Day Eleven


Simple gifts song2

Sunday. My bodyclock hasn't changed with the end of daylight saving so naturally I'm up early. That gives me a chance to second-coat the parts of my window frames that need it and to re-do the windowsills with the red paint even more thinned down. I'm encouraged that my efforts are not too bad when I see even the professionals leave brush strokes. It looks tidy at least and I finish up quickly before our online meeting. Just touch up this spot – ah, I've made a mess, right where I'll see it whenever I'm at the bench. I'll have to keep a vase in front of that bit!

There are glitches with getting started for our second online Meeting for Worship – Zoom have changed the rules, today as it happens, and a password which we don't have is needed. I'm pleased that instead of the usual panic in the face of technology, I can problem-solve. A flurry of phone calls finds someone who knows what to do and we get under way, just a little late. It's a good time, sitting together and sharing our thoughts. One friend talks about the Quaker value of simplicity and having a simple life suddenly imposed on us. He picks up his guitar to sing the Shaker anthem Simple Gifts. Another sings a short blessing. At the end of the period of silence we talk about our recent experiences, sharing worries and small joys.

I joke with my friend, a psychotherapist who is very capably working from home, that the introverts have taken over the world but no one knows because we're all at home. She says, 'My whole life has prepared me for this.' Our unappreciated skills are coming to the fore. Later, I talk to my brother. He had the foresight to buy a coffee machine before the lockdown and his barrista skills, honed on the machine at his office, are keeping his wife and daughter happy. I tease him that he thought he was an engineer but it's the coffee-making that's the real skill.

My walk takes me along the river, past the closed art gallery and the empty gardens, and I turn down a street which will take me past my friend's house, where I visited her often in her last years of dealing with cancer. The house looks just the same though it's seven years since she died. I come back to the cycle track and head home into a cooling breeze. Another friend lives nearby and I imagine talking over the fence but it seems intrusive to suggest it. Are we all going to be agoraphobic at the end of this?

I cook some Puy lentils to a 'French' recipe I find online – they're not bad. Varying what I eat is essential and I look forward to shopping tomorrow. I pass the evening with another episode of The Crown which reveals the inherent powerlessness of the monarchy and the barely masked sexism faced by the Queen. Disregarding the changed clock, I go to bed early and sleep deeply, dreaming of friends turning away from me in the street.