The Coronavirus Diaries, 6th August 2020

The spiders will eat well tonight. There’s an ants’ nest near this mooring and tonight the exterior of das Boot and the neighbours’ boat is covered with winged ants expelled from the family home. I have closed the windows, cancelled all shore leave and am preparing to sweat it out. It is warm and muggy after a day of intermittent cloud and hot sunshine. Apart from a brief excursion to Reach to get onions and to check on the progress of the blackberries, I have been at the marina all day.

When I came here yesterday I was thinking of peace and quiet, rest and relaxation. This morning I realised I had a tight knot of anxiety in my chest. I poked at it, was it the unplanned but necessary expenditure for the boat? A mild reaction. Not that then. Was I worried about a possible workless future? A stronger reaction. Moving? Stronger still. So I spent much of the day trying to untangle my feelings. Not moving also brought a feeling of anxiety, so it was good that I had arranged to speak to my friend Nicola this evening. We have known each other for twenty-six years, we’ve witnessed each other go through difficult times, make difficult decisions. She has a few of her own to make right now too and one of them involves the possibility of moving.

I can’t say when we finished talking, she to attend her online meditation class, I to cook my supper, that my feelings of anxiety were wholly resolved but I did feel better, and my thoughts were clearer. I hope she felt the same way. It is astounding how much energy anxiety uses up. I imagine these flying ants aren’t feeling too zen either. Continue reading

The Coronavirus Diaries, 20th July 2020

This will be a short post. I have spent far too long in front of the computer screen today and I feel like a zombie. The day’s CPD overran, the tech support was hopeful rather than effective and I didn’t get lunch. I did drink a lot of water, though whether because I was genuinely thirsty or just as a way of keeping awake, I am not sure. As I was bored much of the time, it’s quite difficult to assess how useful the day was right now. Certainly I feel no enthusiasm for putting any of it into practice, though there’s a follow up task, so I shall have to dredge up the motivation from somewhere, and soon. The best part was when MasterB marched onto the keyboard, just as I asked a question. He had been making it clear for some time that he wanted my attention, and this direct action worked quite well.

Once I was free I called a friend to debrief. She had done the same training day a while ago. Only now I had done it too did she feel free to roundly condemn the way it was delivered. Then I went for a much needed walk, and after that some shopping for fresh veg and so on. I went to Morrison’s. I should really take care what time I go there. It was busy. Few of the shoppers were observing social distancing, though the free hand gel seemed very popular. If I come down with the virus in the next few days, Morrison’s will be where I caught it. Continue reading

The Coronavirus Diaries, 12th June 2020

Just a few photos tonight from the boat. I have not been in great spirits today, and I’m going to have an early night and hope that dos the trick. Michèle thinks the period we are now is putting us all under great strain, with lockdown easing but not over, the prospect of an imminent recession of biblical proportions, a future which seems precarious. She’s right I think. Lockdown is ending not with a bang but a whimper and the messages are very confused. I can hope that it’s this strain which is making my bossy neighbour behave as she does, it is probably what is amplifying my anxieties in response; feeling trapped, not sure in which direction we are headed. I shall be glad to get back to the boat next week to take delivery of my repaired seating cushion and find a balm in nature.

MasterB will be able to renew his acquaintance with the ducks.

Who’s that on the gunwale?

Listening to ducks above his head

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The Coronavirus Diaries, 6th April 2020

With my anxiety increasing hourly about finances and conflicting stories about how the government help for those of us who are self-employed circulating, I got down to my tax return. Why can I never get the columns to tally first time? Anyway, I felt I made a fairly good start, and with luck and application I’ll have it finished by the end of the week. Except I always find I have forgotten something, so maybe the end of next week. Hopefully not the end of the week after that.

Totting up columns was interspersed with domestic tasks to give me breaks from sitting in front of a screen and going through files. The bed linen dried quickly, i brought it in from the line, ironed it, put it in the airing cupboard, back to the columns. Lunch was a big treat. Last night’s curry was enhanced with broccoli and cauliflower and served with brown rice. It was good. So was the raspberry flavoured ice lolly I had for pudding.

Then more going through bank statements, filling in columns. When I saw a text from Celia suggesting three thirty as a good time to go for a walk I didn’t hesitate. Yes!!!!!

So off we went. She suggested Vauxhall Park, a destination which would mean we would go down the road with The Car. It wasn’t there. We need to study the photograph for clues as to which driveway it was in. Were they just visiting? Out somewhere today? Was it just a chance in a million it had been there when we had walked by?

Lots more roses today, most of them very fragrant, but I don’t have the power to transmit those smells here. You’ll just have to imagine. I write this blog mainly as a diary for me, maybe if I read this in years to come those fragrances will come back as I look at the pictures.

Pink and yellow

Frothy white

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The Coronavirus Diaries, 27th April 2020

I’ve just had one of those dinners where at the end of it I put knife and fork down, looked at my empty plate, and thought, that was good. Simple, good food with fresh ingredients makes me happy. Well, I say fresh, but it did include frozen chips. Being happy, or at least not depressed, is a vital ingredient for surviving this weird time. You could probably say good food is a vital ingredient in surviving.

On the whole I think I am surviving fairly well. Walks mainly with Celia and always with my camera around the local area are a constant source of delight and interest. The weather is a huge help. Tomorrow it’s due to rain. Maybe I should have left renewing the car insurance until the morning. On the other hand that sheaf of papers has now been filed away, another task has ticked off the list. I read an article a few weeks ago about not having long to do lists. Have one or two tasks on post-it notes which you then keep as a record of what you have achieved. That last bit might not be great for me as I am not good at throwing things away, and I can imagine a scenario where over months my home could just be covered in yellow coloured squares. However I know that anxieties are bubbling away somewhere. I woke at half past three this morning feeling tremendously anxious and a bit unsafe, but I could not tell you why. It took quite a while to get back to relaxed, deep sleep. My carpal tunnel in my left hand didn’t help. You wouldn’t think numbness would be painful, but it is. Is there a link between carpal tunnel and anxiety, carpal tunnel and champagne? Might be interesting to find out.

I finished the jigsaw last night, so today I could dust and vacuum without fear of vacuuming up a piece.

My work is done


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I came back to the Smoke tonight. MasterB is delighted. He travelled well, only a few cries as we left a sunny marina. I had been considering staying until tomorrow. Then I had an anxiety attack and could not get off das Boot. The water could not have been calmer, but committing myself to the pontoon seemed like jumping off a mountain. Eventually I managed it and the kind person who had done my washing helped me pack my stuff and leave. It was a slow journey home. I came via the back roads. Fields of Rape are ready to spring their acidic yellow across the landscape. Late lambs surprised and pleased me.
I was on my guard. I knew that my mind wanted to be elsewhere. I forced myself to concentrate. The petrol gauge looked low. I felt a few minutes of panic wondering where I could fill up. I remembered a station, and it worked. Crossing London was easier and quicker than I could have hoped. Home. A pile of post. I have opened some. A pile of birthday cards wishing me a happy day. Equally dislocating messages on the answer phone. Dead flowers.

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A River of Stones: Day Thirteen, Anxiety

Early evening and I need to bring the washing in. The cat gambols around me. As I unpeg my pyjamas he leaps from the tree onto the wall. I call him. I whistle. I walk away. He ignores me, intent on his high exploration. Resigned, I go indoors and busy myself, giving him time. I shall not be an anxious owner. Except I am. When I go back outside it is dark. Fortunately we have lights, but there is no sign of him. I call. I rattle my keys. I walk the garden looking up at the surrounding walls. Five minutes pass, then, a miaow. He is on the highest wall. I call again. He jumps down to the lower wall, still twice my height and cries. Come on, I say, walking round to where the wall is lowest, maybe twelve feet. He seems to be listening, but ignores the spot I have chosen and leaps up to another higher wall. He looks down at me, cries again. Continue reading


I have been feeling quite zen most of the day, despite the odd shooting pain through my foot, imagining Mother cocooned in her new room.

I tried to ‘phone. No answer. Over several hours I tried again. Still no answer.

Eventually I got through to someone who told me Mother was ‘fine’. English obviously wasn’t her first language, so I kept calm and began an interrogation. I didn’t get very far. ‘Yeah,’ she kept saying, ‘she’s fine.’ Continue reading