This week I’ve made a concerted effort to stick to the guidance outlined by the government – and when I did my (rather large) shop at Tesco last Sunday the aim was to not leave the house even for a pint of milk until the following week.
Prior to that I have to admit I’d been popping into the Co-op near my workplace a couple of times a week on the way home to get cow juice and other small ‘necessities’. However – when you weigh the need for a packet of hot cross buns against the danger of catching something potentially deadly such tasty treats somewhat lose their appeal.
Therefore this week I’ve only left the house to go to work and to exercise.
One thing I’ve realised lately though is that now the fallback tactic I’ve been using for dealing with stress, life and weight issues for the last four years (namely going for a ****ing long walk) has been rationed I’m really struggling.
Working every day in an isolated and unfamiliar office without people around me can be a lonely and stressful affair. As you might imagine at the moment anyone that’s in the business of enabling or supporting home working solutions is in high demand from their users.
The pressure to not only provide quality but rapid support is ever present.
It’s a never ending challenge – and I go home a lot of the time feeling like I’m somehow not good enough or that I should know more or be better in some way. I’m still new at what I do and it’s difficult having no-one around me, regardless of how industrious I try to be.
I try to throw myself into my job but with no-one to talk to I find my breaks either get later and later, missed altogether, or taken at my desk reading work e-mail in an attempt to catch up.
It’s mostly because I’m a people person who has no-one nearby to bounce off that I’m struggling.
I’m only a couple of weeks into the current working arrangements (which show no sign of returning to normal any time soon) and I’m already preoccupied with wishing it will all end ASAP.
However I’m not completely alone – there are other people dotted about in other rooms elsewhere in the building. Also, once a day I get to say hello to a cheerful cleaner that comes in to disinfect all of the contact surfaces on doors and work tops nearby.
He’s a nice fellow – and has been keen (since I first engaged him in conversation) to share funny texts that his friends send him, as well as amusing songs he’s found that parody the current lockdown events.
On Wednesday he showed me something that I knew I had to take home – especially given the current national obsession.
As soon as I saw the picture on his (2 metres away socially distant mobile phone screen) I knew my other half would be tickled pink by them – and I immediately googled it on my own phone – initially intending to buy a pair for her.
The moment passed however and I was pulled back into my work.
When I returned home I remembed what I’d seen and showed her the picture from my search (the above pair are from Etsy – the link to the page is here) and to my surprise she matter of factly said ‘I think I can make those myself.’
‘Really?‘ I said.
‘Yes – I think I have the beads upstairs…’ she replied.
She’s got loads of craft supplies in teeny little drawers – and loves making jewellery so I guess this shouldn’t have taken me aback – but in some respects we’re still learning about each other’s talents.
Making little trinkets is definitely something that she’s really good at, and although my other half still buys earrings and necklaces all the time (we have several special storage areas set aside in the house) she also makes a lot of her own – such as this chain maille bracelet and pendants.
I remember visibly gulping back when we first started thinking about eachother romantically – becuase she admitted over text that she had a quite a thing for jewelery.
I have always associated this kind of preoccupation with a love for gold and precious stones – and (maybe wrongly) viewed ladies that wear a lot of jewellery as ‘high maintenance’.
We all have our own likes and loves mind you – so who am I to judge?
If I’m willing to spend £1k on an Apple product then why should I expect other people not to do the same with things that they like? However I still find it really hard to dissasociate the ‘high maintenance’ stereotype in my mind from ladies that wear a lot of expensive finery.
Pleasingly none of what my partner chooses to wear is something that you’d find in a regular jewellers shop – and neither is it particularly expensive.
Instead her tastes are really funky and unique and she’s genuinley changed my perspectives on the subject.
Over the last couple of nights I’ve watched her in spare moments re-create the earrings I showed her and make the design her own,
I’ve been taking occasional pictures along the way – until today when she finally finished them and popped them into her ears to ask me for my opinion.
How cool are they?!
They’re flipping awesome not just because of how funky and fun they are – but because she made them – and thats sooooooo cool!
Part of life under lockdown is that (perhaps for the first time since we met) my (currently) captive Geography teacher has had time to herself in the evenings that is usually denied to her.
There’s currently no 90+ minutes of travelling followed by at least two and a half hours of marking and lesson preparation every day.
In its place is instead an early start and a reasonable finish time in a home office looking out onto our garden that (at least from the outside looking in) seems to be infinitely less stressful than wrestling classes of teens into submission face to face.
It’s still a lot for her to do though – and I think that we’re both sitting well outside of our respective comfort zones. It’s difficult to adjust to a completely new setting at the best of times – but I’m pretty sure that from a career perspective she has always had a much tougher time than I do on a day to day basis.
Being a teacher is damn hard work – and a month or so back (when we discussed the pressures related to her profession) I worked out that she spends at least 60 hours a week working.
At the moment (although she’s essentially locked up in the house) things are slightly different – and we’ve managed to spend a little more quality time with each other in the evenings and weekends.
When we’re not doing things together we’re pursuing our own interests side by side on the sofa.
A mutual friend (commenting on her own enforced lockdown with her husband) remarked how awful it would be to be trapped indoors enduring a bad relationship – and resenting the time you’re compelled to spend with a person that you’re no longer in love with.
I’m sure over the last few weeks that many couples all over the world have been re-considering their life choices – but not me.
I genuinely love spending every moment of the day with my partner – and since we became romantically involved we’ve not managed to fall out, annoy each other or funamentally disagree on anything .
I’m not saying that arguments are the sign of a bad relationship – because in the right context a disagreement aired can be a healthy thing – but it just doesn’t seem to happen between us.
This is something I’m still bending my head around – because all of my previous relationships led me to believe that compromise and falling out over mundane things (such as the loo seat being left up) were just a fact of life.
It seemed like every relationship was destined to be this way (all of mine were) but now I realise that it was just the fact I wasn’t with the right person.
As nice as life with ‘er indoors‘ is though – there’s still nothing I’d love to do more today than to go for a long, languid walk and sit on top of a hill with a picnic for two. However spending any time together is thankfully something that makes me happy.
Even doing the gardening together cheers me up.
I genuinely thank my lucky stars that we met one another almost two years ago – and if the current crisis tells us nothing else it’s that we damned well have to appreciate what we’ve got while it’s there becuase you never know what’s around the corner.
Although there are no picnic capable hills near enough to where we live (to meet the government’s requirement to exercise ‘locally’) we did manage to get out for a walk around the park earlier today.
The sun spent its time periodically creeping in and out from behind cloud cover but our time there was still lovely.
Maybe becuase the traffic is so reduced on the roads surrounding the park there was a strong scent of flowers in the air as we passed the daffodils and formally planted beds.
I might be wrong but I think this lovely odour hung in the air for a good quarter of the distance around St Nicholas’s ‘measured mile loop’.
If nothing else – having a sense of taste and smell in the current climate is a positive indication of good health!
By the time we returned home we had around 3 miles in the bank.
It’s not much distance (compared to my previous standards) but it’s better than nothing and I’m grateful that the weather was good enough to wander hand in hand – and pretend for a few minutes that the world wasn’t imploding around us.
I’m also pretty damn grateful that I have a garden – becuase the little tweety birds are industriously busy building things.
They’re doing this at exactly the same time the television informs us moment by moment that everything is falling apart so it’s nice to have a counterpoint to focus on.
As the grim statistics just got worse and worse (a five year old just died…) this little fellow flew back and forth for about twenty minutes as we watched it (and it watched us) from a respectful distance.
Again and again this delightful little creature ferried materials back and forth – turning random bits and pieces into the building blocks it needed to create a nest full of little eggs and eventually new life.
I’m going to support it as much as I can – and will be filling my bird feeder to make sure that it’s chicks get the start they deserve.
On that (hopefully upbeat) note I think that it’s time to get something to eat. I should have started cooking ages ago – and my little jeweller looks like she’s in need of a chicken salad.
Who am I to deny her such a simple pleasure?
Of I trot!