Today is All Saints Day and in many countries a time to remember those who have died. Traditionally one goes to the cemetery with candles and flowers. It is a solemn occasion. And it is for us too as we contemplate another period of lockdown.
But firstly I went for a swim, to the pool which will be closed till December but I anticipate for a lot longer. My usual Sunday routine is to swim 30 lengths but today I did 36: I swim slowly, and use it as thinking time, mainly about when I am likely to be able to resume the old pattern. Then I started to think about previous periods of deprivation. My parents married in 1941, about a year after my father was conscripted into the army. Thereafter he was posted abroad and although they exchanged letters, my mother did not know where he was or indeed whether she would ever see him again. So a few months lockdown is trivial by comparison.
As my niece is in Edinburgh, I had a look at the Scottish regulations. They have 5 tiers, beginning at zero, which is “near normality.” There is no area in this tier. Then there are levels 1, 2, 3 and 4. The tier 4 equates to total lockdown, and no area is in this tier. So in other words they had 3 tiers, like England had 3 tiers. No wonder that people are confused. Are you keeping up?
To blow the cobwebs away I did some leaf sweeping. probably a silly idea as there is now a storm blowing which will throw all the leaves off the bonfire where they are piled up, and secondly bring a whole load more cascading down. But I got some vitamin D from the sunlight and oxygen to my braincells, which as you will note, will become my mantra over the next few weeks. As I raked leaves, I remembered that recently a friend had written to say that she needed a new rake as some tines were broken. Now there’s a word which I have rarely heard, which reflects more on my lack of horticultural knowledge than linguistic, I hope. If asked, I would have called them prongs. But as Rod pointed out, tines is the equivalent to the German Zaehne, meaning teeth, so there we have it. Tines, word for the day.