Diary of a Lockdown, day 25: days of nothing

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Spring gallops on: bluebells in Dulwich Wood, 17th April  

Nothing to report. Seriously. I’m not doing anything or seeing anyone. Every day seems very much like the day before. I can’t draw on profound thoughts or insights as I’m not having any. My preoccupations are boring, even to me. But purely as a matter of historical record for myself, I will record them here.

The book I’ve just finished (The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker) is a retelling of part of the ancient Greek war epic the Iliad from the perspective of the women enslaved, raped and brutalised. I’m left with a lasting feeling of their powerlessness in a world in which women are only ever men’s service providers, ‘things’  to be used up, traded, displayed as trophies and, at best, ignored. As I write this I am also aware that, although more than 3,000 years have passed since the events of the Iliad, traces of this world view still run through our own.

Meanwhile, Spring gallops on at some pace. Crocuses and daffodils are long gone, as is the plum blossom. The cherry blossom that came out only last week is already beginning to blow away, but the apple tree in the front garden is only just sprouting buds. The wide hornbeam hedge, that runs along the boundary with next-door was sparcely-leaved until a few days ago and we could see and talk through it to the neighbours; now it’s full and dense and will remain that way until early Spring next year. Underneath the hornbeam and in the woods not far away bluebells abound.

The vegetable patch is enjoying more attention from me than it has had in years. The strawberries have been separated and mulched in (and spares shared with neighbours via our WhatsApp group); raspberries are beginning to shoot; first stalks of rhubarb have been cut; spinach seedlings planted out; but tomatoes, lettuces, squash, radishes and various herbs are so far failing to germinate in the kitchen. I used out-of-date seeds, the garden centres being shut.

My new online yoga classes are going well. More than 50 people have signed up for a month’s access to live sessions every weekday morning using Zoom – and a library of recorded sessions to watch any time on YouTube. I’ve had messages from people saying  how valuable it is to have yoga to keep them going, to stay grounded and in touch with themselves during this weird, isolating time.

To promote the online classes, I’ve been teaching myself the finer arts of Facebook advertising – while trying not to throw too much money at it. And this shift to online business has finally made me face the fact I need an urgent redesign my website to one that at least works well on mobile phones, which my current site fails to do. I’m researching various templates and hosting options and spending lots of time fretting over the danger of making a poor decision!

The switch to online teaching is also making me face a few other facts I’ve until now been happy to ignore: namely, that my yoga clothes are not so much hippy-chic as old and scruffy; and my belly has got too big.

As much as I dislike the kind of ‘Instagram Yoga’ that idolises supermodel looks, there’s nothing like seeing yourself on screen first thing every morning to re-ignite what remains of your vanity! So I’ve added some cardio to my daily exercise regime to see if I can keep the middle-age spread at bay.

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