Going undercover

Since Friday, a new and very clear law has made face-coverings compulsory, throughout England, in every place where they’re not optional. They’ve even become the norm in courts, where – combining with the wigs – particpants are at serious risk of developing a vitamin D deficiency.

To try to confirm some of the complicated rules, Gabrielquotes Limited Dot Webs has prepared this short informative sound clip to help the public understand:


For those who still have remaining questions, a document has been unearthed from the West Suffolk genizah setting out some of the details (click to enlarge):

And now for something completely different


I may previously have given the impression that I was opposed to face-coverings. Comments such as, “Muslim women shouldn’t wear face-coverings,” “Face-coverings are unnatural and un-British,” and, “People who cover up their face look like letterboxes,” may have furthered this impression.

I would now like to apologise unreservedly, and point out that not only are face-coverings sensible, they are also stylish, sexy and mandatory.

That’s all.


So, as the infected droplet of time is sneezed out by the asymptomatic carrier of destiny, and as the Health minister of fate resigns into the obscurity of eternity, it appears to be the end of the blog post.
In this week’s episode, the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings in a Relevant Place) (England) Regulations 2020 were signed off by Matt Hancock, and the song was sung by the Wise Scarecrow. The Mishnah fragment was uncovered by Gabriel Kanter-Webber. This was an Gabrielquotes production.

I like to move it move it

My dear wifi and I moved house last week (by about 500m) and I just wanted to share some of the experiences we had on our momentous journey.

The beginning: a whole new world/ tenancy agreement

Obviously our new landlord (who is lovely) didn’t just want anyone moving in, so he used a company called Homelet to do our referencing. Homelet is a company which clearly thinks very highly of itself and its bespoke website interface with a special feature that deletes all the information you typed in every 15 seconds.

Now, to be fair, my employment/ income situation is a teeny bit complicated. But surely not so complicated that Homelet required several years of tax returns (typeset, even though handwritten tax returns are completely legal) in order to work out that I don’t earn nearly as much as m’colleague who, er, has a job.

I can only imagine what it was like trying to get referenced in bygone eras:

“And your name?”
“Jason, son of Iolcus!”
“I don’t actually have a regular salary…”
“So how do you propose to pay for the tenancy?”
“I have a golden fleece.”
“I see. And do you have a statement showing its value?”
“Yes, of course. Here you are.”
“No, I’m sorry, this is from the 2017 shearing. We need a statement from the 2018-19 shearing year.”

And now for the magnificent ending: the removal men

Things got off to a promising start when the lead removal man arrived to announce, “Honestly, we’re so busy a the moment we could have done without you. But we like to honour our bookings.”

Well bully for you!

It turns out they actually struggle to honour their bookings: “Seriously, we’ve had to hire in another motor for you. But we did it because you were booked in.” Again, this kind of just seems like a bare basic of running a business (if someone pays you to turn up with a lorry, you turn up with a lorry) rather than something deserving a pat on the head, although admittedly when one of the chaps told me that they don’t like carrying heavy things up and down stairs, I did feel a bit bad for putting them to all this trouble.

Then they asked me what I did. Turns out that meeting a trainee rabbi was the highlight of their day:

“Last week I moved a Jewish couple in all the full garb [gestures vaguely at face], you know what I mean. Lovely people. [hastily] Not that they shouldn’t have been! Just first time I ever moved any in the garb.”


“So what’s all that about with the meat and the milk then?”


“Yeah, they really were lovely. The guy went out and bought us all Cokes.” (No subtext to this remark at all of course.)

And then, rather unfortunately:

“At the end of the job I went to shake her hand and she said, ‘I don’t shake hands.’ So I said, ‘How about a cuddle?’ and she ran off.”