Journal

We’ve had a lot of peace. We’re spending a lot of evenings in the pool, where only twenty people are allowed at a time and only swimming in a clockwise loop. We’ve been taking sick days when we feel worn out. I’ve been reading a little more. Emma has planted the raised bed at the end of the garden with bulbs that are supposed to sleep over the winter and erupt in spring.

We’ve been on the coast of North Devon. Today the younger ones struck off from a larger group of trundling adults and children to get into the sea (we were standing on the headland and the water looked so calm and blue that Emma couldn’t think of anything other than finding somewhere to get into that sea). We found a small rocky beach at the end of a crumbling single-track road.

I woke up early and lay in bed for a while knowing Emma wanted a big lie in to catch up on sleep from a bad week. Eventually I got up and booked a slot at the gym and cycled there. I’ve been running less and going to the gym more, is that a more vain balance of exercise? Jay Rayner was back at the gym, and this time James Nesbitt was there too.

I might be getting back to work in the office soon. I always used to value the physical and mental separation of work and life. I think I still do and I’m looking forward to having it back for two days a week, which is the plan at first. A lot has changed since I left the office, though. I am much more invested in my home. For one, it’s gotten much bigger and can therefore accommodate work mode more easily.

Some days are good for nothing. It’s Friday and I’ve left work early but I haven’t been able to concentrate all day anyway. I feel unhappy and all I can think is I should go to the gym or play the piano or practice my Spanish or draw something or… Instead I’m going to flit between things, getting agitated at nothing.

It’s been a good week. We came back from Scotland and spent a week relaxing at home around my birthday. Then Tom arrived in Heathrow having run the gauntlet of the travel restrictions imposed by the Indian government, UK government, and the various airlines. He’s been decompressing here for a week or so, and making us incredible amounts of food and drink in the meantime. It’s good to have your habits disrupted.

Yesterday I watched a whole season of Kingdom on Netflix. It’s a big budget zombie show set in 16th century Korea. It being a Korean language show, there are English subtitles. However the subtitles not only translate dialogue but describe other sounds. Here is a non-exhaustive list of those subtitles. Indistinct shouting Munching Screaming Indistinct chatter Sword rasping Distant snarling Men whimpering Chain clanks Snarling Screaming continues Screaming intensifies Sucks teeth Amused gasp Horse neighs Thudding continues Men gasp Rumbling

We’re coming back to the world in floods of normalcy at the moment. One of my best friends was back in town on Thursday, and he came over for dinner and a drink. He was able to see our new home, I was able to cook for him, we were able to sit in our living room together and chat. We kept up chatting until just before midnight. We were all just so thankful to be able to have the kind of conversations you have with your friends in person when you’re relaxed.

I’ve been meeting my manager in the park every week during lockdown. He lived in a neighbourhood nearby and we both missed seeing people from work face-to-face, so it made sense. Plus the weather’s been good for the most part so it’s been nice to sit and have our catch up in the sun with either a coffee or a beer. Today I cycled there from the new house; it’s about fifteen minutes away.

It’s thirty degrees outside and we’re all, including the cat, feeling languid. The internet is down for much of South London, which adds to the general sense of stolid malaise. The past few days have been much more active. I’ve been buzzing around the house trying to make it a home bit by bit. It’s a tightrope doing the practicalities while basking in the glow of our fresh, new space. Try to sit in the airy new lounge without a care like you never could before, but also get that shoe rack and cutlery drawer insert ordered.