Apparently estate agents have never been busier, now that they’re back to work. It seems that, after sitting at home for three months, everyone has decided to move house. Maybe getting to know the neighbours didn’t turn out to be such a good idea after all. Did the competitive clapping go too far? Or maybe people need smaller houses, having finally decided their one true love that they only normally saw for about four hours a day wasn’t all that, once they were cooped up together for the entire Spring. And everyone is thinking of moving to the countryside, tired of the noise and bustle of city life. That’s OK until you go to bed at night and Jurassic Park come to life outside your window. Who knew donkeys could sound so angry at three in the morning?


I feel like a bit of an under-achiever in only thinking about how I am going to repaint every room in the house. Those colours that I once thought were so relaxing have now taken on the air of run-down waiting rooms. The problem is, having been deprived of other décor for so long, I might not be able to hold back on my colour choices and could easily be sitting in a children’s play area if I’m not careful. Believe me, I don’t have much self-restraint – says she, with her newly pink hair.

That’s the danger of too much time and the internet. Everyone seems to be creating complete patio sets out of a few pallets and some old curtains. People are cutting and dyeing their own hair, restoring old furniture, re-arranging their bookcases to look smarter on Zoom. The pressure to make something of the remaining time in lockdown is immense. Again, I am falling behind. Yesterday I did the ironing but only because the Teenager was complaining he hadn’t seen some of his t-shirts for four months. How would he know? They’re all black.

And in my defence, I have been busy. My wee Mummy fell and broke her leg. The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of phone calls and visits. No visitors, so we were dropping a bag of nighties at the door of Craigavon Hospital and leaving without seeing her. It wasn’t good but – everyone says it but it bears repeating – each and every healthcare professional we’ve worked with has been amazing. They have been empathetic, helpful and kind. My Mummy has apologised for shouting down the phone that they were putting her in handcuffs. That was just the drugs talking.

So, if all I have to complain about is a pile of ironing that might crush me and the sight of the four walls that are keeping us safe, I’m doing alright. Seeing Mummy’s carers having to kit up to come into the house has been the reminder I need that the old cliché is true: Things could always be worse. And I love my pink hair.

Bronagh McAtasney – Ditherer

About the Author

Bronagh McAtasney is the creator of @NrnIrnGirl1981, real extracts of the diary of her 13 year old self. She is studying for a Master's in Public History, focussing on the unheard stories of women and has worked with the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland on projects looking at diaries and letters locked away in the archives.
She lives in Benagh with four cats, two dogs and a teenager.

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