My mother lives in her snug, safe home across the garden from us, but I can’t get close or hug her, because she is self-isolating, sheilded from the outside and coronovirus.
When the weather is nice, as it was last week, we sat in the garden, many feet apart, with a cup of tea.
I got us each some daffodils, a small treat from my supermarket mission. They bring us both joy as we wave to each other from our kitchen windows.
We talk every day in person, by text or What’s App. Yes, my eighty-something Mum uses What’s App and forwards funnies from her emails. Times have changed.
My husband works from home now with his office set-up in the dining room. I have worked from home, writing, for eight years now, but this is a big change for us both.
I am relieved he is here, safe.
Working from home isn’t as easy as it sounds. I used to dream of it when I worked in paid employment, but at home, it’s hard not to procrastinate, endlessly, and avoid the many distractions of family life.
A friend of mine had a small business from home, and gave me some great advice: get up, get dressed and face the day as you would if going out to work. In other words, don’t get up and start typing in your pyjamas or you’re lost. I know this to be true.
The other problem is isolation. The key is finding a good work/play balance, but now we’re all in isolation, there is no balance. Now it’s all about keeping safe.
I had my memoir submissions to agents lined up and then coronovirus hit. Suddenly, a strong need to check in regularly with my kids, family and friends took over, with not much time for much else. Video calls saved the day.
Ploughing through crowded streets, offices and public transport took on new danger. We started self-distancing before the lockdown.
Then came the stockpiling and suddenly going to a supermarket felt like the start of a zombie apocolypse.
A shock to the system, all of it, none of us prepared for such a scale as this. How did we go from normal life to the sight of shelves stripped bare with no bread, milk and toilet paper, never mind trying to get in a good day’s writing?
Submit? Write? Seized by lockdown brain fog, how can anyone do anything?
It helps now the stockpiling has eased with stringent measures in place. Maybe we can breathe a tiny bit easier, though great danger still exists and far from over.
But my need to write has usurped my brain fog, so excuse my ramblings if you will. I can’t let my publishing dreams slip away. I need to break through the fear and the helplessness and the missing of my loved ones and the terrible toll on too many who have lost loved ones and just be here…now…sharing something…
We are allowed outside exercise once a day in our neighbourhoods. This does not mean packing a picnic and driving twenty miles to a beauty spot, no matter how beautiful the weather. I am blessed to live in a village which enables this, as these photos attest, but a walk along this road is not without hazard…
Cars travel these same roads. Other walkers too, with the same idea. Car and people-d0dging takes some planning. Some drivers force me into the hedgerows with not so much as an acknowledgment as they zoom past.
Others slow down and give me space and a friendly wave. Most of us greet one another on our daily walks, but I am paranoid about them getting too close, as some do.
People-dodging at the supermarket is a sport without a winner’s cup. Despite stringent self-distancing measures, my heart sunk at the number of those still huddling together in the aisles. It’s exhausting. It took me two hours just to get round the store safely, and drained me for the rest of the day with the ever-present worry of virus spread.
Too many of us can’t get an online, delivery or click-and-collect service for love nor money.
Life has changed in ways we could not have imagined in mere weeks. By the hour and the day.
A young checkout man told me about a customer who, so enraged that he could buy ONLY three packs of fresh meat, threw a packet of chicken at him across the checkout.
In stark contrast, a few days ago, a note came threw our letter box. A neighbourhood volunteer group is set up in case anyone in the village needs help with shopping, posting letters or just chatting on the phone for those living alone.
Last night at 8pm, as last Thursday, we came together in the UK to clap from our front doors in gratitude for all our NHS and key workers, including supermarket staff and delivery drivers.
Thank you all with hearts of gratitude.
I thought it would be nice to share some photos from my early spring garden to end on a colourful and cheery note…
Stay home. Save a life. Keep well.
Love Sherri x