Week seven: preemptive pizzas in the park*, AKA you can’t quarantine stupid

*not my pizza, or my park. I stayed home.

As I type, the nation is waiting for today’s Boris and Co Show, where he’ll be addressing the the people from 10 Downing Street. Rumours have been flooding the more binary media for the last few days that lockdown will start to be lifted, that the schools will be open from the beginning of June – and at the same time the headlines tell us that we have now outstripped Italy in the coronavirus death charts and that we are second only to America in the world. Police forces on social media in the sunshine yesterday were telling us that there were whole swathes of people pre-empting any lockdown announcements by eating pizza in the parks. Other countries who have started lifting the lockdown are experiencing second waves, which should stand as a warning to those considering lifting restrictions only seven weeks in rather than the 12 that were initially mentioned.

I think the terribly English VE Day anniversary celebrations (socially distanced scones at 4pm, anyone?) and the Churchillian vibe that Johnson seems to want to project have clouded a lot of thinking coming from Westminster. The devolved nations have been very clear that lockdown will stay in place for at least the next three weeks – and while Westminster is apparently keen that the nations should stay in step, this means they want everyone to fall in with them rather than considering that maybe – just maybe – the devolved nations have the right idea. Construction workers are actually expecting to start work tomorrow, at least according to the one I was chatting to in the queue at the Co-op this morning.

I’m angry, and I’m worried – as in America, the economy seems to be driving the need to raise lockdown rather than the safety of the nation. I am worried about getting back on the tube – and I was on the Central Line the day after 7/7, because I work in London and we don’t back down. But this time – of all the times – we can and should be backing down, because this little virus – this invisible mugger, or whatever Johnson called it – is even harder to spot than a suspicious person. I’m angry that the government are abdicating responsibility for this decision, claiming that ‘the public’ have had enough. I’m aware that my chosen social media is by its very nature an echo-chamber, but I have yet to see or hear anyone pushing for this to be over. Inevitably there are the conspiracy theorists shouting about ‘plandemics’ and plots for world trade domination, but even they seem quite keen to stay alive and well. As Nicola Sturgeon says, the best defence against this is our own front door. Yes, people are bored – but we are healthy and bored.

Apologies for the rant!

Normal service will now be resumed….

My Google maps timeline for April appeared in my inbox this week and, like an idiot, I went through it to see if I’d done anything exciting – I did! I went a whole 1.75 miles from my house to the local farm shop to try and get some flour (no chance) but apart from that I stayed within about a mile radius of home. I’m looking forward to May’s timeline, when I can reminisce about that time I went to Tesco.

The lych gate at St Andrew’s Church, North Weald (dates from 1898)

Those walks within a mile or so of home do allow me to take in some beautiful scenery – after last week’s musings on spring colours coming in waves I made a point of looking for flowers in different colours on my walks. One of those walks took me past the church and the flood meadow – circling anti-clockwise round the village rather than clockwise – and I also took Thing 2 with me one morning who enjoyed spotting blooms at ground level. She insisted on collecting a dandelion clock for everyone so we could all have a wish. I made use of the PictureThis and LeafSnap apps to identify flowers, and we also enjoyed using the BirdNet app to identify birdsong (song thrush, blackbird, mistle thrush, blue tit, Eurasian blackcap, whitethroat, chiff chaff and lapwings!)

I’ve been quite stressed and anxious this week, which affected my concentration. The scrubs sets I was making took well over a week, as I took them very slowly and just did one step a day until my mind levelled out again. By Saturday my mojo (sewjo?) had returned and I whizzed through the scrubs trousers and also made Thing 2’s ‘Shaggy pants’, which she loves. I used New Look F6013 and she chose some fun printed cotton from Pound Fabrics. We decided on an elastic waistband rather than a drawstring, with a ribbon bow. The trousers only have two pattern pieces, and took about an hour and a half from opening the pattern packet to putting the trousers on for a photo so they were super simple. She loves them so much she has already requested a second pair… Thing 1 wants culottes (but with ‘flowy fabric, mum’) and my beloved has asked for some pyjama pants – so I’ve been back online this morning finding the right materials.

Thing 2 in her ‘Shaggy pants’

I’ve been superorganised today and made a list of all the things I want to sew in the next few weeks – then put the pattern, instructions and fabric for each into separate bags so I can grab and go. There’s a few in there that will stretch my skills a bit – a proper bra and pants, for example – and some quick wins.

I finished last week’s crochet socks, which felted a tiny bit in the washing machine so they are really soft – the pattern was the Magdalen sock by Vicki Brown, from Inside Crochet issue 101. I’m not sure she envisaged them in quite the same colourway, but I love them!

Magdalen socks – in Drops Nord, Regia sock (cuff) and Cygnet Wool Rich 4-ply (heel and toe)

I’ve now started a new pair of socks – this time the Vappu sock by Claire Montgomerie – and it’s a measure of just how away with the fairies I’ve been this week that it took three attempts to start the first one, and a lot of cursing, because I could NOT work out where the designer had got her stitch count…. and it turned out I was reading the pattern wrong. I’m using Stylecraft Head over Heels yarn in Sugarloaf for these. Watch this space!

(If you’re a crocheter and you haven’t had a go at making socks, I highly recommend it – this is a great book to start off with)

Thanks for sticking with me through this week’s rant! Let’s see what week 8 has in store for us all.

Kirsty x

What I’ve been reading:

The Evil Seed – Joanne Harris

The Making of Mr Hai’s Daughter: Becoming British – Yasmin Hai

All the Little Places – Sophie Shillito

Listening to:

The Grove of the Caesars – Lindsey Davis (Audible)

2 thoughts on “Week seven: preemptive pizzas in the park*, AKA you can’t quarantine stupid

  1. I agree with you that the change, especially with regard to people going back to work seems a bit precipitous. I am glad that at 72 with a son and a neighbour willing to do a bit of shopping for me I can make my own decisions. No mention of what parents with young children were supposed to do if they went back to work either. Love all your flower photos.

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