Outside and warm

There’s something to be said

For sitting on rattan chairs and looking up

At a tie dyed sky

The same inky blue I saw in a dress earlier

The one I added to basket but never checked out

This is a sky of another era, a time

When we rode like ghosts on American highways

Legs pressed up against the dashboard

Podcast blaring nonsense

Gently slipping into sleep

Half expecting to hit a deer

That fear every time we rounded a bend

Or you vroomed a little too callously

A cacophony of screeching, and my brain doing somersaults

Playing out the poor deer’s death

And this balmy air also smacks of times in Spain

By the sea where we built our lives

And had a fridge full of food

And money in the bank

Dusted pink sunsets trickling down to the seafront

Paellas baked fresh, inches from the seabed

Tummies content and hankering for margaritas on Friday nights

Warm all the time

Flip flops flung over shoulders

Walks down to the beach and then back to Lidl

For a feast

Work was still a drag, head filled with dread

Every fucking Sunday night

Like some stupidly mundane weekly ritual

The brain bashing, self inflicted fear and loathing in Las Palmas

I was still afflicted like I am now

But those balmy sun dappled evenings

Grinning on terraces

Stuck like insects in a treacly loveless web

Boy was it good sometimes.

A year has passed and you’re back in my DMs

you got your foot in the door

yet again, a beautiful ghost at it

once more

starve you, I tried

there’s whispers you care and you

want to make things right

but I throttle those whispers

they slip lifelessly into unconsciousness

I’m lighting my tongue on fire

just talking to you

but it’s not the same adoration

lingering like perfume

in the air

not the

drop-everything-lets-text-back

frenzy that once furrowed by brow

made me mad with “love”

drunk on lust

in fact

I couldn’t give a fuck.

Is there a name for being bored but, at the same time, not wanting to do anything?

boredom creeps

and the tinted, dirt speckled screen

is no company

when up against

the blood orange gaze of the sun –

burn covering my chest

from yesterday’s bake off.

there’s no escape from boredom

when you’re not procrastinating

because there’s nowt to do

in the first place

but the level of pressure

squashing that nowt

is not nowt at all –

it’s a monstrous fun sponge

sucking life and love from limb

rendering days dry

and desolate

mouths open

but nothing to say

fingers shoved into gussets

in search of redemption.

lemon groves and Spanish marble

sultry Split and Big Apples

so rosy your mouth waters

are so far away

you can’t taste the freedom anymore

and pearl-stained beaches

are no longer on the horizon.

The video call conundrum

Like feeling around in the dark

Trying not to step on toes

Fingers in eyes

Teeth glinting, words warbling

Ignored and then repeated

If still ignored then give it up

Wait for the wave to pass

Then plunge into its dark creases

When you think there’s an opening

(But of course you can never tell)

So you’ll probably end up soaked in shame

A blur in their peripherals

Dunk your head under for a third time

Trying not to get wet

Trying to let your words penetrate

The foamy skin

Stopping short of shouting

Like screaming into the void

But you might as well be on mute

I’ll tear my hair out before this is over

A bald, shadow-slurping mess

Is what I’ll be reduced to

Like feeling around in the dark

For dropped keys on a dusky carpet

Clad in dead skin, fingers twitching

Like being blind at a party

Not knowing who you might grope

Like shouting into the void

Might as well be on mute.

I can’t get anything done when the sun’s shining

The sun throws me off scent
It’s a major distraction that colours my skin red and my head cloudy
Prompts paracetamol ingestion
Stops me from working
I can’t write when the sun’s out
It’s like a magnet drawing me away from my desk
Patio porn, the slabs are tinted and sparkling
Sibling reclining on chair, forehead glistening
A sign of heat, akin to holiday
Swap grind for grass
I’m lying on a towel half naked
Singeing my skin
(but consoled in that I’ve got Bondi sands factor 50 on order)
Digital marketing certificate doesn’t get a look in
When I’m grappling with a heated tug of war
And getting a tan is so important
(I’m not entirely sure why)
Another half hour I say, and then I’ll buckle down
Bent over a keyboard
But it rarely happens and by the time inspiration sparks
I’m sprawled on the sofa
The last of the sun dripping through the window
Watching This Country.

Coca Cola fantasy

Beer-soaked bellies tend to bash my chair

as they rumble past, making me jolt,

drink spilling, temper flaring.

Gazing at my caramel concoction,

a tooth-fairy blend of Coke

and sickly-sweet, candy-cane Malibu.

“I’d rather just have the Coke,” I say

And the whole room chuckles

because a spiritless double or gin-less tonic

is just crazy, apparently.

Florida dreams

Driving around Florida was perhaps the happiest I’ve been.

This was back in June when responsibilities were low and expectations were high

when the orange-clad Disney-donning streets always led us to Chick-fil-a or Moe’s at the height of hunger

stomachs beaten by pangs, the allure of burrito bowls and buttery milkshake broths awaiting.

We stopped in at all the parks and scaled iron-fisted fortresses and dropped

down vicious clanging paths

took oodles of pictures for the ‘gram and drank pint after pint of poisonous soda

to ward off the southern sun, bleeding onto our skin…

while fabric Mickeys and Minnies gasped for air

through the winter-laced fibres of their bulbous heads

probably paid a pittance

to stand in the sun and boil like broccoli

skin wretched and pasty at the end of the day; ours firetruck-red.

We went to Medieval Times because you said I ought to get a taste

of American pastimes

there we watched horses charge up and down with stout little fellows on their backs

wielding sticks and swords

jousting like they might have done back in the day

while we hunkered down over a medieval meal

turkey leg, garlic bread, tomato soup and enough Coke refills

to disintegrate a steak, and rot my molars.

6 interesting foreign phrases to describe your lockdown life

Last month, nobody could stop talking about the Finnish concept of Kalsarikännit, “the feeling when you are going to get drunk home alone in your underwear – with no intention of going out.”

It summed up lockdown perfectly, all the while showcasing the beauty of the Finnish language and making Friday evenings getting peacefully sozzled all the more appealing and accepted.

But the Finns aren’t the only ones with quirky, quarantine-appropriate concepts. The Italians, for example, refer to rekindling an old flame as ‘reheating cabbage’ – not exactly the image you had in mind when contemplating sliding into your ex’s DMs, eh?

And in Hungary, a nagging spouse is, somewhat colourfully, an ‘indoor dragon’. How many of you have your own ‘indoor dragon’ to contend with at the moment?

I can’t guarantee these will come in handy on future backpacking adventures or city breaks, but here are six foreign terms that aptly describe the #lockdownlife.

For when you’re feeling lazy

It’s totally fine to not be doing a lot at the moment. Remember, there is a pandemic going on – so even if you feel like you should be baking enough banana bread to feed the whole of Yorkshire or running a half marathon every day, it’s also fine to be a couch potato – or ‘pantofolaio.’

  1. Pantofolaio

You can use the Italian term ‘pantofolaio’ to describe a couch potato or homebody. A noun first used in the 19th century, it comes from the word ‘pantofola’ meaning ‘slipper’.

An example in action:

“Ho provato a farlo uscire, ma è diventato un tale pantofolaio.”

“I tried to make him come out, but he’s become such a homebody!”

It’s difficult to be anything but a couch potato at the moment – so why not look the part? If you do fancy upping your slipper game in true ‘pantofolaio’ style, apparently >slider slippers are all the rage right now.

pantofolaio

  1. Fiaca

‘Fiaca’ comes from Lunfardo, a slang that originated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It’s used to talk about “the feeling or state of being bored, idle, slothful of unmotivated” and when we use it to describe a person, we’d translate it as lazybones, layabout or bum.

An example in action:

“Qué fiaca que tengo!”

“Man, I feel like a slug today!”

This is something we’re all experiencing: trudging from bed to desk to fridge and back to desk, flicking through Netflix to find something binge-worthy, all the while ignoring the towering inferno of work, emails and deadlines piling up. ‘Fiaca’ is the ultimate killer of productivity.

For describing relationships

It’s a weird time for relationships – both romantic and non-romantic alike. Some haven’t seen their parents or partners or friends in months; others might find themselves house-sharing with an ‘indoor dragon.’

  1. Házisárkány

This is a Hungarian word literally meaning ‘indoor dragon’ and used to refer to a nagging, restless spouse. If you’re not used to sharing a house with your significant other, tensions might be high during this period. It may be you find yourself (or your partner) morphing into a mythical beast, breathing fire upon seeing plates piling up in the sink or socks strewn across the floor.

An example in action:

“A házisárkány soha nincs megelégedve.”

“A domestic dragon is never satisfied.”

Catch Budapest describes it as “a harmless joke” and strongly recommend that we keep treating it as such.

  1. Cavoli Riscaldati

The Italians use ‘cavoli riscaldati’ (literally meaning reheated cabbage) to talk about “a pointless attempt to revive a former love affair”. According to Christopher Moore, author of In Other Words, it comes from a proverb:

“Cavoli riscaldati né amore ritornato non fu mai buono.”

“Neither reheated cabbage nor revived love is ever any good.”

Interestingly, some parts of Italy use ‘minestra riscaldata’ or ‘zuppa riscaldata’ (reheated soup) instead of ‘cavoli riscaldati’.

Essentially, the idea is that nothing will ever taste as good when reheated. How many of you have thought about reaching out to your exes during lockdown? Snap. But now all I can think about is how I deserve much more than just reheated cabbage. Maybe some Waitrose kale or pretty pink lettuce from Harrods instead.

cabbage

For those early mornings and late nights

Arguably, we’re probably saving a lot more money by not buying as much coffee during lockdown – but that doesn’t mean to say we’re drinking any less.

  1. Tretår

‘Tretår’ comes from Swedish, literally meaning a ‘threefill’ – a second refill of a cup of coffee. Hardly surprising the Swedes have a word for this – according to the Telegraph, they were the sixth biggest coffee drinkers in the world in 2017.

Language Insight says ‘tretår’ is likely to be used on a Monday morning to help kick off the working week.

Despite no longer needing to get up at 6am and commute for two hours, my caffeine intake has sky-rocketed during lockdown. I’ve upped my daily dosage from one to two and sometimes three cups to get me through the day.

This is down to a mixture of boredom, comfort (everything just feels cosier when you’re clutching a hot brew, doesn’t it?) and also because it’s from my own stash and therefore free. Knowing how much I must have saved by not forking out on overpriced lattes on Tottenham Court Road makes my Nescafe taste just that little bit better.

tretar

  1. Nedoperepil (недоперепил)

‘Nedoperepil’ is a past tense verb used by the Russians “to say that someone has drunk more than they should have, but still less than they could have (or wanted to)”, according to Lingua Lift.

Searching for further clarity, I also consulted Wiktionary: “to have too much to drink, but to be unsatisfied and want to drink more; to be drunk, but not blacked out (literally, ‘to underoverdrink’)”.

If you’re out in a bar and the barista refuses to serve you, you can say:

“Но я же недоперепил!”

“But I haven’t yet drunk as much as I can!”

Seems like the perfect balance, right? Merrily sozzled but not sozzled enough to pass out and not remember anything – plus, it doesn’t always result in a hangover. ‘Underoverdrinking’ could very well become the nation’s new pastime.

The fact Russia has a word for this is mind-blowing – and to be honest, not totally surprising.