The Lockdown Blog, Day 5

St. Patrick

Tuesday 17th March


It’s St. Patrick’s Day. It’s raining. With the best will in the world I just can’t muster enthusiasm to go out for a walk. I decide to do a fun drawing for kids to put up on my Instagram live broadcast. I draw a St. Patrick. My daughter Honor (20) appears in the comments. “Santa?” she asks. This puts me off my confident flow. I make him more St. Patricky, putting crosses wherever I can. “Where’s his snake?” she asks. I draw in the snake. Someone asks me if I am using a fude pen, I say I am, and demonstrate it a bit by drawing some rocks. “Snake eggs,” comes the comment on my screen from Honor. I draw baby snakes coming out of them. Then when I unthinkingly put a ribbon on St. Patrick’s staff, one of the viewers points out that only Bo Peep has a bow on her staff.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


I draw another step-by-step demo on Instagram. This time it’s shamrocks and a leprechaun. It’s fun too and I’m thinking that my new Zoom career is going to be a success…when I get around to doing it.

Liv, Paddy and Reuben (twice)


My two younger kids, Paddy (18) and Liv (15), are watching Sons of Anarchy on Netflix. They are clearly taking the day off, presumably for the festive occasion that’s in it. I ask if I can draw them. Liv is first, on the left. I ask her if she can strike a more ordinary pose. She says no, that she is comfy like this. I ask her not to move, but there is no respect afforded to the Maestra (that’ll be me) and she wriggles and moves her arms and position extensively. I don’t feel comfortable drawing from this angle but I remind myself that it’s a bonus to draw an unusual pose, because it forces you to look more carefully. I make a mental note to include just that as an exercise in my new book on drawing people.

Reuben the terrier makes his way onto the duvet that Liv is under and I include his amorphous fluff in the sketch. After Liv is finished, I tell Paddy it’s his turn next. “Hold on,” he said, and shakes his hair out. “You know your hair is just going to look the same,” I tell him, “a block of brown.” Reuben jumps up for pats from Paddy. He sits nicely. He moves his head from a downward angle to an upright one, but I’ve already drawn one ear, so he gets an extra one. Reuben cannot be blamed for moving while I sketch him, but Paddy has no excuse. He fidgets, moves his mouth, grimaces, stretches and so on. He and Liv remind me of their Omama (Austrian granny) who is motionless until she suspects she is being drawn. I finish drawing Paddy. “How come he looks so elegant, and I look so, bleugh,” asks Liv. I explain that’s what happens if you strike a bleugh pose. I think Reuben looks pretty elegant in the sketch too.


Dinner is late again. Liv decides to make a key lime pie, partly because it’s green, but mostly because I have three lines that are starting to look a bit tired. Marcel drives to the local shop to get cream and sugar. “It was a bit weird,” he says, “the guy in the shop seems shellshocked. They said there was a queue at 7.00am. They’ve told people they can stay in their cars and they’ll bring their shopping out to them if they prefer…and there’s no paper products at all.” I take the carton of milk and wash it in soapy water to be on the safe side. I think if I wash the (cardboard) box of tea Marcel might be upset. Without tea leaves any happiness in our quarantine home is going to dissolve very fast. I don’t bother washing the bottle of wine he bought…milk bottles seems more vulnerable to viruses than bottles of wine somehow. In the end Liv decides to make the key lime pie tomorrow as it’s just too late.


A car pulls up in the drive as I’m settling in to bed. It’s Honor’s ex-boyfriend. He is dropping off her Xbox. Trouble is, he’s only just out of his sickbed, where he suspected he had the covid. He wasn’t tested or diagnosed (even though he works in hospital) but his brother and his brother’s partner are both down with the covid. Honor has underlying health issues and must be protected. I phone Marcel to intercept the ex (who’s a lovely guy). The Xbox is duly dropped off but a row ensues between Marcel and Honor: Marcel wants to leave it outdoors until any viruses die off the surface, but Honor won’t accept that. There are shouts, and Honor says she will bring it in if Marcel doesn’t. His hand is forced – we would both rather he did any touching that has to be done, as he knows how to do it in an aseptic way, whereas I doubt whether Honor would. Marcel has always suffered badly with asthma, so it’s not great for him to touch it either. But Marcel is an intuitive and skillful scientist, and knows to treat the Xbox like a doggy-doo on the street, enveloping it in a plastic bag and flipping it over. It will remain in his office, which is away from the main house, for 24 hours. Then I will disinfect it.

Not a great Day 5 but it could have been worse. More tomorrow. Stay safe.


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