annanotbob2's Diaryland Diary


Good things in 2020 pt 3

Here we are back in lockdown, thank fuck. Too little, too late as usual with this bloody shower, but at least we're there. Nurseries are still staying open though, as if little kids weren't catching it and spreading it - did I mention that at W's daughter's nursery 20 kids all tested positive? Terrible. The local figures went from 353 new cases reported yesterday to 554 today - that's some fucking increase. Bloke and I have a had a big talk about it - we've slid out of being as careful as we need to be - one big food shop a week instead of popping in and out - back to the hand-washing - that sort of thing. We're still allowed to meet one other person for exercise such as going for a walk but I'm not sure about how local we're meant to stay - I haven't talked to SB about our plans for Thursday yet but I'm pondering. We live about 30 miles from each other - just looked it up - it's only 19 miles, 22 minutes as it's just off the big road. But I'm not sure - I don't want to be a person pushing at the edges, making things last longer - I want this over and am prepared to do what it takes in the way of isolation (I say, at this stage... )

Anyway, more good things from last year:

1. Zoom - oh my god, most of us had never heard of such a thing this time last year but how amazing it is and what a difference it's made to our lockdown. I know people who moan about it, because it's not as good as face to face, but they want to shut the fuck up - face to face has not been an option for most things for months and months but we can still see those faces, hear the voices, see the expressions, be seen and heard. I do yoga, painting and writing groups on Zoom, other painting groups on Facebook videos or calls or whatever it's called, have had bereavement counselling via Microsoft rooms and ordinary counselling via whatsapp video calls. For Daughter's birthday we had a zoom party and of course it was fucking shit compared to being in the same room, but we spent time together, we played games and laughed and chatted and it was OK, All of these things have been OK, thanks to Zoom and all that. Mind you, I still haven't discovered how to get gallery view on my tablet, or even if it's possible - no, it's not any of the corners. But I can't imagine how life would have been without it.

2. Walking. I was walking anyway, but back in March we were only allowed to walk from where we lived - no driving to somewhere lovely. I live on a big, horrible, ugly (cheap) ex-council estate, that goes on for miles and is bounded by private land that is fenced off with high, barbed-wire-topped fences to the west and a busy dual-carriageway to the north. A mile and a half to the sea. But when the traffic stopped I walked straight across the big empty road and up into the hills. It was entirely new to me and within twenty minutes of leaving my house I'd gone up a big hill, down the other side and up the next one, right out in the fields. It's not entirely bucolic - massive great pylons stalk across the land, right next to the path I follow, but it's been wonderful. I've watched the livestock being moved about from one field to another - god knows why sheep are appropriate at some points, but then they get swapped for cows - and seen crops planted, grown and harvested. One set of fields was planted up with pumpkins for the first time this year - when I was doing close observations and note-taking, after a writing workshop with Will Self, I enjoyed watching three teenagers weeding around the pumpkin plants, though I didn't know what they were then. They were making very slow progress across the hillside, with a lot of sitting in the shade of a van for a smoke and a drink. It took me a while to recognise the plants and soon after there were massive signs up advertising 'pick your own pumpkins' and a part of the lane was re-surfaced to allow vehicles to come and go. Since then it's been ploughed and resown and something new has germinated so there are rows of fresh green marching over the land. It was great noticing what was happening, seeing that things were happening at all - the rest of the place is hidden inside, god alone knows what's occurring behind all those frilly curtains.

One thing I forgot with the meditation, that I think about almost every time, is the impossibility of breathing normally when instructed to watch your breath. Notice where the movement occurs in your body as you breath in and out, he says. Don't change how you breathe, let it be normal - as if that's even possible! When you're breathing normally, you're not even aware of it and as soon as you are, you become conscious of the in and the out and I always make it deeper, then try not to. Also, breathing in deeply feels like an upward motion as your chest lifts, and out feels like downward as it lowers, but then he said breathe in and feel the air going down, which of course it is, the air goes down as the chest goes up and I've only just noticed that clash, a couple of weeks ago, having been meditating on and off for at least six years! It's really hard to make myself stop thinking about it and get back to focusing on the breath.

Three good things today: I repainted the Kuinji 'Moonlit Night over the Daryal Gorge' as someone asked to buy my other version! I'm very proud of it and wanted to keep it so I was pleased to do it again and didn't charge her any money as I know she's skint. Also: I walked even though it was raining and cold - not the 2.7 miles I need for 1000 miles a year, but almost, 2.3, and I'm ahead anyway. And: I had counselling with R and told him I'm planning on having proper therapy, which he was fine about - of course he was, what else is he going to be, but I'd been anxious about it.

Night night xxx

11:22 p.m. - 04.01.21


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Five Years - 10.01.21
Walking From Home - 09.01.21
Good things in 2020 pt 4 - 07.01.21
Weird times - 06.01.21
More - 05.01.21

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