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.

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