Holding my breath again (50.20)

We are so close to the end of the year but this year isn’t done with us yet and there may be still more bad news to come.

I’m trying to avoid the news but sometimes news creeps in, like the UK Covid death toll passing 62,000. Like the UK rolling towards Brexit with no trade deal agreed with the EU and the people in charge trying to present this as a good thing. And other government people saying, “the EU doesn’t realise it’s dealing with an independent sovereign nation now and we can set our own terms.” No we can’t.  I can’t believe they refuse to believe we are not the powerhouse in this negotiation, we are in the weaker position. The EU doesn’t have to give us anything. I understand how democracy works and that I won’t always agree with the party in power, but there’s a difference between disagreeing with policy and being angry with government representatives being willfully arrogant and stupid.

Even the news that the UK is the first country to roll out vaccine is not a cause for celebration. I feel like the vaccine has been rolled out here first as a market test on real people before other countries approve it.

Infection rates for Covid19 are on the rise and London’s Tier 2 status may be in doubt. We’ll know on Wednesday if we tip into Tier 3 and higher restrictions. My borough is now 2nd highest in London for infections and I can understand why when I see people in shops and on public transport without masks. The government again says wishy washy things like, we’re relying on people to do the right thing. Have you met people? Mind you, this is the government whose own people can’t be relied on to do the right thing, so why would the public follow the instructions of a government who seem to think the rules don’t apply to them? Look at the things that are exempt from Covid19 rules: chauffeur driven cars, you don’t need to wear a mask (but ordinary taxis you do); grouse shooting is exempt from the rule of gathering maximum number of six.

I will leave my rant there.

This week we did another jigsaw puzzle. This jigsaw is a map of central London – basically the central pages from an A-Z map. It was bloody difficult as you can imagine, because once you’ve done the parks and the Thames, the rest of time is just trying to identify where this particular street / lane / road nbelongs and that might be fine for Oxford Street or Shaftesbury Avenue or Charing Cross Road but for more obscure places like Scrutton Street or St George’s Square you have no clue. This one gave me a bit of a headache because after a long day concentrating on the screen at work, I had a break for dinner, and then spent a long evening concentrating on tiny pieces of jigsaw puzzle through till late. However we got it done in four or five nights, starting late when we got home from the comedy at 11.30pm on Friday and finally finishing it at 1.30am.

Friday night, yes, we went out on Friday night. First comedy event of the year! We were seated cabaret style at separate tables, and had to keep our masks on except when drinking. This must make it more difficult for the comedians because you can’t see people smiling and the masks must muffle some of the laughter, especially in a socially distanced gig where the audience is spread out over a large room. It was a good gig, Mark Thomas presented a series of stories from family Christmases in his past: the funny, the sad, and the bizarre; with some musical numbers in between from Johnny & The Baptist. A good start to hopefully three good nights of comedy.

Wednesday morning – running morning – I woke up and it’s cold and grey outside and I went and looked out several windows to see if it was raining because if it was raining I didn’t have to go out and run. But it wasn’t raining. It had rained overnight but the clouds were moving on and it was clearing up, so no excuse, and off I go into the cold and sunshine. What a great day to have Vivaldi “Winter” come up as the first song on my running playlist.

After a week of my birthday celebrations leading to some plumping around my middle, this week we have had a diet of healthy soup for dinner, and on Tuesday night we had a particularly tasty lentil soup. Now what was the one lesson I should’ve learnt from my running in the summer about what to do before leaving the house to go running? Well I didn’t learn that lesson because on Wednesday I was at a far point from home when there was a tremendous rumbling in my stomach that made me stop running and turn for home as fast as I could walk. I made it home OK but it was a close run thing.

Because we ordered some Christmas things from Amazon (don’t judge me – most of what we ordered was second hand books) and Husband pressed the Amazon Prime button at checkout (as the Amazon website is set up to get you to do) we now accidentally have a month of Amazon Prime so we are going to spend a lot of time over the next month catching up on some TV shows like sci-fi series The Expanse which we are about three seasons behind in.

With all the birthday excitement going on, I forgot to update my countdown at the start of December, so I did that this week. I remember thinking when I started this that 24 months was a very long time. But here I am, most of the way through, and it doesn’t seem to have been a long time at all.

This week I made a first visit to the office since 13 March when we were sent home “for a few weeks”. They have opened up 42 desks on one floor under specific social distance and hygiene conditions. There’s a one way system for moving around the floor, hand sanitiser stations everywhere, and the cleaner (my friend is still working! I was so happy to see her!) comes around several times a day to wipe down touch surfaces. I was able to go back to my office and pick up some things from my desk, like six different types of tea, my little flask bottle, my pink glass water bottle, my work mug, and my purple woolly scarf for keeping warm in the office when the aircon was blowing arctic air. I said hello to my office shoes, all still there on their shelf, no sign of mouse infestation. (phew!) But I didn’t bring any home. My need for fancy office shoes with heels is very low right now. It was strange to have to commute again, and I struggled to find my way into and out of the station because there is a one-way system in place to minimise face-to-face contact. The scale of the impact that Covid19 has had in the area around my office really hit home when I saw the number of shops that had permanently closed, shop fronts now without branding and For Rent signs in the windows.

On Saturday I went to workshop three for the Ikigai programme I signed up for in January. We were supposed to finish it some time in May but obviously that didn’t happen. We’ve had some virtual meetings throughout the year but this was the first face to face meeting we’ve had since February and it was very exciting. We bookended the Ikigai discussion with some yoga, and the yoga studio has been set up to allow for social distancing, with little taped off spaces for yoga mats so you could maintain social distance, and you have to sanitise your hands and have your temperature checked on coming into the studio so they are doing what they can.

It was amazing to see how much everyone has changed since we first met in January. People were tired and stressed out and in need of a change even if they couldn’t quite articulate it. Having a space to say what they wanted to change led some people to cry. We did the first work and then went into lockdown and most people had used this time of less noise to sort things out and work out priorities in their lives. Our homework is to work on something that will get us closer to our big dream, some small action we have to take each week and be accountable for, or pay a forfeit. My task is going to be going on a Artist Date every week; my forfeit if I don’t do this is going to be not making the bed to perfection so I have to look at the sheets and duvet all crumpled and disorderly all day.

Our Christmas tree lights blew up this week.

It wasn’t actually that dramatic (I like to be dramatic about these things), they just went out and never came back on. As the lights are buried deep in the heart of the tree, there is no way we can get them out, so they will stay in there until we take the tree down. I really feel the lack of twinkly lights in our house so I may be tempted to buy some more. Winter weather and twinkly lights go together like winter weather and hot chocolate.

Wishing you all a good week to come.

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