Thursday, 3 September 2020

Weather. Figs. Parking. Names. Back to the office. And Coronavirus hotspots.

After a reasonable start yesterday was a bit of a washout. So we just stayed at home, pottered about in the computer or iPad, read, did a bit of art and craft work and so on. We consoled ourselves with some nice fish baked in the oven for our evening meal, with some roasted figs and a glass or white wine.

When I was a child figs only ever appeared in fig biscuits, a sort of squishy mess wrapped in soft biscuit dough, usually served at Christmas time. One of those that you ate as a child because they seemed quote grown-up biscuits but which you were never quite sure if you liked them or not. It’s only with hindsight that I realise that the squishy mess was actually the inside of the fruit. I had no idea what a fig looked like and even less of what one actually tasted. And nowadays they appear as regular as clockwork at this time of year and I like to serve them up in various guises as long as they are around. Last week the Italian fruit and veg shop in Uppermill was selling individual small figs for 75 pence apiece. Yesterday the figs were enormous, almost twice the size of last week’s but still selling for the same price. How odd!

Today is forecast to be a little better: quite a lot of cloud but the 20% chance of rain looks like being an evening affair. So I have hung the washing to dry in the garden, taking a risk and keeping my fingers crossed. Maybe we’ll even manage a walk later in the day.

On the radio they have been talking about parking on the pavement, which is about to become illegal in Scotland apparently. Good for Scotland, say I! I can understand drivers’ wanting to get their huge vehicles - modern cars are so-o-o-o much bigger than cars ever used to be - as much off the road as possible but it’s a real pain for those of us who walk places. The number of times I have to step out into the road to get round parked vehicles is astounding. For myself it’s just a nuisance but if we are off on one of our family “adventures” with a baby buggy and a four-year-old to cope with it’s positively dangerous. Okay! That’s that rant out of the way.

In my youth I always rather fancied the idea of having a son, some time in the then far distant future, whom I would call Sean. And then I spent a fair few years teaching and came across a host of rude, lazy, obnoxious little Seans and that potential name went out of the window. And yesterday I came across a list of the “naughtiest names”:

Naughtiest boys
  •   Jack
  •   Harry
  •   Charlie
  •   Oliver
  •   George
Naughtiest girls
  •   Mia
  •   Ella
  •   Isabella
  •   Amelia
  •   Sophia
Now, I have a nephew called Jack who has always been a bit of a charming rascal. But he was named for his grandfather, my father, just about the nicest Jack you could meet. And our granddaughter Mia, although quite capable of throwing a bit of a temper tantrum for her parents, is a high achieving angel in school. What’s in a name? One of my daughter’s friend has just named her new son Hector, an increasingly popular name at present. I wonder how the little Hectors will be viewed by the time they get to school and are judged by peers and teachers.
At the other end of the spectrum, among the best behaved children Isla turns out to be he best name for girls while for boys, Arthur takes top spot, with just 4% of those surveyed expecting Arthurs to misbehave. Most likely to be associated with being quiet and shy are all the little  Noahs. Is this because they keep a low profile so that nobody asks them about all the animals in their ark?

Here is a link to an article by Joel Golby, questioning the “delights” of being back in the office. He wonders if Jeremy Hunt, who extolls the “fizz” and “excitement” of being in the office, has ever really works in an office. I was never an office worker but some of the same problems arise for classroom workers: going into the staffroom for a lunch break only to discover that someone has used your mug and not washed it up, or indeed has taken a fancy to it and walked off with it, leaving it to fester in a distant art classroom; making a coffee and going to the fridge for the milk you have clearly labelled, “This is Anthea’s bottle of milk - please leave her enough for her next cup of coffee”, has been completely emptied; finding the kitchen too disgustingly dirty to use. So it goes!

That is, of course, without mentioning the Coronavirus risk which has now been added. Coincidentally, I hear that former Italy PM Berlusconi has tested positive for coronavirus and is in quarantine at home. I an resisting the temptation to say it could not happen to a better person. He hasn’t mentioned bunga-bunga parties but apparently he stressed that he would continue his political activities.

“I will be present in the electoral campaign with interviews on televisions and in newspapers,” he said during a video-conference of Forza Italia’s women’s movement.
However he recognised “the limitations imposed on my activities by testing positive for the coronavirus... but I will continue the battle.”

We shall see!

Meanwhile, the virus keeps popping up. France has seen in increase in cases, as have a nuber of other countries. Spain is ordering immediate lockdown, to stay i  effect for 14 days, in the tourist town of Benig├ánim  in the mountain region of Valencia but just 60 miles from the coastal holiday resort of Benidorm. 

A long way from the Iberian peninsula the island of El Hierro - in the Canary Islands, the place we have been told by so many commentators that it should not be included in the blanket decision to require quarantine for returnees - has closed its beaches immediately because of a serious outbreak.
All of this, as with the Coronavirus positive people flying back from Greek islands, makes me wonder whether the tourists catch the virus there or take it with them and upset the health balance in the tourist place. Or it might just be a second wave - JUST a second wave!!

Life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone.

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