Our confinement, self-isolation, is into its second week. We have locked our gate and have not been out nor anybody in for over a week now as the Coronavirus Covid19 continues its rampage through the country. There were 219 new cases in Ireland today, Monday 23rd, bringing the total number of cases to 1,125 with six Covid -19 related deaths. It is likely that self-isolation will be the best option for us for the foreseeable future.
It is not something to complain about, to be honest, and it is not a huge change of lifestyle for us. We are normally a stay-at-home couple with the shopping visit to the supermarket the big outing of the week. We had been regular walkers, 8 – 10Km daily, but stopped this over a week ago and we do miss this exercise. Fortunately, the weather has improved and we have been able to spend more and more time in the garden, two hours in the morning and three in the afternoon is routine, and we have completed what we refer to as the full circuit for the first time this season – the grass has been cut, the compost area is in good order, all beds and borders have been weeded, pruned, had compost added where needed. All we need to do now it keep it in good order – as it always is with gardening, a continuing cycle.
Our local supermarket has an online ordering and home delivery service which we have begun using. The waiting time for deliveries is quite long: our first will be on Wednesday and there isn’t another available slot in the following fortnight though they do say they are trying to arrange extra delivery slots. We may run out of some things but we will manage. It isn’t a crisis by any stretch of the imagination.
The first of the Wood Anemones in flower – Anemone nemerosa
In the meantime, in the spirit of being frugal and of waiting for the next delivery, we have tried to avoid any waste of food so some left-over mashed potatoes made a very tasty Gnocchi dish – a recipe from Gordon Ramsey – and some potato bread, the “Farls” served with the morning fried breakfast in Northern Ireland, cooked on the frying pan rather than baked in the oven. It struck me that the Italian Gnocchi and the Irish Farls are, in fact, very alike with the basic ingredients almost identical: a quantity of cold mashed potatoes, half that of flour and half that again of butter (for farls) or Ricotta (for gnocchi). Simple recipes cross international borders.
There was another revelation today: Mary suggested we do a jig-saw to pass the time so I brought down a box of ten jig-saws, bought several years ago and only one completed that Christmas. One is of the tulip fields in Holland, large bright tracts of red and yellow, a windmill and blue skies – lots of blue skies, always the last part of any jig-saw to be completed. We poured out the pieces on the dining room table and began an initial sorting and it dawned on me: I sorted by shape, choosing the pieces with the straight edges which would make the frame of the picture while Mary sorted by colour – red tulips in one pile, yellow in another and sky blue in another still. Different approaches but, together, we could make a jig-saw!
While we continue in our isolation, I hope everybody keeps well, safe and healthy, and I grieve the loss of a friend’s son to this Cononavirus. A young man gone before his time and his parents’ hearts broken.
Gardening, cooking, jig-saws and writing are distractions in this situation.