This is the eighth day Ireland has been officially under full lockdown. We are still permitted to leave home to buy groceries, attend medical appointments, and go outdoors for brief exercise as long as we stay within 2 km of home. Social distancing must be practiced in public, and the few grocery shops which have remained open have markers on the floor indicating where to stand.
The new restrictions initially unsettled me, although my day to day reality has been the same for the last month. We have accepted that we must stay home. To be honest, I’m comforted that we are safe in quarantine, and that we are keeping others safe as well. Every evening we watch the news with sadness as the virus continues to wreak havoc around the world.
A friend of ours works as a paramedic in London. We had a video call a couple of days ago, just hours after she’d been tested for the coronavirus. She’s running a fever and will be off work for at least a week. Listening to her stories about working on the front line made this pandemic all the more real for me. She says it’s heartbreaking taking sick people into hospital, separating elderly couples, knowing they’ll never see one another again. I admire her so much for the work she does. I have been a lapsed Catholic since I reached adulthood at 18, but these days I find I’ve started praying by default.
Please keep the medics safe,
please keep my loved ones safe,
please let life go back to normal,
please don’t let the economy completely collapse…
During the day it seems like I’m coping just fine, keeping busy, staying positive. My feelings of helplessness in the face of this crisis manifest at night in disturbed dreams. This week I had a nightmare that my daughter and I were walking in the woods together when suddenly she disappeared. I reported her abduction the the police, but they insisted it was normal teenage behavior. She was probably with friends, exerting her independence. I protested, knowing she would never leave without telling me where she was going. I was devastated by the loss. I’d failed to protect her and felt tormented by the thought of anyone harming her. It was such a relief to wake up!
How are you coping? A number of things are keeping us going. Nature is always a tonic. It’s still chilly but the shrubs have started to bloom. Let me share some sunshine with you from my garden…
Like nearly everyone else, except for the essential workers, Christy is now unemployed. He is extroverted, loves being outdoors, and has lots of energy… meaning he isn’t ideally suited to quarantine life. Fortunately he has found several projects to occupy himself.
Usually he grows vegetables on his own land. He has nearly 5 acres so there is a lot more space there. This year I asked that he help me create a vegetable patch at my townhouse. In reality he has done all of the work, but I’ve had fun photographing!
It began months ago when he brought his mini digger to clear all of the brambles and gorse. The land is on a big hill so he had to level it to some degree. Last weekend he started building the beds with wood pallets. Next he filled them in with manure and topsoil. He also made a natural fence with willow cuttings which will eventually break the wind.
Yesterday we planted peas, French runner-beans, carrots, beetroot, parsnips, purple sprouted broccoli, kale, Swiss chard, spinach, mixed leaf salad, and lettuce. I’m also dreaming of a polytunnel to grow tomatoes, peppers, aubergines, cucumber, courgette, and chilies over the summer. Soon I’ll sow annuals in the conservatory, and we’ll plant more flower seeds outside when it warms up a bit. Apparently we are not alone in our gardening pursuit. His sister Maria was interviewed on the radio this week to discuss the impact of the pandemic on gardening centers. Their family business Future Forests has temporarily closed their website because they can’t keep up with the overwhelming amount of mail orders!
I thought I’d have time for crafts, reading, and writing while we’re under lockdown, but most of my time is consumed with childcare and domestics. Eating is one of my greatest pleasures, which is what motivated me to learn how to cook. I grew up in a takeout household in America. Neither of my moms enjoyed cooking so I’m an anomaly.
Lately I’ve enjoyed having fresh baking in the house. My daughter has made delicious chocolate chip cookies a couple of times. I’ve baked cinnamon rolls at her request, and focaccia with rosemary from our garden. Recently we’ve enjoyed blue cheese and pear (apple in this case) risotto with walnuts and white wine, aubergine parmigiana, and carrot salad photographed below (clockwise). I will miss eating so well when life returns to “normal” and I have less time to cook!
We aren’t getting out for many walks. Luckily the bay is within our 2 km zone so we can still exercise beside the water when we really need to stretch our legs.
I’ve also ventured into the realm of online fitness classes. For the last 2 weeks I’ve offered free livestream Zumba classes on Zoom. If this quarantine goes on long enough I’ll add Piloxing and Strong classes to my schedule. I won’t start charging until I’m happier with the quality. I’ve ordered a webcam online, but all of the decent ones are currently out of stock. Other equipment was needed so I’ve been learning a bit about technical stuff in this wacky world of virtual living. It’s good incentive to keep moving and stay fit. I have had so much fun dancing with friends in Denmark, Costa Rica and America as well as my usual clients! Suddenly my friends in far flung places are as accessible as the ones living closest to me; we are all reliant on the internet to keep us connected.
These days I spend more time on video calls, checking in on my bonus mom in Ohio as well as old friends I haven’t spoken to in years. I’m grateful we have the technology to make the distance between us seem smaller. It looks less and less likely that I’ll be able to go “home” to visit as planned this summer. I’m trying not to dwell on disappointments and fear. Of course I feel sad, but I’m aware that it could be so much worse.
Before I sign off, I’ll share this week’s entertainment highlights. Please drop any suggestions in the comments section below. I’m always looking for more binge worthy shows or good films. I’m well stocked on books at the moment, but I’m happy for more recommendations. Stay well, be safe! xo