Dolly's blog: Chorizo was my loo roll

I’ve been learning a thing or two about myself this lockdown. Beginning with the fact that, when initially facing the prospect of Armageddon, my priorities were to stock up on tahini, scented candles, more-expensive-than-usual red wine and chorizo. 

I soon needed a large glass of a good vintage because, hot on the heels of my achingly middle class shopping fest, Mr D was deployed (i.e. not coming home) for six months to help run the Covid military support. The military family welfare system immediately kicked in and, ever practical, helpfully clarified that my husband’s “funeral and grave” entitlements included a military pattern headstone and future maintenance thereof. I had to laugh (and have another drink). 

As I settled down to the New Normal I did however look forward to jigsaws, teaching myself piano and reading something worthy under the shade of a tree. What on earth was I thinking. I have never, ever, worked as hard as I did those first few weeks. “I’ve finished my work!” declared our gleeful youngest at 9.30am on day one of home schooling. What?! How’s this going to work??? Of course “as any fule kno” it doesn’t (to quote the immortal wisdom of Nigel Molesworth, whose phonetic spelling may well turn out to be a post-pandemic legacy of sub-optimal schooling). 

By Easter, the sum total of my own home schooling input was still precisely zero, although the children’s unsupervised proficiency with an air rifle was much improved. 

The high point was when Mr D unexpectedly made it home for a night – and got picked up for work the next morning in a helicopter. Which was, you know, not normal. 

The low point I’m very lucky to say (other than the “Oh no…” moment when Boris went into ICU) was the day I realised it was 3pm, I hadn’t seen any of my children (other than to shoo them out of the room because I was on an endless roll call of Zoom meetings), only one of them had eaten breakfast and none of us had eaten lunch. Having Zoomed myself into a quasi-coma I completely froze under questioning in yet another Zoom meeting later that afternoon and cried myself to sleep contemplating my uselessness.   

Mr D has zero sympathy for such things and would say the low point was when, in complete earnestness, I argued that we should spend £5k on a new garden table and chairs from Neptune on the basis “we’ll be spending a lot more time in our garden this year”.  Luckily that fever passed; we’ve improvised by placing an old door we found in the shed on two Ikea trestles. Winner. 

In other challenges, my hair roots have nearly reached my ears and Mr D’s deployment ended earlier than expected. The remote control was once again a shared matrimonial asset and I tried not to take offence as he spent 48 hours bathing the house in bleach.  This was possibly related to our cleaner having stopped coming, making me realise that, not only did I not know where our hoover is kept, I was no longer sure we even owned our own hoover.  

I contemplated the point at which I had unknowingly turned into Joan Collins. 

Simultaneously our army gardener also of course pulled out. I know. Mr D was still deployed at this point and suffice it to say I had absolutely no idea how to operate the ride-on lawnmower we’d inherited with our current quarter, nor an inclination to learn. In an unexpected further twist, I returned from the daily family walk one evening to discover the aforementioned lawnmower… missing! A quick getaway would have been tricky so I was perplexed. Turns out he’d been redeployed to mow the local military cemetery. 

So that was nice. As was this week’s Quality Time chat with my teenager who casually said, “This is a bit morbid, but I’ve started assessing your furniture and paintings…”. 

And then here we are, 9 (is it?) weeks in. Healthy. Happy. Together. Fervently counting our blessings and enjoying the simple pleasures more than ever. And the chorizo of course.         

After 19 years of fee earning, Dolly now works in a management role in a London law firm. Working four days a week she is supported by a wonderful (though often absent) husband as they attempt to bring up three children aged 13, 11 and 9. She’s currently mourning the charismatic dog who kept her sane but can’t talk about that right now.

Category: A Citymother's Diary

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