On Playing ii

Saturday at three

is when the fun really starts

Oh, yes! And the pain


n.b. A lifetime of training my body to endure watching Pompey all over England means my adrenalin and endorphins peak around 3pm on winter Saturday afternoons…what happens from there is a game.

I used to play a bit too, not at that level though.

Realising the ambiguity of the last sentence, I clarify, that I played far below the Pompey level, (although my grandma could have scored some goals that Pompey players sometimes fail to score, obviously).


CLP 16/01/2021

Lockdown 3 (Day 11) Norwich

The police at work. A flat on the local estate has sheets and towels hanging from the kitchen window blocking any sight of the interior. It has been a council flat where the children run about on the exterior landing, drawing on the stairwells with coloured chalk, leave their scooters and bicycles outside the front door.

At that door four police officers have turned up to find out what the situation is inside. An old man is watching and the female policer explains to him that they are going to look inside and, if all clear, hand it back to the city council to put back in order. “You can be a witness, if you want.” she offers the old boy, whose face mask hangs on his top lip, leaving his nostrils exposed to the air. He is keen to see how things develop.

It is a little concerning that the scooters and a child’s bicycle are still on the landing outside the door. I squeeze by and hope the family have moved on somewhere safe. They may have been caught by the sudden imposition of Lockdown 3 and possibly be stuck somewhere else.

The covering of the window from the inside seems to have been carefully done. I suspect the police are a little concerned. A neighbour says that he hasn’t seen anyone there for ages. When did I last see activity there? Possibly Christmas Day? My photo is from 28th December.


CLP 15/01/2021

Lockdown 3 (Day 10) On the Phone

I remember working in an office for a couple of years on the Heathrow side of London. I had to drive for forty minutes to get there, then in the evening with heavy traffic had to make the return around the M25 motorway. The return journey was always heavy going and could take two hours, or more if had snowed, or there had been a crash somewhere. I did not have a mobile phone then, I was not senior enough in the corporation to have one, so I travelled back and forth with music from the CD player.

I mention this because most of my work in that post was carried out via telephone and by email when nearly all of it could have been carried out by phone at home, even in the late Twentieth Century. Internet dial-up services were not always reliable, but were good enough for email. However, the thinking in those days was that daily presence was demanded of employees and daily presence was as much the reason one was paid as anything else. What was interesting was how business interactions were carried out so effectively by telephone.

I had many dealings by phone with people whom I rarely, if ever met. On a winter’s day, when it was dark as I reached the office then dark when I left, I might barely meet a soul on the executive floor, but I would still feel that I had enjoyed a sociable day, when all I had done was talk to people by telephone. People such as the account handler at the design agency, or at the advertising firm, or the managing director of the point of sale display manufacturer and installation business, regional managers and company directors, the manager of the customer services department. It was a talking job. Occasionally I would walk along the corridor and speak to my boss in her, or latterly in his office, but that could have been handled by telephone too.

Well, today I spent my day at my desk and spoke to four people. Each call was very different; each brought something of the wider world to my compact, locked down living space. I did not step outside once, but it was a pleasant day. Thank you people.


CLP 14/01/2021