Day Nine



Just as I finish my morning meditation, I have a call from my neighbour to say that her choir is doing an online singing lesson which will culminate in one minute of noise to acknowledge the essential workers. She's warning me so that I don't feel alarmed when there's a lot of banging and cheering next door but also letting me know how to join in.

And I do. In her home, live on Facebook, the director of the choir has her son on the piano and her daughter singing harmony as she takes us through a slightly reworked version of Fatboy Slim's Praise you to thank the essential workers. Likes and hearts float up the screen and comments appear down the side, giving a sense of a group effort as we learn the words, a body percussion section for the instrumental and some harmonies. I hope the message of praise and thanks reaches those good people who are turning up for work to keep us all going. Soon I'm bopping away in front of my computer and when I hear tooting and cheers from next door I stand on the step and clap.

The things we do. I add a pink and yellow lion to the toys on the windowsill though I don't know whether any children are able to see them. I listen to National Radio, turning off the more intense Covid stories and getting a laugh from some of the Freudian slips our tired speakers make, such as Mike Bush referring to those breaking the rules of the lockdown as 'isolated insolence' instead of 'incidents' and Wallace Chapman showing concern that unfinished buildings will be 'open to the elephants' (elements) for which his panelists tease him. Some of those buildings probably will be white elephants by the time this is over.

Then with a burst of motivation I dig out some sandpaper and tackle my kitchen window frames. Even in lockdown Murphy's Law prevails: I want to take the blinds down but that involves unscrewing the brackets with the wrong-sized screw driver, finding the blinds are grubby and spending a good while cleaning them with carpet cleaner because it's all I have. I drape them over the clothesline and go on with the sanding. Never my strong suit, preparing for painting. I'm inclined to get bored and skimp on the detail, then regret it later when I can see the imperfections. But hey, the house is 90 years old, a lot of painters before me have left their brush strokes and scars. The job fills my afternoon. I would have been doing it about now anyway because the weather is right but i would have been motivated by the thought of the family coming for Easter. That won't happen but it will be pleasing to have frames and sills tidied up.

When I feel I've done enough to be ready for painting in the morning I pack up, clean up and go for a gentle walk – not anywhere near the marina! It's late afternoon, still golden and warm. I go round the waterfront and look at the shining water.