Well, how did that happen?  Another week has zoomed by and I’m beginning to wonder how on earth I managed to find time for golf.  My next-door neighbour, who’s on furlough, so is used to working, heading off to the office in the morning and coming back in the evening, has been out painting the fence, having sorted the house from top to bottom.  Now, I suspect, she’s a bit worried about having nothing to do.   That’s the impetuosity of youth for you.

Being retired and a bit of an old hand at finding ways to fill the time, I’ve been pacing myself during lockdown.  The bases of the footstool and swivel chair – which I decided didn’t go well with the new flooring – remain untouched, the sugar soap still in its box, the sandpaper squares still a mystery, the paint unopened.  Plenty of time to take on the messy business of painting, not forgetting the uncoupling of the bases, it won’t be a quick job and shouldn’t be embarked upon lightly; and in certain lights the current colour doesn’t look too hideous….

The Venetian blinds, which I once thought were at the very top of my list of things to do, remain as grimy as ever but it only really shows in a certain light and since I’m the only one here, they’ve slipped way, way down the to-do list.  Time enough to start scrubbing once my friends and family are allowed out again.  And according to my aged adaptation (free with, whisper it quietly, The Sunday Telegraph in the dim, distant past) of Reader’s Digest’s “Extraordinary Uses For Ordinary Things”, I need some surgical spirit.  Phew, not worth making a special trip for….

Is it any wonder I’ve been putting it off……

It’s amazing how much time WhatsApp takes up – all those videos, jokes, all that laughing, all that commenting.  Too much sitting is bad for you, so I have to stand up and deal myself a few bridge hands, bop about a bit to the radio – not a very edifying sight but, then, there’s no one to see the eject creaking about – and join in with Helen’s Quarantine Choir on YouTube.  Sadly, there’s no getting away from it, if there’s a musical bone in this body, it’ll take a team of archaeologists to find it.  I sang Happy (100th) Birthday to Captain (now Colonel) Tom but think it was drowned out by the Spitfire and the Hurricane and you’ll be glad to know that “You’ll Never Walk Alone” is beyond attempting.  Bashing a saucepan for everyone at 2000 on a Thursday, creating a charivari, is about my musical limit.

I did manage to give blood on Wednesday, making the trip to the donor centre in Birmingham.  I usually go by train but this time, greatly daring, I drove.  As suspected, the problem wasn’t the traffic – not too much – but the parking.  A couple of loops and my sense of direction is like my singing – rubbish, non-existent.  In the middle of a normally hectic thoroughfare I waved down a police van to ask for help and we had a suitably distanced discussion about car parks without anyone interrupting us.

Lockdown’s a Brummer:  Central Birmingham at lunchtime on a wet Wednesday.

Off I set, got disorientated again and ended up in a quiet street that turned out to be next door to the Hippodrome Theatre.  And, lo, another police van (different occupants, thank goodness) appeared and was quite happy to be flagged down.  Yes, I could park there but it was a bit of a walk to the donor centre, up hill, in the rain.  No worries, the directions were so simple even I could follow them:  turn first left and straight on, up and over the tram lines and I knew where I was.  Even better, donation done, I found my way back without mishap.  Miracle.

The Hippodrome, closed for the moment, says thanks.

My route home took me past Costco, so I thought I’d nip in to get a few supplies.  How naive was that!  Goodness knows where exactly the queue started but there were people standing patiently in the rain just outside the underground car park and I knew the path wound up hill for quite a distance.  Ah.  Nipping in was not an option.  Waving nonchalantly at the police car that was patrolling the car park, I returned to my vehicle empty-handed and managed to get back without further alarms, no mean feat given that I hadn’t driven anywhere for weeks and was sticking religiously to the speed limit.  Apparently people have been speeding madly, claiming that the lack of traffic means that they’ve lost their points of reference – and  their speedometers;  like Mr Toad they’re revelling in the open road.

People are champing at the bit to get out and about and get going again, with professional golfers as keen as anyone to start swinging in earnest.  Mike Whan, commissioner of the LPGA Tour, considered as ever, issued a statement – read it all on lpga.com – and what jumped out at me was this:  “Resuming sports safely isn’t a race.  It’s a responsibility.  A responsibility not just to our athletes, sponsors, volunteers and fans but also to the millions who have sacrificed their personal safety to battle this pandemic or put their lives on hold to stem the spread…..

“So, will the LPGA resume our season in mid-July?  It’s too soon to say.  If I’ve learned anything about COVID-19, I’ve learned that no matter how well I plan, the virus will set the ultimate timeline…..there are still many unknowns and variables, including progress in screening, tracing and the spread of the virus itself.

“Today my planning horizon is 30-45 days out.  Beyond that, all bets are off….”

Finally, a proper picture, courtesy of Mary McKenna, painted by the incomparable Geraldine Costello, who died a few days ago.  Mo pays proper tribute to Gerry and I have to admit that I was always in awe of the doc (with good reason).  Looking at this painting, what strikes me now is not just how good it is but how legible her signature is……

Ar dheis De go raibh a hanam.

May her soul be at the right hand of God.  May she rest in peace.