Lockdown Diaries: Cinnamon Swirl

My swimming pool has finally reopened at the end of July.

The negatives?

  • You have to book
  • You can only book one session per day
  • Each session is only half an hour

The positives?

  • You’re allowed to use the changing room (far too many pools expect you to get home on the bus in a wet swimsuit or change in their car park)
  • The changing room and the showers have never been cleaner!

But my swimming app has been shut down as of May 31st, due to coronavirus. It used to track my swims, adding up the distances and match them onto a Google map:

Saved from oblivion… a screenshot of one of my completed swimming challenges

Before the app disintegrated on my phone, I managed to copy out the list of the swimming challenges (completed and uncompleted) but not the associated maps… Today I spent 3 fruitless hours on the internet trying to find out where in the world the intriguingly named Cinnamon Swirl challenge (175,665 m) is supposed to be taking place.

I don’t see much point in swimming 175,665 metres without being able to imagine the scenery…

…so I pretended to swim in the Serpentine (Hyde Park) instead.

Lockdown Diaries: Inmates in Solitary

One of the most bizarre experiences to emerge from the lockdown, at least in our house, is the lonely, self-contained life of the inmates.

You’d think now that we’re all in the house,  we have lots of family interaction: no commuting, we all work/study/live in the same space. And yet.

We’re all in different rooms; not just because some of us increasingly crave privacy but because of work demands: there are all the phone calls, video conferences, webinars and online lessons to participate in at random times of the day. Then there are our different work habits: I like to work with music on; my husband likes to work in complete silence. Young Friend of the Elephants likes to ‘work’ with her door shut so that she can Facetime her friends instead.

Surely as a minimum, we share all the meal times? No. We all get up at different times and trickle downstairs one by one; all end eating breakfast alone. Lunch? Seems absolutely impossible to organise because everybody is on a different schedule. What’s left is dinner, just like when we were not locked into the house, and the rare occasions when people coincide by the kettle in the kitchen. I’m on my tea break now and I can’t find a single soul in the house who’s available for a five minutes’ chat.

My sister said her family was no different. And yours?

Lockdown Diaries: The ‘New Normal’ in the Swimming Pools

I stopped counting the lockdown with Day 70, 6 days ago, when we managed to get to the seaside in Lancashire and I actually got to swim – for the first time since my pool closed in March. It’s true that the water was barely above knee deep as it was low tide but on the plus side this meant its temperature was perfectly acceptable, instead of being 14 degrees as it would have been at high tide.

Trips to the sea however come round relatively rare in our lives (for all that this is an island); so it was with great excitement that I noticed recently in the news that talk began of the reopening of swimming pools in a month or two’s time.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
But without the changing rooms.

Well, arriving already wearing your swimsuit is no major hardship and you can stuff your clothes and purse into a waterproof swimbag and leave it by the poolside. But as for going home… I can’t quite see myself wearing nothing but a dripping wet swimsuit on the bus, among fully dressed fellow travellers!

And what about in winter?

(Perhaps they should take this back to the drawing board.)

Lockdown Diaries: Day 70 (The Sea! The Sea!)

Locked Down in Lancashire, Day 70:

After more than two months in lockdown, we went on our first genuine day out…

…to the sea.

P1090782

A vast sheet of water, the commencement of a lake or an ocean, spread far away beyond the range of the eye, reminding me forcibly of that open sea which drew from Xenophon’s ten thousand Greeks, after their long retreat, the simultaneous cry, “Thalatta! thalatta!” the sea! the sea!

Jules Verne: The Journey to the Centre of the Earth

Lockdown is over.

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Lockdown Diaries: Day 69 (In Rome with Quevedo)

Virtual Escape: In Rome with Quevedo

Evasión virtual: En Roma con Quevedo

Francisco de Quevedo 1580-1645

Much earlier in the lockdown I wrote about some books I’ve got that would make me look good if I dropped dead with them in hand but which I have never read: an anthology of Quevedo’s poetry in the original was one of them.

Mucho antes en la cuarentena, escribió sobre unos libros que tengo; libros que me harían lucir si me muera con ellos en la mano, pero que nunca he leído: la antología de la poesía de Quevedo en el original idioma fue uno de ellos. 

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A Short History of Sicily

I know we’ve already been to Sicily recently (the lockdown has a lot to answer for)…

…but that was with a 19th century female traveller, Frances Elliot, whose romantic flights of fancy are quite different from what I’m proposing today. 🙂

I don’t remember when exactly I got John Julius Norwich’s book, Sicily: A Short History from the Ancient Greeks to the Cosa Nostra, but I had it on the mantelpiece (where I keep the books I haven’t got round to reading yet) for at least a couple of years. All this extra time in lockdown finally gave me the chance to read it…

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Lockdown Diaries: Day 68 (Livin’ La Vida)

Locked Down in Lancashire, Day 68: Livin’ La Vida

Okay, so it’s not Spain. But it’s rural Lancashire, with views across the valley from the window, with hedges, drystone walls, palm trees (!) and brooks within walking distance and the sea within driving distance. And driving to places is allowed. 🙂

No virtual escape today, sorry. I’m just going to soak up the countryside and sniff at all the flowers.

 

Keep safe, keep sane – enjoy the flowers! 🙂

Lockdown Diaries: Day 67 (Anywhere But Lancashire)

Locked Down in Lancashire, Day 67:

Up on the motorway to Lancashire – instead of having fun in Spain as once planned – to attend to some family affairs while we’re still on holiday. At least we’re now also allowed non-essential travel, so we hope to fit in some hiking too!

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Lockdown Diaries: Day 66 (I Brought My Life This Far)

Locked Down in London, Day 66: Politicians

For the past few days, the row about whether a certain politician who broke the lockdown rules by travelling to visit family at some 200 miles’ distance (for childcare reasons) should resign.

In the circumstances I don’t believe that his reason for travelling was acceptable; but that’s just my personal opinion. What I do know for a fact on the other hand is that my family made sacrifices in the interest of public health instead of doing what was the best for us (as I believe did many others!) – while this mother****** did the exact opposite. Ergo, he should resign.

(Of course he won’t.)

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Lockdown Diaries: Day 65 (The Cíes Islands)

Locked Down in London, Day 65:

I just remembered: yesterday, if it wasn’t for the coronavirus, we’d have flown out to Galicia.

This would have been the holiday that would have replaced the one that was cancelled in April. Is this depressing or what? At least now we finally grasped that there was no point in rescheduling; instead we’ve joined the ranks of those hopefuls who are expecting their money back from the airline…

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Lockdown Diaries: Day 64 (Day Off)

Virtual Escape: Day Off

It’s Saturday night. My boss wanted me to work in the weekend – again! Why? Because she’s got neither a cat, nor a dog and is bored out of her mind in lockdown.

You know what? I’m taking the day off.

I hope you have something ever so much nicer to do than reading my blog for a virtual escape but if your need is desperate, there are 63 days worth of virtual escapes in my

⇒ Lockdown Diaries

P.S. If you just want a chat about books or Herodotus, I’m up for that. 🙂 Leave a comment below.

Keep safe, keep sane – see you tomorrow! 🙂

Lockdown Diaries: Day 63 (Sunset Sailing)

Virtual Escape: Sunset Sailing

A few years ago we holidayed in Malta – I wish we could go there right now! – and one we went on an organised trip with a small sailing ship to the Blue Lagoon and the island of Gozo where we had the good fortune to see the Azure Window – which collapsed in a storm the year after. While we were on the way back to Valetta, the sun set on us…

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Lockdown Diaries: Day 61 (Give Me My Aegean)

Locked Down in London: Open Letter to Boris

Dear Boris,

Today I had a long, hard day at work in an overheated office (our patio) and in my well considered opinion this lockdown sucks, sucks and sucks some more.

I know you’re very busy so I’ll be brief: I want water. Not from the tap! I want to go to the beach; if not that, then to the river; if not that, to the lido; if not that, at least to the pool where I’m a member.

Continue reading “Lockdown Diaries: Day 61 (Give Me My Aegean)”

Lockdown Diaries: Day 60 (Running Away to Sea)

Virtual Escape: Running Away to Sea

It’s such a beautiful day today where I am – blue skies, glorious sunshine… we’re only missing the sea, the sand and the palm trees to make everything perfect.

So I thought today we’re escaping to the sea with a few books…  The first of which absolutely has to be:

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Lockdown Diaries: Day 57 (My Trusty Old Herodotus)

Locked Down in Budapest:

Although I’m one of those few privileged 🙂 who can actually enter Hungary at the moment because I do hold a Hungarian passport, I did not exchange the London lockdown to that of Budapest. (More’s the pity.) The video however is from Budapest, courtesy of my sister. Unfortunately, on trying to upload it, I found that unless I upgrade my free plan, I can’t – this not being the right financial moment to invest in my blogging hobby, I uploaded it instead to the blog’s FB page:

MARADJ OTTHON (STAY AT HOME)

Enjoy.

Continue reading “Lockdown Diaries: Day 57 (My Trusty Old Herodotus)”