Day Five



Today is a day of new things. My piano lesson, which didn't work at all last week when we tried to do it on our phones, goes well. I set my laptop up on a small step ladder, the camera pointed down to the keys of the piano. My teacher, who actually lives only a short walk away, beams in. She gives me some helpful information about my posture at my own piano, which is a bonus, and her feedback on the scales and pieces I play for her is as helpful as usual. It's one thing to keep practising for myself but it's more motivating to have instruction and a focus for learning. I'm happy we can continue our lessons.

The next new thing is supermarket shopping. My list has grown so I take the car and my own basket which allows me to avoid using the trolleys. I'm also picking up some things for a friend. The queue outside Countdown looks long because of the spaces between each person and we stand silently, partly because we're not really close enough for small talk but also I suspect we are trying not to breathe on each other. As I stand there I think of wartime queues and how women in particular would spend most of their day queuing to gather provisions for their families. I'm glad the supermarket will have everything I need today and I won't need to come back till next week.

We're being let in in groups of five, so I'm into the supermarket sooner than I expect. It doesn't take long to gather up my basketful. I smile at the checkout operator and thank her for being there. She looks a little startled then smiles back. As I pack my items and turn to leave, she lifts up the bag of cat food I've left out of my basket. I thank her again. This forgetfulness has plagued my past week. I can't decide whether it's my usual vagueness, made more obvious by being alone too much, or an exacerbation due to the new strange life we lead.

When I take my friend's shopping round to her house I put it on the doorstep, then we chat a while through her kitchen window which, opened a crack for the sound, also acts as a screen. Even though we're in regular phone contact, it's good to see each other.  Later another friend brings me some wool to start a knitting project. We also have a chat at a distance, sitting well apart on my steps. This is a good day!

I head off towards the beach on my bike for my hour's exercise. It's a superb autumn day, my favourite time in Nelson. The sea is calm and sparkling, the light has a special quality which I love. There's an amazing number of people walking, running and biking round Rocks Rd which is both our beautiful waterfront and the main highway into Nelson. Usually it's packed with cars and trucks, at peak times crawling bumper to bumper but at all times too noisy for conversation with a fellow walker and cyclists must be single file on very narrow lanes. But today the cars and trucks are fewer than the pedestrians and cyclists.

I go down to the beach but I've left my bike lock behind (vague again!) so I won't walk, I'll keep biking. There's a path round behind the cafe and between the modellers' pond and the BMX track (model boats and small bikes for those unfamiliar). The pond is abandoned and full of weed but the track is providing fun for a few kids. Continuing on I find a new path that goes behind the camp ground and along the shore of the back beach. Passersby smile and say hello and we give each other space. I whizz along and turn back when the path stops at the road.

I've brought some juice and a biscuit in lieu of the cafe, so I stop at the beach for a snack. Nicki is there sitting on a log. I tease her that maybe she's living in one of the driftwood teepees on the sand. I see she has her togs bag and as I'm leaving a man dashes across the road, furtively holding a towel. Swimming is still intended but I'll wait, I don't need to push it.

On my way home a policeman waves from his cruising car and I give him a nod. It's been a very good day.