Rosie and Jim: ‘I have baked myself out of my jeans’

Have our correspondents reached the peak? More like the trough.

Our writers Rosie Paterson and James Fisher — who have both, one way or another, ended up alone for the duration — are sharing slices of their lives.

So far they’ve ranked musical instruments (and not in a good way), mused over mysteries, shared tales of curious robins, video chat and little old ladies winching shopping through windows.

I have baked myself out of my jeans. I have read, watched and listened and fixed and made — anything to make this time feel worthwhile. I have done everything and nothing.

I am officially bored.

Boredom is a luxury because I am also healthy, safe and very well fed (just ask those jeans).

But indulge me, just for a moment.

I want to swim in the sea. This want borders on obsession. I would do awful things to go to a restaurant for food I haven’t had to prepare. I crave the chaos of London and the even bigger chaos of my flat and the French toast my flatmate makes in the morning. I want someone to help me sun cream by back because a silicone pastry brush is excellent for reaching the awkward bit between your shoulder blades, but is not a hygienic, long-term solution. I want to sit in bed with a good book and toast, showering the sheets in buttery crumbs. I do this now. A lot. But that’s because there’s nothing else to do. I want to do it because I choose to. I want to choose it over a million other choices (most likely some form of exercise.)

The rough track that slopes down from the house to the beach is strewn with red campion, thrift and the white buds of wild garlic. Bloody-nosed beetles flirt with one another and sometimes take things further, undisturbed by the usual heavy-footed crowds and the notion of social distancing. This year, I’ve taken the time to learn all of their names (their common and scientific names; I have not named the amorous beetles. Yet. Sonny and Cher?) I don’t know what I’m more irritated by: that I didn’t choose to learn this before, or that now, I don’t have the choice to do anything else.

I want the choice to do everything and nothing back. I promise to never take it for granted and I promise to make better choices.

Sonny and Cher, the bonking beetles

Have you ever seen someone try to recycle a banana skin? I have. It’s a curious side effect of a flat share, seeing how other people live their lives, and one of the greatest discrepancies is recycling. It is an extremely basic concept, and so many young adults seem to be baffled by it. Won’t it just be turned into another banana? No it will not.

I love recycling. It’s a passion (I’m fun at parties), because it’s such an easy and effective way of managing plastic and waste. As our war on single-use plastic continues, so much of what we use can now be used again, and the turtles love it. I know the turtles love it, because they called the other week and told me. ‘Thank you James, we love it,’ the turtles said. ‘Of course you can’t recycle a banana. Idiots’.

Recycling has taken on a new energy in recent weeks, because I am alone, and my neighbours know I’m alone, and I’ve probably been drinking too much (I have definitely been drinking too much).

In the opening few weeks of isolation 2020, I would leave the recycling outside, and it was only when the neighbour asked, upon seeing the bag, just how many people were in the house? ‘Uhh, just me, but that’s like three weeks worth,’ I lied.

Now I am a ninja. I can hear when the bin lorry has made its turn on to our street every Wednesday morning. I know then I have a five-minute window to stealthily deploy the recycling out front, treading lightly, as a bag full of glass bottles can make a racket like a supernova if mishandled. We can’t be giving the game away.

The crash as the bag is flung into the back sends the curtains up and down the road twitching, but all they know is the sound. Not its source. ‘Someone’s having a party’, they think. They’re right. It’s me. It’s a party for one, my favourite kind.