Esther O'Moore Donohoe: This domestic, lockdown life is getting more rock and roll by the second

Esther O'Moore Donohoe describes herself as a Podcaster, Writer and Rhythm Dancer. This week, mid-pandemic, she invests in a label maker


Life comes at us fast these days and last week turned out to be a pretty wild one for me. The first major development came on Saturday, when I made the executive decision to turn the heating off ‘Auto’. A bold move. Some might even say, a premature one "It’s still only April Esther and summer doesn’t properly kick in until the first week in September". I understand this but I also feel that now, more than ever, it’s important to hold onto hope.

I went all in. I horsed through my wardrobe and put away all my big jumpers and replaced them with slightly less-big jumpers. I swapped my heavy winter dressing gown for its medium weight, cotton sister. Seasonal robes you say? Oh yes. I am doing very well for myself, thank you.

What can I say? It wasn’t my first ‘get the clothes in off the line NOW’ rodeo.

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Well, didn’t I feel like a fool on Easter Sunday when I came down to the start of a shower. Muscle memory kicked in and I lept into action. I grabbed the washing basket and walloped through the double doors to the garden. I had a wash out from the night before and was damned if I was going to let some drizzle ruin a good line. Duvet cover, socks, tea towels were all yanked down with the speed and dexterity of a woman who has limited laundry detergent. What can I say? It wasn’t my first ‘get the clothes in off the line NOW’ rodeo.

Organising house bits

Usually, that type of excitement would see me take to the bed for a couple of days but the week did not stop. No siree! First thing Monday morning there was a knock on the door. The mould spray I had ordered for the tiles had arrived. Wowee! But the fun didn’t end there. Before I even left the hall, a further delivery came sliding through the letterbox. What could it be? The size and weight of it told me it wasn’t the new galvanised bin I had ordered. I ripped open the package and saw it was three new label discs for my label marker. Back of the net.

Now, I support the banana breads and the Zoom parties we’re all currently enjoying but for me,
nothing beats the joy of quality time with the label maker. Organising and purging house bits is therapeutic. My house looks nothing like Mrs Hinchs' but when I want to feel on top of things or give myself the illusion of control, I’ll spend a lovely day sorting my presses.

It takes 300 years to spell out an entire word but hey, what else would I be doing?

I started with my dried goods. A massive jar of buckwheat I never use needed some urgent labeling care. I had previously stuck the packaging it came with on the front of the jar but it was time for an upgrade. Label makers come in all shapes and sizes. I’ve got one of those ones for kids that you dial the letters into and then it comes up on old fashioned embossed tape. It takes
300 years to spell out an entire word but hey, what else would I be doing? Spraying mould remover on my bathroom tiles? I would...actually.

A raucous week

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Twenty five minutes later, I drink in what I’d created. B U C K W H E A T spelled out on one single label, on one single jar filled with lots of something, I am unlikely to ever eat. Proud isn’t the word. But while it felt utterly pointless almost as soon as I’d done it, I knew future me will thank me.

There was discarded label tape all over the floor and surplus jars everywhere. Next week is set to be equally raucous.

I’ve often thought about what would happen if there was an emergency in the house and the fire brigade busted in and asked "But where is the huge jar of buckwheat you never eat but carry with you from house to house?" Even in my distress at least I’d be able to say to them "It’s in the drawer next to the cooker very clearly marked and very tasteful. Make sure you don’t get it confused with the bulgar wheat which is right next to it." The fireperson would then emerge from my house, smoke billowing behind them, holding a large Kilner jar aloft. People on the road would clap and cheer and they’d carry me up and down on their shoulders saying "If only more householders were like you lady, a lot more buckwheat could be saved."

The rest of the week was a blur. There was discarded label tape all over the floor and surplus jars everywhere. Next week is set to be equally raucous. I plan to start spritzing my new mold remover all over the bathroom grouting. This domestic, lockdown life is getting more and more rock and roll by the second. I just hope I can handle the pace.

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