I have rather enjoyed the lockdown. I am fortunate in that my job for the Submerged Log Company allows me to work completely from home. As I was working almost completely from home anyway, the only difference, initially, was the removal of the word ‘almost’ from the initial clause of this sentence. My colleagues and I have discovered how to use video conferencing. This has saved an immense amount of time and energy.
I am additionally fortunate in that I live in a charming part of the country where it is relatively easy to get away from other people.
I also have a garden.
Fortune smiles on me further in that my children are no longer small, or even of school age, so don’t require home-schooling. Home from college, they can fetch small objects unattended; willingly do household chores when asked; and even make delicious meals.
I do, however, have a puppy, which does make a toddler-like mess; occasionally pees on the floor; and whose presence has necessitated my putting up stair gates for the first time in >20 years. But she’s adorable so she can get away with it.
|Adorable pup. Some weeks ago. When she was even more adorable than she is now. OK, she’s still adorable, only bigger.|
Lock-down has had its benefits.
— For an antisocial curmudgeon, such as I am, it absolves me from having to come up with any excuse to interact with people.
— It’s been so very, very quiet that we have been able to enjoy the wildlife.
— I have learned to make bread, and now do almost all the family baking.
— I’ve made good progress writing my next book.
— Mrs Gee has long-term health complaints, so we have been shielding, and she is a stickler for COVID-19 hygiene.
Anything that comes through the postbox is quarantined for three days.
We shop for food online (actually, we shop for everything online), and when the delivery comes, we store dry goods in the shed for three days, and anything to be used immediately has to be washed down with disinfectant. This is such a chore that we shop for groceries only once a fortnight, and make do with what we have. We use leftovers. There are no top-up shops.
This means that I have lost weight for the first time in years. My trousers are as loose as the pantaloons in a clown costume, and would fall down were it not for my belt, which is now on the tightest setting. You could say I have dropped a dress size.
— Because we no longer dine out, or go to the pub, or stop at a café for apres-plage, this loss of weight means that I have gained pounds, of the sterling variety. What with not having to commute, or pay hotel bills when I visit the London office of the Submerged Log Company, or having to buy much in the way of fuel for the car, my bank account is healthier than it has been for a while.
Now, I understand that many are not so lucky. They might be without a job, or be cooped up in a tower block with screaming kids, abusive partners and so on. The easing of the lockdown will be a welcome relief for many. Not least the economy, on which everyone’s livelihood depends (mine included).
For me, on the other hand, I meet it with a certain amount of fear and trepidation. I have gotten used to the peace and quiet. I tremble that it is now being disturbed. I feel rather like Pa Ingalls, that rugged pioneer and Patron Saint of the Curmudgeon, who said that a neighbourhood was getting too crowded if he could hear the sound of another man’s axe.