The hills of south-east London

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I went and saw Jamie in the park. It was freezing cold today but I had panicked and put on a heavy coat. The hills in Dulwich were unrelenting from the beginning and I was dripping in sweat before I reached Clapham. We spoke about things breaking down, about how much we can endure and how many times we can restart things and change our conditions. We were up late last night, we’re in a strange detente for now.

Green chain walk

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In this second lockdown it’s all suddenly become about long walks and big cooks. Emma’s been walking for a dozen miles at a time through a river of wild spaces in South London called the Green Chain Walk. I’ve been churning through the cookbooks that I’ve been picking at until now, mostly neglecting. Successes lately have been gyoza, massaman curry, drunken noodles, Tuscan bean soup with homebaked bread. Fridays are for film night.

Autumn leaves

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I was locked down for two weeks, so when I got out I wanted to make the most of the autumn leaves. Dulwich Woods are only ten minutes awawy but they were new to me The residential neighbourhood is heavily planted too Most of the time though, I’m back inside. I saw On The Rocks with Rashina Jones and Bill Murray after I listened to the Big Picture episode about Sofia Coppola.


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I’ve been placed into self-isolation, it’s been three days now. A friend of mine who I saw last week got a test after some very low level symptoms and he tested positive. He feels horribly guilty for the cluster of people around him who are now in self-isolation, which goes to show how much of this situation has been laid on the consciences of individual people, wrongly. I’ve been doing okay so far.

Tired on waking

journal covid-19


I woke up today and I was really, really tired. It’s the end of the first week in a new role at work. I lay in bed until an uncharacteristic noon and having just gotten up, everything feels like far too much effort. If I’m tired or unhappy I can usually carry it around with me as I get on with things but I feel very under it today. I hope it’s not COVID-19 fatigue (the clinical kind, not the morale kind).

Round two

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The numbers are up again (the bad ones, the COVID-19 ones) and the daily cases are actually above where they ever got in the first wave. The response has been slower, patchier; nobody’s ready to jump straight into a full national lockdown again. It feels like it could be coming, though. I’ve mixed feeling about how ready for that I am. We have this new home: spaces to work and to rest that are separate from one another.

Swimming in pools and lochs

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We’ve had a lot of peace. We’re spending a lot of evenings in the pool, where only twenty people are allowed at a time and only swimming in a clockwise loop. We’ve been taking sick days when we feel worn out. I’ve been reading a little more. Emma has planted the raised bed at the end of the garden with bulbs that are supposed to sleep over the winter and erupt in spring.

A seal

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We’ve been on the coast of North Devon. Today the younger ones struck off from a larger group of trundling adults and children to get into the sea (we were standing on the headland and the water looked so calm and blue that Emma couldn’t think of anything other than finding somewhere to get into that sea). We found a small rocky beach at the end of a crumbling single-track road.

Gym and jolof

journal fitness london


I woke up early and lay in bed for a while knowing Emma wanted a big lie in to catch up on sleep from a bad week. Eventually I got up and booked a slot at the gym and cycled there. I’ve been running less and going to the gym more, is that a more vain balance of exercise? Jay Rayner was back at the gym, and this time James Nesbitt was there too.

Back to office

journal covid-19 work


I might be getting back to work in the office soon. I always used to value the physical and mental separation of work and life. I think I still do and I’m looking forward to having it back for two days a week, which is the plan at first. A lot has changed since I left the office, though. I am much more invested in my home. For one, it’s gotten much bigger and can therefore accommodate work mode more easily.