Thank you to all those who left comments on my last post as well as everyone who sent messages, cards, flowers and (last but definitely not least) plenty of food to our family over the last few weeks. We haven’t all been under the same roof for a year, obviously, which probably exacerbated the thrown-out-of-time-and-into-a-bubble feeling while we all came together at my mum’s. In some ways it even felt like a delayed Christmas, with lots of cooking and walks around Gladstone Park and finally being able to play a game of Dixit. Shout-out to the free and exceptionally well organised on-demand Covid testing being offered at Willesden Green Library now – an excellent thing to have if circumstances force you to travel!
Dad’s funeral was held last Friday – both in-person and virtually – but there will be a larger memorial service held at some point when everyone can mix more freely. In the meantime, if you’re looking for a way to remember him, you can always pour yourself an Old Speckled Hen and put on David Bowie’s Life on Mars? wherever you happen to be.
Coincidentally, but talking of Bowie, the ever-expanding radius of what Randi and I consider feasible weekend walks recently took us to Beckenham where Bowie lived for a number of years. We were big fans of Kelsey Park despite the ever-present danger of the ‘Norwegian troll’ which an older man kindly warned us had disguised itself as a tree and parked itself beside the bench where we were currently enjoying our tuna melt paninis. We reassured him we’d be careful. Yesterday we walked in the opposite direction up to Blackheath and (predictably) ate more tuna melt paninis on the redundantly-named Blackheath Heath. There were no trolls this time, but (a) ‘Blackheath Manor’ was the creepy setting for The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, (b) the queue for Gail’s Bakery was longer than a vaccination centre in Florida so for these reasons Beckenham is currently winning out in our weekend tuna melt league.
Other than this nonsense (can you tell the lockdown material is wearing thin?) I’ve just finished Adam Curtis’s latest ‘documentary’ series Can’t Get You Out of My Head. As usual, it’s more of a late-night semi-psychedelic experience where the whole is less than the sum of its parts but you don’t care because fundamentally Curtis is really good at finding incredible archive footage and cutting it together with music. I’ve been satisfying my own archivist needs with my newly-purchased Doxie scanner – it’s a great solution if you want a really fast way to scan documents and photos but is ultra-small and portable enough to fit in a desk drawer afterwards, and I’m not just saying that because they gave me £20 to participate in a delightful product research call afterwards. (Or am I? Too late, you’ve already read it now.)
I also had virtual after-work beers with Sam Carter and, last Sunday, celebrated Census Day with genuine happiness. Perhaps this is not a universal problem, but it’s annoying (to me) to be on a walk to – say – Beckenham, wonder “hmm, I wonder what the population of Beckenham is?”, pull out your phone to scratch the curiosity itch and then have to rely on figures from 2011 because we’re at the end of a ten year census cycle. Had the Norwegian troll even begun to stalk the land in 2011? The people demand data.