annanotbob2's Diaryland Diary


Staying in

I feel as if today has been a big failure, but it hasn't, it's just that I haven't been outside, didn't even get dressed, just changed a thin nightie for warmer pyjamas. I was going to go to the beach for late afternoon low tide, but I had a proper woozy spell during Tuesday art group and had to leave and have a lie down. It's having dizzy spells like that that's caused the doctor to have me monitor my blood pressure. Meh. And reporting them on the Zoe Covid app that has led to another test kit arriving this evening. One for me and one for Bloke. Not that they think it is Covid, but they want to test people with all kinds of symptoms to find out how it's going. We have to do it in the morning to get it in the post.

But when I think this day has been a failure I forget that I'd already finished making the first batch of marmalade before I even started art group, and all before breakfast because of the intermittent fasting.

So I had a rest, then breakfast, then came to the laptop and found that Marian Keyes, delightful Irish novelist, who has started a free writing course via her Instagram account, had set the first exercise, which was to write 500 words starting with the sentence "The doughnuts had failed to deescalate the situation." Well. Bella leapt into my head at once. It's all been lurking below my conscious awareness for a while and although I have some general ideas for what I think will happen, I haven't got to that bit yet. Part of the trouble is I've forgotten everyone's names. Bella had a sister in the book, that she got on well with and lived with, married to bloody bastard Barry - I could remember his name because of that alliteration, but I've lost hers, and the key worker. But this prompt got me going at once. Half way through writing, I realised something I want to happen later, that's going to be during the pandemic, so I kind of jack-knifed covid in. I can sort it all out properly later. Anyway, I wrote it on the laptop for the word count so here it is:

"The doughnuts had failed to deescalate the situation. Of course they had, fancy thinking doughnuts were going to do something useful. Ones from Greggs at any rate – she’d be surprised if they had more than a spit of jam between them. Although Bella and Naomi hadn’t even got as far as revealing the source of the doughnuts – the gesture had been rebuffed without even waiting to see if they’d come from Waitrose or M&S.

And Bella had no more ideas about how to bring Naomi round. Bella thought she’d probably had the hump ever since that business with the goldfish – she’d been OK at first, said she didn’t mind that Bella had let them die when she was meant to be feeding them and had then replaced them with some that were kind of similar but clearly different fish. But then she seemed to think better of it, and had brushed off Bella’s attempts at chat, just said, “Hi!” and kept on walking. Bella thought that doughnuts might do it – their friendship had started over tea and cakes and OK, Naomi had made hers, but surely she knew Bella well enough to know that it would be more like a declaration of war than an act of friendship if she offered a homemade fucking cake, Jeez. She’d texted Naomi “Donuts, tea? This arvo?” and had eventually had the reply “Can’t, soz” which meant what, exactly? Can’t now because I am working? Or can’t because I know better than to hang around with untrustworthy losers like you?
Oh bloody hell. Bella hadn’t realised she was going to need Naomi. But she did. She couldn’t answer Paul’s letter but she couldn’t let it go unanswered. This texting was as much as she’d ever done in the way of written communication and it wasn’t enough. She needed Naomi to help her. Naomi knew writing – her flat was full of books – she must do.
Bella sat glumly at her window hoping for a solution. It was quiet. Very quiet. Usually she could see people’s feet and ankles as they walked along the street above her basement room, but today there was nothing. In fact it was totally silent. Bella opened her window and no, no traffic at all – wait, yes, there was the sound of a vehicle in the distance, briefly. One car engine then back to silence. What the actual …? Had the world ended? Yes!!! For fuck’s sake – Bella couldn’t believe herself – had she actually managed to forget the pandemic. She hadn’t turned on her telly for ages, not since getting the letter from Paul… it has been quiet when she went to Greggs for the doughnuts but it was early, crack of dawn. Yes, the woman in Greggs had been wearing a mask, but they were food workers, hair scraped back into a net - nets, masks, it was all the same really. But Bella could not believe she had actually forgotten there was a pandemic. Blimey. No wonder Naomi didn’t want to come for a cuppa. They weren’t allowed - social distancing they called it - fuck! That might even be why she hadn’t stopped for a chat – bloody hell. Bella’s key worker [whose name I forget] was always going on about distorted thinking – assuming people didn’t like you when they didn’t talk to you, when most of the time they had something else on their mind. Could this be one of those moments? Could Naomi still want to be friends but keeping her distance because of Covid?

There was only one way to find out. It took Bella almost an hour to get her nerve up and to stop changing the wording but in the end she pressed send. “Fuck – covid! Duh! Of course you can’t come to tea! You OK?” Now she just had to wait and see."

Then I made the second batch of marmalade and it's all bloody lovely - the fruit perfectly suspended in a perfect set, not too firm, not too runny. Thirteen jars altogether. That was when I splashed quite a bit on my fleece and had to get changed into something warmer.

I feel as if there was more but I can't remember what.

Three Good Things today:
1. Making myself rest - so hard - why is it so hard? How do I manage to believe that I'm lazy as well as this being the first day I haven't walked at least two miles for over two weeks? And the first time less than a mile since before Christmas? But today I stayed in and did a lot of lying down, so yay, go me..
2. Nice chats on Instagram - I like that relationships can develop via such sites, slowly, slowly, but on they go.
3. The dog and the cat falling asleep on the rug in front of the sofa with only about a foot and a half between them. This is progress. Mischa, the long-haired male cat. Lily, the tabby is still very much in the background but did sit in front of the fire during the frosty weather.


11:16 p.m. - 12.01.21


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