News from the cottage.

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 6 April 2020

Every body has an opinion.

Everybody knows someone who has it.

Everybody is doing what they can in their own way.

Everybody is living their best Sunday.

Unless you're not.

Unless you haven't got food, or neighbours, or the wherewithal, or the imagination, or the support, or family or friends or youth or the internet or space, or hope.

Oprah and Deepak or giving a 21 day free HOPE meditation, there are loads of things on the internet that are trying to help.

And the silence of the planes, and the buzzing of the bees, and the fortitude of somebody we know.

And the chirping of the birds, and the kindness of somebody else.

The bikers are speeding past on the main road, revving their engines and shattering the atmosphere. The calmness destroyed by helmeted self servers keeping their distance and getting their moment of exercise. Never noticed them before but the backdrop of peace was usurped and I found myself angry. Really angry. Feelings and emotions coming to the surface, why was I so angry? Because it felt like a selfish act and I felt like a miserable old toad even thinking such thoughts . But the heady ambience of quiet is making us all think and listen more and wonder what will happen next when more helmets try to bring back the old order.

I meditated, along with a million others, on Sunday night. Sitting cross legged on the carpet knowing that others were doing the same, my nephew did it in his woodland, my homeopath did it in her conservatory, my neighbour did it in the garden, all over the world self isolating individuals came together in the belief that a million minds could change things. Would change things, must change things, a million souls believed they will change the status quo.

Day whatever of quarantine and we are stocked up with love and patience and phone calls and FaceTime and from all over everywhere the reality of our short little lives slams home.

Posting positive quotes and chain mails of poetry are not my thing but trusting that an age of gentility is approaching. That generosity and kindness, opportunities and love are floating on the cleaner air. That debts are written off, that touching each other will never be taken for granted again and that every one of us will have a bath that we can sink into, and a warm bed that we can lie on. I know it's made me go dippy, but who cares. If you sneeze bless you, if you're afraid don't panic, remember the only constant is change and this too will pass.

So I wish us all health, wealth, love and perfect self expression.

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Blissful thinking

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 28 March 2020

The towels have been in a 60 degree cycle and are now blowing about on the washing line.

Magnolia petals are strewn over the lawn, and the newly laid grass seed has been eaten by the little birds pecking away at it.

A box of vegan cheeses have arrived, a packet of wire wool and four boxes of oaty milk are on their way. I await my Everfresh sprouted loaves to be delivered. Internet shopping is easy although my heart goes out to the delivery folk who stand a paths length away and place the boxes on the ground.

Then to wash or not to wash the hands after picking up the parcels, so to err on the side of the neurotic I opt to wash.

This morning the dawter and I kept our distance and walked down to the sheep who kept theirs. Through the avenue, round the chickens up to the gate, touched it, turned round and greeted a lovely couple of old wimmin with their ten year old dog. The wimmin have lived together for years and have the pink glowing cheeks of early morning porridge and knitting in front of the fireside whilst the wireless mumbles in the background. One now has a zimmer frame whilst the other holds the dogs' lead.

The wind blew away the cobwebs.

Got home and sat in the garden to meditate. By the time I came in for a banana and coffee my hands had turned into ten frozen fish fingers.

The air here is still and there is very little noise. My jeans are tight round the waist, that's what comes of coronavirus binge eating, I intend stepping out of the denims into some pj's after I've hung out the last load of washing.

The studio at the end of the garden has finally come into its own, the old git has set it up so we are now able to do voice overs for whomsoever needs them.

Conspiracy theories abound; solutions, confusions, timetables, longevity, comparisons. I'm surrendering. Every day feels like Sunday so I'm surrendering. Can't go shopping. so I'm surrendering. Can't see my friends or family, so I'm surrendering. We have bottles of champagne in the cellar, I never drink, but a glass of bubbly with him and her is a good way to end the day. When the fizz has all gone I'll do one of them dissolving vitamin c tablets in a pint of water, that'll do. This surrendering lark is the only way to go.

Appropriate behaviour for such times. No blame, no shame, just giving in and staying well. No advice, no judging, just giving in and staying well. No fear, no anxiety, just trying to stay cool. We have honey bees and bumble bees joining us every day, the butterflies have returned. We have worm casts and scudding clouds. We have young neighbours who are looking after us with remote shopping and pictures of puppies. We have American friends calling every day, family in different shires who call whilst their cooking. The dawter sits out in the dark at 8.o'clock, looking up at the stars and having virtual chats with her self isolating mates she calls it 'Drunk on the driveway'. First night there were five of them, last night fifteen....

I'm showering and bathing reading and cooking. I'm being good to myself and ignoring anything that makes me affeared. Little telly, little radio, lots of music and plenty of vacuuming to lift the gloom. I've just lit an incense cone and the old git has lit the stove. I've turned all the clocks an hour forward so that when I surrender tonight I wont have to wander round the house twiddling knobs.

The young left-hand neighbour will bring us our Sunday papers, and the young right- hand neighbour will deliver us some potatoes. Every day I send out affirmations to help heal us all, and genuinely collapse into a state of total gratitude. What more can we do in such times.

From North to South from East to West I wish you all the very best, I wish you health and hope and lots and lots of foamy soap. I wish us all the will to change, to exist in a consciousness back-upped with bliss. I wish you this.

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Miley Cyrus

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 17 March 2020

My heart is breaking for the lad, who opened a bar in Peckham, put every penny he had into it and then Boom.

My heart is breaking for the girl, who taught dance to disadvantaged kids in Rome, saved all her pennies to buy a ticket and then Boom.

My heart breaks for the shy boy, who had been supporting himself, as a musician for years, got his big break beginning of February, and now Boom all his gigs have been cancelled.

Aged 33 they're all having to move back to live with their parents - what's the alternative?

And so all the children of the 80's who wanted their own life are now lost. Pained and lost.

And I dont know how to blame the Tory Government - lack of investment over ten years, savage cuts, heartless policies - it's not even that that breaks my heart, what breaks my heart is that the Conservatives are mostly wealthy pubic school boys, without a finger on any kind of pulse, who don't engender any kind of trust - well not in me anyway - so I question their leadership, whilst still doing their bidding.

And since they are a bunch of career politicos I wonder whether we really are getting the right advice? How can we tell any more?. Trump says something on Monday contradicts himself on Tuesday, invents baloney on Wednesday, tweets on Thursday and by Friday we listen to more of his bollox and wish that he had tested positive for the virus. Oh come on we all thought it. Two scientists flank Johnson who stands behind a podium, and dizzy from U-turns leads us to lock down. Quietly the cock who brokered Brexit winces as getting drugs from Europe is now a faff since we are no longer part of the club, whilst his pregnant fiancee sits on the settee in Number 10 polishing the silver, and stroking her belly which holds his umpteenth child. Wearing nothing but white jockeys and a pair of threadbare socks our first minister schtupped his mistress whilst the virus was gestating and the stock markets were getting ready to tank. And tank they did, and are, and will continue to do so until Covid 19 has had her day.

'Utopia for Realists' a book by Rutger Bregman argues for a fare wage for all. America are thinking about a thousand dollars a month for families who are broke, will Boris do that here? Or will he continue to spend trillions on wars, on high Speed train tracks, or hiring beds from private hospitals who, unapologetically are accepting the NHS money whilst Richard Branson skips all the way to the investment bank.

There are those who are saying this is Mother natured pissed. There are those who are saying it's the Goddess up there who has had enough There are those who say pandemics come in 100 year cycles. There are those who say its the fault of the gays, the jews, the blacks the Janes. There are those who blame the old, the infirm the intergenerational families. There are those who just blame and blame and blame.

So now we are all in lock down. The over 70's will be curfewed in their homes for twelve weeks. Grandchildren will be forbidden access to their grandparents. Grandparents languishing from the loss of their grandkids.

And we follow orders lest we are slapped with a thousand pound fine, or get banged up.

And yes we have to protect the old, and the underlying unhealthy, so yes we have to look out for each other and split the pasta and learn to share again. so it is polite that we listen to our leaders isn't it?

But are they getting it right? We wonder, talking and arguing, pondering and complaining and criticising and despairing, but now is not the time to judge Johnson, or heckle Hancock, now is the time to hold them to account. They've squandered our money, spent it fraudulently, leaving us to fight each other for lavatory paper in Tesco's and battle for the last bottle of sanitiser in Sainsbury, and the Americans stand in line to buy yet more guns.

It's late and I'm in the kitchen knowing that I am lucky enough to have a garden to isolate in, worrying about the dawter who is giving up her unaffordable life in London, self isolating for seven days, before she too comes back home to rest and recuperate without having to find any rent which will enable her to ponder on what life holds for her after this debacle.

Idris Elba tells us he's tested positive and he didn't even have any symptoms, and when thems that are in the know say we we should all be tested, mouths agape we hiss there aren't enough tests to go round, or beds, or doctors, or nurses or hope.

For hope springs eternal, and hope is what we need. This insidious disease ain't forever, even if it feels like it is. Watch as the Italians, on their balconies, sing to each other, sending their voices into the viral air. And the Spanish star jump on their balconies whilst a lithe Catalonian demonstrates how to keep fit on the communal green. The Queen isolates herself in Balmoral, whist her immoral son laughs all the way to the Pizza Hut in Woking, and the world keeps turning, and even though we want to shout STOP we want to get off WE CAN'T.

We will weather this, we will help each other out and plant potatoes and tell our children stories of when old people fell ill way back in 2020, when the strange illness called Miley Cyrus by the cockneys (rhyming slang), when Miley struck and the folk in Wales had to deal with it in their flooded homes, and the Scousers cried as they watched their beloved team hang their heads in disappointment. And we will tell the story of Miley how she infected refugees who had no water and food whilst the children of the world watched when the elders stopped breathing.

But before our very eye the pollution levels fell because nobody drove their cars., The clouds parted and there was blue sky over the mountains and the birds sung. But we could only watch in splendid isolation.

For after the floods and plagues of locusts, after the dust storms and the death of all bees the cinemas closed then the theatres and the musicians practiced their scales in the silence of their own bedrooms. Writers wrote but the libraries were shut whilst the television played endless reruns of 'Yes Minister' and 'Only Fools and horses.'

Things had to change, and the change had to be brutal for us to sit up and listen, learn lessons in sharing whilst we bumped elbows.

This is the end and this is the beginning.

You wrecked us Miley but as you said so eloquently

'If you believe in yourself anything is possible.'

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International Woman's Day

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 8 March 2020

It was International Woman's Day today so I fulfilled my duties as a woman in as International a way as possible. I phoned Boston and Saratoga, Chatham and Hackney, Devon and Wales and even pinged a text to Togo. I think that's pretty International dont you?

Having lived with the old git for forty three and a half years our pink and blue jobs have never been demarcated. I cook, he washes up. Sometimes I cook AND wash up. Lots of times he cooks and I wash the dishes. He makes a pump for the cellar I mop up after him, I hand him the hammer and he uses it. That isn't to say that I dont know how to wield a hammer or that he's not half bad with a wok. Although I have to admit that sometimes he does mansplain - take today when he had the audacity to tell me how to mop - but did I complain? No I just told him to bugger off and carried on slopping out the carpet sludge like a Mexican housekeeper swinging her hips to the Danza de los Diablos. This year we had to spend International Woman's Day tending to our waterlogged cellar. For three days the rain seeped into the cellar from the front garden. The water tables are high, and even though we live on top of the second highest point around the sloppy water got in. Two rugs on the floor are ruined. The red 'Habitat' one, thats followed us from flat to cottage leaked beetroot coloured juice into the puddle and the Persian one has left little balls of authentic Persian wool all over the floor. Three sponge mops, two drying mops, buckets and a brain wave from the 'oosbind has done the trick. He concocted a make shift pump, when it stopped sucking up the water we chucked sheets and blankets and old cotton sweaters onto the floor, bunged them into the washing machine to spin-dry, unloaded them onto the floor again, spun them again and voila a damp but walkable room again. The two rugs are rolled up in buckets until they dry whilst the cellar now smells like a cow shed mixed with wet whippet and clammy Airtex knickers.

So this is how March 8th panned out. I went to get the papers and Coronavirus panic had hit 'Waitrose'. Most of the pasta had gone from the shelves and there wasn't a mellow and smooth 'Koko' yoghurt to be found anywhere, apparently there's a cock up in the supply chain.

Then I accompanied my husband, in a ladylike fashion sitting side saddle in the car, as we went to 'Homebase' to buy a bit of hose pipe for our aforementioned waterworks. Graham, an elderly assistant walked us to the plumbing aisle, we spent six pounds on a flimsy piece of rubber that the old git said should do the trick. I picked up four bunches of daffodils for two quid and carried the posy to the car. See pink jobs and blue jobs!

If I sound a little cynical don't get me wrong I've been shouting about women's rights since I could depilate - not something we ever talked about in the 70's - have stood on stage and fronted a band comprised of men - 70's men - who liked nothing better than to pinch my pert buttocks and sneak a peek as I changed in the lavatories in the endless stream of working mens clubs we performed in. I stood my ground and gave as good as I got, now I applaud young women who don't take any nonsense whilst I weep at the treatment of women in countries where lashings and beatings are still used as a form of control. International Woman's day 2020 and we watch homeless, stateless women attempting to shield their babies and children from the madness of cruel, power hungry bastardmen.

I applaud Scotland for recognising that women's sanitary products should be free, hurrah for our brave loud mouthed harridans. But I also think nappies should be free too after all babies only shit in them.

Which reminds me I went for a brisk 30 minuter. The sheep were in the field. 17 of them looking after 16 little lambs that did that lovely lamb thing of jumping up and down, I believe it's called gamboling. The dawter named one of the ewes Angela, so I called for her but couldn't remember her given name so called her Margery instead. A lovely old ewe with 12 painted on her wool stood looking at me, dropping pellets and eyeballing me in case I touched her babies which off course I didn't. I told her her little lambykins were safe with me as I don't eat anything with a face.

So, International Woman's Day came and went. I received lovely posts from Japanese activists and East End broads, Mancunian business women and Italian dancers. The 'oosbind made me a lovely cafetier of coffee as I read the papers and mused on how we'd saved our cottage from subsidence working together harmoniously. Him calling the shots and me ignoring them.

I enjoy being a girl, there aint nothing like a dame and if Billy Joel is correct I'll always be a woman to him. As for good old Bobby Dylan apparently I take just like a woman but break just like a little girl. There we go mansplaining again, let me tell you Bobby when I break it ain't like a little girl it's like a 48 thousand ton battle ship with all guns blaring. I do think, however, that every day should be International Woman's Day, and mens day and babies day and lambs day and tree day and cuckoo get my drift we should honour everybody every day. On my walk I heard a woodpecker and talked to the chickens who always come running to say hello, maybe we should have an International Hen Day too.

Back in 1865 William Ross Wallace wrote a poem that praised motherhood as the preeminent force for change in the world. 'The Hand That Rocks the Cradle Is the Hand That Rules the World.'

So from mothers to sisters from nieces to daughters, from grannies to aunties and also to Nuns; God Bless us all.

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Service with a smile.

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 3 March 2020

Hyacinths and daffodils have taken over the kitchen table. Outside crocuses, primroses and hellebores have bust their buds in honour of spring even though the garden still looks like Le Mans, the Suki dog's legacy.

I await the carpet man. We have had a new bathroom carpet laid, but being an old age pensioner with a gammy leg the old git was unable to oversee the project until after the fitters had left. I was in town voicing a new show but had a feeling of dread. My instinct was born out when, on arriving home and visiting the bathroom, I saw shoddy workmanship. It took three men 45 minutes to lay the carpet and lay waste to the hall and the stairs. But never fear I have now arrived at being the consummate complainer.

Complaining is linked to self worth. I no longer have an issue with picking up the telephone and saying, in my best voice, that it just won't do, and what are they going to do to rectify it? And no I won't be paying until it is satisfactorily resolved, and of course I'll be in. I do it with a huge smile on my face, that way things get done much quicker. Years ago I interviewed a man who wrote a book about complaining and he said the trick was to know exactly what you want the outcome to be and then just complain until you get it. Perfect, so I now do that but I also employ a happy demeanour. The secret of good voice overs is that you smile. After extensive research scientists noticed that by engaging the zygomaticus major muscles the sound that comes out of your mouth is warmer. A voice with a smile is recognised by all of us even if we can't see the person in rictus. Nobody can attack a smily old lady on the end of the line.

So I have taken to laughing my way at cold callers, chuggers, road ragers and builders who dont finish their job. Joe the builder is still sending me texts telling me when he's turning up to clear his mess, but I laughingly told him to stop making promises he couldn't keep and jovially told him to fuck off. I haven't heard from him since. Although, in all honesty I have to admit that when Talk Talk or BT cold call they get years of frustration in a high pitched scream of fluent Anglo Saxon. I lead them on then rip them off. The glorious catharsis is felt throughout my whole body.

I have this new voice over job which is a gift from the Gods. I take the 12.09 train to London Bridge, walk swiftly past masked commuters, onto the Northern line, one stop to Bank, Central line to Chancery Lane, and then a five-minute walk to ITN where I'm given a pass. Down in the lift, along a corridor, past photographs of Ant and deck, Jeremy Vine and Claire Sweeny. Into a tiny studio with pens, headphones, bottles of water and a mug of fresh coffee. A two o'clock start, four shows, and I'm done in time to get the 17.33 train back home. Voicing films is a satisfying activity, shoes off, arms folded and engaging those zygomaticus muscles.

So as I start the day drinking my celery juice with Amla - Indian gooseberry -I await the carpet man, then I will teach a ten year old how to play the piano, do some yoga, meditate, take a walk, eat some food and then hopefully put the bathroom back together all done with a smile of course:)

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Knee Deep

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 10 February 2020

Last week the wind ripped the bark off the eucalyptus tree and sent it flying all over the garden. A vase blew off the woodshed and shattered into tiny pieces. A trampoline blew onto the railway line between Orpington and Sevenoaks and Waitrose was empty save for me and a few other souls who were buying reduced gin and firelighters.

The nephew and his partner came over for dinner. We had peppery mushroom soup, I added black and white pepper to my oyster mushrooms and dried porcini, a delicious melange of red peppers, onions, and courgettes only I'd run out of courgettes, so I used cucumbers instead. Slopped in a pile of refried black beans, heated tortillas on the stove and, voila an East Sussex Mexican feast was created topped off with dollops of vegan mayo and handfuls of vegan cheese. Salad and delicious homemade hummus filled the plate as we ate and talked then ate and argued. We decanted into the sitting room and watched JUST MERCY, a film of such pain and optimism that I felt I had to remind myself that all really is not lost.

The wind blows malevolently, raucous with change, the rivers swell and burst their banks, damp logs will be banned and bags of coal will be confined to history, but in the middle of the howling and surging the small voice of community can be heard.

I found this from last weeks Storm Ciara, before Dennis took hold, we had multiple power cuts, this blog resurfaced along with several unfinished emails.

So now we watch as Wales and Yorkshire sigh under rivers of mud and broken dreams. Does not the arrogance of our missing Prime Minister disturb, or the utterances of Cummings rankle, as he swaggers into Number 10 with his disrespectful trousers hanging round his disrespectful arse, his sense of entitlement pinned to his clip-board. Our new Government sends ministers to stand knee deep in silt promising zilch whilst the insurance companies continue to gather their premiums and close ranks as not one penny is paid out to people who have lost everything.

Reporters report, commentators commentate and the cameras keep us glued to the screen as we watch people scrape sludge and family heirlooms onto their watery roads.

Sitting in front of a roaring fire discussing life and art with the younguns I feel desolate that my dawter and her generation are having to Iive through such unhinged times, but hearing my niece and nephew describe their will and their fearless fight I do feel rather less hopeless than of late.

Intergenerational living certainly must be the way forward. A complete overhaul of political thinking. Humanitarian decisions, not political posturing based on power and greed. The elderly have wisdom and the youth have energy to put it into action.

Talking with my nephew and niece sieving out the crap from yesterdays news, straining the shite out of the media, we agreed on tactics and what to do about veganism. We laughed at the old order struggling to hold on, we imagined a brave new world of calm and peace; readjusting, rebalancing, believing, taking to the streets, writing letters, calling out the lies, it's clear that I had allowed myself to become a victim of thought terrorism.

So as the wind blows down our fences and the cellar smells of wet Schnauzer, the primroses and grape hyacinths the hellebores and cyclamen are shouting back at the wind. The small of voice of community is growing louder. 2020 has started with a painful shriek, lone killers in Germany, viral deaths in China, immoral deaths in Syria, racist bigotry from the overblown Twat in the US, and silence from our Prime Minister who is up to no good behind closed doors plotting with his sycophantic cabinet who are as out of touch with the Great British public as an Eton educated monk sitting on the top of the Himalayas singing Cumbaya into a cassette tape recorder as the rest of the world drowns in its own shit.

As the Phoenix rose from the ashes so our sodden communities will rise again too. May we all support each other in these waterlogged days.

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Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 6 February 2020

It is eighteen minutes past bewitching hour and I have got as much sleep in me as a breeze block

So I've just watched the 'Big Hack', then The Orange Canker putting me into a State of Disunion, during which the very daring Nancy Pelosi tore up pages of lies before our very eyes. And then I washed up, put the plates away, piled a bag of frozen Black Forest fruit into a bowl so they can defrost for tomorrow, put the kettle on for my hot water bottles and prepared tomorrows breakfast, but knew that there was no point in going to bed cos sleep had deserted me, like democracy is slowly doing.

I post this on Facebook, but I'm not sure I should any more. What with their inveigling their way into our affairs and making a profile of me and giving it all to the likes of Zuckerberg. And then I got agitated because I like your comments and my ego gets a nice little shafting when I post stuff that some think witty and apposite, and then I thought the fuckers on Facepuke could take all my ramblings and turn it into a case against me. So I talked to another insomniac, and asked them what we should do and she said;

'We could round up the arsehole in the Whitehouse, and the geezer at Number ten and Dominic Cumbag and Steve Bunyon and have them all shot.'

'Isn't that a little extremist?" I asked.

'Their fascism is creeping in by the back door, trying to catch us unawares,' they said - well she said as she hasn't come out as gender fluid yet.

And then I thought my rage is festering, not good for my blood pressure, and my anger is growing which is fatal for my type 2 diabetes, my fear and loathing is all consuming so I called her back and asked her

'Really, what should I do?'

'Go get the gun....' I hung up.

I'm not sure shooting the lying bastards is the answer. But what is the answer? If the Democrats can't even impeach the 45th Miscreant, if Brrrrexit has been rounded up and brought home by the outlaw known as Batty Boy Johnson, if the social media platforms have got us all by our short and curlies, if we can't tell the lies from the truth, if we all go to bed worrying about kangaroos on fire, if we watch the news assiduously but still can't make sense of it. If the Chinese are dying from a virus, the Yemons are dying from starvation, the Syrians are dying from corruption and the rest of us are dying from frustration with the catatonic response from the voted elite, WHAT ARE WE TO DO?

I can't keep turning to lefty videos on the internet, or asking my friend what she would do, or reading the papers, or watching documentaries. I feel tongue tied and hamstrung, impotent and overwhelmed. I feel shaky with grief and apoplectic with fury, and still I ask WHAT AM I TO DO?

Enough that we are going through a second industrial revolution. I want my children and their children and their children's children to hear a cuckoo, and see a tree frog and pet a dolphin. I want them to smell the roses and wake up and smell the coffee.

I phoned the insomniac again and said what if the guns don't work, what then? And she said.

'We're fucked.'

Not quite the response I expected, so I'm gong to have a turmeric latte, sit in the dark and listen to my inner voice, and if she says armed insurrection is the answer I will silence her with a very big bowl of creamy porridge, and if that doesn't work I will fill my hot water bottles and go to bed in the hope that some calming voice will give me an answer in the morning. Do feel free to offer me your suggestions because somebody out there knows what to do and if you're keeping it to yourself shame on you.

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Sock it to 'em

Posted by Jeni in | 31 January 2020

Three handfuls of Epsom salts, a squirt of Badedas and Radio 4. At 7.30 this morning I climbed into the bath and pondered on the end of the world as we know it.

By midnight on Friday we will be out of the EU. Speculation abounds; queues, stockpiling, hoarding, lack of medicine, lack of bananas, lack of unity. Our little Island will bob about on its ownsome whilst the very floral Widdecombe will wave her Union Jack flag and jump about excitedly hoping to catch the eye of the ignoble Nige. Who, according to fact check, has never been a member of the National Front but does count Jim Davidson as a friend, so thats alright then.

As I lay in the bath my skin shrivelled as item after item revealed the state of our little blue planet. Netanyahu and his corruption. Trump and his lying. Grenfell and it's shame. The money grubbing bustards who are prepared to destroy woodland and communities so that a high speed train can fill the pockets of some to the the detriment of others. As I sponged my feet I was aware that the news was dominated by men. Men who made all the decisions. Laws made by men. Wars made by men. Economics made by men. African men. Indian men. Chinese men. Italian men. Belgian men. British men. Australian men. Russian men all hell bent on growing their egos. Yes I know there are some women in amongst them BUT most of the wankery in the world is done by the male of the species. As I towelled myself dry I could feel my temperature rising at the powerlessness that most women face. Not all men are arseholes - of course they're not - but the men in power are thoughtless, reckless, witless and spineless.

I walked through China town today to buy baby aubergines, mushrooms, spinach. a bag of rice and an onion the size of my head. It was practically empty, that's Gerrard Street not my head, the people that were there were wearing flu protection masks. I sneezed and panicked that I had contracted the Coronavirus from the geezer pulling the trolly into the New Loon Moon supermarket. Then I wondered whether the virus had been manmade by a scientist somewhere that wanted to silence the Chinese, or whether it had been man made by a government somewhere to reduce the population. Or whether a man somewhere had been instructed to destabilise the world so that the men in suits can get on with destroying the planet with impunity.

Conspiracy theories abound, whilst all I'm trying to do is live my little life with a modicum of human kindness. I don't hate men per se, but I do despise the breed of manboys that are now holding the reigns.

Expending energy on designing new weapons, investing in guns and bombs and military prowess as the planet dies, pitting tribe against tribe, revelling in jingoistic back slapping as the ice melts, mankind making decisions on behalf of womankind as babies and children sink into the mud of the refugee camps designed by men who insult humanity.

I struggled through the door with my Chinese shopping bags wondering whether it would be better if women did run the world. But had to concede that it was a woman who changed the face of Britain, a woman who didn't believe in society who sowed the seed of individualism and ended up crying in the back of a Limo as a posse of men shafted her.

So gender doesn't matter when it comes to it does it? Although if men gave birth, if men made life then I wonder whether they would be quite so cavalier in taking it away.

I've smothered the baby aubergines in a tamarind sauce, prepared the mushrooms in a creamy vegan concoction, soaked the rice, sorted the spinach and stored the giant onion. As the six o'clock news played out I learned that the BBC are about to cut more journalists jobs, Alistair Stewart is leaving ITV because of an insensitive post, Motormouth Hopkins has been taken off Twitter and Fern Britten has split from her husband of twenty years as Phil doesn't like her Tatts. I laid down my chopper and turned off the telly.

Just before I left London my feet were freezing so I went into a tiny boutique in Great Poulteney Street. The Syrian owner showed me a pair of hand knitted designer sox that had the Anglo Saxon 'C' word woven into the elasticated top.

"How much?" I asked

"Thirty pounds"

"What?" I gulped. "Thirty pounds for a pair of socks?"

"You're lucky." said the Italian Brazilian co-owner. "They are in the sale - they were originally 90 pounds."

I was so outraged I bought them.

Look it may be 15 quid a foot, but then I thought when it all gets too much I only need to hitch up my dungarees, show a leg and let the sock do the talking.

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