There’s the familiar, mechanical Predator cackle of a magpie in a tree. It is another beautiful day. A distant hum of traffic, or is it just my ears buzzing from the silence?
I wake early, every day. Today, my back hurts so I watch the birds on the feeder from bed. Little brings me such uncomplicated joy as this.
One blue tit is on the feeder and two are hopping about on this gigantic yellow flowering thing that has grown in one of our pots over the last few months. I let it grow out of curiosity. At first I thought it might be kale from seeds in the compost, then as it grew, I became sure it was tender stem broccoli and we were going to eat it when it got back from Devon. But in that time it started flowering bright yellow flowers. Now I’m pretty sure it’s poisonous.
(If anyone knows what it is…?)
The daisies I planted last summer along with the all the other now-dead wild flowers kept flowering all winter, and are still going strong, bobbing obediently in the breeze. Some of the seeds planted last month finally have tiny shoots coming up from the dark earth.
Nature is slow. That’s how it keeps its magic.
I’m reading Wide Sargasso Sea. It’s brilliant but it’s sinister. A lot of heavy overtones to deal with. A lot heavy undertones to deal with also.
I swing from feeling everything far too much to not feeling anything at all. Not sure which is more healthy at this point in time. The combination certainly isn’t. Last night we watched Aussie Gold Hunters and I cried at anything even remotely emotional—happy or sad, which meant I cried through most of the programme.
Someone got shot in The Wire and we had to turn it off.
Apparently you carry anxiety in your lower back. It would explain why mine’s been playing up again the last couple of weeks. I thought I was pretty calm compared to some people, but then denial is a river and it flows to my heart.
I painted my nails red and it made me feel better. I listen exclusively to reggae and soul. And ok, I admit, some madrigals and cantatas. I’ve lost all my paid work in the last couple of weeks. Instead, I work hard on my own writing. Yesterday I worked hard, got up too early, and was asleep by 8.30pm. I now consider that a very good day.
This virus has brought some enlightening things with it, especially via Twitter and Facebook. Lesley, who you were sure had a life-long career as an estate agent, is actually an immunologist, it turns out. She has been reading The Guardian’s Coronavirus Live Feed for two weeks now, so she knows exactly what she’s talking about. Terrence— who you’ve never been entirely sure what he does— announces he is not only a qualified immunologist, having read the many NYT pieces Belinda sent him, but he’s also been on a Preppers4Life forum and now he’s a professional chef – he can make a sourdough starter out of the skin of an onion and a sprinkle potash. When you next log on: everyone has become an expert on everything. You however, are a failure. You have not become an expert on anything in the last two weeks. Or, so you think. In fact, you have become an expert at watching other people miraculously become experts on things they previously knew nothing about. Congratulations!
Why not make something just for you, Terrence?
But, you know, whatever gets you through the day, Terrence. You too, Lesley. Keep on keeping on. I’m with you.
Last night we leant over the balcony railings and listened as the whole city clapped in darkness for the NHS workers. It meant something. What would mean more is if those who voted Conservative hereby make the decision never to do anything so destructive again.
It hits when you least expect it. Walking back one night from doing a shop for someone, it was dark and the streets were silent, except for a group of boys on bikes circling the area. “This is what it’s like to be in a pandemic then,” I thought.
But there are things to be grateful for: I have – after phone calls, emails and innumerable failed attempts – finally got my mum’s food delivery sorted and, without a shadow of a doubt, I have certainly become an expert on that.
(And thank you, Sainsbury’s, for prioritising the elderly and vulnerable!)