We went to Stratford-upon-Avon with our support bubble friend for the weekend, taking advantage of her brother’s vacant house there. By coincidence, Friday was Will’s birthday, but there wasn’t much sign of it. Unsurprising, really, in the circumstances. It made a pleasant change to have some different surroundings to walk around, and that was all we really wanted. The mission objectives were achieved.

This reminded me of something I learned a while ago. There are seven rivers called Avon in England and three in Scotland, and they all derive their name from an older Celtic word meaning “river” (the modern equivalents are afon in Welsh or abhainn in Scottish Gaelic). River Avon is tautologically “River River”, while Stratford is just “street ford”, and so Stratford-upon-Avon doesn’t literally mean much more than “street crossing on the river”.

But then, a lot of placenames sound less exciting when you know what they mean. Studying Irish and Scottish Gaelic has rather demystified the consonant-rich names of Scottish whiskies for me: Bunnahabhain (“foot of the river”) or Glenfiddich (“valley of deer”) or Caol Ila (“Islay strait”). Or Japanese: Tōkyō is just “east capital”, named after they moved the capital east from Kyōto (“capital city”).

I’ve been invited for a covid vaccine slightly ahead of schedule, which presumably reflects the vagaries of demographics in this part of London. I booked it immediately and as soon as possible, so I’ll be getting the first round on Tuesday.

Is it safe? Eh, safe enough, I think. Safer than catching the rona, anyway, even though that’s not statistically much of a risk for me. Almost certainly less risky than driving 3+ hours each way to Stratford-upon-Avon and back. I think the civic duty argument is more compelling, but also I’m so sick of this attenuated life that by this point I’d accept a fairly high level of risk just for it all to be over.

No news on the house this week. Our solicitors are waiting for responses from their solicitors to seven outstanding enquiries. I think I’ll have to do some prodding via the estate agent.

Over the weekend, I watched the 1995 film Hackers for the first time. It’s not good, folks.