Mrs Mills solves a problem like Maria

mrs mills

Not that I went to the theatre before the lockdown, but now, thespians around the world are bringing their offerings, using live streaming, into your front room.
To make this experience even more intimate I believe you should take part in the actual screening: if it’s Les Misérables then sling all your cushions onto the carpet and build a barricade; if it’s Lloyd-Webber’s Joseph and his technicolour dream coat, get that crochet kit down from the loft and help the Family Jacob out – it doesn’t have to be any special material – any wool will do (see what I did there?) and, if you’re watching Macbeth, and you have lodgers, try not to murder them in their sleep and watch what’s being put into that evening’s stew.
It’s also your chance to be the next Vanessa Redgrave or Neil Pearson (good Tooting boy) and say the lines as your favourite character. Take the TV remote, hover your finger over the “mute” button and when it’s your turn say: “To be or not to be”; sing: “I dreamed a dream” or re-enact the fight scene from Women in Love – although mind that fire.
Give it everything – no one will see you (if you’ve got nets); no one will hear you (unless you’ve not got double-glazing) and no one will say anything unless the nets are in the wash, the windows are wide open and you’ve left the living room light on.
And if all that fails, get that nun’s costume out and pretend to be Julie Andrews singing about a goatherd with no mates and potential altitude sickness.
Plus, who needs an excuse to put on an excessive amount of make-up? Oh dear, time for the lockdown to end.
Ready for you now, Mrs Mills.

SOS

flag-semaphore

Given the current lockdown, 1967 was a very important year for me.
As a ten-year-old living in south London, this was the year I attained my Cub’s Signallers’ Badge.
As I still work, my communications these days involve Zoom (not the lolly, nor the 1982 Fat Larry’s Band hit); Webex (like Zoom, only with more spiders) or Teams (not ideal if you’re an only child). House Party isn’t perceived as professional, plus I’m at an age when most things are too loud anyway, so this method won’t ever feature with my client calls.
The novelty of video calls has worn off; so I’ve ordered a set of giant semaphore signalling flags, as my future communication will be waving these frantically from the roof of my house.
My training, back in 1967, involved several wintry weeknights going to a house in Tooting to be taught semaphore by a man so old he could have been Samuel Morse. There was no bell on the front door, just a selection of tom-tom drums in the porch with which to send messages saying you were outside the house (oh, and please either open the door or pop an umbrella through the letterbox).
With my work cap on, as opposed to my Cub cap (and matching woggle), I will be starting business meetings with no introductory pleasantries, but with messages I learned during my 1967 communications course: “My boat is sinking”; “Can anyone erect a tent?” and “I think I’ve burned my sausages”.
In case the latter is construed as a euphemism, I’ve also ordered a set of Aldis lamps.

You’ll be lucky

fence

I had to look up what two-metres was in old money. Turns out it’s six-foot, six and a half. I am six and a half inches smaller than that so, if I’m social distancing, I have to lie down and visualise I’ve grown another head.
Apart from very small basketball players, what else is two-metres, so I can mentally imagine this distance in shops?
There is a chart for children which depicts how tall things are, enabling them to see where they fit: Queen Victoria (very short at 152cm); a baby giraffe (183cm) or a female ostrich (194cm). This is as high as the chart goes, the assumption being that, once your child has grown to six- foot-three, they probably aren’t that interested in marking how tall they are with a pencil.
We are now a nation where, if you want to talk to anyone not in your household, you’re going to have to learn how to project your voice (sales of Betamax videos of John Gielgud Acting for Beginners Masterclasses have gone through the roof). People are keeping a safe distance and talking to your neighbour across a fence is (after an absence of about fifty-years) making a coming back.
Up and down the country people are re-enacting Al Read sketches.
And the safe distance either side of a fence will be one-metre of bedding plant. If you’re shouting across the fence, make sure you pronounce the word begonia correctly or Neighbourhood Watch will be on your case.
So, if you see people walking down the street dressed like Bernie Clifton, don’t worry, they’re only going to have a gossip with their neighbour.
Anyone got a cup of sugar?

Speaking Mandarin segments

cherry

With panic buying now a way of life, like watching Corrie or turning the gas off before you leave the house. And, as it becomes so, will our diets change or perhaps we might revert to things you’d forgotten about since childhood, but now remains the only things left on the shelves?
Over the decades, with the introduction of increasingly exotic foods, there must have been a point when you told yourself: these are the last tinned peaches I’m eating.
I think many of us of a certain age can remember refusing to eat corned beef because of its connotations with typhoid – not a good marketing gimmick. (This was before the Falklands War and blaming the Argentinians came naturally even in the early ‘60s).
It used to be perceived as a treat – opening up a tin of fruit in syrup – especially if it involved a glacé cherry – although an inevitable family fight would ensue over whose cherry this was as there was usually only one half in each tin. The scuffling being good practice for shopping these days?
There does, though, seem to be a surfeit of hundreds & thousands – always a treat to top off a tinned pear, less so corned beef.
Along from the pear halves, mandarin segments and peach slices are tins of prunes; given the paucity of toilet roll, this is far too much of a risk. And, as such, my collection, in the loft, of Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly magazines, are now beginning to look highly endangered.  Spam’s off, love

If it’s Tuesday, it must be Rapunzel

pinocchio

What bloody day is it?
I’ve not felt this day confusion since my last six-week school holiday and given my last playtime was forty-seven years ago, I’ve lost count which day it is.
Given the lockdown could last for months, I’ve decided I might get a set of seven underpants and, together with my name tag, sew in a label stating which day of the week it is.
The only problem, given the current shortages and delays in deliveries of certain items, you can’t guarantee what you want and end up with a substitution like when the Ocado delivery person gives you spam when you’d ordered sun-dried tomatoes.
Having ordered my daily pants, I notice from the confirmation, that they will all be Disney-themed. Therefore, no need for any sewing-in of any day tags, I shall simply create a mnemonic to remember which day it is: Mickey; Tigger; Woody (insert your own gag here); Tinkerbell; Anyone from Frozen; Simba and Snow White.
The inherent danger here is if it’s Thursday and I have an accident with Tinkerbell pants on.
My favourite Disney character is Pinocchio – sadly there in no day of the week beginning with P, so I won’t be wearing those; no bad thing if I ever started to lie wearing them. Mind you, in this cold weather, that’s largely academic.
Do you want to build a snowman?