Strange Times

Cosy new studio

So, here I am, under lockdown in a friend’s Kentish Town flat, with just a few pencils and scraps of paper to keep me occupied for the next 12 weeks (insert scream emoji). The world outside is unrecognisable from the safe and secure place I took for granted just a couple of weeks ago. And to be honest, it’s quite scary.

I started the week expecting to finally start work in my new Chatham studio. I’ve barely done any painting in the past month, as I transferred the contents of my London studio into my tiny new workspace at Nucleus Arts Studios in Chatham. Small space, but walking distance from the boat I live aboard in Chatham Marina. I was so excited about being able to walk to work, rather than suffer that ugly commute to London! I was feeling pretty damned good about the future. Then we had the lockdown.

View from pontoon, Chatham Marina

So, instead of painting in my studio, I was on board my little sailing boat, trying to figure out how I could fill my days. Still, it wasn’t too bad. It’s a nice marina, and it’s nice to be on the water. And then, out of the blue, the marina decided they were going to close. I had suspected they’d do as much. They are terrified about the prospect of having people fall ill on their boats, and their decision was made easier when a load of boat owners decided to ignore government instructions to stay at home, and instead headed to their lovely boats, acting as if it was just any ordinary weekend. So they have really messed it up for those of us who don’t have another home to stay in; those whose boat is their only home.

It happened yesterday – my Birthday. It started out a beautiful sunny day. I bought provisions from the local store, treated myself to a subscription to Disney+, and was planning to binge on superhero films all day, waiting for a respectable time to start drinking.

… And then I was homeless. It’s not a nice feeling. I’m so very grateful to my friend for taking me in. It was a shock going from having my own little home, being really excited about the week ahead, to ending up living on the charity of a friend. Yeah, it has to rank as one of my shittiest birthdays.