Monday 19 July

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!

5 thoughts on “Monday 19 July

  1. A comment from two blog followers who have so appreciated the pleasure if reading it every night. We have senjoyed it all – earrings, all the varied photos, the wide range of music, and all your daily reflections on life. Many thanks to you, and congratulations on quite an achievement.

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  2. End of an era! I hope the habit of looking for the positives stays even if you aren’t putting them in a blog – its a brilliant mindset to be in and what an achievement to come from lockdown and the blog! I will miss the routine of reading this as I am guess you might miss the routine of writing it, once the novelty has warn off of not doing it. Thank you for sharing x

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    1. Thank you very much. Yes, I will miss the writing, and looking for things each day to photograph or comment on. It has been quite a learning curve and I have so much enjoyed it. Time for a rest!

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  3. Have just caught up on your blog. I knew I hadn’t read it some time but was very surprised that the last entry I had seen was June 28th, our 52nd anniversary. Seems an age ago. I know you must have tired of writing it every day but I hope you will “pop in” once in a while to update us on your activities and the status of the pandemic in the UK.

    I very much enjoyed your photos, comments, walk and travel descriptions and the music. I lived a bit vicariously through your adventures as we have been almost nowhere since October 2019, when my mother-in-law broke her shoulder. We have been able to visit our girls and their families a couple of times, traveling by car. Thank goodness for daughters and grandchildren.

    A couple of weeks ago, my sister and I braved traveling to Miami by air to celebrate our oldest friend’s 100th birthday. Not only is Evie 100 years old but we have “known” her the longest of any living person. My parents and I moved onto the same block in Miami before I turned two and before my sister was born. It was a wonderful event plus we had the joy of eating some great seafood and I had a lovely swim in the Atlantic.

    Like you, I definitely have lockdown fatigue. We had a bit of a reprieve in June and July, but then hospitalizations and deaths started climbing in our county so it was back to masking and social distancing. Covid hit our extended family in the end of July. My son-in-law and sister, both of whom were fully vaccinated, had break through cases due to exposure from children who were too young to have been vaxed. Both were pretty miserable. Our 10 year old granddaughter and one of my great-nieces and two great-nephews also had it but all the children were not symptomatic.

    I’m trying to keep an optimistic attitude that a time will come will I can visit the UK and Europe again . . . And maybe we can meet for tea. Stay well!

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