TheEye is a positive thinker but, like most others, even she is wondering when IT will all end and when we will return to what we still call ‘normal’. She shudders at the thought of a new normal. All she wants is ‘normal normal’ – going to restaurants, the cinema, shopping?

Meeting friends for a cup of coffee. Hugging and kissing, people over for dinner (lunch or breakfast). Oh, the happy days.

No sadly not ‘theeye’ but they look very happy.

The challenge now is filling the empty hours in meaningful ways and keeping to some sort of daily routine. How often do you wake up wondering what day it is?

Every day is Sunday.

Newspapers, magazines and the TV are full of helpful tips and heart warming stories to stop people from going clinically mad. How fashion editors have the will to keep suggesting what we should be wearing at home, when we never see anyone apart from the postman or DHL delivery man, is a mystery.

TheEye vowed she would not join the bandwagon, but the temptation was too great and she can’t resist sharing a few of her more successful diversions and new skills. Hairdressing, for example. She now cuts her own fringe (a little jagged at times) and also her husband’s hair. This can be a rather tense affair with the worry of snipping a small amount of his ear along with the hair. Would not be good.

Then there is self-colouring her roots. Grey not being an option, using very clear instructions courtesy of a kit from colour maestro Josh Wood.
Not an activity she enjoys, but needs must.


Being a hoarder is not something TheEye would boast about  – whether it’s clothes, circa Biba, old letters or her collection of important newspaper articles going back to 1969 and the first moon landing. In 1969, TheEye was unmarried and living in a series of rented flat shares. Why, this newspaper front page stayed with her over all the years in a box which included other major world events – political shakeups (Watergate and President Nixon’s downfall), 9/11, Margaret Thatcher. Lots of Obama coverage and far too much of Donald Trump. Now she is making one large scrap book. Easier to reference than rummaging through a box. It’s a time-consuming task. Most of the pages are dry and crumpled with age, as you would be had you been sitting in a box for over 25 years. It means ironing them one by one.

For real inspiration, TheEye was captivated by the incredible origami skills of Alex Ray, who works at Bristol Children’s Hospital, and has been an origami enthusiast for 20 years. Apparently, the pandemic has made him a fanatic (‘since lockdown’ , he says ‘I’ve made three times what I normally would and I’m running out of places to put them’). They are works of art.

Alex Ray 2020 © for image – Eric Joisel

Alex Ray 2020 © for image – Satoshi Kamiya

Mr Ray’s expertise does rather over shadow TheEye’s rather mundane skills – take soup-making, for example. A relaxing activity producing a delicious result. Just chop leeks, celery and any bits of raw veg lurking in the fridge. Thin green beans, for example chopped. Saute gently adding some Borlotti beans or similar and a can of chopped tomatoes. After about half an hour, when the veg are soft, pour in stock and give it all a good stir. Finally, add sea salt, ground black pepper and chopped flat leaf parsley and basil if you wish. A hearty soup and a great meal on cold evenings with grated Parmesan cheese and crusty bread. Comforting to make and to eat.

One of the happiest events in this unnatural time was TheEye’s family Zoom birthday dinner party. Quite a military operation which involved getting the food to 5 separate households arriving at the same time in order for everyone to sit down and eat together. No easy feat.

The food was ordered from TheEye’s favourite Indian restaurant, Trishna, in Blandford Street Wl, and biked to everyone. Miraculously, it all worked according to plan.

TheEye loves Trishna’s take on traditional Indian food in a delicate way that isn’t overpowered by too much chilli or garlic.

Stunning to look at. Delicious to eat. Home baked by Charley Samuelson.

There was champagne and a stunning birthday cake and the zooming worked without a hitch.

A lot of chat and laughter and fun. Best birthday ever. Just what was needed as a lockdown tonic and you don’t have to wait for a birthday. Just get your family or friends involved. Have a Zoom quiz.

Friends have taken up gardening in a serious way. And it’s not just rewarding to see plants and flowers burst into bloom, but wonderful exercise. All that bending is quite aerobic.

Talking of gardens, TheEye was listening to a fascinating programme on Radio Four ‘Open Country‘ series about snowdrops. You probably can’t think of anyone getting too excited about these tiny delicate white flowers, but HOW WRONG YOU WOULD BE.

People become obsessive and featured on the programme was Alan Street, the UK’s (possibly, the world’s) greatest snowdrop expert, who explained that the price of rare snowdrops can fetch many hundreds of pounds, even in some cases, thousands. Snowdrop auctions are held and the bidding can be frenzied.

A field of snowdrops in West Yorkshire

So the next time you are out in the countryside and pass clumps of snowdrops, don’t just say ‘how lovely’, get out and take a close look. If one stands out as being a slightly different colour, carefully dig it up and take it to your local flower nursery. Who knows?

Well, TheEye has covered making a scrap book with a difference, origami as an art form, soup-making for comfort, gardening and making a fortune from snow drops, and that’s even before mentioning books, the endless television worth a binge, online lectures and exhibitions.

For lovers of rock’n’roll, the death of Phil Spector must have raised questions. His ‘Wall of Sound’ technique brought joy to pop music but misery to so many lives. He was a damaged, bitter and violent man. He kept guns in his home and had a coffin installed in his basement to threaten his wife, convicted of murder and died in jail. But his musical influence lives on in such classics as Da Doo Ron Ron (the Crystals), He’s A Rebel, River Deep Mountain High. All utterly joyful and on TheEye‘s playlist. Spector produced the Beach Boy’s Pet Sounds album (their best), collaborated with John Lennon and Bruce Springsteen. A genius and a monster.


Phil Spector – dangerous man – a great music producer.

But rejoice: Wednesday January 20th. INAUGARATION DAY.

Trump OUT. Biden IN.

U.S. President Donald Trump waves as he as walks on the South Lawn of the White House upon his return to Washington from Dover, Delaware, U.S., January 19, 2019. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas – RC1A05E75D00

Let’s hope the ex-president doesn’t get up to his tricks and continues to ignite hatred amongst his numerous supporters. For the moment, however, it’s time for optimism and it’s Thursday today, not Sunday.

Keep healthy, keep safe.


  1. Thanks Jan I didn’t know about the snow drops; and Happy belated birthday…glad you had a lovely one. Lol, Fortuna

  2. Happy belated birthday darling Jan. So glad you made it a fabulous and fun affair, despite the lockdown horrors.

    Love the origami too. I’m so tied up in knots right now, I’m feeling like human origami actually. xxx Love kathy

  3. Thanks Jan for continuing to keep our spirits high particularly after the elation of yesterday’s inauguration. You have of course covered all the important things about lockdown life particularly Josh Wood’s skills which have now been mastered by Peter! Beautiful origami and snowdrops have become even more of a favourite of mine now. xx

  4. Thank you for keeping us happy! Love the Origami, snowdrops and the Phil Spector. Great music terrible man!

    • Thanks so much Susan and hope you are all well and breathing in the sea air. Not quite the same in North Kensington.
      Yes, Phil Spector was a murderer and totally mad, but his music was fantastic. Didn’t you love the Inauguration. What a difference.

  5. Thanxxx I hope you are receiving my comments?

    • Yes received this and thank you!! Writing it keeps me going. Normal? Hardly know what the word means anymore.

  6. Great to get your cheery round robin update, look forward to the old world coming back to normal … soon ??

  7. I think you should let David do your hair. Then there would be more to write about. I am sure he would be good with colour.

  8. As always a lovely positive slant on a dismal subject made palatable ! Thanks Lovely Jan and let’s get together when we are out of this . Xxx

  9. Thank you for this uplifting and insightful read Jan. I will look at snowdrops in a whole new light now – thanks to this and other tips too xx

  10. Thank you for a very uplifting and cheerful blog.
    Let’s hope we will soon be able to make some plans and see our friends. Xx

  11. What a great posting, Jan. Thanks so much! All tips for keeping our spirits up are gratefully received. I’ll definitely be trying a Trisha dinner and giving my fringe a trim! Meanwhile, this morning’s sunshine really echoed the bright new dawn of yesterday’s inauguration! Really something to lift the spirits. Xx

  12. Thanks Jan for keeping going when enthusiasm has all but disappeared! Loved the exquisite origami & the snowdrops – had no idea there were rare ones; it was really cheering to see the first ones already out at Kew this last weekend.

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