I’ve got it all laid out in a nice pie chart, so I know exactly what I’m doing. Routine is the thing! Time to get up and go to bed. Time for exercise and housework, time for that essential daily walk - even time, every other day, for making bread. So it’s all under control in our house. Me, rather arthritic and creaky, my lovely artistic and autistic son, and the cat, basically a psychotic old bat out for the main chance; we all have this lockdown thing taped. Well, sort of. Not quite so easy though, is it? Plenty of time in the day, but not quite enough energy in the day, even with the welcome lunchtime nap. I find myself balancing ‘things to do’ with ‘energy and motivation to do things’, as well as coping with the ups and downs of arthritis. All these don’t always play nicely together.
There’s t’Internet, of course. Facebook. A black hole into which lots of the time just vanishes. I’m really up on weighted blankets, gadgets for cat-toys, slightly crackers posts from people I hardly know, ‘aah’ videos of kittens, and friend requests from Indonesia. And the online Guardian, bless it. Not too much of that, though, or I get spooked. I’ve stopped watching the TV news, too. Better that way.
And talking about friends, the lockdown demands that we keep in touch in other ways. I love my friends, so I want to make contact by phone, text and email (too much of a Luddite for all these newfangled platforms). So the phone rings just as I’ve got the Marigolds plunged into the washing up. Or one of the wonderful volunteers calls for a shopping list. And how can you possibly complain about that?
And then there’s all the extra work caused by the blasted virus itself – sanitizing, checking, wiping down the worktops when fresh shopping has been dumped; and the letters, even – open envelope, get rid of envelope, wash hands, sanitize whatever the envelope has touched, wash hands again. Agonising about who will get our next lot of groceries, or fetch the latest prescription. Just learning how to do this new way of life. It all takes time. But then there’s the nice stuff. Reading books from the free electronic library on my tablet; doing my jigsaw with some good music on the radio; doing a bit in my little garden when the achy knees allow; chatting with my son and reading the stories he writes. The short walk in the afternoon. Sometimes, I’m lucky enough to chat over the wall to my neighbour, making sure to keep our distance. There’s even the TV in the evenings, with a nice cuppa. I wonder how on earth people fit in the big projects, decorating, remodelling the garden, writing a book.
Creativity is good, of course. Photography is an old hobby, and somehow there’s just not quite enough puff for that at the moment. Writing is fun – I’ve written poetry all my life, and my writing group has survived online. I do like knitting, but even the cat wouldn’t wear the end product.
But if we get really stuck for something to do, there’s always pandering to the cat. That always goes down well.