Friday, April 09, 2021

Catherine Drea

WHAT kind of lockdown conversations are you having these days? Top of the list here was, “How demented are you with lockdown?” This has now changed to, “What’s the first thing you are going to do after lockdown?”

I’ll get to that later – I have a long list. What won’t be on it, is going to the hairdressers. I think I’m the only woman on the planet who doesn’t actually enjoy having anyone else touching my hair. In fact, a visit to the hairdressers is my idea of torture. Close enough to going to the dentist.

My lack of enthusiasm comes from being born with straight hair in an era of curls. Back in the 1950s, every woman had a perm. All the mothers, grannies and young glamorous singletons had to go through hours of curling and twisting to achieve the tight curly look of the day. (Think black and white American movies and you have the style.)

My poor Mother, blessed with four daughters had to spend hours teasing and twirling, the absolutely dead straight hair we each had. Pipe cleaners were what she tried in my case. Ringlets were the aim. Nothing would work.

Luckily the 60s came along and long straight hair became the fashion. I could do that!! Long straight hair was what I had oodles of. Nothing to roll or primp, all I had to do was let it do its own thing.

I had a few years in between of sitting in front of that torture mirror and having inane conversations about holidays and weather. I had to go to the hairdressers then for the various cuts that came and went over the decades. I finally gave up about 20 years ago and took my chances.

Lockdown hair is the norm for me. So no, I won’t be queuing up for any beauty treatments either. My idea of a spa is a deep-water cold swim in the sea followed by a hot cup of tea. Spas and beauty parlours don’t do it for me at all. I know I’m weird!

A much nicer lockdown conversation for me has been “What are you having for the dinner?” I don’t think I’ve talked to anyone without asking that at the finish of a chat that lacked any news or any craic. I’ve been delighted many times by what has come out of that question!

I’ve been fascinated by the casseroles, soups and cakes that have been churned out by all the family.  My sisters will always send photos and share recipes too. For some reason a lot of people have taken up new food habits and explored different combinations than they would normally eat. In my case I’ve taken to feta cheese, something I have avoided all my life. And it has to be eaten with pickled beetroot or relish, again, very new as a favourite.

One friend has taken to eating kale, and yet another to salted dark chocolate. Himself is eating avocados for the first time, and my son is making spicy soup. I have gorgeous videos from friends of omelettes and pavlovas to beat the band. And everyone agrees a roast chicken, with all the trimmings, is the absolute business. An important part of lockdown has been finding new ways of nourishing the body and the soul, enjoying a few simple pleasures wherever we can; mostly food.

Most of us won’t get any joy from being allowed to participate in sport so for us, especially those of us cooking constantly, I think having a meal out is top of the list. Fine if it’s outdoors, no bother if we have to book in advance, even if we have to travel, what about it. Just to have a meal with family and friends, preferably without feeling tense or worried about anyone or anything. Imagine relaxing, having gorgeous grub and all washed down with a nice wine?

So the new question of the day is, what are you most looking forward to?

Our first bit of freedom will come with a Countywide roaming space. Like lions let out of an enclosure, we will head off into the wilderness or look for food. I’m almost afraid to outline my plans as someone pointed out to me, all the best spots will be invaded by herds of frustrated captives looking for some release.

Allow me to use code. I will certainly be going to the highest points in the County, the most westerly places I can travel to and the sunniest. The Viking City will get a visit at last, as will all the seaside resorts. Pity the people of the midlands who will have to wait much longer to see the sea. I can barely imagine it. Will it happen even? We don’t know but we can only live in hope.

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