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Boarding @ Home: Day 84/ Corollary: Reflections on the Great English Covid 19 Pandemic Lockdown March 23rd - June 14th 2020

Alpha and Omega - the Beginning & The End. We began 3 metres apart on March 23rd and ended on June 14th a yard apart. Same 5 Happy People in the garden at The Lodge. And that second picture is the Thank You Dolphinstouns All for being both next door all the while and for giving every form of help we could ever have wished or asked for. Who'd have guessed what a prescient move we made when, as promised at our occupation on August 6th 1979 we made way on Julian's 40th birthday vacating The Manor House so his family with two sons could grow up there! Howzzat for hindsighting?

How fair is the critique that this blog is an ectype, copied/ cribbed from Wikipedia and others? Along with Steven Poole as a valued source, I feel it's reasonable to accept the charge but to let the descriptive word ectype imply much more than simply a facsimile or a wax impression from a seal or signet ring. Indeed I've convinced myself that such a meaning is more than reasonable as I've content analysed the 84 entries we've made. Wikipedia and the delight of unexpected National Days have given me a structured base from which to pen a daily column and enrich it with seldom explored detail. To take a bizarre example my sister Anne in Canada, reading the tale of Paper Clips on National Paper Clip Day, wanted to know the tale of Office Staplers. And a structured life throughout lockdown was what all the experts/ psychologists recommended to keep us sane. So what does the analysis show?
No apologies; I'm proud of this collection. And I'm grateful to Avril for reading each night and sister Anne each morning when she wakes in Edmonton. Anne's had a 'good' lockdown just happily being with Bryan and Joan in Edmonton as it started rather than solo in her Victoria BC apartment.
I'll start with the structure themes that are apparent running from 1-84 … …. which we had not always realised but in our wiser moments encouraged and sustained. I say 'we' because Avril and I have supported one another implicitly whilst at time telling ourselves it was much like our 'normal' before the lockdown. Is that good or not so good?
1. All those Dolphinstouns next door + WhatsApps/ gardening/ singing girls from Ilkley + Weekly phone from Edmonton. This structure was constant, omnipresent and enjoyable! Each week shopping lists were created and as possible we distanced ourselves by the hedge to share stories of home schooling and fallen flags and tenants …. Kathryn kept teaching throughout bless her! Henry even won £50 kicking a football … 2. Writing a blog every day. This could have been tedious but with Avril and Anne as constant readers and whisperers [twice corrected from Canada for family errors!] it never was. The search for and editing of National Days / pictures content typically took 3+ hours. 3. Gardening and Bookstalling. Gardening was widely reported along with d-i-y as occupying many a lockdownee. And there was ample scope and goings on for Avril. But she had the brilliant notion that a bookstall to get rid of our overwhelming already-read-stocks might work; placing an auld Gothenburg pre 2004 bar table now painted white on the gates' apron and inviting passers by to take what they wished. Needed/ got improvised rain covering! For my part I found myself palindromic fence painting for a couple of weeks - a task we knew needed to be done but never expected to get around to; the sun shone throughout and after much internet searching Avril traced the auld woodland moss Cuprinol - minimum order 4 cans too many! 4. AMD Checks and Fixes. These were of course a sine qua non and entered throughout in the diary with Claire of the NHS as pointman. As good fortune would have it Avril got a clear six week run in mid-lockdown. 5. Family Birthdays …. & Hi Feast Days There were plenty of these starting with Avril on April 1st/ Anne 9th/ Julian May 16th with Maureen Sharp, Audrey and Gerry Hine all clustering. Then we added Melania Trump, Prince Rainier and Viktor Orbán for good measure; Mathew Guest edited Day 82/84 when I should have been cricketing and dining with him at emeraldHeadingly with Duncan to catch up on my own 82nd birthday gift last December. 6. Gothenburg Facebook Pages. Calum from The Pans kept up morale and momentum with almost daily Facebook telling of their breakfast deliveries/ quizzes/ take out service/ and Fathers' Day Special … and we got the £25K + £10K grants …. 7. Steven Pooole's Verbiage. His book A Word for Every Day of the Year has been enormous and unending fun and an inspiration [to both Avril and myself] as the final Lexicon below demonstrates. Always a challenge to integrate them into the text. 8. Learning Gaelic! This a bright idea with my determination in Scotland to stay the course with introducing Gaelic into the Pans. I cheated all the way and have found it virtually impossible to recall anything I've learnt or master any pronunciation. But the gratis website will constantly urge me on …. 9. Friday Coffee Rendezvous. This I am proud to say was my invention but it took the place, modestly, of an important structure that's been in Avril's community life for 40 years! We dressed up smartly each week and sat out on the front porch or in the bay window; and ate chocolate covered rice biscuits. We even once managed the Lochnaw tartan … to Avril's kilted delight. 10. Projects like ZOOMing and Sour Milk. We had a number of these of which Zooming was for me the most nerve wracking. Mathew came to my aid long distance so I could host the Battle Trustees successfully. Sour milk was weird; our refrigerator seemed to fail in its task and Avril devised a discipline of putting 50% in the freezer each week until she found my white wines fridge was just as good! We watched the moon through its monthly phases and Capt Tom walk his way to £32m for the NHS and a knighthood. And the Maserati Elliot and I had wrecked as lockdown began had its own eventual resurrection returning thinking life was lived at -40 degrees. Weymouth was out of bounds but bounced up with anchored cruise liners and Vanuatu and Main Beach as usual found their place.
National Days were astonishing. I even managed to get participation from the extended family e.g. Fish & Chips and UN International Bicycle Days. Bryan scooped the Strawberry & Rhubarb Pie Day in Edmonton since his supermarket had it on sale as a special. On as many occasions as I could I recalled our own family experiences or relatedness as with Laura and Escargot, Avril with Armagnac, everyone with Hamburger Day and Doughnut Day - for which I was duly reward by the Dolphinstouns. Dinosaur Day brought Elliot out in £50 costume and comparative research on Alberta/ Dorset's Jurassic Coast/ Northampton and Yorkshire. Mimosa and then Rosé Days were jointly celebrated as was English Wine Week both original and as postponed with shipments from Shawsgate and Furleigh all round. Talking of postponements Fish & Chip Day was postponed until September when we are to host the Dolphinstouns who cooked up for the original.
So much to learn .. if you have and take the time! That was the National Days trigger and opportunity … here were the other themes.... Cheese; St George; Anzac with all its Weymouth connections; Intellectual Property; Prime Rib; Health & Safety; Dance; Brothers & Sisters - that went well!; VE Day; Sandwich with the Earl close by in Dorset; Hoagies; Tourist Appreciation - controversy over visiting any 2nd homes; Europe - say no more; Walnuts; Cherry Cobbler; Pen Pals - with Anne's Uta in Berlin and Mathew & Kathryn taking her there to visit just days before lockdown; Olives; Best Friends; Indian State of Telegana; No Dirty Dishes; Maritime Day; Work from Home; Spring Bank Holiday; Whitsun; Dunkirk and the extraordinary contributions of retired Admiral Ramsay; Guadalope; Paraguay; Coq au Vin; Oak Apple - reminded by Arran when Charles II hid in the oak tree after defeat at Worcester [at which Harrington of Manor House blue plaque fame fought for Cromwell]; US Memorial Day; Gingerbread; Eyewear from Yukon to AMD; D Day; Tom & Jerry followed by Donald Duck; Ballpoint Pen and Corn on the Cob. It's one almighty litany and every one surprisingly interesting if you spent 2/3/4 hours research on the internet to get some inklings …
… to conclude these Reflections here is the final/ Part 4 Lexicon with most sincere thanks to Steven Poole:
Addubitation - hesitancy, doubtfulness
Cautelous - wily, cunning, circumspect, heedful
Chumping - collecting together things desirable for 'an' occasion
Conquassate - yank, pull wildly, shake violently
Descry - catch sight of, espy, [also] describe
Discountenancer - eyebrow raiser, one who expresses disapproval
Ectype - copy as wax from seal, more broadly to imitator, copier
Facinorous - villainous, wicked, heinous [behaviour]
Felicificability - happy making, capacity for happiness
Feriation - quiet, idleness, cessation of work
Gaslighting - manipulate someone by psychological means to doubt their own sanity
Gobemouche - credulous, gullible
Haruspication - interpret omens from entrails of sacrificed animals
Luciferous - enlightening
Morganatic - [marriage to a lower one to whom no gift is given] transaction in which nobody gains anything
Onolatry - excessive devotion to something foolish
Pareidolia - seeing images in poorly structured fields, even tea leaves!
Persiflage - banter, amusing bandiage
Pervicacious - Extremely obstinate
Prickmedainty - affected dress, dandyish, over concerned with appearance
Refulgent - gleaming, shining, radiant
Remord - recall with regret or remorse
Resistentialism - what things think of us, the world's against one
Rhadamanthine - strict and unswerving in judgement
Scrouge - encroach on another's space e.g. tube train
Sequacious - slavish adherent, unquestioning acolyte
Slubberdegullion - slovenly, filthy person
Tergiversation - equivocation, prevarication, turning one's back on, almost backword
Velleity - wanting something but not bothering to get up and look for it
Ventriloquising - speaking on behalf of others without their knowledge or consent

Published Date: June 19th 2020

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