Easter Sunday 12 April

I made my Osterbaum today. In Germany it is tradition to gather green shoots of trees, and other plants coming into bud, put them in a vase, and decorate them with painted eggs, Easter bunnies, chickens and the like. Over the years I have accumulated quite a collection, and it is fun to see them each year. I also made little Easter baskets for myself and Rod, a few mini eggs and decorative chickens. Yesterday evening I watched the Easter service from King’s College Chapel: a most beautiful venue, and as always the singing is divine, appropriately. “Jesus Christ is Risen Today” always takes me back to my childhood. These traditions and rituals seem to suddenly take on a greater significance: it is as if I were trying to review my life. Which I think many people are doing at this point in time.

Yesterday when out walking, we came to a road which connects Banstead and Purley. Now you might imagine that it would be quiet at the moment. As we approached, we could hear cars rushing past. I stood and counted 15 cars in one minute: I am sure they were not all going to the supermarket. They were mostly family cars, and I am certain they were off to visit grandma. And yet the majority of people have been so good about staying at home this holiday. At Easter last year I was in the south of France attending a baptism. It seems as if it took place in another world.

Today I am wearing amber jewellery from Krakow. Some of it I bought myself and some was a birthday present from my children. Amber shines most gloriously in the sunlight, and the earrings today were a delight. I have visited Krakow twice and found it a most fascinating place. Poland has a very chequered history and I would love to return and see more. We visited Auschwitz when we were there. A gruelling experience but a very necessary one. We joined a German-speaking tour, as the English one was very over- subscribed, and that in itself was interesting. A German lady of about my age clutched my arm and saId: “My father was in the German army, but he was a conscript you know”, and was in tears. And I replied, “My father was a conscript in the British army too, that’s how it was at that time”. Visiting a concentration camp is a gritty deal, but one I think which has to be done. So I wear my amber, and remember Poland and everything that country has been through.

Zoom conversations with the family are just fantastic. We had a great catch up this evening. For most people it has been house and garden, but even that is good to know. There have been cycle rides, walks, Easter egg hunts in the garden, phone calls with friends, everyone is making an effort to be sociable. Bank Holiday tomorrow: as if it had any significance at all, all the days blur together. I read today that people are sleeping more: bring it on!

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