I think it needs to be said that Toronto has undergone one of the longest continuous lockdowns of anywhere in the world ... the whole world (for more emphases) ... the whole wide world (for even more emphases).
It crept up on us, too.
On the 17th of March, 2020, we went into lockdown.
On the 12th, Doug Ford announced that schools would be closed for a couple of weeks after March Break and to go have fun now while the going was good (Barrie announced Ontario's first death from covid the day before).
On the 14th, Canadians abroad were urged to come home.
Suffice to say, that having never been in a lockdown before, I really didn't think all that clearly.
I ran around and took care of mail at a friend's home and picked up supplies for bread-making and other groceries rather than going to the studio to bring back tools and jewelry materials.
I think I waited until the 15th to text my brother, Gary who was sailing off the coast of the Bahamas with a family friend who had just lost his Dad, to see what their plans were. Gary said his friend, Paul, was at the airpot changing his flight home and he would see about making plans once Paul's were properly secured.
Florida was in a bit of a mess and because that's where he docks his boat, we both felt staying put was probably the best case scenario for him at this point. Things could be a lot worse than being docked off the coast of the Bahamas - right.
That was until they went into lockdown and fresh water and groceries were no longer available to him. Looking back, in fairness, none of us knew what any of this would entail and it was the best decision in the long run but wwe really didn't know any of this at the time.
Then Gary and I lost touch with one another, for about a week, just as lockdown snapped into place. His phone died. Somehow he managed to get a new one and once it was up and running again, he gave me a call.
I'd been scrolling Twitter (I'm @gardenbre) and had seen this article, in McClean's magazine, written by a guy named Stephen Maher.
It stopped me dead in my tracks. It could have been written by my brother. Wild and crazy thoughts went through my head, none of which made any sense and so I kept them to myself ... but I immediately messaged Stephen and said, "this article could have been written by my brother."
Stephen messaged me back, 'Is his name Gary?'
Is IT a small world OR WHAT ... He said he'd been trying to get in touch with him but his phone wasn't working. Timing. It's all in the timing and I was able to give him Gary's new number.
When I called Gary to send him the magazine article and let him know I'd been messaging Stephen, Gary said that's who I was having dinner with when you called those times and I couldn't talk ... this had been weeks prior to when he'd headed off to the Bahamas ... while he was docked ... getting his sailboat water-worthy. Stephen was waiting for his boat to arrive and stayed with Gary
Such a small world. It was comforting.
Daniels didn't have enamelling nor metal clay stations in their studio. As a result, I'd left this portion of my equipment at home. With even more luck of the Irish, I had packed up all the charms-in-progress on my last visit and brought them home. More small comforts.
This meant, I was able to make good on my promise to the others in the FaceBook group for the jewelry charm challenge and finish them all on time. I prepared to mail everything out to everyone around mid-March just as lockdown went full force.
The charms were designed as front and back-facing pendants as well as charms, - made of mixed-media (pure silver, leather and felt). The red circles were used as a decorative element but also to hold the small ball of felted wool in place ... they forecast the floral creations, silk & silver charms on sale in the shop at present.
During these first months, every chance I had, while not tending to my plants in the allotment garden, I spent at my desk, nose deep watching jewelry-making videos and filling a sketchbook with ideas. I was glad I had figured out how to keep my hand in jewelry-making. I wound up each day, thoroughly exhausted, up on the roof deck where I found myself planting an unplanned garden.
It was a comforting way of winding down each day.
It had been a pretty good season, social distancing aside. Other days, I stopped by small neighbourhood grocery stores on my way home from the allotment, met with friends outdoors in the fresh air and eventually got a call that I could come rescue my tools and materials from Daniels sometime in late Summer.
For the longest time, the things I'd brought home sat, neatly in boxes on all the different levels of my staircase, properly categorized.
Then, all of a sudden, it was Winter and we went back into lockdown.
I knew I had to quickly pivot and figure out ways to keep my spirits up. I could no longer escape to the roof.
The days were fast becoming shorter and it was getting too cold to sit and enjoy even a hot cup of sweet tea up there anymore.
Next I'll touch on some sweet Taiwan tea travels. But first India ... and after ... London!