As Spring sprung so did covid. I’m not giving it a capital c, or a number for fear it gives this terrible thing acceptability. In a world with scuppered human lives, hopes and dreams, there hasn’t been a lot of scope for creating a picture gallery full of travels, spectacular discoveries, plain old mooching, and interesting people.
On a positive note this disruption has given some of us the opportunity to stay close to home, forget the unnecessary, and enjoy more simple things.
I have never stared at a cherry blossom with such wonder as this year, the same goes for twigs and blades of grass! Do you know what? Something is happening and I’m present, watching and appreciating instead admiring the line of washing and hoping it dries! Actually, I’m delighted I’m not where I was intending to be, twigs are incredibly interesting if you look at them long enough!
There are ducks and there is Maude. I’m not much up on ducks but by the end of the season I think I will be. Surely Maude cannot be a proper duck? She looks like one but seeing as though I don’t really know what proper ducks do in life, I did a bit of basic research. No, she’s not a proper duck. She has two husbands, fair enough, Cuth and Bert. They are exceedingly affectionate towards Maude and, dare I say, each other. Again, fair enough but surely, she should apply herself a bit more enthusiastically to this duckling business. Out of 14 ducklings, gorgeous little puff balls of delight – not one has survived. Really. She diddled off before all the clutch hatched, leaving one baby in a state of half egg half duckling. Launched a few into a fast-flowing stream never to be seen again and managed to lose the rest of them. Mad bird.
The truth is 15 years ago I felt apples, pears, cherries, gooseberries, figs, white currants, red currants, apricots, and peaches were not really themselves unless they came from the supermarket. No, not the greengrocer (where they tended to be unwashed) and don’t even think about the garden where there were crawly things! The supermarket was the place to buy fruit where it was conveniently wrapped in easy open plastic bags, containing fruit of exactly the same shape, size, colour. All quality checked for unsightly, nasty blemishes. How bonkers was that? I would feel ashamed if I hadn’t knocked that stupidity on the head but looking back, I do feel flipping embarrassed!
All these delightful fruits grow in our garden and when I look at the trees and bushes, I’m not ashamed to say I predominantly see pies but at least I pick the fillings from a tree complete with crawlies, wash them myself, dig out the blemishes and admire their funny shapes. There is hope for me yet!
There’s a considerable amount to be seen and appreciated close to home. Without the ability to leap in a car and pollute the planet to get somewhere else, I realise how simple a day can be. Whilst staying local wouldn’t do for every day or every person covid restriction has helped me to see many things in a different light. Like the opportunity for positive change in the way we humans treat the world and each other. To be better tuned into the environment, appreciating nature in our own villages and towns gives me, for one, a better understanding that nature isn’t just something that you visit for the weekend, some place far away – it’s in the plant pot on the kitchen windowsill too.
Twiggy culture! Seeds and wildflowers. I’ve never been knowledgeable about flora and fauna and never took the time, or made the effort, to learn. There was always too much else going on to involve myself in that side of life, besides, we have garden centres to take care of cultivation and give us a reason for little tripettes to buy plants, other random stuff, and drink coffee with friends. Whilst this is a great pleasure, so too is walking along a weedy track with boots instead of sandals and collecting poppy seeds. I have no intention of becoming a knowledgeable gardener or searching the internet for the right way to do things. Hey, nature gave the flowers seeds which manage to drop off and grow without the requirement for humans with their best practice methods. This natural, random way suits me just fine and it’s great fun, totally absorbing and rewarding. I’ve had more success with shoving twigs in holes and throwing seeds around than I have maintaining the life of a potted plant from a garden centre.
To say it was naive of me to never have believed the covid pandemic could do to the world what it has, is being way too low key. It was stupid of me and everyone else not using their intelligence or common sense. Humankind has had a crash course in the cause and effect of disrespecting nature. Human society and the economy has taken a hit but unless we address the nature related risks caused by human activity, it will just be one of the disasters to come.
These past months have sure felt freaky. Oddly peaceful (from the point of view of someone free of the virus). I imagined there was a hint of excitement and a link to emotions felt at the beginning of wars when all is overwhelming, dramatic, and rousing and folks become gossipy before the streets are deserted and we all stay put.
On a lighter note. If you lived with a hairdresser or a beautician and assuming they had their gear at home, the deteriorating state of hair, fingernails, eyebrows, and eyelashes wouldn’t have been an issue I expect, but for most, it was and superglue and hair colour closely followed the loo rolls as they flew off the supermarket shelves!
We walked to our allocated shop, wore our masks, and kept within the time limit. Bought what they had in stock and got over ourselves. Made new animal friends, including Ratty the river rat who we had no problem socially distancing from. We had everything we needed.
The weather was warm and sunny and the thumbs up to go out for drink was worth a touch of lipstick but the first socially distanced supper outing in the sweltering heatwave required a fan before any further attempts at makeup application!
The end of lockdown saw the completion and publication of the long-awaited final story in the Miss Pickle a Dizzy Witch series of picture books and the first story in The Crumbs chapter book collection. Welcome to the world Miss Pickle in Space and The Crumbs Abroad!