Saturday, September 05, 2020

Letter from home

Did you see those lifestyle articles in the papers early on in lockdown where women said that as they were never going out, they were giving up wearing bras because they wanted to be comfortable?

Well, six months of dealing with the pandemic has led me to cross my own line. For the first time ever I had a social engagement wearing my elephant trousers. which I mean someone other than Dave saw me in them. On Thursday I had been in need of some self-cosseting (brought on by the dystopia out there I can do nothing to make any better)  and Liz came to sit in the garden for coffee and chat, and I did not change before she arrived. 

If the elephant trousers (bought circa 1983)  were in a clothing catalogue, they'd be described as soft grey fleecy track pants with drawstring waist and pale turquoise trim down the side, or in the case of a pair currently available from Wrap I've been wondering about

These relaxed and cool trousers are chic and comfortable. Trimmed with velvet on the outside leg, they're more luxe than lounge.

Enough of the descriptions, the point is that not only has my hair not been cut since February, but as I can go days without seeing anyone but Dave and the occasional delivery man, I have given up dressing for style. 

There is a long cold winter with little social contact ahead, and I am currently ogling another pair of fleecy track pants. I worry that when the world gets back to normal my standards will have slipped so far I'll even have ditched my dungarees, and I'll have nothing in the wardrobe apart from warm and cosy trousers with elasticated waists. 

The other line I crossed is that I read and enjoyed a Booker winner: Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo. I've read and enjoyed winners of the Orange Prize, the Pulitzer and the Costa before but never the Booker. What's going on? Did the judges make some mistake? It's SO ACCESSIBLE. It's very good. Have you read it?

In other news, I've been having some art lessons on zoom. They've been educative, interesting and stimulating. Unfortunately I've been hit by a hard truth.

I had thought that painting would be nothing but fun, unlike writing a novel, where although I might have in my head some appealing characters, entertaining dialogue and interesting themes, it needs a plot to bring it all together. And plotting for me is difficult.

It turns out that although I might be OK at drawing, have a good eye for colour, and be able to translate energy to the canvas, it needs prior hard thinking as to composition to make it all come together. Bugger. 

It's the same old lesson: apart from a minute number of incredibly talented and rare individuals, achieving creative success requires hours and hours of hard work.

But the highlight of the past week was going to Quaker meeting in our meeting house in Bakewell. It has been closed since the end of March and last Sunday we had our first Meeting under new restrictions: two metres apart and everyone wearing masks. Our Meeting room could only accommodate 12 under those conditions, with all other Friends joining us from home via zoom. But it worked for everyone. 

When I first went in and sat down I was so delighted to be there I was moved to tears, at the same time as wanting to stand up and shout 'Whoop-whoop!'

The river Wye in Bakewell 


Anonymous said...

You speak for me on clothing choices in these last six months My close cropped hairstyle has gone lost in six months’ growth and now resembles my two year old portrait photo, wavy and luxuriant, but so much more grey.

marmee said...

Oh yes, the standards have dropped chez moi! Hair condition improved though because I stopped washing it obsessively. Re the booker: Have not read that one but years ago I started reading the winner every year and mostly enjoyed what I read. One of my happiest finds was not a winner but someone shortlisted , caught my attention because the author was living in cape town while he wrote the book . That was Tan Twan Eng with The Garden of Evening Mists. That was the year of Hilary Mantel and Bring up the bodies. I did NOT enjoy the Harold jacobson. I did not like the Anne Enright, but that might feel different to me now. In recent years I stopped following the Booker.

Sue Hepworth said...

Hi Ana, I have decided to grow my hair for the time being and have it up.

Hi Marmee, yes, my hair condition has improved, too. I’m not sure why.
Re Booker winners - no, I did not like the Jacobson, or the Enright. I tried them both. Looking back I see that Graham Swift’s Last Orders won one year, so they are not all inaccessible. I am a lazy reader, I don’t like to work at reading books. I like them to be simple, and clear, and beautifully written like ones by Kent Haruf, and Helen Dunmore.

Sue Hepworth said...

And engaging, naturally!