Life in the Time of Corona
Week Two ~ The one with the weirdest birthday ever
I’ve been trying to keep myself as busy as possible this week. I have found that the more I have to do the less likely I am to overthink this very surreal situation we all find ourselves in. I look at my calendar every morning so I know what day it is. Then when I started writing this week post the only way I could remember what I did on which day was to look back at my instagram stories.
On Monday some bulbs and pots I’d ordered online arrived and I spent a happy hour potting up some dahlias and lilies which should hopefully flower later in the summer. I want to be able to look back and think I did something tangible at the end of this time. Also our courtyard in Norwich is very plain and needs brightening up. We wanted to get the fence sorted last year but kept putting it off and I imagine it’ll be quite some time before we can do so now, otherwise I’d be out there painting that a lovely sunny colour too. I’m currently sitting in the sun writing this, the sun doesn’t get round til about 3pm at the moment so we are all squished in the furthest corner waiting for it to come out.
The whole of Monday afternoon was spent hanging photos. We had a rogues gallery on the stairs here in Norwich and also on our den wall in London. When we put our house in London on the market last month I removed all the photos there and they’ve been sitting in a box since. This was the perfect opportunity to merge the two and I was really pleased with the result.
I’m still trying to find a way to make more space in the house. We have a large chest table in the lounge and it is a dumping ground for stuff. It’s in a bit of a state as Smudge chewed it as a puppy and it’s got various drink rings and marks on it but it does hide a multitude of sins (and as it happens it was hiding a load of extinct computer/tv cables, a nice box of coloured pencils, some CDs and various other things that “may come in handy”). On Tuesday I pulled everything out and it’s now housing all the board games we brought up from London. Ian says he is going to teach me how to play chess. Again.
On Thursday I was glad to have an excuse to go out in the car. We shopped for groceries for mum and took them over to her because she hasn’t been able to get access to any of the mythical shopping slots for those that are elderly/shielding. Luckily we are in a position to help her and hopefully that means someone else is getting the slot she would have used. It was such a lovely day so we had the roof down on the car, but I was waiting the whole time to be stopped and asked if our journey was necessary, which of course it was, but it felt like such a luxury to us to be out. There were a lot of cars around but, as Norfolk is so rural, public transport isn’t great so people still need to drive to get to work or the shops. We stood in the drive way and chatted (shouted) to mum while she stood in her porch. It was so lovely to see her, she is surprisingly chipper considering she’s been shut away for 3 weeks. Luckily she has a large garden in which she and dad had built raised veggie beds, so she has been out there planting stuff. She originally hadn’t planned to plant much this year as we were going to clear the house out for her to put it on the market.
In return for taking her the groceries she left me some plant pots and compost by the back gate, along with a couple of jigsaw puzzles. Youngest who is living with us was most appreciative of the jigsaws and we did one in an evening only to be confronted with one piece missing, which mother swears wasn’t missing when she lent it to us… we were just appreciative of a change of scenery.
Saturday was my 50th birthday. We should have been having a joint party for my 50th and Ian’s 60th birthdays (his is on Thursday). Of course it was cancelled like everything else has been. I’m not going to underplay here how disappointed I was, how disappointed we were. It may not be a big thing considering what others will experience during this awful time, but I’m taking time to acknowledge how upset I was that we couldn’t celebrate with our friends as had been planned for months. All the decorations I had collected, the photo booth props and cake stands, fairy lights and funny signs stuck in a box under our stairs in London, like some crappy metaphor for social distancing.
However, Ian and Harry did their best to make it as lovely a day as possible. For our days exercise we went for a lovely walk along the river and back up through the cathedral grounds. Parcels and cards arrived from friends who would have been coming to our cancelled party, we had smoked salmon and scrambled eggs with champagne for lunch and after a lovely dinner the family held a party on Zoom with cake and a quiz. No it wasn’t the day we had planned, but we definitely made the most of it. We will party like crazy when we all get out of this.
I can go for hours not thinking about what’s happening if I try hard enough. So long as I keep busy. I don’t watch the 5pm briefing anymore. I’m staying home, doing as I’m told. I listen to the radio news during the day, those are all the headlines I need. I limit my time on Twitter because for all the uplifting news and supportive stuff around, there’s twice as much fake news, and too many armchair experts and tin-foil hatters. Even the mainstream media are behaving appallingly, misrepresenting facts. I can’t face the anxiety I feel when I see that people are going out sunbathing and treating it like a big holiday. I can’t control how others behave, all I can do is make sure I’m sticking to the rules.
Our (as near as) daily bike rides remain a lifeline. I really hope that the government don’t feel they have to take them away from us. Whilst we do have a small courtyard garden so can in theory “get outside” I know that this wouldn’t be enough and I really feel for those with no access to outdoor space should the government decide we are no longer allowed this precious time. The impact on peoples mental health would be huge.
I watched the Queen’s address on Sunday evening. I wasn’t going to but the TV was on. I wasn’t prepared for how moving it would be, it felt like historic moment and I cried.
I want to hope this rollercoaster will end soon.