There's a lot going on today. A sibling birthday. Messages from New Zealand family. Allotment digging, spuds planted and seed beds prepared. A problem with one of our rabbits that is not healing up. The UK death toll passing 10,000 and a view that we may become the worst affected country in Europe due to density of population. And it's Easter.
I thought I'd focus on some of the good stuff.
Nice thing 1: My sister
My sister got a very digital birthday this year. At an online Zoom meetup we sang Happy Birthday with a discordant time lag, all talked at the same time and got to see six separate family and friend units from around the Midlands. I gave her digital gifts of funny internet videos and have promised to do her garden for her while she is away in lockdown. Gifts/celebrations in person are postponed. This was the first lockdown birthday in our family but I'm fairly sure it won't be the last. I'm very lucky that I get on well with my sibs. Not only are they pretty decent people but sometimes they are even quite funny.
Nice thing 2: Chocolate
Eating Easter Egg chocolate. Normally we don't bother but after yesterday's unexpected supply run to the supermarket, I'd picked up a couple of discounted eggs. This is the first chocolate I've had in two weeks and it tasted very, very, very good.
Nice thing 3: The Human League
Somewhere a neighbour was playing loud music. Personally I find that quite selfish behaviour when everyone else is stuck at home; garden music wars may be triggered. But, as Pete says, it could have been a lot worse as the soundtrack was mostly generic 70s/80s fayre. There was a lovely moment, though, when I heard 'Being Boiled' by The Human League – it somehow felt like the right song for the moment.
Nice thing 4: Bun Morrison
Speaking of music, I decided to hang out in the bunny run (a 6×12 foot caged aviary) and play the dudes some low-key tunes on the phone. Me and Bunminster had a moment to Van Morrison's Into The Mystic as I stroked his head and he puddled onto the floor next to me and ground his teeth (a sign of pleasure in rabbits). I felt similarly content. Chatterrrrrr.
Nice thing 5: Harry Baker
About four-five years ago I planted a small tree in the garden. I can't remember who recommended a 'Harry Baker' crab apple tree but it was because of its extra value in giving a double whammy of fuchsia pink blossoms in spring and cherry-like crab apples in autumn. Harry Baker was a head gardener at RHS Wisley or somewhere. Today it fully popped into full colour and really cheered up the garden.
Nice thing 6: Soda bread
Today I baked some Irish soda bread and thought of Mum. If she were here and in lockdown I'm pretty sure she would be baking wheaten bread and apple tarts for distribution to the needy. Also, although my loaves looked good, they are pretty doughy in the middle. Good for some hot buttered toast though.
Nice thing 7: Gorgeous George
It was lovely to see eight-week-old great nephew baby George awake via the Zoom call. We were all really looking forward to the new baby so it has been pretty gutting that we are only able to see him at a distance.
Nice thing 8: Queen of Stirchley
I got to see Kerry 'Queen of Stirchley' Leslie at the allotment, winding her twine into pea supports. I wonder if we will get any of our allotment sunsets this year. Another plus, all the spuds are now in.
Nice thing 9: Elevenses
I've arranged elevenses – lovely word and concept – with some neighbours tomorrow. Finally, us terrace house inhabitants are working out what our tiny front gardens are for.
Nice thing 10: Giri/Haji dance sequence
Tonight we watched the finale of 'Giri/Haji' – a Japanese/English crime thriller series about yakuza, family ties, and parallel worlds in London and Tokyo. I'd read that it ended in a ballet but I imagined this was a metaphorical description of bullets flying, not an actual contemporary dance sequence on a rooftop. The scene was beautiful and transcendent and an immediate all-encompassing way to illustrate the push-pull emotional dramas of all the characters simultaneously. It reminded me a bit of Wong Kar-Wei's earlier films which transport you into the realm of the senses but in a supercool stylistic way which almost leaves you wanting to be an assassin for hire. Instead, in our parallel world, we didn't kill anyone and we watched the show while enjoying egg, beans 'n' chips for dinner,
Today I am thankful for all the spring blooms and for receiving a surprise rabbit-related poem via email post.