Monday 18th May 2020

The start of week nine in lock down is fraught with peoples anxieties around government plans to begin to lift lock down and return people to work, and children to school.  It is also the start of mental health awareness week.  The uproar that has been caused by the lifted lock down is overwhelming.  A mixture of plans to return children to an uncertain environment at a time where the death toll is still increasing and reported widely.  Social media is screaming opposing views, with many friends of mine frantic about the idea that school cannot even cope with outbreaks of head lice, never-mind coronavirus.  It’s the uncertainty of the messages we are being told, the vagueness at a time where people are desperate for clarity and light in the face of this great leveller.

I have had to move away from news reports and daily briefings in order to maintain my mental health.  I have tried to cull the amount of social media that I digest on a daily basis, trying to replace these things with comedy and beauty.  Of which there is much.  As I write this I am watching a programme made in lock down, Grayson Perry’s Art Club.  The artist has created this idea, this week, inviting people to draw the world from their window.  One particularly powerful piece for me was a simple pencil drawing, as if it was of a child’s, yet it was drawn by a woman who had greatly lost her sight.  Such a simple image, yet it was for her, a truth, a memory, a representation of how she sees the world.  A mixture of dark and light.  A clarity in it simplicity at a time when people are desperate for clarity.  It has been so lovely to lose myself for a moment in the creativity that has come about since lock down, and it reminds me of the incredible lengths that people are going to in so many areas of their life better through art, comedy, togetherness and time.

Another joy for me during lock down and it lifted restrictions is the opportunity to travel further.  An opportunity for me and my daughter to venture to Lake Gormire, A local beauty spot, forgotten in time, and as it has been so long since we have been there, (first visit this year)  we were rewarded with carpets of bluebells and cow parsley, common self heal and Jack by the hedge, and wild garlic.  We picked lots of leaves, my daughter crushing them into a bowl for her bedroom and I’ve just made some garlic butter.

Lock down has to be about changing direction, changing gears and slowing down.  In many ways we are powerless over these things that are happening to us, so I think this time is key in changing how we now approach the world and use our time wisely as we try to adjust to this strange scary world.

Take Care of yourselves and each other.

Sincerely Yours, Paul