Best-selling author Alice Taylor tells Kay Doyle how she is getting on with life in lockdown from her cocoon with a view.
The term ‘cocooning’ means different things to different people. But in 2020, during the Covid-19 crisis, cocooning took on a new meaning for people with compromised immune systems and those over the age of seventy. Thankfully many have now come out of the cocooning phase and are keeping their social distance getting back into life along the Government’s Roadmap of Coronavirus restrictions.
Back in the last weeks of February, Alice Taylor and her family and friends in the village of Innishannon in Co. Cork were making great plans to create a wildflower bank on the roadside coming into their beautiful village.
A few weeks later, Alice was cocooning behind closed doors, only seeing her family through the window and, along with hundreds of thousands of others across the country, was challenged with adapting to a new existence.
But rather than shut herself away, Alice Taylor stepped up to the challenge of life in isolation and did what she does best – she wrote about it. Her new book A Cocoon With a View shares her own experience of coping with the bad days of life in lockdown and offers solace and comfort to others.
She’s in good spirits when we catch up for a telephone chat, her main source of communication these days.
“It can be difficult still,” she says honestly. “There are days when I’m thinking ‘Oh Mother of God’ but apart from cocooning you’d have days like those in normal life too.
“You sometimes have to give yourself a good kick in the you-know-where and you get going then and you’re ok. It’s the getting started that’s tough. I think because people couldn’t go out during the cocooning, they mightn’t go out anyway, but when you’re told you can’t you feel more enclosed.”
Alice believes that keeping a journal is a great exercise. In a private journal she can say anything she wants to say, give out yards, complain, and nobody is made to feel worse. It gets it all out of your system and then you can close the journal and feel better. Thankfully for us, she has written a beautiful book of wisdom, of advice and of comfort, based on her journals during this time.
Alice Taylor has lived in the village of Innishannon since 1961 and has documented village life over the years in her other books. In her new book, she paints a picture of her beautiful village, but it’s all from a view inside her home and garden.
“I looked over the village and I thought this is the way it was when I came here in 1961. There was no traffic. It was a different world and slowly it accelerated. My house is plonk in the middle of the village. I’m on the main road. At the very beginning of this I used to look out the window and think we had gone back in time because the traffic outside normally is non-stop and all of a sudden there was nothing.
“I remember during the big snow two years ago going out and standing at the corner and I thought we’d never experience that silence and calm again. Traffic even goes through this village but at that time there wasn’t a car or a single solitary sinner in sight. I thought this would never ever again happen but it did, and for so long.”