6 weeks or is it 7?

I thought perhaps being in lock down would spur me to write here at least once a week, and yet I see that it is 3 weeks since I sat here, possibly because if a textile blog is about “show and tell” I have nothing to show you!

There is a piece of work rumbling around in the back of my mind, but it is very dark, and I think it may need to be created before I can move to lighter things, it is possibly a piece that once made will go and sit in the back of a cupboard, it will probably be uncomfortable.

So – if I have not been in the studio – where has my attention been? mostly on food – I am determined to come out of this a few pounds lighter – which is a strong possibility as there is no popping to the shop 4 doors away, so, digestive biscuits and crisps have become a memory and chocolate has not passed our lips in an age, apart from a small Easter egg thoughtfully left by a friend.

Being “sheltered” means I cannot go out at all. The supermarkets have my name, and kindly send me emails telling me I now have a priority spot as I am a vulnerable person – sadly, there are still no priority spots with one supermarket, although the second does have a few – yes here in this part of West Wales we only have two supermarkets that deliver to your door.

Friends have been wonderful, and my cupboard doors are pinned with lists. Lists for various shops should anyone be going to them, lists for a couple of friends who regularly do bits of shopping for us, lists of how much I owe the said friends for shopping, so that I can put it in their banks when it totals a sensible amount – none of my friends want to handle “money”.

I bounce between a sort of weird cushioned contentment, when I am really OK and despair. I see the faces of the doctors and nurses gaunt and bruised, the numbers of deaths, rising daily, the complete stupidity of some people unconcerned about the lock down and flouting the rules at every turn. I am fearful, fearful for myself for those I love and for my community. I feel paralysed. The sewing group in the village are amazing, making masks, hats, wash bags and scrubs for the NHS – I could do this, and yet I find myself unable to complete even a simple mask. 

I do wonder how we will come out of this. Will life return to how it was “before”? As a nation, as a world – will we have learnt anything, will we do anything differently. How will the world be for my children and my grandchildren? All thoughts that make my heart clench.

Meanwhile I make my shopping lists, do my exercise, make contact with friends and family and think;- I really, really should go and make a mask …. or two.

And then I got a letter …

This week I have found myself cleaning! 

When I have reached the end of a block of work in the studio, and it has been delivered to a gallery, packed for a craft fair – or whatever the event is. I always spend the next few days cleaning and sorting out my studio.

It is a pause, a breath, a moment, before I delve into the next project is.  I have always thought of it as giving myself breathing space, but now I wonder if it has another, deeper meaning.

I have not got on particularly well in the studio, my drawings of boats and starfish have been scrappy and not very useful. So, I decided to clean my bedroom, and not just a quick hoover and dust! Everything came out, every stick of furniture, pile of books all the “stuff” that can accumulate when you are not looking – it was all put in a spare room, I moved into another room.

The whole week was then spent washing and hoovering, sorting and discarding, cleaning and storing. The room is nearly finished, the drawers are immaculate, the books are organized, the place is sparkling, and I feel more settled.

I was, I realize trying to create order out of chaos. At some level, I was reacting to the chaos that abounds in our world at the moment, I can do nothing about it, I cannot help, I cannot make it better for anyone. I turn to cleaning and organising within my own life, so that I feel that I have some semblance of order, there is something I can clean, organize and make better, even if it is only the bedroom. I had some sense of achievement in the house, and then I got THE letter.

I knew I was vulnerable and at risk. I was social distancing and self-isolating before it was mandatory. I wasn’t comfortable doing this, I am not great at asking people to do things for me and I felt a bit of a fraud because in my own mind I am not ill, not ill at all.  And I am not ill, but I am an asthmatic and now have COPD. 

For the past 10 days Shedman has also gone down the self-isolation route with me, that is easier than trying to keep to the government guidelines involving separate everything.

A strange week then, a looking glass world, the days have blurred a bit, and Shedman and I do seem to check in with each other often “What day is it?” Being the most common question! The pre covid-19 commitments have gone, and there is little to define and punctuate the week. There is a weird sensation of not having enough time to do things, because the days have been filled with wonderful phone calls to and from friends and family, the challenge of organising our food, planning exercise, washing everything that enters the house and keeping up with various online groups. The News? …. Not watching that so much this week.