(I drafted this post before anti-racist protests in the USA and then here in the UK unfolded. But see bottom of the page for my position on the matter.)
If I ever become a grandmother, one day way ahead in the future, I shall tell my grandchildren all about the pandemical craziness of 2020. I might embellish a few details for comic effect, but the gist of the saga will be true.
(By the way, it’s tricky to illustrate a blog post about Covid-19, so I’ll include photos from my garden, OK? Because to be honest, that’s where I’ve been spending every spare moment.)
And as I recline (aged 85¾) on the chaise longue that I aspire to own, sipping my breakfast gin whilst running a hand through my elaborately purple hair, I shall tell the poor mites all about the year of the pandemic. Assuming they’re still tiny, I’ll edit out the horrific/depressing bits about this hideous illness, because I don’t want to traumatise their young brains.
“Were you supposed to paint a cross on your door if you caught the virus?” one of my dear grandchildren might ask. (I like to imagine that they’ll have inquisitive minds.) “No, child,” I’ll reply, peering sternly over my reading glasses. “That was the Great Plague of 1665. I’m not that old. No, in 2020 we had Facebook for letting people know we were ill.”
“Facebook! I’ve heard of that!” they’ll exclaim. “We’ve been learning about it in history lessons!”
“Um. Oh. Yes. Of course. I’m glad to hear you’re paying attention at school: your poor father had practically no education at all in 2020.”
“It must have been a scary time for everyone, Grandma. How on earth did people cope?” (See what marvellously empathic and perceptive grandchildren I’m going to have?)
“Well… mostly people bought ALL THE LOO ROLLS, and also they baked so much bread and cakes that flour was only available by negotiating with a weirdo in the Tesco carpark at midnight, who probably cut it with cocaine in order to up his profits.”
“Wow, Grandma. People in 2020 were odd. And how did you cope? Did you drink gin for breakfast back in those days, like you do now?”
“Of course not!” I’ll respond, slightly more tetchily than I intended. “I’ve only been doing that since the Great Yarn Shortage Of 2032.” To which the grandchildren will solemnly nod, because they’ve heard all about that fiasco from their parents, and they know not to mention it any further in my presence unless they want to witness wailing and weeping.
“No,” I’ll say, determined to brighten the mood, “I coped by getting into a bit of a frenzy of vegetable-growing in our little back garden. Because whilst we might die of this virus, we were certainly not going to run short of kale. NOT. ON. MY. WATCH.”
“Oh…” they’ll say, quietly. “So was kale a cure for the virus?”
“Um… not exactly… But growing it helped me to feel as though as I was doing something constructive to protect my family, at a time when things otherwise felt rather out of control. Ditto growing potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, celery, celeriac, various herbs, carrots, parsnips, sprouts, kalettes, broccoli, purple sprouting, cauliflower, grapes, melons, lettuce, garlic, onions, spring onions, shallots, courgettes, peas, pak choi, strawberries, raspberries, leeks, Chilean guava berries, cocktail kiwis, runner beans, French beans, yard-long beans, broad beans, plums, pears, apples, sweetcorn, asparagus, mangetout, fennel, triffids, and olives.
You see, the year of the virus was as much a mental battle as it was a physical battle. And I fought the mental battle by concentrating hard on growing ALL OF THE VEGETABLES (and a bit of fruit). Our little garden started looking very dig-for-victory.”
“I see,” they’ll say, reluctantly realizing that their genetic heritage includes a side order of unhinged.
“But also, I did do a great deal of knitting,” I’ll reassure them. “I had a book deadline approaching, so I spent many, many, hours knitting and re-knitting a skirt.”
“Cool. Can we see?”
“No, dear grandchildren. Not until I’ve finished photographing it properly.”
You see, this is still a knitting blog. So much so that I’ve been too busy knitting some new designs to photograph and show them to you quite yet. But colourful colourwork is a-coming, I promise. And if you don’t mind using up a teeny bit of patience, I’ll show them to you soon.
In the meantime, would you like some kale??? I do have quite a bit of the stuff…
As I said, I drafted most of this post before the killing of George Floyd in the USA. Just in case anyone is interested in my position on the subject: BLACK LIVES MATTER. The sooner we dismantle the systemic racism that surrounds us, the better.