I’ve been inspired by the New York Times food writer this Autumn. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t end up cooking anything he suggests though I love his recipes and will get round to experimenting in the kitchen.. soon. See, Sam Sifton, also contributes a comforting quarantine-relief blog called ‘At Home’, on the side and I look forward to it appearing in my inbox each week. His is a remarkably soothing voice in troubled times. A little while back he suggested keeping a record of little things: the stuff of life that occurs day to day which you would otherwise forget. Such as the dog getting stuck behind a Halloween pumpkin at the green grocer or the reopening of the ladies’ pond on the Heath.

I began recording my own daily list of minutiae which has now grown into a bulging iPhone note. Sometimes mine veers into very strange territory which makes me wonder if I should be cooking more after all. You might like to try your own as an antidote to pandemic blues or simply as a miniature historical record of this unique period in all our lives.

Here’s a bit of mine.


No bread. No wine  

Today’s exciting words – brio and inured!

A fresh-looking fox, bigger than Freud, crept right to the back door and looked in.

Dreamt I was stung on the ear by a murder hornet 

A wobbly wheel at the end of an early morning cycle round Central London nearly tipped me into the path of oncoming cyclists (scarier than motorists).

Woke feeling a bit lacklustre, stressed about rising R number.

Beautiful, beautiful sun, air, sky…  the dog swam at the Heath.

I dried him with a thick black towel, his wet under-girth smelling of pond water.

Kids sneezing and brainstorming.

Reports of many students and teachers off school sick.

Possible sign of life on Venus 

Sunrise walk: the sun a lilac orb and the ground warm underfoot Freud nibbles a chop discarded by a fox. 

News stream: Bio diversity’s horrific decline, anti vaxx lunatics resurgent, futile quibbles over Rule of 6.

Home : much shouting in the kitchen, hoarse throated ‘where’s my mask is this my mask today’s gunna be a bad day I can feel it ‘

Sitting in the creeping Autumn air reading Catcher in the Rye

3am: staring down a terrifying Winter corridor 

I was in a thicket !

An octopus embrace is possible.

Beguiling yet hostile pets passed me by.

Walked all the way to the Dr  to obtain an emergency Covid test for Edie , then walked all the way back.

Read the end of Catcher by the back door 

A lot of yelling at precisely 8.29am

The kindly ghost arrives!

Wind on Heath 

Drove Tom to Finsbury Park to play basketball. Dropped him off.  He was mugged at knifepoint now has no phone. ‘You won’t see your family tonight if you don’t…What ends you from? I’ll shank you’

Saw tiny dead sparrow 

Saw four teenage girls weeping on the corner. 

 Midnight vomit clean and stomp.

Walked Heath under clear skies and sunshine, saw tribute flowers by a bench. 

Overflowing porridge in microwave. 

Drum lessons after 6 month Covid-absence 

Long day with no plans 

Dog looking sore .

4 military planes fly past in formation.

Honey cake! 

 Entered data into a Diet App 

Staying positive 

I’m afraid for my pure unvarnished idiot brain while I study Russian Formalism

Stomach pains

A rush to South End Road through drop-off parents 

Running to an uplifting song at 630 am 

Grey skies.

Suspect I’m being eroded or erased like I’m about to do a six-month prison sentence and when I’m released all my old friends will have forgotten about me and have moved on with their lives.

Wrote letter to Professor 

I know I’m not dead … am I? Is this pandemic the afterlife?

An eyeful of sharp autumn sun.

The mark of a good poem is that it makes your bread bristle.

I am a supermarket trolley with a wobbly wheel.

Mozzarella balls in grocery delivery.

Looking forward to Red Comet Sylvia Plath ☄️ 

Got up at 515 and exercised in the dark from 550 till 645…

Rain and grey 


Beard bristling.

Covid makes your hair fall out. 

Long drive past Pentonville prison. 

Social media documentary with kids 


Grey, grey, grey

Green Moss and industrial skyline 

Half eaten halibut 

Bitter wind

Taking a shame bath.

Family squabble. 

Cold, cold kitchen. Heating not working .

Time curling back on itself.

Looking through the recycling garbage for my house key in the dark.

A whale emoji is the highest form of love.

Hoovering books and reciting poetry.

Freud’s drawer is full of curiosity.

Dull headache a tentacle around my skull

Vibrant Jowl pedicure 

Honey cake fast-break 

Soggy beginning 

Tears at breakfast (email induced) 

Posh sausages need poaching 

Flapjack cactus potted and now in study.

Three slender yellow trees behind a rain speckled window

Three russet trees behind a garden wall by the church 

Coffee in a gilded room with Jankenheim.

Whistling radiators 

The dog gurgles and wheezes like a kettle.

 Feel as though I’m being slowly dragged behind a ferry.

Rain rain rain.

Drove through central London in first light

A boy with a fluoro texta defaced Tube carriage.

Sat on rain-soaked bench waiting one hour and a half for an MOT.

Failed MOT.

Climbed out of a ditch of despair (courtesy of the Coronacoaster) can’t even say how. Just pop!

Sam Smith smiled at me on the Heath ! He walks with a cup of tea and a smoke. So chic!

Wrote my way out of gloom.

My new pink shoes got wet.

I spoke to a German woman who wouldn’t take her bulldog into the bakery.

The source of the laundry leak was detected 

Buttery afternoon light in my study.

Defeated by online fish tank sizing 

Returned third enormous fish tank via Soviet style Covid queue at Post Office 

Post offices are now very austere and glum, there are no friendly helpers hovering by self-service anymore 

Bought a cantaloupe from street vendor 

Morning rain 

A poet wins the Pulitzer!

Phantom smell strong today.

The dog does fox patrol for ages in the cold. Whistling him inside takes eons.

Deep sleep in the wintering dark 

Sprayed by a sprinkler in the freezing cold at 650 am. Dried clothes on radiator while listening to news…