tHe wEEk tHAt wAs (16.2020)

Last week was the 5th week of working from home. The cheerful confirmations from senior management that we as an institution have an important part to play in responding to and eventually helping recovery from this crisis don’t seem to be filtering down to my team. This was the first week that several people admitted they were feeling down, that the day to day grind of living and working in the one space was getting to them. That their access to the things they enjoyed – friends, exercise, fresh air – was now all rationed, and that was impacting their ability to see the positive side of anything.

Add to that we have two team members down with the virus (one recovering and one still struggling) and the whole thing becomes real and personal and feeling good about a institutional response just isn’t there.

For everyone who is sick of people talking about how yoga is really helping them maintain their mental health, how they do yoga every day now, and how good they feel, last week I walked out on a yoga class. About 15 minutes in, I just wasn’t feeling… anything. So I left the class (actually, I switched off Zoom) and went for a walk instead. In yoga classes they say you should listen to your body. On that particular day, mine said “Get our of here and do something else.”

I’ve come to the realisation that excursions to the shops to buy food are the highlights of my week. We mostly shop at the Turkish supermarket because it doesn’t have the queues that the big chain supermarkets do. Their range of fresh vegetables and fruit is amazing. The range of bread and olives is so beautiful. The shelves are stacked with random ingredients in various languages, not just Turkish, but reflecting the wider ethnic diversity of my neighbourhood. It’s a joy to wander the aisles and make choices from the range available. This week I was excited by the Comice pears, the yellow zucchini, a kilo tub of hummus, the big bag of dried black beans and the sesame seed bread loaf. Who knows what delights will await next week?

On advice from a friend, we started watching Non Uccidere / Thou Shalt Not Kill, an Italian cop drama on Channel 4 / Walter Presents. The central character, a homicide detective in Turin, is supposed to have a sixth sense about the murder victims she is investigating. Hm, I’m not seeing that. What the show is doing is giving me the impression that most of the married people in Italy are having affairs, and those who aren’t are widowed men. I am enjoyed the slow pace of the drama with one case stretching over 2 x 1 hour episodes. It’s quite relaxing, if you can describe a police-detective-murder-investigation show that way.

This week I read Daisy Jones and the Six. It’s a library book I have had out for some months now and apparently can keep out until the end of June because libraries are now closed (like so many other things). The book is probably loosely based on Fleetwood Mac and the recording of the Rumours album – love and hate and music and drugs all combining to make great music. It made me wonder why more people in the music industry didn’t die in the 70s if drugs were so plentiful and so easy to come by.

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