Day Seventy Two -Rash

I didn’t get to sleep until nearly five this morning. I woke at seven, and then at nine and finally got up at about eleven.

It has not been a good day. I am tired, which makes everything treacle thick. The good thing is that I am too tired to be angry. The bad thing is that I am too tired to stop myself being sad and utterly, utterly sick of everything. If I weren’t so tired it would be the kind of day I would want to go round smashing things with sticks and then cry because everything was broken. Even though it would be my fault, but don’t tell me that, because I will just cry harder.

Oscar has a rash which started on his foot this morning, and which by this evening was up both of his legs. It doesn’t look like any kind of dangerous rash and I should know because I spent about two hours of my life this evening photographing his rash from every conceivable angle and then trying to play match the rash with Google images. After which we were all a bit distraught. I made him take an anti-histamine and threw him in the bath with some Roman Chamomile. If nothing else he will be clean and fragrant. Even if it is chiggers.

In the end I got Tilly to send all the photographs to Bred who is currently doing night shift in children’s A&E. He waved it at an overworked, underpaid junior doctor who said it looked viral and only to panic if his breathing went on the wonk. I shall be sleeping well tonight with that in mind.  I say sleeping well. I shall be getting up every hour to go and prod him, just like when he was a baby.

I went up to the post office today and was so heartily sick of my house that after I had run my errand I dropped into the supermarket next door, bought myself some picnic snacks and took myself up the road to the local park to dine en plein air. I found a secluded spot that was sunny enough to be nice and shady enough not for me to to turn into a lobster. I was starving and was just enjoying myself, because I had bought myself food that I hadn’t cooked, that only I liked and that I did not have to share with anyone, when round the corner came two little girls with their mum and a puppy.

I tried to think nice thoughts about them until the oldest of the two girls who must have been five or six, kept tormenting the smaller of the two girls who was maybe three or four. The smaller of the two was playing quite happily and then the older one would just loom in, get right in her face and holler abuse at her until she cried.  The mum then came piling up and hollered abuse in the older one’s face for being mean to her sister. This went on for about ten minutes with small interludes. Finally, I could stand it no longer, so I got up to go and just as I did, the smallest girl snapped, grabbed a branch and whacked her sister over the head with it.

Saved me the bother.

I thought about chucking her £20 and my bag of snacks so she could get out of dodge but didn’t want to be arrested for breaking social distancing, despite my instincts.

When I got home I was even more harassed than I was when I left.  Jason took pity on me and took me for a pointless drive in the car for an hour. We played terrible Eighties tunes and talked about nothing important at all. We bought no supplies. We talked to nobody else. We did nothing practical whatsoever. It was marvellous. It was without doubt, the nicest part of my week so far.

Our water pressure is on the fritz and the man from Severn Trent came to look at it today. In conclusion, the pressure is fine outside the house and up to the front door. It’s grand outside the back door. It’s dismal inside the house. This probably means something terrible, but this is not in the man from Severn Trent’s remit to fix.

The dish washer broke again today. The engineer fixed it last Friday and we had several blissful days of happy washing. This morning it packed up half way through the cycle and we had to bail out and paddle around festooned in tea towels.

Still, the day is done now. We move on.


Day Seventy One – I am not going to do glass blowing when I grow up

I have been less furious today, which is good news for my jaw bone, because I think if it had to take much more pressure from me clenching it in a Rumplestiltskin rage it would disintegrate into dust. Nobody needs the bottom half of their face to resemble one of Dali’s melting clocks, so this is an improvement.

It’s not that I am appeased in any way. It’s just that I’ve spent less time scrolling news feeds.

It’s also down to that full up feeling I get sometimes. I had it when I first had a baby. I spent the first three months in a persistent state of high anxiety, nurturing morbid fears about how I was so utterly clueless, had no maternal instincts whatsoever and might accidentally kill her at any moment due to sheer incompetence, and then one day I stopped fighting it all. I just accepted my inability to function on three hours of broken sleep a night, my complete failure to comprehend a single thing she wanted and the fact that both of our fates were largely in the lap of the gods. I allowed the wave I had been trying to hold back with the force of my will to engulf me because I was so full up of feelings I couldn’t fit a single other one in without letting the rest go. Once I’d done that, my anxiety levels started to come down. I am sure it was also due to being too exhausted to care any more. If you get to the point where you don’t give a monkey’s if you entertain visitors with lumps of baby sick in your hair, you’re done.

I’m kind of getting to that point in lockdown I think. I cannot solve this with the force of my will or my rage. I can’t cause Dominic Cummings’ testicle head to explode with the power of my curses – believe me, I’ve tried. Nor can I solve stupid. I cannot deal with people who are so invested in conspiracy theories that they can’t follow a single logical argument to its conclusion. I like a conspiracy theory, don’t get me wrong, but it has to have some sense in it somewhere. I’m really not into the ones that defy logic at every point and seem to have their foundations in sticking both fingers in your ears and shouting ‘la la la, I can’t hear you.’

So I have to step away from it all and find the things I can do. Mostly today they involved eating cake for breakfast and binge watching a show on Netflix about glass blowing. It was fascinating, but I have decided not to take it up as a hobby. It requires a level of manual dexterity that is beyond me, the ability not to set yourself on fire at every turn, which is also often beyond me, even in a domestic and culinary sphere, and the ability to work whilst also liquifying into molten sweat.

I detest being sweaty, which is unfortunate as a post menopausal woman who has retained the ability to go from chilly to fry an egg on my forehead in under five seconds and who regularly sweats her own glasses off the end of her nose. I imagine half an hour in a glass blowing studio and they would have to carry me out in a bucket.




Day Seventy – Grumpiness and snacks

Even though I woke up early this morning, I chose to stay in bed, dozing until midday because I was still feeling extremely meh about things and sleeping through meh, if at all possible, is a really self loving thing to do.

I can’t keep away from the news. It’s like picking a scab, only picking a scab is probably slightly better for my health.

At one point during lockdown I had almost weaned myself off it. Then I got complacent and like any addiction, it has snuck back until BAM, there I am. Scrolling and raging, raging and scrolling. Telling myself to step away and then going back for one more look even though I know I’ll still be raging.

Not good.

Still, I shall perservere with attempting to wean myself off it again. I will either get so furious I explode, or I will manage to step away and do something more fruitful because I’m boring myself witless. I’m hoping for the boring rather than the exploding.

In positive news:

The defrosted cake is delicious.

I went for a walk and bought an ice-cream and some chocolate milkshake because it appears I am still only 8.

My walks are getting easier and less sore and I feel I may even be up for some yoga at some point this week, which will be good for all the stress and rage I am storing in my neck muscles.

The new balloon whisk for the mixer arrived. This means that when the freezer cake is done, I shall be in a position to make another.

Grayson’s Art Club was very soothing.

Tallulah did the cleaning today, so things are less sticky, domestically speaking.

The weather has been glorious and the roses round the pergola have bloomed. The scent is wonderful.

We had chicken Kiev for dinner. I love chicken Kiev. It’s one of those nostalgia for my childhood things.

I realise that many things on this list are food related. You might, if you didn’t know me very well, put this down to lockdown, but you would be wrong. Jason and I were talking about holidays yesterday and all our memories were like: ‘Was that where we had that excellent steak/cake/icecream?’ Nearly all our best memories are food related. Some of our worst ones are too. Like that time I knew I had to take Tallulah to the hospital because she refused a large piece of chocolate birthday cake.

It’s all about the food. And the rage. But hopefully the rage will dissipate and the food will be left.



Day Sixty Nine – Hit the wall

I have been feeling rather brutalised by things today. Overwhelmed by everything and nothing.

I am still rigid with fury about the news and have stress eaten all evening, watched crap television and now have a huge headache.

I have nothing particularly positive to say.

I nearly didn’t write this, because I just felt, probably for the first time since all this started, that everything was a bit futile.

It isn’t, I’m sure, but that’s how I feel today. And then I thought I should write that down because who wants to read a diary that has been edited, even if it’s by omission?

The sun still shone, I made top notch ramen with the beef left over from yesterday’s roast, and put perfect, soft boiled eggs in it. I went for a nice walk. I caught a lot of Pokemon. Nothing terrible happened to people I love. I found a cake that my brother bought me that I had put in the freezer because on the day it arrived, I had been given cake by a lot of other people. I’d forgotten all about my brother’s cake and it was really exciting to find it. My irises started blooming.

I’m going to quit while I’m ahead. Tomorrow is another day.

Day Sixty Eight -A mixed bag

Day sixty eight involved me being a bit less stupid. I’m not saying that will last, but it made a refreshing change. I took a short walk rather than a several mile ramble. I paid attention to my body and fed it when it was hungry, rested it when it was tired and generally did all the things you are supposed to do for yourself every day, but which I am not very good at by and large.

I spent a considerable amount of the day drawing and painting. Unlike yesterday where everything I did I found hard work and disappointing, today I did two pieces, both of which I like. One of them, a painting of a jellyfish, which I did for Noel’s Art Club, was actually featured in Noel’s Instastories gallery. This has been my dream ever since I started joining in with art club, and I am very, very proud of myself. Tilly has featured several times because she is a fabulous, proper artist. I was delighted to be tagging along behind. My second piece was good to a point, and then I overdid it, but I have photographs of the points which it was good, and that will do me nicely.

I read bits of lots of books, but couldn’t settle to any for any length of time. I watched two more episodes of the Netflix series Abstract, which is about design. I watched one about a woman called Neri Oxman who trained as a doctor, retrained as an architect and is now a bio-architect working out of MIT. She is amazing. Her whole process is about studying and mimicking what nature does but to create structures and buildings. Her thought process is simple but radical and her creations are astonishing and rather hopeful.

I also watched one about costume designer, Ruth E Carter. The process of design that she takes you through is absolutely fascinating, and her particular interest, in reclaiming black history through film and costume was really engaging. You got to see her work both as a retrospective of her career to date, but also up close through her work on particular films. It’s made me want to go and watch the films so that I can appreciate what she does with more focus.

I spent too much time watching the news and on Twitter today. Small pockets of the day have therefore been enlivened by absolute fury at this government and its duplicity and the sheer arrogance and danger of their behaviour. It makes me want to scream.

I shall eat some cold roast potatoes instead.

Day Sixty Seven – Fool to myself

Buoyed up by the fact that I am not a plague carrier, I got carried away today. This is what I always do. I’ve spent nearly five decades on this planet, inhabiting this body. You think I’d have learned by now – but no. I am still hard of thinking when it comes to certain things. Particularly when it comes to overdoing things.

I walked too far.  I ate too much. I stayed awake too long.

And now I feel a bit like I’ve been mowed.

Nevertheless, it was a good day, despite myself and my unutterable feebleness.

I went and picked up an order of deliciousness from the deli. I dropped some of it at my mum and dad’s. It was nice to see them, even if only briefly and from far away. My mum gave me a beautiful bunch of flowers from her garden. There is one rose in the bunch, and it smells like twenty. It’s heady and perfumed and beautiful and as I walk past the vase I am surrounded by its scent.

I went and dropped some wool over at Tilly’s. She is knitting teeny, tiny hats for the premature babies at the hospital and needed more wool supplies. I had a lot of wool I no longer use since I realised that too much knitting makes my hands seize up, so I took it to her. She swapped me for a couple of books I wanted to read and my mother’s day present, which got rather lost in all the lockdown stuff. I got a Lego Snorlax kit, a fancy paintbrush and a tube of lilac paint.

She knows me well.

I painted one terrible picture and drew one terrible picture. None of them with my new lilac paint or fancy brush. Perhaps if I had, they would be less terrible. We will never know.

I ate a huge slice of Millionaire’s shortbread with salted caramel. It was magnificent but I ate it too fast and made myself feel sick. I powered through, because it was amazing.

We had a takeaway for tea. I ate too much, because it’s the first time the Chinese takeaway has been open in about eight weeks and I got so excited about it, and the fact that I didn’t have to cook, that I showed no impulse control whatsoever.

I went on a walk and got over excited because I was free. Half way round the park I realised I should have gone for a gentle stroll around the block, but it was too late by then. To add insult to injury I couldn’t find a single ground type Pokemon, which I needed to catch to finish a quest, so I remain unfulfilled and knackered.

I watched a fantastic documentary on Netflix. It’s the first in a series called Abstract, which is about design. The programme was about an artist called Olafur Eliasson. I realise, having watched it, that I have seen his stuff in galleries, but just hadn’t known it was by him or anything about him. It was absolutely fascinating. He is interested in how the participant makes the art and often creates works which are an interplay between the person and the art in which the art ceases to exist when the person leaves. His work is also practical in that he works with advocacy groups and has an architectural practice too. I highly recommend watching it if you get a chance. He is amazing.

Basically I have behaved like a giant puppy all day. It’s been great in many ways, but now I have to behave like the oldest, most decrepit dog in the world and go and lie on a blanket and get my strength back.


Day Sixty Six – I am plague free

A red letter day.

I slept better last night and woke up feeling rested. I also woke up feeling much better than yesterday. My skin had stopped hurting, which was the thing that had driven me properly mad the day before. I felt, dare I say it, almost normal. Normal for Katy anyway.

My COVID test results came back a few hours later and I am negative, which is great and means that my fear of giving it to everyone in my house is allowed to leave the building, and so am I.

I spent much of the rest of the day feeling rather like a limp rag though, so sunbathing in the garden, reading my book and making beans on toast for tea was the most excitement I had all day.

I started to feel poorly this evening, but I am definitely on the mend and that’s the most time I’ve had in a fortnight feeling well. I am hoping that if I can bag a couple of nights more sleep, I might even be inspired to leave the house.

Oscar and I watched the streaming of Daniel Kitson’s, The Interminable Suicide of Gregory Church this evening. As is Kitson’s wont, getting tickets was a nightmare, particularly as I overslept on the day they went on sale. Andrea, who is much more organised than me managed to bag two tickets and transfer one to me, which is how come we got to see it at all. It’s the first show we ever saw Kitson perform and it was absolutely marvellous to see it again all these years later. I hope he releases more shows online. I feel everyone who is interested in story telling should be forced to see him perform and then talk about it.  It will happen when I get to be world dictator.

I have the beginning of a migraine now, so I’m off to nurse it. I think I’m finally letting go of the stress of thinking I might a) have COVID, b) might die of COVID and c) might have given COVID to everyone I love – which would do it. At least I know I won’t die of a migraine and I know exactly what to do about it. I almost feel jolly about it.

These are very strange times.