It might seem a strange time to replace my car, since travel restrictions may soon be in place as Ireland prepares for a potential lockdown, but my car has been in the garage for several months, and I need another seven seater. My mechanic made clear that it’s more expensive to fix my old car than buy a secondhand one. Yesterday I bought the exact same model- a Picassa C4- (though much cleaner!) so I’ll have spare parts.
With that problem solved, we went to lunch. The restaurant we went to had everyone spaced well a part and the room was well ventilated. There was almost a sense of normality. The family next to us had two kids and the parents made friendly small talk with us. No one mentioned the C word.
Knowing it might be our last trip to the city for quite a while, I decided to pick up some essentials for my kids: new pjs, underwear, socks, and a hoodie for the littlest one. I also couldn’t resist a few more secondhand books for what I think of as my Lockdown Collection (to be shared with my 15 year old daughter Miss E). Some of the books below were given to me for my birthday last January, but I still haven’t had a chance to read them. Here’s hoping I’ll finally have some time!
Have you ever been to Cork City on a Saturday afternoon? It’s a vibrant college town and the streets are always bustling with shoppers. I love trips to the city. They cheer me up no matter what season it is. Well, yesterday it was like a ghost town. I’ve never seen H&M so tidy with everything hung neatly on the hangers. The staff easily outnumbered shoppers. It was eerily quiet. No need to worry about social distancing! I had my one precious tube of antibacterial cleaner (usually reserved for my nappy/ diaper bag) in my pocket all the same. For the first time I didn’t have to wait in a line and breezed up to the checkout. In and out of the shop in no time.
Restaurants were more than half empty as we looked in the windows from the street. Several pubs were closed. There were a few people out and about but I’ve never seen Cork so quiet.
The government announced today that all pubs will be shut down with immediate effect until the 29th of March. The public are also being urged not to attend house parties in the interim. Try getting that through to the teenagers and college students! I need a chain to keep my 17 year old son in the house… because reasoning doesn’t seem to be enough.
I’ve heard from a reliable source that we can expect another big change to be announced tomorrow. I’ll say nothing until it actually happens because there are enough rumours circulating as it is. Let’s just say we’re trying desperately to replace the hens we had before Mr Fox ate them a while ago. Fresh eggs are awesome. I’ve also been digging though crap in my utility room to locate vegetable seeds I stashed last year. It might be a fun activity to plant them in the conservatory and start preparing the garden for spring.
I needed milk this evening and was reassured that the local shops have had deliveries since I last popped in. There weren’t many people out and it was much calmer inside Lidls. I think most people have stocked up by now. There was even some toilet paper! Everyone is hunkering down. “It’s the calm before the storm, ” said the man at the checkout. Yes, that’s exactly how it feels.
I’m nervous as hell. My daughter said she expected me to be one of “the chill people,” but I’m in survival mode making practical checklists. Extra gas bottle? Check. Firewood? Check. Spring water? Check. Paracetamol? Check. The list goes on and on… Check, check, check. Last night my dreams were repetitive, circular, going round and round about the damn virus. It’s the only thing people are talking about.
How are you coping with the chaos? I’ve decided to limit my news consumption and reduce the amount of screen time each day. I’m attempting to stay present and focus on what’s actually in my control to help combat feelings of anxiety. I’m also trying to breathe. (Thanks for the reminder, Mare! Check out her awesome blog This Experimental Life to see how to gracefully meet life’s challenges with your humour intact). Today I cleaned the house and tried to stay productive. I cooked a delicious fish pie that was both healthy and comforting (Pinot Grigio helped). Feel free to try the recipe. I used a chowder mix from my local fishmonger and substituted diced carrots for corn. I also used 2 leeks instead of spring onions and chives. Yum!
Last night I also succeeded in unwinding the wool I had managed to get into a gigantic knot. It took an entire week and several friends to help me unravel it! My partner begged me to let him just buy another ball of wool, but I’m stubborn and found it strangely therapeutic to untangle the knots. It proved to be a lesson in patience, something we could all use more of in these trying times. Now I’m all set to start on my next project. I’m not sure I’m ready to knit socks, but I’ve exhausted my capacity for making hats! Wish me luck. 🙂