Hanging on

I hadn’t intended to stop my Lockdown Flashback posts so suddenly, or to skip last weekend’s post.  I have been drowning in work, however, and everything else has taken a back seat.  I was supposed to be in Johannesburg the past two weeks, but since that is obviously not possible, I did all of my South African teaching while sitting in my study here in England.

News flash, Emma: Eight years after you left home, I have now taken over your room!  It’s my study now! I spent a month teaching from the kitchen table while Doug taught from the study.  It wasn’t working, and now we are teaching from adjacent studies.  Sometimes while I am in a meeting, I can hear Doug teaching about electrencephalography from the next room.  I’m thankful that we have enough space to do this.  I have one colleague – with small children – who zooms into meetings from her bathroom as it’s the only peaceful place in her house.

Along with not writing the blog, I was also not knitting, not reading, not house cleaning, and not doing anything else.  Thankfully, Doug is a good cook, and he’s been taking care of me.  I can show you a bit of progress I’ve made on my Hatcher pullover since I last photographed it.  I started off with a bang on this one, and I do think it would knit up in no time, if I had time to knit.  It is a very enjoyable project, with beautifully written instructions.  Here is the back, which only has about an inch to go before I do the shoulder shaping:


The pullover is knitted in the round up until you separate for the front and back, and then it is knitted back and forth.  Here you can see the front:


I love the yarn (Kettle Yarn Beyul DK in Yurt) which is a mix of wool, yak, and silk, and had fantastic weight and depth and sheen.  It really takes the cables beautifully.  I am definitely going to use it again.

Doug and I have been socially isolated for over two months now.  We are extremely fortunate – we are both still working, we live near open countryside, and so far, we are both healthy.  The girls are well, too, although I wonder when we might be all together again.  I can’t help but feel, however, that if one were to believe much of the narrative on the news and social media, that everyone is busy knitting up a storm, quilting, canning and preserving, refinishing furniture, painting the house, reading the works of Shakespeare, podcasting, learning to speak twelve languages, writing and directing a new cinematic masterpiece starring their children and filmed on their phone, magically gaining new editing skills on forty different platforms, and still having time to wash their hair and put on lipstick.

I find that this narrative of the lockdown is getting me down. (Not to mention the pandemic itself, which is very scary.)  I feel like I’m just hanging on, and working hard.  And all of my colleagues are reporting the same, so I know its not just me.  Rumour has it that we are going to be working from home until at least next January, possible next Easter, so maybe there is still time for me to write a great novel, or perhaps just to clean my house.

I hope that you are all keeping safe and well.  If you are knitting up a storm, please let me know and I will live vicariously!

27 thoughts on “Hanging on

  1. I find not using social media to be very helpful. I’ve lost my job and my 96 year old mother passed away last week; but I focus on enjoying every day and being realistic about what I can accomplish. I also try to remember that we won’t be in lockdown forever and look forward to the future. I’m not knitting up a storm, but I do feel satisfaction at the end of the day.

    • These are interesting times and, yes, stressful. Almost like living a ‘B Movie’ …. looking out the window and expecting to see Zombies walking down our street! 8 weeks of being home and knitting is not proving to be productive. Days spent seaming my Martin Storey Minimal Cardi. Then, knitting a top down pullover ‘Wings’ by The Gift of Knitting; I have pulled out my knitting and restarted 4 (yes that is Four) times! Not a difficult pattern but with my Covid concentration conundrum, following the text instructions of the twisted rib yoke pattern has proven challenging. I do wish it was charted. Hope that I am on track now, as I am not giving up on this one! My thoughts are with you, Kelly, as you and Doug busily work from home. I too have a husband who cooks for me! Thinking of ‘this too shall pass’, so let’s hope it happens sooner rather than later.

      • Thanks so much for commenting. I have already borrowed your phrase “Covid concentration conundrum”! I think we all need to be easy on ourselves right now, even if it means four tries to get something right. As for zombies, I might need to re-watch Shaun of the Dead.

    • Hi Maryann, my condolences on the loss of your mother. I am heartened by your ability to take each day as it comes and to find enjoyment and hope for the future. Thanks for commenting. Stay safe and best wishes!

  2. Nice sweater! I love Beyul yarn and am happy to hear you like it too. When you have time, could you explain the colored markers and when and why you use them. Thanks. Like you, I live near open countryside and can go for walks whenever I want and not see anyone. And I am retired so I don’t have the stress of working to deal with. Avoiding being sucked in by the news & social media definitely helps to keep a balanced mind in all this uncertainty. I find if I just read enough to know what is going on, and to learn the latest (and sensible) medical advice on how to stay alive, I am ok. There is a lot of fear and misinformation out there that one just doesn’t need. There is also a lot of positive stuff happening too: lots of people helping one another; people donating; people slowing down & concentrating on what is really important in their lives. I realise I am pretty privileged and lucky and many people are not, so I don’t wish to sound fatuous with these comments. Lots of knitting going on here – mostly in the evenings. Thanks for keeping us entertained with your blogs. How is the field of poppies the pharmaceutical company planted near you last year? Did they do it again?

    • Hi Anne, thanks for this. I actually don’t follow much social media – I’m not on Facebook or other such, but I do read some political blogs, as well as reading The Guardian and the Financial Times every day. I try to go to reputable sites. I agree that there have been some remarkably uplifting tales. But its hard not to notice some of the negative and unhelpful stuff, and I don’t want to stick my head in the sand either. Sorry, I don’t know about the poppies. I will make a note to discuss how I use markers sometimes soon. Keep safe!

  3. Social media content is 99.99% lies and garbage; what passes for journalism these days, sadly, is perhaps 50% so. Anne in her comment above puts it better than I have. You’re doing well in peculiar times, and your Hatcher shows it. Best wishes, and a virtual pat on the shoulder.

    • Thank you, Gretchen. I feel like I wrote this post at a point when I was exceptionally grouchy. I have my up days and my down days, like everyone else. I try to always have a positive attitude when I post, but it doesn’t always work. Today was a good day. I hope you are having some good days, too!

  4. You are doing so well, to be doing all that teaching from home, which some family members tell me is not easy. I’m impressed that you’re getting any knitting done at all, and am glad you’re in a place (as am I) where you can get outside. This is more than sufficient productivity on your part, and as a bonus for us, you blog! It is indeed good to have the space for two studies, a luxury I’ve enjoyed for a few years although we do have to double up functions occasionally – although no visiting family or other houseguests for a while, I guess. My nephew and his wife are sharing one computer space for his teaching and research, and her full-time job, in a small rented condo with a toddler and are really hoping parks and playgrounds might open soon – they can take the little one for a walk in the park but not stop to let her run around on the grass. I find my anxiety increasing a bit as our lockdown in Ontario begins to open up a bit, as I worry about our weighing of the risks of various activities, and worry even more about others’ behaviours. I’m knitting steadily and probably a bit more than pre-COVID, especially now that gardening is happening. Hang in, Kelly, as it sounds as though you’re in this work mode for the long haul. Good to hear from you whenever you have a chance to blog.

    • It is true, Beth, that we are really fortunate. We have access to fresh air, and are still able to work. I am very thankful for that. I tell everyone to be easy on themselves, and could do with some of that advice myself. I’m glad that you are finding time to knit and garden. I read the other day that gardening can be as effective as cognitive behavioural therapy, and we all know how good knitting is. Keep safe!

  5. If it wasn’t for my dosette, I wouldn’t know what day of the week it was. Feeling very privileged to be able to knit, cook, have all the groceries I need and be in the safety of my home. I try limit social media as there are way too many perfectionists out there for my liking. Praying for my physician daughter and son and law who are on the front lines. One day at a time.

    • We are all incredibly grateful for those who are putting their lives on the front line. Thank you to your daughter and son-in-law, and also to you, who support them and love them. As you say, one day at a time. Keep safe!

  6. Nice knitting – have to say crafting is possibly keeping me sane right now – guessing for many others it is helping too. It’s great to keep in touch by zoom etc but it’s not quite the same, however I thank my lucky stars I don’t have to squirrel myself away in a bathroom to do so – imagine – and so far my friends and family are safe.

    • I’m glad that crafting is helping you keep it together. Who knew when we took it up that it would be such a lifesaver? And you are right about zoom, etc. Its not the same. Although, I have been enjoying many cross-continental catch ups with friends and family; I may even keep it up when this is over!

      • We were saying that last night we’d probably keeps some of the chats going – on yet another Zoom chat – some of the ladies live on their own and have no plans to socialise for a long time as they are at risk. There are good things to come out of this current crisis after all.

  7. Those cables do look great with that yarn. I’m in social media, but not the same as some friends and colleagues that post constantly. I never read social media news, as it is too easy to be wrong and lies. I’m busy working too, but I sometimes get a little jealous of those on furlough that have time to get things done such as learning a language or some big projects or even lots of little ones. However, I am sure that it also can get tiresome the longer that you are on furlough. I think we all thought we could get through 6 weeks or so like this, but to think it going on through to autumn even would be depressing, so I try not to think about it and take one week at a time. Stay safe and well and you will see your family soon, I am sure,

    • Hi Jamie. I think you are right: the uncertainty of how long this will last is is a big part of the problem. I have a feeling that I will be working from home for a very long time to come. This life has a whole other rhythm to it. As an example, Doug and I just noticed that our car had two flat tires. The neighbor said it’s been that way for a week. We haven’t used the car in so long that we hadn’t even noticed. Keep safe!

  8. Hi, I am astronomer, and the observatory where I work is closed since ends of March so perhaps I could do all the nice things you mentioned but… my kids, aged 9 and 11, are “attending school” from home and it is a disaster for me!!! The only work I manage to do is to attend ~5 meetings per week… the rest of the time is to help the kids on their work and to cook/clean… I did manage to finish a book (reading not writing!) and one triangular shawl in our, today, 63 days of lockdown… good luck to you, hopefully the amount of work decreases a little bit for you, so we can continue reading your great posts!!

    • I am super, super impressed with everyone who is managing through this with kids at home. It is an incredibly difficult task and you should be proud. So, give yourself a pat on the back from me! Best wishes!

  9. Your sweater is looking great! I am kind of in the same boat – my DH and I are both working from home, and feeling very fortunate for that. But both busy with work. We are about staying even with where we were on housekeeping and so on, but nothing amazing getting done. I am doing some knitting, which I am very glad of 🙂

  10. Your pullover is looking fantastic! I am in the same boat as you. Juggling work from home (which takes all day now) and feeling like I need to tend to the home full time as well, it is difficult for me to fit in knitting.

    • I think we all need to stop any perfectionist tendencies, and be happy with what we manage to do. Its quite a struggle some days, and we are all juggling so many balls right now. Personally, I tend to drop the ‘cleaning the house’ ball frequently. Keep well and safe! I hope you fit in a little bit of knitting now and then.

      • If I didn’t drop the housekeeping ball here and there, I would be a slave to cleaning and I can’t. I just can’t. In fact, I am going to make a cup of coffee and pick up my knitting right now. Be well, my friend!

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