If it wasn’t true, it would be unbelievable that today marks one year since the first lockdown was announced. At the time I remember thinking that this pandemic would not go away in a hurry but I had no idea how long it would last or how our lives, habits and expectations would change so dramatically.
Today I realise how fortunate I am to be sitting at home writing this.
I’m still alive for one thing and have escaped infection as have my close family and friends. Those friends who have had the virus have recovered without serious illness for which I am very thankful. Others have been less fortunate and I grieve for those families shattered by death.
I live in the countryside surrounded by woodland and fields. I have been able to walk every day and watch the seasons change; the migratory birds arrive (and leave), I’ve harvested all the seasonal goodies – ransoms, elderflowers and blackberries and made soups, cordials, jams and ice cream. Many have said how nature brought comfort and solace during the days of isolation – the continuing circle of life was there for us all to see and allowed us a glimpse of normality as nature marked the passage of time. The birds paraded in their finest plumage and gave voice; the woods were covered in washes of yellow celandines, then white wood anemones followed by bluebells and pink ragged robin – the colours so wonderful after winter and all passing as quickly as possible before the breaking leaf buds opened and shaded the woodland floor in deepest green. I did see more species of bird than ever before in my woods and learnt more birdsong simply because I had the time to sit and listen and watch. Now it’s starting all over again and the arrival of spring heralds new beginnings for us as well as the wildlife.
I have a garden. I cannot imagine living anywhere without a garden. It has certainly kept me busy and productive and it is an interest that I share with many friends. Nothing gives me greater joy than to wander around the “estate” first thing in the morning with a cup of tea and see how everything is doing. The neighbours probably think that I am losing it as I utter exclamations as plants appear and speak encouraging words or curse the activities of slugs and snails. Looking at plants that have been gifted or swapped from friends and remembering them brings them a little closer. Last spring there were a lot of swapsies; broccoli plants for aubergines, hollyhocks for phlox etc. I had never grown aubergines before and a word of warning to the uninitiated that they take over the whole greenhouse!! Swapsies have already started this spring – we cleaned out the garden pond and re-lined it (temperature -2C on the day) which gave us an opportunity to trim the waterlilies. I have been swapping waterlily plants for eggs and wallflowers!
I have friends. Wow – what an amazing bunch they are. We have used all modern means of technology to keep in touch and it has been so important this year with many landmark birthdays and anniversaries. Even so nothing can substitute for the real thing as the intermittent breaks in lockdown showed me – hugs and kisses have been much missed. Thank goodness for the support bubble is all I can say. How I feel for the elderly living in care homes or those living alone who have not had visitors for months.
I’ve been lucky enough to keep my part-time local job which has given a lot of structure to the week and kept me in contact with colleagues and the locals. I have to say that working in a mask is hell and I look forward to the day when they are unnecessary.
I have rediscovered some interests. Yep – knitting. Everyone got a sweater at Christmas (!) and even some repeat requests so either they’re just being kind and humouring me or I’m doing something right. Lots of good intentions have gone to the wall like losing weight last summer and putting half of it back on over Christmas. Back on the treadmill… Many photos are still unsorted, slides not digitalized and the book isn’t written but I’ve had jab number one and the future is looking good. Today I’ve dusted off the bicycle, pumped up the tyres and been for the first spin of spring – I really need to get fitter….
I’m looking forward to being able to choose what I do, who I see and when but that lack of choice has been a small price to pay for controlling the spread of the virus. Happy spring everyone.