Wednesday 8 April 2020

While the livin' is easy

We got our letter from Boris yesterday. Poor man - I'm sure he didn't imagine he'd end up in hospital himself when he was sitting there, chewing his pencil and wondering what to write. His words - we must slow the spread of the disease and reduce the number of people needing hospital treatment - are steeped in irony. 

Digging in the vegetable patch
Tending to our new vegetable patch
Instead, Dominic Raab is left in charge. Two nights ago on the BBC, he looked faintly queasy at the prospect. Incidentally, he was in the year below us at university so it feels rather odd that he's now our de facto PM - like our generation has come of age. Or a bit like my friend Sarah or Cathy running the country, except Sarah is too busy looking after the children of key workers and Cathy is reading the news. 

Meanwhile, all I've got to worry about is how to keep the kids occupied. Most of my friends at home confess they are enjoying life in isolation - the chance to slob about and eat too many Easter eggs. I recently checked up on one of my elderly neighbours and he sounded surprised when I asked him if he had cabin fever. For him, life is much the same. He said he's quite accustomed to being on his own, reading his books and listening to music.

If you strip out our anxiety over the Coronavirus (or just avoid watching the news for a few days), life feels rather pleasant in the spring sunshine. I've worn the same saggy, grey jumper for about five days now and I no longer bother blow-drying my hair. It all feels rather liberating. I did consider ditching my bra but the family drew the line at that last act of emancipation.

It's harder for the teenagers of course - they are hardwired to hang out with their pals, rather than accede to their parents' friendly suggestions (stop playing on your screen, draw a picture, how about some exercise, you could make supper, don't you think it's time you got dressed, etc). At some point, I guess we'll grow sick of this rich diet of gentle pursuits. Baking bread, growing vegetables and swapping cookie recipes will start to lose its appeal. We'll be itching to socialise face-to-face, to read body language in the flesh rather than through the prism of a screen.

But, for the time being, it's nearly summertime and the livin' is easy for some of the brave souls staying at home. While Dominic and his ilk puzzle over an exit strategy from these 'unprecedented' times, I'm relishing life in the slow lane with my frizzy hair and my misshapen jumpers. One day, when life revs up again, we'll look back on these quiet days and sigh.

I wish Boris Johnson and everyone else in intensive care a speedy recovery and really hope you are back with your families soon x


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