Thursday, 9 April 2020

Before I go to sleep

I have a feeling I may well have used this title before. So often this happens - at the very end of a day I am again overwhelmed with the sense that if I don't write something it will be impossible to sleep. There is so much waiting to be said, demanding to be downloaded from my brain onto this virtual page.

Today was a day  I have to place on record. Ironically perhaps it was also the day on which I chose to reread the last few posts. Conscious that many of them were written in haste and in the garden, with sunlight blinding me from what was on the screen. Yes there were a few typos, some edits are needed, and there are pictures and videos to upload and add. But reading the overall narrative I was, am I allowed to say this, pretty impressed with myself.

I'm no William Shakespeare, that's for sure. And having just devoured Educated I have also to say I am no Tara Westover. However I don't think I would be speaking out of turn to say that I am not making too bad a job of documenting something of what is happening here and now. I don't pretend to be analysing things or making sense of what is surely a  currently incredible never mind analysable situation. All I am trying to do just now is somehow capture what it feels like to be here, alive in 2020 and at the heart of a global pandemic.

This morning started okay. A clear head having only imbibed a single Rhubarb gin and ginger ale last night. One of the unspoken truths of these days is perhaps how many of us are making it through and self medicating with alcohol. The WHO may have suggested alcohol consumption be restricted to help our immune systems. And to be fair who currently has spare cash to splash on wine, beer and gin?

But until it does run out it is oh so easy to enjoy a spot of daytime drinking, or at the very least to enjoy gin o clock from 5pm - you only have to look at "middle class bingo" on social media to see how true this may be.

Moving on however, we gathered as usual for a round of Popmaster at 10.30am. I did feel a sense of something slipping as today I participated in my dressing gown, previously having made it a priority to be dressed prior to this family gathering.

There was plenty to be done today - one major task is writing up all our recipes. Somehow however without the sense of urgency, and with the thought lurking in the background that perhaps we will never need them, this job slips to the bottom of that list to do...

A task that was in fact urgent was to send something to our son for his birthday. This is a challenge as we are avoiding even the shops that are open, and trying to avoid any unnecessary deliveries. I have knitted a Watford FC scarf for the baby he and his partner are expecting and decided to send that, along with some chocolate Freddos and a card made by our daughter.

We take it so much for granted that we can pick up wrapping paper and pop to the post office. On this occasion however I used some tissue paper from one of my own 60th birthday presents. With no gift box I found a box that had contained Christmas cards last year, and the whole gift was posted in a cut down paper carrier bag. Not wishing to go to the post office I looked up the price online and paid and downloaded a postage label.

Walking to the post office and popping this in the post box should have been an easy enough task. However approaching the post box it was obvious the parcel was a little too large and I would have to enter the post office itself. Wrapping the sleeve of my cardigan around my hand I pushed the door open, and this is where the wobble began. The shopkeeper was wearing a mask and gloves, the customer in front of the counter also a mask. A customer stood waiting to use the post office counter and I had little idea where to stand. I bobbed behind an aisle of biscuits and suchlike, with the handwritten sign "keep one metre apart, cards only" (or something similar) clearly visible. Suddenly I simply could not stand this and felt completely overwhelmed with what was surely the start of an anxiety attack.

I almost threw my parcel onto the counter and made to leave. The shopkeeper called after me, perhaps fearing I was a shoplifter. I managed to explain in a shouty/gaspy fashion that I had left a parcel on the counter, with stamps on.

Walking home I felt "dirty" and also that I had been rude to the lady waiting to use the counter. Suddenly it just felt like there were too many people around and I needed to be home. On my doorstep there was a delivery from M and S. On any other occasion this would be so exciting but in these days the first thought is how to protect ourselves from any potential infection. Open the box, wash our hands, remove the gift, wash our hands. Quarantine the cardboard box. Hope we will have capacity in our recycling bin to take it next week...

Amidst all of this there is a conversation to be had around a video call catch up with friends. There is some confusion as to "who" the hamper is from. WhatsApp messages, phone calls, meal planning, thank you texts and of course tears...

How can such simple things cause such stress and grief? I'd say it is simple. Everyone is existing and operating in a state of heightened tension and anxiety and we all express this in different ways. I actually contacted the lady in the post office queue to apologise and her response was just lovely, an acceptance and understanding that we all have tough days and tomorrow is a new one.

A quick chat with mum to sort out who the hamper was from, and a bath with Gary Barlow on YouTube. All much better and then a glass of wine and catch up with good friends. Dinner and a drama series but all punctuated with social media and other messages, Some of course are just lovely - grandchild is busy and kicking hard this evening. Others require some attention - how to create an online birthday card. And then there is news of the wonderful #playerstogether initiative which has dropped into every social media channel at the same time this evening from so very many premier league players.

As a fan of Watford FC it is wonderful to see Troy Deeney as one of the club captains heading up this initiative. Adrian Mariappa, Ben Foster and Tom Cleverley and others are also involved and this type of coming together to help others is truly heartwarming.

The statistics today are hard to hear. Hundreds of people losing their lives to this awful virus. Alongside this there are those claiming it has all been caused by 5g - I won't waste my breath trying to explain their theories. It's been a decidedly wobbly day and at the end of it you have to ask is it okay to have consumed a few glasses of red wine.

I missed the supermoon last night, but in the midst of all this angst this evening received a text from my mum urging me to look at the moon. So I did. Strangely emotional to look over our little corner of Croxley and see this beautiful sight. Praying for us all to stay safe...

More tomorrow no doubt, until then take care x

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