Cooking up my best life…

I can see from my friends’ Facebook posts that everyone is having their own unique lockdown experience. I try and avoid saying too much on social media, because right now, I’m living my best life and I’m not sure people want to keep hearing about it.

As we sat there with the sun on our faces this afternoon, having eaten lunch and half a tub of ridiculously good macchiato ice-cream, I said to my husband: ‘Isn’t this time special?’ I can’t remember having spent so many carefree hours under blue skies in his company.

For some reason, holidays abroad are always stressful for us as a family. We fall out easily and there is always some crisis to avert – like the time my son got his fingers stuck in a lift at Disneyland Paris or my husband got stuck in a lift in Spain overnight. There are no lifts at home and nothing to push us to our limits. The teething troubles have passed and we are all rubbing along nicely.

Having just finished two pieces of work, I am now left with one project on the go, which fills a day each week. That means that in-between ordering in groceries, cooking, cleaning and washing, I have an awful lot of spare time. This would normally fill me with dread as I am uncomfortable with the notion of not earning enough money. Ordinarily, I’d scrabble around in a hopeless panic looking for new clients, but now, there’s no point. The world has come to a standstill and the first budget to be cut is PR and marketing.

I remembered that I had 20,000 words of a novel on my hard drive. I gave up on it a year or so ago, writing it off as a crock of shit and reasoning that it was not worth my time working on a rubbish book that will never see the light of day when I could be making a living doing something else.

Re-reading said book, I was struck by the fact that it is not shit at all, parts of it are, but some of it is okay and a few bits are, dare I say it, quite good. Fate has given me the perfect opportunity to finish the damned thing, so that is what I am going to do and because I have given myself permission to dive into it wholeheartedly, it’s turning out to be immensely satisfying. It’s not easy of course. Writing is painful. I am NEVER as good as I want to be, but there is always room for improvement. I can already see how a bit of thought and editing has lifted the story.

Aside from the writing, I continue with my drug of choice – nature. Has it always been this green out there? When was the sky last this blue for days on end? It is normal for birds to sing so loudly? It is beautiful out and whether I am walking or running, my allowed hour of exercise is a highlight.

Then there’s the cooking. I am a bit lazy and tend to buy a lot of ready meals. Now, they are harder to come by than crack cocaine (I said that for dramatic effect reader; I do not know how to source drugs) so I must make do with a vegetable and fruit box once a week, a deli delivery and whatever will fit on the back of an Uber Eats motorbike.

Our fridge is no longer full of rotting food. Nothing is wasted and I am having to use my imagination – what can I do with an avocado, two lemons and a mango? Overripe bananas go into cakes, the freezer is brimful with batches of homemade soup and spices that have been here since we first moved in 18-years-ago, are finally being used. What’s more, I don’t feel resentful because I have to ‘do everything around here’ because honestly, I find cooking and cleaning to be quite relaxing. There’s been a 1940s housewife struggling to get out of me all along.

The only thing I find difficult is not being able to see my mum. She’s elderly and flew from New Zealand for my Dad’s funeral. I have only seen her on Zoom since the service back in mid March. Still, when lockdown eases, I have agreed to drive down and socially distance in the garden.

I appreciate that these are terrible times for so many people and feel sad for anyone who is suffering. I can understand there’s a lot of anger, but for now, I don’t want to rage against Governments, people breaking self-isolation rules or even the drivers who seem to think  it’s Le Mans around here. Anger can eat you up at the best of times and is even worse when you’re confined to barracks, far better for me to concentrate on all the wonderfulness – our nurses and doctors, the heroes who keep my deliveries coming and all the smiling neighbours I’ve chatted to in the sunshine…from a safe distance of course.

Also, I say ‘I love you’ a lot these days. Not to my husband or kids, but to the two tomato plants on my bedroom windowsill. My spiritual mentor Marion told me about the 6ft cabbages at Findhorn that were grown by communicating with the spirits of nature, known as devas. I can’t say I’ve felt the presence of anything supernatural, but it’s a win, win situation whatever. The plants appear to be flourishing and the process of attempting to radiate love, makes me feel all fuzzy and warm. I’m praying for tomatoes the size of basketballs. I’ll keep you posted!




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