Everything I read about how the coronacrisis is going confirms my belief that we’re in this for a lot longer than the PM would like to admit. My feeling is that this lockdown is going to take us through till Easter – not least of all because the UK government is putting most of its eggs in the vaccination basket, and the rollout will take a long time before lockdown can safely be relaxed.
So the question for all of us now, is how to get ourselves and others through this latest lockdown safely and with mental health intact. For those of us able to properly stay at home (financially, safely) looking after our mental health is crucial. This will mean different things for each of us – for example, I know that Malcolm finds not being able to travel far more of a deprivation than I do. I think I’m fortunate in being innately a bit of an introvert. I enjoy solitude, and have many things to do to keep me occupied and entertained. For me, and I’m sure for many others, the hardest thing is not being able to see those dearest and closest to me.
I especially feel for those who are living alone and struggling with that, and those who are working in front-line roles with all the emotional and physical distress that entails. So when I read that the most important thing we can do to support them is to stay home and have as little contact with others as possible, I feel impelled to comply.
I have put together a little list of things I’d like to achieve by the end of this lockdown. I’m setting it out here, in case it helps anyone else to find a sense of purpose through this time.
- Reading – fiction: all the Smiley books by John le Carre; non-fiction: any of my books about food (plus other things I can find online, including podcasts and zoom presentations
- Making –
- pre Brexit I bought a bag of cotton yarn from Denmark. My plan is to use all of it to make a stock of dishcloths to sell to fundraiser for Bath City Farm. It cost me £59.40 altogether, including the postage. I’m interested to see how much money I can raise from that (which I’m considering my donation).
- before lockdown I put out a request on our local freegle for yarn and fabric scraps to use to make things to sell for the farm. I had a heartwarming response, and now have several bags of yarn and one of some lovely fabric sitting in quarantine waiting for me to sort and use
- Last year I raised almost £600 from my making; this year I’ve set myself the target of raising £500
- Growing – oh dear. I’ve completely lost it with the allotment. It all went to pot back in the autumn when I got ill, and I haven’t had the heart to sort it out. I’ll aim to get back on top of things by the end of March. That should be good enough. And good enough is all that’s needed
- Cooking – I’ll continue with all the things I already do, but I’d also like to see if I can expand my repertoire. Not sure how yet, but it will come to me. Or not
- Reducing – I want to review what I’ve managed to achieve so far, and improve and adopt other areas where I can cut down on waste/consumption
- Exercise – last year my lymphoedema leg got worse, which I think was partly due to not exercising frequently or consistently enough. So at the start of 2021 I set myself a 90 day challenge to do something reasonably vigorous for at least 1 hour each day. I’ve managed it so far – mainly brisk walking (not ambling as I have been previously). 11 days in, that feels good
- Bird watching – this is a relatively new one for me. Being at home more and in the kitchen quite a bit has made me (us) much more aware of what a wide variety of birds there are in and around our garden. We’re fortunate in having a wonderful view at the back of our house including a row of very mature horse chestnut trees and several very large mature willows. Our back garden has a large twisted hazel, a cotoneaster tree, and a small pyracantha shrub. Our next door neighbour has a rowan tree outside their garden. I’ve gathered together some bird identification books and Malcolm has brought his binoculars down to the kitchen, and they are being well used. We now regularly see more birds than we ever realised come to the garden (though they rarely deign to use the feeders we’ve put out for them – I wonder why?)
If you’re looking for something to cheer you up and you’ve enjoyed seeing Malcolm’s photos here, you might enjoy his 2021 challenge to himself: posting a photo a day on Instagram. You can find him there as @malcolmdodds. I’m also over there, as (unsurprisingly) @themagicjug
Hello Deborah 🙂
Having a sense of purpose has been so important in getting through all of this. We’ve been under tight restrictions since Boxing Day, but I think we’re going to be restricted even further. (Cases are continuing to rise even though the bigger centres in Ontario have already spent 6 weeks in lockdown.)
I’m so impressed by the amount of money you’ve raised for the Bath City Farm. Well done! And it keeps your hands busy too, which is a win-win. (I cannot ever be without a project.) My son did quite a lot of bird watching (and photography) during the first lockdown last spring, but then he stopped for some reason. I’m hoping his coursework for the communications technology class he’s taking in school will get him going on photography again. Although he had been going to school in person from September to December, he’s now having to learn from home until at least the end of January. I’m quite worried the caseload at that point will still be too high to allow for a safe return to school, and that they will be out until March. (He and I were just saying that neither of us can imagine trying to getting through all this without books. If he’s out of school until March, I’m going to have to place a large order at our local bookstore.)
I was also not exercising frequently enough, so I’ve also set myself a challenge to do more. I’ve made myself a 10 X 10 grid and I’ve got four colours for each of the minimum three out of four things I’d like to do each day. (Two of the four are exercise; the other two are writing goals.) I’ve had these goals for so long and haven’t succeeded in making them happen, and although I feel a bit silly making a chart, I’m hoping that a visual aid will be the thing that finally does the trick.
Lastly, I’m amazed at how much marmalade you’ve made! Over the holidays I baked a Swedish Kanellängd, which calls for a marmalade glaze. I had to buy a jar of marmalade—something I haven’t bought in years—and now I get to finish the jar (it’s so good on toast; I can’t think why I stopped buying it!).
Wishing you well for 2021—stay safe and healthy!
P.S. I’ll look for you both on IG
HI Marian, happy new year to you! I hope you manage to achieve your goals this year. Three out of four sounds like a great idea – it gives you permission not to do them all, and if you do manage all four a sense of special achievement.
Our schools are out supposedly till mid February, but most of us thing it will probably be Easter before they go back. I say supposedly because the government has allowed the children of key workers and any child considered to be ‘vulnerable’ to be in school in person and in practice in poor areas this has led to 50-75% of pupils still at school.
I only make marmalade every 2 years and always give some away, this lot should last me till 2023.
All good wishes, Deborah