Sunday 26 April

So we are coming to the end of the fifth week of lockdown. A journalist today said, what did she most miss, apart from the obvious friends and family. She decided, fish and chips on Brighton beach, and garden centres. I think in fact the latter may reopen soon, so perhaps half of her wishes will be fulfilled. I thought it over during the day, and decided swimming, and visiting National Trust gardens. Normally I go swimming every Sunday morning, and plough up and down, and feel that is my thinking time. No phone, no internet, just the enveloping water. I do of course now have plenty of thinking time, but it’s not quite the same. I know that Standen at the moment has a magnificent display of thousands of tulips. And many of the National Trust gardens are spectacular at this time of year. It just seems so sad that no-one is there to see them.

I decided to move from the vegetable patch to the front garden today. As I was weeding, the robin was so close he practically landed on my head. I jumped, so he hopped to the laburnum, and sang his heart out. Such a delight. The squirrels seem bent on excavating the patchy grass which passes for a lawn. The cat does a lot of crouching and bottom-waggling but never gets close. The squirrels will definitely have the last laugh.

Five weeks lockdown can become a shade claustrophobic, I fear. Today I went for a walk round the local roads, and on the drive of one house, there were 4 benches set in a square, 4 couples, just about at a social distance, having a drink and a laugh. I thought it was a birthday party but they said they were raising money for a charity (?) and offered me a beer. Which I reluctantly declined. I was reminded of the adapted marriage vows: “For richer, for poorer, but never for lunch”. People will begin to get restless I think.

The earrings are small sparkly studs, pretend diamonds. I have had them for years. As I had my ears pierced when I was 30, I have over time amassed quite a collection. My mother was appalled at the time. She thought that only women of a certain lower calibre had pierced ears. I dread to think what she would have made of today’s body piercings and tattoos.

We had 80 minutes of Zoom time family chats. It really is remarkable to be able to talk to my nephew in Corsica, my niece in Edinburgh, and other family in Croydon, Ealing and the Peak District. Parliament, the cabinet, parish councils, everyone is Zooming. Will we ever go back to face-to-face meetings? No point in flying round the world for a one day conference. Greta Thunberg, eat your heart out: what you didn’t achieve, the corona virus did.

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