Etched Behind Eyelids | October 2020
What with the state of the world this year I have been seeking distractions, and one of my favourite distractions is botany and houseplants. This is a rhaphidophora tetrasperma leaf cutting I bought to propagate so that I can grow my own plant.
I haven’t read as many books this year as I did in 2019 because I borrow most of my books from the library and it was closed between March and July. I use the reservations system to get hold of the books I want to read, as my branch is big on popular fiction for adults with a reading age of seven and I can rarely find anything there that’s worth reading. Yes, I’m a literary snob. No, I am not ashamed. All the literary fiction tends to be stocked by the suburban libraries but the reservations system – which means I can put a request in and then have it brought over to my branch – isn’t up and running yet after the first wave of the pandemic. It probably won’t be for a long time now that we’re facing down a second national shutdown. Needless to say, I haven’t really bothered with the library since it did reopen other than to pick up these three. I have decided I don’t think I can face reading Lolita after all, classic it may be but the subject matter makes me squirm.
Minou is such a teddy bear.
At the start of October Ed’s parents returned to the UK from a month in France, and so they had to quarantine themselves for two weeks as per government regulations. One Saturday afternoon we drove down to Gloucestershire where they live to pick up their cockapoo Maisie and take her for a long walk for them – they had friends in their village walk her the other days. We took her over to Woodchester Park for a long walk through the woods. It was a lovely afternoon. There’s an unfinished gothic mansion in the grounds of Woodchester Park which is very beautiful though, unsurprisingly for England, it was apparently constructed with profits from slavery as the landowner – William Leigh – owned a trade ship.
A visit to Birmingham Botanical Gardens an hour before sunset one Sunday afternoon. I have shared more photos from our visit here.
I met up with my parents for a walk in the Malvern Hills. The last time we walked the hills together was six years ago, and I think I was a bit ambitious with our route and had underestimated how taxing it would be for them to get up on to the ridge. Next time we go for a walk together I will try to find a flatter route! It was lovely to see them but felt very unnatural to not be able to give them a hug.
Another Sunday, another visit to Birmingham Botanical Gardens. I’m glad we made the most of BBG and Winterbourne this month, as both botanic gardens will have to close again for the month of November as we’re about to enter another shutdown period and they may not be allowed to reopen until the new year.
I promised myself at the start of October that I wouldn’t buy any more cuttings or plants until spring, but life is stressful at the moment and plants make me happy. These are hoya linearis cuttings I’m trying to root.
I’m still working on Chopin’s nocturne in E minor. The third page is going to take quite a lot of drilling. It’s not as if I’ve got anything else to do at the moment though, and music is one of the few things that gives me a sense of purpose and achievement these days.
Sunday morning, the day the clocks went back for winter. If I was in charge I would abolish daylight saving time and stay on British Summer Time year round. I really can’t be doing with sunset at 4PM in midwinter, it’s so miserable.
Making Swedish cinnamon buns. I followed this recipe by Linda Lomelino, and substituted vegan dairy free margarine for the butter, soya milk for dairy milk, and I brushed them with soya milk rather than egg before baking. They taste just like bakery buns.
The Physician is a gastropub in my city. The building used to house a medical library, but it’s been a pub for the past few years. Since September we’ve been living under heavy restrictions in Birmingham which mean that you can only meet up with friends and non-household members in groups of six and you have to be outdoors. The Physician put up a tent to keep punters warm and dry through the winter, but I feel for them as they are being forced to close for the month of November anyway, and there’s not much hope that they’ll be allowed to reopen in December either.
Life feels so very bleak at the moment. October has been a blaze of colour, but now the leaves are down and we’re heading into the dark months and another shutdown at the same time, there is very little to look forward to. Both botanic gardens are closing, my gym and pool are closing, I’m still unable to work as a result of physical distancing rules and have no idea when that will change, and I’m feeling very fed up.
It won’t be this bleak forever (Yeah right)Spanish Love Songs – Self Destruction (As A Sensible Career Choice)
It won’t be this bleak forever (And I hope you’re right)
It won’t be this bleak forever (Have you seen me lately?)
It won’t be this bleak forever” (Yeah right)