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w/e 2020-03-29

Hello you.

Photo of a loaf of wholemeal bread

§   I don’t wish to add too much to the internet’s already vast repository of “man makes bread” content, which I’m pretty sure I read somewhere takes up more space than all of Netflix’s video but, inspired by Matt Haughey, I made this no-knead bread which was very tasty. We usually make our bread in a bread maker which involves a couple of minutes of throwing in ingredients and turning it on, which is easy but it’s nice to have a different kind of bread; this had a great crust and a different taste. The loaf didn’t rise as much as I hoped but I used wholemeal flour – more yeast next time. Bread content ends.

§   Aside from the even-more-extreme-that-usual isolation, life here continues much as Before. The moods, however, are moodier. One day everything’s fine and I’m happy enough that even Adriene suggesting that I repeat today’s mantra barely causes my cynical Gen-X eyes to roll.

But, on other days, the standard periodic level of existential despair finds itself joined by the bundle of anxiety, anger and sadness that gathers thanks to The Current Situation, like one black dog on another black dog’s shoulders, dressed in a long black trench coat, wearing a wide-brimmed black hat, and while I work out to the impersonal tones of an app, and the music shuffles from Colin Stetson’s bleak honking to (no joke) John Cooper Clarke’s Health Fanatic, everything feels a bit much.

Then I step into the garden and the sun is shining and the only sound is the beautiful singing of the birds, and everything is alri… no, then I also feel guilty for being so mopey.

§   This week we finished watching season one of The Crown and made our way through most of season two. I have previously bemoaned the tendency of TV shows to rely on too many flashbacks and shuffled timelines to increase their apparent complexity. While The Crown doesn’t do this it is still how we experienced season one: because I am an idiot we ended up watching the four DVDs in the order 3, 2, 1, 4. Aside from a couple of odd references we only noticed my mistake when we moved onto disk 1 half-way through.

Even with this Idiot’s Viewing Order, the show is, as everyone has already said, good. It’s a bit less “comfortable Sunday-evening period nostalgia drama” than I feared, a little pointier about some of the ridiculousness and the awful men being awful than I expected.

I found my opinions of people shifting dramatically from one moment or episode to another. I think this is due to good writing and realism – the complexity of humans – rather than inconsistent writing. Much of the time the Queen is a heroic, stoic and pragmatic force against pomposity and overreach (she generally comes out of this show very well) but at others she’s naive, brutal or as pompous-as-those-around-her in her implementation of the establishment’s rules. The Duke of Edinburgh goes from a spoilt, entitled arse to (very occasionally) a modernising and supportive force.

However, even when I find myself rooting for Her Maj, and thinking how good she is – and how beautifully played by Claire Foy – there’s a constant undercurrent of, “How the fuck can anyone be living like this in the 20th century?! Oh my god, this is no way to run a country!” If you’ve been avoiding the show because you fear it’ll turn you from republican to monarchist, I don’t think you have anything to fear.

§   That’s about all. I’m not sure where the time went this week but I expect next week will go the same way. Take care.

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