The view from my window

The view from my window
The view from my window

Sunday, 29 March 2020

Making good use of a bag of carrots!

I bet you thought I was going to post a recipe didn't you. Well no! I just remembered I had a pretty mangy bag of carrots in the garage and then spotted the donkeys in the field at the back of my house. I thought there were only four or five of those darlins but shake a bag of carrots and nine come running up! Add to that the sunflower seeds I potted up in my living room just last week are already starting to sprout and I'm ridiculously happy. I guess I'm back to being easily pleased again. Stay safe everyone.

This and that!

So here we are again, another day older, another day wiser? Maybe, maybe not! As you might imagine, life around here isn't exactly bursting with excitement at the moment, but that doesn't really matter any more does it!

So what is new right now, if anything? Oh, on Sky News last night they showed a report on another upsetting aspect of the pandemic in Italy - as if they haven't got enough to deal with already. The northern part of Italy is the richer, more developed part of the country, while the south and Sicily depend more on agriculture and tourism. While the south doesn't (yet?) have the pandemic-level number of coronavirus cases it is being absolutely hammered by the economic consequences of shutting the country down. As the money is drying up and people's savings, if they have any, are also disappearing, they are now finding it more difficult to buy food and, in some cases, taking the law into their own hands! And to be honest, you wouldn't want to be in Sicily when people take the law into their own hands would you. One clip from the report showed a man trying to kick his way through a LIDL entrance so that they could get their hands on some food, while his mother was standing in the background begging the police officer to show some compassion. Now in this particular case the family were all living off the mother's small pension, but at that moment the bank was closed and they couldn't get their hands on any money to buy food. What a nightmare! In other instances, however, the reporter was explaining that although the government had set in motion "bail-out" cheques to help these people, many would not be eligible to receive this money since the south tended to "operate on a cash economy", and they were not, therefore, registered. I think we all know what that means don't we. But oh my goodness it struck a raw nerve in me seeing this because it does make you think (well me at least) "there but for the grace of God go I". And I know, I know, people all over the world go hungry and die every day but I think it takes something much closer to home to make it real somehow. I have a few smaller charities that I donate to every month and I also collect food for the food bank in town but at the moment, while I have a crate of food ready to go, I'm not sure about being allowed out to deliver it. They are only open on Tuesday evenings anyway so I'll have to try to get hold of them some how (so far unsuccessfully) to see if I can get down there and back without being hammered with a €135 fine for breaking curfew - money that could be much better spent on buying food don't you think!

In other news we put the clocks forward today so that was probably the only exciting event in my life this weekend - well that and moving my car over in my driveway by about 10 feet because (a) it needs to run occasionally and (b) I find the brakes seem to stick if I don't use it very often. Oh the excitement! And I saw on my 2020 calendar from the fire station that today is St. Gwladys' day. My mom's name was Gwladys and I've never seen it spelled like that outside of Wales, so maybe it is a Breton spelling too. But I guess that's just more trivia that serves no real purpose in my new daily normal!

Since I wrote yesterday about using technology to keep in touch, earlier this week I saw a clip of a group of workers in the US working from home who had set up a video-conferencing meeting. Unfortunately, one of the ladies must have forgotten it was a video-conference (I think the word "video" in "video-conferencing" was a bit of a giveaway though don't you) and she took herself off to the loo for a pee - while her horrified co-workers looked on in utter mortification. Way to go Jennifer!

And finally, again talking about "technology" issues, did anyone else see the video of the Italian priest who was trying to live-stream mass but accidentally turned the special effects on? Oh the poor sod - but what a hoot! Now that's how to make church interesting again I reckon!

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Pity party over!

Well I got over myself pretty quickly last night. I knew I would anyway, but I guess I was just a bit surprised at how the news of the extended lockdown hit me. It was a pretty stupid reaction in any case because we were definitely expecting it and it's the right thing to do anyway! I suppose it was more a result of not actually speaking to anyone all day to be honest, and while mostly I'm fine with that sometimes it can be hard. Then again, as I've been sitting here reading today I've heard the neighbours having a couple of right ding-dongs so I guess we all have our crosses to bear don't we!

Anyway, this morning I sent a message to my lovely Dutchman asking how he was as I could tell he'd had a bellyful yesterday too. Instead of just text messaging him though I decided to video-call him on WhatsApp - only for him to answer me from the bath! Ha, I should have remembered! When he gets up he spends a good 45 minutes in the bath reading and while I figured it was late enough that he would be "decent" I obviously timed that a bit off. Oh well, no worries, he wasn't the slightest bit bothered by it and I wasn't either so we had a nice chat, which I think did us both good in the end. After about 10 minutes he said he had to go because he was running out of battery and bugger me if he didn't get up to get out of the bath just as his battery ran out. Teasing again!

After that I sent a message to my oldest son to see how they were doing. It's one week today since they got back from Thailand so I figured if they had been in contact with the virus in Thailand or on the return flight they would probably be showing symptoms by now, but he said they were both fine. They're working from home at the moment and André has another week of that but after that he has to go in to the office to work as he is on a list of "essential staff" (I guess there's a roster), ironically working at WHO. Still, with Geneva being as quiet as it is at the moment it shouldn't be too hard on him going into the office.

So all in all today was a much better day. I got some cleaning and gardening done and paid a few bills before sitting outside in the garden for an hour to just read and take in the sun's rays. It's an odd thing though as about this time every year my top bedroom seems to get an infestation of ladybirds. For a period of about three weeks, every time I go up there there are maybe 10 dead ladybirds on the floor. I guess there's something up in the roof, but I'm hoping when I get my roof done that will be taken care of too. I also found a bunch of old magazines, and the one below, in particular, has really whetted my appetite to get back out walking when this bloody pandemic is finally over, as it shows all different hikes in my local area (and even has proper maps inside)! I can't wait!

And talking of staying in touch during the pandemic, Marksgran mentioned how she was going to try to teach her mom how to use an iPhone so that they could stay in touch! Good luck with that. I know I could never have gotten my parents to use one of those things. Heck, my brother in England still can't use his (but having fingers like sausages doesn't help either). In fact, my brother in Wales who died last year was another one. He was a smart guy but his wife obviously took care of "all that technical stuff" so when she died suddenly he was lost. I remember him being delighted when I sent him an email and coached him through how to "reply" back to it. We eventually got him to use an iPhone too, although that never really took off until he met his new lady friend 18 months after my sister-in-law's death and with her being 150 miles away he had to learn how to use it. It's amazing what you can do when there's an incentive isn't it. When he finally realized he could actually leave messages on my phone it was pretty painful - you'd have thought he was in an extra in MASH, always ending his voice messages with "end of message, over and out"! I think he might have had delusions of being some kind of Rambo-figure with his new-found technical skills!

And finally, I've been watching the news on the pandemic obviously, but I've been trying not to watch it all day long. Just maybe once in the morning and once towards the end of the evening. I have to say, if I ever get caught in a pandemic again (and I hope I don't) I sincerely hope I end up on Team Cuomo! Now there's a leader! He gives the facts, sets out his plan, pulls no punches but also gives hope, I feel, and he knows his stuff. I don't know much (or anything actually) about his politics but from what I can see there's a man who can actually rise to the occasion! Very impresive!

Governor Cuomo

Friday, 27 March 2020

They've just extended the lockdown!

I knew it was going to happen but when I saw tonight that our lockdown has been extended until 15 April at the very least, it kinda knocked the wind out my sails. This is the first day of the enforced confinement that I've felt like this. I guess it's normal and I'm sure people are suffering much worse fates than I am but I have to admit the news of the extended lockdown has been a bit of a damper tonight. That being said, a couple of hours later and I'm fine. I've got loads to do around the house anyway so maybe I will go out and cut the grass tomorrow, just to get out in the sunshine. I haven't wanted to do it because it looks so pretty with the primroses and forget-me-nots but I think my mental health needs a decent workout at the moment.

I sent a message to my lovely Dutchman and he seemed pretty down too, but then he lives in a small place and while he goes out walking every day it's not the same when you have to stay within 1 km of your home and you can only go out for a maximum of one hour, one time during the day. So far I haven't wanted to go out walking but I think that might be next on my list of things to do also. It just feels like such a bloody pain to have to print out the attestation and fill it in just in case I get stopped!

Anyway, enough of this self-pity nonsense. I guess everyone wishes this would all be over and we could get back to our normal lives, although what "normal" will be afterwards I'm not sure. But in the end, I've no business being down. I've got a roof over my head, an income, good medical insurance and there's plenty of food in the shops. Others don't have it so lucky. And seeing that the number of cases of infection in the States has already skyrocketed to over 100,000, if we have to sit out this pandemic in our own homes for a few more weeks then so be it. Stay safe everyone. Normal service will be resumed (in about five hours I reckon. It's 2.30 a.m. here and I'm off to bed)!

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Oh the stress!

Day 10 of lockdown - or at least I think it is - and it's still ok here. I still think we're going to get an extension of this lockdown though. The French government have talked about needing a six-week lockdown already, but to be honest I can see another two-week extension in five days time when this one will be over, even if they don't go for the six-week extension immediately. And if that's the only way to beat this thing then let's go for it. We don't have a choice anyway do we. Every day I check the figures worldwide and the US is, of course, fast, catching up with the leader board. It's normal of course because it's a big country with a large population, but I'm just wondering how long it will take before they get the gold medal nobody wants. Another figure that intrigues me is that Switzerland (where my son and his wife live - hence the interest) is still ahead of the UK so many days later. Switzerland has a population of around 8.5 million and the UK around 66.5 million and they are still ahead of us. Obviously there could be several reasons for this, of course. They are so many days/weeks ahead of the UK in this misery. They genuinely have bigger problems than the UK. Or they are way ahead in testing people (more likely I think). Anyway, who knows, but I think we've got a way to go before we see light at the end of this tunnel - and that's hoping that that particular light is freedom rather than a train coming in the other direction!

In amongst all the disgusting behaviour that I'm reading about I was proud to see that at last checking over 560,000 people in the UK had volunteered to "help the NHS" as of this morning, with 405,000 of them volunteering in the first 24 hours! I always knew there was a good side to people despite the appalling behaviour of some, as highlighted in the rabble-rousing of the gutter press in order to sell papers. Aside from the obvious health care professionals who are so desperately needed, they have a volunteer roster to help with transport, shopping for the quarantined, moving medical supplies around and just social contact. I would love to do something like this but so far I haven't gotten any further than the message from the lady at the Mairie telling me to take care as I live alone! I even have a crate of foodstuffs waiting to go to the food bank but can't take it there as we're not allowed out - or at least I'm not allowed out at 8 p.m. on a Tuesday night to take stuff to the food bank, which is the only time they're open! I'm sure if I got stopped I could reason with the gendarmes but I also don't want to risk a minimum €135 fine if I come across some little jobsworth who is having a bad day!

The French have now issued a new attestation giving more details as to why we are allowed out and about. I guess they're trying to stop the "24 hour a day exercisers" from being out all day long in their sweat pants, rather than the one hour time we are allotted. We now have to give our address (so they can calculate if we are more than 1 km away from home "exercising") and the time at which we left home. I don't mind that at all but it's kind of sad that they have to dot the "i"s and cross the "t"s to this point because a few can't show common sense. It did tickle me a bit though because they have now updated the list of "essential" shops allowed to stay open to include the tabac (tobacconist's) and the off licence (in the UK - where they sell booze). I suppose if booze and ciggies help people get through this then so be it. I reckon in about nine months' time we might also see a sharp increase in the birth rate but … great! Sadly, this also seems to be the kind of situation where the incidence of domestic violence also increases, for obvious reasons. The only thing I can say is I'm so glad to be going through this alone and that someone, somewhere is going through this with my ex - and it ain't me!

I also saw on the local Geneva news this morning that the Swiss have chartered a plane (paid for by an anonymous individual) to send about 100 Roma gypsies back to Romania. This came about because, well, there is nobody in the streets any more to beg from and they want to go back to Romania where they have homes and a livelihood! So the Swiss jumped on the opportunity, an anonymous individual stepped in to pay for it, and voilà!

As for me, I'm just puttering along daily and still doing fine. To be honest, if I have to get quarantined anywhere I could do a lot worse than here, and I know many aren't as lucky. I actually got most of my Kaffe Fassett mystery quilt put together and am ready to start quilting. Now I haven't enjoyed this at all, mainly because I actually don't like the original design (but wasn't to know that at the time, hence the word "mystery" in mystery quilt) and because I can't cut straight to save my life. But after much blood, sweat, swearing and improvisation that thing is laid across my living room floor while I'm crawling over it in shorts and clean socks trying to tack it together by hand until I can get it under the machine to quilt. Kaffe Fassett would probably roll in his grave (if he were dead, which he isn't at time of writing but who knows) at my version of his mystery quilt but hey, what can I say!

What Kaffe Fasset had in mind

My version - I must have read the instructions wrong!
And in other news, when I was making the brownies for my neighbour the other day my hand-held mixer started playing up. Not surprising really, I suppose, because I reckon my parents gave me that when I first moved to Switzerland in 1980 so it owes me nothing does it. Anyway with my newly-acquired zen attitude I decided to sit outside in the sunshine on my terrace and take that baby apart. Well, I'm not surprised it was playing up! While I obviously clean it after every use, when I took it apart I was amazed at how much dust and muck had accumulated over the years! I got an old toothbrush and cleaned that thing out and put it back together, but seriously! I'm not surprised I feel "bunged up" in the morning (not that I sleep with the mixer of course) and blame it on hay fever!!! I mean, how much dust is hidden from sight in our daily lives even if we consider ourselves "clean"? And talking of dust, I decided to further my zen mindset and have been doing a bit of yoga every day following "Yoga with Adrienne" on YouTube. I can highly recommend her as she's great! Except, that yesterday, as I was lying on the floor doing my bit with Adrienne, all I could focus on was the bloody dust and cobwebs underneath the furniture! Damn! Maybe I'm not quite as laid back as I thought!

And then to add to my stress, I went out grocery shopping today and everything was fine - more than fine actually - at first. No queues, no worries anywhere, except I can't find my teabags! I know!!!! What's a Brit gonna do without her teabags???? I guess that patronising book I gave my kids making fun of the Brits who travel abroad with their emergency supply of teabags is ringing a bit hollow now isn't it!

And finally, my "Walk 1,000 Miles in 2020" walking group is having "technical" issues as you can imagine, with people no longer allowed to go out walking - well maybe within a 1 km radius but that's a helluva lot of "walking round the garden" isn't it. Anyway, yesterday on FB one of the group said that since we were all in the same boat did anyone want to contribute stories about how horrible they/their siblings were to each other when they were growing up. There were a couple that made me laugh. One woman described how their family had gone camping and she and her brother smuggled chocolate fingers (biscuits) into their other sister's sleeping bag and the next morning her sister woke up and thought she'd shat herself!!! And then another one, in a similar, classy vein, mentioned how she'd licked melted Mars bars out of a (clean) nappy to the horror of her siblings. I know, I know, we're a classy lot we Brits aren't we! So I chimed in that when I was about 10, my older sister told me that if I shaved my eyebrows and cut off my eyelashes they would grow back twice as strong! Well guess who did it!! Thankfully they grew back but I walked around looking like a frickin' lizard for about a month and never forgave her! Siblings, don't you just love 'em!

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

A closed casket!

The news about the virus isn't getting any better is it - no surprises there, I guess. Italy had a "relatively" improved day yesterday with a dip in the number of deaths but it soon went up again today, sadly, with Spain looking to be hot on their heels. I saw on the news tonight that they have actually taken over an ice rink in Madrid to use as a makeshift morgue now. It's going to get a lot worse before it gets better isn't it!

Later in the news broadcast they were showing the plight of people trapped overseas (Brits in this case) and desperately trying to get back, with flights being cancelled left, right and centre. One poor family were trying to get home from Thailand but having just spent the last 24 hours in Bangkok Airport trying to get on a replacement flight they were getting nowhere fast. They could get a flight in a couple of days' time at a cost of £12,000!!!!! but, as they said, they didn't have that kind of money. Eventually (and I would probably say provisionally because who knows if "confirmed" flights will be cancelled between now and then) they managed to get a flight out on Sunday at an additional cost of just £2,000! But today is only Tuesday so what are they going to do between now and then? I can only thank the heavens above that my kids managed to get out of there when they did, and on their already scheduled flights. Again, as I say, this is just another facet of what is already a nightmare situation!

In better news they announced on the British news tonight that so far 35,000 volunteers have come forward to help out the NHS. That number is made up of retired doctors and nurses of course, but also medical students and interns in their final year of medicine. That's an amazing number of volunteers and the number is still rising. In addition, a nationally-organized volunteer scheme has been set up where people can volunteer in areas outside the medical field but where there is still a need, so hopefully some kind of order is being brought to the current madness.

Then this afternoon Ireland announced stronger lockdown measures to deal with the crisis, in addition to relief measures to be undertaken. I didn't catch all of it but one thing that struck me was that they had come to an agreement with private medical facilities and their staff to step in and work with the public sector on a not-for-profit basis to get them through this. In addition, there was guaranteed coverage by the government of unemployment pay (up to what sounded like a pretty generous limit), as well as a ban on all rent increases and evictions "for the duration". Over here I was expecting to hear President Macron speak tonight but ultimately we got the Minister for Health giving information on what is going on and, I believe, softening us up in time for an extension of the current lockdown for up to a possible six weeks! While I'm not thrilled at the idea of a six week lockdown, if that's what it takes to defeat this thing then that's what it takes - which made me all the more horrified to hear that Trump is pushing to get people back to work after two weeks against the advice of his medical advisors! I suppose, ultimately, if that happens only time will tell whether the "two week" or the "six week" roll of the dice was the correct one, won't it!

As for me, I'm still jumping from one project to the next but enjoying getting odds and sods done.  Even if I'm not making huge headway on any one particular thing at the moment that's just the way I roll. When I get fed up of sewing I stop and go down to the basement to work. Then when I've had enough of that I go out to the garden for a bit. As today is my neighbour's birthday (the wife), I decided to make up for my appalling cookies intended for her husband's birthday and make a batch of my "no fail" brownies. When they were done I ran round to their front door and played "Thunder and Lightening"! You remember playing that as a little kid right? Knock on the door like thunder and then run like lightening? Or was that just me? Anyway, she was delighted that I had remembered her birthday so while I was out back working on my raised beds a while later she wandered over to thank me (our back gardens are all open) - stopping a good 10 metres away of course. I was "shit shovelling" at the time as I was trying to empty some of the sludgy compost onto my raised beds but somehow that stuff had taken on the consistency and smell of horse muck and I was having a hard time of it. But then from beyond the hedge over at my other neighbours we could hear them barking out orders to each other. She'd say "but the hole is right in front of you" and he'd say "well just grab it with both hands"! So she'd yell back "you're behaving like we've never done this before"! At which point I commented to my neighbour that they were apparently making a porn movie! Well she got a fit of the giggles and the game was up. Turns out they were trying to put a new cover on their outdoor parasol but weren't having much luck! It's amazing how your mind plays tricks on you when you've been kept in isolation though isn't it!

I decided to become a proper little old lady too today as I finally dragged a card table upstairs into my TV room in order to do a "wasjig" I've had sitting around for ages (that also sounds like it has "porn movie" connotations doesn't it, but not a bit of it)! A "wasjig" is a jigsaw puzzle where the finished jigsaw uses the same characters but looks only slightly like the picture on the box. We'll see how long it takes me I guess. Additionally, in the "pass time" arena, I picked up a freebie book in English at my pilates class the other week and I have to admit I'm quite enjoying it. It's an easy read and I like his style, even though I'd never heard of this author before. I'm not sure if it's the kind of book you might like but I would definitely give it a thumbs up!

And while I know there's nothing funny about the coronavirus, there have been a few black humour stories/events all the same. One guy was saying how ridiculous it was to have a sign saying "wash your hands" at the entrance to the motorway. I mean, can you imagine getting pulled over by the motorway cops with your hands in a bucket of water singing two verses of God Save The Queen! And I also spotted the "Italian mayors' rants" that is doing the rounds at the moment too. As I say, while there is nothing funny about this pandemic, some of the things these mayors came out with were hilarious - unintentionally maybe - but hilarious nonetheless! And here I would point out that while I am indeed learning Italian I'm not quite at the level of understanding these guys so I took the translation from the sub-titles - and apologize in advance for the language. Well one mayor was going absolutely ballistic about people not respecting lockdown and "no, having your hairdresser come to your home instead of going to the salon does not constitute an essential or urgent necessity! You'll be in a goddamn closed casket so nobody will be looking at your hair"! Again, sorry about the language, but somehow that just about sums it all up doesn't it!

Sunday, 22 March 2020

Day seven!

Under normal circumstances I guess we'd be almost half way through our 15 day lockdown here in France, but in all honesty these aren't normal circumstances are they and I fully expect that lockdown will be extended. What can I say! I realize exactly how lucky I am compared to so many people who are worried about their or their loved ones health and/or financial stability, so for me to complain would be unforgiveable. I have no intention of complaining anyway as I really am just fine. Maybe the truth is that I'm just antisocial as these past seven days being alone haven't bothered me at all. I do now have a lovely clean terrace and even though the temperature dropped today I spent a couple of hours outside weeding as it was good to get some fresh air. I also rather optimistically set up a few pots with tomato and courgette seeds to start off in my living room but - and don't laugh - I'm actually thinking I might lug one of my little old el cheapo greenhouses up into my bathroom and set it up in there for the seedlings. It's a large, bright and sunny room which retains the heat so I reckon they might do well there and hey, I live on my own and have no-one to impress anyway so why not!

I mentioned before that I went out grocery shopping on Friday and it was really fine - not really any shortages and plenty of fresh fruit and veg, which makes the images I see of empty shelves and people lining up outside the shops in the UK all the more saddening! What the heck is that all about? My sister and her husband got back from Spain on Friday and she said that although they stayed in while they were there, again there were no shortages in the stores!! Shame on (some) Brits for such selfish behaviour! My sister and her husband will be staying indoors for a couple of weeks, of course, and like the rest of the country just have to get on with it. André and Lily made it back safely from Thailand on Saturday on their regular, scheduled flight and again they will be working from home in Switzerland and self-isolating. I'm just relieved they're all back home safely. I found out today that three colleagues have now tested positive for the virus and one person has lost a family member in Spain so it really is hitting close to home now!

André and Lily travelling home
We have to have this attestation de déplacement on us every time we go out!

I have been watching the British government's nightly update on the situation and while I will never be a Bojo fan I have to say I'm impressed by the people he surrounds himself with, in particular Professor Chris Whitty, the UK's Chief Medical Officer. Although having a bit of a Mr. Bean appearance I've found him impressive and reassuring when giving his opinions and answering questions in an extremely composed and stiff upper lip kinda way! I suppose the good news at least is that Bojo doesn't keep firing his experts!

Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer
When I came in this evening I thought I may as well sit down and do some Italian homework that our teacher sent us. Just a couple of short stories to read and answer questions on so that took up another hour before I headed down to cook dinner. Another thing that surprises me though is that restaurants and cafés are closed in the UK now but they can still supply take-out meals! I suppose it surprises me because you have a snowflake's chance in hell of getting a take-out meal over here at any time, not just during a pandemic!!! Don't get me wrong, I'm glad these businesses can continue to provide this service for those who might need it, but it's just such an anathema to me because take-out doesn't exist here. There are no grocery store deliveries either. Maybe in Switzerland but not around here, so it's just not something we can count on. But what also surprises me still is how so many people just can't cook. I don't mean that they don't cook, but that they can't cook! I remember years ago meeting a colleague's sister who was over here on vacation. She had four kids and told me she never, ever cooked! Never! I think my jaw just dropped as I couldn't get my mind around the idea of never cooking for your family - or that such a thing was even possible! I suppose knowing the rudiments of how to cook went out the window at the same time as home economics classes did in school sad to say! What a loss those classes were. Both boys and girls at my school had to do at least three months each of woodwork, metalwork, sewing and cooking. We can't all be boffins can we and I really feel the loss of those classes did no-one any favours (although I was crap at metalwork, I have to admit)!

In other news I see that the UK put out a call to retired nurses and doctors to come back into service and so far 4,000 nurses and 500 doctors have stepped up to the plate. Given the fairly recent dispute between the government and junior doctors about their contracts I seriously hope that everyone remembers what these people are doing for us all right now, in particular when it comes to giving them the salaries they deserve!

In other news I had the weirdest message on my phone this evening. Around October last year I mentioned that I thought something might be wrong with my friend Brian in England as in the 10 years we had known each other he had never forgotten my birthday, always contacted me on Remembrance Sunday and always sent me a Christmas card - until last year, that is! I sent messages and tried his number but got nowhere, so given his age and his recent ill health I could only assume the worst. Well tonight I received a forwarded message from his number. It was a copy of a letter written to the Irish Times re the coronavirus. From Brian!!!!! So I wrote back and said "Brian???? Is that you????" and so far, several hours later, I've not received an answer. It's a bit like a couple of years ago when I woke up in the middle of the night to a "thumbs up" message from Ian, my friend in Bulgaria who died so suddenly about three years ago. In all honesty I think it's just a fluke, maybe a spam message or something, as I really think Brian would get in touch if he were able to, but it was definitely weird, and I still have the message on my phone, unlike Ian's message which disappeared after a few minutes! Maybe it was just Brian telling me to stay safe. I like to think so!

The big "joke's on you" I just read about is that Boris Johnson's father, Stanley, has applied for French citizenship on the grounds that his late mother was French!!! If that goes through it would allow Bojo and his siblings to also apply (his sister broke the news and is already rubbing her hands with glee apparently). So there you have it, another Brexiteer in the land of I'm all right Jack!

And finally, the UK is still not in total lockdown and the city of London is still open for business, with people simply being advised to maintain social distancing. Trouble is, while most people will indeed do the right thing some idiots will continue to believe the rules don't apply to them and ruin it for everyone. Just like the bloody idiot YouTube wannabe who, although not a Brit, must be a candidate for the Darwin Awards for the most stupid thing to do in her desperate search for fame. Apparently this "aspiring model" (aren't they all) and two-time guest on Dr. Phil, "took up the coronavirus challenge" and videoed herself licking the toilet seat on an airplane, all in the eternal quest for YouTube glory! Natural selection at its best (I hope)!