A few weeks ago, my mum asked if I fancied popping over to London for a day or two to have lunch with my children who are living there. How could I refuse? We had an amazing 36 hours together, a delicious seafood lunch in Covent Garden, a proper cup of tea in a teacup, and precious time with young adults who were bubbling over with their tales as we wandered the streets of London.
Little did we know our world as we know it would close down and we would be put under siege by an unseen lethal virus. Never did we suspect that returning home to Bergen would mean two weeks in quarantine. And we could never have imagined that we would have to leave our happy place on Bryggen.
Our beautiful tiny shop is so small we couldn´t stay open and keep staff and customers safe - we had to close. Budgets and forecasts were desperately written and examined and sadly with no income, our staff, including me, were put on furlough. Ruth Sofie and Daniela are working part time to keep online sales going so that when this madness is over Susan Fosse WILL keep trading.
I have never felt the desire to spread my thoughts and views through text. I am a knitwear designer, running my own business. I love colour and texture, shapes and surfaces. I love designing my knitwear, chatting with customers and colleagues, and seeing people happy. I´m busy trying to do everything it takes to keep my little business thriving, and I love it. It keeps me safe and happy in my own little world.
Many of us have now suddenly been told to stay home with or without a job to do. We have been given this gift of “time”. Time is the most precious commodity, one which I have been striving for and working to be able to afford for decades. Time, for me, is the height of luxury. Imagine being able to have a whole day off work and not always only a phone call away just in case there’s a question from the shop. Seemingly out of nowhere, time has been dumped in my lap in abundance, and I don´t know if I was quite prepared for it!
My two weeks of post-London quarantine were spent responding to the immediate crisis and listening to way too many news updates. The kitchen was painted, drawers were cleaned, and foods and spices (some dating back to 2002!) were chucked. Papers and files were sorted, newspaper clippings and old photos were found, and fond memories remembered and exchanged with family and friends. The patio was swept, and garden flowerbeds cleared. Old knitting and crochet projects, discovered in boxes in the loft, could now be finished and, of course, training and exercise would resume shortly. Lists have been made of all the things that I can now do while I have all this beautiful time!
Now the scary stuff starts. Having had all this wonderful time doing things that don’t need much thought, my mind has been empty enough to start thinking about what is really going on in the world, in Norway, at home, with me. We have been running at breakneck speed through life for what? Our own economical gain, our own prestige and sense of achievement to be a part of society and accepted by our peers? I have always believed in sustainable living and fashion. I love that my sweaters last, if cared for properly, a lifetime. I love the tea set I bought in a charity shop when I was 17. I love the trees that I have planted in my garden. However, when do I take proper time to enjoy them? For the first time ever, I feel like I am seeing those trees. Seeing the colour and the growth around me this springtime. I have caught up (online) with friends - sounds frivolous, but having time to listen to them has been a joy.
I don´t know if after several weeks of this I will be feeling quite so positive, but at the moment, I have to say, I am feeling rather privileged to have this time. Without underestimating the horror of the situation which we are now in, and which will affect us all for a long time, just now, I am enjoying the small moments. This has kept me going through many difficult times, but now, I feel more so than ever, we can, without guilt, stop and have a nice cup of tea in a proper cup.