March 2020: unprecedented times

Such strange days we are living in my friends. Who would have imagined only four months ago that our collective lives would be so utterly disrupted by the complacency of our governments and their inability to see what was coming, let alone prepare? (Rant over).

So here we are for 12 weeks at least: after being piped out of school on the 20th, K is at home, bored and lonely. School can be tricky but no school and knowing you likely won’t go back until it’s time for secondary? Very stressful, very stressful indeed. Mr S is working super hard – the last two weeks entirely from home. This last week we got the garage hooked up to the internet and cleared what had been my studio out so he can paint and listen to his music, have zoom meetings etc as much as needed. Keeping a business going in these times is extremely hard work.

Me? Mostly attempting to stay on top of the housework, entertain the young miss and cajole her into daily work on school things one way or another. I’m very grateful that we got the switch at Christmas and that the new Animal Crossing game came out – that’s been a boredom buster of epic proportions. Along with digital art and animation, she is pretty good at entertaining herself even if it’s not how I would like her to spend time – right now though, we have enough of it to spare.

I’m knitting – a jumper, a shawl, mitts and trying not to get distracted by new techniques – but why not? I’m not painting – it’s really hard because I know I will be interrupted almost immediately when I try to settle and Mr S is almost constantly working – but today was the first day I felt up to gardening for a week. I’ve thinned the fruit trees as much as I can stand to; have cleared and planted one bed with my baby herbs from Pepperpot Nursery and got laundry out to dry.

I am feeling a bit tight in the chest and sore in the throat, but don’t have a constant dry cough or fever so – God willing – if I have something it is mild enough to manage here. otherwise, our heremitic life is trundling along, along with millions of others, as we pray and wait out the virus peaking over the next 2-3 weeks.

What I am trying to focus on

It’s a strange time to live through but I’m comforted by knowing that we live at the best possible time to have a pandemic – no, honestly. We are still connecting with people on the internet, we can send money electronically, we have the most phenomenal scientists and medical support and there’s likely to be a safe, usable vaccine in 12 months or so – never before in human history has this been possible – and so as crazy as it sounds, these are all things to be thankful for.

So I finally get time to do the garden, the knitting and sewing, (God willing) the painting and share it with you here, avoiding doomsurfing useless information on twitter where, a friend pointed out, Screwtape no doubt has a blue tick and at least 10k followers. My most useful technique when I can’t even knit is to finally use my kindle – an old one that doesn’t do audio books, that’s for Miss K – and this weekend I got lost in “The Bone Thief” by Victoria Whitworth. I won’t give away too much but it’s set at a time of great upheaval in early Britain, when the kingdoms of Mercia, Wessex and the Danes were all jostling uneasily around and the saints were as real to the faithful as they are to me now. I think that’s one thing that struck me – although we don’t have whole relics (thanks Cromwell) I talk to the saints very much the way the main character, Wulfgar, does. Very interesting and a wonderful escape for a few days.

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  1. Pingback: Orthodox Prayer in a time of Coronavirus – Ad Orientem

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