Out Like a Lamb

We made it through March. Always, always my least favorite month of the year–the dregs of winter dragging on for 31 days, so tedious after February’s brief 28–made even more dismal by the circumstances of a pandemic and lockdown; now, add in that today is the first anniversary of my father’s death.

But tomorrow will be April.

The combination of spring weather and an easing of lockdown restrictions this week has made an obvious difference in the vibe around here. It feels like we have finally made it through The Darkest Winter, and never has spring felt so much like coming out of hibernation.

Everyone is emerging from their hermitages, looking less like beautiful metamorphosed butterflies and more like hairy, hangry bears, desperate for socialization and sunlight, and probably also a roots touchup.

All four of us finally have haircut appointments, for after 12 April, when the salons and barber shops should be allowed to reopen. Some of us are in more desperate need than others, but I won’t name names.

The kids have been back in school for three and a half weeks, and today is the last day of the term. Now they have a three-week break, the “Easter hols,” and I’m back to binge-watching my children. If only ‘The Crown’ had such short breaks between seasons!

The difference from the ‘Christmas hols’ being, of course, that this time they really will be going back in just three weeks (that’s the plan, anyway), plus a few more things are allowed (e.g., the Rule of Six for meeting up outdoors), and we have a lot more daylight and warmer temps. Holiday camps can operate, so that’s a big improvement over February half-term.

We haven’t left London since October half-term. And even that was only to Windsor and Surrey. We’ve been marooned on this not-deserted island since August, sending virtual messages in bottles to friends and family abroad via the magic of technology, and just trying to stay sane.

How have I maintained my sanity this winter, where there’s nowhere to go and nothing to do? Going for long walks, bundled up against the cold and damp; either with a friend and a takeaway coffee, or alone while listening to psychological thriller novels. My weekly Zoom dance fit class. Baking batch after batch after batch of these cookies. (Vegan and gluten-free–they’re basically salad!) And of course, making tiny mice for boot scrapers. As one does.

And the kids? Friday night pizza picnics on the living room floor in front of the TV. A regular rotation of the same four playgrounds, hoping we’ll bump into some of their friends there. Making massive messes with the arts and crafts supplies. Playing/reading with the Virginia grandparents via the Caribu video calling app. We’ve listened to all the Magic Tree House audio books the library has in its collection and have moved on to the ones I have to pay to download.

Now we are optimistically making plans for the summer, in the hopes that we get our vaccines soon and the government’s ‘road map’ continues to hit the target dates it laid out last month. I’m at the point where I’m just saying yes to everything anyone suggests, enthusiastically entering it into my phone’s calendar.

Basically, if you need a wingwoman around London this spring, I’m your girl. Lunch and shopping in Chelsea? Yes, please! Boat ride on the Thames? Aye, aye, captain! Art exhibit at any of the museums? I’ll book my ticket now! Stalking your ex’s new lover? Let me just grab my trench coat and sunglasses!

No doubt I’ll reach a point this summer when I realize I’ve totally overbooked myself, and will be running on some sort of manic energy in my need to make up for lost time. My social calendar is going to go from 0 to 60 pretty soon, and it will be overwhelming.

But for now, it’s just so nice to have some things to look forward to again.

More Mouse Hole Media Madness

On International Women’s Day, I received a notification that I’d been included in this list of “inspirational local women.”

I’m sure it’s not deserved, and there are plenty of way more inspirational women than me in our borough, but consider me very flattered!

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Sarah Everard

For the past week and a half, we have watched a tragedy unfold right here in our neighbourhood. Sarah Everard, a 33-year-old woman, left her friend’s house on the street directly adjacent to our block, and began walking home to Brixton, across Clapham Common. She never arrived home.

About a day later, I started receiving messages from people sharing the information that a woman had disappeared from our area. Missing person fliers appeared on every post around here.

A massive search took place over the following days, with police combing Clapham Common and knocking on doors, asking people to check their doorbell camera footage from the night she disappeared. Helicopters hovered over our typically quiet (by the standards of a major city, anyway) neighbourhood.

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