Today was my most flat-out busy day since the lockdown. Driven by a quite extraordinary amount of coffee, I got my head into a focussed writing and blogging space, sitting in front of my laptop for a ten hour stretch, drafting posts, editing images and researching stories. It felt good to have my mind so clearly occupied by one thing.

The only thing that threw me during the day was a calendar alert that popped up for my usual Monday afternoon Reformer Pilates class at 1400hrs. It felt like a message from a past life, so alien was the idea of running out to my car in order to exercise in close proximity to three other people.

In between writing bouts, each time I had to rouse myself to go to the loo or drink some water, I did some housekeeping – hanging up a load of washing to line dry, unloading the dishwasher, dusting a table, photographing something for eBay., vacuum packing my winter coats I’m finding it’s the only way to keep on top of the relentless cleaning and tidying required by being at home all day, every day.

I’ve nearly run out of Nespresso Vertuo coffee pods so it’s time to switch to a cafetiere – during my larder audit in the first week of lockdown I pulled out two bags of ground coffee, and a random bag of beans, that I must have been keeping for an LLG literary summer dinner. With those dinners on hiatus indefinitely, why not use them now? And, frankly, I need to keep my household expenses to a bare minimum.

So I finally got up from my desk, okay who am I kidding? my bed, where I like to write, propped up by pillows) around 1830 to drive up to my sister’s house to collect her sausage dog Maisie for a walk, and to dig out my old cafetiere from the lockup next door where I keep all my catering equipment. Never have I been gladder that Holly only lives five minutes away – with her in proper quarantine it assuages my anxiety knowing that I can get to her so quickly, and it enables me to easily drop off groceries and supplies, as well as walk her dog for her.

It took me far longer than anticipated to dig out the damned cafetieres (one person and four person – I feel I might be needing the bigger one for my newly acquired twice a day caffeine habit), so we didn’t hit the Heath until 1945. This is just as sunset happens and, for me, it’s the perfect time of day to walk. The idiot runners are in the minority, and most people are at home. We get to enjoy almost empty paths and, taking the woodland trails, means we rarely pass other walkers.

It was nearly 2015 and the daylight was almost gone by the time we had curved back down towards Parliament Hill and the Heath exit at its base. I don’t normally ascend its crown, but the nearly full moon was glowing brightly and I wanted to look at London in its light.

Standing, there on the very top of Parliament Hill, looking down at the city spread before me, with an almost full moon above, everything seemed wrong. The absolute silence, the clear, pollution-free sky, the lack of people.

And then my phone pinged with a BBC News alert: Boris Johnson had been taken to intensive care.

And then home, ravenous, partly from emotion – I find being upset always makes me want to devour everything in sight. The quickest thing I could think of was spaghetti with grated Cheddar cheese, loads of butter, and crunchy sea salt and black pepper. Cracking open a can of Heineken that I found in the cellar during yesterday’s tidiying binge, I took the lot to bed, watching Masterchef on my phone, with Lettice under the duvet, tucked into the curve of my knee.

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3 comments

Reply

Hi Sasha,
Hope you will have another productive day like this during lockdown. Isn‘t it strange that people always go for walks/runs at the same time? Why doesn‘t everybody want to keep their distances?
Running out of coffee is one of my worst nightmares.
Keep on writing and walking, watching Masterchef and be kind to yourself.
Stay safe and at home like me in Germany.
Karen

Reply

Thank you Sasha, I feel less alone when I read your diary. I’m home anxious and trying to stay strong for so many who I love. I have a dad who is 84 suffering from Parkinson’s. He isn’t living with us but is a street away, I’m not seeing another soul apart from him, he needs help with dressing, food, etc. I feel like I’m breaking the law but he simply can’t be left indefinitely. I cry, wipe the tears and start on the next task. I think we all need to write our diary’s to look back on this moment in time. Things that bring me daily joy is Frans Book Shop on Instagram. Years ago I remember you did a post about Persephone books and I’ve been addicted ever since. Fran is reading a short story every day at 11, you probably know but it’s the perfect time to have your coffee and a slice of cake. Stay safe Love Michelle in Northumberland

Reply

finally finding and reading the blogposts–unexpected benefits of the quarantine. i am going to go back though them as i am fascinated and impressed by your talents, accomplishments, energy and devotion to your mother and sister along with volunteering. looking forward to the q days passing with as little devastation as possible. reading about the days of others is so helpful. these are challenging times, more so for some. thank you for sharing your experiences and inspirations.

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