This is a painting of some lovely primulas growing down the lane. There were plenty left. A bit of joy in these strange times. It is difficult to write anything without mentioning it at all; in fact it would feel perverse not to.
I was struck by a piece Deborah Levy wrote:
“I suppose it is interesting to watch male authoritarian political leaders attempt to become fathers of the nation; to be paternal or parental, to apparently care for the wellbeing of all citizens, to show empathy, sympathy, to make sure children who usually get free school lunches don’t starve and that rough sleepers are housed. Five bus workers and two young nurses died this week. Who are the most valuable people in our society? Why are they underpaid? Will Covid-19 be austerity’s starry, starry night?”
My cynical side thinks that nothing much will change; the everyday business is still being run for the protection of the conservatives. And I’m not the first to question why there is no outcry and fury at the way the government has handled the pandemic so that they are steering us towards the highest death rate in Europe. We just have ‘Get well Boris’ and the sickening cheer for the NHS. ‘I have seen things I would never have believed possible – such as those who legislated to put our national health service on a ventilator (in the days when they were less in demand) all heartily clapping as if it had never occurred to them to destroy it.’ Deborah Levy again.
It’s difficult to feel anything very much when it all feels so detached if not remote. We’ve now been self isolating for 3 weeks and the prospect of another 9 is horrendous. Apart from seeing a bit of the news which I usually switch off pretty quickly as I can’t bear the sight or sound of the politicians in charge, I feel cut off from the world outside. Something is going on 'out there'.
At least I can paint although need motivation for that. I have a few things coming up in the garden that will give me some inspiration including tulips which are taking an age even in the sunny weather. Meanwhile it’s been Jane’s pots and wildflowers:
And I can’t complain about food as we’re still getting lots of good things. Yesterday we had roast lamb with anchovy and parsley relish and we had another chicken with walnut sauce which was delicious. I’ll make a Szechuan chicken and peanut stir fry with the leftovers.
I didn’t make a Simnel cake this year as I didn’t want a huge cake and no one to eat it. I made do with some very nice hot cross buns from the sourdough bakery who are delivering to the next village who then deliver to us. I have tried in vain to contact Waitrose to demand a delivery slot and an explanation of what they’re doing about the 1.5 million of us who are especially vulnerable. Apparently the govt. has given the supermarkets access to the details of those of us in that cohort and we should get contacted directly. It is very frustrating having to rely on the goodwill of other people all the time. I sound ungrateful but I couldn’t be more thankful, it’s just that I want my independence.
I even started watching TV in the day which I never do unless I’m ill. Season 2 of Big Little Lies which I’ve wanted to watch for ages. There is of course the underlying plot but I just like watching the actresses, Lorna Dern, Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Zoe Kravitz were all very watchable in season 1 and now there is Meryl Streep too.
Killing Eve starts tonight so that is something to look forward to. That’s another weird thing right now; you can’t make any plans for anything as we’ve no clue how or when the situation will change. There is talk of the need for repeated lockdowns as the virus starts to spread again with the easing of restrictions.
Maybe we will never return to life as we knew it; there will be a new normal at some point. Which will surely be huge unemployment and many businesses gone including shops and restaurants we hope to go to again. I can’t help but think I am moaning when I have no right to; there must be people suffering hugely but we don’t get to see or hear them other than in ways in which the govt has sought to assist people who’ve been furloughed etc.
We hear about the increase in domestic violence but that’s always been hidden, and it’s laughable the way that additional money is now being provided to services that this govt previously cut to the bone.
The good news is that Ralph has recovered from his assault. He’s been going out although has now lost three collars so we’re not going to bother with them anymore; he has his chip for identification.
I think I felt dispirited by all things art being cancelled; I had just sold my first painting in Richard Scott's shop which then had to close. And I was looking forward to Open Studios and other opportunities; difficult to feel you're just .painting for yourself . There is Instagram of course but I'm not too good at the self promotion required. I was determined to end on an upbeat note so here are some great abstracts by Roger Hilton: