We are 6 days into lockdown and I’m so happy. It’s so weird when the world is riddled with anxiety to be feeling so content with my life. To be honest, I feel guilty.
Leaving T’Chateau, 16 months ago, was a huge wrench for me. Even though I knew that it was time to go. Even though, we moved only 2 miles up the road into a much smaller, warmer, more efficient new build thatch cottage; but when we moved my dreams died.
The move was better for everyone. The children were more connected to a world they needed. The Grenade could get the bus to college and the Menace had friends on her doorstep that she could meet at the park. There were street lights and pavements. A local shop to which we could walk.
I looked for a job with a salary, foregoing 14 years as a freelancer, and when I landed one in travel, I thought it was settled. I would join the mundane, humdrum existence of office life. It didn’t take long for me to realise that I loathed my job. I was so deeply unhappy. My family was happy, our life was good; but I was so unhappy. I missed my country life. I missed my chickens. I missed my vegetable patch. I missed my connection to growth.
Aunty Pat died and then I lost my job. I scrabbled around. I was agile. I am good in a crisis. I moved quickly. I jiggled, wriggled and re-ordered my life to cope wth the change. Corona began to unfold. We were ahead of the crisis. It was Hagar, who stepped up. He brought me to attention.
We, both, are so equipped for disaster. For the last decade we have lived on a knife edge. We watched the news like hawks, staying 2 steps ahead. 6 weeks ago, following a visit to the cinema, I contracted norovirus, which floored me with sickness and squits. Hagar, who had to look after me, then fell, and the Grenade shortly followed – it was messy, unpleasant affair. We had to adhere to a strict quarantine and vigilant bathroom allocation to prevent the Menace for succumbing to the evil gastric torture. We self isolated for 2 weeks. Subsequently, I was on deadline for a significant writing project which then forced me to self isolate for a further 2 weeks.
CoronaGeddon was becoming more apparent and people were panic buying. In isolation, in the Shire, we were oblivious. Any future work fell through and it became clear that I was going to struggle to find new work in the current climate. I bought some chickens, some seeds and a pop up greenhouse. It felt like the universe was giving me the gift of time to re-connect with my passions. I had been preparing for this crisis since 2010
In 2011 I made a pilot You Tube TV show about how vulnerable we were. Watch it. It’s prophetic:
My chickens came home to roost. The Grenade who has spent most of his life connecting with his friends remotely, due to attending boarding school, is constantly connected to his phone and his friends. He has set up a music studio and a gaming hub in his bedroom and he is in his element.
The Menace is struggling more than him. She misses the human connection with her friends; but she is also used to a remote life so she is baking, painting and binge watching Netflix. She is discovering new Tik Tok dances and on FaceTime to her friends. She is desperate to set up a candle and soap business called Bubble & Flicker so she is drafting her business plan and working out how to get investors onboard. She misses her horse riding and is worried about her pending birthday. I have bought her the Diary of Anne Frank and said that if she reads it and keeps a corona diary then I will invest in her business. She has agreed to these terms.
Every day we exercise together, either on our bikes or for a walk. We are blessed to have the countryside on our doorstep. It’s hard not to feel like we are on holiday, when the sun is shining, and we are spending such precious time together.
I am corona cooking. Food is my way of expressing love and, it somehow gives me a sense of control. I am cooking fresh home cooked dishes for my family in the vain hope that this food will nourish them and give them protection against the deadly virus. As we are now in crisis mode, the children have agreed to forego any fussy eating, and now, must at least attempt to eat new foods. I am milking this for all it is worth. We are eating breakfast and supper together around the table as a family. This isn’t that unusual, we don’t normally eat on our knees in front of the TV, but the children will often eat in the kitchen plugged into devices rather than engaging in conversation.
This crisis isn’t the worst crisis I have encountered in my life. I was already in isolation from some of my family. I had already lost many of my friends. I have already faced financial ruin. For now, I have a roof over my head, I have food in my cupboards and I have the means and time, to make it last longer. I am connected to the people I love. I am feeling very lucky. But I feel guilty because I know that for many this is the darkest of days. How are you corona coping?