'When upon life's billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done."
For an atheist I have a lot of hymns in my head. There used to be a hymnal with simple chords on the piano when I grew up and I doodled away lots of hours with it. Count Your Blessings was written in 1897 by Johnson Oatman Jr who wrote hymns, sold life insurance, and was a local preacher in New Jersey.
I am regularly accused of not knowing how lucky I am. Those people are wrong. I do know and appreciate it. I may be isolating but I have enough food for a month and, more importantly, coffee for longer. Standards will slip. I may end up eating straight from the pot or drinking from the milk carton. Though the dishwashing does use up five minutes. There are books and CDs to last several lifetimes without even talking to Alexa. I don't have a garden. I have a field where I can look at cattle grazing (not mine) and horses that I don't think went to Cheltenham.
So even when I have colour co-ordinated my shirts and lined up my shoes in neat pairs, I have little excuse to get cabin fever. Instead I can sit here and count my many blessings and set them beside the whinges on the day and see which column wins.
The internet is my first bugbear. The country was not designed for working from home. There are times when everyone must be on Netflix and I am back to the days of dial-tone speeds. But then I am healthy and happy and thankfully no one I know has got a bad dose of this plague yet.
I am sure there are many weekends when I have barely put my nose out the door. It is being told that you cannot that makes the difference. Right now I would give anything to go for a bike ride under this blue sky. But 2km? I would hardly be out of second gear on these country roads. The blessing is that I live in a part of the globe where it is normal to have possessions. I have visited many places which do not even have the privilege of basic toilets and where the children get worms through their feet. I hope this virus does not get us used to national boundaries. We live on a globe and we need to fix a few of its problems together.
I miss the chat and arguments and belly laughs that you can have with friends. They are just not the same on the phone or FaceTime. But there was no WhatsApp after 9/11 and I am well supplied with chuckles and even the occasional uncontrollable guffaw.
We have sound and we have vision, but we do not have touch. I am not a madly tactile person but, as the days go by, this is the one sense I find myself thinking of. It is odd not to have a handshake. I always feel I learn a lot from a handshake. I wonder when next I am going to have one of those affectionate non-sexual hugs that we have all become so used to.
But then I am blessed with a wild cat here who hates me since I had her spayed. She never purrs, does not like contact, but will sleep on the bottom of my bed if not evicted.
In among the clouds there are the silver-screen linings. During one of my comparative lows during the week I received an out of the blue call from a friend who had been TV bingeing.
"You really are very like Donald Sutherland," she tells me. I didn't even know she had a drink problem. I must give Julie Christie a ring and see if I can get away with it.
Sunday Indo Living