The Coronavirus Diaries, 27th March 2021

What a lovely day: sunshine; surprising encounters with interesting, friendly people; scrambled tofu with lots of veg and sourdough toast for lunch; Thai green curry for dinner. Does that sound as though food is a high priority? Well, yeah, that would be about right. But the other things are also important. It’s not an either or.

I am moving slowly from sceptical about the end of lockdown and a gradual move to more freedom to feeling contained excitement. The idea that as the days warm up we will be able to meet outside in groups of up to six people seems wonderful. I already have pencilled in my diary an apératif with Michèle and a Sunday evening meal with Octavia. In fact April looks surprisingly busy after weeks and months of blank pages, I have all sorts of engagements. Admittedly these include visits to the hospital to check on my wrist and to see the physiotherapist, but still. It’s good practice for my later years when hospital appointments are likely to make up a good percentage of my social life.

Having decided the autumn was not after all the right time to move, I am back to thinking about it again. annoyingly our little syndicate has not yet won the lottery allowing me to keep a flat in London and buy a house in the Home Counties.

While I can see myself living quite happily in, for example, Wivenhoe, I love London. This morning I spent four hours walking in an empty West End and City taking photographs, chatting to strangers. Where I live is very central and access to the West End and City is easy. I can walk there if necessary. So if I chuck the Home Counties out of the choice of destinations and say, no, it has to be London, I know that bit of London is going to be further out. Someone must offer counselling for people in my situation. If they are reading this, please get in touch.

The thing is my work is London based. When I retrained a quarter of a century ago, to be honest I didn’t think that bit through. And I love my work. I love the way it gives me license to walk the city’s streets, to notice, to explore. I love the way through it I have learned so much, how London has become a second skin, how I can read it, how its pulse comes through my shoes on the pavement and enriches my life.

I am not someone who always has to have company. I enjoy my being on my own, I enjoy being with my friends; and London is a friend. But I also grew up in the country and it exerts a pull that I cannot square with living the rest of my life in the city.

I hope we win the lottery on Tuesday.

I may not post tomorrow. I shall light a candle to Freddy, and other pets, mine and those of friends and neighbours who have enriched our lives and whose memories are precious to us. If you want to, please do the same, and if there are stories you want to share, whether they are happy, sad or whatever you remember when you think of your pet, feel free to share them here.

Stay safe. Keep well.

21 thoughts on “The Coronavirus Diaries, 27th March 2021

  1. Do you think the West End and the City will be as appealing once they are teeming with crowds again? I still find myself welcoming each indication that “normal” might be returning with a nostalgic glance back at how much I enjoyed the peace and quiet.

    • I have never really liked Oxford Street etc, and that side of the West End, but the back streets are often surprisingly quiet, and there are real, distinctive neighbourhoods; small streets away from the crowds.

  2. Would it make sense to stay in your present location as long as you are working, and then move to the country, replacing your love of working in the city with the joy of spending days walking country roads and paths and having tea with new-found friends every morning. And of course you could always hop a train into London for a weekly or monthly visit. I am finding the excitement and joy I found while working are irrelevant to me now that I can no longer work. But I am finding new joys.

  3. And I also understand an appointment book filled with health-care appointments. LOL Maybe you should check to find a good general care physician wherever you think you want to move – one who is young enough so s/he won’t retire before you expire.

      • So, so, so much more. Today I heard some say that aging is downward mobility. I need to do some more thinking about all the ways it is true.

        • I am listening to Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal. I read it when it first came out, and although I vividly recall parts of it, there is so much I have forgotten. It is a brilliant analysis of how as a society we fail to make life stimulating and worth living for older people. But it also offers ideas, and examples of how getting older need not mean the loss of autonomy and choice.
          When Mother was in the Nursing Home the phrase from my Christian upbringing that came to me all the time was that man cannot live by bread alone. Yes, she was warm, yes, she was fed (food that was nowhere near the standard she once prepared), yes, she was kept fairly clean. But the whole facility was run so that it worked primarily for the company, not the individual needs and wants of the residents. If you’ve not read it, grab a copy now.

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