Day 21 in the Corona house: It’s the little things you do together.

Day 21 in the corona house

Day twenty one in the Corona house, three weeks already in self-isolation and normality seems so far away, I can’t quite remember what it was I would have been doing if I had the opportunity to go out. Nor can I really think of things returning to the way they were before this period of turbulance began.

It’s almost like those memories we all carry of holidays we’ve been on in unfamiliar (or semi-familiar) places. In those holiday memories, you recognise the places and yourself in those settings, you have common frames of reference, but somehow there is a sense of it being slightly detached from the normal viciccitudes of life. In that sense, we know those memories exist somewhere else, another country or in kinder times. I find, at least for me, that’s how the normality of just three weeks ago is starting to feel.

In truth, I suspect it’s too cold and windy a day for me to have been doing much outside today so no real loss. That brings me on to the wise words of a friend and part-time usher of mine who was brave enough to verbalise something I’d been thinking in relation to my own period of purdah. Jo, for that is her name, has just moved to Suffolk (virtually Belgium) and has whilst she settles in been rather more used to her own company than when she lived in London village.

She pointed out that her social life had been relatively quiet since the move so self-isolating wasn’t much of a change.

I laughed like a drain as we often share a similar sense of humour. On one level the sad thing was it applied equally to me – until fairly recently the time between weekends had been mostly solitary. As an only child and living in a rural area you get used to, or at least familiar with your own company. I’ve found the domestic solitary confinement easier to deal with than Vaughan has for example. Indeed in some ways at a time when I found myself in a fairly toxic working environment it was almost a blessing.

Just a moment – no work for twelve weeks, no daily commute or sociopathic boss, Taz is around all the time, I have a chance to rediscover things I enjoy and wine gets delivered to the door. – What were those bad bits again?

A positive to take from the situation, and there aren’t many came from the local news where two elderly ladies were thrilled with the extra calls and welfare checks over the past couple of months. They weren’t fools, they were clearly aware that catching the virus in their early eighties was not something to be risked. However, they were in their words ‘made visible again’. Those calls from NHS volunteers didn’t result in further medication, treatment or intervention, but it did increase their interaction with another human being to levels they hadn’t experienced for several years. Some food for thought for all of us. It would be sad indeed if once this is over we hadn’t learnt something from this.

Some things we found ourselves doing this week were certainly not on the radar two weeks ago. The idea was it would help us get through our time inside, however, it also appears to be helping some others. I think that surprised both of us, but it’s heartening to know.

In the past, it was suggested that I might get greater readership if I wrote shorter pieces which didn’t ask hard questions. Also, I was told a picture post was always a winner. I didn’t take up the advice mainly because my driver wasn’t numbers of readers, it was a way of reflecting on the world and a means of honing some writing skills. Well, that was the hope. Also, although I thought about their suggestions, I have always preferred to touch on meaningful subjects and others have already cornered the market on fluffy cat pictures.

So you’ll understand how both Vaughan and I were independently pleased and surprised to read some very kind words about the impact of both this blog and Facebook posts that took on some tough issues such as issues surrounding the scope and intent of the current emergency powers being implemented in the UK. A school friend of mine who’s been having a rough time this year said they gave him his morning intellectual challenge. We were both rather flattred and it makes the research and wordsmithing worth the effort.

Grub with V-Dub

Similarly, although Vaughan has always appeared to enjoy cooking, I had no idea he would be live streaming ideas in his Grub with V-Dub videos.

So far we have had Chicken Jalfrezi, Chilli and chicken cacciatore all of which seemed to be well received and Vaughan certainly enjoyed making them. I quite enjoyed filming them although I’ll have to take lessons from Les Colyer on how to manage in cramped conditions (someone seems to have a kitchen wall just where I need to be) with no real way to keep your subject in shot and see the viewscreen at the same time. I have a newfound admiration of his work. However, my prior theatre direction is coming in handy – let’s see how well the talent takes direction.

The encouraging thing is we’ve already had a few messages saying please do some more as they are giving us something interesting to watch in the evening, they allow us to keep in touch with what you’re doing and we’ve had some ideas for next week’s dinners. The good news is we have two more scheduled this week (spoiler alert Spaghetti Vaughnalaise and chicken in pajamas). Again, we’ve had fun making them and it appears others have enjoyed watching them – win, win.

The not so secret cinephile

Lastly, partly as a means of keeping occupied, catching up with friends and developing a means of doing something collective, we will be streaming some classic (and new) films and musicals to a watch party for friends.

What seemed like a good idea that might attract 3-4 friends, we have a group of over 35 friends who will dip in and out of evening streaming parties on Tuesdays (musicals), Friday and even a Sunday afternoon matinee. Hopefully the tech can cope – we’ll find out with our first attempt on Tuesday. It isn’t the same as seeing friends in the real world, but it does remind you we’re all in the same boat and judging by the facebook group managing the watch parties let’s people chat and stay in touch until such time as we can meet again in person. I’m not sure when that will be, but whenever it is – we’ll be fully brushed up on our film backlog. It’s also reminded me it really is the little things you do that matter.


Today’s post took it’s title from one of my favourite musicals, Company. For those who like to hear the tracks it can be replayed on the control below.

Patti Lupone – The little things you do together (Company – Steven Sondheim)


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