The past four months of lockdown have done wonders for my arms. Time once spent commuting to the office has been devoted to online beginner’s Pilates and a little bit of weight training. It hasn’t, however, been especially beneficial for my mental health or that of my friends, or of the five million or so other inhabitants of metropolitan Melbourne.Continue reading
Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.Alexander Pope
On October 6th, 1727, English poet Alexander Pope wrote these words in a letter to a friend. Almost 300 years later, his words sum up perfectly the attitude of many Melburnians after two months of stage four lockdown.Continue reading
It is a truth universally acknowledged that prolonged periods of lockdown aren’t good for the human psyche. Being confined to our homes, our suburbs, even our state can be claustrophobic. We stare at our four walls but dream of faraway places.Continue reading
A Melbourne poised to go into stage four lockdown is probably not the ideal place to be in mid-winter.
Icy blasts of wind from the snow-dusted Dandenong Ranges whistle down the deserted streets as masked shoppers scurry along in search of final supplies before the expected announcement from Dan Andrews of further closures.
Who was it who said ‘Living with your adult children goes against nature’?
Oh yes, I think it was me.
It was long before the financial implications of choosing a life in The Yarts had hit home to two generations of my family: my muso son and me. But we wouldn’t have it any other way. The writing/music life fixes you in its gaze and you are powerless to look away. So here we are in lockdown together.
This online dating story was the catalyst for a piece of mine that appeared in The Guardian this week. It led to a second pitch, a whole new focus and a home in one of my favourite newspapers. It’s a lesson in perseverance and sheer bloodymindedness.
Here is the original…
An English friend of mine, now in her late 70s, introduced her husband to me by saying ‘This is Bill. I advertised for him in the Guardian.’
One day last week I looked around me at the piles of newspapers, manila folders, books and binders scattered over the floor in my bedroom/study and took a deep breath. I’ve been sleeping, working and eating in this room for the past few months.
My brain is a lockdown-induced jumble of broken resolutions.
The freedom of working from home has turned me into a combination of jellyfish and goldfish – lacking in backbone and unable to retain a plan for more than three seconds. I can’t put it off any longer. I need order in my life.
Kids, I’m going to IKEA. If I’m not back by midnight, send out a search party.
Since lockdown began six (or is it seven?) millenia ago, I have begun to realise how reliant I am on the companionship of sound, and of classical music in particular.
I wake up to Russell Torrance and his gentle Scottish brogue on Classic FM, then move on to my late father’s classical music CD collection for the rest of my working-from-home day. Once meticulously filed in alphabetical order in his study, it’s now a jumbled pile in his old bedroom – my current retreat. I sift through it for old favourites – the B for Bach, H for Handel and M for Mozart sections were always heavily weighted on Dad’s shelves – and spend hours every day of this 21st century pandemic immersed in 18th century music.
Being a long distance grandmother has its compensations. Every morning since corona-lockdown, I’ve woken to images of my son and his young family managing their splendid self-isolation in northern NSW. There are five of them and they’re in this together: mother, father, toddler, newborn and Norman. (Norman is a greyhound but try convincing him.)
This Anzac Day was going to pass me by without comment.
I’ve written before about my inner battle with this most Australian commemoration of war and I’ve made peace with myself on that front. The trouble is on another more personal front.
April 25 is also the anniversary of my father’s death.Continue reading