1. Up and down – what’s your new morning routine? How has it changed?
Monday through Friday, I’m up at 6 a.m. to steal an hour alone before the rest of the house wakes up and the fuss begins …
2. What do you eat on a typical work day for …
Breakfast? I’m not a breakfast lover so I usually only drink coffee and toast.
Having lunch? In summer I love a fresh salad for lunch, but in winter it is mostly a large bowl of soup.
Dinner? Dinner is different every day, but our recurring meals are homemade curries, tacos (Tuesdays) and chicken wraps.
3. Have you been able to work from home – if so, how did you experience it?
As a musician, there are certain parts of my job that I can do from home – writing, some recording – and while I miss being on stage and making live music, I’ve found it clear my mind has gotten rid of the demands of touring for a while and made room for a bit more creativity.
4. Best / Easiest Lockdown Meal?
My favorite meal has to be a fried chicken lunch every Sunday. Making this a ritual every week has become one of the joys of lockdown for me. Before the lockdowns when I was touring, a traditional Sunday dinner was such a luxury, but now it has become part of the wonderful rhythm of life. I think because there is so much that we couldn’t control – and as humans, we love the illusion of being in control – that was one thing that could be a constant.
5. Weekend pleasure?
A nice glass of wine.
6. How did you keep yourself physically and mentally fit during the lockdown?
During the lockdown, I made it my priority to run at least eight kilometers five days a week. This makes me feel both physically healthier and mentally resilient.
7. What was your daily outdoor exercise?
Walk. I’ve never liked the idea of exercise before – that thing that you remove from the rest of your life – but I’ve introduced exercise into my daily work and it works. My clothesline, for example, is not on my doorstep – it is up a hill – and so putting on and taking off the laundry also means climbing a small mountain. And when I take my children to school now – another little pleasure I didn’t have before – I consciously leave the car at the school and then walk home. That means I have no choice but to run all the way back to collect them. My husband can’t believe the change in me; When we lived in town, I drove the kids to school, which was a short walk from our home.
8. How do you relax?
A quiet evening at home with my husband.
9. Abstinence or tips?
Total tea during the week and drinking in moderation on the weekends.
10. Which book are you reading right now?
Actually, I decided to read a genre that I’ve never dealt with before and started the Outlander series – historical fantasy novels by American author Diana Gabaldon.
11 best Netflix?
OK, it’s not Netflix, but I fell in love with the Apple TV series Ted Lasso.
12. The most surprising thing you have learned about yourself?
I definitely surprised myself – and my husband – that I enjoy running.
13. On a scale from one to 10, where have you been and where do you stand in terms of cabin fever?
I didn’t feel any cabin fever. I am very introverted and live in the countryside in the foothills of the Mournes. I take a deep breath and the fresh air usually knocks off any cobwebs as soon as I’m out the door.
14. What are the three things that you missed the most when you started the lockdown?
In all honesty, my life was moving so fast that I only felt a sense of relief at the beginning of the lockdown. It was a tremendous exhalation for me.
15. Where will you go and what will you do when restrictions are completely removed?
I will fill my house with family and friends.
16. Biggest complaint?
Probably what bothers me the most right now is the way so many people complain about everything on social media. The amount of negativity you can absorb on a daily basis is so exhausting. Because of this, I try to stay away from social media. I grew up in a family where I was taught either to do something about what you complain about or to just shut up.
17. Have your priorities in life or your perspectives changed?
No, but my awareness of my own power to shape my life the way I want it has changed. I’ve learned to sit back a little more and find a better balance between my family life, my touring life, and my creative life. I like to think that I’ve regained a bit of normal humanity. I liked doing simple things like making the packed lunches for the kids.
18. Any new skills or hobbies?
I learned how to make the best fried chicken in the world (a title that is self-awarded). I also helped our dog pups give birth – something I thought I would never do – and I dipped my toes into the presentation. I was asked to present a BBC4 documentary out this fall about the little-known Northern Irish blues singer Ottilie Patterson from Comber. It was a new and really interesting experience for me.
19. What would you like to change forever when this is all over?
I would like to see more friendliness and patience in our culture.
20. Has the coronavirus changed your attitude towards your own mortality?
No, not really, I had to deal with that before the virus. But it made me more aware of the suffering of others and challenged me to look past my own experiences. I want to work on developing a more curious nature when it comes to other people’s life stories and experiences.
:: Dana Masters will perform on Wednesday 25th August at Bangor Castle Walled Garden as part of the Open House Festival, openhousefestival.com