Units of time in Lockdown

“His way of coping with the days was to think of activities as units of time, each unit consisting of about thirty minutes. Whole hours, he found, were more intimidating, and most things one could do in a day took half an hour. Reading the paper, having a bath, tidying the flat, watching Home and Away and Countdown, doing a quick crossword on the toilet, eating breakfast and lunch, going to the local shops… That was nine units of a twenty-unit day (the evenings didn’t count) filled by just the basic necessities. In fact, he had reached a stage where he wondered how his friends could juggle life and a job. Life took up so much time, so how could one work and, say, take a bath on the same day? He suspected that one or two people he knew were making some pretty unsavoury short cuts.”

About a Boy by Nick Hornby

Bishops park blossomsDIY? Reading? Google searches? Tidying up the loft? Daytime TV?

How are you spending your lockdown, world?

I’ve not had the luxury of boredom yet. Most units of my day are filled with housework, office work (in what was once our sunny spare room, now our office), fighting with Microsoft, fighting with BT, waiting on hold with BA, French lesson catch up, 1 hour per day of exercise (a run or digging in the allotment), heaps of video conferencing, cooking, cooking, stressing about cooking, preparing meals, mulling about which food needs to be frozen and which defrosted …  and did I mention cooking?

WARNING: First-World-privilege-rant coming up

All this food-related thinking is not my bag, baby! When on my own at home a nice piece of toast, a bowl of popcorn, a quick salad or a warmed-up left-over. will do. I’m soooooooo over food. But man must eat, so Hubby must eat. Takeaways, cafés, restaurants and dinners with friends are a thing of the past.

[Caveat: I am ever so grateful that Hubby makes me a cup of tea and a protein shake for breakfast every morning. He also empties the dishwasher, which I understand is not something other husbands do. But, people, I’m running out of healthy-meal-oomph and increasingly drawn to the idea of giving up food altogether.

How pathetic I am …


My dear maternal granny (now aged 91 and probably reading this blog) would, at big get-togethers, call a meeting with the women in the family to plan meals. Said meetings were always held directly after a big meal – I CANNOT contemplate food when I’m full. I dreaded these sessions.

“Why can’t people ‘stretch or starve’?” I’d interject, and get a look from my gran.

You see – and I’m outing my dear Mama here – what granny didn’t know, and would not have approved of, was that in our home, Sunday night supper, and on holidays and weekends one meal a day, was always an S.O.S. meal (stretch or starve). S.O.S is an absolutely genius concept invented by my Mama, driven mad by our repeated requests of, “What’s for dinner?”, “I’m starving!” and “What can I eat?”

Because of my recent food histrionics, my dear Hubby ventured to make a couple of his own meals this week. The only impact on me was the lingering smell of kippers – nothing a stiff breeze couldn’t deal with.

In other news, Hubby checked in on an elderly couple from church this week. They couldn’t find Jumbo oats, they said. Normal oats yes, but it’s Jumbo they’re after. I went foraging online. The result: we now have 7kgs of Jumbo oats on their way to our house because Amazon Pantry has a £15 minimum spend.

Two ecstatic 80-somethings. 1 embarrassed me at the thought of my future encounter with the Jumbo oats delivery man!

For your lockdown enjoyment, some memes doing the rounds:

I’ll leave you to your own units of time  …

Yellow daffodilsSMALL PRINT:
P.s. This is the worst season for a Brit to be stuck indoors – spring blossoms are out, pavements are littered with pink and white, days are brisk and bright, we look forward to the eventual end of hibernation.
P.p.s. We are running low on rusks. Thank goodness for our very own South African foodie who is cooking up a batch for us. Rusks are essential food.
P.p.p.s. S.O.S memory of my Dad: him peeling oranges for us on a Sunday night. It was his Dad thing. We all got a wedge or two. I wonder if my siblings remember this?
P.p.p.p.s. Laugh at me, laugh with me – yes – but please don’t judge me. I am acutely aware that Hubby and I are among the extremely blessed going into this lockdown. Our thoughts and prayers are with our friends and family in parts of Africa and South Africa. I can only imagine the difficulties many are facing right now. My heart aches as I ponder the plight of so many precious people at this time. You are in our prayers daily.
P.p.p.p.p.s. One absolute winner of a meal, which if you vary the type of beans does not take as long, is the beans and rice meal I blogged about many years ago. Make a big batch and live off leftovers! Or umngqusho?
P.p.p.p.p.p.s. I’m super proud of my Hubby who has now lost 18.5kg (2.99st, 40.7lb) in 18 months – the current rations unintentionally giving him the final push. Just 4.4kgs to go, Babes – you can do it! He now outstrips me on the run and will soon need a new wardrobe.

3 thoughts on “Units of time in Lockdown

  1. Lovely to read your life in lockdown, I am so lucky, only have myself to feed. Aeri is with Shirl, and Ath in Potch with her boyfriend DeWet and pooch Sasha. Well done on the exercises and weightloss, hope you haven’t lost any, take care, and cook big stews and freeze. Love and hugzzz jenny


  2. Hi.With the lockdown everybody has their own way of coping and it’s great to share ideas with others to see how they are planning their day and evenings.I would think many authors will emerge after the lockdown and beyond.X


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