Lockdown is making me productive

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I have been in Lockdown since two weeks before Lockdown formally started. This is because I had a very bad cold. I thought it was a cold, but from the information available, how could I be sure? I cancelled several things I’d arranged, including a couple of gaming sessions and a day out. Some friends laughed about “Chris is going into Lockdown”. And then, two weeks later, we all did.

I think that was a cold – without a test, I cannot be sure, but it felt like a cold and with the exception of a cough that simply lasted (and is something I suffer from with colds anyway, being asthmatic), it didn’t seem unusual. So I relaxed into the new normal of not going out.

I think because I started out feeling ill, I probably leapt into the whole thing feet first, and before I knew it I had synchronised deliveries from Waitrose and Amazon and Riverfords. Then I lost Waitrose, because they were concentrating on vulnerable people, which – despite being 61, asthmatic and diabetic – apparently I wasn’t. So I then tried some other ideas – Mindful Chef, the Recipe Box people; I reacquainted myself with Turner & George, the online Butcher I used to use for BBQ cuts; I bought directly from various cheese companies, who could not sell to their restaurant customers, so were selling direct to the public. I eventually even ventured out to the stores. Although I very quickly abandoned the large and still sometimes hectic Tesco, in favour of the little Co-op up the road, which was small enough to really be able to enforce social distancing with a purpose.

Through all this, I was going out for walks most days with Katie the Beagle, although mostly early in the morning or late at night. I tended to avoid my normal haunt of the dog walking field because throughout there were still people who felt it alright to come over “for a chat”. But aside from that I was no longer going out at all.

So what has happened at home as a result? I have completely and utterly blitzed my garden – not just tidied and dug and planted, but rearranged, and found new places to put plants – my garden dining benches are currently dog-safe surfaces for tomato grow-bags and planters, things are getting cut back and tied back, and I’ve even mown the lawn in the front for the first time in 2-3 years. (It’s ok, it hasn’t gone unmown in all that time; someone used to do it for me.)

I’ve even contemplating digging up the weedy border between my lawn and the neighbours drive, and have bought myself a kneeler in preparation for the task.

In the house, the lounge has been rearranged, moving a sofa out of the bay window, and making that area clear and uncluttered and the windows accessible. The conservatory too, which I made my office earlier in the year, has been moved around, and I now work gazing out over my garden, rather than at a blank wall. Upstairs, what should be my spare bedroom is almost clear of clutter; my aim is to have it ready for decorating when my handyman is ready to start work again.

The drive – including both the parking in front of my house and the yard extending up the side – has been resurfaced. I can’t take credit for that (except for paying for it!), but I’ve started using it for growing herbs and other small plants, and have plans for a cold-frame there sometime.

In the kitchen, I’ve been cooking most meals from scratch, rather than relying on pre-cooked. I’m making my own bread again, regularly. I’ve already started the BBQ season with some pulled pork and smoked chicken breasts.

Basically, not being able to go out has made me look for things to do inside. I can’t deny that I still procrastinate sometimes, and still watch far too much TV, but I’m trying to get some achievement – no matter how little – done every day. Without weekend visitors or days out, or Saturday shopping, I’ve few excuses not to actually get on and do something.

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