Lockdown Lore – October rolls through


Going Nowhere Slow: Autumn into Winter

In those halcyon days when one could meet friends in a properly organised local restaurant, Black Ivy, for an evening meal, conversation turned to other local writers. One of my friends asked whether I was aware of David Muir’s series of diary-type books about our local area – and everything else under the sun.


I wasn’t – but I am now. Going Nowhere Slow – Autumn into Wonter is on my coffee table.

Muir is a retired science teacher and regular contributor to the New Scientist. He’s also had some imposed time taking life slowly after knee surgery and perhaps out of that comes these books.

As they are a retirement project and teachers do often retire at the end of the summer term, the first book is valid now. Therefore, I’m bringing it to your notice while you might still find the mushrooms, or are they toadstools, growing in your own back green. What purpose a review when it’s time to move onto vol 2 Winter into Spring?

Going Nowhere Slow: Winter into Spring

This sort of book fills the Non-fiction slot I referred to in this month’s Round Robin admirably. It has sound science, it’s conversational in style, the writer doesn’t take himself too seriously while not falling into the overly chummy/silly brigade. I’m reading the diary entries as October rolls through – Lockdown needs this type of light in our growing darkness.

By the way, talking of darkness, a new anthology of Hallowe’en shivers is coming from Capital Writers – live, or dead, on 31st, for your kindle.

For regular diary readers – he won the scrabble last night. I was left with three ‘i’s and the ‘z’. Honestly – where does one go with that? Am re-reading Cousin Kate – that’s scary enough. What a brilliant writer Heyer was.




Lockdown Diary – 2020 – 126,127,128 – Expanding Horizons

Charles Street

So, intervals are creeping into this diary, however, thngs have been going forward. Sunday saw DH and I in front stall seats chez nous to hear David Greig, Artisitic Director of the Royal Lyceum Theatre address its patrons, and to watch the short scenes the Lyceum have commissioned and filmed called Shakespeare in Isolation. They were all good, but as a granny, my favourites were the two involving children. From Coriolanus, Valeria has taken up quilting which, she says, is hers and no one can take it from her – the lockdown has separated her from the little boy she so often looked after – heartbreaking – and Peaseblossom who represents the home schooling mum (of the elves) trying to broker peace between her warring parents (Titania and Oberon) – by zoom – brilliantly funny.

Monday it rained, and rained, and…

Not to waste a day, I devoted a lot of it to The Nonesuch which might be about to replace Frederica as my favourite GH.

I also helped a writer friend with some Edinburgh research – hence the pic of Charles Street, above. Here’s another of the house in George Square where I settled some characters in the early nineteenth century.

The Menzieses’ House

Yesterday, was the actual expanding horizon as we crossed the Forth and visited in Clackmannanshire. Driving along Glen Devon is so beautiful and our friend’s garden was looking fabulous.

I won a resounding scrabble victory although to be fair DH sat with 5/6 vowels on his tray for most of the game. I caught up with some of the National Theatre shorts and was mesmerised by Peter Mullen’s performance as the alternating jackdaw/human/pigeon. Well done to him and to writer, Douglas Maxwell.

Horrified by the accident to a No 24 bus on the cobbles in the New Town. So pleased noone was hurt.



Lockdown Diary – 2020 – 35 – Visitors

Regular readers of this blog will possibly remember this young visitor from around a year ago. We’d not had one before and we haven’t had one since. Yesterday the bird feeder was thronged when an almighty panic set in.

“Come this way and look at what we have here,” said the DH. And what we have here was a magnificent, if predatory, visitor perched on the railings. Probably a male sparrowhawk dropping in from the large cemetery nearby. Possibly a kestrel? Even at such close quarters, it was hard to tell the actual colours. The garden birds are still missing this morning.

We did have a sparrowhawk decades ago. It brought its lunch, pigeon, to feast on the roof of next door’s shed much to the fascinated horror of the family. Two weeks ago there were feathers scattered over the garden path. I suppose they’ve all got families to feed.

The heatwave continues. DH won the scrabble by 2 points. There were recounts. Walked to the nearest big store yesterday to buy the items, not many, I can’t get locally. Finished the book group book. Slow progress on jigsaw. Full of admiration for all the folks doing a 2.6 something to help the charities losing out as there’s no London Marathon.


Lockdown – 2020 – 17 – other parts of the NHS ‘eerily quiet’

Not your average NHS waiting room, but perhaps if you live in a rural area or on an island where the doctor may consult in their home, this might be it.

Nobody is suggesting hordes of us trot along to the GP but a front page article this morning quoted Dr Gregor Smith, acting CMO, as wondering whether some folk who should have consulted, haven’t. This thought prompted by a non-Covid 19 rise in recorded deaths over last year at the same time. We need, sensibly, to take care of and acount of our non-Covid 19 health issues.

I enjoyed a lovely after dinner walk around the area. Pieris is in its moment and several shrubs were remarkable for their brightness. There are also a goodly number of magnolia stellata – the lovely white one with star shaped blossom. Lots of gardens have cheery plantings of colourful spring flowers – daffodils, tulips, polyanthus, grape hyacynths and the more usual hyacinth. And there are windows with rainbows and teddy bears.

Scrabble was on last night. I won by 5 points. I instituted a bag for the tiles in the hope it would share out the biggies. However, DH got the x, z and q in his opening 7. Sadly, for him, he didn’t get the right vowels. I also opened with ‘puff’. I recommend you don’t do that, folks. Just saying.

Brilliant to have a ‘pavement visit’ from two family members.

Brilliant, too, that the utilities keep running. How many wonderful workers we need to thank for their continuing efforts.

What were your highlights?


Lockdown – 2020 – 11 – Restlessness

Another picture from the Crete trip and one that’s typical for an island – boats in waiting: the world is out there and here’s how we get to it.

Only not at this moment. At this moment we do still have to keep on staying at home. Our ambitions need to be more arty

than party

Exhausted Footwear

It’s not easy, is it? I read of the death of a member of my congregation in the local paper this morning. It’ll be such a quiet funeral. People have new grandchildren. People are hospitalised for issues unrelated to COVID 19, but we must have faith in the policy we’ve adopted. We must stay at home.

No Hello Fresh yesterday because of soaring demand. Three cheers for my freezer. The HF should come today.

I won at scrabble. Picked up the J, X and Z in one turn, having already had the Q. We need to find a wee bag as turning the letters into the box from the grid is not sufficient shuffling.

Progress on the WIP. A walk after supper.

Fellow Capital Writer, JANE RIDDELL, has a blog tour ongoing. The Book is Chergui’s Child and today the tour arrives at Scrupulous Dreams blogspot here

Drop by and read about Jane’s moving work of women’s fiction.

How are your itchy feet? Are you coping and could your coping mechanisms help the rest of us? Do share them in the comments, please.


Lockdown – 2020 – 9 – A Penny Drops

Talking on the phone last night to an elderly and vulnerable friend, she said she’d had a shock. This had come in the form of a telephone call from a medical professional she has regular dealings with. The gist being my friend is expected to Not Go Beyond her Garden for another ten and a half weeks.

That clatter in my head was the penny dropping when I realised exactly what all of this isolation really means for those vulnerable people living alone. Many of them won’t have gardens and some may not have approachable neighbours.

In the half-full world, a lot of neighbours have been making themselves more approachable.

Yesterday saw some writing, shopping, washing and the FIRST SCRABBLE GAME.

He won. What can I say? He got the Q, Z and J and was often able to use two blanks…

There was also some lovely news from a long-term friend and the book group is looking at Zoom.

Catherine Czercawska wrote a moving and heartfelt tribute to radio producer Hamish Wilson who died last week and you can find it on her blog here

Annis Wychwood continues to delight.