Will Spring ever Spring?

Will Spring ever spring? It is the 1st of February today, but the weather is dull, wet and cold. We have the occasional sunny day, the occasional crisp frost, but it is rare. Our lives have settled into bleak endurance with the occasional bar of chocolate. We try and make the best of things but it is hard to ignore the Covidy mess this country seems to be in. On the slightly brighter side, the vaccine rollout seems to be proceeding – Philosopher has his first one on Thursday. I have heard nothing yet. I’ve included some photos of signs of spring in this post – got to stay positive!

Catkins outside the dentists!

Just to have  the obligatory quick moan. Battleaxe seems to be having terrible trouble dealing with big organisations at the moment. Currently I am wrestling with the following:

  • one lost Hermes package. It was taken to our local pick-up shop, the Co-op in Ore, who provided a receipt, which I have, but Hermes seems to think we never dropped it off. It only contained a package of liquorice sticks for my grand daughter – don’t ask me why, she likes to chew them, but that is it beside the point.
  • one item of lost/delayed mail sent to Portugal. We paid for signed-for and tracked, only to discover that currently the mail is passed on to a local company when it leaves the UK, who do not provide tracking… oh Gawd…
  • abortive attempts to pay a largish sum of money from Barclays to my daughter. I paid one instalment into her account and attempted a second, only to have them suspect it was a fraudulent transaction.  They froze my mobile banking… three phone calls and two further attempts later the money has finally gone through.
  • truly terrible trouble trying to extract money from the Nationwide to clear our debt on the new car. It is so annoying I can’t bear to write about it, but suffice it to say if they don’t sort themselves out soon I will withdraw all our money and put it somewhere else.

Now, what I want to know is this. Are these institutions genuinely suffering because of Covid? Is it home-working, staff off sick, international restrictions, increased fraud/crime?  Or are they using Covid as an excuse to collapse into a morass of truly diabolical customer service? Or, could it be that the Battleaxe temperament is deteriorating?

I expect it is a combination of all three. Every service we have is creaking, and when you have hung on the phone for what feels like eternity, nobody is helpful…  I think Nationwide took the biscuit. They emailed me saying they needed a ‘quick phone call’ about my request, and gave a number. I called the number, went through the usual lengthy security checks, only then to be told that the number was no longer in use. A chat-bot on internet banking gives me another number, which I am told would be answered within two minutes. I dialed it up, waited 45 minutes listening to tinkly music, and then gave up.

But hey, look at this lovely little wren in our garden, photographed by Philosopher. Normally they are so shy and move so quickly it is hard to get a picture.

And yes, my temperament has indeed deteriorated during Covid time. I have virtually no patience with anything or anybody.  I know that getting angry so much is not good for the health, but…  If I have to listen to one more Government minister say that they are ‘working very hard’, ‘day and night,’ ‘doing all they can,’ while deaths mount and mount… 106,000 plus now.

They seem particularly fond of trotting out Robert Jenrick at the moment. He has all the charisma and gravitas of an afternoon door supervisor at a Gala bingo hall. I cannot imagine how we are supposed to find his utterances credible.  Then, I just looked at BBC News, and there is Johnson saying he is ‘optimistic’ about summer holidays! Yeah? Really? Again? We can’t believe a single word he says…

So, signs of spring… have been busy looking on our daily walks but not much to see as yet. The odd snowdrop and bit of early blossom. These daffodils are very reliable – they come out on a particular bank in Winchelsea right at the beginning of January.  Here is one, and there is Philosopher photographing them. Oh look, it was a sunny day then…

Finally, from another walk to the Cemetery. These primroses were in the Woodland Burial Ground section.  I am going in there when my time comes. It is a slightly scrubby bit of wood but nicely wild and hidden. We heard a woodpecker busily tapping away on a nearby tree.  I guess I’ll have to have one of those cardboard or wicker coffins. In Hastings there is a thing called the Coffin Club, where you buy a cardboard coffin, spend happy hours decorating it in the company of jolly female alternative funeral celebrants and like-minded others, and then keep it under your bed until needed.  Here is information about it if you should be so-minded, but even though I am relatively OK around the issue of death, I think that is all far too breathy and clammy.  Do I want an End-of-Life Doula? No.  Just pop me in a nice coffin made of recycled Amazon boxes – we have enough of them round here already.



  1. Heather
    February 1, 2021 / 5:01 pm

    I got my coffin from the Coffin Club but our ‘course’ was halted last March because of You-know what. You don’t have to have a Doula or anything or anybody if you don’t want to. It was interesting finding out all the options and being made aware of the issues re funeral plans etc. You don’t even have to buy the coffin – you could just do the course. I’m certainly not into Doulas or airy fairy stuff but I’m pleased I’ve got my affairs in order – although I started to paint the coffin during the first lockdown and still haven’t finished it. Think I’m a bit worried that if I finish it the Grim Reaper will think ‘Ah – she’s ready’ and I haven’t had me jab yet!!

    • February 1, 2021 / 9:59 pm

      Hi Heather, thanks for the comment – it is good to hear from someone who actually goes to the Coffin Club!

  2. Jacky Scales
    February 1, 2021 / 6:40 pm

    I quite like the idea of the Coffin Club and may go along once they reopen ( maybe in a couple of years the way things are going! )

  3. Catherine Emmitt
    February 1, 2021 / 7:45 pm

    I feel exactly the same as you and react badly to every bit of news. I have managed to do a bit of gardening in the last week which always lifts my spirits, along with walks.

    • February 1, 2021 / 10:01 pm

      It is a bit wet for me to enjoy the garden – am a bit of a fair weather gardener!

  4. Jane Hattatt
    February 1, 2021 / 8:15 pm

    Darling Stephanie,

    Oh how we love your description of Robert Jenrick…. “He has all the charisma and gravitas of an afternoon door supervisor at a Gala bingo hall” ……please may we adopt it for use by ourselves? And why are so many junior ministers and underlings wheeled out to give a view on Covid or Brexit or indeed anything else that they are clearly lacking any particular expertise in or even vague knowledge of.

    Still all the shenanigans of Whitehall help take our minds off the situation in Hungary where our hopes now seem to be on Mr Putin supplying Sputnik vaccine to those of us in need of release from shielding where we have been since 11th March.

    But, signs of Spring are evident. Nature will take its course. All will be well.

    • February 1, 2021 / 10:04 pm

      Hello Jane – haven’t heard from you in years! Are you still doing your blog? I’m glad you enjoyed the post!

  5. Jill Fricker
    February 8, 2021 / 11:22 am

    Hello Steph! We must get together for at least a walk and a takeaway coffee . . . the nearest we’ll get to a long-gossipy lunch for a while yet! I too loved your Jenrick description. Perfect! Love to you and Philosopher XX

    • February 8, 2021 / 4:55 pm

      Yes indeed – will be in touch as soon as weather looks a bit more hopeful…

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