My get-up-and-go has got up and gone. The irritating thing is that I can’t go with it. Lock-down affects us all in different ways. I don’t actually mind staying at home but I do miss the creative kick in the pants that cooking for friends gives me. It’s all too easy to default to beans on toast when there’s only two of you.

There’s nothing wrong with that, I hear you say, and you’d be right. I’m partial to them myself. But I feel obscurely guilty for not bombarding you with 101 Ways To Use Vegetables Fit Only For the Compost Bin or how to turn tinned Russian Salad into a nutritious meal for a family of four. That sounds as though I’m having a pop at other food writers and I’m honestly not, there are scores of very talented people currently offering good advice and delicious recipes.

Like a lot of home cooks (that’s all of us at the moment) I’ve been making the comfort food of my childhood, I’ve been using up my leftovers and apart from my recent online cheese orgy, I’ve been thrifty with ingredients.

But the perky wartime make-do-and-mend trope is beginning to grate. Frankly, I’m bored. I want to eat lobster and foie gras and blinis thick with caviar, preferably all at the same meal and cooked by one of my favourite chefs in one of my favourite restaurants. Sod it, they could even serve me B.O.T. and I’d be happy. Family health issues mean I can’t nip out for a takeaway but what I really miss is the ambience of a busy restaurant and having one too many glasses of wine with friends I can actually hug.

This is a ridiculously middle class moan. I know. I’m slapping myself around the head as I write. I’m not homeless, alone or broke. And if you’re a health worker or care worker or refuse collector or anyone else who is risking your life trying to keep society going against impossible odds, I apologise. I’m not about to run screaming into the street, maskless and gloveless, banging on my neighbours’ doors and shouting “get me a lobster thermidor or I’ll cough on you”. I am cognisant of my duties as a responsible member of society. I’ve got a hand-painted rainbow in my kitchen window, ffs.

Truly, I’m not making light of the sacrifices being made by NHS workers and others. I salute you and I’m immensely grateful to you. I would prefer the lock-down to continue than for the government to lift it prematurely. Lives depend on it, including my family’s. If I’m mocking anyone, it’s myself. But I know a lot of people are finding isolation tough, many for reasons infinitely more serious than mine.

I’d just like you to know you’re not alone. And if you are and the walls are closing in, if the kids aren’t giving you a minute’s peace, if your introspection is turning ugly or you just want to hear a friendly voice, drop me a line or a ‘phone number. I’m not a trained counsellor, although I know several I can put you in touch with if needed, but sometimes a problem shared is a problem halved or at least put into perspective. I’ve been so grateful for the kindness of friends since lock-down began. Small gestures can have a big impact and even a quick ‘phone call can stop you going totally doolally.

I hope I’m making sense because this has all gone a bit stream of consciousness. From baked beans to half-baked. If it wasn’t for the cryptic crossword I’d be communicating in grunts; I swear my IQ is now lower than the outside temperature and my vocabulary is shrinking daily. Never mind. We can swap nice, short, four letter words (I’ve been hearing a lot of those lately from friends similarly immured), exchange recipes and cheer each other up by laughing at stupid things like politicians and what the cat said when confronted by Tesco’s own-brand instead of Whiskas. Well, it works for me. Stay indoors, stay well and stay sane but most of all, stay in touch. 

27 thoughts on “Lock-down

  1. Oh Linda. This is strangely comforting. You’re feeling guilty about your feelings. So am I. But oddly- and really, I’m truly surprised – I don’t have the same things going in in my head. My guilt is that I’m enjoying lockdown. Yes, I miss my grandchildren. Yes, I miss my friends. But I don’t miss the daily round. My busy busyness has been replaced by a long walk from the house, every single day, which clears my head and puts me in Fotherington-Thomas mode: ‘Hello clouds, hello sky’ and all that. Cooking has become simpler, mainly because access to ingredients is a little harder. But that seems to be a welcome excuse to keep it simple. Nobody I love – in fact nobody I know – has got the dreaded Covid-19. Life’s simple. And I’m happy for it to stay that way, at least for a while. And as I type this, I think of people in inadequate accommodation with children or perhaps reluctantly alone, with money worries, all kinds of worries, and of course feel guilty all over again. As you say, stay well, stay sane. It’s all we can do. xx

    • I’m glad you’re enjoying it. So am I, mostly. I find my mood goes up and down, like many people, I imagine. I’m not plunged into the depths of depression or anything – just craving a bit more human contact and very aware that many people have it much harder. Just a way, really, of saying we’re all in this together. Take good care. Linda x

  2. Hi Linda
    So sorry your get up and go has got up and gone. I am working part time [supermarket is important] and can tell you when I am there it is very busy but it’s a good time. Somehow being busy helps keep the perspective and you stop worrying for those few hours. I can relate to the comfort food………..until lock down I had a file of recipes I wanted to try ~ each week had a list and I would go and buy what was needed. Since lock down it has evaporated and I make what I know ~ I don’t know why ~ I have more time but I cannot spend a breezy hour wafting along supermarket shelves to find the elusive ingredients so back to basics it seems. Plenty of cake making ~ well I did until the other half decided he had eaten too much and now doesn’t want cake! I am not sure if you are supposed to make cakes for others like neighbours or work mates ~ just in case you deliver bugs [unknowingly] along with aforesaid cakes! So you are not the only one. Being creative helps I think ~ how about some photography in your lovely garden?
    Hope you are ok

    • Oh, it’ll probably be back tomorrow! I’m glad you’re able to get out and do something useful. Unfortunately, although I’m able-bodied and relatively sound of mind, family health problems mean we’re self-isolating, so I’m unable to do anything outside the home, like volunteering. The garden is a solace, though. It’s back to basics here too, although I’m fortunate in having a fair stock of ingredients. Nothing to moan about, really, just wanted to reach out to people who might be feeling down. Stay safe! Linda xxx

  3. I think this is a refreshingly honest take on the situation. I didn’t think of it until this minute, but thank God I’m not married! Oh, what a horror I would be to be cooped up with someone else!

  4. I just pretend that I’ve got guests. On Easter Sunday I cooked a leg of lamb with all the trimmings, on my birthday a cake with candles, yesterday fresh asparagus — lots and lots — and tonight it is wild salmon, french beans, mashed potatoes and apple crumble. I know it is barmy but it means I’ve got lots of goodies in the freezer. I’ve used up all the house wine and am luxuriating in the posh stuff. And getting fatter by the minute. I’d love to be one of your guests, as much for the sparky conversation as the delicious food. Just imagine you are cooking for me, please. I’ll be feeling like pasta tomorrow …

    • This is genius. I like your approach! I’m afraid it’s just chicken pie tonight but I’ll see what I can do about the pasta tomorrow. Any preferences?

      • Crab linguine? Conigli with walnuts and cream cheese and a rocket salad.. . I don’t know. You choose, I like a surprise.

      • This is a fantasy meal, right? Because my husband isn’t a pasta fan. I know, I married him anyway. I’d kill for crab linguine, He’s asked for fish and chips. I’ll be making an asparagus lasagne later in the week … will that do? 🙂

  5. Thank you so much for making me laugh! I loved every bit of this post! “Give me lobster thermador or I’ll cough on you!” Hysterical!!! Things are opening up in our town, and I also question this as being premature. But like you, I can’t wait to go to a restaurant and hug friends. And, get my vocabulary back!!! I can’t talk anymore!!! That is so strange.

    • I know, so surreal, sometimes. Thank goodness for social media and telephones. I’d be even more eccentric than I am now, without the opportunity for long, rambling conversations with friends and family. Glad this one made you smile. Big hugs. Lxxx

  6. A friend of mine ‘celebrated’ her 60th birthday on her own. She created dinner guests by stuffing clothes and topping them with balloon heads and got through a bottle of champagne before even starting to cook the special three course meal she ate with them. I assume the alcohol improved her guests’ conversation 😂 I tell the story only to agree that, yes, lockdown affects us all differently and no, it appears you’re not the only one who’s feeling a bit bonkers. Stay safe, my lovely and thank you for continuing the blog. Even if it doesn’t have recipes, its appearance in my Inbox is like the squeeze of lemon juice that adds zing to a dish xx

  7. Linda that was brilliant!! Everything I feel you have very succinctly put into words.
    Thank you 😘

  8. I hear ya! It’s such a peculiar time to be living through – more time than ever to do the things we love yet the oomph has somehow dissipated. I lurch between great, enthusiastic feasts and huge chasms of ‘couldn’t care less’.

    On a positive note, my capacity for life-downs has increased a thousandfold. It’s the little things, right..?


    • Me too, Jen. It’s a good job Him Outdoors espouses a work ethic otherwise I’d lounge around all day reading. Which reminds me, how’s the book going? 🙂

      • The book, amazingly enough, is actually coming along! Writing around 1,000 words a day. They might not all be the right words but I’ll worry about that some other time 🙂

        Reading and lounging sound just fine to me – I reckon anything that doesn’t involve having to wear a bra is the right level of activity…

      • That’s fantastic, well done, that woman! Round of applause and fanfare of trumpets.

        At my age though gravity is a factor on the undergarment front. 😀

  9. Please post asparagus lasagne recipe, not that I have any lasagne. Maybe I could make it. If I had your skills!

  10. Today I dug out the recipe you gave me yonks ago for the green sauce that went with roast lamb. Planning on making it with roast cod loin and roasted baby veg. I will think of that lovely lunch party when I scarfed nearly the entire jug of it. xx

    • The salsa verde? Yum, it’ll be delicious with cod loin. Enjoy it and think of us languishing in the boondocks, eating dandelions. 😀 Much love from us both. Lx

  11. Pingback: Potted Ham – the Chef Mimi Blog

    • Thanks, Tandy. Beans on toast still feature from time to time but cooking keeps me more more or less sane. Hope all’s well with you. Thanks for stopping by, do call again! Linda x

Leave a Reply