It's now a week since I arrived in Norfolk, and for the first few days I swung between an excited feeling of an unexpected holiday, and the low despair that I was losing control over my own life. What WAS this great threat? In how much danger did I, and my children, my friends and family, the whole EB team - and the rest of the world all really stand?!
It is almost impossible to think of the havoc that corvid -19 is wreaking on the world. Trying to do so gives me vertigo.
Much of the time I felt numb, and I slept in heavy chunks of deep unconsciousness. My concentration was all over the place, but looking out of the window was what I wanted to do most.
Because with a couple of exceptions over the weekend, every day has dawned in breathless pink and golden stillness and unrolled in ravishing bright sunlight, sometimes with a breeze just perfectly suited to setting the laundry dancing on the washing line.
The skies are clear, only occasionally streaked with light clouds, but almost never the usual scribbling of the sky trails of frequent jets passing high overhead. In fact the skies are almost empty, and the birds rule.
The landscapes stretching from my windows are mostly of farmland- occasional tractors trundle to and fro in the distance, and far away the sea crawls out to reveal miles of sand and mud, then silently returns. But there are no sails out there.
For the first days, until the PM's announcement on Monday evening, Margaret and I were out of doors as much as we could be; we ate breakfast in the verandah and walked on the beaches nearby, sometimes with friends and relations, all feeling slightly self conscious about not hugging each other hello and goodbye, reminding each other of the need to stand well apart.
On Tuesday, for me, as for millions, there is a swift adaptation to full time life at home, in the form of the new style of meeting: in rapidly changing circumstances the EB board gathered onscreen to make crucial decisions. The chief topic was looking after our whole team: the staff in our shops, the factory cafe and decorating studio; the whole factory, and the team who keep the warehouse functioning; and also the commercial offices and the customer service crew ... Careful provision has to be made for each of the 350 members of our staff.
This morning I woke early to another lovely spring morning, I went down to the kitchen and made myself tea and took it back to bed. Looking out at the pearly morning I resolved to keep up the momentum which Margy and I found yesterday when we spent an energetic couple of hours in the garden: I vow to make sure that every day I address this question - How can I make today beautiful?
These are the things I achieved today in answer: - -Coffee and toast for breakfast on the verandah ( Margy got up in time to put out a cloth and lay the table nicely.) - I walked while Margy ran for 25 mins around the field behind the house- I stopped to listen to the birds, and to count 12 hares out on the ploughed field.
- I pinned an all white wash out on the line, where the breeze set the towels and nightdresses dancing.
- While Margy planned a dissertation essay, I made a ginger cake for our tea.
There's a brand new moon just risen, so now I'm going to persuade M to stop work and come outside so we can both make a wish.