Author: Lizzie Aitchison

More zealous cleanliness. 5 litres of chlorine arrived last Saturday. It’s the stuff people use in swimming pools and 5 litres was the smallest quantity I could find. Someone ‘in the know’ mentioned it and I googled to find that a 1:100 dilution with water makes hydrochlorous acid and is the best health-grade, anti-viral disinfectant. Whaddya know? So, the lavender-hued plant spray bottle has been hauled out of the garden shed and put into service on the front line of the domestic self-defence corps. A full bottle of water with ¼ teaspoon of chlorine does the trick, it seems. The...

It’s been a busy week in captivity. Lots of things to work out about the new regime of solitude and zealous cleanliness. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve not been a slob in the past. But my hygiene standards have reached new, almost super-human levels. There are unwelcome side effects, like my dry, scaly hands. I fear a return to some primordial and aquatic form of life from my wrists down.  The cleaning business is more complicated than I expected. There’s always a little bit of doubt about whether or not every corner or surface has been dealt with or if I’ve...

I was going to buy Hilary Mantel’s long-awaited final instalment of the Thomas Cromwell story anyway. By ‘anyway’, I mean before the world changed and the urge to buy a hefty, 850-page tome became compelling and, possibly, wise.  The time for reading in the weeks (maybe months) ahead just got extended due to my self-imposed quasi house arrest for the foreseeable. They call it social distancing now, suddenly a new term that will make it to the OED later in the year, no doubt, as it’s now ‘a thing’ as opposed to an apparently contradictory coupling of two words that don’t...

I walked in Bushy Park on Sunday. The first day of March. Sparkling sunshine after February’s dismal daily rain. Felt good. Ideal subject for a blogpost, I thought as I walked. Spring in the park. Fresh daffodils giggling in bright, random clumps. Buds stirring sticky on bare branches. Puddles making mirrors to the sky, glinting silver in sharp sunshine. Mud, lots of it, where normally the ground is firm. Perfect reflections floating on temporary ponds of rainwater gathered at the foot of trees. Blousy pink camellias in the Woodland Garden. Weeping willows in that first flush of new growth that...