Nothing much has changed for me since the slight easing of lockdown. I don’t suppose it has much for anyone, unless you have returned to your workplace or are an exercise fanatic and are thrilled at the prospect of multiple outings for the pursuit of fitness.
I have, however, had some little pockets of happiness. I’ve been trying to find something each day that I can think, oh yes that was nice, but these are more than that. These are actual pockets of happiness. Last Thursday, I received a text from Mrs F saying “it’s nearly Friday”. In normal life this would be my signal to start getting excited; it would mean that we had plans and would be seeing each other, even if it was just for a coffee and a chat. We haven’t seen each other since lockdown started. Not even a glimpse. We agreed that we would both find it too hard to talk from opposite sides of the road; that we would have far too much to say to each other and it would just not be right. Last Friday, I let myself in through Mrs F’s garden gate and sat at one end of her patio while she sat at the other (she had measured it officially and everything), I took my own cuppa in a travel mug, and we chatted for an hour. It was pure heaven and I spent the rest of the day feeling a bit more “me”. She rightly said “Fridays make me a better person, a better wife and mum”. Fridays remind us that we are us and that we are not just mum, wife, employee. We are us.
When I got home, A and I ventured out to the local garden centre in search of some new plants for my pallet planter (more on that later). It was very well organised, we felt as safe as we could in these circumstances and we got what we wanted. It was A’s first trip outside the village (apart from walks) since lockdown. It was a nice thing to do.
On Sunday, I let myself in through my parents side gate and sat in their garden for an hour (again, my mum had measured it and we sat well apart, I didn’t enter the house, I didn’t have a drink, we didn’t touch) and we chatted properly face to face for the first time in 10 weeks. We talk on the phone, we FaceTime and we talk briefly from the end of the driveway when I drop stuff off. But this was proper face to face chatting. It was so lovely and although I know we both had a little tear when I left, it was so worth it.
Today, I took my picnic blanket and water bottle and met my friend S in the park for an hour for, yes you guessed it, a socially distanced chat. We sat on our own blankets and had a proper catch up, not a stand at the door and chat for 5 minutes. It was lovely.
Tomorrow I am going to meet Mrs L for a socially distanced walk. We haven’t seen each other properly for quite some time. I can’t wait to see her.
None of these are examples of how I would usually spend time with the people I love. But, I have had to accept that I can’t fight this. And spending time with people, albeit in a wierd, not normal, still apart but not, kind of way is better than not seeing them at all. And these little pockets of happiness will see me through the next weeks and months like little lifeboats.
So, my pallet planter. We have had a pallet behind the shed since last summer and I’ve toyed with doing something with it. K threatened to break it up and burn it unless I did something with it. So I have. With his help, obvs. We’ve made some shelves and some troughs. I spent some very therapeutic hours over the weekend painting and filling it with the plants from the garden centre trip and it is now in situ next to the shed and it is really lovely, even if I do say so myself.