This morning I walked.
The road was wet and I had on a pink sweater, a green hoodie and a blue anorak. I put the green and blue hoods up and walked. Down the hill, across the road onto a path thick with slippery leaves. I walked up hill and then it levelled off. It was early and only one house had lights on. Existential thinking takes a bit of effort at the moment, since we’re all focussed inwards. Making myself look out at the world is a conscious thing. So I listened to the cock crowing, and watched raindrops dripping off the wooden fence that I squeezed through
Then I walked though the outdoor climbing centre, waiting to be told off, but instead I was greeted by four skiers and a teacher wearing their masks. Down the forbidden avenue and home. The crows cawed and Dennis the cat shouted at me for leaving him in the kitchen.
Then I drove to the post office to send off a dozen thank you letters; the price of a stamp has gone up to 66p for a second class post so I had a mini mental rant and decided if I have to pay a little extra to keep our lovely posties working then so be it. Now that the parcel delivery companies and Amazon have cornered the market and the government have abandoned the Royal Mail it won’t be long before real letters will stop landing on real mats through real letterboxes and the delight of opening a real envelope will be a thing of the past.
When I arrived home I boiled the tea kettle from the filter tap for hot water and lemon, made my 32oz cold water and chia seeds concoction, shredded a bowl of salad sprinkled it with Kosher salt, by far the best tasting, and boiled my bottle kettle for two hot water bottles. Yes I have two kettles, the bottle kettle water gets reused and the build up of limestone does not interfere with anything. My tea kettle has no sediment so my Rooibosh, and various other herby teas, not to mention coffee, comes out clean and fresh and doesn’t leave a stain on me cups.
It’s cold. I’m going to lie in an Epsom salt bath, squirt in some ‘Badidas’, an annual bubbly gift from the hubbly, and read another ‘oosbind gift, a delicious little novel by Sylvia Townsend Warner – ‘Lolly Willowes’ described by a critic as ‘a great shout of life’
Shouting is one of my traits and living is another. But it would be naive of me to pretend that living is easy at the moment.
If I were a 25 year old rock chick, sporting a thong and dallying around in Mexico with my handsome, hedge fund boyfriend, living would be a different kind of easy. But I’ve forgotten what it’s like to gambol in the sun, and my last thong got lost in a seventy year old crevice.
If I were a Hollywood star who had expensive, shiny skin and giggled on the Graham Norton Show it would be another kind of easy, but the last time I had a facial my beautician was twenty years younger, recovering from breast implants and smiling through porcelain implants.
If I were an award winning writer, like JK Rowling or V.S. Naipaul, it would be a rarified easy, but the last time my literary agent read my recent book she asked me whether I wanted her to read it all. I deleted her from my favourites.
If I were a sensational celebrity chef with a rack of books behind me it would be a particular kind of easy, but my skill on GFL was not cooking, it was eating.
I am not suggesting that life is easier for them than it is for me, all of us have our damp patches and dark corners, but their kind of easy is a damn sight easier than my kind of easy because they have somehow managed to keep going as if the Plague has passed them by.
The quietude of Covid is unsettling. The soggy ground is unforgiving. The price of stamps is unsatisfactory and the lack of socialising is unnatural.
I have a stack of things I do to keep me optimistic and occupied, but sometimes – like today – I’m crippled by the rusty portcullis that leads to my future. Once I can get my toe in the door and the daffodils start dancing with the crocuses, I’ll feel less frozen.
Today I had a delivery of eco sponges, fucking hundreds of them – my finger must have slipped when I ordered them – but they’re perfect for the flagstones on the kitchen floor. They are sitting on the table willing me to get the mop and start the mopping, but they can keep themselves to themselves, because it’s Saturday January 2nd, and I’m not ready to make house wiffery my chosen occupation.
So it’s off to the spice shop for ladies fingers and Chinese lettuce, basmati rice and a big bunch of coriander – life goes on…..
Happy New Year
This morning I walked.