Paperless, office-less business in a time of the Coronavirus

“The whole of life is just like watching a film. Only it’s as though you always get in ten minutes after the big picture has started, and no-one will tell you the plot, so you have to work it out all yourself from the clues.”

Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett

Kermit panicsWho knew?

Who knew?

There I was waxing lyrical about 2020 and all its promise. It did hold promise. It did. Elections were over. New, interesting enquiries were coming in. We’d taken on a promising new trainee broker. We had travel plans. Some of Hubby’s more difficult deals looked like they were moving forward. It was an exciting time. Continue reading Paperless, office-less business in a time of the Coronavirus

It’s infectious

“The worst thing about disease is the uncertainty. Humans are capable of adapting to anything as long as they know. It’s the hopeless floundering that drives people crazy.”

Fever by Robin Cook

Church of England LondonQuote

Official Church of England advice Sunday 8 March 2020:

  • Suspend the administration of the chalice and offer Communion in one kind only i.e. the consecrated bread/wafer/host, with the priest alone taking the wine.
  • Consider suspending handshaking or other direct physical contact during the sharing of the peace.
  • Consider suspending direct physical contact as part of a blessing or ‘laying on of hands’.

Unquote

And so it began in our church and possibly in churches all around the world today … Continue reading It’s infectious

Confessions

“Don’t Panic.”

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

News headlines BBC 3 March 2020
Top stories on my BBC app are all about Covid-19

On Saturday evening I attended a piano concert in aid of charity with my Hubby and my dear parents-in-law.

It was a chilly evening.

Mid way through the second half of the concert my bottom was becoming numb and my mind began to wonder. I do love Chopin, but the plastic seat was getting the better of me. I was pleased to stand and clap after an encore of Chopin’s – Fantaisie Impromptuyou all know it, it’s beautiful.

I’m afraid that’s where the très chic part of my evening ended. Continue reading Confessions

It’s time to fight!

“When I face the desolate impossibility of writing five hundred pages, a sick sense of failure falls on me, and I know I can never do it. Then gradually, I write one page and then another. One day’s work is all I can permit myself to contemplate.”  

Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck

Rocky and Adrian

“ADRIAAAAN!”

“ROCKYYYYY!”

Cue the Rocky music. Kit up. Punch the sky.

It’s time to fight! Continue reading It’s time to fight!

How I fixed my sleep … without sheep

“Sleep is like a cat: It only comes to you if you ignore it. I drank more and continued my mantra. ‘Stop thinking’, swig, ’empty your head’, swig, ‘now, seriously empty your head’.”  

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn 

Larson cartoon animal humourDid you know?

The first reference to counting sheep is found in a twelfth-century Spanish book, Disciplina Clericalis by a lad called Petrus Alphonsi. It’s a collection of fables in which the author tells one humorous tale about a King and his Story-teller counting sheep. Apparently counting sheep was a widespread practice in early Twelfth century Islamic countries, which fascinated and influenced our dear Mr Alphonsi. No doubt a shepherd or five was known to fall asleep during this monotonous daily routine …

Et voila! The origins of a completely useless remedy for insomnia.

So you can’t sleep? Neither could I – on and off for almost 10 years!

Now I’m sleeping like a baby. Continue reading How I fixed my sleep … without sheep

Speak to me 2020

“I keep turning over new leaves, and spoiling them, as I used to spoil my copybooks; and I make so many beginnings there never will be an end. (Jo March)” 

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

mouse on stepsMy Dad was desperate to retire.  He wouldn’t admit it, but work was challenging and he wasn’t coping. He had many plans for his retirement years. But he was also anxious. After all, he’d worked since he was 16.

On his last day at work I gave him a card.  “How exciting,” I’d written. “To be on the cusp of a new season, a new chapter in your life!

For months, even years later, in deep thought, he’d often say to me, quite out of the blue, “I’ve thought a lot about what you wrote in my card. A new chapter … I’ve got to make the most of it.”

After he died I found that card with a few other precious things he’d kept in his bedside table. Continue reading Speak to me 2020

Communism: Ceaușescu’s 170 room palace for his family of 5

“This world is full of the most outrageous nonsense. Sometimes things happen which you would hardly think possible.”  

The Nose by Nikolai Gogol

Sunset
Moldova to Romania – sunset on what used to be the northern reaches of the Danube Delta

I sent a Happy New Year message to a friend today.

iPhone auto-correct did it’s magic again …

Complications of the Season to you!” I sent him.

I think you could say that Complications of the Season is what Nicolae and Elena Ceaușescu experienced on Christmas day in 1989 when they were summarily executed by firing squad. Continue reading Communism: Ceaușescu’s 170 room palace for his family of 5

Something special to declare

“Now here’s my idea. Why not keep the journey times the same but make the trains so comfortable and relaxing that people won’t want the trip to end? Instead, they could pass the time staring out the window at all the gleaming hospitals, schools, playing fields and gorgeously maintained countryside that the billions of saved pounds had paid for. Alternatively, you could just put a steam locomotive in front of the train, make all the seats inside wooden and have it run entirely by volunteers. People would come from all over the country to ride on it. In either case, if any money was left over, perhaps a little of it could be used to fit trains with toilets that don’t flush directly on to the tracks.”

The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain by Bill Bryson 

tour of Moldova
Travelling the length and breadth of Moldova.

A knock at the door. Lights on. We sat up, bleary-eyed. 03h30.

A black-leather-jacketed Romanian border guard stood at the open door of our train compartment.

“Pașapoarte!” We handed them over.

A welcome fresh breeze played into our 2 person compartment from an open window in the corridor. Old soviet trains are seriously over heated in winter.

“English?” he noted. We nodded.
“Tourist?” Again we nodded.
“You have something special to declare? Drugs? Weapons.” Continue reading Something special to declare

A funny old time

Mama in a huge plaster cast
Big foot and our new little cousin.

“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.”

The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien

“Come home, Babes. All is forgiven.”

This is the WhatsApp message I received from Hubby about 10 days into my recent 2 week break in South Africa.

I didn’t go because South Africa won the Rugby World Cup, though they did. Nor because it’s dark and cold in the UK, which it is. I didn’t go to check on our house, although I did that. I went because Continue reading A funny old time

The case of the Pumpkin Soup and the problem with British politeness

“It was time to take the pumpkin out of the pot and eat it. In the final analysis, that was what solved these big problems of life. You could think and think and get nowhere, but you still had to eat your pumpkin. That brought you down to earth. That gave you a reason for going on. Pumpkin.”

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

soup Guest: “What exactly is in this soup?”
Me: “It’s pumpkin soup.”
Hubby (encouraging): “It’s an early spicy pumpkin soup.”
Guest: “Unusual taste.”
Me: “Yes. I’m afraid something went wrong. You don’t have to eat it.”

It was almost a case of ‘Nyamazela-at-the-Church-do-with-the-pumpkin-soup’.

I pride myself on being a better than average soup maker. But as the old adage goes, and Hubby pointed out rightly when we were destroying the evidence later that night, pride comes before a fall. Continue reading The case of the Pumpkin Soup and the problem with British politeness