11th April – Week Three
How are you doing? Are you sleeping well? I’m only asking because I am, we both are. Long and deep sleeps with no corona virus in either of our dreams yet. Making me wonder whether sleep might be our respite, perhaps your respite too? A safe place to go for a few hours in these days of worry.
Anyway, it’s Saturday morning again and time to write the third in this series of ‘Home Life During a Pandemic’ posts that feel like they might go on needing to be written for a while yet. From me to you, as some other Liverpudlians once sang.
I’m where I’ve been for much of this week, on our back step early on a day that feels like it might be warm and beautiful once it gets properly going. I’m already out here with no socks on, bare feet on the yard tiles, which feels great and proper. As does having Elizabeth Alker out here with me on the radio. Broadcasting her ‘Croissant Corner’ from Salford, Yves Montand at the moment singing something happy about bicyclettes. Always a huge and regular joy on my Saturdays is Elizabeth’s early morning programme on BBC Radio 3, as you’ve probably gathered by now.
The washing is on too, for those of you, like me, who are reassured by a certain amount of ritual to help tell one day from another. I did sneak a bit ahead of myself this week, mind, by getting all the towels out here drying by Thursday. Important to keep all of them fresh and clean at the moment. Especially as one of us here is a key worker.
Sarah and her funeral colleagues don’t seem to be getting any mentions in the litanies of essential workers we’re all quite rightly applauding in print and on Thursdays. But people are dying and so funerals haven’t stopped. Can’t stop in fact, though they’re much changed. I’ve mentioned before how Sarah’s using her phone and Zoom to talk with bereaved families now, and how only limited numbers of them can safely come to the services they create. But funerals are still happening and all the people caring for the dead and their loved ones are on a front line that doesn’t get much talked about, even in normal times, but it’s there. For the grief, the goodbyes, the mourning, witnessing and remembering. As well as for the plain fact that we can’t not bury or cremate our dead. So well done you receptionists, you drivers and carriers, funeral directors, funeral arrangers, florists, embalmers, crematorium staff, sextants, ministers, celebrants and you Sarah. I see what it takes out of you every time you come home, and so this is a small thank you from me in place of the big public one all of you haven’t had yet. Thank you xx
Here in the yard Elizabeth is playing something flowing and harp-like now. Balm and encouragement that beauty is around us and will persist through this time of trouble. Music being my own clearest and most direct route to beauty and what it does. This week I’ve played a good deal of the beauties of Bill Withers and John Prine, of course, and what they’ve left behind them. As well as needing the everyday timeless and constant beauty of Radio 3. So thank you, all of you no doubt self-employed presenters and musicians. You are essential too.
But to return to more earthly pursuits. Sarah’s just come down and, seeing me sorting out the tulip photographs I’m going to use to illustrate this post with beauty, is wondering if I’ll also be including a picture of the box full of tupperware she’s sorted out. It’s that kind of time isn’t it? So here it is.
All lids matched up, colour coded and categorised, like one of her horticulture studies. Of which, her Identiplant course continues to provide much needed respite and relief. Along with grounding us both in the soil of our place on our daily permitted walks, searching for the buttercups that aren’t out yet. But they will be as the springtime is arriving anyway, with bluebells.
‘Til next week then, some John Prine here to finish. ‘You Got Gold’ for the gold inside of us all x