23 January 2022

It’s been a good(ish) week. We had another movie night, produced one of the better examples of Greg’s Award-Winning Sourdough bread, had an excellent visit from a very old friend (i.e., she’s been a friend for a very long time, not that she is old) and experienced the joy of having an exquisitely clean oven! How exciting is that?

We watched Nomadland the other evening – if you’ve not seen it, we thought it was very good. Frances McDormand was, as always, sensational and it’s a moving and poignant story of a woman who’s lost just about everything and ends up adopting the life of a nomad living in a van. Well worth a watch.

We cashed in one of Penny’s Christmas presents on Friday afternoon. She had requested that someone come and clean her ovens which, as long as it didn’t involve me in any work, I was happy to arrange. So, on Friday afternoon John from Cookerburra Oven Cleaning Services arrived and set to. Two hours later we were presented with what, to all intents and purposes, appeared to be two brand new ovens as well as a new extractor fan. And, included in the service was the similar deep-cleaning of all the oven shelves as well as our collection of very sad and filthy roasting pans. I guess I can just about remember when the ovens and roasting pans were new and shiny. And now they are again!

Good loaf of award-winning sourdough this week. It’s not quite a fluke when this happens anymore, but I am still very capable of producing excellent doorstops and Olympic-calibre discuses.

Have you ever noticed how, whenever you need to phone a help line nowadays the recorded message almost always begins with the statement, “We are experiencing an unusually large number of calls”? Of course, that’s simply their way of dealing with the fact that they’ve sacked most of their customer service personnel and left it all to one Youth Opportunity Apprentice.

I had occasion to phone the Thames Water helpline the other day after the sewer that we share with our next-door neighbours was blocked. This happens frequently – every couple of months or so – because one of the manholes houses an ancient and decrepit drain which gets blocked regularly. Of course, as far as the water board is concerned it’s much cheaper to send someone out to clear the drains every couple of months than to actually fix the problem by replacing it. Every time I phone it seems they are experiencing an unusually high volume of calls. What are the chances of that?

After you navigate the labyrinth menu system you ultimately reach a message which provides the helpful information that you can report sewer blockages easily and quickly online. Yep, I fell for it. Once you abandon your place in the telephone queue, find the relevant form on the web site and fill it in you’re told to – guess what? Phone them.

You probably couldn’t make it up but since this seems to have become the norm, I guess you probably could.

An excellent little video by the Led by Donkeys team featuring the Line of Duty stars.

And, by the way, if you’ve not watched the Line of Duty series and can get hold of it, give them a look. Very good.

We had some lovely clear skies early in the week which coincided with the first full moon of the year, the Wolf Moon apparently. Knowing how inferior my camera skills are I didn’t bother but some folks around the world captured some pretty impressive photos.

And finally, Happy Birthday to our splendidly splendid grandson Max who will be four tomorrow. How did that happen?

Meanwhile, keep happy, keep smiling, keep isolating as much as you can, wear a f**king facemask when you go out and keep your distance. And keep safe.

Lots of love to you all,


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