Saturday, March 28, 2020

Applause and a Virtual Drink

I forgot to mention this yesterday, but when Dave and I were watching TV Thursday night, I became aware of a weird sound -- a kind of rhythmic tapping or banging. I paused the TV and said to Dave, "What am I hearing?" He couldn't hear it. I thought it might be the kids upstairs, but I went to the back door and opened it, and realized it was applause -- clapping hands. My neighbors on all sides were standing outside and cheering.

We learned later this was a coordinated demonstration of support for the National Health Service and its employees, who have been at the front lines of the coronavirus battle. We didn't know it was going to happen, or we would have cheered too.

And you know who else ought to get some cheers? The sanitation workers. They came yesterday morning and collected our trash, right on schedule. I thought, boy, are these guys unsung heroes. I saw a few fellow bloggers say the same in their posts later in the day. In this time of disruption and uncertainty it's comforting to see crucial routines continue.

I barely left the house yesterday. Olga and I sat out in the back garden, me with my mediocre Patricia Cornwell novel, Olga with her belly spots.

And then we went, again, to the cemetery. I think Olga's actually doing more walking with me than with her dog-walker. I suspect the walker just takes her to the Heath and lets her loll in the grass, whereas she and I are more actively moving around. She seemed a little worn out yesterday!

In the evening I participated in a "virtual happy hour" with my co-workers. We all poured ourselves a drink and got on Zoom and chatted for a while, to decompress and catch up on the news. It was pretty fun and kind of surreal at the same time! It was cool to get a little glimpse of everyone's home lives in the background -- their decor or their gardens and pets and babies. I've seen articles recently on how to video-conference wisely, including choosing suitable backdrops and dressing appropriately. I guess we're all doing it, right?

My happy hour drink was made with the blood-orange-and-fig infused gin I bought at Sainsbury's the other day, and it was not bad! Not too sweet, and really good with tonic and lime.

I have already lost my bet about Mrs. Kravitz and her plants. She did water them yesterday. I still think most of them are going to perish, though. Stay tuned!

Oh, and remember how I visited filmmaker Derek Jarman's former home in Dungeness last summer? Well, there's a public effort to buy the property and make it available for garden tours and workshops and as an artist's retreat. I've donated to it and I hope they reach their goal -- they're already so close. I'm not a huge fan of Jarman's weird, incomprehensible filmmaking but I recognize how important he was in the worlds of art and gay culture, and I loved reading "Modern Nature," the first volume of his published diaries. (Which was partly about his gardening in the hardscrabble shingle of Dungeness.) I would love to be able to see inside the cottage one of these days!


  1. How good to hear you are well.
    Some of my family members are nurses and doctors, three of them working in the UK/NHS. They tell me that it was very moving to hear the clapping but that they wish that everyone who clapped would support them by demanding better equipment, proper safety gear, help with shopping and taking care of their families while working flat out and in the long run, better working hours, decent pay, the whole hog.
    You know.

  2. Instead of reading mediocre Patricia Cornwell novels you could make up a story specially for Olga - "The Dog Who Caught a Squirrel". Olga would love the part where the canine heroine of the story finally sank her fangs into Squirrel Nutkin. Success!

  3. Matt our son is a nurse and is exhausted already, he has the extra worry of transferring the virus home and as his wife has the same complaint as Dave he is worried.
    He was overcome with emotion when all the neighbours were clapping and he's not like that normally.
    Love Olga's speckled tummy, she'squite unaware of any of this.

  4. Yes, huge applause for the people who work in health, food, sanitation, and the many jobs that used to be considered "menial" and are now shown up for what they are:

    Glad to hear a bit of good about Mrs Kravitz.
    (Has she ever said a kind word to you?)

    I'm having my first Zoom happy hour tonight! Many of us are getting acquainted with our e-machines like never before, eh?

    Hm... Would it be fun to have a blog meet-up on Zoom?

  5. Seems like Zoom is the app to have these days.
    Of course I don't, yet.
    My family just texts all day long which is also fun.
    There are many heroes in this situation and isn't it odd how they are not the ones who make good money?
    I'm glad to hear that the blood orange and fig gin was not only drinkable, but good!

  6. I've read about the clapping and cheering for the hospital staff here. I think it is wonderful that you got to hear it. A beautiful show of support.
    My family has been talking about skyping. I've never heard of zoom, so I may have to check that out.

  7. I like the community cheering. Maybe some of us will get to know each other.

  8. and over here our whiney crybaby in charge has said basically, you want help? be nice to me.

  9. We had a zoom graduation party last night, for my niece's husband who's just got his MBA. Everyone raised a glass, and yes, surreal. There's a joke going around that Zoom is behing this whole covid mess. Their app certainly is having a moment!

  10. I'm supposed to do a virtual happy hour sometime this evening. I can't wait to give it a try. I've already had video staff meetings that have worked very well so I think it should be fun. I was just thinking about the sanitary workers yesterday when they came by to pick up the trash. You are right, they deserve a pat on the back along with all the health workers.
    There was a short story on the NPR yesterday morning saying that street workers in London have taken advantage of the smaller crowds and repainted the Abbey Road crosswalk. I checked the web cam and sure enough, it looks freshly painted and for the few minutes I was looking at it, not one person was around. That's highly unusual.

  11. YES to kudos for sanitation workers and grocery store checkers/stockers and janitors and truckers everywhere who aren't making hazard pay, or in many cases even a living wage, but sure should be. Who would have thought those jobs would put their employees on the front lines in a crisis? I am also thankful, of course, to health care workers, police and firefighters, but they have a bit of an advantage in that part of their training is handling emergency situations. I feel like a coward being in a relatively safe job when so many are in the fray.

    Olga's sweet pink tummy should help cheer ANYBODY who's sad or stressed - what a tonic! She is doing her part!

  12. Anyone who's working right now to serve the public... even those behind the scenes that keep our lives moving... deserve a daily round of applause. So glad people are showing their appreciation.

  13. I think it's wonderful how so many folks everywhere are showing their appreciation to those who are working to help keep us safe and well. Your Olga is just darling. She looks ever so happy just laying in the sunny grass, soaking up the warm sun. A few more degrees warmer, and Pogo and I can sit out on our little porch to enjoy the warm sun too. You be safe and have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

  14. I participated in two zoom meetings just today (weight watchers meeting & book club). Plus a couple at work this past week. It’s the new happening thing. Ha!

    Your day yesterday sounds just about perfect to me - including the book (I like Patricia Cornwell).