Walking in L.A.
Antoinette Samardzic, Los Angeles USA
"Hey, look at the sunset!" The sun is going down behind the Santa Monica Mountains in the direction of Malibu. We are a group of 15 to 20 women sitting in a circle on the sand at Santa Monica Beach. My yoga teacher Saška and her friend Staci hold a Sacred Circle for women once a month and this is my first time participating. I know it sounds terribly wu wu but after all this is L.A. so please forgive me. We are asked to introduce ourselves, say where we live and describe how we are feeling in one word. When it comes to my turn the word amiable pops into my head: indeed, I am feeling quite amiable towards myself and others. Saška leads us in a meditation then we drink rose tea, journal and share what has come up for us. Finally, Saška plays the gong while we sit or lie swathed in blankets and listen. It is twilight and chilly but there are still many people on the beach, walking or simply staring at the ocean, a yacht drifts by, pelicans skim over the water, a surfer paddles towards the waves. A young guy approaches us smiling and apologizing for disturbing us to ask what we are doing. We gather our belongings, distribute a few hugs and depart content.
This is how I feel about leaving the Plague Journal, content to have shared in it these many months, but with regret that I will not know how everyone continues to fare: better and better I hope. Thank you everyone for your contributions and a special thank you to Margaret and Sheila who made this all possible; I trust you will come up with an imaginative way to keep us all in touch in some form or another.
The jacarandas are in full bloom again, the skies are blue, and I wish you all well.
Jane, just south of Norwich
I have just spent a very happy week with my father in his bungalow in a village called Fetcham in Surrey. I had not seen him for seven months, since his 95th birthday on October 31st last year. He looked well, had put on a little weight, had some new front teeth that didn’t quite match his previous set but seemed happy with them (I have only known my father with false front teeth. As a boy of about 12 he was jumped on from behind by another lad – he still remembers his name – and his teeth were smashed on the pavement. Back then the broken teeth were simply extracted). Dad was his usual relaxed and positive self and very pleased to give me a hug after all this time. I had been speaking to him every day but it was so lovely to be together again, to sit with him watching the birds and squirrels in his garden and be an ear for his stories, to share his favourite television programmes, to cook him some dinners and to know that I will be able to stay with him again very soon. It all felt very normal.
Being Saturday, the City of London was quiet as I trundled my case past St Paul’s Cathedral, down Ludgate Hill and along Fleet Street. My first job on leaving college was as a Secretary to the Literary Editor of the old London Evening News. I remember how Fleet Street used to be 45 years ago, such an exciting area to work in, busy with workers rushing here and there, huge lorries loaded with enormous rolls of paper for the print. The newspapers are long gone and now many shops are empty and even on my return journey on a week day, there were few workers about.
On my journey to Surrey I stopped at Wimbledon to meet a very dear friend for lunch, something we used to do regularly. With a glass of wine to celebrate we had a good catch up on all the news and it was a lovely feeling to be inside a well organised restaurant that immediately put you at your ease.
On Sunday night, with the rain lashing on the skylights of the roof space room where I sleep when at Dad’s, I read the Plague Journal. I was so sorry to hear of the dreadful week that Shirley-Anne had experienced and do hope that by this Sunday her news is more positive and her pain eased. Being unwell and not knowing the reason is frightening and we put our trust in the doctors to sort us out. When they are under pressure and hard pushed to help us, everything seems more scary .
I picked up a Metro at the station and read about the new plays opening in London and one caught my eye, a dramatization of Hilary Mantel’s ‘The Mirror and the Light’ which opens at the Gielgud Theatre in September. We celebrate our anniversary in November and when I arrived back home in Norwich, Chris and I booked tickets for this play – something good to look forward to.
It’s been lovely to read, write and share the Plague Journal and I shall miss you all on a Sunday. I hope that by some means we can keep in touch. I enjoy letter writing so if anyone wants a pen pal I would be very happy to correspond. I have given Margaret my details.
Wishing you all the very best for the future.
Vie de château
Marie-Christine, Blois, France
Read the Lancet
To understand a bit better what we lived during the Covid crisis, I will suggest that you read the editorial of Richard Horton in the Lancet of 26 September 2020. It is a key article and freely accessible. The title is: "Covid-19 is not a pandemic". It is, he explains, a "syndemic". This article has been used as a base for the development of thinking and research in many fields outside medicine, and in many countries. It gives us a much more accurate sense of the moment we are living through than any other commentary I have read, and touches many subjects: population health, economics, research, education, environment. Researchers in these disciplines have a "duty" to get us out of the general confusion, and ultimately, to preserve our democracies from manipulation and the governmental temptation to minimise liberty. In France, Gallimard published, in January 2021, n°23 in their "Tracts" series (I have mentioned many times the Tracts de Crise of Guillaume de Machaut, En l'An 1349). Fifty pages by Barbara Stiegler, professor of Political Philosophy in Bordeaux Montaigne University, "De La Démocratie en Pandémie" discussing what has changed in Health, Research and Education. She aims to make scientific discussion more available for the general public and to "reweave" trust between specialist scientists and the lay audience. She sees this as essential to preserving democracy. Richard Horton has many followers on the subject of the "syndemic", as you can discover on line. I feel very excited by the "intellectual" lead that he offers. These are serious matters, and instead of rushing in with our own untutored opinions, we need to think hard and to have help with our thinking, the kind of help which Horton and Stiegler hold out to us.
Go and read them. It's worth it.
Gallimard has also published a book collecting all the daily articles of its "Tracts de Crise" series, free online during the first lockdown of 2020, a good read in retrospect. A kind of equivalent, indeed, of our Plague20 Journal.
Can I close my contribution to Plague20 Journal, by wishing, on the French side of La Manche, for a little more neighbourly friendliness from the other side of the Channel. I hope, one day, to be able to come back to England and feel comfortable there, to visit old friends and without being afraid to drive a French car on English roads, as I am now.
On a related subject, I have noticed that the word "boffin" seems to be used pejoratively by populists to disparage any scientific knowledge or skill. Are we to understand that it's better not to know anything at all? Everybody knows a certain amount at least about their special subject, but I always tell those patients who ask me if I know everything that there is to be known about breast diseases - which I don't of course, and who does? though I do have thirty five years of experience - that it's better to ask me about this subject than to ask somebody who specialises in Chinese poetry or in plumbing. For the "boffin", I read in the Cambridge Dictionary online, that it's a person "who knows a lot about science but is not interested in other things". Most of the scientists and doctors I know are good at other things too, often in art and music. They have to be, to compensate for all the miseries they see daily.
Writing Plague20 weekly contributions has provided a temporary cure for my rheumatism pains. While I write it, I don't feel any. May be I should think about continuing to write something weekly, at least for that reason.
Thank you to all the other authors of Plague20 for their lively and always engaging articles, and to the 12,214 readers - at the time I am writing - who honored us by reading.
Illustration: I felt as if I was on this island during the last fourteen months, now I shall try to come and live on the nearer shore.
Jean, Melbourne Australia
Victoria went back into a strict ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown at midnight last night, for 7 days, in response to an outbreak. We've had no community transmission for a long time, and life had returned to ‘normal’ in many ways, but all it took was one person! This person returned to Australia, was in hotel quarantine in Adelaide for 2 weeks, got tested and received a negative result, then came to Melbourne, felt unwell, was tested again and found to be positive.
An initial small cluster of cases has grown, as of today, to 30 cases which are spread throughout Melbourne. At least 121 exposure sites have been identified and thousands of primary and second ring contacts of the positive cases are being traced. This appears to be one of the highly contagious variants of the virus.
If there is a positive, it’s that the federal government is firmly in the headlights for failing to deliver on planning and delivery of adequate vaccine and quarantine programs. These are both their responsibility. On last night’s news, government ministers got some very intense grilling and were visibly struggling to hold on to their message that all is going well.
The test will be seeing whether there is immediate action from the government.
We (I’m only speaking for myself and friends of course!) have sprung back into lockdown action, or rather inaction since we are limited to only leaving the house for shopping, medical care, vaccinations, exercise (2 hours only and within 5 kms of home) and work if you can’t work at home. But we know how to do this! I will admit to a sinking feeling as we face restrictions again – inevitable I guess.
One beautiful thing happened the night before last though. I watched a blood supermoon and total eclipse, along with many neighbours standing out in the street, all of us mesmerised by this stunning event. This is happening next year in the northern hemisphere. Don’t miss it, it was magical.
So many thanks again to Margaret and Sheila for the Journal and for bringing together a wonderful community of people.
Care in the time of Corona
Shirin Jacob, Ålesund, Norway
The weather this week has been glorious. It was 20 degrees on Wednesday and our plants loved it. My fledgling attempt at planting tulips in a flower bed last autumn finally showed promise. I’ve been inspired by Arthur Parkinson’s book, The Flower Yard, and toddled off to buy zinc dustbins. The rest of Ålesund must be reading his book as well, for there was clearly a run on zinc dustbins as they were sold out save for two. I’m going to prepare them for tulips and maybe even dahlias next year, if more such dustbins can be found. I’m simultaneously reading Sarah Raven’s “A Full Year of Flowers” to understand What Grows Well and When. I’m on a steep learning curve. Although I admire the meadows of Piet Oudolf, the stunning English Gardens of Sissinghurst and Great Dixter and the inimitable style of the Bannermans, a combination of our bad backs, lack of help and not having deep pockets will moderate my efforts. Planning and Execution. Can I be as effective as Margaret and Sheila with regards to our garden? WHO declared the pandemic on the 11th March last year and from Margaret’s sleepless night on the 16th, the germ of an idea was sown and once discussed with her collaborator Sheila, it became reality six days later on the 23rd of March. How many of us can start a business, begin a blog or formulate a new venture with such speed and efficiency? To connect with totally unrelated people all over the world, and have the Fortitude to carry it through, uninterrupted for more than a year, through illness and the Vagaries of Life. Sheer Resilience, Belief and Positivity. The journal started with Chris Gates’s amusing musings on the lack of vegetables namely cabbages and the advantage of his height in finding bread at the back of a top shelf in a supermarket in the early days of the pandemic. I then became better acquainted with other voices, some whom I communicated with.
Annabel Grey, the Queen of Style, from Verandah Holt was a favourite from before Covid, but I got to know her better from the journal. I enjoyed her take on world affairs, walks with Earnie and her Paleo Covid cakes. Daisy and Caroline’s stories of lambing ewes, handling a live rat, a present from their cats after they had played with it, and their recipe for Cheddar Cheese curry were so fun. Caroline is a potter from whom I’ve bought beautiful candlesticks and commissioned Christmas decorations with the names of our family and our beasts. Nick Wonham’s piece in the early days of the journal where he focused on a plan of action inspired me to think of planting a garden on the island rather than just letting the days pass and focusing on my isolation and sadness rather than on Action. Catherine from Sussex, Mary from the Burlingham blog Margaret Steward, Marie Christine from Blois, Annabel and Barbara Warsop answered my call. I was feeling so isolated and sad in Ålesund and it was incredible how their emails with suggestions for our garden raised my spirits. Mary Fisher suggested episode 28 of Gardener’s World and shared a list of specific plants she loved. Soooo useful. Barbara and I went on to speak on FaceTime and she has been a fount of knowledge on plants, recipes and Life. Barbara sent me two watercolours of our cats, taken from photos I had posted on Instagram. And I started to realise how connected all of us are. Barbara told me that Mark Waller from Pretoria had introduced her to the journal and I started to focus on his informative posts on South Africa.
Mark, I wish your daughter a very happy belated birthday. She will keep you very young and on your toes. My mother was 42 when she delivered me and had to keep up with my music, the films I enjoyed and the lexicon of the day. A petite traditional Indian lady in a sari, she took me to the first nightclub at the Shangri-La hotel in Singapore, when I was seventeen years old, because I wanted to see what a nightclub was. And watched protectively whilst I danced by myself. I haven’t been back to a nightclub since, too busy studying and working. And that initial visit got it out of my system.
Jane G from St. Just made me laugh with the story of how she packed the entire works of Shakespeare, Chaucer, Audelay and host of others, to take with her in case she was isolated. Jane mentioned Gilly at Yew Tree Gallery in Morvah, who coincidentally I had found online in my search for Nigel Lambert plates, and Gilly and I had continued conversing on matters quite unrelated. Jane’s puddycat Smokey also miawwwed for the journal and I loved his painted bed almost as much as he did. Very Charleston.
And speaking about Charleston, it’s high on my list to visit the next time I’m in Britain. I will hopefully bump into Shirley Ann Macrae, whose lovely children Marli Rose and Franklin Lewis share their adventures on the blog. A beautiful family! I think Billy Hearld is somewhat older than them and I admire his writing. I believe he is the nephew of Mark Hearld, whose work I hope to see one day at York Open Studios. For now, I can only admire from afar as I’m always late to the party for his sales. From Mary Hildyard in Bristol, I learnt about LAT, Living Apart Together with separate households which she and her now husband have kept for more than thirty years. Food for thought! Helena Bonham Carter and Mia Farrow are the only others I have read about who did the same. I’m a big believer in separate bathrooms and occasionally separate bedrooms, the latter for the benefit of my Dear husband who suffered terribly from my horrible snoring and snorting, now somewhat relieved by my use of a mask and CPAP machine. Most unromantic, I assure you.
Sandy from rural New York, I’m going to try your Greek lamb stew and investigate if I can get peat and bone meal here for our few roses. I too love Melvyn Evans linocuts. Great minds and such...
Poetry from John Mole, Katherine Holland and Peter. Peter Scupham’s story of Timmy, his childhood puss who was taken to the vet for a skin ailment and a sweet American GI who carried Timmy’s basket home on seeing young Peter and his mother struggling with it, touched my heart. Kindness not forgotten seventy years later. Sue from the Hudson Valley recounts her sadness at losing her dog Bo and how an Instagram “friend” sent a lovely painting of both her dogs with a beautiful white rabbit. What is better than being “seen” and at the receiving end of Thoughtfulness and Kindness? I loved seeing photos of Michael Johnston from the Isle of Wight with his Best Beloved, at a cafe. And of Lizzy from north Yorkshire stroking a bearded dragon. Lizzy’s information on the home schooling of her grandchildren which predated Covid were illuminating.
Perhaps Generosity of Spirit and Great Hospitality rank up there with Kindness. Thank you, dear Marie Christine and Rob, who have invited All of Us to the Loire Valley. I hope you are enjoying your time with little Flora and congratulations on publishing Rob’s book of poems.
Thank you Susan Bull of Australia for inviting us. You might be surprised at the hordes who turn up. For now, your government is keeping you safe from us.
Margaret and Pierre, Sheila and Chris, sadly we will miss the Journal garden party. However, be sure of a visit when all is calm as I’ve discovered a direct flight from Oslo to Norwich Airport.
And we will be sure to pop into Busy Coffee house in Blakeney to try Alison’s Big Time Brownies.
In response to someone on the blog who noted that there were more photos of our puddycats than us, this is a photo of Moi sending you all a Big Hug. Thank you, Sheila and Margaret, for the magical journal and for holding this safe space for us. And to all of you, Thank You for being so open, vulnerable and honest. I will miss You.
From rural New York
Sandy Connors, USA
Having to say good-bye to the Journal, and to the fellow journalists I’ve gotten to know and care about has brought up a variety of feelings. I’m so grateful that our lives are beginning to feel somewhat safe from Covid having had our vaccines, that each of us are starting to see our families and friends again, and that we are getting out into the world and back to the things we all love to do whether it be our work or recreation. So in a sense I am relieved that we no longer ‘need’ our Journal to help us through the unchartered seas of that frightening pandemic. But we also have become ‘shipmates’ ~ we worried about one another, cheered for each other, laughed and sometimes cried over one another’s trials ~ and I will really miss reading about how the Macrae children are doing, if Shirley-Ann has recovered from her frightening illness, how Shirin’s garden is coming along, how Nicky’s move went, what interesting role is next for David, how Jane’s flower shop is flourishing again, what project Sophie is doing next, how Michael and his Best Beloved are enjoying their beach hut this summer, to hear more of Peter’s memoirs and his poetry, as well as John’s poems ~ and so many others from many countries, for everyone has been my companion during these long worrisome months and there will be a void in my life with the end of our weekly writings. A most heartfelt thank you to our encouraging dear Margaret and editor Sheila for all the efforts you took to make this Journal possible. What an accomplishment!
This morning I listened to a news report on the radio which stated that 50% of Americans are fully vaccinated while many other countries, like Africa at 1%, are still so far behind leaving room for all kinds of variants to pop up threatening a still very vulnerable world. I think we shall have to be vigilant and careful always to truly safeguard ourselves. But I hope we know what to do now and I that we all stay safe, treasure the simple things that got us through and all the dear people we cherish.
Take care everyone and thank you ~
Mary’s projects mostly
Mary Hildyard, Devon
As I began to consider writing my last Journal entry I realised that this weekly composition has become a time of reflection and review; not so much what I have been doing, more what I have been thinking and how I feel about life just at this moment. The Journal has helped me clarify my thoughts. Last week in one of our early morning FaceTime chats, Margaret said that some good things have come out of COVID. Well yes, I thought, the Journal is one good thing. At the time I was not so sure there were others but after some consideration I came up with three.
The first is a real appreciation of my city, Bristol. Our many adventurous, extensive, inquisitive walks - taking in the parks, the glorious architecture, the sheer variety - have inspired in me a new interest in the city. Despite living here for sixteen years I knew little about Bristol. Each time I read one of the rings in my “paper chain of walks” the memory of that particular walk sparks a new interest.
The second is the introduction to my life of What’s App, FaceTime and Zoom. To attend Pilates and Yoga sessions with my group I would normally need to be in Bristol. With Zoom classes I can attend wherever I am. On Zoom, Simon and I have attended a total of thirty sessions of the National Gallery series “Stories of Art” while sitting at the kitchen table. On Zoom I have enjoyed a course in Block Printing. On Zoom I have attended three Weaving classes with participants from Scotland, Wales and the Netherlands, and I am continuing with two projects under the “zoom” direction of a very qualified teacher..
Yes, COVID has restricted our social life, but on one day I might talk on FaceTime to Margaret in Norfolk at breakfast, What’sApp with Dianne in Youlgrave mid morning, or zoom with Jean in Australia. Then, in the evening I might meet on Zoom with the Quarantine Book Club and see my sisters, my niece, the partners of two of my nephews, and four new friends, all in different parts of America.
The last good thing that has come from COVID is a revelation, a real surprise - Simon and I seem to be compatible. I never doubted we would/could stay together but I was very surprised to find that we were able to LIVE together for over a year. It is reassuring. If life doesn’t return to normal this summer, if we find we are back in lockdown, it is good to know we can cope... together.
Hilary Q, North Norfolk
Squeezing in Bartleby next to Moby Dick meant that one book on that shelf had to go... Melville morphed into Mitford and it is she who has made space for him. However, Love in A Cold Climate stays. Dedicated as it was to Evelyn Waugh I took the hint to revisit Brideshead and then stepped back to the strange and remarkable Decline and Fall. I was especially struck by the fact that it records just one year of Pennyfeather’s life and towards the end, the image of the carousel is discussed, where those at the centre are still and those at the edge spin all over the place. Might this be the way to think about what has been happening during the last year.
Coincidentally, yesterday I had my very first Pilates class in the kitchen where I spread my virgin mat on the floor and angsted over whether I was really going to be disciplined enough to commit myself to sloughing off the armchair, uncoiling myself and stretching to feel as long as a snake.
This morning, I was back at the bookshop for the third day this week.
Tomorrow evening we are supping with friends at their house... the carousel is certainly starting up again but after the experiences of this year I do feel a different sort of rootedness!
I now have to centre myself and work on my core! With much much love to you all. Hilary X
Dianne, Youlgrave Derbyshire
Friday 28th May, 11am. We are driving to Stow-on-the-Wold for a few days, staying in a cottage with No 3 son, his wife and her parents. We are all vaccinated, though James had only had his first jab. We did our lateral flow tests this morning and all is fine. We're not planning to eat out so taking all of our food with us. Everything takes more thought and planning but so good to be meeting people we haven't seen for so long and staying somewhere different - and I definitely need a hug from my son. The sun is shining at last and the weather forecast for the weekend is promising.
I do feel positive about the future although there is always an underlying niggle about what could happen. Will that ever go away?
I had an interesting discussion with my 10 year old granddaughter about the fact that in a hundred years time children in school will be learning about this pandemic. Then the scientists will know exactly what we should have done and what medications/vaccines would have prevented death. Today children learn about the flu by which killed millions after the First World War 100 years ago. The doctors had nothing to give them. Thinking about the progress in my lifetime of 69 years, I would love to come back in 100 years to see how things have changed. Then we progressed to thoughts on God, reincarnation and beliefs in general ("but I won't know if I've been reincarnated, Grandma, that's sad.") She had much more knowledge than I realised. "That was very deep, Grandma", she said.
I do hope to see lots of you at a party. I wonder what we will talk about!
Thank you everyone - it's been amazing.
View from the top of the hill
Linzy Lyne, Pateley Bridge
The sad moment has arrived when we write our final pieces for the Journal and I have to say I've been putting it off all morning. I'm hoping the “writer's block” from which I suffered for all those years is not going to return and I will still be able to write a blog. Nothing is in place yet...
Guess what, we have our very own Yorkshire Variant! Not a variant of concern you understand, just one of interest at the moment. It had to happen. When a county has its own Tea, it should have its own variant. Like the tea, it actually probably originated elsewhere.
Richard enjoyed the match at Elland Road. It was fairly well organised safety-wise and the crowd was supposedly spaced three seats apart, although someone sat directly in front of him and when I watched it on Eurosport it didn't look that socially distanced to me as people were standing next to one another. Leeds won, so a happy end to the season. The downside was that female fans reported there was no running water in the ladies' loos. Some things never change. When we eventually go back into theatres I'm sure we ladies will still have to queue down the stairs in the interval.
Yesterday I enjoyed my first pub lunch, with an old friend I usually lunch with once a year. We missed it last year, so we talked non-stop for a few hours. It seems that the protocol is that you wear your mask to enter and fill in your track and trace form, get seated (we were in a “safe nook”) and then you can remove your mask for the duration of the meal, putting it back on when you go to pay. All very good but you do wonder whether the track and trace thing is worth the paper we wrote our details on, based on recent reports.
This week the news has again been filled by Dominic Cummings, who was giving evidence to a Parliamentary Committee. We watched the whole seven hours. I know, we're very sad people. His allegations are extremely serious and I'm willing to believe at least half of them, never mind how strongly the PM and Health Secretary deny them. However, I think he may be scuppered when it comes to producing any documentary evidence. Number Ten, unsurprisingly, refused to let Cummings have his official diary for the hearing. When we eventually see it, I expect it will be covered in black felt tip crossings-out (for national security reasons, naturally). The public are of course hesitant to believe a word he says, after the Barnard Castle eye test and the Rose Garden press conference. The greatest tit-bit, for me, was his reluctantly divulged information that the PM kept Matt Hancock in the job so that he can throw him under the bus as prime scapegoat when the Public Inquiry happens. That sounds very feasible and in character and I look forward to seeing how it turns out. Jeremy Hunt voiced the opinion of many when he said in the Commons that the allegations are currently unsubstantiated and we must give the Health Secretary our support to get us out of the pandemic. No-one wants more chaos, in other words.
Which brings me to the thorny question of the day. Should all restrictions be lifted on 21st June, bearing in mind that cases of the Indian variant have doubled in the past week and the government is waiting to see if it's more serious and whether it might “evade vaccines”. There's the rub. We hope it's over now or we hope it will be over soon, but we won't know for a few weeks. Meanwhile the recriminations about deaths in care homes are rumbling on and the PM is not quite giving the Health Secretary his full support. We are trying to be optimistic and set our sights on greater freedoms, lunches out and family holidays. It will all come to pass eventually and we will once again reside in “the best of all possible worlds”. (Literary reference, I have just finished the book I was reading about Leibnitz and Spinoza)! I expect life will continue as usual here on our hill.
So, fellow journalists, adieu for now. I hope we meet, whether at the garden party or at some other time. Thank you for reading, writing and sharing your thoughts through this strange year and thanks again to Margaret and Sheila, who made it all possible.
Keep well, stay safe and look after one another.
Tropical thoughts Part 2
Paul Lowden, Malaysia
Sisyphus: Leaf Blower
Of all the pointless tasks
Leaf blowing seems to be
In at number one for
Geared up, a latter-day
Warrior he stands proud.
Keen to brandish the kit
He sets to work, all noise
And hot air, trailing fumes
He sweeps away, left, right,
Delighting in the rout
As leaves tumble and roll
Before his deadly aim.
Because he can he blows
Them upwards in the air
Reunites them briefly
Revels in their despair.
Puffed into little piles
Dragooned in soggy lines
They patiently await
What seems to be their fate.
And yet, back turned, they stir
Now united, seeking
Their chance to rise again.
Smug he looks for applause,
Affirmation, some sign,
Leaf blown adulation.
Perhaps prospective MPs
Should spend time blowing leaves.