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I think because we’ve had a long sunny spring with the rest of the summer ahead it feels longer than usual. Lots has been going on in the garden with plenty having come and gone but all sorts to look forward to. No dahlias yet but they’re showing some buds. There’s not a lot of flowers to paint though and I badly need some inspiration.

I guess that’s the way it goes, but I hate feeling lacking in ideas and unproductive. I’ve been doing some postcard size paintings that I may send to The Old Lockup Gallery for their exhibition that is only for postcard size or smaller work:

I still haven’t had the opportunity to have my framed paintings hung up on show due to everything being cancelled so I’m looking forward to July and the first of local exhibitions in Cley.

Everything seems to be starting up again but we have no updates on when shielding will be lifted. But can we trust anything anyway? I’m finding it near on impossible to continue to shutter myself away. I did have the excitement of a visit to the GP surgery for a blood test last week (that involved 3 nurses and a doctor, although not a record) and then to the post office to send the sample off to Papworth. That is the second test for cytomegalovirus.

I’m back at Papworth next week so that will be a trip out. I cannot face a 5 o’clock start so may stay at the local Holiday Inn which caters for essential workers etc. The Papworth transplant Facebook group is quite useful for tips and apparently it has all the safeguards in place.

I’ve also been delivering bread again and stopped off at the strawberry hut, so strictly speaking I’m not shielding at all. More like semi- shielding.

We’re getting lots of use from our wood oven; delicious monkfish with Italian lentils and salsa rossa, and roast chicken of course. M is perfecting his pizza dough. This is one of my favourite times of year for vegetables; I love peas and broad beans (pretty much over already alas), and asparagus. The strawberries are very good too, and it’s all local which makes it much better.

The vegetable patch is getting overcrowded not least with increasing amounts of lettuce. The purple sprouting broccoli has started to sprout and I can see the tops of the beetroot poking through. M is in charge of tomatoes and has a special scientific planter for them that controls the water. They also have their own small greenhouse.

Life seems to revolve around food which is something to enjoy regardless of lockdowns. Books are also lifelines; I’ve just bought the new Anne Tyler who is always a treat and the latest Maggie O’Farrell.

I also bought the Trullo cookbook which I couldn’t resist as it was my regular local restaurant in London serving perfect food. The lentil recipe was from there and tonight we have chicken livers with raspberries, endive and mustard dressing. Sounds a little odd but I imaging the sweetness of the raspberries will go nicely with the livers and bitter leaves (from the garden! And not too bitter)

I did read the Croissant book during the day (didn’t want it to end) but it was raining and miserable. I don’t normally read in the day; I think I associate that with being on holiday. I remember going to Spain to lie on the beach for two weeks with half a dozen or more books.

I haven’t had that sort of holiday for years but who knows what is to come? The conditions have to be right for me to want to sunbathe ie some sort of water preferably the Mediterranean with a pebbly (not sand) beach (fine with jelly shoes), at least 27 degrees and a gentle breeze. I’m dreaming of a particular beach in Spain where we’d bake all day under raffia umbrellas only moving to dip in the sea or to go the few yards to lunch at the beach side restaurant and eat fabulous fresh sardines or paella.

We used to finish off with carajillos which are short coffees with brandy. The Spanish drank a bewildering array of coffees which I could never work out, but I always looked on at the various combinations of layers and volume and the various types of cup or glass they were served in and wondered what they were.

So nice to think of other times and places when there wasn’t so much uncertainty and doubt. Almost everywhere of course is affected by the pandemic but I feel that we are subject to an utterly and overtly dishonest and incompetent government. And I’m always amazed to read polls that suggest that there are still significant numbers of people who think they are ok.

I’m genuinely baffled at how anyone can trust them to do the best for the country. As I read somewhere and I paraphrase : 'the biggest trick the conservatives pulled was persuading those who didn’t have much that it was others who had less than them that were taking all their money.'

So I feel confused on both levels; that a bunch of privileged con artists are in power and that they’re fooling the general population. I find myself looking at people and wandering what they think, as if appearances could tell (unless you look like Tommy Robinson or Boris Johnson for that matter). I don’t intend to make this a political rant but as a weekly blog that essentially is about my transplant ‘journey’ (I hate that expression!) and day to day musings I find in difficult not to mention something which I find deeply troubling.

Art will never fail to help of course; I’ve been looking at a lot of collages which I like the idea of doing but haven’t attempted yet. These are by Kurt Schwitters and could be contemporary even though he died in 1948:

Here is a little poem to finish off:

“Hope”is the thing with feathers-

That perches in the soul-

And sings the tune without the words-

And never stops - At all-

By Emily Dickinson

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