Time to give the virus a shake

Countless articles have been written about this pandemic. Many focus on the fact that we have been forced to slow down and take stock of our often busy lives. All this is phrased as a good thing, a panacea to the frenetic and frantic pace of modern life.

They give us helpful advice on everything from how to turn your bedroom into a no-phone, no-gadget refuge, to how to convert that spare bedroom, once full of junk, into a calm working-from-home space with a little addition of a desk, a chair and the help of online shopping stores that offer free delivery, a pot plant here and there and a lot of imagination. I am not sure what you are meant to do with the leftover junk that now has nowhere to be stored.

Others focus on what we can do to make our lockdown more productive: learn how to make sourdough bread or baked cheesecake and become the envy of all your Zoom friends! Post your pictures to Facebook or Instagram and wait for the compliments to flow. Craft home- made dumplings from food in your pantry and discover the wonders of adding fish sauce to dishes to give that umami, that lift to the taste of even the humble spaghetti bolognese. Who would have known all these tricks just a few months ago?

Then, of course, there was the advice for all those stay-at-home mums and dads trying to teach/entertain and basically keep out of their hair, the little ones who were no longer constrained by their now godlike teachers. Just set up a routine, organise a family walk around the block before breakfast, limit their time on the iPad and occasionally check on what they are doing. Easy peasy. Or put a sturdy lock on the spare bedroom door and learn to ignore the screams.

It all sounds so easy when others write about how to manage. How many of us have felt downright inadequate to the task of new skills and positivity in these bleak times?

However, I have decided to take a different tack in the realm of self-improvement. What’s wrong with a good old bit of hedonism in lockdown? I found on the shelf the other day, as I was attempting to do a bit of cleaning, an old recipe book of cocktails. I perused it, glanced over at the drinks trolley in the lounge and decided then and there to increase my skills base at the same time as having a modicum of enjoyment.

Now, I was limited by the woefully small array of liqueurs on the trolley, but I persevered. I also found an old metal cocktail shaker in the back of the cupboard, some cocktail glasses unused in 20 years, gathering dust and applied myself with vigour to the task.

Being a latecomer to the cocktail scene – too old and scungy to pay $20 for one drink – I have now learnt how to make an espresso martini, a white Russian and a southside. Not bad for an old chook.

Anyone for a drink?

What have you discovered or rediscovered this year? Have you allowed yourself a little freedom to be hedonistic?

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Written by Dianne Motton

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