Corona Diary, Day 7

Sunday, 22 March

Who would have thought that, in the space of a few months, we would be looking back at the fraught period of discussing Brexit as a lost golden age. How people would have laughed if we’d suggested such a possibility. Yet here we are with the world turned upside down and not knowing how it will all turn out and what will happen to us or the economy now and afterwards.

I’ve spent the day working on a language review of an academic article, which has been quite enjoyable. It’s made me think that perhaps I should dedicate a day at a time to a particular project and not jump from topic to topic as I usually do, making small incremental advances on a number of fronts. The background silence, the lack of temptation to go down to the city and lounge in the library for a while, the long chunks of uninterrupted time push in this direction.

Dusting off my bookshelf has to be incremental, however. It generates too much dust to work on too long. I’ve now got to my West Country section, probably the best collection of books about the West Country between here and California (going east). As I sift through one treasure after another, I realise that I probably have enough books to keep me going until my 100th birthday if not beyond. So if my “Corona captivity” lasts a bit longer than expected, I’m well prepared. I also realise that my bookshelves need attention – my books are sorted into rough categories but are in need of a more rational structure. And there’s also the fine “ad libris” stamp which my daughter-in-law gave me, which I started to use but then got interrupted (I’m looking for the English equivalent of the useful Swedish “kommer av mig”…) but now want to complete, section by section. I would also like to catalogue my books. I was given some software where I could scan the titles in, which I also started using and got interrupted, which I shall investigate. I think I need just one more bookshelf, only a small one. I have nowhere to put my collection of Swedish novels, which are at present on our island. They have been mostly saved from libraries who sold them off very cheaply as unwanted shelf-warmers. Placed together, the obvious library binding makes me look like some super kleptomaniac who has hoovered the libraries of everything he could get his hands on but they all have their  Cancelled stamps inside the cover if anyone cares to look.

No one does look just now, of course, as I am closed to visitors until the plague has passed by. It’s gone well so far and while I am sad about events I was looking forward to not happening, I also feel a bit exhilarated about the challenges of playing such a weird hand. I probably have to indulge in some mental hygiene activities to ensure I don’t stray too far from the fold in my isolation. I was up until the small hours last night and then slept until 11.00 today so I’m a bit worried that KST (Kendall Standard Time) is going to lurch unpredictably away from CET/GMT and I am going to keep the same hours as Stalin although without the disreputable alcohol-fuelled “colleagues” he surrounded himself with. At least I now have Alexa to tell me what day it is and if she says “I’m sorry. I don’t have that information” then I know that something has gone seriously wrong (great to have a doomsdayometer).

I’ve also made a list to ensure that I cook proper food every day and not just a few times a week and don’t indulge in a tin frenzy as I try and keep up with my plan. I’ve now separated my tinned food and packet soups into a separate “don’t touch” drawer to help me discipline myself to cook from scratch. I want to have about ten days margin in case my daughter can’t shop for me for some reason – the ten days being the waiting time before you can bag a place on the food delivery services which are under great pressure just now.

Almost 23.00 now. Time to check the news and then hit the hay.

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