Hello folks! I will start by saying thank you for your effort in getting here: my links to this blog on the various social media are refusing to work. I suspect I have a problem with my website because I can’t even post my link to whatsapp! But I’ll get there, and my intention is to provide you with a little light relief, and some pretty sketches of my family, during the lockdown.
Okay, we’re onto Day 3 of self-quarantine…
Sunday 15th March
My studio is lovely and warm. Liv (15) comes down to do some embroidery. She sits quietly and stitches while I write my blog. She is decorating a white denim jacket. We bandy around ideas for designs to embroider on it. After lots of creative suggestions (I rather favour a lovely womb) she decides to sew on Picasso-esque faces and hearts, and is considering a Jurassic Park panorama, with exotic palms, pterodactyls and stegosauruses all over it.
Liv decides to tear down the playground my husband Marcel and I built just before she was born. Heavily pregnant and with two children under 4, I thought that if I had a wonderful bells-and-whistles playground for them, I would be able to relax on the hammock that I had slung between two posts and let the children look after themselves, while I snoozed in readiness for the onslaught that was coming. Unfortunately, the slide we put up was so high, and the angle at which it was fixed so precarious, that I was obliged to be on constant duty to stop them breaking their necks (and a young visitor did break her arm falling off it a couple of years later). The children outgrew the playground about eight years ago, and Liv has decided to take it down. She wants to replace it with a Japanese garden. It’s a lovely, sunny spring day and soon she has her dad and her brother Paddy (18) enlisted to help. Paddy is reluctant, but as soon as he sees the axe flying he joins in enthusiastically, worrying his father that a flying off-cut might hit him in the face, as his gusto for chopping is greater than his caution. Marcel climbs the ladder to disassemble the swings, which are alarmingly rocky. What no one knows is that the support posts are completely rotten beneath their cloak of ivory. The ladder teeters and falls, taking Marcel with it. He is not severely injured, but he takes a bang on the head, his rib cage is badly bruised on his back, his shin is bleeding and a finger is stiff and sore. He takes to his bed. Liv and I look closely at the spot where he fell. There are rusty nails sticking up and heavy iron beams and we realise his fall could have been considerably worse.
Paddy and his friend Mattie (15) are desperate to have a hair cut. Mattie’s big sister Lily, who is nearly 20, gave it a quick go with a razor, and Mattie needs to come to Paddy’s house to borrow the haircutting set to make reparations. He cycles over from his house two miles away. They decide to swap expertise and neither are at all interested in offers of help from me (I have considerable experience cutting men’s hair, and I’m going to stick my neck out here and say that I have an eye for a straight line). Off they set, taking multiple selfies as they go, but while they acquit themselves more or less gracefully, no barber is under threat any time soon. There are a few screams and gasps from each of the lads as they go, but Mattie’s dad comes and takes him home and no one has lost an eye.
The reason Paddy is dark in the sketch is that he is silhouetted against the slowly setting sun. I explain this to Marcel, who has left his invalid bed. “Why is Paddy dark though?” he asks, and I realise I need to work on my silhouette technique.
Thus ends Day 3 of self-quarantine. I write a sum total of one sentence in the book I am supposed to have submitted by yesterday. Back to work.