Over 100 days ago I had my last ‘normal’ day: I saw a client, went to the hairdressers, did a bit of random shopping and joined friends for dinner at a local Indian restaurant. Washing hands on arrival and even part way through the meal, elbow bumping our friends and the restaurant owner. The day was ‘normal’ but even in early March we both felt a little uncomfortable with the proximity of so many others. We had a great meal, lots of fun and frivolity and it was a memorable and super evening.
The next day we celebrated my husbands birthday, at home! We haven’t really left home much since then. I started a video log that day and have recorded six or seven videos to remind myself of the journey we have taken these past few weeks.
I wanted to do something to help others but was scared to offer to work at a supermarket or volunteer in a hospital. Quite quickly I volunteered for the NHS responder service, I have been on duty most of the time but have never been called. I offered free coaching to friends on Facebook to help people who may be worried about their careers. I had a few requests and I have loved the contact and working with those people.
I worked from home for a couple of clients for about a month and then things stopped. It started up again a few weeks ago and I hope it will build from here. It seems that the life of a freelancer is going to be a bit bumpy over the next year or so.
When the full lockdown was called I found I had to divert my energies to other tasks like cleaning. In the early weeks I also did a lot of clearing, but the clearing soon became problematic because I didn’t have anywhere to store things. The dump and charity shops all being closed meant that my garage got full quickly. I soon stopped sorting and started rearranging things.
Workshops started to appear online and I signed up for a few of them. Not all of them worked for me but I was grateful for the people putting in the effort to deliver content. I now have a few things I do regularly. I find that I benefit from this new way of connecting and learning.
Sewing is a passion and I continued to work on some of the projects I started at college. Different to the quilts I usually make with commercial fabric these projects are made with home dyed fabric. Sheets that would have been dumped got a new lease of life. I learnt to use scraps, no use to anyone, to weave new pieces of fabric and I am really pleased with the results. A fellow student started a coronavirus quilt project and I was eventually able to contribute a piece to his work. Sewing and knitting, as I say some of my passions, have been a bit of a struggle in lockdown. I realise that both sewing and knitting are good community activities and isolation makes it harder to focus.
A couple of weeks into lockdown I was invited to join a local bookclub which would meet every two weeks to discuss selected books. Its organised, on Zoom and everyone who participates is passionately interested in discussing books. Some of the books have been daunting like The Heart’s Invisible Furies, controversial like American Dirt, or fun and inspiring like Sweet Sorrows by David Nicholls who joined our group for the last half hour to take questions. He was a joy and it was so inspiring to hear him talk openly about his writing practice. Our local book group continues online and that is a lot of fun with a mix of books including the magical The Binding. The local group is also about friendship and support and has been invaluable.
My garden has always been a place of refuge and never more needed than in the lockdown. I can’t decide if the hot weather in London is a blessing or not but it does mean that I am noticing things more. For example, this morning I saw the sun rising at 04.45 and last night I was able to sit in the garden until very late with the sun setting at about 21.20.
Its hard to believe we have now passed midyear and that the days will start to draw in. I wonder what the next stage of the Pandemic will bring for me and John. My heart goes out to everyone who is shielding and to those people who live on their own. This has been hard for the grandparents stuck at home alone who can’t see their children and their grandchildren
I don’t have any big revelations or advice to give anyone. I am truly grateful for friends and family who contact me or respond to me, you make my life joyful. I am writing this post to acknowledge my over 100 day milestone.