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