VC - Victory in Chester
Gugs had a cat invasion in her bed first thing. The cat curled up next to her seemingly for company but loathed any attention. She sent me anguished videos. The prickly moods of cats.
Whilst that drama was playing out in the adjacent bedroom, I was mulling over my dream. I had been in Malaysia, having an ethical dilemma about whether to eat at Starbucks or from a street vendor with no seating. I’ve been through this thought process often on trips through Kuala Lumpur where Starbucks are ubiquitous and provide facilities such as WiFi and power outlets. The corporate convenience tends to win out when I need to work, but I don’t like this. In the dream I emerged from the soulless mall that housed the Starbucks to a humid and balmy red-sky evening in the tropics. I imagine this is the direct result of having looked at the weather forecast and been horrified at the prediction for Monday. Highs that will struggle to get into double figures, and lows approaching zero.
Today was variously described by pals as ‘crazy hot’ or ‘scorching.’ It was a lovely day that merited the first outdoor breakfast of lockdown, and it was warm in the direct sun, however let’s not go overboard on the descriptors. ‘Crazy hot’ better befits those Maputo days where the sweat pours and the heat makes the air languid. They are missed.
After some work, chores and lounging in the garden, I took a stroll to green patches of Cambridge: Lammas Land and Queens’ Green. I periodically stopped to do Duolingo Portuguese lessons on use of the infinitive.
In the evening, hilarity ensued on Zoom with the university lot. Quizmaster General Hayley Bird had organised a strong set of rounds based either around music and trivia from the 2001-04 era (our university years) or VE Day-related general knowledge about World War II or war films. Scores reveal that I’m crap at films but good at remembering dance-floor fillers experienced in a haze of snakebite and black. The final round was a scavenger hunt around the house, largely for items related to kit someone in the British military would need. This was due to be a disaster as I’m housesitting with none of my own stuff in the home of a German woman, however it was a successful round and worth charging around like a crazed bull. I had to default on the ‘something camouflage print’ round as I did not want to rootle in Heidi’s wardrobe. The quiz was convincingly won by Jenna and Matt (in Chester) with Mike and Lu in second (in Sutton Coldfield and with bonus points for costumes).
More rosé had been consumed by the time the quiz ended, so the conversation took a turn. Man of the moment Joe Wicks, whose popularity has soared as kids need entertaining at home with exercise classes, has a wife, Rosie, who apparently holds the world record for the number of bras that can be put on in one minute. This has been expertly adjudicated and videoed by The Sun, as a contribution to science and not at all as a form of gratuitous entertainment.
Her record of 7 sounded beatable, claimed Hannah. Gugs, who wasn’t in the quiz, was quickly drawn into the excitement. They both achieved 7 (on trust, not by live video call), which bodes well for a new attempt with rested arms and less wine in the system.
It’s become a running theme that I have limited clothing so we also timed how long it would take me to put on all the boxer shorts (clean only) that I have in my possession. 6 in 28 seconds. I could trim that a little, no doubt.
Our ancestors who contributed to victory for the Allied Forces in WW2 would be delighted with all of these antics, I’m sure. On a serious note, today is a day for being supremely cognisant of the sacrifices, disruptions and sense of togetherness that older generations lived through. People’s resilience kept the world from crumbling and allowed it to return to something more normal. Post-war, if we hadn’t invested such important skills and resources in building a united Europe and all of the benefits that has brought, our lives would be poorer and unrecognisable. One of the many specific reasons I want to be thankful is that if we hadn’t established good relations with Germany to allow Heidi to come and work in the UK and subsequently to travel back and stay with her mother, I wouldn’t have this house to bed down in during lockdown.