Day Thirteen


Wood mouse

It's been a social day. I began with a meditation and chat with my sister. Then I had coffee and knitting with the friend who gave me some brightly coloured wool at the beginning of the rahui – I've started a turquoise beanie – and we talked about how our families are doing and the politics of our situation. After lunch I joined a friend who also lives alone for a cup of tea and conversation about books and how we're coping. She rediscovered Maya Angelou's I know why the caged bird sings when she tidied up her book shelves and she recommends it. At the end of the afternoon I sit down with a drink (blackcurrant cordial which is like my wine) to catch up with a friend whose son came back from Australia two weeks ago. He's been self-isolating in the same house but he can emerge now and take over the cooking for a while.

There was also a chance to share a satire about the chaotic US approach to the pandemic, balanced by some delightful photos of harvest mice, shared on our family group.

All this by phone of course, except the meditation which is just a matter of sitting down at 9am knowing that my sister and others will be meditating too. I've learned the value of the hands-free adaptor for knitting, and of an unlimited plan to avoid big bills which have caught me out twice lately! But mainly this is about the value of connection. How lucky we are to have all these ways of keeping in touch. This 'staying at home' would be much harder without them.

As I take my walk around the waterfront, I receive a message from a friend. He and his wife are using the time to renovate their house, setting themselves a very industrious schedule at what he calls the coalface. He jokes that Arthur Scargill would have called a strike by now. I can share my view of the water and sky. It's grey clouds and choppy sea today, very different from the sparkly autumn weather we've been having but rain will be welcome and it starts just as I get home.

Another connection comes later when a friend in Canada posts a Guardian essay by Rebecca Solnit. She quotes Simone Weil, writing to a faraway friend: 'Let us love the distance which is thoroughly woven in friendship, since those who do not love each other are not separated.' And Wordsworth: 'Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers.' She concludes that this could be a time of great change as other crises, from the Black Death to the Global Financial Crisis, have proven to be, if we use the moratorium on 'getting and spending' to deepen our thinking. This is what so many of us are hoping.