What strange times we live in! When I last posted, about two weeks ago, life was going on as normal, I’d just returned from a short trip to France and I was making plans for the coming weeks, including booking train tickets for work trips to London. Sure, there was talk of the Coronavirus in China, a few cases in Italy, but it didn’t seem like it was going to affect me, it was happening somewhere else. How long ago that now seems!
I didn’t post last week mainly because I was in shock. My elder daughter was due to be taking her GCSEs this summer, indeed, I was also going to invigilate at a local school. When the announcement came that exams had been cancelled, I think it hit me then how serious this was going to be. Suddenly, I feared for elderly relatives and neighbours and spent the week calling them, offering (please!) to help. I was comforting my daughter who seemed to be going through all the stages of a bereavement and, having worked so hard for the last two years, suddenly had no clue what she was meant to be doing with her life now. Plus, I could hardly tear myself away from the rolling news and the numbers dying in Spain and Italy increasing by the hundreds. We had to make rapid plans to get my son home from university (I’d only been to see him the weekend before!) and he was finding his local shops were empty by the time he got there – dinner for him one night was a pack of hot cross buns! I found it difficult to focus on anything.
This week is different – the high anxiety of last week has been replaced by a strange calm. We are all now under one roof, school, activities, hobbies, gym, everything now, has been cancelled, even the occasional Flat White at my coffee shop of choice. Unlike some, I’m not too worried about how I’ll cope with the ‘isolation’ – on the contrary, as an introvert who spends most of her days alone, it may be challenging for me to have everyone else around all the time! I think I will actually enjoy the opportunity to take a guilt-free foot off the gas. I will be giving help and support where I can in my community, but I will also be observing closely the need to keep others outside my household at (double) arms-length.
Whilst I don’t want to start creating lists of jobs for myself, I am better when I’ve got some goals, so here’s what I plan to do with all the found time:
- Top of the list is reading, of course. I have been wondering how I was ever going to get to The Mirror and the Light, the third and final part of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall trilogy….!
- Re-read Ulysses – I am not a big re-reader, but I read this when I was much younger so I want to read it again through more mature eyes. This was one of my aims for 2020.
- Appreciate my garden, especially if this wonderful spring weather continues.
- Breathe – I’ll miss my yoga classes most of all but can practise at home.
- Take a virtual museum tour – perhaps the Guggenheim in Bilbao, somewhere I’ve long wanted to visit.
- Write – I have been finding it very difficult to get back into the re-writing stage of my book since my mother died, but perhaps this is the impetus I need.
- Keep in touch with my relatives.
- Make some photobooks – we don’t really print photos any more do we? I’ve made a few family photobooks over the years, but there are a few years missing.
- Clear out our files – paperwork, paperwork! My husband and I are terrible hoarders and keep everything, but do we really still need all those invoices from 10+ years ago?!
- Pay attention – we can still go out, once a day, for the moment at least, so whilst we still can I will enjoy my neighbourhood, with all its wonderful trees, and enjoy the lack of vehicle and aircraft noise!
I would love to hear what your plans are for ‘lockdown’ – above all, follow all the advice and stay well and safe.
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