Renny is to blame!

 

blue and yellowPleased with the relationship between the blue and yellow papers, I take a coffee break. Downstairs, in the hall, I watch Renny stretch out his arms and close his hands, it is a long yawn. I ask if he’s been outside. He doesn’t answer. I turn toward the kitchen door.

He is struggling, like the rest of us, to meet the conflicting demands of lockdown, exercise, work but I am beginning to tire of Renny’s moods. He broke the rules and I am exhausted after days of fever and coughing. I return to the attic, reveling in my first bookbinding.

100 Words

This is my first attempt at a Drabble!

It was written using six phrases from a random selection of books which I will post later.

Pendippy

We know what’s coming and we’re not going to wait around for the PM’s announcement on Monday.  The car is jammed with food, wine and treats for Alex. For me, its the normal detritus of a crafting life; needles, every kind of needle, wool, fabric, thread and my trusty Husqy.

Alex was furloughed this morning, its a term I’ve never heard used in relation to people, and it means that he will be paid to not work for the next twelve weeks. It took us all of 20 minutes to agree that this gives us permission to leave the City and travel to Pendippy. Its a large whitewashed house with a distinctive red roof and its been my family home for over 40 years. There is electricity, running water and an Aga which keeps the old place pretty warm even on the coldest days. No one lives there now, so me and Alex visit every summer for a couple of weeks to check it out and ensure it is maintained.

Over the past few days, as supermarket counters emptied, Alex worked out exactly how much food was needed for the next 12 weeks and through Amazon Prime stocked up on bags of protein shake, coffee, porridge and UHT milk.  In his last Sainsbury’s dash, he managed to grab the remaining few bags of pasta and a bundle of cans of tomatoes. At Pendippy the freezer is full of the best local Salmon and other goodies left from our last visit and we can forage for fruit and veg in the gardens. We intend to live in isolation, without leaving the grounds, until the worst is over. We have no phone signal or wifi but we have a library full of books, and, we have each other.

Excited, we jump in the car for the long drive north. As we approach Pendippy the air seems cooler, the sun is fading and it looks like rain might follow.  I open the car door and I hear the crash of waves on rocks. The seagulls are soaring and swooping above us, no doubt out for their evening meal. 

The extensive pine forest behind the house has, before today, always given me the creeps. It makes the back of the house dark and gloomy but today it gives us privacy from the town, so no one will know we are here. There are some locals who don’t want City folk  descending on their village but we have as much right to be here.

Anyway, we’ve decided that we have no intention of leaving!

pendippy

 

Lockdown

I wonder if, when and how we will come out of this lockdown.

I have learnt so much about the people around me and about myself.

Sadness grips my heart, I feel deep distress and I wonder if it will ever lift.

I am thankful for some amazing people who keep me going.

Some days, I wonder how I will climb out from under my deep sense of despair!

So I distract myself, I write, I create and when I can, I work.

 

 

Day 12

I remember the three-day week and the resultant power cuts, which ran from 1st January to 7th March 1974. I was about 15 and I thought my world had ended. No light to read by, no tv and it was dark and cold. I remember wondering how my world had become so small.

Fast forward 46 years. I am on lockdown at home with my husband. We went into lockdown 4 days before the PM asked people to stay at home. The reasons don’t really matter.

Its different in so many ways, we have heat, light, entertainment, and we have space. We are learning a new way of living and luckily we like each other! I can’t imagine what it would be like to be locked into a home with a partner I disliked. Its fair to say that even though we love each other and understand one another well, we still, occasionally, piss each other off!

We are both busy working, but from home. Both learning how to use an array of video conferencing tools such as Teams, Zoom, FaceTime. We never really got into using these before now. We never had the time!

I worry for the youngsters and for the very old. People of my generation and just a bit younger probably needed to slow down a little. The youngsters will remember this for the rest of their lives and it is my hope that they will have positive memories. Hopefully memories of intimate conversations with parents, fun activities, creativity and freedom like they have never known before. I fear for the children for whom School was an escape from abuse, hunger and boredom. I fear for older people who will be missing time with their grandchildren, people who may be spending the last portion of their lives alone, possilby in a state of anxiety.

I am doing a video log to track my own moods and reflections on this part of my life. Its not for publication but I hope it will see me grow and change in a positive way.

Theatre is my passion and I was lucky enough to go to lots of productions in January and early February. The last one was La Boheme at the Royal Opera House and there were many spare seats. At the time, I wondered if it was because of the flight restrictions from China – totally random thought –  it was probably more to do with it being a midweek matinee. I had loads of stuff booked for March, April and May but now these will cancel. I am however, surprised and delighted that various companies are sharing content online for free. Royal Court, National Theatre and the Royal Opera House. All I had in 1974 was a dark, cold bedroom where going to sleep was the only option.

As we are in total lockdown we are not shopping and we have been let down by Ocado, twice. Today we were expecting our first delivery of fresh chicken but they removed it from the contents without offering an alternative. I will never use Ocado again after this crisis is over. Their customer support is appalling and after one tweet and several emails to try to rebook my first cancelled order I had comms from 13 people, not one of whom followed the situation through. Today would have been a kick in the teeth if I hadn’t found alternatives. So something I am learning is that you must not procrastinate, if you have an idea follow it through and act immediately. I have now ordered from my local butcher; having lost all his restaurant work he is happy to do local small deliveries. Its expensive but its fresh and will last me for a week or so.

Creativity is helping me, sewing is a passion and I do it most days. I am finishing projects and starting new ones. At this rate I may get through my stash before the Lockdown finishes.  Today I will do my first Zoom watercolour course and I am really excited about it. I hope that it will be the first of many. My book group will meet tomorrow evening at 8pm to discuss The Presidents Hat – one of my favourite books. Its a great group and we will all struggle with the tech but we will all support each other.

I am lucky.

It is now day 45 and nothing much has changed!

Creativity

I’m not creative.

I have never been creative.

I like to make things.

I follow patterns or steal ideas wherever I can, but, I am not creative.

Oh, I make things. I make things that I like and some things I don’t like very much at all, but I  still make them. 

Have I ever had a creative thought? I don’t think so!  Not one bloody creative aha moment in 61 years.

Nearly all of my adult life has been spent working, I never had an urge to bake a cake, make an item of clothing, paint a picture – well –  just fucking nothing! I never baked. I never wondered about sewing, it never crossed my mind to knit something and as for making a model or a painting…. –

Not once in nearly 40 years did it cross my mind to divert my time from working to waste my time creating!

And that’s the thing, I see creating as wasting time.

Still Nothing!

Its been over a month since my last post and I have nothing that I want to write about!

I have emotions, experiences, and thoughts. Some of them are too raw to share with others so I have nothing to write about!

Today I saw a post on Facebook, I think it came from some editorial in the Telegraph, but didn’t bother to follow the trail. It suggested that all the blogs and banter about being motivated in Lockdown gets on people’s nerves. The good news, is that I can’t offer motivational tips. Not one thing!

My experience of the lockdown? Well, there are good days and there are bad days. The good days significantly outweigh the bad days, I am lucky!

What makes a good day? Well, that’s easy, its a kind word from my husband or a message from a friend, colleague or a family member. Its having fresh fruit and vegetables to eat. It is being able to take a warm bath or to have a hot shower. It is going outside, even for a few minutes to spend time in my garden. Its having books to read and films to watch. Its having the internet and people to talk to on Zoom, FaceTime or Skype. I know, I am lucky!

I have nothing inspiring to write about at the moment, but I am trying, I am doing writing exercises,  participating in online courses, thinking and working through some of my notes from earlier classes. But I still come up with nothing!

I will keep trying, after all I am just a work in progress myself.

Much love to any readers.

 

 

Why is Writing still on my F***list?

organic-1280537__340I find writing hard. I want to write and it’s been a goal, a dream and a practice for years. I do it every day in some way or other.  I have shelves filled with completed notebooks and yet, after nearly 60 years of writing, I find it hard to write my first novel.

I started the novel in 2012 and so far, two of the key ideas have appeared elsewhere. Most days I start with the intent of getting on with it, but there is always a reason to delay! Sometimes I find cleaning toilets more alluring than sitting down at my computer to write.

Perhaps I need to give myself some tough love and ask questions like:
‘What the fuck is going on Rita?’
‘Why are you saying its important but putting everything else in front?’
‘Why not just give up the idea or the dream of one day completing a manuscript?’

When I reflect on my goals for the day, week, year or decade I ponder a slightly different question: ‘Isn’t it time to give myself headspace to do something else?’ On occasion, I give myself a break from writing and permission to let it go, but the idea is never quite dead.

I suspect the only way I will kill the thought is by writing the manuscript, presenting it to someone and then reading it myself. If I can bear to read it, then the time was worth it. If not, it may be time to try something else.

So, back to the keyboard for a few hours more scribbling….