… and breathe!  Sixth week of lockdown.  Not good.  There are fundamental differences in our approaches to life and nothing is going to change that.  Suffice to say, one sets herself tasks and does things now!  The other?  Well, lives by the mantra do nothing, today, which can be done tomorrow!  See what I mean?  Everything just lies where it landed and, thereafter, grows roots.  I am only grateful that I still have my eyesight or the obstacle course which, now, abounds, would be the death of me!  Coronavirus?  Try lockdown with Becca!

Finally agreeing to never agree on our choice of viewing of an evening, we were able to access Amazon Prime (thanks to Manny) and Becca suggested we catch up on all six series of Downton Abbey.  Help!  Neither of us watched it, at the time, and thus could not comment on the hype but I have, however, seen Lady Carnarvon of Highclere Castle – the real Downton Abbey – on television, chatting about life upstairs.  Most recently, she was on This Morning, resplendent on a bench beside a beautiful old tree on the sprawling lawns of her home, discussing the impact of lockdown on their business; that which funds the upkeep of the magnificent property.  She seems lovely and, as she sat there in the spring sunshine, her golden lab beside her, I couldn’t help but envy her version of lockdown!  Admitting that there are ups and downs, she said she had gone for a cycle with her dogs, that morning, which had served to lift her spirits.  Well, it would!  Just imagine the view from your window; waking up to draw the curtains and look out over the countryside beyond, not a soul in sight; all yours.  Just to be able to walk out of one’s front door knowing that the solitude one craved was forthcoming, accompanied only by birdsong …  In the words of Dawn French, as the Vicar of Dibley, ‘it should’ve been me!’.

No, seriously, I think we could be friends!!  Obviously a lover of animals and the countryside, Highclere, of course, boasts stables and to be able to saddle-up and ride round one’s own country estate … heaven!  Meantime, she mentioned that they have embarked on holding virtual cocktail parties in their home to which anyone is invited.  Drinks at Highclere this Friday?  It’s a date!  The interior does look truly sumptuous, rather reminding me of the décor of The Ritz; obviously, the reason why it is my favourite hotel in London – the nod to the country house interior.  Oh, one more thing about my future friend, Lady Carnarvon – she writes a weekly blog.  Could it, possibly, be as entertaining as mine, one must ask?!

Back to the subject of interiors.  One of the best parts of this lockdown business is being able to see into everyone’s houses!  Ignoring the presenter or interviewee in the foreground, far more interesting is the colour scheme and décor behind and, I have to say, the word beige comes to mind.  Honestly, it is as though we have all been cloned.  When I say ‘beige’, I actually mean bland.  Nine times out of ten, the ‘colour’ scheme is grey; the style, minimalist.  I suppose one advantage to this is that most homes could be interchangeable.  Swap one characterless home for another characterless home, the only difference being the odd photograph.  No personal stamp.  Therein lies the key.  So many are desperate to conform; to follow the crowd.  There is no thinking for oneself.  Rather, when it comes to interior décor, one must adhere to the regulations: grey, grey and grey with, perhaps, some more grey with the obligatory velour or fake fur cushions and the odd accent of garish colour.  Anything on the walls?  Maybe one picture, lost and too high up.  Oh, and, preferably, a ginormous television on the wall …  Those who have the funds would never choose to decorate their own home.  Don’t be ridiculous!  I can afford an interior designer, darling, to paint my life grey.  Any bookshelves required?  What for, darling?  My MacBook doesn’t need a shelf; it is an extension of me!

However …  Come in Jack Savoretti and Marti Pellow!  Jack and his wife, Jemma’s home featured in the April edition of The English Home and, an old cottage in rural Wiltshire (if I remember correctly), it is absolutely perfect – in my eyes, at least.  Full of character, it is, first and foremost, a home.  Filled with eclectic furniture and artwork collected from their travels and life, it is very much them.  Comfortable and welcoming, while at the same time elegant and bright, I love it – and, yes, it seems we have interchangeable taste.  One thing we have in common!  As for Marti Pellow, he was to be seen singing from his spare room, on TV recently, and, boy, what a spare room!  No grey to be seen, instead it was home to an amazing four-poster bed with sumptuous drapes.  Respect, Marti.  Respect.

Remember, this is the sixth week of lockdown!  I do, often, think how glad I am that Pop is not still here to endure this – although, how I would dearly love to hear his sarcastic comments.  He would be particularly forthcoming on the burgeoning community spirit, I am sure, and I laughed as I listened to Jeremy Vine this lunchtime.  Jeremy is one of these lovely, kind, slightly eccentric enthusiasts and he seems to delight in the tales of neighbourly interaction.  Now, let us, first, remember the footage of Rome in lockdown mode.  Beautiful streets of Mediterranean hues enhanced by the evening sun with people gathered at their windows, or on their balconies, drinking wine to the accompaniment of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto or Bach’s Chaconne in D Minor courtesy of some talented neighbour …

Then, back to reality and a street in Bath!  Calling in to chat to Jeremy, the first guy was desperate to make known his karaoke prowess and at pains to be heard by the neighbours in his street.  So it is that he appears – God forbid, nightly – with speakers and screens and, with a microphone which covers up to 300m, he walks up and down the street ‘singing’ for two hours!  Speechless.  Wonder how Lady Carnarvon would take to that of a night?

Believe me, it gets worse!  The next caller described what is referred to as The Belper Moo.  In short, in this town in Derbyshire – note to self – it has become a habit amidst the community (read, deranged) to go to their windows or doors, every night at 6pm, and moo.  You read that correctly.  Over to you, Lady Carnarvon!  Tchaikovsky in the streets of Rome or mooing in Belper?  When this is all over …

I always get to where I’m going by walking away from where I’ve been.’   Winnie the Pooh.

There is hope.

This is Trish, signing off.