What have you done since self-isolating? What skills have been acquired, epiphanies struck? I’ll be honest: my heart sinks every time yet another friend posts a picture of a perfectly baked sourdough. Some people learned a language or began writing a novel! Don’t get me started on the ones who made those incredible focaccia breads, studded with vegetables to look like beautiful paintings. In my corner, I’ve simply been trying to keep the wheels on with work and the home-schooling thing, so I’ve felt a bit bereft at achieving nothing of note during ‘all this extra time’ I keep hearing about. So I decided, like writer Adele Parks in this issue, to adjust my way of thinking. And I’ve managed to write my own alternative list. Here, in no particular order, are some of the notable ‘achievements’ of my time in lockdown.
- I lost two bank debit cards. Any chump can lose one every so often. It takes someone really special, however, to lose two within the space of eight weeks. Yes, two. And both within the confines of my own home. They’re here, somewhere, long since cancelled. Still, re-inputting my new card details – again – with iTunes, Netflix and the rest makes the nights fly by.
- I achieved a totally unique hairstyle. One evening, I decided to take to the back of my neck with my husband’s new hair clippers. Just to shave off those annoying wispy bits sticking up on the nape. What could possibly go wrong? I now have something on the back of my head that looks a cross between a crop circle and that swirly bit on the crown of a guinea pig.
- The above may or may not be related to my personal record of pumping more funds into the Australian and New Zealand wine industries than I’d have ever thought possible. But like so many people in these unprecedented times, I’ve discovered that you can achieve a lot of things if you set your mind to them.
- I also pulled off a rare acrobatic feat, in dropping my iPhone on the floor and, when bending from my chair to pick it up, bashing my glasses on the corner of my dining-room table. One of these moves is standard. Performing them together, with all the balletic grace of a newborn foal, is something else, I’m sure you’ll agree. And the damage to both glasses and phone screen makes reading emails better for brain-training in these challenging times than any Sudoku.
Join me, won’t you, in celebrating these stunning achievements but, more importantly, marvelling at how on earth I’ve made it this far in life and even managed to get this magazine into your hands.
I’ll drop the facetiousness for a second to say, I hope you enjoy this issue, in particular our feature on the ‘lockdown diaries’ of some of our favourite writers. I found them reassuring in the sense that, if you managed to get through even your most anxiety-ridden day to smile, speak to someone you care about, or even just eat something nice… then that was enough. This isolation special is a reminder of how the little things we were in danger of forgetting are more sustaining than any amount of glamorous focaccia.
A few things I’m coveting this week
An elegant neutral topper for denim. Shirt, £225, equipment, harveynichols.com
A stylish way to bring nature indoors. Planter, £13.50, brostecopenhagen.com
A digital recipe book, with 30 per cent of proceeds going to the Trussell Trust. £10, retreateat.com