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THE COVIDIARIES - DAY 32 - 17th April 2020

“There was an old(ish) lady who swallowed a fly, I don’t know why she swallowed a fly,

Perhaps she’ll die”

Picture the scene, an overcast and blustery day in North Devon, cooler than it has been for a while, hence few folks around. I am about 4 miles into a 5.5 mile trot over the fields and on the Tarka Trail, breathing pretty heavily, mouth open (obviously), when in flies a fly. Said fly lodges himself (has to be a male fly) firmly at the back of my throat. I can’t cough him up, I can’t swallow him down, I have no water. A scary few moments ensue, coughing, retching, frantically swallowing before eventually, down he goes – yuk. I have spent the last few hours wondering whether my digestive system is going to cope with this foreign object in my stomach and, more disgustingly, where he had been immediately before he decided to pop into my mouth, bearing in mind that there is a lot of muck spreading going on at present – double yuk.

Thanks to Estelle for writing the diary yesterday, it’s good to hear how other families are spending their time during these strange times .

This week brought two pieces of news which have affected me relating to the current situation. The first is the death, from Coronavirus, of somebody I know and the second that we’re going to be in “lockdown” for, at least, a further three weeks. I have been trying to analyse how I feel about these two occurrences.

The first has brought this whole situation closer to home and made it seem ever so much more real. Until now it felt like something happening in a parallel universe, something that affects others, something that happens on the TV, the deaths being just numbers rather than individuals. I can now relate to the pain of a grieving family. I guess the time will come when we will all know people who have been affected by or lost their lives to it. I don’t think the news of the extended lockdown has come as a surprise to any of us. Personally, whilst I’m relatively happy on a day to day basis, I have always thrived on having stuff to look forward to, dates in the diary whether that’s dinner with friends, a weekend away, a gig or simply just our weekly Choir rehearsals, I find the emptiness of my diary rather disheartening. Will life ever return to normal, what will the new normal look like?

The Easter weekend passed much like any other and you’ll be pleased to know that we caught a glimpse of the Easter Bunny (aka Frank B, our parish councillor) early on Sunday morning, I understand that he covered nearly 11 miles during the course of the morning. Predictably perhaps, there were still complaints on Facebook that he had missed the odd cul-de-sac here and there. I was presented with empty roads for my couple of bike rides over the period. Cycling would be so much safer and more pleasurable if the roads were always that quiet. A couple of tough climbs gave me the reward of stunning views of our beautiful coastline and completely empty beaches.

We consumed a modest amount of chocolate, having been quite reserved in the purchasing of overpriced, overrated Easter Eggs. Feeling virtuous that I hadn’t completely gorged myself on chocolate, I had mixed emotions when Tom arrived back from his night shift this morning with six enormous Easter eggs which he’d purchased for the bargain price of £5.00. I was also elated to receive a packet each of plain and self-raising flour. Sadly, by the time NickT had elbowed his way through the crowds, the new supply of flour had sold out. As an aside, am I right in thinking that you can add baking powder to plain flour to make it rise? I seem to remember my Mum doing this, but it was many years ago.

Josh had his first online piano lesson with Sue this week – all went well and he said that he really enjoyed it, however, was disappointed that Lara didn’t come and sit on his feet. Inspired by the success of his lesson, I decided that it was high time I practiced my Grade 6 (singing) pieces as I’ve been working on them for the best part of a year now. Fortunately, Sue had recorded both my part and the piano backing for me some months ago, so I’m able to practice both the notes and then try to sing them with the accompaniment. I’m also having to brush up on my German as the curriculum stipulates that one piece must be sung in a language other than English. For this I’m singing Der Musensohn, by Schubert, think, lederhosen, Umpah band style, but at 100 miles an hour. I’ve no idea what it means either! Google Translate helpfully tells me that the title of the piece means The Musensohn! Cheers then!

News from the Choir page:

Emma’s daughter played her electric guitar as the “clap for carers” was happening last night. Is there any end to that girl’s musical talent? It reminded me of the Brian May rendition of the National Anthem on the roof of Buckingham Palace, back in 2002.

News just in from Crescendo Choir in Spain that they have had to cancel all concerts for the foreseeable future. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that by October everything will have settled down and we’ll be able to join them for what promises to be an amazing concert. I think we’ll all be ready for some time away by then.

Lots of appreciation has been expressed for Captain Tom Moore’s astounding fundraising. He completed his 100 laps of his garden yesterday morning and to date has raised in the region of £19m.

Beth shared a Pam Ayres poem – Time For Us Girls (couldn’t resist a bit of spreadsheeting here)

Time for us girls

I'm normally a social girl I love to meet my mates But lately with the virus here We can't go out the gates. You see, we are the 'oldies' now We need to stay inside If they haven't seen us for a while They'll think we've upped and died. They'll never know the things we did Before we got this old There wasn't any Facebook So not everything was told. We may seem sweet old ladies Who would never be uncouth But we grew up in the 60s - If you only knew the truth!

There was sex and drugs and rock 'n roll

The pill and miniskirts We smoked, we drank, we partied And were quite outrageous flirts. Then we settled down, got married And turned into someone's mum, Somebody's wife, then nana, Who on earth did we become? We didn't mind the change of pace Because our lives were full But to bury us before we're dead Is like a red rag to a bull! So here you find me stuck inside For 4 weeks, maybe more I finally found myself again Then I had to close the door! It didnt really bother me I'd while away the hour I'd bake for all the family But I've got no flaming flour!

Now Netflix is just wonderful I like a gutsy thriller I'm swooning over Idris

Or some random sexy killer. At least I've got a stash of booze For when I'm being idle There's wine and whiskey, even gin If I'm feeling suicidal! So let's all drink to lockdown To recovery and health And hope this awful virus Doesn't decimate our wealth. We'll all get through the crisis And be back to join our mates Just hoping I'm not far too wide

To fit through the flaming gates!

Until next week….


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