Day thirteen at Gumnut and we’re reaching the end of self-isolation following our return from Milan. However, I suspect that’s a moot point as both for reasons of medical history and the increasingly severe drive to stay at home, it’s not likely to be much different for me for a few weeks at least. Vaughan suffers a bit more than me from cabin fever but Southwark is a hotspot within the hotspot of London so we’re both likely to be home birds for a while yet.
I should start by asking where did those 14 days go? That should be followed quickly by a warning. There’s been a fair bit happening over the past 24 hours, so I’m perhaps a little heavier in the word count than usual. I’m still learning the bits to edit, reduce and precise without losing the interest, relevance or reason for including the content in the first place. Bear with me during that process while I tread the fine line between natural flow and rambling, hopefully staying on the right side.
I would have to say the past 24 hours has been defined by the certain knowledge of tempus fugiting.
A few things contributed to this. The first was the news that someone I knew in passing had become ill and died after contracting the Coronavirus. I don’t claim to have known Nick Matthews well, certainly not well enough to call him a friend, though our paths had crossed professionally a number of times. Nonetheless, it was a sobering moment when those you know (even slightly) fall victim to the virus. I was aware that he had recently suffered a heart attack and I suspect his BP may well have been on the high side, but knowing all that, it was still a shock. Let’s keep it just one person if we could please.
The second component was bizarrely the news of the death of Kenny Rogers. I wasn’t a particular fan, but like most people who can remember the late 70’s and early 80’s his voice formed part of the soundtrack. A school friend Les picked up on my saying Kenny Rogers reminded me of kinder times. Quite spookily, he was able to reference the same memory, a radio show hosted by the late Terry Wogan that boosted Kenny Rogers into the public consciousness, even apparently if you were just a teenager.
The third factor was one of those acts of random chance, a meeting (if you can meet whilst being ten feet apart) of pure serendipity. I was walking Taz this morning and noticed a lady trying to pack artwork into a large plastic crate on one of the park benches. We wouldn’t have spoken but Taz went and dropped his tennis ball into her container which may not have helped the situation. She introduced herself as Carole and spoke to Taz and even threw the ball for him. I gathered from distance that she had just been collecting fabric samples from the Camberwell college of Art before it closed.
Over the next three minutes, she told me she was about to retire after working for thirty years as a west end costume designer.
Her plastic box was topped with programmes from Phantom. Les Miserable, Wicked and Miss Saigon, all of which she had worked on. There was also a picture which seemed out of place. She must have seen me looking at the picture as she smiled and said ‘It seems like a lifetime ago.’
In that moment, I was reminded of a documentary in which Shirley Black (formerly Shirley Temple) asked ‘what’s left to do when you’ve reached your peak at age 10?’ Thankfully, in both Shirley and Carole’s case the answer is quite a lot, a life in the diplomatic service beckoned for Shirley Temple and an award winning costume designer lay ahead of Carole.
Many of you of a certain vintage will be familiar with Carole, in fact she holds the Guinness world record for the the longest appearance on TV. She’s clocked up over 70,000 hours putting any film star of the modern era into the shade. I’ll let you into the secret a little later but it made me think how some people remain ever young in our minds regardless of the passage of time.
I returned to Gumnut Towers anticipating that Vaughan would still be semi-comatose for another couple of hours. However, I was to be surprised. Vaughan who enjoys cooking and is a pretty good cook had decided to go global. He was up (well nearly) and planning his first pilot episode of Grub with V-Dub.
I’ve still a lovie at heart and immediately thought production values, nice opening credits, check lighting in the kitchen and had something along the lines of Great Peckham Menu. Vaughan told me he was thinking of something more like fun with flags but with more peppers (or capsicums as he calls them).
Those of you who have trodden the boards in any capacity will understand my sense of impending doom when I realised Vaughan had started his project while I was upstairs trying to find the best camera to use. With the sounds of live streaming eminating from the kitchen I hurtle down the stairs thinking ‘What? Is he insane? No dress rehearsal!”
Today’s pilot episode featured a chicken curry which I must say was (as we say in the west country) gurt peachy lush. There were a few technical issues and a couple of prop malfunctions but despite me sitting on the stairs breathing into a paper bag and tutting about working with amateurs all went as well as it could – without a dress rehearsal. Vaughan had a great time and we have some vlog equipment on the way so there were lessons learned from the pilot – watch out for Chilli and Spaghetti Vaughnalaise following in due course.
Among all this self-isolated excitement, I have been chastised for not updating on a few outstanding matters. Let’s start with our cider stock. It’s been slightly depleted. I am able to report on Taunton Cider’s First Pressing medium cider (4%). As the name suggests it’s medium, quite fruity and drinks as Vaughan would say like apple juice. (Score 4 out of 5)
Secondly, on Torres cider farm’s Along came a cider (5.5%) which is a medium cloudy cider from a farm specialising in scrumpy. Need I say more?
Scoring split the judges. I gave it a 4, Vaughan gave it a 3.5 saying it had a cloudy taste which I have not decided on yet. – That said it disappeared pdq. The next cab off the rank will be Hecks Girdle-slackner. Watch this space.
I’m instructionised to inform Brent who may be a reader of this blog to prize open thy wallet and extract a tenner.
I make no comment on to how he has done this, but Billy the bog roll is still standing and I have not been aware of any particularly Scrooge-like behaviour in the dunny department. Vaughan is claiming a fair and square victory in the loo-roll challenge. I’m informed his winnings should preferably be sent by bank transfer to avoid contact with filthy money. Don’t shoot the messenger I only deal in the reportage.
A few people have very kindly said they have enjoyed the last couple of weeks blog reports and asked if I’m thinking of continuing them. They weren’t started with any grand scheme of world domination in the blogging world, more as a means of passing the time. However, to know a few people have enjoyed them is very rewarding. As I’m likely to be in purdah at either Gumnut or the Acreage for a while yet, I’ll keep them going for the routine it brings as well as no small amount of enjoyment. Thirteen days down, one to go.
Oh and as promised earlier, this was the image I saw screenprinted onto a t-shirt while walking Taz.
This is Carole as I remember her in her (and my) younger days. Tempus Fugit indeed.