Life under Lockdown – The Retired Artist

Welcome to another Guest Blog

A Perfect Day in Lockdown by Jane Fielder

I am 70 and very fortunate. I have good health, an interesting husband, a wonderful garden – and a playground of a house full of exciting projects and ideas all awaiting time. Now, out of the saddest of events, at last, that rarest and most precious commodity TIME has emerged, and I am getting huge satisfaction and joy making the most of all the things I have been saving for years! 

I’m up and down like a yoyo but I’m especially happy today. Little things make a MASSIVE difference. I was greeted by the most heartwarming, loving, hilarious letter and beautifully drawn card this morning, from my four year old granddaughter (written in her words, by her mum).

Names changed to protect the innocent, she said –

‘Say it’s by Betty Boo, artist extraordinaire, and also a normal person.’ 

Apparently she’s been asking if I’m normal, because I’m an artist and she thinks that means you can’t be. Well she’s right there, I’m certainly not normal! Thank goodness! That’s why my house is a ‘playground’ – others may think ‘tip’ and suggest decluttering, but I LOVE IT!

I like to do an hour or so’s sorting each day. A pile of rarely entered stacking boxes caught my eye.

The first – verruca stuff!! An assortment of tubes, files, blades… yuk! BUT I could use my fancy labelling machine, a brilliant gift from a son. It’s like the machines that appeared at railway stations, just after steam trains finished. You pressed buttons and a piece of metal tape came out with embossed writing on it, I LOVED those way back then!!! And I felt the same thrill, choosing the silver reel of tape and proudly printing ‘VERRUCA STUFF’. It looked splendid on the maroon box (ooh just the colour of an old steam train). The stacking boxes were themselves a much loved present from Granny Annie, sadly no longer with us.

The second box was cracker contents gathered over the years. They need to go downstairs, handy to send to the grandchildren in lockdown!  

The third contained the most beautiful love letters from a very dear boyfriend, from way back when I was 21 and had just started life as a teacher in the early 70’s. A reminder that I once looked ‘inscrutably sphinxlike’ and ‘very touchable.’ Just what’s needed at the moment! 

Next job – a heavenly picnic in the garden, with divine ham, fresh salad and fruits, delivered by Keelham Farm Shop yesterday. We haven’t dared go near a shop since lockdown.

A quick look at Instagram while lunch settles which takes us to 5pm! We get later and later! Just time for three hours’ gardening, sorting long-neglected borders, whilst hubby tackles a completely overgrown bed of st. john’s wort. Nothing better for keeping you sane. All the sad stories about the dreadful pandemic seem to evaporate magically once outside, as you become lost in a world of bird song, insect noises, delicious smells and exquisite beauty, colour and exhausting work. Everything seems perfect. You can forget. 

In at 8pm for more delicious fare from the farm shop! This time beef casserole followed by rhubarb crumble… mmm yummeeee. Then  we’re just in time to catch the last of the setting sun with a brisk walk along the canal to Micklethwaite Bridge. So beautiful watching the geese settling for the night and the ducks in pairs with their babies. One poor woman had NINE! Glad she’s not in lockdown! 

Oh must just go a bit further to get my steps! I seem to be in a constant Fitbit challenge these days. That definitely helps, having to keep up with all the young ‘uns .

Back just in time for the news, crossword and bed. A perfect day in lockdown. 

Jane Fielder is an artist, and recently retired founder of The Bingley Gallery.
She produces work prolifically and loves to play. She has exhibited widely, with solo shows in London, Dublin and Shanghai. Her website is – do take a look. She loves people, doing crazy things, gardening, tennis and of course painting and making things – and most of all spending time with her family and friends. She lives in beautiful Bingley, Yorkshire 

If you would like to write your own Guest Blog, about your Life under Lockdown, I’d love to hear from you! Click here to see what you need to do. It’s more important than ever that we hear each other. And if you’re reading this, and thinking ‘she doesn’t mean me‘ – you’d be wrong. Get writing!!

Stay safe. Stay sane. It’s not forever. We can do this.

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11 Comments Add yours

  1. Deirdré Meyburgh says:

    What a lovely post! So positive, vibrant and encouraging! You surely blessed me!


    1. Thank you for your comment Deirdre – I’m so pleased you enjoyed it. Watch out for more guest blogs over the next few days.


  2. Jane Fielder says:

    Thank you Deidre. I’ve never written a blog before. You’ve made my day

    Liked by 1 person

  3. SisterStay says:

    Yes, time is a precious commodity. How lovely that you are enjoying yours so much. I just fancy a picnic in the garden. And a read through some old letters, followed by a delicious dinner of beef casserole and rhubarb crumble! I’ll pass on the sorting if you don’t mind though.


    1. Jane Fielder says:

      Thank you sisterstay. I feel very fortunate indeed. I’ve been moving huge boulders on the rockery today! Trying to discourage all the celandines, bluebells and creeping buttercups that are taking over. It was nippy but lovely being outsides. I’d happily do your sorting!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. anglosvizzera says:

    Great ‘guest blog’ Jane!! Having seen your place a couple of times now, it’s certainly more of a “treasure trove” than a “tip”!! As for not being “normal” because you’re an artist, that’s precisely why I was drawn towards you at the Foundation Course back then – although you’re a far better artist than I have ever been. It’s good not to be ‘normal’, I think.

    We had hoped to visit this year for our 1st 4-year anniversary, but sadly “things” conspired against us – but hopefully we’ll be allowed out before too long!!

    Take care, love to R and hope to see you before too long xx

    PS That canal walk is amazing (as long as one doesn’t pull a muscle, of course…)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Janefielder says:

    Ah thank you anglosvizzera. It is a fun house. I could just do with those chocs and G’s beautiful song right now. I’ve listened to it many times and it seems to be talking about lockdown…telling us to all slow down. What a shame you won’t be able to visit but we’ll keep! Hopefully. Look forward to seeing you when the time is right, much love to you both xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anglosvizzera says:

      Thanks Jane – obviously I meant to say love to you too!! xx


  6. Helen Shearwood says:

    I absolutely loved every word of this, Jane! It’s so very true that the rarest and most precious commodity, is time. It’s something that Heiki brought to my attention. And what wonderful joy you’re making with yours! I laughed out loud at some parts, you’ve most definitely brought some joy into my life today! Miss you like mad, loads of love to you and Rob, your ‘interesting husband’. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jane Fielder says:

    Thank you Helen, you’re the best. Your wonderfully uplifting comment and to think MY words have brought you joy, has made my day. I think I’m going to be skipping right until midnight! Miss you loads too, much love from us xxx

    Liked by 1 person

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