Freedom Day! Or is it? For me it is the first day of a holiday in Shropshire and so it is freedom from my usual routine. It is 30C on average, and the journey here was only bearable because the car has air conditioning. There were many vehicles on the road, everyone heading off for their staycations I suppose, as heading for foreign climes becomes increasingly less likely. We are staying in a most amazing Airbnb: it is a converted cow barn, which does not sound so fantastic, but it has been so well done and tastefully furnished. The owners live next door and could not be more helpful. They have 4 dogs, 2 cats, and 5 rescue chickens. We have already been given half a dozen eggs.
When we arrived, i went out for my usual voyage of discovery. Clutching my OS map and looking for footpaths. It is close to the Shropshire Way, which I have found. One of the locals thought I was lost, and stopped to have a chat. At the end of the lane was a house. with a sign “free fruit and veg” so I picked up a large courgette to go with dinner. It looks a very promising area. This is a local view looking south towards the Long Mynd.
I am not convinced that we have seen the end of lockdown but I am taking a break in any case. I have had such fun writing the blog. It has given me a focus every day, what to photograph, what anecdotes to relay, mainly how to look for the positive in what has been a very gritty time. I am hugely grateful for all the feedback I have received, both as comments, and as emails. Please sign up for an email alert, just in case I am tempted to resume. Looking back I started off with the earring saga, a different pair each day. But they ran out before lockdown did, so I then decided on pieces of music which meant something to me. Music is a big part of my life, and it has been enormous fun trawling through YouTube to find something suitable, usually triggered by an event during the day.
Have I learned anything from the lockdown experience? Yes, to appreciate the affection and support of friends and family, and to be grateful for all the opportunities I have had in the past to travel the world. My chief regret is that I may not be able to do much more travelling, outside of the UK, and that the younger generations may not have the tremendous experiences which I have had. But I do remain determined to focus on the positive: I can go wild swimming, I can walk the myriad footpaths, I can play and listen to music, I can visit friends and family, apart from those who live abroad. So here goes: the motto must be carpe diem!
I have thought a great deal about what should be the valedictory piece, and I think it has to be the Ode to Joy from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. This unites many of my passions: Schiller’s poetry, a fascination with Germany and German culture and a truly rousing anthem. Lots of love to you all, keep in touch!