Things I’ve learnt in lockdown
Being confined at home for most of us has meant a mixture of soul-searching, recalibration and new skills learnt. After five weeks of lockdown, this much I now know...
I’M AN AWESOME HAIRDRESSER
Ever since my mum cut my hair as a 12 year old and I ended up looking like an asymmetric Donnie Osmond, I vowed never to do a home cut. Not even a fringe trim. Therefore I have absolutely zero clue what I’m doing. So I’m not quite sure what madness descended in Week 1 of lockdown to make me think that I’d be able to lop off 10 inches from my daughter’s hair with a pair of her school scissors and not have her hate me for the rest of the year.
Long locks fell to the floor, her large saucer eyes became a little panicky and I blithely took no notice – I’d become a cavalier pro in five snips. After hacking off bits on both sides at random in an attempt to match them up , guess what? She thinks it’s the best haircut she’s ever had! Next up, dip dye.
TURNS OUT IT WASN’T WORK STOPPING ME EXERCISING
Admittedly I was busy at work. Very busy. Stupidly busy. But now? Mehhhhh, not so much! So I’m not sure where that leaves my ‘too exhausted to exercise’ mantra. I’m doing some running and have some incredibly exciting intentions to embark on a core regime any time now, but I can’t say I’ll be seeing my abs any time soon – too drunk to see them after 5pm for starters. That said, I am eating better, doing lots of walking and gardening, and feeling a lot more healthy.
So what have I learned? Well, excuses are just daft, aren’t they. Better to say it as it is. I didn’t see fitness as a priority. I valued work above health. I pretended I’d get round to losing weight when work was less frantic. I’m not going to come out of lockdown two stone lighter. But I’m almost certain to come out of it healthier and with more wellbeing maturity than I went into it. That’s enough.
ANY IDIOT CAN MAKE FOCCACCIA
I know is because I am that idiot. I got bored of the kneeding bit very quickly so, er, stopped. Worried it was a bit dry so just chucked a bit more water at it (memory recall from Bake Off!). Plopped it in the oven with no expectation and, holy crap, out popped this! It’s not perfect by any stretch, but it tasted amazing – a sentence rarely used to describe my culinary output. BTW, in a piece of bakery bragging, during the same cooking spree I also made my own brioche croutons. It takes a special kind of boredom to go to that level but I’ve got what it takes.
KIDS ARE CAPABLE OF HELPING
My children (10, 12 and 17) could already cook a tiny bit, but mostly for themselves – a fried egg on toast here, a tuna pasta there. Now we are all in the house at all times, with no cleaner and endless meals to make, and times-they-are-a-changin!
The kids each cook an evening meal a week (last week’s offerings: chicken schnitzel; chicken and ham pie; quiche Lorraine). There’s a rota (or ‘rotor’ – clearly none of my children will be sub-editors) for the dishwasher that’s been argued over, refined and rubber stamped by the Infant Proletariat that includes a full cleaning the kitchen from top to bottom. Bins are taken out. The clothes washing is up to date, and personally I’ve not put on a load for weeks. This is the new normal and I love it. I’m never going back.
CUTTING GARDENS ARE COOL
I admit it, I’m officially turning into a character in a Joanna Trollope novel. Here’s the brand new, currently empty patch, complete with vintage sleepers, ready for when my plants arrive next week. So why a cutting garden, Marjorie? Well, thanks for asking, Petronella! For Lockdown Mother’s Day, my daughter Iris went around the garden and picked what flowers were around (see below) – very sweet, thoughtful, and of course, deliciously free.
When those flowers died I picked some more myself. Again, gorgeous. It made me realise I’d not had flowers in the house for ages – another strange, ‘too busy to…’ habit I’d got into. With lockdown possibly extending into, oooh, 2023, and space in the garden to indulge the idea, I thought, why not? Watch this space, it will either be brilliant or an abject failure but one thing I’m learning in lockdown I just to enjoy the experiment. Next up bee-keeping – not even joking.
I’d love to hear what you’ve learned in lockdown – the significant or the banal, serious or daft. Just leave a few words in the box below and maybe we’ll all glean something useful from each other!