I’m beginning to adapt to my new alarm system, triggered at 5.45am when Riley treads the length of my body to stop and stare at my face. This is my official snooze button moment, before she returns an hour later to whine at my bedside until I extract an arm she can wrestle with before subjecting it to love bites.

For the first part of the lockdown we had milestones; birthdays and anniversaries and public holidays to count down to in an attempt to alleviate the boredom. Now, there is only nothing ahead as we get to grips with another thirty days in this weightless suspension.

A package arrives in the mail that in the former world would have taken days to arrive. (We’d ordered dish stacking shelves for the kitchen that go above the sink.)

I answer the door, but the parcel in the postman’s hands looks better suited for a doll’s house. Sure enough, when I open it up, I’m greeted not by the unit I expected to see, but what looks like a receptacle for a washing up sponge! And so the online battle ensues, to make any sense of the order, or to try and get a refund while everything is in stasis due to the pandemic.

We attempt to plant more grass after lunchtime. It’s coming but super slowly and I’m desperate in these slow days to see any visible marker of change. We watch a handful of YouTube videos before doing it how we initially did, disturbing the topsoil and sowing the seeds manually, which we cover with compost before watering. We’ll monitor the test patch to see if it fares better than the rest and complete the rest in stages.

An afternoon drive is on the cards to break up the habitual monotony. We mark our slips to reflect a shopping trip but drive through the nearby villages instead, looking for signs of life through the safety of our window.

I’ve never understood people who order Hawaiian pizzas and I shudder to think what a card-carrying Italian might think of ham and pineapple on a pizza… I can’t even wrap my mind around chicken on a pizza or even in a pasta dish, yet I woke up dreaming of a tomatoey pasta, containing chicken, and gooey with mozzarella and parmesan (effectively, a chicken cacciatore (minus the bell peppers and capers) with pasta).

So that’s what I prepare, flooding the kitchen with the scent of garlic before frying the chopped chicken and building a tomato sauce around it.

Bear appears very pleased with this momentary break from our habitual pasta traditions.

This series was first published on Medium