My boss had left me a message (after I'd sneaked off at 4) asking me to help Sammy (he’d also tried to phone me, just after I left) but when I phoned her this morning, she didn’t need me. I had to phone The Train Line, which Jack has used to book our tickets to Whitby, and have said publicly that they only offered refunds for the period 23rd to 28th December, dates affected by the cancellation of the three-household rule. The website just told us "refund not possible". We were due to return on the 31st, and I was all ready to quote them the Frustrated Contracts Act, which makes a contract invalid if it’s illegal to carry it out. And it’s illegal to travel from Tier 4 at the moment, you can be arrested if you get on an Inter-City train. But before I could say all that, the assistant offered us a refund on this ticket, if we booked the same journey at any time in the next six months, which suits us.
I joined a work team chat, where Neill was characteristically pleased to say mullered he was last Christmas. He also referred to “high” school rather than “secondary” which he says is a Northern thing. Ian joined at 11:24, saying he thought the chat was at 11:30, which made us wonder why he joined it so early. Jo was actually smoking.
I got a present from my older brother, a calendar of his own pictures, which I thought he might not do this year, but then again he has done as many bike rides this year as usual - mostly on his own, so perfectly safe. So I sent him a book I got at Foyles last month, about modern football, which is much better than I expected when I first picked it up. It was very quick at the post office. I didn’t have time to find my change, to use up in the stamp machine, but instead I gave it to a Big Issue seller - £4 for the end-of-year edition, though it didn’t seem any thicker than a usual issue. I also posted a letter to my aunt, who seems to be surviving the pandemic at the age of 94.
Jack had been meeting his friend and we got a schnitzel at the little stall at the Lock, which we ate in Castlehaven park. I just had time to get a coffee before cycling to a task in Islington, run by Frannie. The food sorting task we were supposed to do, had already been done, but we packed up Quality Street sweets into boxes of ten, while I talked to sweet Rachel about how she’d got away early to Yorkshire, before everyone else’s travel plans were cancelled. I also disinfected some door handles with Kas, who’s always so warm and engaging.
Earlier I’d told Andrew he’d been busy (doing lots of tasks), just acknowledging that I recognised him really, and not wanting to look as if I only talk to girls. Steve L was also there, Danny (who said he’d come from a different address than Kas, so I don’t know whether they still live together), Marie, two new blokes and Laura again, who I hadn’t met until Saturday but I’ve seen twice since then, even though she lives in Southwark. I got a notification from CA at the weekend that I’d done 190 tasks this year, mainly because all my other social activities have been closed most of the year.
I got a takeaway from Cookies and Cream on the way back. Then on the Robinson cycle path I saw a girl who had daringly cut down her black denim skirt so it couldn’t have been shorter, leaving not 1cm of leeway. I’ve worn a lycra skirt that short, but never slightly-loose denim. She looked wonderful. Unusually, I spent a couple of hours on the sofa with Jack, catching up with the Guardian, then watching Ghosts (Charlotte Ritchie looking nice in a very short skirt) and Mock The Week on television. We had a can of soup and finally got around to mixing some filler to get the curtains up again. I wonder what people coming out of the station think, if they've looked up every day and seen our curtain hanging half-down for weeks or months.