9 April 2022

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Yeay! It’s Delivery Day!




03.04.20 – Darrell Priestley

Hunkered down at the homestead, happily honing this hopeful homily to hubris. And with luck, that’s got the need to aliterate out of my system for the remainder of this blog. This is the day we have been waiting for, and simultaneously the day we have been dreading. Not wishing to blow my own trumpet, but one day early last week I succeeded against all odds in claiming an elusive delivery slot with Asda. Not much will get you one; they laughed when I told them my dad was friends with one of the founder’s, Peter Asquith (true, but irrelevent). Only a quirk of fate, a happy accident, put me at the front of the queue just as a couple of delivery slots were released. You have never seen me move so fast!

And it’s not just Asda. Hours each week go into a black hole, staring at the little man sauntering across the screen (come on little guy, pick up the pace, why don’t you?) This morning, I zoomed in to watch his legs moving, like he had all the time in the world; which I suppose now he does. It’s just that, in the middle of pandemic, that kind of nonchallance just winds me up. Asda, Morrisons, Ocado, Tesco, you can’t even snag a click-and-collect slot. And then, when you see a grocery delivery van driving down the road you find yourself rushing to the window, wondering who was that lucky customer, who do they know in high places, where do they live and how on earth did they ever get so lucky?

Chatting with one of our student’s mums yesterday, she confirmed what I had long suspected; they have regular weekly deliveries. While I feel a reassuring satisfaction that someone at least got their ducks in a row before the world veered off it’s axis, there is much consternation that we didn’t put something like that in place back when we had the chance. My wife Eileen likes her routine, which is not the same as saying she enjoys supermarket shopping, but she was always resistant to disrupting a weekly routine by which we have lived for so long. I suspect grocery shopping will reshape itself for many of us after lockdown, with a regular small scheduled delivery, if only to preserve a place in line against any future need.

So today, between 7.00 and 9.00, the delivery van will pull up and disgorge everything we could have two of (let’s hope that doesn’t also include brussels sprouts?), which sounds like cause for happiness and revelry, but amidst the triumph there is also angst, because since that fateful day when we secured this slot, we’ve seen neither hide nor hair of another, despite checking in the wee small hours almost every night.

But at least the supermarkets will have a very good year, (unlike the travel industry or the garden centres). Earlier this week I was delighted to hear that Morrisons, a very ethical business whose policy is to quietly support foodbanks year round, has commited to produce an additional £10,000,000 worth of it’s own brand foods to further help them at this time. This news made me glow. Then yesterday Morrisons announced it is to treble it’s annual bonus this year to all it’s 43,000 hardworking staff. They deserve it. I have never appreciated them so much.

Bang a Gong – It’s Thursday




02.04.20 – Darrell Priestley

The Netflix fantasy has yet to happen at our house. You may be more fortunate. Incarcerated chez nous ten days and counting, we have so far seen less than five hours of non Covid-19 TV. By the time I sit in a chair to wind down after a long day at the computer, I am already nodding off to sleep. The TV goes on mostly at meal times, when we catch up on news develpoments from around the world, though under current circumstances I think it’s good to limit that kind of thing; then it’s back to work, which is somewhat better.

Eileen and I are missing our grandchildren, of course. While isolation feels safe, we are all missing out on family, and get-togethers that would recently have seemed routine are just not happening. Fortunately, this is the age of the videolink, and our three year old grandson is far from camera shy, while his six month old sister has a winning smile that lights up the small screen. They are totally isolating at present, but can come out to shop again in less than a week, perhaps something of a mixed blessing since lately every shopping expedition feels like running the gauntlet. Meanwhile, we make goo goo eyes at the children and do funny poses (at least, they think they are funny) through the window when we drop off the shopping at their front door.

Today being Thursday, there is an 8.00pm call to assemble at the front of the house with pots and pans, wooden spoons, and anything else that can make a din, and applaud our wonderful NHS and care staff, who bravely put in long shifts on the front line. But it’s a long front line, and it extends into the food shops and pharmacies, care homes and social care, and to the people who keep our public trasnsport moving. So when you cheer tonight and bang that gong, shout loud and shout wide, because as we are starting to realise, there are a lot of brave and selfless people helping to hold our world together right now.

Build A Playlist, to help You Through the Day




01.04.20 – Darrell Priestley

Most things, I find, can be dealt with if accompanied by the right play list. Music – it’s something that’s always worked for me. There’s music for almost every mood, every situation, the trick of course being picking the right tunes for the moment. Don’t overlook instrumentals, which generally provide undemanding background listening for many a chore, with no mental struggles trying to work out wierd and frequently inane lyrics. Since it’s getting tougher all the time to find a radio station that plays a selection of music you actually like, you might as well put your own lists together, but positive aspects are i) it will fill up some time you unexpectedly found you had, and ii) it’s genuinely fun to do.

Your playlist should have a name, to suit the mood you want to use it for. But once you’ve made one, you will probably want to make more, so don’t try to put all your favourite tunes on the same list, as you will rarely find a tune that fits all situations. Curiously, I have a particular favourite tune I like to play while cleaning my teeth, though only at bedtime – how odd!

My go to streaming service is Spotify, which is incredibly easy to use and offers a free version, but there are a number of other services you could use. For these present times, you will no doubt want to put a good few uplifting tunes on your playlists, special favourites to take you away from the now. We have built up hundreds of playlists over the years, which may sound a bit indulgent but since this music powers us through our long days, often eleven or twelve hours, I think it is justified. Another thing about Spotify that I love is how is easy it is to explore music you might never hear on the radio, making it easy to discover some new favourites.

We get a lot of compliments on the music we play (when we are open!), but our tastes are quite eclectic, so it’s hard to make suggestions for you. However, you will already have a good idea what you like, so an idea might be to choose a favourite tune as a starting point and then build to a theme, eg ‘Tuneful Tranquillity’, ‘In Line Online’ (aka ‘Waiting for a Website’ – a kind of hold music of the pandemic, I suppose), or perhaps at the opposite end of the spectrum, ‘Demonic Dusting’. By now, we have a playlist for nearly every occasion, the longest of which has maybe a thousand songs, and we come up with around two new list for Christmas alone every year. So, to help you get started, the advice would simply be this: start to build a playlist, it should soon be enough to help you get you through the day.

Urgent – Email Updates




31.03.20 – Darrell Priestley

Have you been receiving email updates from us recently? We are sending out important messages to all current students. If you have not received yours, please check your spam filters, otherwise simply email to let us know so that we can quickly bring you up to speed.