My dear friends … it has been hard. This whole year has been fractious, anxious, unknowing, and just plain difficult.
When I experienced my first lockdown, there was a sense of bravado, even fun, trying to get hold of wine, been told off for meeting someone across the road, waiting for the skies to open and then thinking … it will get better.
Tonight, I am in London, in Tier 4, and little is better. This is my fifth lockdown, if anyone is counting, so effectively I have spent the entire year with some restriction or another. Work has dried up, being in the tourism industry, and my walks around London are now not proudly showing off this amazing city, but walking alone. And now I cannot really do that either.
For some who do not know, I live between London and Cape Town. A result of a change in relationships and a new chapter. I love both equally, but my work is here, and having flown back in August, I have spent the past four months without an much of an income, like so many others. For some who may know, it has been a change over the past few years of having to start again, re-define myself and build my future, firmly planted in my own two shoes. My family are here and that is why I love being here, and then I go back to my roots to savour my heritage. Lockdown has brought some wild flurries of despair and heartache, but also a time of self growth, though I have not yet succumbed to the knitting or banana bread making.
Instead I have chosen to discover more of London, areas I had known little about and I suppose, determined to educate myself at this time. Walked the streets that are dormant, listless, at times having coffee shops open, times looking around for the available loo stops (which are important) as I delve and photograph and research to a new level. Looking up, looking down, into alleys and history and what fascinates me so about this city.
I have re-discovered my love of Art. In particular Art History, for I am afraid a master of the paintbrush I am not ever going to be, but the details and stories in every masterpiece has me at, just standing and so aware that I am in the midst of greatness, in every century. More importantly, with all the submersion into history, culture and art, I have become acutely aware of how life has always been fragile, tenuous and fleeting. Passengers all. My life, till now, has been easy, no World Wars and endless days of bombing over my head, technologically advanced, and I think this pandemic has swooped me right back to thinking that it is all just about, taking every day at a time and appreciating a life I have been given.
And she says this, not in the free falling of … it is what it is … I don’t like that phrase, but in the flipping, I am part of an existence that has been a long time past and a long time coming and I am going to just be strong and weather this storm and leave a little mark, somehow, somewhere … who knows?
Can joke about this year, about to end with more restrictions and Dear Lord, Brexit. Oh please, can we cancel Brexit under the circumstances and realise we really do need each other? Can we just go back to being friends and allies and fellow countrymen and file Brexit away? Guess not, not that it will deter me from travelling to Europe at the very first chance I can get.
Which is the plan. Must plan when everything seems without plans and without planes in the sky.
So thank you Charlie Mackesy for your words of wisdom, you are, with copious amounts of wine, getting me through this. I am strong, London stands magnificent and Table Mountain will still be there for me. I will not be defeated, she says hopefully, will be careful but now more than ever, rely on the lovely bloggers, mainly my age, who are strong, positive and feeding my soul.
Can you imagine how isolated and lonely people once were when no news arrived, you feared a letter and life was reduced to your own little corner? Some say it was better. We have social media, bloggers, influencers and like minded people sharing, caring and drip feeding me everyday.
Truth, like blood, is here. The times are coursing through our veins and we can choose to poison our blood, our lives or our dreams because of it, but I am holding out, staying strong and determined to find the positive, feel for those who have suffered greatly through this, and hope that I may be blessed to chat, discover, travel and grow, after this lockdown.
Some of us are alone, or feel alone at this time. We may not know each other, but we are there for each other. Keep blogging, texting, Instagramming, Face booking or whatever you want to do … I am on the other side, feeling less lonely, less old, less hopeless, because of you. Staying strong. Stay strong.
Credit Image. Charlie Mackesy