Monday, March 30, 2020

Not too bad a day. I had a delivery of groceries from Tesco, ordered so long ago that it seemed like a gift package. Four tins of chopped Italian tomatoes! A treasure! A sachet of cat treats! What a thoughtful inclusion!

I watched a pious homily this morning from a reverend gentleman who said that the secret of isolation was to do one constructive thing a day. By that standard, I’ve managed well: I cleaned the cats’ litter box. I put the rubbish out for collection tomorrow – harder than I expected, as there were no passers-by and I had to drag the gull-proof bag down the steps myself and hook it over the railing. I put on a washing. It’s still swooshing around. Helen will come in occasionally and do some of these things once her period of isolation is over. She was ill herself for a couple of days; not just Fergus.

Testing is reserved, I gather, for those arriving in hospitals and for NHS workers. And for Prince Charles, who is now better and emerging from isolation.

I read back through the February blog entries. They are rather more use than March, for conveying the sense of storm clouds gathering while meanwhile we went on going to rugby matches and planning a christening and looking forward to a cruise. The first big European cancellation to impinge on my consciousness was when Venice cancelled the Carnival. And here we are, even now, with a substantial tranche of Lent still to come.

You are absolutely right, Southern Gal, to remind us of the people like you who are keeping the internet up and running. What on earth would we do without it? With the shops shut and the skies empty, we are inclined to think the whole world has closed down but in fact an awful lot of things are happening. I’ve got gas and electricity and a telephone. Someone supplied that food and packed it for me and delivered it. Someone will take away the rubbish tomorrow.

I have had offers of help on the Brooklyn Tweed Arbor problem, if problem it can be called. I am grateful, and haven’t replied to any of you yet. I am tempted – this is utterly absurd – by Blue Sky’s 21-Colour Scarf kit. I’ve knit their slouch hat three times, I think; certainly twice. Great success. Lots of fun. The scarf is even more expensive, and I’ve got the Oak Park scarf if I want stripes. More tomorrow.


  1. I too am grateful to Southern Gal and all the others keeping communications open. I was having a rant this evening as I have been brained out by a couple of long phone calls (the sort where they need to talk and unload) and also emailing out to arrange online piano lessons. But none of this would be possible without the software specialist.
    I've just tinked a row for the third time. According to my rules that's when it's time to put it away. Doing one productive thing a day is a good plan.
    Would it be possible, Jean, for you to leave your rubbish bag at the top of the steps with a note asking someone to carry it down for you?

  2. Me too, grateful for the internet, and on this morning's walk tried to imagine life just now without it. Also gas and electricity - this morning I appended a note of gratitude for continued service, to an email about a utility bill transfer, and got back a warm little "thanks for the thanks, shared it with my colleagues" reply. And while we are all, quite rightly, thanking front-line health workers, please spare a thought for my former colleagues in public health. Contact tracing is hard, tedious, and often met with hostility, and our local medical officer of health's daily announcements are met with nasty comments almost every day in our local e-news letter. Public health - where the "patient" is the whole population - rarely gets a nod for the way it protects us in ordinary life.

    1. Anonymous4:17 PM

      Beth, you are so right to remind us of the importance of public health workers. The same people whose warnings and advice were being thoroughly ignored for far too long . . .
      -- Gretchen (aka stashdragon)

  3. A great risk of sounding rude - - - Where does the Reverend Gentleman think his dinner comes from? If he cooks for himself, good for him. If otherwise, we may be isolated but we still live in the real world where tummies have to be filled. I'm a Martha!

  4. Hi Jean!
    The litter box is definitely constructive! I cleaned the freezer and wrote a couple of letters. Oh! And dumped meatballs and marinara in the slow cooker. We do have a lot to be thankful for! Take care!

  5. We replaced the batteries in our smoke detector, I filed our taxes, and started swatching for a new sweater. DH is making supper, so I think we're good.

  6. I am working from home, and very grateful for continued connectivity. I have taken it on myself to thank every grocery clerk or delivery person I come in contact with. They are the ones keeping us going as well. I went for my afternoon walk today and spotted a UPS delivery man. I thanking him for his service, and it seemed to really make him smile. I told him he and others like him are keeping us going, not the billionaires. Good to remember when I am feeling whiny. First daffodil buds today, may bloom soon!

  7. Anonymous3:53 PM

    Hi Jean, I was wondering if you had seen a recent episode of Kristy Glass knits, a YouTube podcast..she interviewed Franklin Habit, and it was a lot of fun, If I rem correctly, you too are a fan of his.

  8. We’re doing fine so far. One of my daughters works as an emergency dispatcher for a county sheriff’s office and my other daughter’s husband is a grocery store manager and also has to work every day. I worry for them. My area still has only a few cases. We have been isolating for a couple of weeks now. I started a daily letter I call ‘What I did on my Staycation’ and am emailing it to friends to keep in touch and as a way of remembering this journey. We’re doing what we can to cope.

  9. Anonymous7:01 PM

    The 21 colour scarf kit has a surprising amount of a different, dark, main colour. It wasn't so attractive to me once I realised that......I loved the hat though.