Monday 30 March

This is the beginning of the second week of the lockdown, so this is the new normal. It is already beginning to be difficult to remember what day of the week it is: they are all the same, and so irrelevant. Except that today at 10 am I managed to join my Pilates class online, courtesy of Zoom. It was really rather reassuring to have the beginning of a structure to the day. We all put our gym kit on, and followed Sharon’s instructions. It was amusing at times, as cats, or dogs or babies wandered into the room where the exercising was taking place. But great to see my fellow participants and all looking hale and hearty.

I have decided that as a diversion, and also to distinguish one day from another, I will wear a different pair of earrings every day. I have a large collection, including a box of odd earrings which I have been reluctant to ditch as they all have some sentimental value to me, but unless I accept that I will need to wear unmatched earrings, this could be the opportunity for the great clear out. Today I am wearing some green and gold enamelled earrings, given to me in the distant past by a grateful student. This is the problem I have with giving any of them away, they all have stories attached. Some I have bought as souvenirs of places I have visited: Gothic harps from the Edinburgh Harp Festival, porcupine quills from Kenya. Others have been presents, sometimes from places abroad: opals from Australia, amber from Poland. They are all lovely and I am sure I can wear a different pair every day for at least a month.

Today I ventured to the supermarket. I hope to go only once a week. I have to admit that this is the scariest part of my day: if I am going to encounter the virus anywhere, it will be here. People are very correct and keep their distance. I wear gloves all the time and make my purchases as rapidly as possible. The shelves were well stocked, no tinned tomatoes, but otherwise much better than last week when it was a matter of buying whatever there was available. As this is predicted to last for a possible 6 months, it is something we will all have to acclimatise to. As I was leaving, a young man asked the manager if he could hand in his CV, and he was directed to the office. I thought, that shows some initiative; if you are self-employed with nothing to do, where is likely to be short-handed? The supermarket. Another interesting incident was a young man who was buying some pasta, a jar of tomato sauce, and a few other basics. When he got to the till, he asked the girl, “how do I cook these things?” She replied, “boil a handful of the pasta, put a couple of tablespoons of the sauce on top and a bit of grated cheese. It’s quite nice really,” and I realised that so many people have no idea how to prepare the simplest meal, because they have always lived on ready meals or take-aways.

Like everyone else, I have an entire list of things I can now do: play the piano, finish reading “Middlemarch”, do some embroidery, put photos in albums etc etc, but when evening comes, it is very tempting to contemplate what one journalist mentioned yesterday: ” I want to see something entirely escapist and drink a large glass of red wine!” Except in my case, I settle down to blog writing, which is just as enjoyable. Please do leave feedback: it is an odd feeling writing into the void. Also pass on the link if you feel anyone may be interested.

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