Well that’s another week gone, and surprisingly quickly I think. The lock down extended for another three weeks, which I think is a good thing, it’s amazing how little one can achieve if one puts one’s mind to it, I haven’t even touched the ironing. It seems most people are at last sticking to the rules, no crowds in the park or on the beaches in spite of the great weather we’ve been having.

I hope you all had a happy Easter and ate lots of chocolate, the supermarkets have been discounting unsold eggs, so I treated myself to 24, it’s all I could get in the trolley. The big story is of course Captain Tom, what a guy. Personally I think the knighthood is a no brainer and if it were up to me I’d let him keep a couple of million for himself. It wouldn’t bother me if he spent some of it on women, booze and recreational drugs and just squandered the rest. I salute you sir, a true hero.

My BBQ last week wasn’t the most successful, the fish fingers either stuck to the grill or fell through it, the sausages really took on that Smokey flavour so had tones of nutty slack mixed with a hint of burnt. In the end I opened a tin of rice pudding, and in the absence of any jam, I dropped a large blob golden shred marmalade in it. It wasn’t all bad though, I got out the crate of Double Diamond I got cheap when Threshers had a closing down sale. So I ended up quite merry, and I’ve still got the two Watney’s Red Barrel party sevens to look forward to.

I’m afraid I’m still battling on with what I’m now calling the re-furb. So far I’ve got two coats of emulsion on, yes on ALL the walls, and I have to say I’m beginning to think the ‘Battleship Grey’ may have been a mistake. In fact it’s becoming a little oppressive, all that’s missing is a commode in the corner and bars on the windows, with me eating off a tin plate, waiting for a visit from Googie Withers. However, our Debbie (my lovely sister) has given me some tips to give the place a lift and has even offered to run me up a set of antimacassars for the three piece. She said she’s been wondering what to do with the old crinoline she found, whilst doing, what now seems to be, the obligatory spring clean. Our Debbie is an absolute whiz on the old Singer, though I have to keep reminding her to oil the treadle. You’ve heard the saying “it’s an ill wind what doesn’t blow nobody no good” well here’s the perfect example. Although she denies it, our Debbie has a touch of St Vitas Dance in her left leg, which, on the one hand is a shame, but on the other hand, when she gets on that sewing machine you can fair see the smoke coming off that fly wheel. So I can expect the afore mentioned in short order. She’s also got a couple of doilies for the coffee table, I think she crocheted them, but it could also explain why she’s had Les, her ( long suffering ) husband, trying to knock four nails into a cotton bobbin, he tried to explain they’re plastic now, but to no avail. I’ve been looking for other ideas to modernise the place, and I’m quite taken with an idea I saw in a magazine I found under the telephone table. What are your thoughts on a ‘Dado’ rail? Apparently they’re all the rage, and as luck would have it I’ve got a couple of wooden pallets on the back yard I could cannibalise, with a bit of varnish I think they could look quite chic. I’ve also got a couple of rolls of wall paper which I bought on impulse some time ago, but never got round to using. I estimate there will be enough to either, do the bottom half, all the way round, if I go dado, or the whole of one wall as a feature.  I’m convinced the maroon and silver flock will give the room that certain ‘savoir fair ‘.

I’ll be sure to send pictures when it’s all done, I did try to take a ‘before’ photo for comparison, but, can you believe? Of course you can. I put my hand straight on the Instamatic and there were even some unused frames but, when I got out the box of flashes they were all blown, so that put the kybosh on that. I might as well get what’s there developed, anyone know if Timothy Whites still do it? I could of course use my phone but it’s not the same, there’s something about having to wait three weeks for the prints and then seeing how many have come out and how many have little stickers on them. The added bonus is, at some time in the future, usually around Christmas, when you’re looking for a roll of sellotape, there at the back of the messy drawer, you’ll find the envelope with the old photos in. You’ll spend the next hour or so going through them, trying to remember who the hell all these people are and wondering why you’re not in any of them. Only to return them to the back of the draw to repeat the exercise at a future date. The gift that keeps on giving.

I probably shouldn’t share this but I think it will be ok if I change people’s names to protect the innocent and save any embarrassment. Earlier this week I was copied in to an email, by mistake I assume, which went along the following lines.

Dear Pon Jeterson, I am in the process of updating personnel files and find there are some details missing from yours, could you please let me know what your job role entails. I have asked Mis Chraynard who said he thought you were on a YTS scheme and added “you’ve all done very well”. Wian Itham thought you were head of international sales, based on the fact your salary is paid into an off-shore account, located somewhere in the Cayman Islands and Gally Sittens thinks you’re a farmer. Other members of staff refused to give an opinion for fear of reprisals. I would appreciate a prompt response as I’m running a sweepstake and whoever is closest to what you ‘come up’ with, will win one of Mis Chraynard’s infamous ‘steak dinners’. Regards Marrie Craynard. P.S. Can I ask, do you moisturise?

Well I hope I get copied in to the reply, should be interesting.

As I sit here writing this drivel I find myself imagining you’re all sitting here in my back kitchen having a good old chat, sharing our stories and having a right laugh. Which is both charming, and disconcerting at the same time, I’d be mortified if I thought you could see the state of this oilcloth, and my unmentionables hanging from the ceiling on the clothes horse. I’ve only got six chairs, that’s including the Christmas chairs so it’s not the most comfortable. I really don’t know how you all managed to fit in my tiny kitchen, I suppose this is what they mean by up-close and personal. The kettle’s never seen so much action, it’s been on the stove constantly but I have removed the whistle off the spout, it was ‘doing my head in’ and someone else gets a bit tetchy when they hear whistling. Also to be honest some of your ‘funny’ stories aren’t that funny, in fact some are just cruel, I’ve told you before, I wasn’t even driving, on top of that if I hear the mention of Buzz Aldrin once more….  In fact it’s been lovely seeing you all, but the noise is driving me crackers, I’ve gone through a quarter of tea already, you’ve had all my garibaldis not to mention the fig rolls, so if you don’t mind I think it’s time for you all to head home, and next time don’t just turn up like that, phone first, it’s only good manners.

Well as you can tell I’m in fine fettle, keeping both mentally and, well, keeping well.

I’ll write again soon

Love you all

Keep Safe

Cliff