Friday 5 March

Laptop problems, hence no blog last night. Technology, eh? I wish I were not so dependent on it, but there you are, I am. Anyway it appears to have been cured by the age old strategy of turning it off overnight and restarting in the morning.

I woke up quite early with the sun streaming through the windows. I felt very energised by this, so got up, had breakfast, and had a fun trip to Aldi to do a big shop. It was well worth the effort as I was ahead of the crowd. I see that Aldi is very much catching up with the trends: much more organic food on offer and a whole area entitled Plant Menu, which is vegan food. I also saw that hardly anyone used the hand sanitiser or bothered to wipe down the trolley. It is all available of course. Perhaps if we have learned anything from this crisis, it is that we should wash our hands more frequently. Or that gloves are really not so dreadful.

It is depressing to read that the high levels of obesity in the UK appear to have contributed to the high death toll from Covid. But I think it has been recognised for a long time that obesity is a major factor in many health issues. I see that Boris Johnson has lost a good few pounds since he had his serious brush with the virus last year. Perhaps it is easier that there are no official dinners or receptions to attend: less alcohol and no chocolate desserts. I am sure Carrie keeps a strict eye on things: perhaps they are vegan? I did an exercise class and walked 3 miles today. Emma is walking 10,000 steps every day in March, and is raising money through sponsorship for cancer research, so I am attempting to emulate that.

I am currently reading “Remarkable Creatures” by Tracy Chevalier. It is a novel about Mary Anning, the fossil collector in Lyme Regis, in the early 1800’s. She came from a very poor family but her father was interested in the fossils in the cliffs there, and showed her what to look for. She became eventually very famous for discovering a large ichthyosaurus. She was often accompanied by a lady called Elizabeth Philpot who had a particular interest in fossil fish. Fossil collectors today spend a great deal of time at Charmouth and Lyme Regis: we have been and found belemnites and small usually broken ammonites on the beach. It is extremely fascinating. The two women were regarded with some suspicion at the time, as the world of geology was very male dominated, but it has been recognised that Mary Anning made a massive contribution to scientific research. I see that a film called “Ammonite” is about to be released, starring Kate Winslet as Mary Anning. It also builds in a lesbian relationship for which there is no particular evidence which will annoy me: Hollywood’s attempt to “sex up” every story.

I heard this today: Clara Schumann’s piano concerto. So very few female composers. Here it is played by Isata Kanneh-Mason, a member of the hugely talented musical family.

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