So much has happened since my last post in February. To misquote Hamilton, "The world has turned upside-down." I couldn't have begun to imagine how much my life would change over the course of just a few months. If you had told me in February that the Festival of Quilts would be cancelled (along with my summer holiday in New Jersey), I wouldn't have believed you. But here we are in the midst of a pandemic with no end in sight. It really is mind boggling as they say here in the UK.
One of the best things that has happened is that my daughter acquired a new Border Terrier puppy just before lockdown commenced. Saké (named after the Japanese rice wine) has proven to be a life saver in so many ways. Alysson had been talking about getting a puppy, and being at home 24/7 was the perfect opportunity to get one.
We moved to Oxfordshire in early March, Two of the three children moved in with us for 2 ½ months, as they were able to work remotely from our cottage. It was good to be out of London during those crazy scary times. I embraced the incredibly good weather we had in the Spring and basically spent every minute outside, either gardening, walking, training the puppy, or just sitting on my terrace with binoculars to see what flew over the garden. We had Red Kites nesting on our property so they spent a lot of time calling each other from this branch.
My main obsession is now photography and nature. I am sending out an email a day to our local neighbourhood and interested friends (I'm up to day 110) featuring either a wild plant, bird, butterfly or insect. On a recent walk with my husband, I mentioned that a year ago I wouldn’t have known the name of a single plant we were passing, but now I know them all, or photograph them so I can find out when I get home. It’s been such an education, but it does take a lot of my time, which is fine as time is what I have got.
Here is a Hummingbird Hawk Moth feeding on Valerian in my garden. The Hummingbird Hawk Moth’s wings beat at an amazing 70-80 times a second, so it it ‘hums’ as it hovers. This motion sometimes makes it look orange.
Another great joy of living here in the countryside is that we have at least five hedgehogs who come to the special restaurant outside our front door every night (I leave out hedgehog food and water). A few months ago while I was gardening I found a plant with gigantic leaves in my compost area. I decided to take a photo, so cleared away some of the twigs and nettles around it. I lifted up a leaf and there was a hedgehog sleeping right in the middle of the plant. Needless to say, I gently dropped the leaf and walked away to let him slumber on. It's fascinating to think about all the wildlife living on our property as we also have rabbits, squirrels, muntjacs and various voles and stoats. Also a rat or two and the occasional fox or deer. Loads of birds have nested here earlier in the spring we so have lots of baby birds coming to our feeders.
I vacillate between being really happy and really anxious. It depends both on the weather and whether I watched the news or read the newspaper. I’m trying not to do that, as there is really nothing I can personally do about this world situation. I just have to ride it out as best as I can. But I do feel that we’ll be living here in the country at least for the next year and maybe longer. Our lives won’t get back to normal until there is a vaccine. The children have moved back to London permanently and it’s really much better for all of us, although I do miss Alysson’s cooking (not the clearing up!) and Saké, who grows more enchanting by the day. I am now on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/quiltmaniac1/
so check those out if you are interested in my nature photographs (and the occasional Border Terrier).