L’Alphabet de Maurice – a COVID reflection

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L’Alphabet de Maurice – a COVID reflection

We have a service-wide internal newsletter at work. They asked me to write the entry for last Friday. This is the result

L’Alphabet de Maurice

17 July 2020

A for Aldgate– I miss you Aldgate. All those lunchtime walks and the myriad of hidden details around (see below). Yes, I am probably the first person in recorded history to miss Aldgate…

B for Bananaman – My faithful, caped (and tie-sporting) on-camera replacement when there is one meeting too many

C for COVID-19 – if You truly resist sunshine, rain, wind, sand, social distancing, handwash, masks, lockdowns…well then…COME FRIENDLY VIRUS, AND FALL ON ME!

D for Drivel Detection – most useful rules – (a) Extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence. (b) Truth has consequences. (c) If a child can’t understand it, it is not well explained.

E for the Bank of England Death Mask – one of the hidden details of Aldgate. It says “душа” on the side (Slavic for “soul”) – if anybody knows what this is about, do let me know!

F for food cooking – aka Extemporaneous Brit-American-Latin-Indian Soon-to-Expire-Items Cuisine. Best so far: Courgette Pie with Rest Meats and St Agur. Most adventurous: Cabbage-based Sweet Cake. You can see the results at (without the Facebook / Twitter political rants, promise!).

G for Google MyMaps – much unknown app where you can mark the places you’d like to visit, and then see them on Google Maps as you walk/drive by. Got thousands of them all over the planet. If you ever go anywhere, ask me for a list.

H for be helpful – reach out to people. Some of them live totally alone, and don’t know how wrong it is.

I for feeling isolated – looking at Skype’s mocking screen at the beginning of a meeting… “Looks like you’re the only one on the call”…yeah, right!!

J for Jazz – now 90% of my life since Junior (aka Lorenzo) is a professional double bass player at not-even 18. And I can’t tell a trumpet from a saxophone…

K for 48K Sinclair ZX Spectrum – the 1983 home computer (now connected to a TV, again!). You don’t know what computer memory is if you haven’t tried using just 49,152 bytes (48Kbytes) of it (p.s. yes I had the ZX81 before that…)

L for Lines of empty desks in the office. What if nobody actually exist and office life be an episode of Block Mirror?

M for Mentoring- everybody should give it a try – it is a two-way learning experience. This being 2020, the first suggestion to my new mentee has been…a recipe (Clafoutis cake –try that one too!)

N for New desk – after a series of trials and errors I am now moving to a new “desk” every day – kitchen, (sunny) garden, home library, sitting room, even the office. Change of scenery, no RSI, a fresh start. p.s.: working in the sunshine makes you brindle.

O for organise your knowledge – without a good wiki, team knowledge is an inefficient religious mystery.

P for D O N’ T  P A N I C – in large friendly letters. Never worry about what you can’t change. I said, never!

Q for Quiz – I recently designed my first quiz, for English friends. All about Italy. With friendly references to four world cups. So friendly.

R for Reggio Calabria where I come from and you can see these extremely rare (and non-derivative!) Greek bronze originals – a tad subdued compared to some indigenous specimen, of course. p.s. it’s at the tip of the boot of Italy

S for the Indian Sitar – another instrument played by the above-mentioned Junior. Too many strings, too many fingers…I am learning to play the Tanpura instead. Four strings, two fingers (and only one string and one finger at any one time!).

T for Talking as little as possible – please! – It might not be their first or last meeting of the day. Don’t say anything that is not absolutely needed to be said!

U for finding your Unique Selling Proposition – a lifelong struggle. What can you do that millions could not do even if they had your knowledge and expertise, or more?

V for an eulogy to the Smart Virus – the one(s) that use our cells for replicating but do not make us feel bad, breathless or dead. My vote for Coronavirus to get smart!!

W for Wear the mask – beach towns regularly impose a T-shirt (in town) and they have no problems with speedos (on the beach). Put on that d**n piece of cloth!! It’s not an instrument of tyranny!!

X for Ibex House– it’s in Minories, minutes from the office. Highly likely the Nazi HQ if they would have won the Battle of England. (aka “The Man in the High Aldgate”)

Y for the Y underground junction under the large bus station in Aldgate – and the reason why there are no buildings there. If you would like a tour of the Aldgate / Tower Hill / Whitechapel areas, just ask – they are on AirBnB too!

And finally…

Z for Juventus FC’s zebra toy – my other faithful on-screen companion. And the plastic dinosaurs – a success when children stop a meeting. And the “hawk” Carnival mask – causes stomach cramps and incontrollable laughter in all viewers, don’t know why!!


Green peppers, mangetout and orange tile

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