Monday, January 04, 2021


Things are worse than ever – hospitals on the edge of being overwhelmed. The Prime Minister is about to speak to us. Scotland already has sterner measures. I think my way of life qualifies – Daniela would count as a carer (they’re allowed), as long as she is willing to come. We stay well away from each other. I pay for taxis. C. doesn’t come in the house. I regard myself as a member of Helen’s family bubble, but these days she doesn’t come in either. But it’s scary.


Helen came this morning. There was something of a thaw, and we got around the garden. The answer is, it took just over 1000 steps. General pottering about has added another 800 during the day, and presumably there’ll be a few more before bedtime. I’ve walked more than a kilometre today, the app says! So 2000 steps is my new target. Helen and I stood outside the house for a few minutes when we finished walking, to check the app. Perdita heard our voices, and called to me from behind the big front door. She does that sometimes, and it’s very sweet. Does she sit there waiting, like a small, anxious child?


And I have knit. The central square of Gudrun’s hap now has fewer than 40 stitches, and the Prime  Minister will account for a few more. Maybe I’ll pick up border stitches tomorrow!


You’ve probably had the message from Arne and Carlos, to say that Carlos is going into hospital for several weeks of “treatment, therapy and rehabilitation” for the symptoms which have lingered since his bad dose of Covid some months ago. That sounds as if perhaps hospitals in Norway are not quite as nearly-overwhelmed as they are here.




Dawn, I thought your suggestion (Saturday) of Alice Thomas Ellis was brilliant. I found her “The Birds of the Air” in my Kindle archive and have re-read it in one gulp. It’s appropriate to the season, being about a ghastly family Christmas. I then bought “Unexplained Laughter” but it is of lower emotional intensity and perhaps shouldn’t be read quite so soon after the other one.


Yes, Shandy, that was Hamish's mother Christina, who broke her neck a few months ago falling off a horse, going for a Loony Dook on New Year's Day. 


  1. My husband is always reading covid numbers to me, and Norway is one of his favorites. Only 129 people in hospital there. I enjoy how often I find new authors from you and your readers. Alice Thomas Ellis is new to me, but her books seem to be hard to come by here in the US. Also, in reading about her, Beryl Bainbridge comes up as her close friend. I've never read anything of hers either. Keep up those steps!

  2. Anonymous11:25 AM

    My husband always does the same thing. Is that a man thing? Jean, keep up your nutrition and Vitamin D. We need all the immunity we can get. I think your 2000 steps helps in that too. Once I started wearing a mask I felt more protected (silly me) and would forget to wash my hands. I credit a good immune system (knock on wood!) for escaping so far. Luckily these days essential businesses place sanitizing dispensers at exits so I make a habit of using those. And I have Lysol wipes and liquid sanitizers in the car which get plenty of use I had been thinking of reading some Willa Cather. You may have triggered actual reading. Chloe

  3. Has anyone read 'The Hare with Amber Eyes'? It's been sitting on my bedside 'waiting to be read' pile for over a year... I started it, but got distracted before it had me hooked. That was the same problem that I had with 'On Chapel Sands' which I have just finished after moving it from one place to another since last Christmas. Sometimes I end up reading a book just to get it out of the way, which seems a bit mad.