Saturday, 18th April, 2020

[Day 33]

Today was a wet, cold-ish and miserable day throughout most of the Midlands. Meg and I undertook our daily trip to the park and rather than shivering on a park bench, we stood in the deserted bandstand area where we drank our customary cup of coffee and got home as fast as we could. There were no joggers in evidence and even the ardent dog-walkers had been reduced to about two or three as far as the eye could see. At least, we could regale ourselves with a (homemade) vegetable curry when we got home – left-overs from previous curries when I have been in the habit of making them too big! I read in the newspapers today that under these strange conditions, many people are spinning out their food resources somewhat and no doubt re-discovering some of the techniques of ‘making do’. Thinking back to my childhood, my mother used to serve us mince at least two or three times a week. In those days, you had an old-fashioned mincer which was an awesome contraption that screwed onto the side of the kitchen table and would ingest any scraps of neat one had left lying around together with stale bread and anything else to extend the protein. My mother used to bake bread nearly every day as well- I suppose these habits were engrained by living through wartime conditions and they never really left her. I was often told the story that when I was about 4-5 we cook not afford a chicken for our Christmas meal (expensive in 1949) but we made do with rabbit meat which, paradoxically, was more readily available and cheaper as well. Nowadays whenever Meg and I travel to Spain and we see ‘conejo‘ (rabbit) on the menu, we always eat it and it is often served in the form of a cocido (a thickish stew really).

This afternoon was devoted to the delights of house-cleaning – something we had forgotten since we have had someone to clean the house for at least the last forty years (at a conservative estimate) I have discovered that we actually possessed a type of feathery duster which I use for vertical surfaces (book in bookcases), light fittings and delicate things like clocks, whilst conventional dusters are used for flattish surfaces. Then, of course, comes the hoovering. As our old Dyson went belly-up a few weeks ago, we have now acquired a new model (a ‘Shark Lift-Away‘) which splits into two to hoover the stairs and sports a light in the front (like the really old-fashioned Hoovers used to have, which I used to use whilst hoovering the ballrooms of the Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate where I worked as a porter (as well as a dish-washer, barman and numerous other jobs) when I was a teenager. What exciting lives we led!

On a more technical note, I thought it might be quite a good idea to string these blogs together into one long HTML This I have now done and if you want to read the blogs in one continuous stream or quickly pass from one to the next, this is now possible. All you have to do is to access