Jaqui's Daily Blog

My Lockdown Lessons

I read somewhere that we should all write a letter to ourselves, setting out what we have learnt from living through the coronavirus pandemic. Then, in a year’s time, we should open the letter and read, with interest, what is written therein, most of which we will, in all probability, have forgotten.


I do have a couple of immediate reservations, the first being concern that, one year on, nothing will have changed - that, like Sleeping Beauty, we will still be in Splendid Isolation waiting for Prince Charming to arrive and wake us with a shot of vaccine, rather than a kiss. That, however, is defeatist talk and thus not to be countenanced. My other concern is not so much defeatist as competitive - I just don’t want my letter to say the same as everybody else’s letter. 


Let’s face it, most people will say they have learnt to value their hairdresser / barber; they will mention trusting their fringes to partners or grown-up children and regretting the results: or that just the purchase of professional hairdressing scissors doesn’t actually improve the situation if the person wielding them is not a professional. In the window of the salon I frequent in better times, there is a charming poster from a thankful customer declaring that the staff are all “Hair Angels.” My stylist will certainly need her magic wand when she sees me for the first time in many months. 


Everyone will remark on the fact that the absence of traffic during Lockdown means that our feathered friends sing more loudly, more sweetly, than previously. I do agree but I must make an exception for the sparrow which has taken to sitting on my roof and twittering ceaselessly and tunelessly for hours on end. Edith Piaf, it certainly isn’t. One of my birthday presents from two of my Darling Daughters was an RSPB book of bird-song, complete with an accompanying CD. I had requested this, reckoning that I might as well do some homework while my beloved Birdy Group is taking an enforced break. I am looking forward to our first gathering (whenever that might be) when I shall impress everybody with my ability to recognise my cuckoo from my collared dove. 


I did check out the sparrow’s song in my new book. It admits that “it is hardly musical but is definitely cheerful and chatty!” The exclamation mark is that of the author who has obviously listened in to my noisy visitor or others of a similar ilk.


Many will note down how they have learnt to see their garden as a sanctuary - those, that is, who are fortunate enough to have a little (or large) parcel of our green and pleasant land to call their own. I have always known that - but I have learnt that, just because garden centres were out of bounds for so long didn’t mean the garden had to suffer. It’s amazing, for a start, how many of last summer’s bedding plants allowed me to coax them back to life. Most of all, however, I have discovered the beauty of the wild flowers which have sprung up, unplanted and unbidden, in my flower borders. Weeds? No, never in a million years!


I have learnt that, while it is undoubtedly A Good Thing to have a worthwhile project on the go at all times, it is almost impossible to embark on such activity without creating a great deal of mess which will have to be cleared up sometime - preferably before starting on a new project. It is perfectly possible that other people don’t have the same problem, being tidier and more organised than I am. In my defence I must say that I am pleased with all the projects I have so far completed especially those that enable me to sit companionably in front of the TV next to Mr B while I knit away. He does occasionally object to the noisily clacking needles and the balls of wool which escape from my lap and end up under his slippered feet - but mostly he likes me just being there.


And there you have it - the main thing I have learnt from Lockdown. I thought I understood pretty well what poor Mr B’s life is like, more or less completely housebound but honestly I didn’t have a clue until my own life was turned upside down. No trips to the shops with the welcome diversion into a friendly coffee shop serving up toasted tea cakes with my coffee and a range of newspapers to read so that I can gather every side of the arguments about the latest political drama.  No craft group, no bird watching, no choir - short outings that helped me return home refreshed and reinvigorated and ready to tackle whatever came next.


When I open my letter to myself in twelve months’ time, I just hope I haven’t returned to all my usual pursuits and forgotten what it’s like for those, like Mr B, for whom Lockdown is a way of life.

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Latest comments

23.04 | 20:15

lovely and heartwarming - an inspiration to us all x

09.03 | 12:07

Love this story told as ever beautifully.x

10.11 | 21:31

What a super account of a special event. I loved meeting you last night and seeing your creation come together. I’m so pleased you got so much from the activity

07.09 | 13:17

I have broad shoulders x

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