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Blog day


Yes Ralph is now a big presence in our lives. He is more dog like that I imagined and follows me everywhere. He also needs lots of attention and barges onto your lap if you don't pick him up and cuddle him. I'm aware i'm being a bit like a parent who thinks their child is wonderful or dog people who are the same. Now I am one.

This morning I feel very busy as it’s blog day and laundry day. At least I already have some semblance of a routine to keep whilst self isolating. When I was barely able to leave the house I got used to living in a.....I was going to say small world, but that sounds too negative and horizons are mental as well as physical. Tomorrow is cleaning day which is when our cleaner would have come under normal circumstances.

Although the art group is cancelled I’ll paint under my own steam as usual:

I also have some chicken stock to make from yesterday’s chicken which I’ll turn into a delicious soup with cannelloni beans. The rest will go into a Szechuan dish with fermented black beans.

When I had COPD I could only tolerate the mildest of heat, and although Szechuan chillies are hot they seem to hit the lips more than the airways. Anyway I am enjoying the heat. M got me a Szechuan cookbook by Fuschia (great name, I’d love to be named by a flower, Iris or Lily) Dunlop along with a load on ingredients from Sous Chef which is a good online re source for things not sold in supermarkets.

We are so fortunate - at least so far; I have a lurking anxiety about how long that will last - to have fantastic local meat, fish and vegetable shops that will take phone orders and deliver or we can get them collected by friends or our village COVID support network. I seem to constantly need prescriptions collecting. The doctors surgery and pharmacy seem to have gone mad for some reason; extremely busy and staff not able to manage their stress levels very well. I guess they are having to cope with all their patients anxiety directed at them.

I am slightly worried about not being monitored as frequently as I would be, I haven’t had a blood test for example as it’s too risky for me to go to get tested. So who knows what’s happening with my kidneys etc.

Apart from eating well we are also drinking like fish (moderately!); perhaps a way of fending off anxiety. They say it makes it worse but it’s fine for me; I am getting a good eight hours sleep if not more, with the help of meds; perhaps I’m lucky to still be on a fairly powerful medication cocktail including anxiolytics.

And I am able to paint most days, with only the occasional loss of inspiration:

So with that and reading I’m comfortable. It feels strange that there is a world out there that I can’t see or go into. I had a moment the other day when I was sitting in the garden with Ralph and I sort of parachuted over myself and thought how extremely weird to be sitting there having had a double lung transplant and now in a global pandemic; and a fundamental disruption to everyone’s way of life. I know it’s a cliche but truth is stranger than fiction (apparently coined by Lord Byron in his poem DonJuan).

I am trying not to think about how it will end up. China seems to have returned to some normalcy but they have a very different culture to us so I guess the only comparison can be with the actual virus rather than behaviours. I don’t think we are in a very good place as a/ we don’t have a clue about managing the outbreak here and b/ the country is already fractured. Some have mentioned a change where we all become one and reconfigure our values and become nicer but I am not a believer. I think there will be the inevitable blame game (started already by the poisonous Gove who surfaced this morning with his usual mendacity).

On a positive note here are some paintings by the marvellous Milton Avery {why am I even thinking about Gove?!):

I love his use of colour and perspective.

Talking of a Ralph he happily goes in his harness and walks around the garden. He did actually escape a few days ago and I was convinced we’d lost him, but to my increasingly plaintive cries of his name he came scrabbling through next doors fence. He had been all the way down the lane and found his way back. M went looking and spotted him. So I’m just waiting for his collar to arrive and then we will let him out, a bit fearful of tractors but I think he will be happier if he’s able to roam around.

As would I but that’s another story already told just now. I'll leave you with a first attempt at painting Ralph:

It does look like him even if he is floating in space. He was actually on a cardboard box that he's commandeered.

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