Lockdown ginger

Pass the smelling salts

Sometimes our best efforts do not go

amiss; sometimes we do as we meant to.

The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow

that seemed hard frozen: may it happen to you.

Sheenah Pugh

A Tier 4 Christmas went surprisingly well round here. Daughter managed to come back from Nottingham in time to hear Boris Johnson telling everyone to stay put. I did not order her back to the station. Our bubble person, who lives alone, also joined in. There may or may not have been others.

Everything was simplified, which suits my tree-hugging persona. Presents did not have to be sweated over, if they were bought at all. Wider family received home-made cards; immediate family received an interesting range of stocking fillers from local shops for local people. Walnuts, dates, pomegranates, oils and unguents from Lewisham’s Brazilian, Polish, Sri Lankan and Chinese shops. One of the presents in the sack at the end of my bed was the most enormous branch of ginger from the Turkish food shop round the corner. I am gingering up my life no end.

One of the people I follow on Instagram calls herself Silly Ginger Vegan, which describes me quite accurately. Although I become less ginger as the silver threads outnumber the gold in my lockdown tresses. Am working on becoming less silly.

The roads around Catford are festooned with banners urging us to shop local, which is easy to do in urban areas blessed with numerous small, multicultural  retailers. The other week I interviewed a family that run a wonderful convenience store a few streets from here. They told me how they’d joined the community WhatsApp group in their street, and had helped with foodbanks, deliveries and general neighbourhood support throughout both lockdowns and now, more so, in Tier 4 restrictions. I hope they’re selling plenty from the exciting off-licence bit of their store today, because there’ll be some serious home drinking tonight.

It’s the last day of 2020. Many memes and GIFS on social media are variations on the same theme: good riddance to 2020 and let’s all look forward to 2021. Poor old 2020. It started well. Double parkrun on 1 January 2020, I believe.

It’s pretty obvious the first two months, at least, of 2021 will be no better than anything people endured this past year. So give it a break. No-one performs well when expectations are set too high.

My wishes for 2021 are as follows:

I hope I can follow a decent training schedule as if my 27 March marathon is going ahead (that’s highly unlikely) and I continue to progress in the Marathon Gran Good for Age vein.

I hope that my daughter, completing her fourth year at university, manages her own demanding schedule, stays healthy and in control and fulfils her wish to earn a scholarship to study for an MA in Taiwan.

I hope that in six months or I’ll be able to climb onto the Eurostar and DB trains to Berlin to see my little grandsons.

I hope my middle son is successful in his application to teach in the Ivory Coast.

I hope, overall, that my best efforts turn out to be worth the effort, and I have the strength to do as I mean to.

Fiery ginger is anti-inflammatory. So that’s good.

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