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Joan Juliet Buck's Diary



Woke fretting about Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan.

Yet the cherries this year are exceptional. Dark, lush, firm, perfect and plentiful . Expensive in the UK, sold by the handful in narrow plastic trays. They come from Kent, where the drought is so severe that it will be illegal to use hose pipes in a week.

According to Matt, cherries are cheaper upstate, and sold by the quart. It rains, upstate.

Anxious and a little hungover—Candace came to dinner in the garden, Anthony SR , in town for art, also came to dinner in the garden. Took photos for Priscilla. Not enough.

We served brill from Hackney, he made a sauce with broth from a monster great fish head, cream and saffron. We had a great evening at the round table outside , he opened his British champagne. 2017. I drank two glasses. Result, hangover. Two glasses of anything, next comes an afternoon of gloom. Every January 1 used to feel like the end of the world. Now, I’m deeply sad, and fretting about Taiwan.

Booked the pest control people to come spray fox-repelling pheromones tomorrow, but too scatter-rattled to work; didn’t go into the center; went to the store I think of as Arabia, where they sell phone SIMS, frankincense, and oud.

Time to get a UK SIM card: we’re soon going home. That’s how it works.

While the old 2018-2019 iPhone—known as Fainting Goat, as it often went blank—was taking in the new SIM juice, a young man let me try every version of oud in the shop until I ran out of arm skin from which to sniff it. Now lying in bed enveloped in delicious scent, but which one was it?

The owner and I chatted about the grievous world under the gaze of his wife, his bearded father-in-law, and another man further back in the store, who eventually weighed in that he was worried about Taiwan. But not before the owner had told me the best time for your prayers to be heard is between 1 and 3 a.m. I knew there was a reason I like the night.

My love came back from Hampstead Heath, and set to another six hours sifting papers in the garden studio to make boxes. The house is gradually losing its identity, more through the loss of flotsam than through being stripped of important things. As if attrition and minutiae and what movers call “chowder “ (thanks, Carolyn) were the real mortars of identity, not the big pieces.

There's been offers.

Nigel came round to discuss fencing, foxes, flashing.

If it’s sold, new plans.


On TV, Big Oil vs. The World, a documentary about global warming. British Petroleum. Exxon Mobil. Rex Tillerson. Koch industries and Charles Koch transforming global warming into “a hoax.” By whatever means.

Yet the lionesses beat Germany, and women’s soccer may change, you know, the world. Perceptions.

And Kansas, where the women near the BBC cameras had blue, pink or purple hair, voted to keep the right to abortion. Kansas.

Too many plots right now.

Joan Juliet Buck, author of The Price Of Illusion, once a pillar of Condé Nast, is currently writing a serial novel for Radio Free Rhinecliff (soon on Apple Podcasts). Her Facebook diary was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Oud is both the name of a mandolin-like musical instrument and the resin from Agarwood, identified with strong, intense perfumes of the Middle East.

Cherry Cherry ::: Neil Diamond

Fish Heads ::: Barnes & Barnes

Rast (from The Art of the Old) ::: Munir Bashir

Tqasim de Baghdad ::: Omar Bashir

Al Ud ::: Alla Fondou de Bechar

Le Pas de Chat Noir ::: Anouar Brahem

Ollin Arageed ::: Hamza El Din

Moving Day ::: Charlie Poole

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