Diary of the Plague Year: Day 27 11 April 2020: Acis and Galatea

Had my dins watching this.  Danielle de Niese is pefection. Her sheer joy in performing this part is infectious – it made you want to weep. And the woman can dance.

It is the first time the Royal Ballet and Opera have come together in a production like this and to be honest I found the ballet just got in the way most of the time except at the very end.  And too many stuffed animals.  Otherwise fabulous.

Yesterday I watched Cosi fan Tutte also from the ROH. The ROH is one of the few things about London I really miss and watching these operas brings back lots of happy memories of some really wonderful evenings.

Galatea: Danielle de Niese
Acis:  Charles Workman
Conductor: Sir Christopher Hogwood

Royal Opera and Royal Ballet Co-production.

Diary of the Plague Year: Day 27 11 April 2020: Red Cabbage

Meet Dutch – I drive into Clon every Friday to pick up my veg box. The fruit and veg is all organic and delicious.

Today I am cooking red cabbage to go with the last of my lamb stew.

  1.  Chop I red onion.
  2.  Fry in butter and olive oil until caramelized.
  3.  Chop about a third of a red cabbage.
  4.  Add to onion.
  5.  Splosh in some cider vinger.
  6.  Add a teaspoon of honey, two crushed garlic cloves, a bayleaf and some thyme.
  7.  If necessary splosh in some water.
  8.  Bring to the boil and simmer for 40 minutes.

I will be interested to see what this is like – adapted from an online recipe.

Clon was like a ghost-town on Friday. I took some pics of some of the shops and Emmet Square where there is usually a busy market.


Diary of the Plague Year: Day 27 11 April 2020: Hommage to Hieronymous

Having spent the last few days throwing my little mower around and really putting it through its paces I have grown very fond of it. It has mowed its way through really rough grass and weeds and sometimes to a horrible grinding noise as it came across stones, which it contemptuously spat out – sometimes as far as 15 feet. I am not given to anthropomorphism, especially when it comes to inanimate objects but I feel the little Bosch deserves a name, if only for conspicuous gallantry in the field – “arise, Sir Hieronymous”. It is a machine only meant for mowing small suburban lawns and it, like me, has had to acclimatize to a much tougher country life. Perhaps it dreams of a civilized semi-detached residence in Sunningdale …


I now have a haystack in the corner of the field and three distinct areas of mown meadow.

I have close-mown all around the trees in the orchard and have ordered wildflower seeds.  I had estimated the area by some fantastic amount but actually it is an area roughly 50 metres square. Somehow I had calculated 600 metres square!! I will sow the wildflower seeds here.

The next area is at the back of the house next to the painting shed.  I have close-mown here too and will just see what come up.  Ditto, the area across the path under the tree.

The rest of the meadow has been strimmed to height of about 3 cms and it will be interesting to compare.

It turns out I have done exactly the right thing if I want to sow seeds incidentally so am feeling quite optimistic about the wildflowers.

My lovely neighbour, Fionnuala,  has just given me a big bag of grass see which I really need to vamp up the paths in the orchard.  God, gardening is exciting …


Diary of the Plague Year: Day 27 11 April 2020: Quotidian Poetry Gerard Manley Hopkins (1884-1889)

Gerard Manley Hopkins


This darksome burn, horseback brown,
His rollrock highroad roaring down,
In coop and in comb the fleece of his foam
Flutes and low to the lake falls home

A windpuff-bonnet of fawn-fróth
Turns and twindles over the broth
Of a pool so pitchblack, fell-frówning,
It rounds and rounds Despair to drowning.

Degged with dew, dappled with dew
Are the groins of the braes that the brook treads through,
Wiry heathpacks, flitches of fern,
And the beadbonny ash that sits over the burn.

What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and wildness? Let them be left,
O let them be left, wildness and wet;
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.



Pocket Poets
Studio Vista, London

Bluestar House
Highgate Hill