Lockdown again

"The key to creativity is to let your mind wander, to daydream. So this period of lockdown that we're all experiencing all over the world could turn out to be our greatest period of creativity in the whole history of mankind." Sandi Mann

Here we go again - more or less complete lockdown. Well actually it isn't really is it? Because we can go out for a walk or a ride or a run, if you're more energetic than me. You can go shopping for essentials - though you shouldn't really do this very often, and perhaps we should wear a mask. We bought some yesterday just in case it became mandatory. We could go to work if we had to - well we don't have to. And we can go to the doctor or anywhere for medical attention - we hope there won't be any of that. But no face to face contact with our loved ones. And no sitting in a café, or a park come to that, watching the world go by. And not much of the world goes by our place. But that's because we are privileged and have a huge block of land and green trees to look at. And I do love them, but it's not quite the same as looking at a busy - or now - a busyish street is it?


I remember my grandmother used to station herself behind the lace curtain in her front room and give a running commentary on who was out there, and what was happening. I also remember travelling through New Zealand with our five month old baby who got immensely bored and fractious as we travelled through the spectacular scenery of its countryside, but who came to life and was most interested when we went through a town. Movement is perhaps more interesting. Scenery is more meditative. In a town you can speculate on all the people you see - who they are, what they are like, where they are going, why ... In the countryside you have to engage with the bigger questions - life, the universe and everything, and maybe that's a bit too much to contemplate in the current situation. I just don't like to think about the future at all.


Today I find myself lacking in inspiration for this blog. perhaps it's because my creative quotient for the day has been used up by preparing for this evening's book group Zoom meeting. It's my book and so I have to have at least a few questions to ask. And because it's me, I've probably got too many and they're all jumbled up and incoherent and anyway everyone will want to talk about other aspects. And I should let them. Who cares anyway. It's all meaningless and time wasting. Although I did enjoy the book and grappling with some of the questions it raised in my mind.


Foodwise I can think of nothing for this blog.. Well, we had a lovely scratch lunch with two friends here in our house - yes we are allowed to today - not tomorrow or for the next six weeks - no more visitors. And we tasted the expensive bread I have talked about before, because one of our guests brought it along, so perhaps I should talk about that. Channel 10 seem to have dropped Jamie and his Carry on Cooking again, which was very frustrating; My Vietnamese mint and rosemary are the only things flourishing in my veggie garden at the moment; and it's back to really just relying on what is in the pantry, fridge and freezer as far as our meals are concerned. I probably ought to be able to find something in all of that. But I don't feel like it. So here I am talking about a second lockdown.


It's actually quite interesting to go into a second lockdown because it makes me realise that I have not really felt very locked down at all of late. And the main reason for this, I think, is that, post the first lockdown, we have been able to actually meet with our family. Indeed the grandchildren and their mothers were coming to stay overnight on Thursday. Alas no more. So maybe the second lockdown will be harder than the first because this time we really appreciate what we are missing because of the wonderfulness of getting some of it back after the first one. And there's also the slight worry that the lockdowns will never end, Although I suppose that will mean that we shall have to think of more creative ways of living our lives and keeping the world going without tourism and shopping to keep it all spinning along.


I read an article about how boredom - and there is definitely boredom in lockdown - eventually leads to creativity. The lady who said those words at the top of the page, has experimented with locking people away for a period to see what happens, and she says that their isolation and their boredom eventually leads to creativity. She maintains that boredom is in some way a stimulator for creativity:


"Just watch the world go by or even just stare at the ceiling and let your mind find its own entertainment and its own creativity. Your mind will do the job, you don't need to do anything else – that's what your mind is programmed to do after millions of years of evolution, it's programmed to find its own stimulation. And it will."


And it is true that an awful lot of people are being very creative out there. On the food front ordinary takeaway is morphing into a whole new range of possibilities, people are cooking at home - there are still not reliable supplies of flour in the supermarkets, and you still can't get butter puff pastry. New online services are popping up all over the place and restaurants are thinking out different ways of operating.


We are apparently learning new skills. I've just started using Apple's Swift Playgrounds app to teach myself coding, though I doubt that I am looking at a career as a programmer or game creator in the near future. It's different though. So far it's not much of a mind stretch, but then the app is devised for children and I have only just started. But you know I already find myself asking questions about how the program itself was devised. There's a lot of coding going on behind what I am being asked to do, which is to make an animated character move around a tiny world and do specific things. A tiny bit sad that the aim of each little exercise is to collect a gem. Never mind, it's mildly amusing and different to endless sudoku.


From my super privileged position here it's easy to say "interesting times". Not so easy if you have four tiny children and just a couple of rooms to live in (if you're lucky), insufficient money and an abusive husband. I do hope they are doing the right thing by those people locked up in the tower blocks - and I believe they are after a shaky start. In fact governments themselves will have to be creative, and, dare I say, more co-operative in order to deal with it all. And so far, at least here in Oz, that is more or less what they are doing. The occasional squabble and misstep is inevitable, but overall they are not too bad.


I don't really feel the need to learn yet another new language. I would actually quite like to do a jigsaw puzzle or two, but that's not creative is it? It's a bit like playing patience and a bit sad. But then maybe trying to think of saying something for an indulgent foodie blog is not much better. Maybe it's alright not to do much more than look outside at the distant sunset and the trees.


"What if the most creative thing you’ve done today is sprinkle a little balsamic glaze over your avo toast?: Morgan Reardon - Urban List


Or, to be gloomy will it all lead to bloodshed and revolution?

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