... feminist, atheist, autistic academic and historic narrowboater ...
Likes snooker, beer, tea, rivets and solitude, and is strangely fascinated by the cinema organ.
And there might be something about railways.

Thursday 14 May 2020

What to keep

Nev shared his thoughts over a month ago about what we could learn from the situation we've been thrust into, and how we might pledge to change.

My take is a little bit different - and, I readily confess, a whole lot more self centred - but of all the changes that have either been forced upon us, or have been our adaptive responses over the last couple of months, there is quite a lot that I would like to hang on to, if I can. In no particular order they are:

1. Working at home - If you've read yesterday's posy, you'll know why. I know at some point I will have to stop working exclusively at home - partly for the reasons Andy pointed out in his comment yesterday, but also for the more blindingly obvious reason that at some point we'll be teaching and engaing with students IRL again - and that's what I do, and most of the time, it's what I love to do. The office on the other hand ... I will try to avoid as much as possible. Now the precedent is set for video meetings, why not continue to have them, if there's just one person I need to have a chat with for half an hour? This might be one of the hardest habits to keep up, because it can't be 100%, so it will be hard to stop it gradually being chipped away. But I will try.

2. Video socialising - I've never liked using the phone, and it's easy to slip out out of touch - maybe oh-so-gradually - when you're reliant on emails and texts to keep in touch. Setting up a video meeting somehow feels more like arranging a visit (and less like a phone call) and I've rekindled old and developed new friendships with people hundreds of miles away and laughed and ranted and drunk for an hour or two just like you're meant to do with friends.

3. Not shopping in supermarkets and not buying processed food - now this is one I've tried before, but I hope my motivation is stronger now. Beanies have been a lifesaver for me; the reason I haven't needed to leave the house. They're a co-op who support local and organic producers. Of course they're not going to be as cheap as Tescos. But at this point in my life I am fortunate enough that cheap doesn't have to be my first priority. Prior to this kicking off I was getting a veg box once a fortnight, and feeling hard done by when there was celeriac in it (again). Fortunately I decided to go back to weekly just before things got desperate, and I find I now get through all the veg in a week, and I really appreciate it. Similarly, early on, I almost cried when there was flour one week; yeast another. So an additional thing I hope I can also hold onto is appreciating those things we so easily take for granted. But before I get too serious and smug,

4. Kelham Island beer deliveries - I have done my taste tests, and I like Easy Rider and Riders on the Storm; perhaps surprisingly, the stronger Pale Rider is my least favourite. Its a bit smooth and what I'd call ESB-y (although that might not make sense to anyone else). Or indeed HSB-y, for anyone who remembers Gales (which I see is now also brewed by Fullers). But I digress. Tasty beer, brewed just a mile away, delivered to the door, at a sensible price - that saves a lot of car journeys to the supermarket. Though I will resume supporting my local pub as well!

5. Weekend jobs - Because I've felt the need to keep busy, I've got loads of little (and not so little) jobs done in the house and garden that I'd normally never get round to. I think it's partly tied up with number 1 as well, in that I seem to have a lot more energy - mental if not physical - at the weekends than I ever did when working 'normally.' Not going off doing other things at the weekends has played a part, but not a massive one, because I'd usually spend roughly two out of three, or even three out of four, weekends at home anyway. I think it's partly also having the time and space to think ahead and plan what I'm going to do next, and be able to take it in small stages. But conversely...

6. The sense that it's OK to just be - that I don't have to be doing something or achieving something all the time. The world can wait while I enjoy the sunshine. This sense of calm, of being insulated from the stresses and demands of everyday life ... no, I reckon that one will be impossible to hold on to.

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