Episode 8

My husband has bought me a hammock. Although that sounds like it should be the first line of a limerick, it isn’t, for the simple reason that nothing rhymes with hammock...  It is, in fact, my birthday present* and it is probably one of the best gifts I’ve ever received. I have already spent a solid two hours gently swaying in its gentle embrace, reading my excellent new book** (an unexpected ‘not birthday’ present, from a very lovely person) alongside engaging in some pretty intense sky-staring and thinking***.  It is such a simple thing but in this sling made of fabric and rope, I have been gifted a genuine cocoon of luxury where I can hide away and be detached and alone (no need for an ineffectual ‘post it’ note out here). The younger members of the household are also unusually on board and have even taken to bringing me snacks and drinks at regular intervals. They must have been bribed and/or blackmailed into this behaviour, but I’m enjoying the outcome so am not going to question the motivation involved! Safe to say I could get used to it.

I’m almost scared to be thinking it, and it might just be the newly relaxed ‘hammocky’ me, but does it sort of feel like some sort of end is in some sort of sight? It seems slightly dangerous to hope it might be, and it’s probably more likely that I’m hallucinating from a lack of meaningful social interaction, but there does feel like some kind of a change is in the air. Not least because of the latest guidance meaning we can now legitimately go to a public space and converse with one of our friends at a time, from a carefully maintained 2 metre distance. Additionally I hear more and more talk of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ we all might get back to something approaching normalcy. 

There is now a sense of looking forward to how we might start to reconstruct our working lives and put things back in place, to pick up and potentially resurrect projects and plans that had been indefinitely shelved. At YMH we had already been considering a “Back to Making Music” celebration event and we are starting to formulate a vision of what that might look like. We will be inviting any young (and not so young) music makers to tell us their ideas about what they might like the event to be. Do get in touch if you have any thoughts you’d like to share. This possible move upwards through the gears has also got me thinking about the legacies we’re going to be left with when we finally, one day get beyond this.  What will we carry with us as we emerge blinking into the light, and what we will immediately abandon with relief and gratefulness? I’m thinking Zoom conferencing is probably here to stay, which I am both delighted and depressed about in equal measure. There is no doubt fun to be had and the standard ‘Donald Duck’ work attire of ‘top half only’ smartness is a total bonus, but I’m finding it more and more challenging to find a presentable corner of my increasingly chaotic workspace. 

When considering the other habits we’ve adopted, I’m hoping that there will still be time for daily reading with the youngest, the ‘walk-talks’ with the eldest and of course my attempt at regular running****. I secretly suspect my cursory nod to fitness might be the first thing to go.  I’m sure I won’t be missed though, I’ve noticed over the weeks of lockdown that I’m clearly not alone in trying to get fit. There are so many people out running it’s become a fine art avoiding them all. Home exercise is also clearly a bit of a COVID-craze (and not just due to the marvellous and rather buff Mr Wicks) given that Business Insider magazine has reported that kettlebells have seen a 419% jump in consumer demand in the last two months. One wonders how many of these are destined to become dust-covered door-stops once life returns to its normal pace.

So, when we finally exit from Lockdown Life, what will we have become?  Given that most of us are creatures of habit, will we quickly return to near-identical versions of our former selves, though possibly somewhat weightier and a tad more cultured?  For many, this time has been a period of intense musical activity and it’s been great to see so much of this on the YMH share site. For others, it’s been about just getting through and surviving. I think I’ve been a slightly crazy mixture of the two which at times must have felt fairly challenging to cope with, hats off to my husband for dealing with that (so far).  This time has been very productive for YMH.  We’ve commissioned some really important work, helped countless young people to access music opportunities, and his week we are delighted to be launching our brand new website (which has been a long time in the development with the fabulous squeegee design and of which we are immensely proud). 

I’m eager to get back to the hammock so will leave you with a link to our new website and fair warning that if no more blog posts appear it’s because I have moved there permanently and there’s no room for my laptop.

* Today. Thank you for remembering.

** “Untamed” By Glennon Doyle. You’re welcome. 

*** Almost entirely about what to put in this blog in fact.

**** Totally NOT running at all in any true sense of that word.


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