Here we are in week whatever – I have genuinely lost count as it feels as if it’s at least week 342, but possibly we are not quite there yet – and, in an effort to be upbeat, positive, proactive about this whole business, I thought I would share some of the discoveries I have made in the past 342 weeks – or whatever. (numbers have never been my strong point, anyway)
Magnolias in bloom – there are an awful lot around.
I’ve always loved them, but had absolutely no idea that so many other people shared my affection to the point of having one if not two in their gardens. And I am grateful that these people had the foresight to plant them because, as I trudge round the streets for my daily exercise they give such joy. It’s as if at some point in the distant past, stirrings about spring time 2020 and its ominous events were being felt by certain people who exercised extraordinary forethought and headed straight to the garden centre that day to acquire themselves a magnolia (bush? tree? shrub?- I am no gardener) in order to offer a thing of beauty for us future siege victims. Poor souls, these altruistic, prophetic people no doubt said as they insisted on planting acquired magnolia on the very day of purchase, this will be some compensation for cancelled flights, ruined holidays, abandoned exams, lack of loo paper in Spring 2020 …
There are an awful lot of big ones. Enormous ones. Splendiferous ones. So envious of all that space and no doubt incredible kitchens ones.
That’s all I need to say about that.
Again, there are a lot of them around where I live. I had no idea there was more than one. There are. Lots of them. I haven’t yet managed to see any of the birds promised by the nicely illustrated boards marking these places – well, I think I might have seen a lapwing, but not absolutely sure of that – but it’s amazing what you find within a short distance of your front door when you have the time (and more time and more …) to look. I’m hoping for a kingfisher, but I might be pushing my luck.
The Pound Shop.
It’s the one place open that doesn’t just sell food. Normally a shop that I go into purely for cheap pairs of glasses and get out of as soon as possible, I find myself hugging the aisles, looking with wonder at pudding basins and plastic lunch boxes and green watering cans and remaindered books that I don’t want and DVDs and CDs that I won’t buy. Because it’s something to look at. A diversion that is not behind closed, barred doors and doesn’t require me to press my nose to the glass to spy. And also doesn’t cost me a great deal.
Where are all the cats? Clearly, the most obedient members of society and taking this don’t leave your home and preserve self-isolation at all costs very seriously indeed. I haven’t seen so much of my large black feline, Leo, for years – he hardly leaves the house. And as I plod around on my daily exercise jaunts, there are so few cats on the streets offering me a swift chat or quick stroke of their fur. They are absent as if intentionally avoiding irresponsible passing humans who have no hand sanitizer on them so are entirely unfit to encounter.
Yes, again, there are a lot of them around. I have discovered more footpaths, more back roads, short cuts, (by which, obviously, I mean long cuts as such routes always get me a little lost and double the time it takes me to get to a planned destination – if I even ever get there ..)open fields with convenient paths, wooded areas, open ground – all within a very short distance of my house.
Amazing. I know I live in Hampshire, but being such a city girl and only happy to live in a house that is within 5 minutes’ walk of several decent cafes and the train to get me to London, this discovery has been – well, a discovery.
And finally, technology.
It works. It’s incredibly useful. And what’s more it’s not all that complicated. At least the bits I’ve decided to encounter.
Always someone in the past to scream for help as soon as the vocabulary started embracing words such as download, upload, reboot, remote, virtual, cloud, (not the sort that shield the sun)run this programme, leave this meeeting, One Note – I find it’s not actually impossible for a previously technophobe like me to engage with it and acquire these amazing methods of communication.
Because – it seems to me – it’s just a case of pressing keys and buttons. Basically following orders.
It’s the machines that do the work.
These extraordinary desktop, laptop, iPhone friends very kindly do what you ask them to do and carry out all sorts of no doubt complex activities while you go to the fridge to refill your wine glass or sip a cup of coffee.
Once you give them the instructions by pressing something, they’re away.
So now I find myself Zooming, Facetiming, Microsoft Teaming, WebEx meeting along with the best of them.
Who would have thought?
No need for a so-called human expert to prop me up – I have my reliable, knowledgeable, supportive and protective machines who seem willing to work in partnership with me and are literally at my fingertips. All day and night long.
Just as well.
After all, we are only into week 342 of the siege and there may well be a long way to go yet ….