The Coronavirus Diaries, 22nd May 2020

A day of domestic successes and failures, a day of acceptance and and adjustment, a day of conversations with neighbours.

Had you told me two months ago that I should be happily engaged sewing seams on aged pillow slips and a small back pack on my old Singer sewing machine I should have stared at you in disbelief. But that’s what I was doing in the early afternoon. I almost wanted to find pillow slips in need of new seams. YouTube came up trumps with a couple of videos by showing how to fill a long bobbin, load it, thread the machine, and another with a tip for using a piece of white paper or card behind the needle you are threading to help see the eye. It was all very satisfying.

The failures were with washing. after dinner last night I realised I had an oil mark on my dress. This was odd on two counts. I had been wearing an apron while I cooked, and my meal had contained very little oil. I examined the apron, and realised it has an oily patch on the bib. So I soaked the dress overnight and today put it, the apron and some other clothes in the machine together with a product that promises to remove oil stains. I can tell you now that it doesn’t. Fortuitously my neighbour Carol called me as I was finishing the last pillow slip. She wanted to know if I’d like to go for a walk. We arranged to meet in ten minutes. Carol’s elderly dog, a miniature pinscher called Rosie, who is now deaf and blind, sniffed my hand and wagged her tail. In her day she was a demon for games and I used to make toys for her and play with her. It was nice to be recognised and even nicer that she was pleased to sniff me. Coronavirus and the lockdown has made Carol decide she is going to move out of London to the Sussex coast. She wanted to tell me of her plans. It’s all very exciting and I shall miss her if she moves, but she sounds pretty determined. Now you’ll have noticed I used the word fortuitously and so far nothing I have written seems to warrant that word. But Carol is immensely knowledgeable about fabrics. She deals in lace and linen, her laundry skills are second to none, so I was glad to ask her advice. I have yet to put it into practice, so I can’t say if it has worked or not. I know my rhubarb and apple cakes have worked, and the smell is curling deliciously around my home.

My boat has gone back into the water. I am hoping to get the news that I can go and stay on it soon. This news will be especially welcome as toady I cancelled my flights to Belfast. I had emailed Cousin to ask her opinion and her prompt reply suggested she was not planning to go out or meet anyone outside her household in the foreseeable future. As the airline has not yet cancelled the flight I could not get a refund, I had to book more flights. Which I did. To a different destination. Do I now book accommodation? I probably should. On the other hand I can change my flights as many times as I want. A refund would be much easier.

I shopped for one set of neighbours, took a book to another, met a third on the street and arranged to meet again in a public place and drink some no alcohol beer tomorrow or Monday. It was only later I imagined how we will appear to casual observers. MasterB’s food delivery has arrived, delivered to Celia’s address, so in a while we shall arrange to meet for handover. I suspect there’ll be a bit of socially distanced conversation too.

Stay safe, keep well.

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