March 13th 2020 was the last time I travelled into London. The first lockdown started early for us, as emails came in over that weekend postponing all my wine teaching and judging sessions, as well as our wine tours, for the foreseeable future. As we are rarely at home, the thought of spending 24/7 cooped up in our home was initially quite scary. Having updated my diary, cancelled hotels, trains and planes, and started to negotiate refunds, I then drew a list of what I could do during lockdown.
First and foremost, the wine cellar has been reorganised: We devised a spreadsheet showing where every bottle is stored, the vintage and drink-by date, as well as price paid and current value! The idea of raiding the cellar for 20th Century wines was born. Sampling one bottle every day, at least 100 different wines have been enjoyed to date, tasting notes written on my Facebook page, and wine colleagues and friends have been exchanging views on different wines.
Daily dinner has become an interesting challenge. At breakfast the wine list is perused, the bottle carefully selected by my husband, my Chef de Cave, and placed in the fridge or on the side in the kitchen, ready for the evening meal. Conversation around what food to prepare for that evening is debated. I cannot remember the last time I cooked for 100+ consecutive days. Shopping is another novelty: ‘Click and Collect’ groceries from the supermarket, home deliveries from the fishmonger, ‘fromage’ from France. This new method of food preparation has become fun!
Like many others, I have developed a new style of working from home and Zoom sessions have become the norm. I can honestly say that I have enjoyed this change from the constant pressure of rushing around the world to a quieter opportunity of reflection and taking each day as it comes. Living with my husband, and spending every waking moment under the same roof, has had its moments; private time is necessary. We meet for meals and discuss our activities of the day, enjoying our wine and companionship.
As the New Year begins, and in preparation for it, we usually reflect on our past and future prospects. I hope that our world will become a safer place, and that soon we will all be able to breathe more easily and feel more positive about our lives. Stay safe and healthy.