Letters from Cardiff in lockdown: Lauren Mahoney

Today’s instalment for the Letters from Cardiff in lockdown series comes from Lauren Mahoney. We’re looking for your stories, so please contribute to Letters from Cardiff in lockdown!

In the weeks leading up to lockdown I watched, day by day, shops shorten opening hours, coffee shops hand out free coffees to NHS workers, and panic buyers strip the shelves of toilet paper.

The world was about to fall into some coronavirus apocalyptic rave, while I observed from the sidelines. Shops starting closing more frequently, some held on, knowing, once this was all over, they would never open the doors again.

Before that fateful Monday evening, I was a customer service something and nothing. I worked in the centre of town. The days passed in a routine; blurred and samey. Wednesday was Monday and Friday was Tuesday. Now I am a cook by morning and writer by afternoon. Each day is a new project, a new lease of creativity. There is no drama, no office politics. I can just be.

With all the panic that ensued in the first weeks of lockdown, I began focusing on shopping locally as much as I could. I saw a wonderful camaraderie online too, with people buying from bakeries and fishmongers. Suddenly I started to notice things that had always been there. I started to notice Cardiff again.

Maybe everything seemed brighter from the blazing sun and the lack of people and cars, but suddenly the city seemed more alive to me than it had for months. Having just emerged from winter hibernation, I was ready to shed my winter bacon and tackle spring with all the gusto of a Joe Wicks workout.

The empty city centre streets had more promise; spring is still here, even if the people aren’t.

Have I used this time to become the best version of myself I can be? Have you? Don’t worry, nobody is judging you. There is no FOMO any more, no crap nights out in Popworld. Just do what you want while you can (within the limitations, of course!) That blurred samey routine life will be back before we all know it. You probably won’t ever get around to litter-picking like you’ve been meaning to, so don’t beat yourself up about it.

The world will go back to normal at some point, perhaps that’s a normality many are craving? Maybe, by then, I will have shed my winter bacon, but I can’t stop baking chocolate pies right now. I enjoy how quiet Roath Park is and how everyone and their dog form the longest queue ever, outside Tesco on Albany Road every day.

Mostly, I miss the pub and I miss my friends. I miss a Slim’s Salad and a large full-fat iced Coke.

I probably won’t be the better version of myself I think I am right now. I like the right now, the stillness, the quiet and the chocolate pies.

None of us know what is around the corner – it could be me litter picking – until then, bake the cakes or don’t bake the cakes. Binge-watch a TV show, read all the books, and try not to litter.

We still have a planet to run.

Follow Lauren online at her blog My Edible Adventure, on Twitter @myedibleadv and Instagram @myedibleadventure_

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