It’s been a strange couple of weeks, and not in a good way. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has directly affected the lives of people I’m close to and care a lot about. They aren’t on the frontline, but they are affected all the time. At the same time, Randi and I finally caught Covid, although in my case I’ve had (almost) no symptoms at all other than a certain quiet satisfaction that, yes, at least I have been administering these lateral flow tests on myself properly all this time. Unfortunately Randi didn’t get off quite as lightly, although she is OK and is now fully on the mend. But the coincidence of these two things has resulted in a weird atmosphere of being stuck inside, worrying about people over WhatsApp and watching news reports of advancing armies and bombed-out cities.
Away from the war itself, I do recommend the documentary F@ck This Job, available in the UK on BBC iPlayer as Tango With Putin, as another angle into modern Russia. It’s the story of independent TV channel Dozhd (or TV Rain) which you may remember from the clip of its staff walking off set together as the station was shut down at the beginning of March. Its founder, Natalya Sindeyeva, is a fascinating leader and the documentary is worth watching for her alone.
We had planned to visit Katie in Glasgow – a city which I’ve still never visited – but for obvious reasons this was postponed. Instead, we have at least been escaping to Victorian London by getting into a nice habit of reading Sherlock Holmes aloud in the evenings. It’s extremely comforting when a character from the nineteenth century rides a familiar train from Norwood to London Bridge.
Before this current phase of isolation, we did have a few lovely get-togethers to write about. Abbi visited us two weeks ago for a Friday night sleepover, followed by a Saturday morning run with Randi and then breakfast together at the Lazy Chef. The next day, we travelled up to Golders Green for the triple delights of brunch with Josh, Anna and Cora at Soyo, a wander around Golders Hill Park and – of course – a trip to Carmelli Bakery to stock up on challah. I also had a much-needed night out in a pub with Clark and Matt, where we only spent some of the time talking about nuclear weapons, and even very briefly went back to the office (!) to link up with Jill and Lee on some work-related visits. (No no, don’t try and amateur track-and-trace this paragraph. I definitely got my Covid from Randi…😇)