Thursday, April 16, 2020

How are we all?

Well my dears, how are we all? It seems I can't move at the moment for news of the virus, advice on how to avoid the virus or tips on how to spend my time during the virus. To paraphrase Hermione, "fear of the virus increases fear of everyone who wants to see me self-improve during the lockdown". 

Toadflax. Only found out this week what it is. Pretty ain't it? Just sitting there
on the wall like it owns the place.  

As a natural introvert, this is pretty much my idea of bliss: enforced staying in, no contact except with those I love. I'm happy to wake up at my usual time and, in lieu of my 20 minute walk to work, read for a bit longer. Or start work earlier, so I can knock off similarly and then spend the extra time at the allotment. 

So far I have:

  • read an inordinate amount of crime fiction, because I find this soothing
  • planted 4 rows of potatoes at the allotment
  • sowed many seeds at home, which I regularly stand over, raising my hands, saying "grow my pretties, GROW"
  • made cinnamon buns and focaccia
  • chatted to family via video call
  • invented quizzes to keep people I work with occupied with my nonsense even when I'm not physically there
  • weeded the front garden
  • started learning Spanish (once started, long abandoned)
  • bent myself to a benevolent yoga goddess and practised most days (even if only for 20 mins at a time)
  • eaten too much chocolate, crisps and bread but I don't care
  • cycled near-empty streets
Rosemary at the allotment. The bees are loving it. 

This really is a time for finding pleasure in the small things and that's always been my forte. I get an intense pleasure from things like clean sheets, cow parsley on the tow path, the smell of bread, proper coffee, cutting my own fringe (been doing it for years now), lying in a patch of sun with a book, listening to the cat purr, watching the crochet blanket grow under my fingers. 

I have so far resisted the temptation to make my own sourdough starter, but that is surely only a matter of days away. And to be fair, sourdough is my favourite type of bread, after soft white sesame seed rolls, which have a long held treasured taste memory for me (my Nan used to toast them and serve them with real butter and marmalade. Eating them now, I'm 8 years old again, swinging my legs at her kitchen table, eager to get out across to the farm opposite for a good long explore).

Picked up a pen and started drawing again - with mixed results. Some of those birds
are quite disturbing. Slow growth of the crochet blanket. 

Podcasts rumble on in the background, under the clatter of my fingers on the laptop keyboard as I work from home. Shedunnit, Backlisted and In Our Time. 
Ah work. I am lucky in that I've not been laid off, my job isn't zero hours and I'm not front-line in the care sector or NHS. That said, it has felt harder than usual. My head hurts by the end of the day and my back is stiff. I've decorated my little "office" and filled it with plants, but still there is something lacking. People. I miss the volunteers and my colleagues, all of whom are now furloughed. There is a sense that I'm what the museum is relying on to see it through, and the responsibility is a little overwhelming. It's also slightly lonely.   

My office. Succulents, flowers from the canal path, 
some research and tea, old tin pen pot resisting attempts 
to make me use a proper pen pot

And I miss my son. He not long moved into his own place and was loving working with adults who have mental and physical disabilities. Yes, he is in the front-line of the care sector, but is treating it all with his usual sanguinity (is that a word? I say yes, spell check says no) and messages all end with his standard "lol" that makes me want to slap a thesaurus in front of him. I find I am better if I don't think about it and just check in with him every couple of days. 
"How are you doing kid x"
"Yeah, good thanks lol"
See what I mean?

So far, I have not:
  • started a podcast
  • repainted the house
  • started a couch to 5k
  • become an influencer
  • mastered the art of cordon bleu cookery ("sandwich for dinner okay, yeah?" "yeah")
  • put all my "content" online - mainly because I have no content
  • started any of those challenging books people say are good for lockdown situations. James Joyce, I'm looking at you
  • written a blog post about all the things people should be doing or how they could improve themselves during this time.
Life is weird, do what makes you feel good. And you don't need me to tell you what that is. 
Robin with a beak full of flies, sitting cheekily close 
when I took a break

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