A fair few people have messaged me this week and asked me to begin writing my blog again. Initially I thought, really? I really have nothing interesting to say. I’m stressed, I’m anxious, I’m in strict quarantine, just like everyone else. I can’t think of anything to write about, I just do the same thing every day, nothing of note happening here! But this evening, I had a change in perspective. Yesterday I woke up and had a small red bump on my left thigh. An insect bite, a bit saw, a bit swollen, no problem. It got a bit bigger throughout the day but still nothing to write home about, I went about my day as normal… cooking, exercising, reading, the usual. By the evening it had a nice red ring around it and was beginning to be a bit sore… I gave it a squeeze to see if anything juicy would come out and (disappointingly) nothing did. I went to sleep. In the night I rolled over onto it and was jerked awake by the sudden pain, I positioned myself better and fell back asleep. I woke up, put my shorts on and headed to the galley before inspecting my leg, and to my dismay, the thing had quadrupled in size. Now with now a decent 5″ diameter, the bite had become hard, swollen, very very sore and pretty evil looking. All day today I wondered around with half my leg slathered in antiseptic cream and a wooden peg to hold my shorts to my knickers so they wouldn’t get in the way (love talking to my captain in the head of departments morning meeting with my shorts pegged to my thong). I’ve been drawing circles around the alarming pink that’s spreading in all directions to see how quickly it’s taking over my leg, holding ice pack after ice pack on it to reduce the swelling, I lie on my bunk staring at the ceiling and laughing hysterically at my misfortune and just how grumpy I feel, how I am so fucking pissed off that it is now laughable and I have finally lost the plot.
And here I am.
I realised in my moment of bite-induced madness that it is important for my mental wellbeing that I use my time somewhat productively, and at least try to bring a smile to other peoples faces in these terrible times. So, as I have absolutely nothing in particular to discuss each day, I’m going to take the most mundane of activities and do my best to make them even a little bit entertaining.
As per usual, I’m on a ship. And although I’m not at liberty to disclose the name, rest assured it’s a badass one and I’m really proud to be onboard. I’m also not allowed to disclose where I am (boring) but it’s hot and sunny most days, and the view from my porthole is that of some dirty old trawlers, a big cruise ship (with a basketball court on top might I add, and there are always people playing and I always really jealous) a hotel, a superyacht, and some mountains/big hills in the background. I’ve been onboard for over a month now, alongside in the port, and we are currently on day 20 of strict lockdown. This means no leaving the vessel under any circumstances, even for a stroll up and down the dock. It’s not so bad as it’s like being at sea which I’m used to, but having a full and tantalizing view of shore, which I’m not used to. There’s nineteen or so of us onboard from all over the world, and as per usual I’m the youngest, but I’m also the head chef (get in).
The ship is way smaller than what I’m used too, and seems to be a thousand years older, but full of character and loved by many. She comes fully equipped with ‘distressed’ patio furniture (old sofas and chairs, tires with cushions taped to the middles and a hammock, all ‘borrowed’ from various locations around the ship). ‘The Hobbit Hole’ (a small storage area where I keep beans, rice, cacao powder and other various miscellaneous goods), a ‘Sauna’ (currently non-functioning and where I go to sit in the darkness for five minutes and have a mini meltdown about the Rona and how the end is nigh) and a relaxing and communal lounge space (basically a room with some comfies, a big TV, bookcases crammed full of everything from classics to a copy of ‘How to run a drug cartel from home (?) And a couple of old guitars that look like they’ve seen better days but that I still pick up and twang a few notes on the scabby strings in what I like to think somewhat resembles Wish You Were Here.
We are running very low on fresh food, and if I see another lentil I’m going to start projectile vomiting them like Harry’s Hogwarts letters through the letterbox.
I use my pink skipping rope every day on the helideck and when I’ve completed the training program, the lady on my app congratulates me for just ‘turning up’… now that’s the kind of support I need.
Also, a big ferry runs past us every day right in the middle of when I’m high-stepping or jumping jacking and sometimes I’m joined by one of the other girls. There’s always the same four guys in red hard hats, two at the bow and two at the stern, leaning over the side and waving at us with both arms, sometimes they join in with our exercises, guys we’ve never met in high vis vests doing tandem jumping jack’s with big smiles on their faces. Brilliant. We give them big smiles and waves and tell them we will see them tomorrow- love in the time of Corona.
It’s very easy to get swamped under by the overwhelming seriousness of this really distressing situation we all find ourselves in. It’s easy to stress and panic and fluster and stamp our feet and be impatient. It’s easy to let the weight of the world sit heavy on your shoulders and feel helpless to do anything about it. But if you look hard enough (sometimes, like today with this massive infected insect bite on me leg, you’ve got to dig realllll deep) you’ll find some good. Some fun. Something to be happy about.