The Lockdown Blog, Day 11

Takes longer than fast action yeast…especially if you sketch it first

Monday 23rd March


I’m supposed to be on my way into the Natural History Museum on Merrion Square in Dublin to sketch with a bunch of lovely women. It would have been the last day of my workshop in Dublin. Never mind. It’s only postponed, and others are very sick. Still others have died in horrible discomfort or have lost their loved ones. Here I am in Galway with nothing more to worry about than whether my yeast will froth up well enough to make a nice dough. I have run out of fast-action dried yeast and I have to use the type you mix with sugar and warm water. As I sketch the jug, the froth gets higher, until by the time it’s finished I have to add lots of new troughs and shadows that weren’t there when I started.

Cute Cacti


I do a Zoom class with the kids. It’s just for fun, a trial, until I am fully confident that I know how to run a glitch-free class. I draw inspiration from some kawaii cacti and get the kids to draw them step-by-step. The kids are amazing. They all mute themselves unless they have a question, so it’s very peaceful. One lad pipes up to help people who can’t figure out how to make my drawing hand fill the screen, then re-mutes himself. Really great to have helpers like that – kids are so amazing, and I am very lucky with the bunch I have. The class goes really well, although there are a few things I can do to improve it: I’m abruptly ended by Zoom admin because while I had 30 minutes (you can have 40 minutes with the free option, but they only offer you 30 or 45), I started the meeting before the scheduled time while I waited for everyone to join…and that time counted as part of my 30 mins. So I only got 15 minutes with the kids which isn’t much. After the session ended, I upgraded to the paid package, and now I can have much longer sessions and many more participants. Just look at their gorgeous drawings…

I love the one with buck teeth especially, but I love them all.

Not my finest sketch, but very nice rolls


The dough has risen nicely – thank you, Saf Levure – and the rolls go into the oven. I go for a walk up to Tyrone House with Paddy (18) and Liv (15). We are very fortunate to live in the heart pf the countryside. The rolls come out of the oven when we get back and there ensues a problem. The kids want to eat them, but I want to sketch them, but they’re hungry, and I have to make dinner, but I want to sketch the rolls, and the kids fight over fillings they make, and I fight with them over ruining their appetite just before dinner, and they take two, then my husband Marcel breaks the washing machine good, with a hose that sprays all over the motor, and I go crazy because it’s been limping for months anyway and he has promised to fix it for that long, but now it’s broken gooood. Worse, he had refused the offer of a PERFECTLY GOOD WASHING MACHINE for free a month or so earlier. I am fit to be tied, and he knows this doesn’t happen much, so he rings the utterly lovely guy who offered the machine to us and arranges to have it brought over the next day. It’s all a mess though because Marcel’s back is still very painful from the fall off the ladder last Saturday (10 days ago) so hefting a washing machine hither and thither is not a good idea. Hospital is not a place any of us wants to go. Meanwhile Honor (20) is still determined to meet her ex for a walk, despite the fact that he definitely had the covid. We do a bit of research and it seems one is not infectious after a fortnight, which it has been since he started having symptoms. Still.


Italy has had a drop in numbers of deaths today. My friend in Milan is happy, so happy. Imagine thinking that the nightmare has an end in sight, just a glimmer of hope. Not the time to start rejoicing but she and we will take anything. I have a good chat with my brother Mal, who is very much on his own in Dublin with all the quarantine, and he says how glad he is that we are all in deepest countryside and so have lots of room and fresh air. Apparently in days gone by the countryside was where the rich went in times of plague…

Thus ends another day in isolation.

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