Funny old times, these. Who’d have thought I’d ever get round to cobbling together the ‘rustic’ leather guitar strap that I’d long dreamed of making for myself, or the equally ‘rustic’ leather camera strap I then went on to create for Carol? Or that I’d ever find the time to meticulously saw the fiddly metal hoops off a number of tiny silver charms in order to make them into medallions to attach to the aforementioned straps? Or that I’d finally turn my hand to replacing the rotten plank at the front of the log cabin – something I’d previously imagined could only be done by someone who actually knew what they were doing?
To an expert leather craftsperson, admittedly, my rather unique straps might be laughable – but I’m quite proud of them myself, and as for Carol, well, she charmingly claims to love the ‘rusticity’ of hers and has already attached the lighter of her two weighty cameras to it, with bold assurances from me that I stitched and stitched and stitched the bloody thing, so it’ll bear the weight of a battleship if need be… 😟
And to a professional carpenter, I daresay the mismatched planks and paint colour that now characterise the front of the cabin would be the first thing they’d notice (b***ards!), but at least I had the chutzpah to get out in the garden and do it in this time of social distancing and self-reliance.
We already have a much tidier garden and shed than we did this time last week, and we have come up with some amazingly creative ideas for ways to bring in a bit of cash at a time when everyone whose income has crashed to nought is doing the same kind of planning. And, like many creative types, we’re finding ways to keep bringing our creativity to others when there’s nowhere to go out to and no one who would be going out even if anywhere was open. This Friday evening I’m hosting a virtual acoustic song-share session on Zoom that’s proved far more popular than I ever dreamed, with performers and audience from both sides of the Atlantic playing, watching and listening in their own homes, via their phones or computer screens. It’s an idea I’d never have dared voice at any other time, but in these surreal, unimaginably strange days, we’re voicing anything and everything, with little fear of mockery or derision…
There are limits to universal acceptance, however, even today. Filming me singing an a cappella medley from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to the dogs and putting it up on YouTube, for instance. Some things, let’s face it, will always be beyond the pale…
This is the darkest of times. We are plummeting into survival mode, for many of us for the first time in our lives. Long-term plans are decimated and the medium term is an unknown. Even the short term is based on a day-by-day existence as we wait for news and instruction from the powers that be. We are down to our last roll of toilet paper and now regretting our decision to be very principled and not be taken in by the ignorant mass panic buying of loo roll. How we mocked and superciliously slated the rest of the nation for their sheep-like behaviour. It was a rather sad affair this morning folding the single sheet into four in the hope of some additional absorbency before having to open the last-resort baby wipes as an alternative wiping method.
Day one of social distancing was interesting. Resigned to the fact that the next few weeks are going to be a bit of a long haul, with all of our planned events being cancelled one by one, we decided to wisely invest this time in progressing with decorating of the house. Some posts on Facebook led me to believe that others had the same idea and so, learning from the toilet-paper experience, we headed off to B&Q to stockpile paint before the wider population cottoned on, although seemingly everyone was at it, so avoiding other people was tricky. Still, we took comfort in knowing that once ensconced in our own house we’d be safe from any human contact – or so we thought. A knock at the door later that afternoon announced the arrival of a friend who was just popping by to say ‘hello’. A friend who has chronic health issues and seemed blissfully unaware of the gravity of the situation and who looked more than surprised when we politely hinted at the need for social distancing going forward.
As the day wore on and we were drip-fed the grim headlines through a combination of news and social media websites, we decided that we really needed to avoid unnecessary trips to the supermarket. Online shopping was the obvious solution. But there was not a single delivery slot available in the next few weeks, and no local click-and-collect options. Trips to the supermarket seemed inevitable, and we went to bed a little disheartened. However, I was woken in the early hours. Mandy’s gentle voice, something about getting a slot, shea butter toilet paper, and what else did we need? I thought it might have been a dream, but there was an email this morning with an order confirmation list, the first few items of which consisted of shea butter toilet paper, three different types of chocolate bar and two bottles of my favourite wine on special offer. So I think we’re going to be OK.