A leisurely start to the day. I wake naturally at 7.30 instead of being roused at 5.30 by the cat jumping on me and demanding breakfast. She must still be suffering the after effects of yesterday’s baby rat, consumed with gusto and vomited back up shortly afterwards. I make tea and drink it listening to the Today programme. When will I learn that shouting ‘You’re not answering the question’ at the radio does not in fact make the politician answer the question? Console myself by checking Twitter, where someone has liked a comment I made about the novels of Georgette Heyer. I have found a new community of like-minded friends online during this lockdown!
After breakfast (cereal for me and Whiskas chicken flavour for the cat), determined to do something positive with the day, I finish stitching a second face mask from a pattern sent by a friend. This one is cone shaped whereas the first one was pleated. They both seem ok, if slightly pointless. It’s just as well I started this period of isolation with a stack of patchwork fabric.
Coffee, a slice of cake (I seem to have accidentally started baking rather too often), and it’s time for piano practice. I am working on two books of music that do me good in very different ways. The first contains 18 Bach preludes and I defy anyone to think of anything else when learning the fingering for a Bach prelude. The second is Satie’s Gymnopédies and Gnossiennes, which lift my mood of melancholy by giving me a way to express it.
Various emails and messages to deal with, both social and to do with my charity work, then it’s time to check the vegetable patch. I knew I had been seduced by the unseasonal hot weather into planting out my courgettes too early, and I was right. There was a frost last night and I am faced with half a dozen very dead plants. But there are two spears of asparagus that I can add to my scrambled egg for lunch.
After lunch I set off for my daughter’s house to deliver some milk and orange juice, and a chunk of the cake. We stand a careful two metres apart on her front path and catch up. My granddaughter, aged 11 months, has just earned to stand up in her cot so is not going to sleep although it’s nap time. We listen to her loud protests on the baby monitor and deplore the idiocy of the new government guidelines issued yesterday. If I was a paid nanny I could go into the house and take care of the baby, but since I’m only her grandmother I can’t. A policy created by posh boys for other posh boys (and I speak as a privately educated white middle-class woman). My daughter and I decide we will go for a socially distanced walk together on Thursday and pretend that the baby in her sling is not an illegal third member of our one-to-one meeting. It will be the first time I've seen her since early March and I am prepared to find that she has forgotten me. I walk home over the golf course, soon to reopen. Again, you see the priorities.
At home I make a cup of tea and realise that the cat has brought me another dead baby rat. I remove it from her before she can tuck in. She must have found a nest. I read today’s Guardian online – no collecting a physical copy of the paper from the corner shop these days. I water the seedlings in the greenhouse. Fortunately I have more courgettes coming along to replace the ones killed by the frost. Then I complete a questionnaire for the chap I’m talking to tomorrow about publishing my book as an ebook. And at 6pm it’s time for Pilates on Zoom. Who had even heard of Zoom two months ago? These classes, and my yoga class, are a life-saver. The cat tries to join in, which is unhelpful.
After Pilates, I pour a gin and tonic and put the rubbish bins out. The good news is that they’re gong to collect the garden waste for the first time in a couple of months.
Supper, then I try to finish The Tattooist of Auschwitz, which I am not really enjoying, but it was given to me by B, who I like and respect, so I feel duty bound to read it. At 9pm I turn on the television to watch The A Word – Lake District scenery and Christopher Eccleston, very cheering. I also really admire the way it helps us understand what it is like to live with autism. Bed at 10pm. I free up a pillow for the cat and hope she allows me a lie in again tomorrow.
Ten years ago I was walking the Thames Path every weekend as a fundraising activity to mark my 60th year. To think that I was worried I had found nothing so worthwhile to do for my 70th. At least in lockdown I’m learning what my life will be like when I’m in my eighties and increasingly housebound.