It’s the smart black trousers, tie and jacket. The shined shoes and ironed shirt. The one we all keep in the wardrobe for that occasion. The funeral. We take it out, check the moths have left it alone and iron the shirt again. Then we hang it up ready to wear.
I remember buying a suit when I was twenty seven, days before my mother died. I bought it ready to wear for her funeral, I didn’t want to be thinking about clothes, I didn’t want to be wearing the suit at all, nobody does but it is what you do. It is what everybody does.
Tomorrow the funeral will happen, and then the suit will be taken off and will go to the back of the wardrobe once more.
The walk was quiet tonight. My first steps outside today.
Tomorrow’s rubbish piled up outside each house. Black bags and pink plastic. Tonight’s litter dances around the empty streets in a happy scuttle, the ground is dry making for quick passage. Gloves, masks and cans of energy drinks race each other amongst the growing weeds.
The news is baffling, in England there is news of the lifting of restrictions but you’d need a code cracker to understand the words out of the Prime Ministers mouth. I don’t think anyone is the wiser right now.
Here in Wales, we are still grounded and we are still no go. There is still too much infection. The lock-down remains. We are allowed out twice a day, garden centres can re-open and fast food chains.
The shape of my cat with a squeaking mouse in her mouth can be seen leaping the walls of the back gardens in the evening sun.
That is not coming in the house.
The Welsh do the very best hugs although the debate really should always be, do you hug enough and the answer should always be, never.
The irony being that we all have to do it from 2 meters away.
This birthday is very different this year.
No party*, no shopping trip, no friends and not very many presents and a global pandemic. It’s a bit rubbish.
I promise you that the postman has got a bit lost and I’m sure that the present I ordered will be here very soon…
In the meantime, let me remind you how utterly lovely you are and how unique you are. Please don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
There are many people on this planet but I got one of the very best the day you were born and I knew it (even though at the time I still didn’t know how to do your nappy, you always gave me the look that it would be alright).
I will always love you for being you.
*I did make a cake and so far the cat hasn’t eaten it.
I was going to write about the afternoon I spent in my greenhouse.
But Bonnie has beaten me with her enormous crater she dug that will fit all of the plants I’ve been growing in one go.
White feathers and white blossom in the air this morning.
It has been an awful week. The very worse.
The air is too heavy.
Now it’s hammering down.
Washing is soaking wet, my socks are wet, the cats are coming in wet, the dog stinks of wet.
Another day in? Ah go on then.
Grey skies are back with the rain, the smell outside is earthy and heady. Blossom and fabric conditioner from a neighbouring tumble dryer on the go and petrichor.
News is arguing with itself about the death numbers.
They’re higher in care homes now but they’re old and they weren’t included initially as they didn’t die in a hospital (because they weren’t tested so they didn’t belong in the Corona death party) and now they are because the news realised they were human too.
The rest of us are just folding washing and wondering what is going on.
Now this is Swansea, this is the great, grey, gloom that descends when everywhere else is basking in sunshine.
And a bright green face mask. (Get off Bonnie you don’t know where it’s been).
The rubbish tells its own tale of the pandemic, gloves and masks litter the floor. Why the rush to drop these things? Does it chase you?
I hurry home just in case.
Lots of rainbows in the windows as I pass by with dog.
Drawn by children. Thanking nurses, doctors, healthcare workers and front-line workers.
Some are painted, some are pieces of paper stuck together, some are prints of little hands, safe behind glass.
None have been drawn by dogs, or cats just in case you were wondering.
Tonight’s walk highlights, a blue protective glove on the floor, a few discarded face masks, a discarded hedge cutter and a pile of broken children’s toys.
The news tells us that the pandemic is peaking here in the United Kingdom.
I see graphs and charts and explanations of numbers. Beautiful graphics and animations. A huge moving virus. If it was that big, I’d be able to avoid it (like my washing pile).
The dead are numbers, on a chart. Wavy lines that ascend and now, like a roller coaster, are plummeting down and down.
School work is proving hard to negotiate. Everyone is having the same issue, we just have to be patient but that’s hard too when you’re not sure what you need to be doing.
It’s like being cast adrift right now. I’m sure we’ll find our new normal but right now we’re a bit lost.
Emotions are pressure cooker high and they need releasing. Sometimes you just need to cry, that’s okay you know?
Because quite frankly it’s really rubbish right now. You may insert a stronger expletive if necessary.
Dog has noticed I’m up and has come out for a sniff.
Television off very quickly as news shows a higher death total.
Before you leave the house, wash your hands. When you get back, wash your hands. Remove your gloves and face mask, (if you’ve been wearing some) and bin.
You have probably wondered by now should you be wearing something to cover your mouth when out. The advice is that it’s either a brilliant idea or it makes it worse. The science delves into the various materials and their uses. I’ve seen various masks and they are becoming a normal sight in the supermarket along with gloves, I think that’s a post in itself…
If you go out for your essential shopping, go alone. Stand two metres apart. By all means strike up a conversation through the face mask, it’s all in the eyebrows see?
When out for your daily exercise with dog, if you see someone approaching, walk on the road. If they don’t move out of the way mutter an apology or a quick greeting just in case they didn’t understand (not that they didn’t by now but you never know).
Did I mention wash your hands?
Weirdest Easter Sunday ever. Evie shook her head while removing a rather lovely large chocolate egg from it’s cardboard home.
I think that sums up the last month Evie.
Very, very weird.
I can’t articulate more than that today as a mini fog has set up camp in my brain leaving all household tasks half done or very badly done. I look like the hedge monster and I haven’t even drunk a full cup of tea today.
I’ve sat on the sofa being slowly licked by the dog for an entire film and not moved.
My walk with dog this evening was weird, There was falling paper in the air, coming from an evening bonfire. Fluttering around me as I walked, still smoking.
The cat we saw up the lane was weird, all lion like and bright ginger. It looked at me like the Cheshire Cat would, I swore it grinned at me (or maybe that was the whiff of marijuana in the air from an open window up the street).
I took two attempts to draw my drawing tonight.
Ah this fog can go do one, send me a breeze please.
Was very much looking forward to my turn to do the weekly shop this week. I was up and dressed ready to go at eight o clock this morning my bags ready and my shopping list written.
Even so, the queue was quite large when I pulled up at the supermarket. Most people, this time wore face masks and gloves. There was still a good variety of age groups, elderly included. The rule of one in, one out of the shop was being adhered to and the neatly sprayed lines on the floor let us all fall into our respected distances as we waited in the car park. People sat in cars as the rule of one person per shop is strictly enforced by the security on the door.
It didn’t take me long to enter the shop and once in, I hurried round with my list and was done quite quickly so I joined the nicely spaced queue. My day was going okay, my shop was a good one, I’d got everything I needed, I would return a food hero and save the day with crisps, bananas and flour (amongst other sensible things).
Unlike the woman who decided to jump the queue with only her four bouquet of flowers in her basket. Bright and cheery and completely inedible.
No matter if you use social media or not, the message is pretty clear right now. We leave the house once a week for essential food shopping.
Flowers? Oh dear.
She’d jumped the queue for starters so the gentleman in front of me let rip in no uncertain terms as where she could place her behind in the queue whilst glowering at the cheery flowers. If the supermarket checkout lady could have killed flowers with her eyes, that would have been the moment.
As I drove out of the car park she was hurriedly packing her bunches of cheery posies whilst a furious masked woman (who had broken her place in the queue), gesticulated at her little load of flowers. Through her mask the words screeched that those weren’t going to feed anyone and making sure the entire car park knew of her cardinal sin.
I presumed they were for graves for Easter Weekend but I hope she realised the cemeteries were shut for now and her flowers, although well meant, won’t meet their intended destination and will stay cheery in her house whilst she’ll have to face the queue again for her actual food shop.
In other news, the lock-down has been extended and the sun is warmer than ever today.
Head full of headlines and frustration.
Social media full of new experts and opinions that make my head spin.
I should be sleeping now but I’m not.
Fourth week inside now and the cold screen of my mobile at three o clock in the morning is full of the same headlines the World over. My stomach left the building two hours ago and I’m not sure when it’s coming back.
Nothing I can do.
Stay home, stay safe but stay sane?
I hope so.
My news is getting microscopic, its not important to anyone else but me but some things have the potential to send me into a full on flappy hands artist’s rant.
I got the rage this morning because Myles put the forks in the cutlery draw upside down again.
The cat ate half a mouse and left me the head godfather style this morning.
I put a dark sock in the white wash and failed to spot it. Grey is in okay.
Someone put their socks in the dirty washing basket in a sock ball, this is not okay when there are five pairs of feet in the house, this is very, very annoying.
I drew another picture on the pavement outside the front of the house. It’s now looking very colourful outside our house, I really thought it would have rained by now but it has stayed dry. This lock-down has brought us sunny dry weather, unusual for March and April in Swansea.
So yes I’ve just drawn myself drawing my drawing. I’m confused too.
What time is it?
What day is it?
I don’t know. I really had to look on a calendar to see it was Friday.
Apologies for apocalyptic look, it’s trending right now but us mums did it first.
We did our weekly shop today, Myles went this time, he tried a large supermarket but turned around when he saw the queues of people and trolleys.
He went to a smaller one instead and came back victorious with chocolate, crisps, pop, some vegetables and pot noodles. Other sensible things were bought but those are, (let’s face it) the ones that are getting us through this time inside.
A handy and slightly funny guide to surviving lock-down with a lot of children and animals in your house.
Yes my longest title yet but forgive me, it accurately describes the current battle for space in our house. It’s a bit of a squeeze with three kids, cat traffic and random sleeping dog. (who I have tripped over three times today).
Myles is in the back room working from home so he claims that room.
The front room is where the television is and is occupied by Gruff and Evie within minutes of them waking in the morning. There is you -tube played on repeat right now and I hope you can relate to the despair I feel when Britain’s Got Talent bloopers, or You-tube road blocks tutorials are played on back to back loops. Or when the tablet gets pulled out for a game to be played on full volume to appreciate the ambience.
But I appreciate we all have different ways of relaxing.
So yes, I have resorted to headphones and may I say how blooming wonderful they are. My little bit of space created with podcasts, playlists and random heavy metal throughout the day.
Snacks are bought with the weekly shop but are now seen as a challenge to devour as soon as possible so I have smuggled a few nice ones to a higher cupboard which require more of a Mission Impossible way of thinking to get to. I like to think I’m helping their ingenuity as the cupboard gets moved every few days to keep everyone on their toes.
We still eat at the table every evening. New topics of conversation have dried up a bit so we play the “Where have you been today ” game. Riveting and exciting, do you know someone actually went upstairs today? We were spellbound. My trip to the supermarket last week was met with so much excitement.
And if all else fails and you want a bit of “me time?”
Get out the vacuum cleaner. Clears a room in seconds, just don’t forget to leave it running just in case anyone thinks you’ve finished…
The World is in captivity, closed in, shut down, no go.
We will paint Rainbows in our windows.
We will plant seeds in our gardens.
We will thrive on ten cups of tea a day and that forgotten pack of bourbon biscuits at the bottom of the draw in the kitchen.
We will watch the news on repeat, looping around until the information spills back out the other ear.
We will wonder what day it is, even though it isn’t Christmas.
We will stop buying.
We will stop.