Good morning folks
I trust this finds you in finest fettle and tiptop form.
Apologies for the tardiness of this blog, things have changed here, work has gone a bit mad.
It has gone from twiddlingmythumbs to tearingmyhairout. Not had time to wipe my nose or scratch my bacsk$!de. No time to make a brew even, will be taking it via IV soon.
No excuses but yes excuses, just not really had much free typing time, so hopefully this will make up with quality (read bobbins) where it was lacking in punctuality!
In real danger of being a haphazard second-rate music-chart-show-video-mixtape-stereogramme, but here goes…
Day 90 in quarantine/lockdown/captivity.
I did go out once this week, my weekly adventure to Metro, (apart from occasional mini-trips to roaming fruit/veg salesmen, who raucously ply their wears outside my window every 5 minutes!)
I do admit to living in a bubble right now, I stopped reading the news long back and I don’t have social media so the only contact I have with the outside world is with my folks and snippets off Watsapp groups.
I will resist using the word “unprecedented” but these are crazyar$ed mad times we are-a-living in right now.
I am not 100% sure what direction this place is going. We have been in lockdown for over 3 months and infection numbers are going up. 70% of the population live on a day-to-day basis, and as lockdown was eased in some areas informal trade (street vendors) has shot up and there are many more people out in the streets. Lina had to go to pick up the new laptop and said that it was like Briggate a week before Christmas, hundreds of people and gridlocked traffic, at a time when we are all told to stay at home for all but essential purchases. Peru has done a lot of testing so the figures could be skewed on an international comparison basis, but it is not a great situation. According to a rather grim NYT article, only one in three low income families have access to running water and only half the population owns a fridge, so daily shopping is the only way for some and of course this results in large masses of people around markets (at least the ones still open). Not an easy problem for President Vizcarra to solve, the guy has done his best but it just hasn’t worked.
On a purely selfish level. I am very fortunate to be working and to be working from home, but long term I just don’t know?
Watch this space…
V-log Episode III…
Still on the airwaves, just!
Sack the Cameraman, apologies for the schoolboy error (and for my assistant eating on set), it will be righted next time.
We literally had 10 minutes to film it, I tested the sound but had the camera the wrong way round, d’oh.
Here is EPISODE 3.
We’re not going on a, summer holiday…
In a week of contradictory emails, Latam first cancelled our internal flights (end of July) then told me they were starting flights again at the start of July.
Then BA cancelled our flights, then reinstated them.
It looks like the borders will remain closed until September/October so we are screwed anyway, (plus I cancelled my jollies to pay back my May hours deficit). So, in a nutshell, no summer holidays.
I’ll be honest, holidays are a luxury and right now there are people far worse off, so I’ll just have to suck it up.
Not sure what will happen on the dark, dark day that my Yorkshire Tea runs out though…
It is a crazy time, for the whole world. Our little world has been condensed down to these 4 walls, the roof and a weekly trip to the supermercado. Amidst the chaos and uncertainty of a lockdown, emotions are all over the place. I think the Nipper is doing the best of all of us and she hasn’t been out for over 3 months. It is great to spend family time together but I would be Pinocchio himself if I said it was all happy families. Rows, tiffs, sulking, misunderstandings and that is just me!
Physically we are all ok, but it does sometimes get a bit intense emotionally.
Working from home is a mixed bag, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
The Nipper keeps telling me “Erase it all and let’s go and play instead!”
The Bairn is doing brilliantly and is very creative with her painting, drawing and making things from not-a-lot.
We have a daily “show” which is usually an elaborate story acted out with dolls and toys. Entertaining stuff and it makes a lot more sense than my scribbled gobbledygook here!
This week Macca’s Snacks features more tasty morsels and tipple selections!
First, a refreshing and easy to drink 4.3 % lager from Brazil called Brahma.
Next an unexpectedly powerful set of McCoy’s Salt and Vinegar crisps. They really do immediately hit your taste buds with some venom!!!
Next, a tasty cake from Asda. A milk chocolate loaf cake. Very tasty. Unfortunately I have allowed this one to go out of date!!
Finally today some chocolate raisins from Mr. Morrison’s supermarket chain. Nice for a sweet tooth chocolate lover like myself!
That’s all for this week folk. More tasty snippets next week!\
Big THANK YOU to Macca for his mouthwatering weekly contributions!
There is a lot going on right now and as I have the memory of a goldfish which has had a bang on the head, I bought a big, bright orange notepad in the supermarket sweep last week.
When I got home it was on my receipt but alas, wasn’t in my shopping, the scheming checkout lass had charged me but not put it through to the bit where she flung all my shopping at me at Mach 3. Bright bloody orange, how did I not see it?
Almost the answer to all my problems…
During the lockdown it has been pretty much impossible to get anything that wasn’t available from the local supermarket, Chemist or the car boot of some local Del Boy. About 2 weeks ago things did open up a bit, in Lima I hear they even now have delivery! Here in AQP it is a bit more limited, but I could at least order a laptop, as my poor hand-me-down 18yr old Mac just was not up to the job. After paying online I was told it could be collected in 2 weeks. 11 days later we got an email to say it would arrive in 3 days, 3 days later, Lina went to collect it, (my Visa has expired and I can’t renew it due to the lockdown, so it was always going to be easier in her name), to be told that we need to wait for the email to say it had arrived! In the next breath they said that the system that sends the emails was down.
After a lot of messing around and waiting, she finally got the laptop after a friendly assistant (Jorge) had checked it and set it up (or set me up, more of that later).
The shop was in a very ropey part of town so after disguising it as something not resembling a brand new laptop, Lina legged it back home with the new toy.
I have never had a new laptop before and after killing one of Lina’s old laptops (remember Limewire), I had already bought an antivirus which caused a problem in itself as the laptop already had one installed!
Now I am not quite Bill Gates (nor in knowledge nor wealth) but I thought I could find my way around a laptop, but was flummoxed by the keyboard configuration.I am ashamed to admit that my español has actually got worse over the years, “Practice makes perfect” I preach to my students, but I haven’t so my Castellano has really gone down the pan, not good when the keyboard and settings are in Spanish. After a lot of swearing, cursing and button pressing I discovered that we had a “One shot language” version of Windows 10, with which one sets up the machine with a language and that is it for life, no matter what buttons you press afterwards. So, thank you Jorge, please tell me where the forward slash is on this confusing machine that set me back nearly a months wages!
On the plus side I am learning how to be a Systems Engineer in Spanish and the new toy is really, really fast plus I can get the latest version of Zoom on it, so my life is complete!
Big news headlines last week stated that the ministry of silly walks (or someone similar) had allowed people to run, walk or exercise as from the 7th of June. The smallprint said that it was only in certain parts of Lima and not at all in AQP.
So, despite the big group of MTB lads who meet up on a Saturday morning and the lass who does aerobics on the 20ft high inner ring road wall every morning at 7am, risking certain death from a fall, I am still (legally) confined to my rooftop, which I don’t mind.
No records broken of late, I just use it as an hour to clear my head and get some fresh air. I am so grateful we can go up there!
The views are pretty blooming fantastic, but the Nipper got a bit carried away with the Fairy liquid on our weekly tiles clean on Saturday, so Monday morning was a tribute to Robin Cousins!
Get me a Plumber!
I used to have a mate at school called Jez, he was the original Music Man!
He read NME religiously and was always way ahead of the wave, most of his forecasts were on the money.
He did introduce me to a lot of bands I had never heard of and we all went to loads and loads of gigs in the late 80’s and early 90’s. He knew the exact timing of every Smith’s song!
At the time we started up a sort-of-band “The Half-Nelsons”, we never played any gigs but we did once get offered a set at the Old Folk’s Home, which luckily we turned down. Steve G was already a first class drummer (he played in bands), Rodge was an extremely talented guitarist, Benny sang, Jez played guitar pretty well for somebody self taught and I filled the final gap with bass, (cheapest to buy and easiest to learn! I am still learning 32 years later).
Jez’s dad used to have a business in Castleford and just around the corner on Wheldon Road, (a hop, skip and a jump from where Classy Cas played, now called “The Mend-a-Hose-Jungle, RL has made some strange decisions over the years), there was the most amazing shop (a word that doesn’t do it justice, more like an Emporium) called ROCK FACTORY.
It seemed to have about a dozen floors all full of guitars, basses, amps, drums and accessories and (like all good music shops) the staff just let you play (with no real intention of buying, “I’ll think about it…”)
All of which above rambling leads to this cool little video! If you like axes, watch this!
(Our attempt led to just 2 instruments in 10 minutes!)
There are 3 sides to Zoom (for me). In reverse order of preference.
1) Setting up Zoom meetings.
Not a complicated task, just really fiddly, especially when working on 2 computers as one won’t allow you to change times.
Time-consuming and eye-destroying, but it’s a job.
(I was alternating between these 2 tracks several very late nights last week when setting up 3 zillion appointments!)
2) Work (Placements).
I am lucky to have a job, so I can’t grumble. Got a new laptop and decent internet, two key ingredients of modern life.
Zoom works well, when people have used it and know how to turn their microphone on…
Zoom is BRILLIANT for this during these crazy times. I have a weekly “putting/-the-world-to-rights” with 2 Lima buddies drown myself in beer session and a Sunday lunch natter with my old BL mates. It brings people closer together and that is a definite plus!
The only problem is that all good things come to an end, but unlike a good night out, when you have to somehow get home from location X, when a Zoom meeting ends you can suddenly feel very, very alone (and drink like an absolute lunatic as a result!) Highs and lows, pros and cons.
The truth is that it is bloody brilliant to catch up with mates and talk absolute nonsense for an hour or two 🙂
Where I spend 2/3 of my life. This video is so true!
(Other beers are available, unless you go to my local Offy, then there is only Pilsen-Chimpum-Callao).
Have a mighty fine week.
Stay cool, stay calm, stay safe, stay awesome!
Johnny and the girls