Wednesday, 25 March 2020


So, how are you getting on, friends?

Like some others with whom I chat online, I find myself deeply tired much of the time. I'm not afraid, but I'm aware of feeling unremittingly anxious in a generalised way.

Here in Hastings, UK, people are observing their social distancing very responsibly. When I go out for my little exercise walk round the block I meet very few people, and we all make sure there are many feet between us to avoid spreading germs.

The infection and death rates for our country continue to rise steeply, so we must all continue to do our best.

Last Sunday morning I led a little act of worship on our chapel Facebook page, which is here. I'll do the same again this coming Sunday — March 29th, the day we change the clocks to British Summer Time here in the UK — then after that I'll wait to see if our chapel stewards would like me to continue or if they want us to experiment with other online forms of worship. But for this Sunday, if you would like to join us, we'll be gathered together at Pett Methodist Chapel on Facebook for a 10.45 (GMT) start. It's a public group, but you do need to ask to join, preferably before Sunday morning!

It is an immense blessing that we are in lockdown during a time of cool spring weather with bright sunshine. We are not overheated in our homes, our spirits are not sagging under relentless wind and rain; it's so beautiful here in England, the trees starting to blossom and slowly coming into leaf, the flowers blooming in the garden.

This seemed like a good time to sew, and I have a length of fabric put by to make one last skirt — after that I will have plenty in my wardrobe, probably enough to last me through to the end of my life even if I make it to ninety! So today I've washed the fabric to pre-shrink it, and hung it out on the line to dry in the sunshine. Tomorrow I'll iron it and cut it and sew the side seams.

It's a great time for reading too, and I am really enjoying Alexander McCall Smith's delightful book, The Department of Sensitive Crimes.

Uh-oh! I can smell my lunch burning! Catch up with you again soon! Are you okay? How are you getting on? May you be wrapped in God's love today! 


GerriHultgren said...

Good Morning..waving from chilly Pennsylvania! Hubby and I have been in self isolation for almost 2 weeks now,but there is so much to do! We read,play Scrabble, talk. I cast on for another sweater and I have 3 length of fabric to make skirts ( by hand)....could you post some photos when you do your pleats? Where and how you sew them down?
I also started reading the Nag Hamadi scriptures...very enlightening.
It's nice to hear that in your neck of the woods spring has sprung...we're waiting another 5 weeks or so.
There is a Youtube channel for you that you might like...Bernadette Banner,she does historical sewing and is very entertaining. I think we could be in this lock down for a year and still not get bored.
Stay safe my friend,
and may the love of the Father be with you!

Pen Wilcock said...

Hi Gerri — I wrote about the skirts I make in this post here:
Waving to you! Glad to know you are okay. May you be peaceful, may you be blessed. x

GerriHultgren said...

That post inspired me to try my hand at box pleats,but I can't figure out how you close you stitch each ide down individually?

Rebecca said...

We could use a little sunshine here...I have a horrible cough that does down if I don't move... Husband is recovering from a cold which curtailed his visitation ministry. SO THANKFUL my 93 year old father in residence hasn't caught it! We're staying inside moving from meal and o meal, punctuated by laundry and calls to shut-in friends. Evening games and occasional walks outside, weather permitting.

Pen Wilcock said...

So, you have in essence two flaps (the fabric doubled) you are drawing to meet each other. In doing so you decide which side you are going to have the inversion (inside the skirt or outside), ie will they be box pleats or inverted pleats. I think although I've called mine box pleats they are actually inverted pleats.
That then, for each pleat, gives you four lines of stitching to do; the outer two and the inner two. I also stitch across the top, but not across the bottom.
If you Google "How to sew box pleats", you can find loads of places eager to instruct you.
Good luck! x

Pen Wilcock said...

The comment above is intended for Gerri!

Hi Rebecca — may you and yours be blessed, may you be peaceful, may all go well with you. xx

Elizabeth @ The Garden Window said...

Hi Pen,
Hope you and the family are keeping well as well as busy!

Most people (85%) in our small town in S Wales are being very sensible, but there are a number who are utterly oblivious of the situation or who just do not care.

We need to go out each day to visit elderly relative with dementia and make sure she has what she needs, as well as me walking our dog daily. Trying very hard to keep physical shopping to an absolute minimum to avoid problems as Husband is in a very high risk group due to his meds. I brave the shops, he stays in the car :-)

God bless us, every one!

kat said...

Waving from over here Pen, I hope you are getting into the park a little bit on your constitutional, the squirrels will be very pleased to see you, I keep meaning to come for a walk there, but “things” get in the way, mostly CV at the moment. Tending our garden here, hunkering down and feeling very very lucky to be in such a gentle sanctuary. Down in “the village” things are pretty civilised, with a door monitor at Tesco’s and sensible behaviour from most! The cats are very pleased; more humans mean more biscuits, though Rum still partial to the occasional mouse!
Stay safe and healthy, fingers crossed xxx

Pen Wilcock said...

Hello, Kat! Glad you are finding time for gardening — and sewing too, I amingine. May you and yours stay well, peaceful, contented. x

Michelle-ozark crafter said...

Hello my precious friend! Getting on well here thanks!

Pen Wilcock said...

Hello, Michelle! Yes, I'm just loving watching the progress of your new cat (courtesy of Facebook), after the sadness of losing Sylvia. May you and Jack come through this scary time peaceful and well. x

GerriHultgren said...

Thank you pen,that makes sense! I did google it and didn't come up with anything,but I think I have a pretty good picture in my head now :)

Pen Wilcock said...

Well done! x

Pen Wilcock said...

Waving to Elizabeth at her garden window (from a safe social distance)!

Hi Elizabeth — Your comment appears much higher up than this because they publish in date order, but I only just found it — gmail designated it as spam. Lovely to hear from you. As the rate of infections and deaths continues to climb along a depressingly steep curve, we do all need to be so careful. It puzzles me that there is this minority still that shrugs it off. They cannot possibly have failed to pick up the news; perhaps they just don't understand.

This morning I had an email from Sainsburys saying what they're going to do to step up precautions — screens (perspex or glass or something) at manned checkouts, a recommendation to use the smart tills and check out your own things, cash at self-service tills only, pay-at-the-pump strongly recommended at the petrol stations, limits on numbers of duplicates you can buy to keep stock availability for all, limits on customer numbers in store, reduced numbers of manned checkouts, recommendations to not all come first thing in the morning — really goods sensible, well-thought-through measures. Gives me hope!

May you and your husband stay well through this. An aged relative living alone — I have the same — a bit worrying, is it not! I've organised a rota of our family to phone my mother every day in the short windows she's awake and relatively clear-headed, so she still has a variety of people to interact with. Thankfully, she has an excellent carer, who is now her only contact with the outside world, to minimise risk for both her and the carer.

May these times challenge all our preconceptions, and teach us the wisdom of caring for the whole community. God bless you today. x

LuciePayne said...

Hi Pen, so glad to have your new posts after an empty spell and especially glad your household is well. We are enjoying the peace at the moment of not having to rush about, not feeling the need to attend this or that, but focus on relationship and what is essential. Luckily husband and I still, after 35 years, feel each to be the essential in our lives! Reading The Book of Job together as our challenge, gardening, and I’m learning how to knit. Love to all of those friends brought together here by you who show such faith and hope and love. Xx Lucie

Pen Wilcock said...

Hello, Lucie — waving! Lovely to hear from you. Be blessed with the love of the Lord. x

Rapunzel said...

Hi Pen, So glad to hear you are getting on so well on your side o' the pond.
Very peaceful here in Indiana. I'm "essential staff" so still working my regular schedule, but with a 50% rise in pay as we are not required to come to work if we feel we mustn't.Hazard pay I think it's called. Had some things come up last fall that wiped out my wee savings account, so I'm glad of the chance to catch it up again. Yesterday was a specialized training session on how to completely disinfect the rooms should we get a case of the virus on campus, but so far we have had none. Schools have closed, so we seem unlikely to get any at this point, but if we do we're well prepared.
After work it's straight home to enjoy my usual introverted life. I'm the obedient sort by nature so this is no great hardship to me, though I imagine it's a challenge to people who hate being told what to do.
Churches, reataurants, libraries, theaters and so on are all closed down of course. There's a growing number of empty shelves at the grocery stores. As I always keep a well stocked larder this has not been a worry to me, I'm feeling pretty thankful that our parents brought us up to plan ahead from one harvest season to the next and keep a store of necessary things on hand at all times. One never knows what adventure life might choose to present us with.
My youngest daughter ( a grown married lady now) has missed her nieces in another state, so she's begun reading them nightly bedtime stories online, and many of her adult friends who like children's literature have been coming online for storytime too. And of course I have as well. She dresses up pretty for them, as she is their "fancy auntie", and we, her audience are most likely in our pajamas, knitting or sewing something or doing our mending as she reads long lovely stories to us. It's quite lovely.
I'd like to give a shout out to all the Homefront World War II ancestors who left such a good detailed record of how to deal with challenges. They set us am amazingly good example and I am grateful!

Anonymous said...

Hi Penelope
Waving! We got the shelter in place order for Friday here in MN yesterday, but I have already been doing it for 8 days, and on my own. Thank God for the internet! I am braving the outside for two errands this morning (prescriptions and PO) before scurrying back to my hideaway for at least another 2 weeks. Who knows if it will get longer? I can work from "home" but not many of my clients seem interested as of yet. Due to other circumstances, much of my life is temporary, up in the air, and influenced by the decisions of others. With the virus on top it life feels surreal, like I've woken in a sci fi movie. One day at a time. I envy your spring and hope ours doesn't delay. Pray you and yours remain well and snug as bugs in a rug as they say.

Pen Wilcock said...

Hello, Rapunzel — that sounds so sane and orderly! I do actually feel as if I could peacefully live this way forever, and most days I wonder in what ways we will find our post-viral lives have permanently altered. So many things, from housing refugees to helping people struggling financially to working from home, that couldn't *possibly* be done — until, of course, suddenly they could. I love that you have your cupboard of provisions already to hand. Because we are four, sometimes five, adults living here, all cooking separately, I have very little storage so don't usually stock up. But it just so happened that March was always going to be a lean month this year (finances circumstantially in mid-air), so I stocked up on essentials, and lo! — lockdown!
May you stay well, may you flourish. x

Hello DMW — I'm interested that your clients are thin on the ground. I think there's a somewhat chaotic and scattered feeling in the air. If this period of time extends, and we get used to it and settle down to it, then I imagine things they want to talk through will rise to the surface and claim attention. In the meantime, may you be provided for, may you be safe, may you be content. x

Julie B. said...

I haven't read anything by McCall in a long while -- thank you for mentioning this book. I'm currently reading a very long book by Taylor Caldwell -- "Great Lion of God" about St. Paul. Seems right to have a long "quarantine read." Blessings to you and yours, dear Ember. xoxo

Pen Wilcock said...

Ah — that is a most interesting book. I haven't read it in a long time, but I loved it. Full of insight. x