Column: Life In Isolation

I have to say I’m amazed. Although self isolating, as a normally very active and social 75 year old, I’m coping really well, particularly as I have set myself a routine to keep me sane. I wake at 7am as usual, make a cup of tea and then return to my bed which has now become my Throne, and I love it. I read, then watch something on catchup before calling friends and dealing with paperwork. My cat thinks she’s gone to heaven, as she lies on my bed and enjoys uninterrupted attention. Finally, I’m forced to get up, if only to avoid turning into a complete bed potato.

With fine weather, I have been doing plenty of gardening. Every leaf shares equal attention, the invading moss on the cobbles is now only allowed to remain for aesthetic effect, the plants are fed, watered and spoken to  with fondness, and the patio is swept almost out of existence. Then, before I know it, the time has come for my one walk.

I alternate between the beach and the park,( each, being but a minute from my house.)  The unusual tranquility of the now deserted beach, takes me back to the words of Blake.


“To see a World in a grain of sand,

  And a Heaven in a wild flower,

  Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand,

  And Eternity in an hour”


In the park I’m reminded of how I utilised my time, all those years ago, when returning home having dropped the children off at school each morning. With little time to prepare for my journey into the W, End for rehearsals, ( in those days I was involved in numerous musicals,) I would take advantage of the quiet and empty space to do my vocal warm ups.  Now that these are redundant, I converse with myself in French instead. It is good practise, and I and me always agree, never correct each other’s mistakes, and enjoy each other’s company.  Wonderful.

A further self indulgence, is rediscovering my repertoire of opera arias I learnt over fifty years ago at music college. Now, I join Maria Callas and Joan Sutherland, and sing along at the top of my voice. I love it, and I thank God that the students next door have all gone home.

Preparing my evening meal has become something to look forward to each day ,as this has been an opportunity to rediscover the contents of my freezer. I try to remember when I cooked such delicious dishes. God knows how long they have lurked in the dark, but thankfully I have not poisoned myself yet. So these delicacies are a treat to look forward to later.

In the meantime, I have a choice of occupations for the afternoon. One such is to cull my collection of paperwork and photographs.Sadly, the object of this exercise is forgotten within seconds.  This is my history, I rationalise. So all that is achieved is a small trip down memory lane, but oh what pleasure this gives me. However, with nothing discarded, it refuses to return to its dark and lonely quarters, and it is only with a great deal of cajoling and persuasion that it finally relents, in the hope that it may once again, in time to come, see the light of day

Another treat is to, re-assess the contents of my over bulging wardrobe. I am instantly shamed. Why on earth do I still have clothes I  brought with me from London 22 years ago?  It takes me only a few minutes to justify this stupidity. Some garments no longer fit, but who knows? I may lose weight, and after all, if this lockdown lasts for too long, my darling daughter may tire of doing my weekly shop, and my freezer might finally be empty.

Other clothes are in need of repair.Hooray!  As long as I’m able to see well enough to thread a needle, It will simply provide me with a new occupation. And what of the faded fabrics? Well, I may not have dye at hand, but it will be something to look forward too when the shops re open. And the realisation of this ,immediately justifies why I still have hundreds of carrier bags in the cellar.  I confess, my one concern, is that since I am unable to invite anyone to visit, my motivation to tidy up has completely disappeared.

Yes of course, I do miss my children, whom I now only see at the front door when they deliver supplies, and  I hate not seeing my grandchildren. However,( and I never thought I would hear myself this,) thank goodness for Technology which has revolutionised all our lives. There  are so many means of keeping in touch. Speaking, seeing and sharing are still with us.

And so the weeks go by.   I am happy, and I am so lucky. I  know I’m privileged, and my heart goes out to each and every person, who through no fault of their own, is finding this hard.  I am so so sorry. I just hope we will come out of this as a more compassionate and caring society.

And of course, our thanks must go to all those who endlessly help us day to day. But most of all, to our selfless, generous and tireless NHS workers.  My alarm clock is set for 7.55 pm each Thursday for the big clap. We will come out of this, but their contribution can never ever be repaid. Bless each and every one of them. May we never forget.

Kate Dyson





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