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Dil bought me a surprise present a plastic 'saxophone' made in China. Looking it up on the web, I see that everyone is saying it's difficult (or impossible) to play, and I agree. But it was a nice thought. Meanwhile, if you want to learn how to play a proper sax, see my daughter Sarah's beginners' sax lesson on Youtube.
Still alive not much new to say, except that I played my version of 'Route 66' ('The Ballad of the A339') in the key of E at the Zoom folk club on Saturday reasonably well, which is encouraging. Meanwhile my grandson Ben is playing drums here in a gig of some quality!
The life of lock-down proceeds in its routine. But at least the weather looks like it's warming up this coming week.
We're Zooming here there and everywhere now! The Saturday night Folk Club goes from strength to strength (see Youtube clip by the Horne family) and the HTC script-reading went well enough for us to try another one this coming week.
We had a very good VE-Day on Friday with most of the street turning out in the sunshine to share cake at a 'social' distance and we met people living here who we'd never met before, so the 'lock-down' has some benefits! Shades of the 1987 'Hurricane'.
My daughter Sarah is giving her music lessons by Youtube if you want
to learn the flute, see
this clip. I'm hoping she might do saxophone lessons, which would benefit
Meanwhile, Dil has bought me a Spanish guitar. Can't remember when I last had a guitar to play decades ago I think. The fingers of my left hand are a bit arthritic and I was afraid I couldn't manage the chord shapes, but the key of E seems OK. Haven't dared tackle C yet.
4th May 2020 'Star Wars Day'
We're getting to grips with Zoom now, and have bought a year's subscription
for Headley Theatre Club. The first thing we used it for was today's committee
meeting see participants (right). The meeting took considerably
less time than usual, yet we got through the whole agenda such
are the swings and roundabouts of electronic communication. Unfortunately
one of our number had to sit in Tescos car park to use their wifi because
their own wasn't working at home.
The 'virtual Folk Evening' was a great success and we plan another this coming
Saturday, perhaps with more people all thanks to Zoom.
Other than that, life continues. Dil is going through the contents of her shed at the bottom of the garden and finding stuff relating to the history of Headley Theatre Club which we'd forgotten we had so one of my jobs now is to look at it, scan what seems worth scanning and adding it to the history section of the HTC website.
Another Monday, and the fifth week of 'lock-down'begins. A group of us are thinking of organising a 'virtual Folk Evening' later in the week we'll see how it goes.
Easter in lock-down and they say it was one of the warmest Easters ever,
which didn't really help. And they're still talking of another 3 weeks or so
befire we can think of having more freedom.
Mind you, I appreciate that when you read this later it will be in reverse date order so you'll already know the outcome. Rather like us reading diaries from the War now and knowing how much longer they had to cope with it, whereas of course they didn't.
The daily routine during 'lock-down' tends to consist of reading, jigsaw puzzle puzzling and TV watching with a bit of exercise thrown in we have a static bike and try to do half an hour on it each, and I take part in a weekly Pilates session by Zoom (which would normally be in the village hall). Dil does quite a bit of cooking, and she has also been asked to make 'scrubs' (medical clothing) for the local doctors' surgery these are being made from old duvets! Can the NHS really not provide its own?
Meanwhile Spring has sprung and the weather is clement, which makes it all the more frustrating not being able to have communal gatherings, picnics and the like.
So here we are after the first week of 'lock-down' due to the Coronavirus. I see that the first two letters in the Sunday Times yesterday are suggesting that the "Lockdown is more deadly than the disease" and I can't help wondering if that isn't true. During the Asian flu pandemic of 1957, I don't remember any of this sort of panic. I went on holiday in France that summer. Perhaps it wasn't so serious, but perhaps it was because we didn't have internet and social media to hype it up. Who knows? We'll see what the next few weeks bring. I just pity all those poor souls who are now losing businesses, finances and much else beside.
Everyone's been busy cancelling (or, more optimistically, postponing) events this week. We have two holidays booked, but it looks doubtful if we'll be able to take either of them. Food supplies seem OK locally at the moment. Dil has discovered some seeds for lettuce, beans and the like which we bought last year but didn't use maybe we should plant them now. It will have to be in pots, as we have no other place to grow them, unless we start digging up the lawn. Shades of 'Dig for Victory'!
Luckily, before the crisis fully hit, we were able to launch the book on the Farnham Theatres which I'd spent many weeks typesetting. You can buy it on Amazon.
We took the opportunity last week while we over-70s were still allowed
to get out and about! to visit some old haunts, including the village
of Chalfont St Giles where I grew up. Some things had changed since the 1940s,
but I noticed that Warners the butchers is still there; I remember it with sawdust
on the floor.
I took the picture of the WW2 soldiers through a shop window part of a display of old photos. I would have been born about the time the photo was taken.
9th March 2020
Great fun last week watching the tree opposite our house being taken down by tree surgeons.
All the news is about the Coronavirus spreading round the world and disrupting people's lives one way or another. One potential plus side is that an economic downturn may ease global warming. You win some, you lose some.
There was I, paintbrush in hand and dripping with white gloss from doing the
doors in the kitchen, when the doorbell rang and there was a man from BT wanting
to check our broadband. Not really a convenient time, but he insisted it had
to be done then and there, so in he came and fiddled around with the phone wires
while I carried on painting.
It turns out that the new router doesn't like working with the tangle of old wires leading to the office from the master phone socket so we moved it to the hall and plugged it directly into a new master socket which the man fitted (free of charge) and all was well as far as he was concerned. Only trouble was that it needed a power point to be fitted in the hall so my next job, after finishing the painting, was to find an extension lead and enveigle it through an internal wall to plug into an existing socket in the lounge. Luckily I still know how to wire up a plug safely!
We bit the bullet and decided to redecorate the kitchen. A certain chaos now
prevails in the house!
But at least we were largely spared the ravages of the latest storm (Dennis) to hit the country.
The country was hit by storm 'Ciara' yesterday and although we were generally sheltered here, a tree came down and blocked our road yesterday afternoon. It also hit a parked car, though fortunately nobody was injured. After much communal activity and the help of a retired tree surgeon, the road was cleared and the wood (acacia) piled up on the grass verge. Added a bit of excitement to an otherwise dull day!
So, we're finally out. The UK formally left the EU on Friday 31st January 2020.
I never thought it would happen but that's because I'd always hoped that common sense would prevail over parochial bigotry. I was wrong. I think it will come to be seen as a very bad decision.
When fish leave the shoal, or birds the flock, they are likely to be picked off by large predators. Why does this country feel strong enough to take on the world while not strong enough to take on and guide Europe? It makes no sense.
So now we leave the management of continental Europe in the hands of ther Germans again. That didn't turn out too well in the 20th Century, did it?
I've been typesetting books for several people over the past few months: Grayshott,
from Then to Now; Marks in the Sand; A Tale of Two Theatres;
and Inspector William Donaldson.
The end of January marks the end of this procession of books, so I'll have to find something else to do with my spare time. I'd quite like to write another play, but can't easily think of a suitable subject.
Meanwhile there's various things to do for Headley Theatre Club, as Dil and I are running a 'Green Room' in a month's time and directing the Summer Show in July which will be an homage to WW2 and we still have to write the 'script'.
Have pantomimes had their day? We did a brilliant show over the last two weekends (6 performances) but had the lowest turn-out of audience ever. Perhaps they're all watching Netflix now!
The first weekend of Snow White went well see
Now we're into that 'between shows' week when we've still got our minds on the performances to come, but we also have time to think about other things for once.
Back from a cruise on Friday, we got plunged straight in to panto preparations! This year it's Snow White.