So here we are, officially in the first week of Spring. The birds are in full voice and the sun has decided to come out. I can’t tell you how relieved I am. I don’t know about you folks but I confess that I am finding this continued lockdown more than a little trying. I have been doing my very best to be upbeat, sensible and grown up about the whole thing when really I feel like throwing a big fat noisy tantrum that would put any self-respecting two-year-old to shame. Add to lockdown the dreariness of February and it’s almost too much to bear. There is nothing to be done but to turn to Jane and re-read Pride and Prejudice for the umpteenth time. I never tire of it. It seems that I am not alone in turning to the masterful Miss Austen in times of trial. To quote Rudyard Kipling, “there’s no one to touch Jane when you’re in a tight spot.” And a global pandemic, I think we can all agree, is probably as tight a spot as it gets.
A completely different but no less consoling read has been Kelly McGonigal’s The Upside of Stress – Why stress is good for you (and how to get good at it). I had seen her TED talk a few years ago that gives an overview of her hypothesis, but the book is definitely worth delving into as it covers the topic in much more detail. I feel much the better for reading it and you know, I now no longer stress about stress.
Except perhaps about my current living circumstances. As I am camping while I search for the not so imaginary house, I am quite literally surrounded by all my stuff. The boxes are piled high and there is barely room to swing the proverbial cat, a situation not at all conducive to thinking important thoughts.
Like why our food needs to consume less water; do I really need that tomorrow; and why have there been no great women artists? This last question was asked of art historian Linda Nochlin (1931-2017) way back in the early 1970s, but as she so aptly wrote in her riposte in the journal ARTnews, “silly questions deserve long answers.” The poor man.
As the quest for the perfect house continues, here it is my favourite restoration of the moment, a gorgeously spacious villa in Tuscany, with plenty of room for works by photographer Thandiwe Muriu, and perhaps a pot or two by Sara Flynn.
I am delighted to find that the Victoria and Albert Museum has upgraded its collections pages so I can explore to my heart’s content without leaving my house. Though in truth I really would prefer to leave my house, but needs must and all that. Oh, and my latest designs are back from the cushion makers. They are just as I had hoped and will be up on the website on Monday, which is also International Women’s Day. Apt, don’t you think?