annanotbob2's Diaryland Diary


Mostly moaning

How are you doing in this lockdown? Everyone I know seems to be struggling, even those of us without too much to complain about, other than loneliness, boredom and what seems to be called hyper-vigilance - being on red alert all the time in case of bad news from any quarter. I panic when I haven't heard from someone and they don't answer texts for a bit, although I don't always answer texts at once either. Or blogs go silent. Dangerspouse. I hope they're OK. I think my anxiety might be bubbling up due to halving my sleeping pill dosage, but so far it's not really bad. I fall asleep more slowly but not desperately so. I just can't find any enthusiasm for anything.

I like blogging - things come to me when I write them down - why do I have little enthusiasm? Well, the weather is suddenly much colder than it's been this winter, and quite possibly last winter too - I think we went right through without a frost last year. Now it's hovering just below freezing, up and down a bit but with a bitter, strong north wind and that makes walking much less pleasant. The dog is reluctant - well, not too bad, but wants to go home after too short a time and really digs her heels in. Normally I can coax her along but she's not having this - when she's had enough that's it and she pulls towards home or the car and my only options are either to drag her along behind me or to give in. Also, it's snowed a bit - not much at all, not even a consistent centimetre, but it half melted then froze so that makes it a bit icy on the roads and pavements and, as I may have mentioned, I don't want to fall over again, so I tread carefully till I'm on the grass, but that's awful. So altogether that's one source of pleasure or at least something akin to pleasure, gone for now. The temperature isn't reckoned to rise till next Sunday. I might go on my own tomorrow and leave the fucking dog behind.

The other thing is my tablet has started playing up - I ended up doing yoga last night via my phone, which is better than nothing, for sure, but very small and it uses up the battery at an alarming rate and the thing was boiling hot when I picked it up. Bloke says he'll look at the tablet, being an IT bloke, paid to mend shit like that for a living, but of course he doesn't. I say, "Did you look at the tablet?" and he says, "Oh, no, I'll go and do that now," and disappears upstairs so I think he's on it, but he forgets what he was going up there for so we do this again a few hours later and again and again. I can't do art from my phone - there's no way I can follow what she's doing on a tiny screen and my laptop has to be attached to the internet via a cable that is only a couple of metres long, so basically at this table in the front room. Can't paint in here, no space.

But tomorrow instead of Tuesday art group I might have another go at the head of Botticelli's Venus which I had a bash at but fucked up. I think - people were complimentary about it but it looks shite to me. Neck's about a mile and a half too long - I seem to have gone metric for real measurements but still imperial for exaggeration.

I've also been involved in a twitter thing today about anti-semitism which is quite depressing. I read David Baddiel's recent short book called Jews Don't Count in which he examines the current state of anti-semitism in the UK, focusing to some extent on what he calls the progressive left - people like himself and me, who believe in equality for all, tax the rich, fund services properly etc etc. He's a Jew - his twitter biography says just that one word: Jew, which he says is partly because he thinks it's funny - he's a comedian by trade as well as a writer - but also against the way that it's become some kind of insult. People find it hard to say Jews and will instead say Jewish people. Anyway, it's a really interesting book - he's very clever but doesn't get bogged down in academic writing and said a lot that I hadn't known or hadn't understood, like about prejudice against Jews often being founded in mistaken beliefs that they are both all powerful - run the world, have all the money - but also the lowest of the low. He writes as an atheist whose grandparents fled Nazi Germany with his mother as a baby, and the rest of his maternal relatives perished in the camps. As he accurately points out, the Nazis wouldn't have given him the benefit of explaining his religious beliefs or the lack of them, he'd have been on the train with the rest of them.

I knew all this already - I've seen several of his stage shows over the years - but what I didn't know, and what I mentioned on twitter was about football fans' anti-semitic chanting. Honestly, it makes me feel ashamed to co-exist with such people. There's one team, Spurs, based in an area of London with a significant population of Jews, although there's never really been any direct connection between them and the team. Baddiel was at a match of another London team when at half time the scores at other matches were displayed on the big screen. Spurs were doing well and the crowd started yelling 'fuck the fucking Jews' and hissing, to represent the sound of the gas ovens in the camps. This was part of what prompted him to write about anti-semitism - can you even imagine being a person whose relatives were gassed and hearing a crowd of people doing that? Terrifying. I feel terrified and I'm not Jewish and I don't go to football matches. I mean, there's a long tradition of vile chants - Brighton, which is a famous gay city gets the chant of "You're gay, and we know you are!" at matches to which their fans reply "You're too ugly to be gay!" which is a different level of shite to hissing. I said words to that effect on Twitter - I like to mention books I've read and liked - writers don't get a round of applause - and while it got many 'likes' it also led to a debate about whether this was true or just an urban myth leading to more demonising of poor innocent football fans. Many people chipped in with stories of matches they'd been to where this had happened, going back over decades.

I don't know why I've written all that out here when I should be in bed.

Three good things
1. Chat with Daughter, although she did cry because she misses everyone so much and then I cried too as I miss her so much. She's had the vaccination but she can still carry the virus and pass it on so can't move around freely till most people have had it.
2. I got my dried rosehips and will make some more syrup tomorrow - in fact I'm going to put them on to soak overnight right now, so hang on... done. Yay.
3. I am down to 86.3 kg which is apparently 13st 8lbs, less than I've been since I stopped smoking in 2016 and means I am within sight of what has long been my adult weight - 12 stone and whatever. I celebrated by having corn crackers with goats' milk camembert which is fucking delicious.

I hope you are all as well as can be or at least hanging in there. We can do this. We can make it through to the other side. Love and hugs and thanks for reading if you made it this far.

11:48 p.m. - 08.02.21


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