Whitework embroidered alphabet: letter Q

With so much time at absolutely only my disposal I have managed to completely miss a blog post for last week, which is ridiculous as during the week that saw the Queen celebrate her 94th birthday I had come up with a little appropriate whitework appliqué of Q for queen. So here it is, a week late. I have no good reason for being so late but detect in myself a sort of teenage stroppiness and an unspoken “whatever”. Hmmm.

Whitework Q for queen (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

Rain has set in after a glorious week or two in which the neighbours’ wisteria and our white quince blossom have burst into intermingled life. The cat has been spending more time outside, though she has been selective in her sunbathing, preferring to  lie with her head in her black nylon tunnel so that the sun’s full force falls only on her hind quarters. My husband, who sits at his research outside under an awning or garden umbrella in all weathers has felt so moved by the bounteousness of the wisteria  that he rose from his seat and picked up the secateurs to reduce the prolific ivy encroaching on the blossomy loveliness. I take up position by the window above looking out on all this (best place in all the house for natural light)  and benefit from waves of the most wonderful perfume. I may not be able to visit my own grandchildren but the outdoor life of the last few weeks has let me enjoy the laughter and fun had by my neighbours and their children, little girls aged 5 and 8, as they enjoy their tiny garden to the full – patty tins filled with fallen blossoms making for colourful tea parties while pea sticks draped with sheets invite rest when running around becomes too much. All very Garden of Eden…

Except of course for much of the world and great chunks of the world of  of work in particular, the serpent has been only too apparent. Covid-19 has made life very challenging.  I tend to watch the daily government briefing sessions but find I am getting quite impatient with the News itself and its overwhelmingly vox pop approach. I read David Goodhart in the Sunday Time last week and was nodding in agreement with his contention that there’s too much emotion on the news. As he says,  “Yes, it’s a bleak emotional period and the BBC (and ITV) have an impossible job trying to please everyone …but I feel an arching lack of authority, explanation and context, and general infantilism of public discourse. Too much communication has become performative rather than informative”. He’s watched TV bulletins from Germany and France and found their coverage “far less relentlessly emotional”.  Goodhart also voices what is almost the unsayable when he wonders whether the 100 plus frontline/NHS deaths out of 600,00 patient-facing workers is a lot or a little – we need analysis and context. Then we could also hear more analysis from other countries who are a bit ahead of us and try to find out whether institutional factors may be posing problems – too  much/too little centralisation, too much/too little regionalism? One issue seems to be that in a basically very safe and secure society we have become unused to premature death, so that calls to be safe in the short term trump many other considerations. There are no easy solutions but we do need to present the complexity of decision making and do a bit less blaming for not dealing well with hitherto unmet situations.

Well, I then turn the page of the Sunday Times and find Dominic Lawson, picking up the other thing that’s been worrying me – what happens to all this plastic and plastic coated fabric used by the NHS. From being demonised for being a product of the petrochemical industry and for its inability to be disposed of naturally, single-use PPE has become the holy grail for keeping medics and care worker safe. In not much more than a heart beat surely it’s no longer so easy for Greta Thunberg and even David Attenborough to be quite so angry about plastic? Who saw that coming?

Whitework Q for queen (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

To avert too much gloom, I add two pieces of coronaverse from last week’s TMS aka The Times Diary Column which I hope will make you smile.

Friday 24 April: a re-writing of Tennyson’s the Lady of Shallot by Bill Billington, retitled “The Lady of Thatsyerlot”

“She left the web, she left the loom/ but then she couldn’t leave the room./She said: ‘I must self-isolate,/Sir Lancelot will have to wait.'”

And from TMS 22 April a rewriting of  a favourite  Betjeman poem by David Balckmore:

Miss J.Hunter Dunn, Miss J.Hunter Dunn/ I’m anguishing, languishing, where is the fun?/ The Tennis Club’s closed, the nets are all down/ And I’m stuck in this flat in the middle of town./ Oh! your lips are like honey, your skin is divine!/ I’m weak at the knees when it moves next to mine/ I’d rush round to see you but what would it pay?/ You cannot make love from two metres away./So in thoughts of your beauty I continually bask/ It pains me to think of you wearing a mask./ But when Covid-19 is at last on the run/ I’ll break out and marry you Joan Hunter Dunn!”

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6 Comments

  1. Posted May 1, 2020 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    Love those rewritings!
    As to the “teenage stroppiness” – in these peculiar times, I think we’re allowed to have a wobble, in whatever form it takes.
    There’s a great deal that will need to be re-thought, and I hope someone, with more information and greater influence than I, has already started to think about it.

    • Mary Addison
      Posted May 5, 2020 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      I particularly enjoy the rewriting of The Lady of Shallot which gives me joy to think of the words in the mouth of Millais’s Mariana and Waterhouse’s Lady of Shallot as they rise from their tapestry with aching backs after sitting too long over their work. We should all say’ “Sir Lancelot will have to wait” much more often!

      • Posted May 5, 2020 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

        Absolutely! A bit less “drop what you’re doing” and a bit more “when you have a moment, please” would be good for everyone’s mental health!

        • Mary Addison
          Posted May 9, 2020 at 11:58 am | Permalink

          Well it works both ways as I realise I say the latter to my husband all the time but can tell that he reacts as if I’ve said the former.

  2. Amara Bray
    Posted May 26, 2020 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    It is confusing here too. We have very different areas of our country, some very densely populated and some very rural. Restrictions came down on most of the country based on what was happening in New York City where over 30,000 people have died. Then areas where we haven’t seen much death or even disease spread became very mistrustful of our Center for Disease Control. Conspiracy theories abound still that it is all a political hoax. This adds to everyone’s anxiety. At some point we will get past the worst of this and be able to look back with some understanding. I can’t wait.

    • Mary Addison
      Posted May 28, 2020 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I can see the US is very different from somewhere like the UK – there are more extremes of physical environment and population density. There are no longer many – or any – really isolated places in the UK anymore as there are in the US. Many people here have actually enjoyed being in isolation and experiencing a slower, quieter life.

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