Enable Asks… Joanna Lumley

Lockdown is impacting us in many different ways, so, at Enable HQ we’ve launched Enable Asks: where we ask some familiar faces their experience of lockdown.

From BBC journalists, stars of your favourite soaps and authors, with Enable Asks we ask each person the same three questions to discover how lockdown is treating them and, most importantly, what advice they have for you, our readers.

To kick things off, we’ve got the absolutely fabulous actor, activist and national treasure, Joanna Lumley.

Thank you so much for getting involved with Enable Asks, Joanna. How have you been adapting to life in lockdown?

Maybe because I went to boarding school I have become quite good at having my freedom curtailed. Then, of course, we knew exactly when the term would end, but now we live in a strange limbo. 

We are extremely lucky to have a garden (which has never looked lovelier or been more adoringly tended) and a house full of books, as reading is my passion. I go shopping once a week at the appointed Oldies’ Hour, and spend the days writing emails and recording messages for charities.

It has made me much better at using social media, which I have always banned from my life in the past. The two cats, Fleur and Pingu, are thrilled to have us around all the time.

Can you offer any advice to our readers to help maintain positive mental health at this time?

Make a pattern, a routine, which will support you through an otherwise shapeless day. I always get properly dressed, and even put on make-up as if it were going to be a normal day. 

I keep things tidy, and try to do at least two boring tasks which have been lying in wait so I have something to cross off my list at the end of the day. I write letters and cards to people and walk round to the postbox, taking the longest route to post them. We walk in the quiet streets, and savour the clean air and ravishing blossom and leaves bursting into green on the trees. 

At least once a day say, “I am so lucky” and suddenly you feel you are. Be brave.

Have a treat at the weekends. Ours is croissants hot from the oven with coffee and my homemade lemon marmalade.

Finally, what book, podcast, boxset or recipe have you discovered over the past few weeks that you would like to share with our readers?

What a godsend the television is! We have devoured shows we have never before had the time to watch, Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, Unorthodox, Tiger King, Twin and the enchanting, Call My Agent!  

My husband Stephen is a musician so there is always music in the air. The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel has gripped me by the throat, and tonight I will have finished it.

One Two Three Four by Craig Brown is a must for anyone who loves the Beatles (who doesn’t?). And, I have darned holes in jerseys, painted a chair, filled a crack in the wall, and daydreamed through boxes of photographs which need captions. 

And much of the time I lean on the windowsill, listen to the birds and just think about things; and realise that somehow it will be all right in the end. All will be well.

Don’t miss our next instalment of Enable Asks on Thursday (7 May) with Henry Fraser. You can stay updated on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.