Welcome to Week 10 of the official Lockdown. Liesel and I had been isolating for a while beforehand but that seems a long time ago, now. And now, despite the UK still experiencing hundreds of Covid-related deaths every day, HM Goverment want to relax the restrictions next week. Yes, even though many scientists are saying it’s still too early. Then there’s the whole Dominic Cummings (government advisor) thing last weekend: he broke the rules that he helped implement, because he feels very special and entitled. He managed to unite the country, ironically against himself. Then there was the murder of George Floyd in America, another black man killed by a police officer pretty much because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. All of these news stories, whether they affect us directly or not, slowly, slowly erode any sense of well-being. This isn’t the place for a commentary into current affairs, but if you, dear reader, detect a slight undercurrent of dismay in this post, that’s why, and I apologise. But I’ll try to keep looking up, not down.
We miss going to all the music festivals this year, like everyone else. Well, we sometimes go to one in Hyde Park. Instead, we watched the Folk on Foot Front Room Festival from the comfort of our homes. It was a wonderful, uplifting day of music. I produced a list of performers who we would like to see live in concert at some point and whose music we need to buy more of:
- Chris Wood (he was sitting in a wheelbarrow while performing)
- O’Hooley and Tidow (with baby Flynn) (we’ve seen them once live)
- Gwilym Bowen Rhys (lovely Welsh songs)
- Kathryn Tickell (Northumbrian pipes)
- Cara Dillon and Sam Lakeman (we’ve seen these two too)
- Duncan Chisholm (fiddle)
- Kitty Macfarlane (guitar)
- Rioghnach Connolly and Ellis Davies (Antrim girl now lives in Manchester)
- John Smith (guitars)
- The Unthanks (presented their film “As We Go”) (we’ve seen them!)
- Frank Turner and Jess Guise (The time of my life)
- Kate Rusby and Damien O’Kane (the voice of England)
- Johnny Flynn (guitars)
- Eliza Carthy (you know Eliza)
- Richard Thompson and Zara Phillips (you know Richard)
I would recommend any of these and if you wish to enjoy the festival too, it’s still up here on YouTube.
The Sun set as the show ended and I realised that we haven’t seen nearly as many vapour trails in the sky as we usually do.
We did go out a couple of times to walk around the area, for some fresh air, for some exercise and to enjoy a hot, hot late May. It should be peaceful, but there was a lot of noise. Just up the road from us, someone was trimming a hedge and their friend was blowing the trimmings off the road and back into the hedge. Round the corner, someone was washing a car with a powerful powered hose. Up the road, there were men at work. Except they weren’t, they had downed tools for a welcome break.
The robin often appears when we walk along this path. A bit later, we were walking by the river and we heard the sound of a creaky gate approaching. It was our old friend, the heron flying by and, if the passer-by (socially distanced of course) is to be believed, it nearly gave her a heart attack.
Yes, it’s much hotter now, and there are many more insects about. Of course, I always feel obliged to count the spirals on a daisy, just to confirm they are Fibonacci numbers!
On different days, one or both of walked on and around the golf course, just for a different point of view, really. One day, a player asked if I’d seen where his ball went. I hadn’t, and I didn’t feel comfortable lying that it had ended up in the river, either.
I walked on this side of the river, adjacent to the golf course, because there was nobody else here. There were many groups of people on the other side, some of whom were having a picnic on a small ‘beach’ that I’d previously been unaware of.
There’s more to golf than walking around and bashing a ball until it falls into a rabbit hole, it seems. Staircases and bells are involved too.
The duck family were nowhere to be seen, the geese have moved in instead.
Hot, hot, hot, and a good enough excuse for some folks to go out sunbathing.We just go out for a walk, keep going, however far, avoiding everyone, go home and check for mail.
We walked along the river, to Stenner Woods, then Fletcher Moss Park, on to Didsbury.
One thing you don’t expect to see in Didsbury is a squat: I apologise if this isn’t a squat, but that’s what we both thought.
We wandered through Marie Louise Gardens then back home. One thing you don’t expect to see in the Mersey is people sunbathing.
We visited The Northern Den for more coffee and Viennese whirls. The local council seem to be deterring people from sitting outside on park benches, sadly. They’d squirted tomato ketchup over them, and nobody wants to sit on that, thank you very much.
A moment of excitement soon evaporated when I realised this wasn’t a real Tardis.
In between our trips outside, what have we been doing?
I watched ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ from the National Theatre. Gillian Anderson was in it, and the play itself was good and well performed, if a little long. But that might be because I was fully aware of and distracted by the camera work. Yes, the play was performed ‘in the round’, but that doesn’t mean I want to watch while walking round and round the stage.
We’ve been listening to lots of radio, BBC Radio 2, 6 Music, Classic FM and even local Radio Northenden is back this week!
We’ve watched a lot of TV, a lot of lot of TV. Current favourites include Killing Eve, series 3 and we’ve watched 8½ series of Spooks so far, but we have avoided news most of the time.
I’ve been watching YouTube a lot, not just folk festivals. On the Cracking the Cryptic channel, you can watch Simon solving sudoku puzzles, some of which are ridiculously complicated, but his enthusiasm and enjoyment are infectious.
We’re listening to ‘Harry Potter and the Philosophers’ Stone’ being read by a series of actors and others who have links with the Harry Potter world. Harry Potter at Home.
If that’s not enough good stuff from JK Rowling, I can recommend her latest, being published as a serial online for now, 2 or 3 chapters a day. The Ickabog shouldn’t give you nightmares, but, so far, it’s a good old fashioned fairy tale!
Many museums and galleries have put their exhibitions up online too. As ever, we can’t wait until we can visit these places in real life.
This morning, I played the album Young Americans from my phone. It was on shuffle mode, which I had a little whinge about. ‘Why does it matter?’ asked Liesel. Because it messes with my expectations, I said. And then, of course, it repeats one track and another while some tracks remain unplayed at all. To make it funnier, Liesel misheard the lyrics to Fascination as vaccination!
(Fascination) Your soul is calling
Like when I’m walking
Seems that everywhere I turn
I hope you’re waiting for me
I know that people think
That I’m a little crazy
Well, we’re trying not to go crazy in these crazy times, there’s certainly plenty of good stuff out there, but it doesn’t take much bad news to rock the boat. Stay safe, stay alert, stay at home!