The cleaning of everything in the house continues. We’ve been at home for a month now but, for me, it doesn’t seem so long. I’m used to being here as a hugely introverted writer who doesn’t commute, so it’s not the being here that grates it is, as I’ve said before, the lack of human contact.
I never thought that I would say this as I fall into the extroverted introvert camp. Leaving the house for a day of appointments, or for an evening event takes quite a big effort of will for me and, when I return, I need to spend at least double the time I’ve spent with people on my own recharging. But now that I never see anybody, it turns out that I do need to plug myself into other people’s energy too, that I need the warmth of regular physical contact with my friends and family.
However I am pleased to note that I have not had a single Zoom cocktail party or group chat whilst isolated; truly I can’t think of anything I want to do less than being pinned in front of my laptop, unable to multitask. I’m the person who can’t sit down to just watch TV – I always have to have some ironing to do, a box of papers to sort, or pictures to edit on my laptop. My perfect scenario over this past month has been doing the housework when girlfriends call for chats.
It’s making me astonishingly productive: yesterday when Lucie called in from Manhattan for an hour or so, I made and froze an entire batch of chocolate ice cream from scratch, and sorted out a drawer of greetings cards into occasions in labelled folders so I don’t have to scrabble through the drawer each time for a suitable card. Clare rang for a chat later, so I put her on loudspeaker whilst I took everything off the stainless steel trolley in the kitchen and scrubbed it down, before cleaning the hob, and wiping down all the cupboard fronts.
I like to think that my home is relatively clean: Maria comes once a week for three hours, and I tend to do all the non essential stuff on an ad hoc basis: using my magic eraser on paint marks, polishing silver, cleaning out cupboards, but this month I have discovered some actual filth. High level shelves that are grey with months of dust, Kilner jars with greasy tops at the back of cupboards, dust bunnies languishing behind furniture and so on. It js been extremely satisfying dealing with all of this.
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I started the day by emptying, and then loading up the dishwasher with all the dusty glassware from a very high shelf in the living room, before retreating to the garden to work, accompanied by a bowl of spinach, chickpea and paneer curry and some very black coffee.
(Years ago I searched for a metal cafetiere that wasn’t made from glass, as I am very clumsy and would inevitably break the beaker. Mine is a small one, available here. You can also buy much bigger versions here. The slipware bowl I bought in Rwanda, and the mug was a Christmas present form Tara a few years back.)
Most of the day was spent in the garden working, in between bouts of housekeeping, before we took a two mile walk around Regent’s Park at sunset with Lettice, whilst on the ‘phone to my father having our daily catch up.
These Nourish by Jane Clarke complete nutritional drinks arrived in the post from her PR: I wanted to test them out as they could be good for my sister Holly, who doesn’t always have the energy to eat supper – even if her freezer is full of Sasha-made ready meals. (One of my girlfriends just bought a case on my recommendation as her 7yr old daughter has developed a phobia of solid food during lockdown.) I’m also intrigued as apparently the drinks can be churned in an ice cream machine, as they are made from organic cream and milk. I shall report back…
My late lunch was this dish of fried potatoes with whole spices, turmeric and curry leaves, with a liberal shower of Maldon salt. (Recipe to come.)
I’m taking the opportunity of being at home to slather my skin in products. Today I started this bottle of CRABTREE & EVELYN The Gardeners Garden Greens Oil Booster: I put a few drops in with my moisturiser to ramp up the hydration.