Lockdown days

I’m trying an experiment. Some days I’m up in blue skies and other days I’m down in the mud. I decided to find something for each day of one working week to illustrate beauty and optimism in the world. I’m starting from home – looking at things locally, since we’re in lockdown. I don’t know how this will work out but it’s a positive step to relieve the ‘boxed-in’ feeling.

MONDAY Cold and overcast. The domestic chores of the day loom. Washing, hoovering, ironing. Making sure the recycling is outside in a tidy state for collection. The amount of cardboard packaging is alarming, having to depend on deliveries rather than go to the shops. Up at 7am with a hot cup of green tea. Good start.

beautiful bubbles – washing up!

A book I’ve ordered from Waterstones, ‘Klara and The Sun’ by Kazuo Ishiguro, arrives. The design, its colours and presentation, are terrific – they are by a Japanese designer called Toshiyuki Fukuda. It makes my day. I dip in to the first few pages and am reassured I will like reading it.

‘Klara and The Sun’ by Kazuo Ishiguro

TUESDAY Dull and grey. I make an early morning visit to our local supermarket (five minutes walk away) with my wheelie bag. The staff are super friendly and helpful and I buy a big bunch of daffodils. A welcome note that Spring is in the air.

Daffodils – March 2021

Later on the car won’t start but the flowers give me the energy to ring the RAC. More dispiriting rain later but after supper I watch a fascinating TV programme about Çatalhöyük in Turkey, presented by Janina Ramirez and now designated a World Heritage site. It sends me to bed in an upbeat mood. I’ve learned something new.

WEDNESDAY Overcast and damp first thing but I have to go to the bank. The train is almost empty and it takes only six minutes to get there. On the way to the station I pass a massive mimosa tree in full bloom, which is gorgeous.

Coming home, a wind has blown up and I breathe in stormy gusts of fresh air as I walk across the Common, passing a swathe of purple crocuses and a wild black dog chasing an orange ball. The grass is a vivid green.

On Barnes Common

THURSDAY Lockdown can become very frustrating. Not seeing people face to face for so long makes me very lethargic at some level. A weird fog in my head. This gets much worse when it’s dull and cold with a heavy goosedown sky – like today. I can hear the muffled silence. I hope I don’t go deaf in later life …

In the morning I throw dried mealworms and sunflower seeds for the birds under the apple tree (brownie points) and they are soon pecking away in a greedy fashion. I chase away the magpies because they bully the little birds. The pigeons are making a nest in our bay tree. Birds are what remain of dinosaurs – (I mean, not counting fossils!).

The sun pushes out of the grey blanket at midday and we go for a walk in the park. I fall over in the mud and look as if I’ve wallowed in it like a pig but my jacket goes in the washing machine later on and is as good as new. I have a few scratches but got very close to nature 🙁

Later on, I was tidying up and found a cache of Nevil Shute books. Now reading ‘Trustee from the Toolroom’. He’s a great storyteller. It’s wonderful to find something like that by chance. Like a necklace down the back of a drawer you thought you’d lost. I’m hooked – it’s a good feeling.

Trustee from the Toolroom’ – Nevil Shute

FRIDAY Monsoon type rain swilling down the roof windows, followed by bright sun.

Mimosa branch in the rain – on the roofagain!

The sun wins out and we go for a local walk and see lots more flowers appearing, comment on peoples’ gardens and come home with some delicious baguettes for lunch with cheese and fruit.

An appealing cloud with a silver lining …

We’re going to have ‘moules marinières’ for supper with garlic, white wine and parsley, and new potatoes. A favourite. And so I come to the end of another week of lockdown. Some good moments have lifted the tedium.

And what could be nicer than being sent a very original bouquet of flowers from ‘Storm and Grace’ for the weekend. It contains Ladies’ slipper orchids, Fox grape fritillaries, Neapolitan miniature alliums and butterfly lavender with catkins and cherry blossom twigs about to bloom …

Flowers from ‘Storm and Grace’ for me!

Obviously, I did much more during the week but I can see that the special, uplifting moments mainly include books and flowers, looking up at the sky and learning something new … not to forget good food. It shows how much we depend on the natural world, not only for survival but for pleasure too.

The curiosity factor is big for me as I have always liked finding things out and learning new stuff. We’re lucky to have the Internet and TV as well as books nowadays. Mmmm … I don’t always love these gadgets tho’ … I miss writing and receiving letters.

I’ll finish off with one of my favourite quotes. It’s quite relevant in today’s world. Pause for thought …

‘A person hears only what they understand’ – by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe – 1749-1832. You could add ‘sees’ as well as ‘hears’.

Exquisite poppy from ‘Storm and Grace’

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