Coronavirus diary week 4 11th to 18th April
Of course it would be nice if the sun always shone and the swallows swooped and everyone kept their spirits up all the time and mostly I think we are doing pretty well. On Thursday though I had a dip. The weather has been fabulous, bright blue skies, warm breeze, day long sunshine. On Thursday morning I had my Spanish conversation class which has moved online with a fair degree of success. Afterwards I looked at the sunshine and decided to go for a run. I have been having trouble getting into any kind of running routine since the lockdown as most of my running normally takes place a little away from home so that I don't have to cope with the fact that going anywhere on foot from here requires going up or down a pretty steep hill. This week I thought I would combine running and walking up the hill when the lane gets steep and see if I can improve by reducing my time for the haul up the hill and back. It was great and running downhill I felt like the gazelle I certainly am not. I felt the way I used to feel as a child when I was convinced I was running like the wind. I was always a bit astonished when school sports day inevitably showed I was not the fastest, fleetest runner in the world. How could that be when I knew that when I ran by myself I was swift and graceful as a racehorse?
So the day was going well and then over the course of the afternoon it gradually fell apart. It was not the extension of the lockdown. That had been flagged up so clearly that it was no surprise. It was just a gradual sense that there seemed no reason for things ever to change. There is no vaccine. Testing remains patchy. Why should it be any safer to be out in the world in a month's time, or two months' or even six months'? The thought of not knowing when I would see my children and grandchildren again overwhelmed me. I couldn't cry. I felt a cold pit in my stomach. I wandered around the garden in the sunshine trying to feel the warmth of the sun and to see the beauty of the cherry blossom. None of it mattered I thought, without the people I love, nothing matters. Eventually I went to find Ian. He was digging. "Come and sit in the shelter with me," I said. He stuck his spade in the ground and took off his gardening gloves. We sat together. "I need a hug." So we hugged. We didn't talk. There was nothing to say. The sadness didn't disappear but it gradually drained away a little so that it swirled around my knees instead of closing over my head. "I'll make a cup of tea," I said eventually. "Shall I bring you one out?"
So if I am to tell the truth in these diaries, sometimes it is hard.
But we have to do this so do it we will, and with as much grace and good cheer as we can muster. And one of the examples of grace and good cheer must be that of Captain Tom, the ninety nine year old former soldier who has,as I write, raised more than £20 million for the NHS by walking laps of his garden after a hip operation. It is not simply the fact of his quiet determination that has caught public imagination I think. It is his modesty and gentleness and strong spirit. His intention when he started was to raise £1000. It is an amazing story and I think that people all over the country have latched on to his positivity in a time of darkness and sad news. Without intending to, he seems to have become an emblem of all that we want ourselves to be in these hard times.
This is our view out across the valley, up to Moel Arthur, something to contemplate with a cup of tea.
So on Friday it was time to dust myself off and emulate Captain Tom! One foot in front of the other! What can we do to have a good day? In the morning I had a Spanish session with my friend in Valencia and felt that, though there is still a long way to go, my Spanish is improving. Then I decided that this was the ideal time to rescue an abandoned knitting project, of which I have an embarrassing number. These have been set aside for a variety of reasons: a new grandchild has meant that making baby clothes was more appealing, a sense of having reached a particularly tricky part of a pattern sometimes galvanises me into action but sometimes I will put something aside, intending to come back to it and just never get there. I knew I had a pair of fairisle gloves which I had abandoned because I couldn't combine the level of concentration required with any form of conversation or television watching. I also knew I had a jacket which only needed the shawl collar making that I had put to one side because I wasn't sure how to do the next bit.
I went up to the sewing room and dug the knitting bag out. There it was. It was really quite nice. It was just a matter of working out exactly where I was with the pattern.
I sat down quietly in the sewing room, called up Ravelry on the ipad and found the pattern. I could see that I had put this into my projects so I went to check how long it was since I had done anything on it and found to my astonishment, and amusement, that I put it aside in 2012!!! Whoops! So it would be a great achievement from this lockdown time if I could actually finish it, actually wear it, wouldn't that be great?! I am halfway through the collar now. I realise that the thing I was unsure about in 2012 was working short rows. The great advantage of having had so much time go by is that since then I have made half a dozen things which have required short rows so they hold no fears. I should actually finish this over the weekend and that would please me very much.
And last night we had a glass of wine with good friends, Joyce and Adrian, once the technology had been beaten into submission. It is not the same as sitting around a table together but it is still good to see their faces and hear their voices and make each other laugh.
So there we go, a week of up and down, but mainly OK and back on an even keel for now. How is it for you?