Having spent much of Monday afternoon packaging facial balms, handcream, lip balm and eye creams from my press sample stocks to send out to nurses and junior doctors whose names had been given to me via Instagram stories, I was woken up at 8 o’clock this morning by my alarm.
For a few minutes I was so confused: I haven’t set an alarm since lockdown started and I thought I must’ve made a mistake. But it wasn’t: I’m sending all my parcels with prepaid labels as my local post office is closed during lockdown, and my local sorting office (for drop offs) is now only open from 7am until 9 am.
I’m also selling things, as I think so many of us are at the moment. I’m not sure if I’m going to be moving out of London or not when the lockdown finishes but, either way it seems sensible to rationalise my possessions. There is nothing like spending weeks stuck at home to realise one has just way too much stuff, accumulated from years of collecting, and travelling around the world. Equally, if I do move I don’t want to be lugging boxes of random stuff from one house to another.
Yesterday’s great excitement was the arrival of a ginormous box containing a review Ooni pizza oven. Old me would definitely have left it in my hallway for a week or so, daunted by its size, whilst I got on with other things. Lockdown me had that baby unpacked by 10 am this morning.
When girlfriends ring for chats from isolation, I take it as a great opportunity to get on with housework and organising whilst we speak. So pity poor Clare, who had as a background to her call an awful lot of clattering and banging as I hauled the huge 15 kg box through three rooms to the back door. It’s at times like these I really rue being a single person household.
Really today has mainly been a mixture of getting to grips with the pizza oven, and sitting outside to work, whilst I have edited photographs, populated an Instagram planner for the restaurant for whom I consult, caught up with all my family on the phone, and taken a long walk, 2.5 miles, at twilight in Regent’s Park with Lettice. (I’m tracking my walks, when I remember, using the Strava app, which is a wonderful way to take note of where you’ve been and how long you walked for.)
Along with Strava, my other iPhone app obsession at the moment is called Picture This. It gives you a week’s trial for free before you pay a yearly subscription of £19.99, and allows you to identify any flower, plant or tree by snapping it within the app. I spent the majority of my walk taking pictures of leaves and discovering new plants. My only word of caution is that it isn’t always entirely accurate – it told me a hornbeam was an alder at one point, so don’t make any bets based on its pronouncements.
I am also thrilled that my garden is springing into life. This will be my fourth summer here and several plants that I put in the borders are really starting to come to the fore. The Choisya (Mexican orange blossom) looks like it may flower for the first time, and I have high hopes for my single peony bush. The Spirea (bottom right), also known as meadowsweet survived the winter and has its first flowers, my David Austin Rose, the Desdemona, (top left) has one full blooming rose, and several buds, the Alkonet (bottom left) has seeded itself through an entire bed and, most exciting of all, a lovage plant has sprung up (top right).
Whilst I did have a pot of lovage last year, I have no recollection of planting it as season’s end, and certainly not in that border. Still, it’s a wonderful surprise, and I feel very bougie having such a luxe herb for my recipes.