04/10/2020

A View from Crazy Town

Chris Dell, Washington, D.C.

It is overwhelming and exhausting. America simply produces more Crazy than it can consume these days. In just the last two weeks we've had the death of liberal icon RBG and a cynical Republican effort to replace her with an arch conservative in time to steal the election if Dear Leader so requires; an exposé of Dear Leader's taxes which burst the twin myths of 

His wealth and business acumen (20,000 documented falsehoods later, there wasn't much left of His honesty to debunk); and, The Debate for the Ages. All while the West burns, the Gulf Coast is swamped, and we cross the grim milestone of 200,000 COVID19-related deaths. 

 

So, Gentle Readers, a little opera bouffe to relieve the strain seems in order. A story so Crazy, but so totally "of the moment," that it may well deserve the title of The Mother of All Crazy (with due thanks to Dear Departed Leader Saddam Hussein for his glorious contribution to the English tongue). I refer, of course, to the meltdown of Brad Parscale.  Mr. Parscale, you will recall, was the chairman of Dear Leader's re-election campaign (aka, The Money Machine, or The Greatest Campaign Ever in the History of Campaigns) for three years.  Until that is, The Unfortunate Series of Events in Tulsa (reported previously) which led to (unworthy!) whispers of Dear Leader's vulnerability. And, Brad's unceremonious defenestration from his perch.  Although retaining a "senior" position in the campaign, and we're assured, the love of Dear Leader and His Family, young Brad has apparently not coped well.  On Sunday Mrs. Brad called the forces of order in Ft. Lauderdale, FLA to report that young Brad was waving a gun and threatening to do himself harm.  Footage of the blonde, bikini-clad Mrs. Brad and the constabulary showed what appeared to be bruises on her arms, and the lady in question alleged that she had been the victim of spousal abuse (she subsequently withdraw the allegation). Telephonic discussion with the men in blue persuaded Brad to emerge from his castle. Not to be outdone by Missus in her two-piece, Brad appeared clad only in shorts, but fortunately waving nothing more deadly than a can of brewski (although if you've ever tasted National Bohemian - Natty Bo to the cognoscenti - you'll know that opinions regarding the relative merits of American beer versus firearms as a means of ending it all are highly subjective).  At this point all 6' 8" of Brad were unceremoniously tackled from behind by a officer of the law, slammed to the street, pinned down and handcuffed.  All for his own good, you see.  I know many of you are thinking, "oh no, we've seen this opera before and it does not end well [more on that below]."  Fear not.  For Mr. Parscale is of the caucasian persuasion, virtually guaranteeing a happy ending (although presumably not one involving Mrs. Brad).   This scene in our little show did not end with a knee in his neck, nor lead in his back as he resisted arrest by asking what he’d done wrong. No, Sir! Brad was merely carted off to an institution and placed under observation.  So the story ends we're told, except, well, for one ever so slight, albeit troubling detail. Or, in fact, the Big Plot Reveal, which both makes total sense and is totally crazy.  You see, it was subsequently reported that Brad is under investigation for allegedly diverting somewhere well north of $25 million from Dear Leader's campaign coffers. Which the beachfront home, yacht and Lamborghini, taken as a whole, might suggest is not mere Crazy talk. Brad just wanted to live like the Boss.  You can't blame a fellow for that.  Afterall, so too do the rest of the Faithful, or at least they did until those pesky tax returns came out.  Brad was simply better placed to turn his admiration into emulation.  Alas, it transpires that excessive emulation of Dear Leader is not appreciated by same.  One feels for Brad and can understand how his growing predicament might have led him to consume rather more Natty Bo than would otherwise be good for his health.

 

Which brings us, or at least brings Your Intrepid Reporter, to the present Crazy moment in American politics (don't worry, we'll also report further scenes from "Brad and The Bo," as appropriate, in future editions of the Journal). For you see, not only is He Who Shall Not Be Named leading in the polls, he also turns out to have a much bigger war chest with which to fund the final weeks of the contest.  No wonder, with Rats stealing everywhere (albeit, Rats still beloved by Dear Leader and His Family who wish Brad well), that Dear Leader is struggling to break through. And so, this past Tuesday evening, we were treated to The Debate for The Ages. Feeling the cold breath of defeat on His Neck, Dear Leader knew He'd have to turn in an Historic Performance to reach the Faithless and reassure the wavering Faithful. And perform He did. From the greasy makeup to the sweaty visage to the stentorian bellowing it was evident that once again He was giving His All for The Good of The Nation. He Who Shall Not Be Named was not to be permitted a word with which to sully this transcendent moment. Debate, schmate. This was to be All Dear Leader All the Time. And a Glorious Night it was. His success was remarked upon far and wide, with one observer describing it as “sharing a stage with a shit flinging monkey” while another, keeping with the overwrought primate theme, said it was like trying to debate “a drunk gorilla just going crazy.” It was only rock n' roll, but the Faithful loved it. Dear Leader walked through all his Greatest Hits - from "Hillary - Lock Her Up," to "The Greatest Economy Ever," "Smart, Smart, I'm the Smartest," to “We Shut it Down,” "The Stable Genius Chorus," and that fan favorite "The Greatest Hoax of All Time." The only off note came when He Who Shall Not Be Named somehow managed to make himself heard long enough to sing a re-worked version (how dare he!) of Dear Leader's anthem for the Age of COVID: "It Is What It Is Because You Are Who You Are." Not at all flustered, Dear Leader called upon his backup band, White Supremacist and The Proud Boys, to close it out with a rousing rendition of His Faithful Fan Favorite - "This Will Not End, or It Will Not End Well." Call me Crazy, but that sounds like a promise made and a promise kept.

Finally, since Rats seem to be on everyone’s mind, what with both Brad in the news and the Hero Rat appearing in these very pages, Your Intrepid Reporter takes this opportunity to fulfill a long-standing promise to Dear Editor. It can now be revealed for the first time that Y. I. R. and Mrs. Intrepid reside off a by-way in Crazy Town which they have petitioned the City Fathers (more accurately the  City Mother in this case) to christen Flat Rat Alley. During the height of the pandemic shutdown it seems our furry friends had to diversify and seek sustenance elsewhere, as their usual restaurant haunts were failing to provide (come to think of it, not unlike Brad). During their daily perambulations in search of exercise and news for you, Gentle Readers, Team Intrepid couldn't help but notice an unusual phenomenon - the large number of previously flourishing rodents suddenly transformed into mere two-dimensional versions of their former selves. Just how they managed to become so befuddled as to throw themselves under the tires of passing vehicles in our passageway is still a matter of some speculation, but Natty Bo has not been ruled out. (Lest unwarranted suspicion fall on Mrs. Intrepid, Y. I. R. hastens to append a photo of her demonstrating her great affection for Rats, especially those of the Hero variety. This particular Hero, named Tareeq, lives in Mozambique, where he performs yeoman service, using his sensitive snout to detect TB in saliva samples. All in exchange for mere banana mash. Or, as we like to say here, plain old Crazy.)

Breaking News Headlines:

 

RBG successfully argues first case before Supremist Court, says justice is eternal and “won’t rest” until it’s done; White House denounces “hoax,” accuses Deep State, Dems, MSM and China of collusion; Breitbart claims Biden hid bug in earpiece during debate. 

 

President claims vindication: “if I hadn’t gotten tested, I wouldn’t have this Wuhan thing;” VP Pence  gives thanks with ‘Mother’ Pence, says “I’m in charge here, will do whatever it takes to keep it that way;” Ivanka clutches pearls, Jared orders dozen orange shirts.

04/10/2020

Burlingham blog

Mary Fisher, Norfolk UK

The week starts off sadly. A dear friend, Bill Albert, has died. Bill was an American writer, an academic, a novelist, an historian and, the field where we worked together, a disability rights campaigner. Bill was one of those people who could walk into a crowded room and make each person feel that what they said was important. On Saturday I will join Bill’s family and friends on a zoom memorial. For all his talents, the one that springs to mind is Bill reading a children’s book, Winnie the Witch, to a room full of health and social care professionals to show them that people should not try to ‘fix’ disabled people. It worked, Bill won everyone over. He will be much missed.

 

We hear that the number of people who have died from Covid-19 has exceeded one million. Sad and sobering statistics – there is nothing to add. The weather seems to catch on to the sombre mood. Here, in the East of the UK, we saw barely any sun until Wednesday. Rain and wind were followed by just plain gloomy.

 

On a cheerier note, bird song sounded different during lockdown, according to a scientific study. Yet, oddly, it was not as we thought. To me their song seemed louder, sweeter, more joyful. I assumed this was because of the reduction of the background noise of twenty-first century life. However, it seems that the birds adjusted their songs to be softer to match with the quieter environment. The scientists said this demonstrated how quickly nature can recover to the reduction in our (human) noise pollution. The birds didn’t have to screech just to get themselves heard. I can relate to that.

 

Why do some days turn out to be the complete opposite of what you envisaged at the start? On Monday, I went on an errand for my aunt to a building society. Armed with a pile of documents, I joined the queue in the rain on the pavement outside. The person in front of me was a wheelchair user and was getting very wet. Surely we have to find a more hospitable way of doing transactions with financial institutions? Eventually it’s my turn. I meet with an employee who kindly points out that I have brought everything except the authority from my aunt. I’d left it at home! Unbelievable. I make my way home, knowing that I have to return again on Friday.

 

I am blessed with aunts. I have three aunts (plus one uncle and a mother) all between the ages of 88 and 96. All of my aunts gave me love and support whilst R was ill. Since R died my aunts are still very prominent in my life, offering advice and have helped to give me a sense of purpose. They all like talking on the telephone - good thing I still have my landline. Since March their phone calls have been more frequent and longer. My aunts have felt isolated. All are uninitiated in the world of technology. Unfamiliar to a world of online shopping and banking and virtual GPs. Life has been difficult for them and, at times, frightening. Last week, I popped over to see my aunt and uncle in North Norfolk in their garden. She had rushed to make some chutney as she knew I was coming. Today I went on my weekly visit to see Barbara in her residential home. Barbara was so full of love, I cried all the way back to my car when I left. Then I went to see a third aunt after she rang me to offer help to begin to clear up some of Barbara’s home. We spent two wonderful hours chatting as we packed all of Barbara’s unwanted clothes and took them to a charity shop. She tells me that she wishes she had a daughter. I hope she will make do with a niece. There is lots of political debate around sheltering older people. Personally, I’d wrap all my aunts in cotton wool given half a chance but, they tell me that they have had enough of being isolated. They just want to go to a shop or give their family a hug. And who can argue with that.

Sending everyone warm wishes.

04/10/2020

Hello from Eastbourne

Macrae children's Mum

The vain pussycat by Shirley-Anne Macrae

 

Nothing from my two this week I'm afraid. Granny Aye is visiting and they are devoting every spare moment to her as they haven't seen her for months. They are permanently curled up next to her on the sofa after school. Marli is having binge knitting lessons and Franklin is giggling away at her jokes and Scottish childhood stories. Most of which involve sibling rivalry and pranking teachers. The favourite so far is the tale of Granny's head teacher yanking her out of the line for breaching her Catholic school uniform rules and calling her a 'vain pussycat'. They are both now calling her 'the vain pussycat' instead of Granny Aye. She seems really pleased about this. However, I'm not getting a look in and if I want anything done, I ask the vain pussycat to ask them to do it. They willingly oblige for her. Hopefully they will write about her visit next week. They are both a little anxious with all this talk of a second lockdown. The thought of no school or friends looming is making them fretful so the vain pussycat is a wonderful distraction.  

Franklin is more accepting of the mask at school rule however. I am grateful for this as my heart leaps (in a bad way) whenever my inbox pings to alert me of an email from his school. And there has been too much pinging and leaping these last few weeks. All for low level, silly stuff but some of the staff are incredibly anxious if the children don't observe social distancing rules and are taking a zero tolerance approach. They have elderly or poorly relatives and feel that they are in the firing line. So dressing up as a nun and prancing around the canteen asking the dinner ladies if nuns get discount went down like a lead balloon for Franklin. The form tutor and seemingly permanently cross music teacher weren't amused (although my understanding is that the dinner ladies were). He is going to learn the hard way because the new regime just isn't compatible with his personality. Marli, on the other hand, doesn't encounter these problems, simply because she is compliant. She has complained though that a few teachers are 'purple with over-shouting' about social distancing and she feels intimidated when they behave like this. C'est la vie at the moment. 

 

As for me, I am loving seeing the vain pussycat, for the first time in months. I'm presently in bed with a cuppa writing this to you and she is pottering around, tidying their bedrooms. This is her way of spoiling me. I bought her a frock from Seasalt for her birthday so I'm enjoying spoiling her too. And I feel like I need a bit of mother's love actually. I don't think I realised this until she arrived. I'm slightly unnerved that I'm emotionally dependent on my mum at my age (46). And it struck me that many people will have lost mothers/fathers/ parents due to the pandemic.  So I'm a bit wobbly today. I watched an online talk last night by my former boss, the curator at Charleston and the designer Annie Sloane, filmed at Charleston. Charleston is close to my heart and it has had to close its doors due to COVID. I, along with every other house guide, was made redundant. I accepted this, I understood the decision and I moved on from it quickly. I didn't have time to dwell on it because I was knee deep in home schooling and traipsing over the South Downs with the children. Thus I was taken aback last night because seeing it for the first time since March upset me and I had a good, chest heaving cry, huge, undignified sobs, gulping wine between the sobs. I think not seeing mamma for so long, having some company and much needed practical help (I've hurt my arm badly), the school emails, the impending second lockdown, seeing my precious Charleston and allowing myself to miss the job I loved made it all come tumbling out. I feel released and possibly slightly hungover. My mamma is here to chat to today though, to tell me to not take the pinging of emails too seriously and to babysit tonight while my husband and I go out to dinner together for the first time in eight months. He is currently making me a bacon sandwich as a hangover cure.

04/10/2020

View from the Top of the Hill

Linzy Lyne, Pateley Bridge

Breaking news this morning, Donald and Melania Trump have tested positive for Coronavirus and are in quarantine in the White House. It remains to be seen whether the President will have any symptoms and what effect this will have on the upcoming election. Will the rest of his government come down with the illness due to his failure to enforce the wearing of masks? The downside is that if he is asymptomatic he can turn round and say "see, I told you it's not a serious illness".

 

Our sleep patterns were badly disrupted this week by getting up at 2am to watch the US presidential debate, a thoroughly aggravating affair dominated by Donald Trump's aggressive bullying of Joe Biden as well as the moderator. The major fallout from the debate was Trump's rallying call to a far-right militant group to "Stand Back and Stand By", which raises the spectre of more potential violence if Trump rejects the result of the election. We thought Biden held his own pretty well, although the right-wing press have made much of him telling the President to shut up and calling him a liar and a clown. Better than rolling over, I think. Trump says he "won" the debate, like he will say he "won" the election and if he has fewer votes he will say it was rigged. A sorry state of affairs for the American people, already reeling from 207,000 deaths from the virus.

 

Over here the headlines are all about a Scottish MP breaking the rules by travelling down to the House of Commons while having virus symptoms, testing positive and going all the way back on the train. This is not going to help in the campaign to get people to observe the rules. There is already proof that 80% of people are not self-isolating when they should. This is not the first time someone in a position of authority has been found to break the rules. I noticed recently that the members of the Cabinet go unmasked into the building where they hold the meetings (granted, they are going there so that they have a larger room to facilitate social distancing) and walk past the hand sanitising station at the door without pausing. Perhaps there's another one upstairs.

 

I wonder if others are experiencing any serious effects from all this use of alcohol based hand sanitisers. I have suffered from psoriasis and other skin complaints for years, with painful splits to the skin on my fingers, necessitating the use of multiple plasters for most of the winter. Lately I've lost whole layers of skin from my palms, this cannot be a coincidence. I've just started wearing latex gloves when I go out so I can sanitise the gloves instead of my hands and that seems to be improving things!

 

Well I have a busy day ahead as my online book store has just started a 40% off sale and the orders have started pouring in, so I will end off here and wish everyone a safe and happy week.

 

Franklin, I have every sympathy. The rules can be stupid. Stay cheerful!

04/10/2020

Bumpy landing on the south coast

Catherine, Sussex

This week Google celebrated Ignatius Sancho, former slave and ‘writer, composer, shopkeeper and abolitionist, who was celebrated in the late 18th-century as a man of letters, a social reformer and an acute observer of English life’ [British Library]. In 1780 he ‘penned a dramatic first-hand account of the Gordon Riots, a wave of destructive unrest that swept through London in protest at the repeal of discriminatory laws against Roman Catholics. From his storefront on Charles Street, he wrote to his friend John Spink that he felt compelled to set down even an “imperfect sketch of the maddest people that the maddest times were ever plagued with” (Vol. 2, Letter LXVII, 6).’

 

Time for another sketch, I think, Ignatius, with further superlatives. You would have plenty of material from which to choose, but I guess America would take the lead by a head. Judging by That Debate, the POTUS has quite gone off his rocker – if ever he were on it, that is. (Stop press: there is a slim chance he might now be dethroned by nature, saving his subjects the trouble. He has certainly been looking drawn lately, even if more than usually plastered in orange and pink. Unfortunately, if he emerges smelling of roses after all, his proclaimed inviolability will only have been reinforced in the eyes of his adoring supporters. He Told Them All Along Covid Was Nothing.)

Thomas Gainsborough’s portrait of Ignatius Sancho

Our own PM is struggling to persuade the nation’s unruly denizens to behave, in the face of continued Covid resurgence. He seems to be shrinking, in all ways, by the day. Regular press conferences are back, so we shall be able to judge his descent alongside the ascent of the graph lines, mostly prettily coloured to distract from their awful portent. We down here are a fetching shade of spring green, which makes us feel like Everything is All Right, even though it isn’t.

 

As if all that were not bad enough, on Wednesday I shut my left index finger in a door. No words can describe… I think the pain and shock wiped out some of this week’s memories, but I do recall a happy day before that, shovelling shit; I had located a horse sanctuary which offered really well-rotted stuff, and so off I went with bags and spade. It is luscious gunk, and I have spread it on my flowerbeds in hopeful anticipation of a riotous display next year. While there I couldn’t actually see any horses, just three sheep with whom I made head-scratching friends. Still, as it seemed a good cause, I left a decent donation to buy the equines some carrots. The text I received in thanks confessed that the last horse had actually left two years ago…  No wonder the manure was well-rotted. Still, I have been pressed into returning for more (free) whenever I wish. I really enjoyed being there, alone but for sheep, grass and trees (and the roar of the dual carriageway nearby), doing physical work. I would have made a good Land Girl, I think. I did spend about nine months on a kibbutz in my idealistic early 20s, and loved the outside work there, too, notably in the orange groves, where we had a nice boss, and oranges to eat, lying in the shade under the trees. Our jobs rotated, though, and other bosses were not so lenient.

With great good luck, before I mangled my finger I got another blind up. It was more complicated than the first, and only by noticing at the last moment a wrong measurement did I avoid having to get another and start again. Phew! His Nibs and parents popped in for tea, Cornish clotted cream biscuits (courtesy of Arthur’s owner) and madeleines (Bonne Maman, divine – I gave up trying to make them), so I got to cuddle him again: lovely! And I went and bought materials to make a jolly red and gold Christmas mask for all those parties which won’t be happening. I have a couple on order, too, proceeds to fox care.

Some sketches I made while working in the orange groves in Israel

The journal community has been slowly adding to my collection of far-flung family and friends. This reminds me of when I first acquired a pc, in 2000. Because my evenings were spent at home with a small sleeping child, I had a vision of connecting with other women around the world in similar situations. Those days, chat rooms were pleasant places (at least the one I used was), as the name suggests. I made one particularly good friend, also a single mum, and for many years we spoke and met, until she moved on. I also found my family through that computer. Such a great way to start the new century! How did we ever manage before the internet? It’s certainly a lifeline to many now.

04/10/2020

Staying home

Nicky, Vermont, USA

Yesterday I woke up early and I had decided. It was tough because the sound is great, large eighties speakers that can blast music into our living room which is also our dining room and our kitchen, but the truth is we never play music on the sound system. Two reasons. Our house is very open plan, B’s office on the first floor doesn’t have a ceiling, and my office in the basement doesn’t have walls or a a door. So there is almost no sound privacy. Which means if one of us plays music the other has to listen to it. And often she doesn’t want to. Or I don’t want to. The other reason is that we inherited the cd player from B’s sister’s husband, and it stores one hundred and fifty cds in it, and is very complicated to use, both mechanically and digitally. So we almost never play cds. Meanwhile it takes up space in our living area, and a few weeks ago, perhaps I mentioned this before, I bought a trampoline, as part of my plan to stay sane in the coming winter. Exercise. I had no idea how big it would be and it has sat like an unwelcome guest in the middle of the living area ever since it arrived, making it difficult to get from one part of the living room to the other.

So yesterday morning I got up early and sent an e mail out to almost everyone I know locally to see if anyone wanted a large, complicated but great sound system. Then I drove off to the lake to walk the dog, then drove around the village up in the hills to look at the trees while talking to my Australian aunt on Skype, and by the time I pulled back into the driveway an hour later I had an email from Eric. They would be delighted to give a home to our sound system. And they have lots of cds without covers, having moved here from abroad and needing to make their luggage smaller, so having a cd player that holds a hundred and fifty cds is perfect for them. 

I delivered the cd player, record player, cassette player, speakers, and receiver to their house. Micah, their nine year old son I’ve mentioned before in this journal, was really excited about setting up the sound system and, it sounds like, wants to set up an additional sound system for himself.  

I had lunch with them in their back yard. Micah has recently lost two grandparents and a great grandparent so he’d decided to make a memory boxe as a gift for his friend. He had the whole design worked out in his head… partitions for photos and precious papers and so forth. He’s making the prototype for B. now so she can remember her sister.  

I love him. 

He went back inside to continue his online school day and Eric and I talked… an intense and beautiful conversation about childhood and health and families. He asked questions. Very few people ask questions.  

Then I returned home and moved the old bottles and boxes of books that had accumulated behind the speakers, swept the floor wondering for the thousandth time where fuzzy dust actually comes from, and then set up the trampoline. 

Mission accomplished! And with unexpected gifts.

04/10/2020

From a very small Island

Michael Johnston, Isle of Wight

I wrote nothing for the journal last week, so sincere apologies, but I think now that I need to make up for my absence.

 

Monday

Best beloved and I have been walking. We’ve begun our long planned trek around the Island last week and as I write, we’ve completed two fairly short stages, which have taken us from the beach hut at Puckpool along to Bembridge. Today, Monday, we plan to get as far as Sandown. I have never done the walk in its entirety, but only parts, so I am getting to see places never visited previously. Best beloved has completed the walk in the past, so knows the route quite well.

 

Tuesday

Another walk leg completed yesterday. Reached Sandown and we managed alright going over Culver Down, which was a bit of a trek, but completely delightful. I think we both agree it was the best yet. Ate lovely hot sausage rolls for refreshment at the little snack bar atop the down. Went back to our respective homes and eventually slept, being somewhat fatigued following the trudge. Incidentally, a curious byproduct of the walk is a realisation that certain words from my vocabulary have become rarely used over the years - ‘trudge’ being one of those. I shall from now on try and resurrect those odd drop-offs. What fun that will be! Yes I know, I get my entertainment in odd ways!

 

I have seen a squirrel this morning, which reminds me that I missed a young one on the road yesterday whilst driving. I really cannot understand why, but many years ago the Tufty Club was invented as a promotion device for road safety. Red squirrels are the very worst animals in that respect, illustrated by yesterday’s example. I saw it playing around near the verge of the road. Knowing how they tend to behave I came gently to a stop. Sure enough the little creature ran into the road in front of my camper van. It the romped around right in front of me for some seconds prior to returning safely whence it had come. They so often do that kind of thing that I wonder if they say “Boo-hiss!” to cars for fun. Incidentally, best beloved, driving her car right behind mine, saw nothing of the performance!

 

Wednesday

Spent part of yesterday clearing rubbish for a collection due midday today. I’ve moved a great heap of stuff from my shed, so hope I’ll be able to move and work in there from now on. Added to by bits of wood and odd pots, particularly plastic ones from the garden, the domain should end up looking a lot better. Squirrel was very busy with nuts yesterday afternoon.

 

News from Trumpland is really bizarre today. What a terrible debate between the two candidates. Over here, Boris seems to have pretty much lost it - as if that’s something new! I really am concerned for the world my children and grandchild are inheriting from we seemingly rather fortunate people who grew up comfortably in the west after the world war. It all makes even the Nero in me feel uncomfortable!

 

Well, the rubbish collection took place as planned. It’s strange how cathartic junk removal can be!

 

Received my copy of the St Chris alumni magazine today and we have a mention. I had not previously realised that dear Margaret was formerly a staff member. She was long after my time. Incidentally I think I was there for about three years, not two, but I could be wrong.

 

Best beloved came over and we ate together, which was good as always. She is my chief delight in life.

 

Thursday

I wasn’t expecting to continue our walk’ today, but the weather was quite pleasant, so best beloved and I set out on the fourth leg, which took us from Yaverland near Sandown to Shanklin. It was very different from the previous outing, being mostly along the sea edge and also almost unique in that we could see our destination from the start. The finale was a climb up Appley Stairs, which are very steep and up a cliff face from the beach. Being both quite tired we set off for our respective homes and some quiet rest.

 

Friday

Woken by really fierce rain and wind early on. Getting towards midday things seem a bit quieter, but suspect a false reprieve! Time to send this. Thank you for the reminder Margaret. Off to buy bread...

04/10/2020

From Rural New York

Sandy Connors, USA

It is a grey rainy morning ~ looking out the back I see how much the leaves have changed from light yellow to rich golds, oranges and bright reds making the fields glow even in the rain. It has been a productive week, having finished the coloring of the engravings which are now at the framer’s waiting for matting. My hardworking helper has also finished painting the two sides of the house and the storm windows which need scraping and washing and then put up to make the house snug for the coming cold weather. It seems that the spring and summer just flew by, for some strange reason ~ funny about the perception of time.

 

Yesterday I listened on Instagram to Prince Charles recite a Wordsworth poem for National Poetry Day ~ he has such a beautiful reading voice. Then the Duchess of Cornwall read a delightful poem, which I did not know, by Auden. How lovely they both are ~ A few days ago I saw Simon Callow talking about Charles Dickens’ early letters which I would like to find and read. Speaking of online programs, following Sophie Austin’s link from last week’s journal, I so enjoyed her program about Ingrid Bergman! It was beautifully done, so interesting to learn of Bergman’s childhood, and her strong sense of self and purpose. I have continued to enjoy David’s sonnets (well, Will’s, actually) and particularly enjoy it when he talks about a particular one or two. Such impressive performances and quite ‘awesome’. 

 

The garden is very slowly getting tidied up for this year I seem to be enjoying its wildness and can’t quite bear to cut everything down so there are lots of bent over tall wild asters with wild blue morning glories climbing all over the place, some beautiful deep purpley-blue monks head spires, and still lots of birds and bees looking for tidbits. I have yet to get some bird seed and fill my empty feeders ~ it’s on the list!

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