The COVID Chronicles - March 24 - 28 - the new normal, the guy in the gas mask & a conversation through a glass window.

Tuesday - March 24.  

Dave has to get something from the office, an essential piece of equipment to test some work on.  It’s a couple of miles away and he has a suitcase on wheels filled with stuff, a mask and a bandana for his walk there.  He makes a stop at the post office for me, then comes back hours later with a heavy duty dolly filled with work gear.  Sweaty, exhausted.  He is now 100% hunkered down.   

In his absence, I rearrange all the crap below the sink.  I’m not a neat freak, but too much clutter is stressing me out.  And now we know exactly how many cleaning supplies we have.

Another morning episode of Muck N Brass on IGTV - this time she is putting gold gilding on boots.  My hero.  I get Bonnie-Blue out for our one walk /day and the river is at low tide.   We go down for a bit to get the dog out.  She runs in circles and is relishing in all of the at home attention.  When we end this quarantine, she’s going to have some major separation anxiety.

I do a quick call with a friend who is self isolated, considering upcoming collaborations.  There are a lot of moving parts to our lives, but I know that something good will come about.  I remember with 9/11 that planes became weapons.  I now feel like we in our own bodies are potential weapons to other people, unbeknownst to us.  Yikes.  This is super creepy.  

A touch of home schooling - an article about rainbows in the windows of houses, then another cancelled virtual playdate.  Another case of a mom feeling crappy.  The virus is creeping in.

A bit more home schooling - We read two pages of Nancy Drew, then we’re done.  It’s enough. 

More work on the DIY chair project, a quick uncensored Coffee Talk Tuesday video for my social media channels, and setting up a ZOOM call so my daughter can attend her weekly Brownies meeting online.  She laughs and giggles during the meeting.  A small win for today.

My inbox is filled with so many messages.  A good reminder about a virtual New Moon circle tonight with Emma Shoesmith, yay.  I got a message though about a week ago where an artist was trying to sell a 7k GBP painting.  Ummm no.  Not the time.  Shut that DOWN!  I consider ways to start making a bit of cash.  It’s a balancing act for sure.  

I end the day with the ZOOM new moon circle call and sketch this out in my journal.  

March 25 - Wednesday

I wake up around 3:30 and do what I’m not supposed to do - scroll through social media.  Anthony Valadez is doing silly art on his tablet and another DJ from KCRW in LA joins him.  They crack me up.  The level of creativity poring out of people right now astounds me.  It’s oozing out.  

I plan on sleeping in, then quickly realize that Muck N Brass is doing her daily live DIY.  I put my daughter in front of my phone to watch her now daily habit and press some juice.  

There are tons of online resources for home schooling, so she works on her math and then learns about the Mars findings.  Some good news on a little worksheet for my gal, thank goodness.  

I have an anxiety attack, I’m not sure about what.  Or should I say, what am I NOT freaking out about?  One of my favorite yoga instructors, Yoga Ling pops up on my Facebook feed.  She’s doing a live meditation.  I hop in the hammock in the backyard and take 20 minutes for myself.  A sense of calm floods over me.  

Virtual coffee dates are the latest thing, and I do a video chat with an artist friend about where we are on our creative journeys.  Lots of good ideas are exchanged and I feel like I’m sitting across from her at a coffee shop.  I can get used to this.  

I have several friends who have pivoted their businesses quickly with the pandemic and are making masks.  So I watch a video tutorial and try one out for myself.  My sewing skills are crappy, kindof ironic for a former fashion designer.  It’s my first sample, I will do some more.  

The day is done, we snuggle into bed and watch THE HEALING POWERS OF DUDE again and go to sleep.  

Good night.  

Thursday, March 26.  

I wake up at 5:30 AM.  I need to grab a few things from the grocery store, specifically fresh ginger.  Ever since my LA days and being introduced to the concept of an intense ginger shot at Moon Juice down the street from my then boutique, I am convinced it helps me stay healthy.  I press the snooze button but my husband complains.  I hop out of bed and get onto my bike.  There’s hardly any traffic and I see a lone jogger out.  

I pull up to Tesco, our local grocery store and things are different.  The entrance to the mall is just being used for them, the metal gate is down to block the rest of the mall.  Barriers are out, tape is on the floor to mark where to stand, and it all seems under control.  Yay.  It takes me awhile to get my stuff (no ginger though!) and there’s a new way of checking out, allowing for social distancing but with the staff working hard to make sure that we are moving along safely.  X marks the spot on the floor.  I load up my bike and head home.

I get back home and start the day - another Muck N Brass DIY live and I give my gal a positive news story handout about a mouse.  It leads to a freakout.  She doesn't want to learn about mice and high altitudes and volcanoes.  She’s over it all.  We shift quickly.  It’s time for a "Pantry Portrait” of our dog for the Quarantine Craft Club on Instagram.  Crisis averted.  

I am starting to feel like being at home so much is similar to my life as an artist and mom.  It all feels fragmented.  I keep thinking it will all feel easy, but it’s not.  Dave is working and I’m trying to keep my gal happy.  I take the pressure off.  She goes to play Roblox with a friend online.  I watch a cool DIY video from Jenny at the Print Club on a fresh screen printing technique.  Oooooh, I like this!


I’m reenergised and make a stop motion video to promote my weekly ART JOURNAL CLUB.  I need to get the word out about the time and date and supplies.  Here’s the video... 


It’s time for the 8 PM collective cheer for the NHS and we’re on it.  We pull out a couple of kids musical instruments and hoot and holler at 8.  It’s a nice way to end the day.  

Night night.

Friday - March 27

My routine feels disrupted when Muck N Brass doesn't come on at 9 AM for her usually morning DIY show.  She adjusted to doing some other classes for the next week . We purchased a couple of her digital downloads and will try some of her techniques in the next week.  We do PE with Joe on YouTube instead.  He’s easy on the eyes and I do the workout as best as I can.  I miss my thrice weekly swim sessions, but I’m moving differently nowadays so that’s OK.  

The morning takes awhile to get going.  I FaceTime with a local friend that I haven’t seen in ages and check on some other older neighbors.  I worry about them.  They seem to be fine, thank goodness.

Then the tears start.  I worry that I won’t see my parents again.  I cry for people who will die who won’t get to hug their relatives goodbye.  They are alone.  It’s so awful.  My mom calls and seems to be doing fine.  She and my dad are active.  How do I tell them to beware?  My mom tells me that I need to wash my hair.  She’s right.  It’s been days, I’m a mess.  I finally get out the door and do my walk with the dog to the local park.  The two mallard ducks look healthy and so happy for me to drop birdseed in on them.  Nature is coming back.  



Back home, my attempt at home schooling is done.  I can’t deal.  I eat a bit, take a few notes for teaching the ART JOURNAL CLUB that night and sleep for a couple of hours.   I take a hot bath and put on makeup.  I need to be doing this daily.  I put on my pretty kaftan that reminds me of tropical holidays and get ready for my live art lesson.  3 -2 -1, I’m live and up on the virtual airwaves.  Bonnie-Blue is by my side.  Life starts to feel better as soon as I talk.  It’s the new highlight of my week.  


Saturday, March 28.  

I slowly gear up to get to Dalston in east London - I need to collect some things from the print studio since I won’t be going in for awhile.  While I’m there, I need to find that fresh ginger that I’ve been looking for.  Off I go.  Wheeee!  There are visibly less people out and about in public places.  The hill near where the Mayflower set sail long ago no longer has people in clusters out for a picnic.  They have gotten the memo from Boris Johnson.  He also has the virus.  This isn’t a holiday.  

Lines out the door at the bigger grocery stores start to appear as I get closer to the Ridley Road market. I arrive at the open air market,  most of the fruit vendors are gone.  My favorite fruit guy is not there.  I miss him already.  It’s a good thing, though.  There are way less people out this week and things feel less crazy.


I find the fresh ginger and stop at an Asian market to get some miso.  You can no longer walk into the tiny store, they take your “orders” behind this shelving unit and you pay them.  It’s the first place I’ve seen medical masks being sold.  I’m sure it’s keeping them in business.  

I gather some finished work at the studio and random misprints as well.  A couple of screens and ink.  I have enough art supplies at home to last awhile, but not my screen printing supplies.  I need to order a squeegee.   An Uber driver decked out in a mask and gloves comes to collect all of my goods and I send him off to deliver the groceries and art supplies back to the house.  I’m sure he’s relieved that I don’t hop into the car.  My husband will greet him on the other end.  

I get a message that a self isolated older gentleman in my neighborhood needs some help.  I had signed up with a local Facebook group and was wondering if I would be of use to them.  I am happy to help and make a call to my new friend.  We exchange pleasantries and I introduce myself.  I like him already.  

I dip into a couple of pharmacies, trying to locate some Paracetmol per his request. No luck.  I end up riding across the Tower Bridge, the Disney-eque bridge that feels a bit menacing on this day.  The sky is grey, and I look over to my left and see a guy in a gas mask and mustard colored trench coat walking across the bridge.  He is cool.  All dressed up for this pandemic, I can’t help but notice.  

Another quick stop at the Co-Op, a mini store.  I’m still looking for the Paracetemol.  I finally find it and look down the aisle as I leave.  Mr. Gasmask is in there.  It takes me awhile to unlock my bike (two locks!) and he walks past me. “You go first, no you go.”  We are observing social distancing.  Me in my shield sunglasses, him in the gas mask.  The new normal.  It’s not the right time to ask for a photo, so try to imprint his image in my brain.  I did this quick pencil and gouache sketch today.  

I stop by to meet my new 83 year old friend who talks to me through the front door.  Thank goodness it’s clear glass.  I like this guy.  He’s the same age as my dad and has a sweet personality.  He’s thankful for the paracetamol and conversation.  

Back home - I’m wiped out.  It’s been almost a full week of this new normal.  We decide on a family movie on Disney Plus.  Dave and Bonnie-Blue and I snuggle into bed to watch.  I fall asleep immediately.  

XO, M.E. 

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