The lovely Jane called this morning and we spent some time working on the best camera angles to flatter our chins. Jane and I met at almost the same time that I met Gigi. In London in 1994. A lifetime of experiences have happened to us both, but a conversation with Jane is like sititng down in your favourite chair. It's comfortable, rewarding and accomodating.
Miss S is singing up a storm in the shower as I write. She's had more screen time today and no school work. Every now and then the rules slip and if it takes her hours to go to sleep we'll remember again exactly why we're so strict with screen time.
Gigi drove down to the water refill station to fill our water bottles and was mildly accosted by a lady waiting in line for not wearing a mask. The wearing of masks has become common place across Italy and most people are wearing masks in our village. Even if they are driving alone in their car. You are required to wear a mask to enter the supermarket.
It is, however, impossible to find any official requirement for masks. Instead "the WHO and Italian government have stated that the masks are only useful if you're already ill, or if you're a health professional assisting people who are ill." Masks are outrageously expensive to buy online and who knows what the delivery time will be.
I understand why people working in supermarkets and pharmacies are wearing masks but for others, who are staying at home, and only going out to shop for essentials, and maintain the social distancing measures it seems unnecessary. Maybe we'll be proved wrong down the line, because countries like Japan and Korea certainly have an existing culture of wearing masks. As I understand it though, it is mostly done by people who are concerned about spreading germs to others in the case that they are unwell.
I don't know. I do know that seeing masked faces induces more anxiety and creates more distrust, and I can't find any evidence or recommendation that we should be donning them everytime we leave the house. If anything it might give people a false sense of security.
Today's highlight was a baking session in the kitchen. I tested out a new apple cake recipe for dessert. Miss S whipped up a batch of chocolate biscuits iced with masks (ironically) and vanilla biscuits iced to look like coronavirus. It was all done in the spirit of working towards completing a challenge for a Girl Guide badge. Of course, all of this baking means we are running out of eggs, butter, sugar and flour with neither of us wants to venture out to the supermarket at this moment.
The latest official news on COVID-19 in Italy includes an extention of the lockdown until 13th April. Although, let's face it, we all know it's going to be longer than that. The death toll is over 15 000 although experts are casting doubt on those figures. The epidemic is peaking (still) in some areas although the south (where we are) is still at risk. The rate of admissions to intensive care has slowed for the first time since COVID-19 intensified.
And so, as Coronavirus does its thing all around the world, people are living their lives, albeit smaller and with much less Vitamin D, and making interesting decisions and choices every single day.
Day 25 of lockdown in Italy: Fri-yay today! It's been a nice day. I've been trying to think of a better word than nice, but nice really sums it up. The days in lockdown are not what I'd describe as good or lovely. Good and lovely days revolve around the outdoors, freedom and sunshine. But nice days revolve around mellow family time, mild productivity, some creativity and a good meal.
Miss S did schooling of all varieties as usual. I taught this afternoon, including three 10 year old boys, one of whom looked like he was bored out of his brain way before the lesson started.
Gigi cooked a fantastic dinner and we ate just as Miss S was on a Zoom meeting with some Brownie Guides we met last May in London. They played an Easter treasure hunt game which had the girls running around the respective houses searching for items.
Italians are buying less pasta, rice and olive oil, but the sale of flour and yeast has gone up 200%. That's what happens when it's harder to go out to buy fresh bread everyday and everyone has time to bake and make fresh pasta.
The number of deaths and new infections from COVID-19 in Italy continues to gradually fall. Good news, but convincing the Italian public of the need for ongoing lock down and vigilance will get trickier in the weeks to come if the downward trend continues.
New York is being ambushed by COVID-19 and may soon be the epicentre of the world. 1 200 deaths in one day mean it now takes the number 1 ranking from Italy.
Almost every news headline is connected to COVID-19 - oil prices, stock markets, unemployment levels, medical supplies, travel restrictions, police brutality, medical evacuation planes crashing, the engagement of military forces, freeing political prisoners. changing immigration laws, failing health systems, closed educational institutions, cancelled sporting events, mental health strategies, media layoffs, politicians who are performing admirably, politicians who are grabbing at more power, politicians who are screwing it up, infected celebrities, Muslim burial practices being denied, curtailing civil liberties, food shortages, beer brewing halting, emission levels dropping, cruise ships, increased surveillance and privacy concerns, airline industry pending bankruptcies, border controls, stimulus spending....it just goes on and on and on.
The good news is that tomorrow is Saturday. Gigi has a bunch of translating to do, I have lessons to produce and Miss S has an international online Scout and Girl Guide jamboree to participate in. But mostly I hope we get a chance to chat with Miss Pernille, Stefan and their new baby girl because today the planets just didn't align. Life goes on, even when the whole world has stopped and put down the shutters.
Photos of Miss S dressed up proudly in her Girl Guide uniform joining the Zoom meeting and various creative endeavours of mine. I decided if I can't have a garden I could damn well create a mosaic one.