The best time of day is just after waking: sun streaming through the curtains, birds dawn-chorusing and me, eyes closed, pretending that none of this is happening. Nothing to see here; move along please. My sleep tipped me into Day of the Triffids, perhaps, or A Midsummer Night’s Dream. and shortly Puck will come and restore amends.
Just before I turn in at night can be a bit grim. I tend anyway to late-night fretting when over-tired and, let’s face it, there’s no shortage of source material. Eventually I wrench myself away from the news and go to sleep listening to Radio 4 comedy. At the moment, I’m mostly mainlining P.G. Wodehouse and John Finnemore.
I keep my to-do list in a notebook. Last Monday, I must have had a rush of blood to the head, faced with the prospect of a week self-isolating with a rogue cough (just a cough) because I appear to have written “Practise piano and flute, write novel, blog, learn Italian, speak to some old people.”
My flute remains un-practised; my piano not much more. I may have to finally accept that my failure to churn out a work of literature is not, as it turns out, due to a lack of time. Shakespeare wrote King Lear, I gather, when self-isolating from the Plague (except I imagine they called it ‘staying indoors’). I, on the other hand, have produced a help-sheet on Zoom for Beginners. It’s quite a good help-sheet but I don’t think they’ll be writing essays on it in four hundred years’ time.
My Italian, courtesy of the podcast Coffee Break Italian, ground to a halt on ‘how are you?’ (Come stai?). None of the suggested responses seem adequate for the answer. (I’ve got a cough, but is it a continuous cough? How continuous is continuous? Is it a dry cough? What is a dry cough anyway? My temperature seems OK but is it cough plus temperature? Or cough or temperature?) Non male – not bad – just doesn’t hack it.
Talking to old people…. well, I’ve asked ActorLaddie to turn down the telly a few times – does that count?
I rather think that when I look back on these days – and I fully intend to look back – the best bits will turn out to be the WhatsApps. And the Zooms. And the good old-fashioned phone calls. (Apparently you can talk into your phone and your voice comes out the other end with no pictures or words or anything! Who knew?)
My spirits are raised by our street’s WhatsApp group and I got ridiculously excited when it led to the re-homing of some excess bread. I love some of the very witty videos and messages that are doing the rounds and intend to keep as possible ammunition the photo of a certain friend modelling the use of a pair of knickers as a face-mask. And the highlights of each day are the messages and zooms and conversations with family and friends, old and new.
People are all we’ve got, as Fleabag says. As for those Brexit days, with their prorogations and Articles and meaningless, meaningful votes – well, what a waste of brain-space! I shall put remembering this on next week’s to-do list. Just under washing the nets.
Stay safe. Stay in. And oceans of thanks to those keeping the rest of us afloat.