Catherine’s Diary (2): 24 March 2020


My aunt Catherine lives on her own; her husband, Bruce, died last October.  They would have been married 50 years in this coming June.  She is a technophobe; doesn’t have a computer, iPad or Smart Phone.  It’s not that she wouldn’t be able to use one but she doesn’t have Broadband either.  This is not the time to start thinking about moving up in the field of technology: who’s going to come out and set up the Broadband and help you to use a devise?  But she writes a ‘mean’ letter and uses her ‘Government exercise period’ to walk to a nearby post box in order to post her contribution to ‘We’re all in this together’.  She will text me to say it’s coming (and then to tell me she left out one page and she thought I’d make sense of it anyway!).  Her problem with text is that her brain works considerably faster than her fingers, so words run into each other, but it’s OK.

The tea towel I have chosen is from the National Trust about their cats at various properties.  It was sent to me by a friend, recently, and designed by Pat Albeck, my favourite tea towel designer.  The topic of the tea towel is relevant to Catherine’s tale from lockdown!  Here’s her latest update from Harlow:

“Brother-in-law relayed to me, in a bulletin, that isolation is for 6 months; the shock shook me up.  It turns out that he was wrong.  The news was that the Government is to review its new ‘powers’ in 6 months.  (This is how rumours spread and frighten people, by not listening to reliable News Briefings).

Amanda (daughter) says we won’t have close contact for at least 3 weeks; she will drop the shopping off at the front door.  She says that we will get through this and then we will go on loads of day trips.  I hope one of them is to America!

More motivation today: cats feed, cat trays done, all rubbish got rid of, plenty of eggs now, scrambled on toast which was delicious so I felt entitled to watch Inspector Frost; turned on TV and an advert faced me for erectile dysfunction.  Who wants that at 10.35 a.m?  Closely followed by life insurance, funerals… such is life.  Earlier this morning (6.17 a.m), Amanda phoned: “just wanted to hear your voice, Mum, and know you are alright” which brought a lump to my throat, normally I get told off because I talk too much!!

I phoned Christine up, an 88 year old, housebound friend, all the ailments under the sun, strong Scottish lady, marvellous friend, calls me ‘Catherine the Great’.  Bruce used to call her ‘Nanook of the North’ because when she used to go out, she was dressed up, as if she was going to Siberia.  Normally, on my way home from shopping, I used to call in, have two sherries and we would put the world to rights.  All changed now!!  Anyway, last night, Christine fancied a sherry but couldn’t open the bottle (bad hands).  I suggested nut crackers, wonderful invention.  Then we discussed food, how to space out meals (don’t want to eat my stores too quickly).  I had a late breakfast today, yesterday I had two dinners.  I will end up obese but how I enjoyed them both.

Lots of people are out there on their own but I am finding it hard to cope.  Tonight I wanted to smash the pots and pans!  How stupid is that?   Why?  I watched a harrowing story on ‘Bake Off Stand Up for Cancer’ or perhaps the text I got from Gov.UK or Amanda saying she felt stressed.  “Stop stressing” I told her “I’m locked away so I’m one less person to stress about”.  More likely it is the cats, keep coming down ‘en masse’ for food; they seem to be eating for England!  I had a natter to Bruce after my shower but it didn’t help so I am resorting to gin and orange.  But my thoughts have also been with people, children and animals in lockdown who have suffered, or will suffer, domestic abuse, coupled up 24/7.  Doesn’t bear thinking about.

Another cat has appeared out of the woodwork and she’s picking up dried old food from her last meal.

Good Night.


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