‘There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.’Vladimir Lenin
It is six weeks since the day of my knee operation, when my main concern was packing the right pyjamas. What an innocent time that was. Today I wake early as usual, a fist of anxiety between my ribs. Lock down measures are now in place, but my friend’s son is finally safely home from his university in Texas and a woman I know has made it back from Cambodia. This area was full of people in holiday mood at the weekend, causing some bad feeling among locals. Younger Daughter, Son-in-Law and Wee Boy are now all at home. Older Daughter has been at the office doing essential NHS work but now working from home. Son is staying in his flat, venturing out only for essential supplies. I am glad to know where they are and hope they all stay safe.
There have been lots of phone and video calls with friends and family. Here are some things that have been said:
On Mother’s Day a friend sends a virtual bouquet of yellow and red tulips to be shared with others; it is a nice gesture on this strangest of Mother’s Days. I imagine my mother at my age. What would she be doing in coronavirus lock down? She would almost certainly be turning out cupboards, baking, gardening. Maybe even allowing herself the luxury of reading or playing the piano. She travelled by train every day to work in the tax office in Glasgow during the war, coming home in the black out. She would see this as just another thing to get on with. ‘Worse things happen at sea,’ she might say. Wee Sister says Mum talked about how boring life had been during the war with her siblings and friends away in the forces. Will we be bored? We have Netflix.
Books are a great solace as always. See my post from 31st July 2015 “Take no heed of her, she reads a lot of books“. I have only once in my life not been able to read. When I had a breakdown in 2014 I was too physically and mentally restless to concentrate. I carried a book around with me in hospital but could never finish a paragraph, let alone a page. The return of my joy in reading was a turning point in my recovery. I have just finished reading Hilary Mantel’s memoir Giving up the Ghost. Painful to read about her long untreated endometriosis and mourning for the children she couldn’t have. I was particularly affected by her account of being diagnosed as mentally ill and treated with some of the drugs I was given in the 1970’s – tri-cyclic anti-depressants, minor and major tranquillisers. But what a great writer! I have started The Mirror and the Light, saved up as a deferred pleasure, pre-ordered and in hefty, glossy hardback, with a blue ribbon bookmark. I’ve just read six of Jane Casey’s Maeve Kerrigan novels, about a London detective. Sharp, precise, funny, thrilling…..just found a seventh published last year.
Cannyrob has binned his collection of programmes for cultural events over the next three months. Another reality check. We’re having milk, eggs and weekend newspapers delivered. On Saturday night we had take-away fish and chips from a nearby restaurant, now closed. Cannyrob has arranged a food delivery from a local farm shop and I have now made over 400 failed calls to Sainsbury’s to confirm that I am over 70 and therefore have some slim chance of a delivery slot. Even Click and Collect isn’t available at the moment. Have given up. I ventured into our Corner Shop at 6 am to buy soap powder, tinned soup and chocolate supplies. C behind the counter wore gloves and a mask, didn’t touch my shopping and was happy I could pay with my phone. We won’t be having haircuts for a while. Glad I stopped having my hair dyed (roots every 4 weeks!). Trying to resist the pull of online clothes sales. Ordered a velvet tunic, from White Stuff, now half-price, to go with the full price trousers bought in November. Glam pyjamas for days at home?
Succumbed to Boden 20% off deal and ordered a dress and a t-shirt for the summer. An act of faith? I’ve been buying more books. A parcel of second hand paperbacks arrived the other day; Cannyrob insisted I wipe the covers with a soapy cloth. I wouldn’t have thought of that. He’s wanted a bread maker for years and I’ve been a bit discouraging, imagining it being a space-hogging novelty for a while. Now, of course, it would be a Brilliant Idea but you can’t get them anywhere. NEWS FLASH! He saw that John Lewis had got some in – his is arriving on Friday. It was great to see him smile again!
Facebook and Twitter have been fuelling my anxieties over the past week, so I’m using an app called Stay Focused to block me from accessing them for a week. So far it’s helping. At the same time I’m taking my online experience a stage further, hoping to take part in my first virtual Pilates class. I’m using Google Duo for video chats and have set up Zoom on my Chromebook. I think I could join in. Yesterday should have been my six week review at the hospital. My knee is pretty good. I have met all the targets in my NHS handbook. Waking early, feeling restless, I waited till it was light then went for a walk (with sticks). The sea had its usual calming effect. The streets were deserted. Pubs closed, holiday homes shuttered, building work abandoned. Spring flowers are a reminder, once again, that life goes on regardless.
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PS a technical glitch may have caused some of you receive a post entitled The Burning with just a URL. Just delete. Sorry! My mistake.