Covid Diaries Jan

Clifton Jan 27th

Yes, I was full of life in my little bubble last week, still enjoying the strangeness and newness of the situation.

We’re halfway through this week, yet I don’t feel like I’ve achieved much but as always I am grossly unfair on myself. If only I could be kinder.

I always teach on a Monday and that seemed to go well enough. Strange how quick we are to adapt. Teaching whole classes of children from my bedroom. One of these days it’ll seem nothing more than a dream.

Today Boris Johnson announced in PMQs that the present lockdown would have to last at least until February 22nd which is when the next review will be. He also said that schools wouldn’t go back at least until March 8th and promised he would give a 2 week notice period before schools would reopen.

The UK death toll has now passed 100,000. In March last year Patrick Vallance from SAGE said that without acting to prevent the spread of the disease we might expect to have up to 20,000 deaths.

There have been lots of things started this week but not completed but I keep telling myself it really doesn’t matter. Trying to invest some money to help me make enough so that I can afford the flat I want at the end of the year, but not quite sure how to get started. Maybe tomorrow.

Started an action plan for how I want to progress with my journalism yesterday but a lot of it meant looking back over the course much of which I couldn’t remember. Oh, my memory!

Today started my tax return 2019-20 which is always a boring but necessary January task. Do I include my earnings from private tuition? I should and it’ll allow me to borrow more when it comes to buying a flat. And then do I sell the flat in London? If I do my earnings will be pretty meagre. I know, first world problems.

To add to the sense of inertia the weather is completely unchanging. Grey English rain. Every day. Writing must be the only way out of this grey straitjacket.

Went to see Nick the neighbour today. We have such a funny relationship. I like him a lot. He is a true English eccentric but sometimes not a great landlord because of his unwillingness to put his hand in his pocket. I thought today I would go down and see him and have a proper chat and say nothing of recycling boxes, or replacing heaters or other MORE boring things that consume our waking hours.

Instead we drank tea and talked politics. He always veering to the right and me to the left. Him talking about how the NHS is unsustainable and the biggest employer in the UK, apparently employing 1.4 m people. Him how having part time GPs has made matters worse. Him also saying that we should allow old people to die. Me saying that no leader could agree to that and what if it was someone close to him?

He also shared his secret for winning the heart of a girl. Cooking. I agreed. Although he said his guaranteed formula was to cook a shepherd’s pie but when he came to score a fork through the mashed potato on top so that it will crisp under the grill he would write his dinner date’s name in the mash. Apparently the first person he did this for swooned and was completely bowled over. He then went on to do it TWICE more, apparently with similar results, before he started to feel a bit guilty and realised it was probably decent to stop!

After that I interviewed Imilia’s bro, Catraz, who is a talented rapper who is trying to restart his career. It went OK but it’ll take another interview to be able to write something interesting. Haven’t done an interview with a musician before and don’t know if it’s as interesting as other stuff I could write about but I’m really all about trying everything at the moment although it’s not like I’ve done much so far this year.

Imilia also knows Miles Chambers, Bristol’s first poet laureate (as declared by Bristol mayor, Marvin Rees). He would make another good interview. Maybe a new idea ‘Lockdown interviews’. It’s a good idea.

Went on a date with Joanna on Saturday. In fact that was a nice day. We walked twice around her local park in Redfield and then I asked her if she wanted to go for a drink. A takeaway drink?

‘I don’t know anywhere’, she replied. We walked back to my car and we said our goodbyes. I’ll see her again this Sunday for another walk. It feels OK. Not life-changing. Not incredible. But good. We get on. And that counts for a lot right now.

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