As the saying goes, what a difference a day makes.
Although for us, we think the new measures won’t make a massive difference, as we were already pretty much practicing this way of being. The new normal (until the next new normal comes along).
Garden / allotment – there’s been some discussion online about whether or not tending the allotment is allowed. I took the view that it is, on two counts. First of all, every bit of food we can produce is going to be vital as the weeks and months ahead unfold. I’ve always grown more than enough just for the two of us and given surplus away. There are/will be many grateful for some (free) fresh produce. Secondly, the allotment provides me with good exercise (even practicing no-dig – there’s still muck to shift around the site, grass to mow, some bed clearing to be done). On our site people have been very very careful to keep our distance, and for many of us the conversations across plots provides much needed social contact (of course always at a distance). On the days when I’m not on the allotment, there’s plenty for me to do in the garden. Never before have I been so grateful for this access to outdoor green space. And since I wrote this we’ve had an email from the Allotment Association confirming that this, for now, is all fine.
Exercise / staying fit – walking is an essential part of keeping my lymphoedema symptoms under control. This is even more vital than ever – I really can’t afford to risk getting cellulitis, and nor does the health service need me to. So my plan is to take my (outside) exercise by alternating tending the allotment with long walks. Plus it helps me in my quest to lose weight (which so far this year has been surprisingly successful, and I plan to keep that going). Today I did a circular walk from home, taking in leaving some surplus eggs outside a friend’s house. It gave me a sense of purpose and some spare egg boxes she left for me; it gave her enough eggs for several omelettes. Win win.
Craft / making – I have a wealth (or should that be an embarrassment?) of yarn and fabric stashes, more than enough to keep me going for several months. I am lucky to have no need of any more materials. I will continue working through what I have, and building up a stock of small goods to sell for the benefit of Bath City Farm (eventually, when things ease up). I also have some ideas for birthday gifts for several family members who whose birthdays fall in the next couple of months. I’m thinking about spending some unspent Christmas present money on a knitting kit from a small producer, to make a hat for myself for next winter.
House / home repairs; improvements – our home is normally clean enough, but no-one could accuse either of us of being fastidious. We’ve always taken the view that exposure to a few bacteria (combined with sensible and careful hand washing) is a good way to build the immune system. Until now. In the past week we have instituted a regime of cleaning (some daily, some weekly) like never before. My mother-in-law would have been very, very proud of us.
Admin – more working through that pile on the floor. I’m getting there….. Slowly slowly.
Kind deeds / something for others – I’m keeping this on the list, as a regular reminder of the supreme importance of this, but I don’t plan to list what I’ve done (though I do plan to make sure that it informs how I act every day). I’ve seen so many kind deeds over the past few weeks. I’m including a few ideas you may want to think about if you’re in a position to, and if you’re not already doing them
- greeting strangers along the way when you’re out to shop or exercise. In this good weather many more people than usual are out tending their garden or just sitting out enjoying it. For some who live alone these small conversations may be the only face-to-face human contact they have all day
- if like me you’re in a comfortable position, give some of the money you’re not spending on holidays, meals out, whatever, to charities working hard to support those of us in a worse situation
- send that extra email or message, or make the phone call to someone you’ve been meaning to contact. Even just knowing you’ve thought of them could be important to them
- if you grow/make/produce food and have some to spare, offer it to someone who might appreciate it. Right now I have an abundance of sage, rosemary, and eggs. Later in the spring there will be other things
- if you use someone’s free content online and you’re able to pay them something, do so. It may be the only source of income they have right now. Likewise cultural events
- when you buy things, vote with your wallet – support charities, small businesses, local businesses (and those in the centre of that Venn diagram – small local businesses)
Stay sane! – things that are helping me right now: a sense of purpose (as in this list); daily yoga courtesy of Adriene; emails and messages with friends and family; phone conversations. Trying hard to retain a sense of humour and a sense of proportion. Sunshine.
As for me, today? Well I ended the day having not managed to get through everything I had planned for the day. Normally that would be a source of regret. But how times have changed: today that felt like a brilliant achievement.
Stay safe. Stay at home (mostly). Unless you’re one of those who have to go out to keep us well, to keep us fed, to keep the power and water on for us – in which case, you have my heartfelt gratitude.