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An ailing president and a revived violin

The weather has turned very Autumnal – cold and wet, and along with it I find myself sniffing and sneezing. This is normal for me so I’m not concerned, and apparently not symptoms of Covid-19, but I do wonder whenever I’m feeling less than 100 % if I should be concerned.

Somehow I’ve been feeling very busy doing seemingly very little. Me and my brother and sisters laugh at our mother who always seems to be busy. We wonder how, when she doesn’t have to go to work or look after a family, she can be always doing things. I’m getting an inkling of it myself now though – with apparently very little to do I feel like I’ve got a list as long as I ever had of jobs that need doing. I’ve had projects I wanted to get on with for the last six months that I still haven’t made a start on. One was to record a Christmas song that I wrote some years ago, but I have a feeling that it might have to be released for Christmas 2021!

Anyway, my mood is more positive, and when I look back over the last week I realise I have actually done things. Lots of little jobs that I had put off because they seemed insignificant and would take time. I’ve sold three things on Ebay - an old mixing desk, an old bicycle and a battered old violin, I’ve given away a pair of powered speakers to a local school, given away and delivered a slightly damaged folding table to a very grateful lady, donated a box of old Lego to a toy recycling charity, and purchased a new window blind and various other items.


Before restoration

The violin had been given to my father-in-law decades ago and by the time it reached us it had no strings, tail piece or bridge and two tuning pegs where missing. I cycled in to town to check with an expert that it wasn’t precious. It wasn’t, so I shoved it back in my pannier in a plastic bag, cycled home and put it online for sale. I packaged it up, wrapped up in polystyrene, cardboard and packing tape, and it reached a very grateful customer in Gloucestershire who, within 2 hours of receiving it, had replaced all the missing parts and emailed me photographs.

After restoration

I’ve got one or two gigs on the horizon which has helped me to feel more positive. Just today a gig came in for a band playing outside at a shopping complex in Oxfordshire in four days time. This felt like familiar ground. I’ve also got a little run of gigs next week in a ‘socially distanced’ musical experience in railway tunnels near London Bridge. Also a duo in a cocktail bar on Saturday, which finishes at the civilised time of 9:30 pm courtesy of the government diktat that all bars should close at 10 pm.

I visited a musician in West Sussex who has access to a village church to play in. I had planned to cycle to Victoria station and catch the train from there. In my lockdown-induced lethargic state of mind I got my timings a little wrong and found I had only half an hour to get there from my home in Holloway. I’ve done the journey many times, and knew I’d have to really push it to make it. I did, although it took me the whole journey to recover. We played a few improvised duets in the church which he filmed and posted on Facebook, and which subsequently received a suitable quantity of thumbs up and positive comments.

I also took the tube for the first time since March. Just a 20 minute journey to visit a friend on Saturday night, but it was not an experience I wanted to repeat in a rush. Trying to keep my distance from people, some with masks, some without, feeling distinctly uncomfortable – physically, due to the mask and the heat, and mentally due to the concern of the surroundings.

The government Covid app has been released after months of building and testing. They have named it the ‘NHS Covid app’ probably in an effort to disassociate the idea of it as a means for government control. Although we’ve been told that any advice it offers is only advisory, data isn’t shared with anyone and the programming code is free to view people are suspicious and not embracing it. I find this very frustrating as I can see that widespread take-up of the app seems like the best option for controlling the virus currently.

Some of my friends are looking to busking as a way of earning some money and staying sane, so we’ve got a session booked for later this week. I feel busking is getting really desperate, particularly at this time of the year. We made very last time I went, but I’m willing to give it another go if just to support my friends.

On the world stage, we are told Donald Trump has picked up the virus, along with many others working alongside him. My initial instinct was that it was a hoax – the American election is just weeks away and Trump is trailing in the polls. It sounded like some kind of stunt to avoid any more embarrassing debates and boost his popularity, but if so it’s a very well crafted one and it does feel like it’s genuine.

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