House. I heard the clog dance today, it’s very charming.

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