Lockdown Skills, Part 20 of my Immediate Writing Series for Sarah Gosling’s Arts Show, Feb 18th 2020

I can open parcels faster than ever before. I keep a letter opener by the door and brandish it at the postman like a ninja. No wonder he leaves the mail on the doorstep and backs away.

Duration of lockdown is now measured in length of hair since last cut, but I’m planning a new lockdown skill as my mop begins to mop the floor. Give it another month or two and I’ll be able to plait it and use it as a rope to lift the grocery delivery in through my window.

I am now able to make the weighing scales go much higher than they did before, just by standing on them! This might be because I’ve treated all three lockdowns as one giant Bake-Off. I’ve definitely gone in all buns glazing. Banana bread was the least of it! I’ve graduated to soufflés and I love a good bread and butter pudding. Thank goodness Zoom only shows me from the shoulders up.

I can now solve a Rubix Cube in under two-and-a-half minutes and I also hold the household’s coffee-drinking, speed-drinking record! The two things may be related… but I’m not sure. I have also learned to knit socks on five double pointed needles, whilst the ginger cat snoozes on my lap, but I try NOT to do that on the same days as I speed-drink coffee because otherwise I poke the cat in the eye.

First I developed FOMOOZ - F. O. M. O. O. Z - Fear of missing out on Zooms. But then I upskilled to being a zoom hopping pro! I start on my Zumba class at 10am and after half an hour, when it gets a bit difficult, I pretend my internet connection has gone down, but really I’m logging out on purpose so I can hop over to the stitch an’ bitch where I can have a knit and a natter and get out my muffin.

I’ve built a shed which the kids love having picnics in whenever it’s warm enough. So, then I did the decking out the back and built a kennel for the dog, all out of reclaimed wood. It’s getting out of hand now! Next, I’m challenging myself to make a house out of matchsticks, before I fill up the yard and eclipse the lawn.

I figured out how to turn the cat filter ON on my Dad’s laptop so now he can be just like that lawyer.

I never thought I’d say this but I’ve actually started home brewing - last did it 20 odd years ago. Back then I had several successful batches from blueberries, plums and oranges. I've also learnt how to livestream, with all the tech bits and bobs that come with that. When the next batch of sloe gin is ready I think I’ll try and make a thing of doing my first radio show whilst nicely drunk on the labour of my fruits!

Today is the first day of lockdown lent, so “what am I giving up” I hear you cry? Well, I have to tell you that my new skill is exactly that - giving up. I’m giving up on giving up anything, I’m giving up trying to get better doing anything whatsoever. I’m giving up on beating myself up for the novel that I didn’t write during this pandemic and giving up on wearing anything at ALL on my bottom half during video calls. Isn’t that what we all need? Just to be allowed to give up and be bare arsed and happy, farting with the mute button on.



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