Pandemic Pondering #62

Insomnia/Dungaree Day/Exercise

I’ve been struck by Pandemic Insomnia. The causes are multiple and the Italians warned us all that it would happen. You would think hard Labour would give some protection but despite shifting tonnes of gravel yesterday my head was very busy overnight. Contrary to popular wisdom Blue light can make me sleepy in a way that a book does not. So I have some constant companions on my night time sojourns into smartphone enlightenment.

Messrs Google, Guardian, London Evening Standard, and a little Instagram and Facebook.

Last night the main topic of my swiping and browsing was stay at home exercise. My guru is Joe Wicks but yesterday I listened to a podcast of Joe talking to Lennie and Jessie Ware on Table Manners. I’ve reccomended this podcast team before.
https://play.acast.com/s/tablemanners/58b1f7e1-a06b-476e-83a8-e0590acb45f4

Joe said his wife, Rosie, sometimes used other on-line fitness coaches. No shock at the virtual dining table as Jessie’s husband is a fitness coach and she also used someone else.

Not being married to a fitness coach I feel no need to be unfaithful to Joe. Last night I browsed other sites, gazed with only a reluctant shoppers eye and decided to stay with Joe.

Last night, I learnt some adjunct useful tips that I can apply to our fitness regime.

Some we’ve initiated without the help of the internet. Baked bean cans have been ditched in favour of proper dumbells. The cans had a life of their own, once put down, and the exquisite pain of a can being exactly where I plonked my commodious bottom is a Covid-19 memory to cherish.

Apart from bottom injuries, uneven weights can cause harm when you exercise. I mention this not because my beans were uneven but because some unevenness occured coincidentally this morning, more of that later.

The internet warned about being obsessive about home exercise. This morning I took heed and didn’t wear lycra, bringing a certain casualness to the event.

Now to the unevenness of weight during an at-home exercise session.

Hugo is an empathetic dog. He has lived his life predominantly with 3 women . He is in tune with our emotional and hormonal states. An emotional or hormonal state brings Hugo to his true purpose in life. To calm and console, with a cuddle that is as close as he can possibly get to the woman in question. He also mimics the symptoms so he has in the past suffered from horrendous hangovers, romantic break ups,shocking grief and menstrual cramps. Insomnia is unknown to him and is more difficult to understand. It is rare if not highly improbable that a dog would actually suffer from too little sleep. Hugo decided that my cure would be his constant close attention.

An uneven weight for indoor exercise.

So now onto the blog I should have written today.

Pandemic Pondering #39

Sunday was cooking day for us. I made Brownies from a foolproof recipe which I had to adapt because we couldn’t get all the ingredients. That then makes it not foolproof of course.

The reason I needed a foolproof recipe is fussiness. I only like a brownie that is dry or crisp on the outside and very moist on the inside. I was browsing the internet on a completely different quest when another blogger claimed the same fussiness and presented the ‘perfect’ recipe. Normally I would have waited until I could get the correct ingredients but yesterday I had all the pandemic time in the world and a yearning for a perfect Brownie.

My necessary adaptations caused no problems and the resulting brownie was so lovely I’m going to have to adapt and rewrite the recipe to use forevermore.

The things I couldn’t get were , unsalted butter and milk or dark chocolate nibs.

Here is the brownie served with ice cream and cream. A serving suggestion first brought to my notice by the wonderful Jessie and Lennie Ware on the Podcast , Table Manners.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06r2m8d

Try it, you might never go back.

The brownie is versatile and is equally happy with a cup of tea.

We also stepped into the world of Nigella Lawson and made a tray bake chicken supper that involved frozen peas and Cinzano Bianco.

We employed social distancing and distributed chocolate brownies to a few friends.

The dogs didn’t have to social distance and enjoyed Mel’s hard work rejuvenating her water feature during one delivery.

The Poppies are putting up quite a show on the tidied up rough ground.

People are stopping to take their portraits. At a Social Distance naturally.

If you can’t paint, Podcast

My painting and writing life is a little obsessive. Doing either thing I can lose hours, miss meals and generally lose track of time. This June I am spending the whole month in Hong Kong caring for my seven month old granddaughter. I only travelled with hand luggage and the travel painting kit did not make the cut. I thought I could stock up on arrival but it’s not been as easy as I imagined.

There has also not been a huge amount of time for me to twiddle my non-painty fingers. Other stuff to do. Let’s not pretend the care of a 7 month old is complex. Love, care and endless walks. The endless walks are a challenge in blistering heat or torrential rain. VV, my granddaughter likes to look outward whilst being pushed so meaningful babble is also denied to me, whatever happened to eye contact? I’m already a massive failure to her on the breast front, maybe not looking at me manages her disappointment . With no ability to create,my obsessive streak needs an outlet. Now my phone and headphones are my walking friend, inspiration, and recipients of my obsessive attentions.

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=desert+island+discs+podcasts&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en-gb&client=safari

I’ve been a life long lover of Desert Island Discs, but you can have too much of a good thing, so I searched for something similar but different. I was attracted to Jay Rayners Out To Lunch. I read his restaurant reviews because I love his use of language and honesty. He has a fabulous voice, accent and a laugh that sounds like it comes from a huge communal cooking pot.

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=out+to+lunch+podcast+jay+rayner&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en-gb&client=safari

Podcasts free people up to be themselves, his conversations, over food, include expletives and intimacies, just as any meal out with friends would. As I write this I’m fresh from his episode with Grayson Perry, this is, after all, an art and design blog. The premise of this podcast is that Jay chooses a restaurant that matches the culinary favourites of his guests and they chat over a three course meal.The topics range from the mundane to the sublime. Seriously if you want a dose of articulate laughing happy people, this is the place to drop your ears. At the end of the season Jay presents The Juicy Offcuts From Season 1. The aural equivalent of leftovers, what’s not to love.

Jays 4th guest was Jessie Ware, a singer songwriter and podcaster. Jessie’s Podcast, Table Manners, hosted with her mum, is my next listening project. The teaser, first broadcast in 2017 is five minutes of mother daughter bickering. Delicious already.

Two days later and I’m well into Table Manners and I’m already hooked. There is a huge archive so I’ve only touched the surface. I’ve really loved the episodes I’ve listened to. This podcast is based around Jessie and her mum Lennie cooking a meal, usually in one of their homes, for someone in the public eye or ear. I use this descriptive advisedly. Celebrity would be another title to describe the guests but it is such a superficial notion, Jessie and her mum bring out such depth from their guests it feels wrong.

Bickering between Jessie and Lennie is a bit of a thing in this podcast. Loving bickering is hugely relaxing. My grown up children say there is nothing better than dozing in a room with background family bickering, I probably had not fully understood this concept until I heard this podcast.

Currently my ears are being pleasured by Tim Dowling , he definitely does good nattering.

https://www.google.co.uk/search?client=safari&hl=en-gb&ei=bVsCXZ6ECIri-AaBhYXYCw&q=table+manners+podcast&oq=table+manners+&gs_l=mobile-gws-wiz-serp.1.0.0i67j0l7.48480.60749..62692…1.0..0.162.2720.40j1……0….1…….8..35i39j33i160j0i22i30j0i20i263j46j0i10j46i67j0i131j46i39j0i3j0i131i67.65cDTLNfjok

These podcasts open up so many world’s that I may not have ever experienced. I’ve got an ever growing list of music, literature, art and many other random things that need googling and then exploring further.

Was there life before podcasts?