Mad Hatters Abound & The Whole World has gone Wild...

I am not going to regale you with long lists of what to do and what not to so as there are so many people who know better. I am a positive person but found that in the last few days I was in a head-spin of 'What-ifs'?

After making the decision to temporarily close the studio (Some of us are much older than others and I think that we should be considerate and aware of the severity of the problem) and to alleviate my panic I sat at my upstairs desk to do some calligraphy, writing and drawing. After taking some (very) deep, conscience breaths my heart rate settled, my breathing deepened and I found myself settling into some positive creativity. The phrase 'this too shall pass' came to mind when a friend sent it to me. My mother always said this and of course she was very much in my mind when I did the exercise.

With many countries in lockdown, ‘swanning around’ to classes and coffee dates is not a clever thing to do. (I have a friend who with great difficulty, flew home to the US to ensure she wasn’t stranded).

All group activities have been postponed to keep ourselves and our friends safe and well. I will re-asses after Easter/Pesach, at the beginning of May. We will surely be more clear on the situation then. The Moore family reunion in the Karoo has been postponed but hopefully we will still be able to travel down to the farm if there are no further restrictions.

I was playing 'Nana-Nanny' to my two smallest grandchildren, but then we were sent a communique:

Transmission:There are 2 patterns of transmission. Regular spreaders will infect about 2.5 people (left unchecked). This accounts for small bursts of infection.Super Spreaders – Have a very high level of virus in their nose and throat and usually infect 6-8 people in a short time period. This accounts for widespread rapid spread. Children are more likely to be super spreaders. They are also more likely to be asymptomatic, hence a double dilemma. This is also why it's important to keep them away from the elderly, and avoid play dates. How the virus works: The spikes around the edge of the virus (the Corona) are essential for binding to a receptor in the respiratory tract. It is found primarily in the lower respiratory tract. This is why a persistent dry cough is a prominent symptom and upper respiratory symptoms much less so. Clinical Picture: Paediatric illness is rare and cases have been mild. Mainly Adults are affected.

But before we were (sensibly) banned from seeing one another we made hand sanitiser:

Hand sanitiser recipe: 70% rubbing alcohol or spirits, distilled water, some ‘carrier’ oil (almond, grape seed etc),10 drops of an essential oil of your choice (lavender, tea tree oil etc). Mix together and pop into a small bottle for constant use. You can also add hydrogen peroxide and Dettol (for the clean smell).

Remember old fashioned soap and water is good too (as long as you sing happy birthday at least twice while washing your hands, and if you sing it aloud, you may make someone smile). Sunlight dishwasher is a great surface wiper. Remember that metal bowls don't allow the virus to live too long and plastic keeps the virus alive for a longer period of time.

So what have I 'given up'? A friend and I couldn't go to the ballet, I am no longer able to visit grandchildren (although we WhatsApp call regularly - I suppose rather like them being overseas), the Moore family reunion in the Karoo is cancelled, possibly the Hartley one in Bathurst in May too. However, creativity and laughter in NOT!!! And neither is reading, watching favourite shows and baking. By the way I came across a wonderful story about a real village which self-isolated during the plague of 1666, Year of Wonder by Geraldine Brooks. It looks fascinating. Did you know that William Shakespeare was quarantined during the plague in London in about 1595?He lost a brother, son and landlady during the time and it is speculated that he wrote King Lear while in isolation. So perhaps we could all (in our isolation) write an episode of a sitcom while we withdraw?

I have always loved my home and I'm working on that ‘Self-Retreat' (not only isolation) for the next few weeks. I have been requested to create some 'Perky Lady' images for a friend, so will work on that lovely commission. I will post progress of my various creations on both FB pages: Penfriends and Friends with Threads and will set some fun projects which will be added to from week to week.

I thought coffee solved everything, but it simply gives me time out. Now to set out my desk with lovely new pens, paper and gouache. As always, be kind to yourself and take care, A-MM