The Coronavirus Diaries, 6th May 2021

My first haircut this year. My first haircut since 8th December 2020. I love it. There are, I realise, advantages in being forced to go through the growing out stages of a haircut. At almost precisely six weeks after my December cut my hair was wild. Then it settled down, seemed to grow into a new style and I was happy with it again. The pattern repeated itself over the five months. My curls grew back and I liked having them. So today although I had a couple of inches cut off my hair it is longer than it was in December, still wavy, and in a bob with graduations and layers. I had it done at the Vidal Sassoon Academy in Buckingham Gate, a building that was formerly used by members of the Met Police where they stocked up on bacon butties when demos were on.

Lauren cut my hair. She walked across the foyer in a cardigan decorated with lemons and I watched amused as three women opposite me followed the progress of that cardigan covetously with their eyes. At that point I didn’t know Lauren was going to cut my hair.

I liked her and trusted her immediately. On the way to having my hair washed I told her about the cardigan reaction. “M&S,” she said delphically, “I got it in the sale.” It turned out she had been a wig maker, having got into that from being a costumiere, having got into that through learning how to sew because she did an art foundation course, liked drawing clothes but didn’t know how to make them. She’d spent much of lockdown on the Isle of Wight at her parents’ house going slowly bonkers having got away from New York where she’d been working a day before that would have been impossible. Now she’s escaped to London. You can follow her on instagram @lamacdesign. I am. If she sets up a salon I want to be her client.

We chatted through the haircut. Usually I am pretty silent during these cuts. In fact I usually read, but today I didn’t even get my book (Summerwater by Sarah Moss) out of my bag. The students are often intent and I don’t want to interrupt their concentration. But Lauren exuded competence, not over or lack of confidence. I felt safe in her hands. We started sketching out a short ballet, maybe Mathhew Bourne could do it, set in such an environment. Six students and their models, a tape deck playing a playlist probably chosen by the tutor who today was Damien. I rate Damien. He’s quiet, he listens, he encourages. I have been coming here long enough to know which tutors I would rather not be in charge of the session. I am mentioning no names, but they fail at the first important hurdle in teaching in believing it’s all about them. It’s not. Teaching is about the students.

In the mirror I am fascinated by the extraordinary range of postures the students take as they go about their cuts. It’s already balletic. But you could add the narrative of client meeting cutter, the consultation, the advice and blessing of the tutor, the hair wash, the cut, the spotlight moving from one pair to the next. I’d go to see it. It could be fun if well done and well observed.

I had hoped to visit the bank to ask about some mysterious bank charges. My account is not supposed to have charges, but the branch was closed, so instead I made straight for Heal’s to take pictures of the Heal’s cat for my work. Heal’s is so lovely. When I win the lottery I shall buy all my homewares there. Except I don’t really need any.

At home and hungry I made an enormous salad with pasta, then settled to work in front of the computer and drank several glasses of orange juice. Helena called to say she had a birthday present for me. we met in the garden. Sweet peas! they are going to be beautiful. Romeo decided he wanted to be a lap cat and climbed onto me. Hartley thought he might join us and for a nasty moment I thought a catfight might erupt on my knees, but Hartley took himself off to a corner of the garden.

Back inside, more work, an early supper and then a work Zoom. By now nearly ten o’clock, it was choice of putting up a post or watching Line of Duty which I am, years after everyone else, finally watching. I usually watch Gogglebox which has a)convinced me I should enjoy this programme b)inducted me into some of its mysteries, not least the *Mother of God* moments. The real fans say this series, possibly the last, had a disappointing ending, but having not yet watched series 1-5 I am quite happy.

Now I am off to my bed. Or I shall be once MasterB is inside again. I’ll go outside and hope he’s had sufficient adventures for the evening.

Stay safe. Keep well, and take care of the wee donkey.


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