How our lives have changed!
In the space of a month we have gone from leading our carefree, ignorant lives, pottering, shopping, taking a train ride, going to the pub, going for a meal, visiting our families, having visitors, going to the cinema or to the theatre, participating in gym classes, getting together with friends or pursuing our hobbies to leading much smaller lives.
We write lists of jobs.
We clean. We turn out cupboards and sweep the garage. After time, the initial enthusiasm for cleaning begins to pall.
We garden; weeding, mulching, pruning and tidying. I long for the distraction of browsing in a garden centre.
We watch TV. We catch up on programmes we missed or dismissed. We try a live-streamed pub quiz. We instigate a ‘movie night’-a leap of faith for Husband, who is film-averse. We watch a favourite, local singer-guitarist broadcasting from his living room.
We video message.
We listen to the news or watch it.
We pursue whichever activities we are still allowed to do.
We are the lucky ones. We have a garden, one that still requires a great deal of work. But the garden centres are closed and we must make do with whatever we can, splitting and dividing plants or moving things around.
We chat over the fence to our neighbours, keeping to our distance rule.
We make the most of our allocated daily walk, the local streets having to replace our favourites like the 12 mile sweep of beautiful Bournemouth Bay or the New Forest national park. We discover interesting or unusual sights over garden walls or in windows, becoming observant, critical or appreciative.
We cross the road in avoidance tactics-are we the only ones to do so? It seems so… We salute walking strangers, smile in acknowledgement of our shared predicament.
I bake things. We eat them. We make creative meals with the ingredients we have, or the odd items we found while cleaning out the cupboard, keeping shopping expeditions to once a week. We take turns to run the gauntlet of the weekly supermarket shop, having taken pains to write a comprehensive list, fearful of having to return before another week passes.
I exercise, using an online Pilates class. I become religious about my Pilates class, performing a morning ritual of moving furniture and rolling out my yoga mat. I grow to like my online, nameless teacher and look forward to her calm, gentle tones instructing me. ‘Well done!’ she says and I almost glow with virtual pride.
We take pleasure in the small things and are grateful for what we have-a comfortable, roomy house, a garden, healthy meals, communications from our family.
We are humbled by the heroism of so many in the face of such a mountainous catastrophe.
And we mourn for lives lost and devastated by this, the abomination of our era.