Since I arrived home from Greece in early September there have been various shades of lockdown. It would be more pleasant and safer to have stayed on Symi but unfortunately not to be. I would have been tempted to stay there over Christmas and into next year.
As it is, I’m still trying to stay out of the way of the virus, not because I’m afraid of catching it, sadly I think that at some point that is an inevitability (then we’ll then find out if I have natural immunity or not), but rather to avoid putting pressure on the health service unnecessarily. For the first time, the health problem which led to my early departure from Greece resolved itself without hospitalisation with the result that I’m firing on all cylinders again and functioning normally within the changing parameters of Covid restrictions.
Basically, that means the same pattern of activity as during the main lockdown: walking to the shops early on a Monday morning to avoid the crowds; working in the garden; and going up the mountain every day. Reflecting on it, though it means that horizons are significantly smaller, I’m very glad that I have a large garden with more than enough to keep me occupied and being at the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park means I get to the top of the ridge for my daily exercise, a reasonable workout.
Autumn means another change to the landscape (see), with greens replaced by golds and browns and fungi replacing flowers.
Early return home and good weather for the first few weeks meant that I was able to complete repair and painting of the outside of the Blue House as well as enjoy the dazzling colour of giant blooms and intoxicating smell of the now 15-foot high Brugmantsia planted in it last year, still in flower in November. I cut back the hundreds of suckers from the agave, revamped the electrics and I’m rather pleased with the result – by day and night.
The Vegetable garden, planted up with winter veg is keeping me suppled with cabbage, kale, sprouts parsnips and beetroot, and a few autumn raspberries to augment the 250 portions of fruit put in the freezer during the summer. I harvested 80 lbs of Pink Fir Apple potatoes, enough until next Spring. The bottom quarter of the garden, planted up for my decrepid old age, which I pretentiously refer to as the ‘Acer Glade’, is brilliantly coloured even when it’s pouring with rain.
The first response to rising Covid infection rates in Wales was a ‘local lockdown’, imposed on my area on 23 September, meaning that people in areas with high infection rates were not allowed to travel outside their local authority, nor anyone else travel in. This meant that I couldn’t see my son and his family who live a mere 18 miles away but in a different local authority. Bizarrely, my daughter who lives in the Greater Manchester area with very high infection rates could travel all the way down to the edge of the borough but not come in. In theory we could have seen each other 2 metres apart at the border 2 miles away, she having travelled 180 miles to do so as travel restrictions were not imposed in England. Even more bizarrely, at that time a coachload of 30 people travelled over 200 miles from the worst affected area in the North West to Tenby in Pembrokeshire where low infection rates meant that restrictions were not applied. I’ll stop there before I get into a rant.
However, under local lockdown rules I could meet a friend from the same borough outside in the garden. Not a very appealing prospect normally as colder, wetter weather approached, but as there is a covered area in my garden, we could sit there socially distanced, warmed by a blazing fire in a cheminierre. A couple of evenings a week were thus spent very pleasantly putting the world to rights over a beer.
Sadly, infection rates continued to rise and so on 28 October all Wales was put under ‘firebreak’ regulations which banned all social contact inside or out. Thus my shopping/working/walking routine continues but evenings are unbroken boredom. Indications are that when the ‘firebreak’ ends on 9 November meeting friends or family in the garden will not be allowed but four people from different households can meet in a pub. How crazy is that !?!?. I guess I’ll pass on going to the pub at the moment which is a sight more risky than meeting in the garden.
I’ll stop before another rant comes on.
If you are bored in lockdown and want something to read, or want an idea for Christmas, you can try my books.
A small life in twenty memories
paperback direct from me, £3.99 plus P&P
paperback direct from me, £3.99 plus P&P
Greece by Bus
Very limited edition: A4 hard copy only, 153 pages, copiously illustrated with photos and maps, full colour.
£30 plus P&P