We had coffee and cereal while wanting to watch TV news coverage that isn’t streaming. Our TV service comes streamed via a broadband modem and a set-top box. It’s a frustrating example of technology that’s provided without adequate integration and training of the provider’s workforce. It’s taken a month for an admission that this is a service issue rather than something we’ve done. It’s a very asymmetric relationship between provider and customer. The accounts department will know if a subscriber fails to stream cash on time. The technicians are divided into factional departments who don’t seem to know when the streaming TV service is failing let alone how to fix it.
We read the Irish Times newspaper at the dining table. The so-called Last Supper in Clifden was the dominant news story. Members of a golfing society met and dined in a hotel in celebration of their society’s 50th anniversary. Unfortunately, there were over eighty for dinner at a time when the limit was six. It’s a measure of the confusion of changing pandemic rules that the gathering was attended by people involved in advising, framing and enforcing the rules. It’s becoming a national scandal. A minister and a senator have already resigned and others in key national and international leadership roles are catching a lot of media flack. Perhaps the biggest lesson is not about flaunting pandemic advice or alleged arrogance but national governance. It seems that the society membership includes members of the cabinet, the parliament and the judiciary. This suggests, to the lay observer, that the executive, legislative and judicial functions might not be quite as independent as should be expected in a democratic parliamentary republic.
We drove out along leaf littered roads decorated by Storm Ellen. We went to walk the eastern pier in Dún Laoghaire as we do five or six mornings each week. It was still windy, a discouragement that significantly reduced the number people out walking. Our reward was an invigorating excursion that we thoroughly enjoyed. And we beat the rain by just a few minutes.
We stopped off in a supermarket for the weekly groceries. We’d normally only risk exposure for one of us at a time. We agreed that since our local supermarket manages the rules better than most, we could halve the shopping time by doubling our exposure. And it was just so. Masks, handgel and gloves (not me) amidst screens and social distancing to isolate everyone from us.
One of our daughters was waiting outside when we got home. She came to collect a package that was delivered to us in error. A bonus of her visit was spending some time out in the garden where we discussed her ongoing cancer treatment and plans. Then baking got underway, a cake for a neighbour and family who’ve been bereaved.
A second daughter arrived and face-masked, she walked through the house without touching anything other than by her shoes on the floor. She too sits in the garden at distance from us and we discuss schools re-opening. We won’t see her family for ‘a number’ of weeks after the kids return due to our need to stay isolated.
One daughter leaves and another daughter and family arrives. They are all dressed in blue jeans under white tops. Some have not left their home county since mid-March. We get the gallopers running around the back garden for the first time in over five months. They endlessly circle our mulberry-coloured acacia. Three three extra ramekins of cake batter find their way to the oven.
That family has left and we are unlikely to see them until October because of the loss of agency in next week’s school reopening. Meanwhile, an international meeting has commenced on the kitchen table. It involves zooming with a group from many countries and it’s a sign of the times that this is how group activities have come to be reported and coordinated.
We have made lunch and served it while we attend a wedding. We would have been invited to physically attend had it not been for the pandemic. It’s truly bizarre to zoom in on two people exchanging their vows from afar via a screen propped up in the middle of the dining table. The venue looked lovely and the very small group even waved to the camera at one point.
There are just the two of us in the house again, grateful for the electricity that runs the dishwasher that cleans up after baking. Participation in the international zoom meeting has been resumed. As has weeding in the garden.
We are both reading and making notes. She for a PhD being done remotely, me for this journal. It’s been drizzling rain again and we decide not to walk the dog around the hill. The same drizzle interrupted the dramatic need for weeding following the phenomenal growth of the last week. A mark of that growth is that the untrimmed portions of the hedge have grown by another metre.
It’s been a long day, only some of which is journaled here. We make the decision to order a gourmet pizza and salad. This has become a day for treats that we very rarely enjoy. And when our Dylan’s Park arrived, very promptly, Gary’s Gourmet Pizza was as good as the last one back in March.
We watched rugby for the first time since March. Leinster were hosting Munster and we were worried there’s been no pre-resumption friendlies to help ease bodies back into the bruising full-contact game. Leinster won but there were many injuries on both teams. Our TV participation was curiously low-key because the emptiness of the stadium has robbed the game of the tense atmosphere that this arch-rivalry normally exudes.
We decided to continue watching TV since we can’t socialise with our friends. We resumed a binge on the last few episodes of Little Fires Everywhere. Not easy watching because some of the performances are almost too real (which is a very positive endorsement). It must have been fun to script and produce the series.
… or perhaps a tad later. A rare day of family socialising was concluded.