A Coronavirus Tale for Our Times

Hello, dear Followers and Believers! Lifestyle Support Guru here, once again trying to help you make sense of life and all its attendant problems, of which there are many at https://www.lifestylesupportguru.com/the moment. I know that many of you are still concerned about the coronavirus and you may be losing sleep through worry, so I thought I would share a little story with you that I wrote for my female siblings and some of their offspring, who seem to like strange stories. This may help you sleep better (although a glass of wine can have the same effect) because it clears up a lot of confusion about some of the theories surrounding coronavirus. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin…
Once upon a time there was a bat called Boris who caught a bad cold; unfortunately, https://www.lifestylesupportguru.com/instead of staying in until he recovered, like his mummy had told him, he went out to play with his friends and he passed it on to them. One of his friends, called Dominic (not a cool name for a bat, but he didn’t care), decided to visit his family in another part of the country. Dominic didn’t know that he had caught Boris’s cold, and so he passed it on to his family and friends and they, in turn, passed it on to their friends. Meanwhile, other friends of Boris had caught this cold and were merrily passing it on to everyone else they met – Hank Matcock, Sharp Grant, Dominic Rabid and Rees-Moggy, the local tomcat who liked to tell everyone else how to live their lives, did a sterling job of ensuring that as many animals as possible caught this nasty cold. Some even died, but Boris and his friends lost count of how many, so they pretended that the numbers weren’t as high as they really were and, since many animals can’t count very high – usually only to 3, sometimes 4 – nobody was very concerned.
https://www.lifestylesupportguru.com/Oh dear, thought Boris, this can’t all be my fault. It must have been caused by something else; so he consulted lots of other very clever animals – some of whom could count to 5! – and they learned that Ickie the Iguana had originally created the virus by accident when he was shape-shifting one day, using different viruses to help him change from being a Nile crocodile – because they get such bad press! – to something smaller and cuter like a turtle; unfortunately, Ickie mixed his viruses wrongly, which is how he ended up as an iguana, but he didn’t really mind, because iguanas are quite popular, almost as much as turtles. However, one of his friends, Donald the horny lizard, caught the mixed-up virus and passed it on to another shape-shifter, called Billy Gator (his brother Ally had shape-shifted once too often and was now stuck as a wart snake, which nobody liked very much at all).
Billy Gator was a very caring reptile and helped lots of other creatures, even those that weren’t reptiles, but some creatures didn’t like him doing this and accused him of https://www.lifestylesupportguru.com/working with the Big Farmer. NOBODY liked the Big Farmer because he didn’t care very much for other creatures, only himself and making as much money as he could. Billy was very upset by this accusation and consulted some of his REALLY important friends – the Gods in the Skies! He spoke to Plautus, the Greek god of wealth, and asked him if he could help reclaim his reputation, but Plautus was too busy handing out wealth right, left and centre (the centre consisted solely of Libdem, a cheerful, if small, rabbit) to help Billy. So, Billy went to Anubis, the https://www.lifestylesupportguru.com/Egyptian dog of death (Billy thought Anubis was a god, but he’d never been any good at spelling), but Anubis was also busy, embalming dead animals and looking after the Underworld with his Greek mate Hades who, for some unknown reason, had changed his name to Pluto, which confused the animals enormously because they either got him mixed up with Plautus, the one giving away money, or a dwarf living up in the sky at the end of a terraced row of planets, or a large, long-eared dog who was the pet of a large mouse called Mickey.
When Boris learned all this, he was really pleased, because it meant he hadn’t started it all and now he could wash his hands of the whole thing – except that bats don’t have hands… and therein lies the moral of the story…😁
Goodnight, sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite – you never know what disease they may be carrying!

Learning to Live with Lockdown

It is months and months and months since I last wrote anything to help you cope with life and all its pitfalls, but even I, the Lifestyle Support Guru, could not have foreseen the arrival of coronavirus and the fallout from it. I hope you have all come through it safely, if not sanely. There is so much I could tell you (although it’s a little late to offer advice now) and I have made many discoveries during Lockdown (I afford it the importance of a capital letter because it completely changed my life, as you will learn).
https://www.lifestylesupportguru.com/As part of the change in our lives because of Lockdown, younger sibling and I have been watching much more television, even though the pubs are open again, and we decided to watch The Revenant last night because neither of us had seen it and we wanted to see if it deserved its Oscars. If you haven’t seen it and intend to, beware that there are spoilers!
What a tedious film! I thought the grizzly bear was more deserving of an Oscar than DiCaprio, who spent most of the film grunting and staring around him; at least the bear showed a bit of emotion as she tried to kill him for getting in between her and her cubs, although she wouldn’t really have come out of hibernation at that time of year anyway, but maybe I’m being picky.https://www.lifestylesupportguru.com/ I suppose the scenery wouldn’t have been as spectacular later in the year when all the snow had disappeared (which it did completely in one scene, then reappeared in the next!). And as for the number of times DiCaprio got soaked through by wading across rivers or floating down rapids but never once succumbed to hypothermia – what can I say? And not a sign of septicaemia from his wounds – you only have to walk past a hospital in this country and you’re hit by it!
The director obviously liked scenery shots, particularly of tall trees – it was rather like a French film, but with lingering shots of the snow-covered treetops instead of heroines gazing into the distance (see my previous film review). I would also have liked subtitles all the way through, not just when the Native Americans or French were talking – in common with many other American films, I found the speech garbled and almost incomprehensible at times, although, admittedly, DiCaprio had a large hole in his throat, made by the aforementioned bear, which clearly made speaking a little difficult. But Tom Hardy seemed to garble at times and then at other times spoke in a clear English accent!
The film was described as ‘an immersive and visceral cinematic experience capturing one man’s epic adventure of survival and the extraordinary power of the human spirit.’ on Rotten Tomatoes. ‘Extraordinary power of the human spirit’ – you can say that again! I couldn’t have got through it without that power – and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc!
Watch it if you must! I shall stick to Carry On and James Bond films from now on, I think!

Portrait of a French Film

https://www.lifestylesupportguru.com/A very good evening from the Lifestyle Support Guru in my role as a film critic and particularly as a critic of French films – they never fail to disappoint (well, they do, actually, but not as sources of continual surprise)! This afternoon’s offering was no exception – called ‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’, my Geordie friend and I were looking forward to a film described as ‘elegant and enigmatic … erotic and cerebral, bold and restrained’; we should have realised that too many adjectives had been used and ‘cerebral’ was a dead giveaway – there were going to be lots of long silences and gazing into the distance, which are standard in French films.

Beware – spoilers!

The film started with the ‘heroine’, Marianne, being rowed to a small island to paint the portrait of a young lady, Héloïse, although she wasn’t to let the young lady know this because the young lady didn’t want her portrait painting to be sent off to Milan as a sort of 18th century Tinder application. Before getting to the island, the heroine had to leap into the sea from the rowing boat taking her there because her canvases had fallen into the water – she achieved this despite wearing a full-length dress and petticoats, but it allowed the film director to show her sitting naked in front of a fire drying herself off as she gazed into the distance.

The young lady to be painted had only just come out of a convent (it was never explained why she was in one in the first place) to replace her sister, who had died in mysterious circumstances (by throwing herself off a cliff), on Tinder. (She did say that she had never heard an orchestra playing – remember this for later.) Painting the portrait involved lots of sideways glances at the young lady, then making quick sketches back at the chateau in order to help build up the portrait. The chateau was very bare and understaffed – just one young maid – and the food certainly wasn’t going to earn any Michelin stars or fill you up ready for long walks on the beach gazing into the distance.

It was obvious that Marianne and Héloïse were going to fall in love, especially when the mother went off to Italy for a few days (no coronavirus then) to check how the Tinder application was getting along, thus leaving them alone with the maid (who had a problem of her own) and all three spent one jolly evening playing Snap in the kitchen and another evening helping the maid try to get rid of her ‘problem’ by dangling from the ceiling in the kitchen (along with other methods, but I won’t go into detail). A third evening was spent at a party (all-female, for some reason – in fact, we hadn’t realised that anyone else, male or female, lived on the island) at a bonfire to which the local W.I. choir seemed to have been invited, bursting into song before the young lady’s dress caught fire, hence the film’s title. No harm seemed to be done, even to the dress, which she was wearing the next day on a walk to the beach to do some long-distance gazing.

To cut a long story short, there was a bit of arguing, then the mother came back from Italy (without a face mask) and handed over a brown paper envelope to Marianne, presumably containing payment for the portrait, and a wedding dress to Héloïse and Marianne was sent on her way, having done her job. She saw Héloïse twice more – once in a portrait with a young child by her side, displayed in an exhibition, and then in a concert hall where Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’ was being performed, causing Héloïse’s bosom to heave mightily at the sound of an orchestra. (Personally, much as I like ‘Four Seasons’, it has never caused my bosom to heave in this way, which is probably a relief to all who know me!)

glass of red wine

glass of red wine

It was felt that a ‘snifter’ was required after this, although we both agreed that there had not been as much eroticism as we’d expected (feared?), but I needed to hear how my Geordie friend had been mistaken for a care home resident by the home’s minister who said that she was ‘doing really well’ – and she is!

A Wet Weekend in Worcester

Original art by Joseph Morewood Staniforth (died 1921) - Western Mail (Wales), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6643053Hello, Beloved Believers! Here I am again, the Lifestyle Support Guru, fresh from my annual rugby trip with a few followers, this time to Worcester, which is a very nice place to visit, with lots of pubs and friendly people who were quite happy to let us eat and drink well after the time they were going to close – well done, Worcesterians, or whatever people from Worcester may be called.

However, not everything was perfect, starting with sibling’s choice of transportation for his change of clothing for the weekend. We have a range of cases and holdalls, from small to large, to cover all holiday eventualities, but his personal preference? A large, bright blue recycling bag with ‘GLASS’ printed in large letters on the side. I didn’t ask what he had done with the actual recycling …

We collected the Tiny Tyke and set off, arriving in good time and just ahead of the other party members whom I shall call Nigel and Ian for the sake of anonymity. This early arrival turned out to be very fortuitous because, somehow, Nigel – to be referred to as NN (Nigel the Nincompoop) from now on – had made a real mess of his booking. I shall try to explain this.

NN only had one job and that was to book two rooms – one for him, one for Ian; he managed to book three: two through the hotel chain’s central reservation and one through an agency – the LSG is still trying to follow the logic of that. On top of that, he booked them for the wrong date! One job, Nigel, that’s all you had! That was not the end of it by any means, though. He changed the dates – or so he thought – and offered one of the rooms to the LSG, who had not yet booked her allocation for the Derby Deputation. The offer was accepted and the LSG went on to book two more rooms for sibling and TT (Tiny Tyke). All’s well that ends well – or does it? It turned out that only two of the three rooms had been changed to the correct date and that the other one had been classed as a ‘no show’ for the previous weekend, so we were one room short. When I say ‘we’, I mean NN was short of a room… To cut a long story short, the LSG, TT and recycling sibling went off to the pub while NN and Ian the Intelligent tried to sort out the rooms. The story ended with NN having to check into another hotel, but that’s for another day …

glass of red wine

glass of red wine

What else did the LSG learn about Worcester? Well, I knew it was posh because it has a Waitrose, but this Waitrose has … a wine bar!! That’s a difficult decision – shopping or wine bar? Wine bar or shopping? It’s a little bit like baked beans and sherry trifle – both nice, but you wouldn’t put them together (well, you might if you’re the TT because he likes weird mixtures of food, but there again, he IS from Yorkshire). Even the LSG wouldn’t combine shopping and wine, much as she enjoys both – that way lies disaster and a much-depleted bank account!

There was much laughter and jollity over the weekend ( although most of it shouldn’t be repeated in polite company) and much quaffing of alcoholic drinks and I would recommend Worcester as a place to visit, but don’t – I repeat, DON’T – let the Nincompoop book your rooms. Let your mantra be: Leave it to the LSG!

Party Animal!

https://www.lifestylesupportguru.com/Good evening once again from the Lifestyle Support Guru! I now regard myself as a REAL party animal. I have been to two parties in as many weeks, which is twice as many as in the past two years, so I feel that I am more than qualified to offer advice on how parties should be run should you wish to organise one of your own.

Party 1

This was a 50th birthday party for a good friend of mine who is just marginally younger than me, so I don’t wish to call her an ‘old’ friend. I’ll call her Sarah for the sake of anonymity. She started the evening well in the LSG’s eyes by inviting me and next-sibling-down to join her and her own siblings, whom we have known for many a decade – in fact, probably our oldest friends – for a pre-party glass or two of bubbles at her gaff since, as she said, we count as family. There’s lovely, as they say in the Valleys!
https://www.lifestylesupportguru.com/
Buoyed by the bubbles, we moved on to the local rugby club (where else would you have a party in Wales?) and continued with the celebrations. We all made sure we had a table next to the toilets – well, not next to, but very near, since advancing years mean that one’s visits to the toilets increase accordingly – but also withing spitting distance of the bar – well, not quite spitting distance, but close enough to mean that arthritic joints don’t have to be overused. Isn’t age a wonderful thing? 😊
All the birthday girl had to do was sit at the well-placed table and wait for guests to arrive and duly hand over their presents which were all of the alcoholic variety – can’t imagine why, since Sarah is a woman of meagre habits when it comes to alcohol. A distinct lack of imagination, I feel, on the part of her friends. I can’t remember what I gave her … 😊
The last I heard, she was talking about opening her own off-licence …

Party 2

https://www.lifestylesupportguru.com/This second party was a new one for the LSG. It was described as a ‘drinks reception’ – such an event in itself is not a new experience for the LSG, of course, but it was being thrown by a three-month-old baby! I have a feeling this child will go far in the world. This is far better than those awful ‘baby showers’ imported from America where yummy mummies sit around in ‘rustic’ settings eating ‘artisan’ cucumber sandwiches and drinking fruit tea. How can that possibly compare to a choice of wines (specially selected by a qualified wine taster! – my heroine! Since she’s an ex-student, I like to think I played no small part in her choice of career, although I’m sure her mother and father will also have encouraged her to follow that path) and snacks such as samosas, brie bites, spicy sausage roll slices, radishes (yum, yum!), smoked salmon and cream cheese on cucumber slices, battered prawns …
The party started with a discussion with the baby’s Irish father about the upcoming rugby matches and who would win the 6 Nations – we were both very polite about each other’s teams – much to the baby’s grandmother’s relief, who had envisaged fisticuffs of some sort since she is a football supporter and that is all they understand. 😊 In fact, the conversation didn’t wander much further from that topic all afternoon!
A very pleasant occasion and the only thing that puzzled the LSG was the number of people who removed their shoes before going into the living room. It would have been understandable if they had been asked to do so by the hosts and if most guests had been wearing stiletto heels, but nearly everyone was of a ‘certain age’ and, therefore, wearing ‘sensible’ shoes. Even the younger element was in low heels. One person had even brought her own fluffy slippers – that’s above and beyond! The baby who was throwing the party behaved impeccably throughout and even earned a smile from the LSG, which is unusual, to say the least!
I can certainly recommend going to a drinks reception thrown by a baby – they know how to party! Don’t forget to invite the LSG! And if you enjoyed this piece of advice from the LSG, you may also enjoy Party Animal Aces It, Confessions Of A Party Animal, and The Party Is Over, though of course it wasn’t!