Perfect Sundays

Here we are a few weeks further along with dashed hopes of us easing out of the lockdown further. We seem to be spiralling backwards on all accounts. Brakes have been applied as Boris keeps threatening, and some of us are living under more restrictions. Con has been affected by the re-introduction of measures. Looking at the news, it does all seem rather bleak. The prediction is of the infection rate rising again and that we could be heading back into a second wave of the virus. Some people have started to enjoy eating out and going to the pub, but that is all looking to be short-lived because it may be a bargaining factor to close pubs, restaurants and even shops so schools may re-open in September. It will be so hard upon people in the catering and retail businesses to lose trade and their livelihoods, but education is very important and the children cannot have another interrupted school year.  They are our future and they need to be educated properly. Those who should have taken GCSE exams this year have come out of it badly having received lower grades for their course-work than they might have achieved by sitting the actual exams. It is all such a confusing mess all the way round.

Then of course there is the entertainment industry. It is not yet known where that will leave Con and Dec. They feel it seems like 100 years since they last appeared on stage to do a show. And of-course Victoria and Phillip’s work hangs in the balance. Indoor performances were to be given the go-ahead as from 1st August. But now a major incident, so they call it – has been declared in the Manchester, East Lancashire and West Yorkshire has put those plans aside until at least 15th August. We will have to see what the announcement on that subject is to be on 14th August. I don’t hold much hope. A friend from within my own Bachelors circle of friends read that no indoor shows will be allowed until at least November, when a decision will be reached regarding what will happen from then on. I cannot find anything from the news online that backs up that story, but our friend must have read it from a reliable source. Con and Dec are meant to appear in a show on 23rd August. But we will see.  Dec told Con not to hold his breath on that one. Fortunately for Victoria, she has been able to secure some outdoor bookings so she is able to launch herself again for the time being. She has performed four times so far and each show was sold out. But it seems to me that 2020 is basically a lost year. So many plans right across the board for all of us have been cancelled or postponed. There have been so many disappointments for nearly everyone and that situation may run into next year as well. It would be nice to know when we will get back to normal living before the virus took over our lives.

I ventured out for the first-time in four months last week. I had an opticians appointment to have my reading glasses repaired and I ordered a back-up pair so I am not left without the correct glasses again. I was impressed with the safety measures set up in our shopping mall. There are arrows on the ground showing directions of the routes to walk,  with barriers set up in the middle so that we cannot dart from a shop on the left-hand side to another on the right-hand side. We have to walk the full length of the mall on one side and turn a corner at the end and walk back along the other side in the opposite direction. There were very few people about and it was a pleasure to browse around the shops without being knocked to “Kingdom Come” every few seconds by others not looking where they were going. I was however very rudely pushed and elbowed to one side and almost trampled on by a family of four who were in a hurry to get somewhere just as I was about to step into the opticians shop. Some people just do not ‘get it’ with social distancing rules and that makes me so very angry.  Anyway, I had a bit of a shopping spree and bought a few things – making up for lost time having not been to any shops since March. My only criticism there was that most of the sanitiser stations at the shop entrances had ran empty and supplies were not replenished. The shop workers do not seem to keep them topped up.

In the meantime we have enjoyed some more of the wonderful Sunday afternoon Zoom meetings hosted by Con and Dec. They spoke about awful dressing rooms last Sunday. I guessed the one they were sitting in for that recording was the one at Sheerness in 2016 because I recognised a brochure Con was looking at as he spoke. It was a show I attended while I was staying with my mother. That room did not look very private as we could see a man continually walking by in the same direction so he must have been walking a full circle round and round the tiny room where the boys were sitting. It didn’t look as if you could swing a cat in there. They spoke of dreadful back-stage conditions where they were not provided with washing or toilet facilities. Con said that Phillip told him there is a website called “Shit Dressing Rooms” where stars can upload photos of the worst places. They spoke about The Beverley Sisters who stepped in for the boys on one occasion at a place in Lowestoft where the dressing room was filthy. The carpet had not been hoovered for 20 years and the settee was broken and a hole in the roof caused freezing conditions in there. When the boys later did a show there they had to lay out suit covers on the floor so they could change into their fresh looking white stage suits. It is horrifying to hear that top celebrities are not well looked after in so many venues. Con spoke of the Batley Variety Club where he encouraged Jimmy Corrigan the owner to build a luxury bespoke dressing room with all the facilities and even a reception room where they could greet very important guests such as the Lord Mayor and his wife. That was the nicest dressing room he used during his career.

Dec recorded a video of himself singing “In Cellar Cool”, which is a song his father used to sing at parties.  He spent the week before researching the song, writing the music and playing the piano. He said he changed a few words around.  A very deep voice is needed to get the full effect of that song and Dec certainly sang well into his boots, nicely in tune.  (Obviously Con and Dec’s father had a deep singing voice which Dec must have inherited). Dec looked like a smart and good-looking version of Ray Allen’s Lord Charles puppet dressed in a black evening suit, a white dicky bow tie and a red cravat artfully displayed from the handkerchief pocket and to finish the whole effect he wore a monocle.  A picture of a cellar complete with barrels of wine was set as the background for that video. Then later in the meeting Con sang an old-time favourite of most Bachelors fans including me, which was “I Believe”. Con still sings it so well, even though he can no longer hold onto the final note for the length of time he did a few decades ago.

Con took us on a tour around his garden where he and his daughter lovingly grow fruit and vegetables. It all looks like a wonderful haven as there are many places where Con can sit outside during the better weather for complete peace and solitude. There was an over-abundance of potatoes growing in many places which will leave Con very well stocked up for the winter months. 

Those of us who tune into these meetings feel they are now part of our perfect Sundays. I have mine nicely set out now times have changed with the pandemic situation. My Sundays start with a video call with my cousin Jocelyn in the morning. We natter on non-stop for ages putting the world to rights. Then there is the boys Zoom meeting in the afternoon after a snack lunch, followed by the preparation of our Sunday dinner – usually a full roast meal with all the trimmings. While we are still enjoying the summery weather, we sit outside whilst waiting for the dinner to cook.  And after we have eaten it and cleared everything away, we like to sit down and relax in front of the TV for a peaceful and undisturbed evening in order to set ourselves up to tackle whatever the next new week brings.

I previously asked Con and Dec about their perfect Sunday as was at the time in 2009 (among other questions) and here is what they said.

Con: Going to church, then having a barbecue with my grandchildren present.

Dec: Lunch at The Six Bells in Chiddingly, East Sussex. The most famous bikers pub in the world…there is sure to be the most incredible collection of bikes – usually around two hundred… all owned by solicitors, accountants, vicars. Plus stunning vintage cars. And my own!

OTHER QUESTIONS

The Shop I can’t walk past without buying anything is…

Con: A music shop in Huddersfield. I always pop in and have a chat with the owner who is a musician himself. I will always buy something, even if it is only a plectrum, just to support him.

Dec: Club Nautica on Estepona Port in Costa del Sol. They stock the most interesting casual clothes in the world.

My Last Meal Would Be

Con: A Spaghetti Bolognese that I cooked myself.

Dec: Don Perignon champagne on arrival….Shaken Gin Martini with Spanish Olives, oysters, followed by mussels cooked by Sandy. Strawberries and cream prepared by Sandy (her secret recipe) ….first course accompanied by dry white Chablis…Second by Yilera Rioja red….Chateau D’yquem sweet dessert with wine dessert…Cockburn 1963 Vintage Port (the Champagne of ports)… Remy Martin brandy until I croak.

Remember ….this is my last meal so a hangover doesn’t matter.   

What is your biggest vice?

Con: Eating chocolate… I just love it.

Dec: Playing bad shots in golf.

When I was a child I wanted to be

Con: A traveller. I always dreamt of travelling the world. I guess I have done that many times over. Now, I just like to be at home!

Dec: Nice!.

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