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Youlgrave lockdown

Dianne, Youlgrave Derbyshire

Life seems to have become busier or maybe I am just extending activities to fill the time I have. I had a low period about a week ago when I heard that even if a vaccine is found it will take at least three years of testing before it is widely available. The sadness I felt was more for all of the people who are in much more difficult situations than us, particularly the children. Anyway I can’t do anything about that so better just get on with it. 


At the end of our Zoom drama meeting on Friday, after the poetry readings, the drama game and the improvisations, an actor came to talk to us about the improvisations she does with student doctors. The doctors have to pass an OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination). Karen goes into universities and acts the part of the patient. She said that as a woman in her 70’s she gets lots of work. The students are judged on how well they interact with the patient, ask the right questions and diagnose correctly. It was fascinating and such an important skill for doctors. Karen said the students usually find sexual problems the most difficult to deal with.


Great excitement for our seven year old grandson Fred, his corn snake which escaped from its cage in his bedroom in November was found alive and well in the woodpile yesterday. Lucky we had a mild winter. Part of me feels a bit sad that Sparklebonk (named by his previous owner’s child!) has lost his freedom, but I’m amazed he survived.


More good news. Our eldest son gets 10% off his new kitchen as he is an essential worker. His company, making toilet rolls, was on the television last night.


From the black shed

David E, East Norfolk

Idle thoughts:

The knives are out. Will he survive? The clamour for him to go is increasing daily. 

In explaining his position he has seemed to some to be out of touch and lacking in empathy. 

He has attained a position of power which some find threatening. 

His support for populist policies challenge the position of the elite. 

Widespread bureaucratic reform is on the agenda. 

Past glories are beginning to appear distant. 


And the soothsayer said "Beware the Ides of March".

The assassins came from among his close colleagues.

"et tu Brute?"



Gratefully Sheltering

James Oglethorpe, Virginia, USA

Even in darkness


There are days when the world

is dismantled vowel by vwl,

mind outstretched trying to cover

each and every b  r  e  a  c  h

until the whole edifice of calls,

false alarms, medical bureaucracy,

and misdiagnoses comes

tumbling down.


I stepped back from the smoking

ruins of my writing morning,

shrugging my shoulders.


Again. The phone chimed.


There was something in the voice

of my friend I couldn’t place:

a depth, ease, clarity. The reason

became clear: after all the close

shaves and disasters he seemed

to have met someone.


Not for the first time.


My usual platitudes came

flooding forward to cool his

bamboozled intoxication.


But I held the firehose of caution 

coiled in abeyance. Was it possible

an end to his enforced emotional distancing

was in sight? Together they were breaking

years of self quarantine; vowels, consonants

meeting to complete a single word.

In the midst of viral darkness

had his, their road, finally been lit?


Broadland type

Sheila, Norfolk UK

Now that the weather has returned to warm and sunny, I am spending the early part of the evenings out on the terrace with a glass of wine and some music. We've always had music in our lives and I have developed a pretty extensive Library with Apple Music, some downloaded over the years but now even more available through streaming. In the early days we had all the best sound systems going, probably peaking with a fabulous Technics set-up that was the envy of many. But probably we had as much fun from our wind-up gramophone and some old 78 recordings - always a talking point a dinner-parties (remember those?). 

We still have the wind-up, lots of old 78's and a laundry bag full of old singles somewhere in the stores. The really precious Albums are stored in Chris's office and one day we'll probably come across the old Technics deck and play them again. But there's really no sense of urgency about this as we now have a fantastic Sonos system indoors that belts out 400 watts - that's roughly on a par with the power that groups like the Beatles would take to the stage with - the Vox AC 30 being their amp of choice. We have a companion Sonos speaker in the studio so we can have our music blasting out in both rooms simultaneously.

But my current joy is a small speaker (a Wonderboom) that links with my iPhone and gives me a range of 100 meters outside from my phone indoors. It even has a handy carrying loop on the back of the unit so I can take my music with me within that range - into the greenhouse when I'm potting up is a favourite. Also there's a natty booster switch on the bottom for playing outdoors. It has the highly appropriate brand name of Ultimate Ears - genius name if you ask me. 



Corona Diary

Annabel, A village in North Norfolk

I am glazing over with the news now.


A lovely man came into the garden yesterday. He brought the chicken food and shavings for their bedrooms and put it in the little shed and filled the bin up with their food. What a nice man, he was in danger of being kept captive for ever more!


Went to Edgefield to get some compost and found some runner beans for Roger. Bumped into the two friends who I bumped into last week at a different garden centre. Took the beans to Roger who lost his in the frost the other day and he said he's going to come back on 8th June. Oh Hooray, hooray. I cannot wait. I think it has driven him mad being locked down.

Planted the sunflowers in the bed at the end of the garden behind the cottage next door. The dahlias will have to go in the pots. The snails and slugs have been rampaging their way through them.


There was a loud tweeting by the book case earlier and I found a tiny baby blue tit shouting for its mum. My front door and back door are both off the same room so I didn't know which door it came in. I tried the drive at the front and no one came so I've put him outside the kitchen and gave him some worms. He has wandered off.


Had a letter from the NHS about being monitored as am in an at risk group where you have to report in on an ap. Will do it though there is probably no place on their form to explain about weird diets.


World at One is on. The argument is still running.

Love Annabel x



Then and Now - Peter Scupham

Then and Now - Peter Scupham

A Little Acrostic

for the man in the driver’s seat.


Diary of a Somebody, 

On course to be a Dumb-body.

Motor Car or Horse and Trap -

In the driving seat, this chap

Now takes the road, but not the rap.

I hear his call of ‘Atta Boy !”,

Careering over hoi polloi.


Cumin: one sprig hides the stench...

Ubermensch trumps untermensch

Mob! Watch the sunlit high road suit her,

Miles eat up miles, so toot the hooter

In tribute to flash Lupin Pooter.

Now see our Maestro cruising on,

Going, gowing, going, gone...

Safe - just - upon his situpon.



I am not the only one to have been recently reminded of Mr. Pooter’s best joke, which amused him so much he woke twice in the night , the bed shaking with his laughter. It was of course, thinking of his two closest friends, how odd it was to Mr. Pooter that Gowing always seemed to be coming, and Cummings always seemed to be going . . . 


His friends were not amused

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