Spotlight: Do these cures for lockdown ennui prove boredom is simply for bores?


I HAVE made a new friend every day during lockdown. And no, I haven’t hooked up online and I haven’t been breaking the rules. When you’re stuck in the house on your own, or you’re bored with the company and want to see another friendly albeit masked face, the answer is deliveries.

Order everything over the internet with same-day or next-day delivery. Your doorbell will ring and you’ll have someone to talk to, even if it is only about what proof of age you have to provide for the booze items or how cold it is.

With Amazon Prime you can order a bar of chocolate for 85p, a mouse pad or a 50p Stanley Mini Fine Tip Pen – and who wouldn’t want one? – and they’ll deliver it to you. Free. I think we can ignore the environmental consequences while this quarantine continues, don’t you? After all, we’re not flying or stravaiging the country in our polluting motors.

We all need ways of getting through it so here is my list, not so much a bucket one as a basin-full, which may help.

Order a new car

Of course you can afford it. Whether it’s an Audi or a Dacia, the secret is to come up with a configuration that isn’t off the forecourt and ready to go. You have the joy of poring over the models, deciding which gizmos to add, and then you reserve. For £99! Refundable! You can dream of driving it for weeks, boast about your new Mercedes on social media, before saying: “I’ve decided it’s not quite what I want.”

Rewild yourself

AN endurance athlete called Tony Riddle (not sure if he has a brother called Jimmy) runs up and down the country and precipitous crags in his bare feet. I have no idea why. You can learn how to do it, perhaps starting by just taking off your slippers, and declutter your home and your life. He has a series of tutorials. I thought the one called Rewild Your Squat was about hippies growing drugs in their temporary gaff but it is, disappointingly, about getting down on your hunkers.

Create a masterpiece

Or just a self-portrait. And you don’t have to have any real skill. It’s painting by numbers in 2021. You just upload a photograph, perhaps your favourite selfie, and you get a canvas back with numbered areas and the corresponding coloured paints and brushes. Then tally ho! Leonardo.

Make your own cheese

But be warned, it’s messy. And it’s cheaper to just buy the stuff rather than create your own, but it will take up a few hours. You need gallons of milk, muslin, citric acid and other stuff and at the end you get a bland blob like a mozzarella with even less pizzazz. You also get to deep clean your kitchen afterwards.

Watch a live webcam

They’re everywhere. Just choose where you want to get away to. I tried New Zealand to see how they were coping with Covid in Wellington. Watching the lethargic Yang Guang the giant panda in Edinburgh Zoo was initially calming, but then when you have seen him munch endlessly on bamboo leaves and shuffle to the water trough that’s about it. And it gets depressing. I know these pandas are an endangered species but to keep him in a cage about the size of my living room, but with better furniture, just seems cruel.

Go to the beach

The closest you’re going to get to it right now is on your TV or computer screen and a live stream. You don’t need Factor 50 and you won’t get sand kicked in your face at Venice or Bondi beaches. I watched the sun coming up at Venice over the marijuana shops and I’m sure that if you give it long enough, like in Rear Window, you’ll see a murder.

Take up amigurumi

It doesn’t involve contortions, lifting weights or calorie-burning. It’s the Japanese art of crocheting small, stuffed creatures. You get the patterns online and then you, too, can create your own tiny Freddie Mercury. Although I’m not sure why you would.

Tour ancient Rome

You can take a virtual one, walk through the streets, and wallow in the sites as they were, or as a digital artist imagines they were, without bumping into slaves, lions or gladiators. Or those annoying snappers in real life who want to charge you to have your picture taken against the Colosseum or another famous landmark.

Your own tea bomb

I HAVEN’T tried this one because it looks way too complicated for me, but apparently it’s what idle hands with too much money do and then post on TikTok, which I thought was a site about horology.

You melt some crystals, pour the liquid into two half moulds, stick in a tea bag and a dried flower, seal, and then it’s ready drop into your hot water. But why?

Visit a mystery house

Sarah Winchester was the widow of firearms manufacturer William Winchester. She lived in a mansion – an architectural wonder – in San Jose she thought was haunted by the ghosts of the men her late husband’s rifles had killed. According to legend she wouldn’t sleep in the same room twice so that the ghosts couldn’t find her, and she had tradesmen working 24/7, constantly remodelling it until she died. No, I don’t know why she didn’t just move, given that she was one of the richest people in the world. You can take a virtual tour of this grand folly.

Remember tie-dye?

Of course you do. It was fashionable once and it’s coming back again, if you follow influencers like Kendall Jenner (who she?) and the Beckhams. Just knot up an old T-shirt or a pair of jeans, splash a dye and salt solution over, add different colours if you want, wash and there you have it – your own wearable Jackson Pollock that everyone will tell you to your face looks cool but later laugh about behind your back.

Lip-sync lockdown

Thousands of people are channelling their inner Janey Godley, miming to speech or music hits like they did on Top Of The Pops (don’t mention Jimmy Savile) and putting them online.

Become a guitar hero

Fender, the US guitar-maker worshipped by Bruce Springsteen and a host of stars, is giving three months’ free online instruction during the pandemic, learning at your own pace. However, if you don’t have a Stratocaster or Telecaster lying around this may not be an offer for you. Sadly, I have been unable to find an air guitar tutorial.

Consider cleaning

I THOUGHT about thoroughly cleaning my bedroom, which puts Miss Havisham’s dining room to shame. And cleaning and repairing the leaking gutters. I mused about learning Gaelic, or brushing up on my French. But, true to the definition of the word, satisfyingly none of them turned into actions. Perhaps you’ve enjoyed the same?


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