18thApril – Week Four
Well the washing’s in, dark colours first, and Elizabeth Alker’s on the radio, just completing her ‘Croissant Corner’ with some Edith Piaf, so I’ve sat down with some coffee to write this week’s Home Life, thinking we might go for a walk soon. I usually write these with no idea where they’ll go, but this morning as I’ve wandered round the house getting in and out of the shower, getting dried, brushing my teeth, coming downstairs, opening curtains, putting dishes away and the kettle on to boil, I’ve been thinking.
At first I’d thought of doing this week’s post as a sort of ‘outside broadcast’ from Sarah’s Allotment where so many of our daily walks end with digging, planting and care. Then the care thought led me to thinking of the people I miss that I hadn’t known I would. Singing Carly Simon’s ‘Carter Family’ to myself where she says “and then I found I missed her, more than I’d ever have guessed” before I sat down here and turned the radio on, ready to start writing.
So here I am, writing. As much a default activity of mine as walking. And much like on a walk I love this part of any writing. Where I’m properly started, the opening and set up are done and described, and I’m down the road looking into the middle distance for what’s to come. Boots on, out and going somewhere. So let’s go.
Bean There first, a place that sums up so much of what and who I’m missing. Up to four weeks ago, before this lockdown, I’d probably have been writing the rest of this in there by now. By hand in a notebook, with coffee and a croissant, waiting to see who might come in, be welcomed in and interrupt me. Maybe Simon for two takeaways, Clare waiting nearby in their car with the children, before all going off to set up their morning class. Or Jane or Gillian for one of our Saturday walks. Paul locking his bike to the railings outside and complaining I’m in his seat. Jo calming down the squabbling as she passes. The gentle man with his peaceful dog, both nodding hello, sat just across the way. Children, so many children, pointing up at the counter. And if it were tomorrow the children would all be in the room next door, the family room I always think of it, singing the endlessly repetitive songs that have mildly annoyed me on so many Sundays. But that I’d love so deeply to hear again now. Now that I miss them all and miss Bean There so much.
One of the not so random people I’m always glad to see coming through the door at Bean There is Will the Flutemaker. He really does make and repair flutes, for classical musicians, folk musicians and isn’t that an amazing way to make your living? This week we met, socially distanced by the allotment gate I was just locking up, on Greenbank Lane. And Will said he missed the random meetings too, the never knowing who might come in. And which can’t be replaced by any amount of planned Zooming, good and essential though that is at the moment. But that moment a friend walks through the door of wherever your chosen café or coffee shop might be and you are so glad to see them, to see each other? I ache for that.
Meanwhile here at home the dark wash has finished, the coloureds are in and Elizabeth’s programme, good even by her standards this week, is finishing. Sarah’s up and about, busy upstairs, though we haven’t really talked yet today. And I never did get out on that walk I talked about as I began writing. But before I publish this I will at least go round the block here and get a few pictures.
Here they are then. A walk round the block.
It was quiet out there, as you can see. But good to feel the rain on my head, the spring rain.
I want to end though, this week, with an inside reflection. I’m a bit down today. It might be the weather. Whatever else we might all think about this lockdown, the bright blue spring sunshine has been a constant comfort. But it might also be the lockdown. Four weeks in it would be more weird to not feel a bit down sometimes than to feel relentlessly positive about all this. But writing helps, the writing of this right now. And so does music. As if the radio is listening to me it has just begun playing Ravel’s ‘Trois beaux oiseaux du Paradis.’ Surely one of the sounds that heaven makes. So down doesn’t feel quite so down any more.
It’s the small moments matter most. Thinking of friends, Sarah’s new microscope arriving for her horticulture course, finding the first buttercups in The Mystery, a new novel ready to start reading, writing this, and music, always music. I’ll be ok, and I hope you will too. As Diana Ross and the Supremes once sang “Someday we’ll be together.”
And you can read the rest of these ‘Home Life’ posts here.