We left Norfolk where we had seen our family on 17th March to return to our home in Cornwall, but we started self-isolating on the following day. Today, therefore, marks three calendar months of lockdown. Those of us lucky enough to live in beautiful surroundings have had a wonderful opportunity to see spring and summer unfold, even though today’s weather is wet and miserable.
What has changed? The biggest change has been our daily walks, and hopefully improved fitness levels resulting from them. I can now get up the hill from sea level without stopping for breath, and have got a little better at navigating stiles. I have carried my tree book, and my fern book, and used google lens to identify flowers. I have discovered wild privet with its pretty flowers and scent as well as enjoying more familiar woodland plants like wild rose and honeysuckle.
And I have grown to love the wild beauty of the coast. Now that I don’t see all downhill paths as simply a precursor to an unpleasant climb, I can take in the astounding beauty of the Cornish coast. The other day we went to the National Trust car park at Lantivet for a circular walk including Pencarrow Head and the amazing church of St Wyllow, with Celtic crosses in the churchyard. Alas it was still closed. But the views from Pencarrow Head were amazing. This is to the east:
We have also experienced kindness and generosity from our neighbours. From offers of shopping to much more conversation with neighbours when we are out walking, from the volunteers who kept the corridors clean while the cleaners were furloughed to Liz who organised a potato growing competition to enliven our days, we have met with nothing but kindness. It’s been quite difficult in some ways. We would normally expect to be the people ‘doing good’ rather than having good done to us; we have had to learn to accept with grace.
I have always enjoyed online shopping. The heroes here are Waitrose, delivering on time and to the door, and always with a slot available, albeit with a couple of weeks notice; Riverford, who after a brief glitch at the beginning of lockdown, have got their systems running with their usual efficiency and deliver a wide and sometimes challenging range of vegetables each week; Freddie’s Flowers, who send the most stunning flowers every week, with an easy to follow guide on how to arrange them so that even I can make a reasonable fist of every bunch. Their paeonies have been amazing – starting subtle and then going blowsy as only paeonies can!
More local discoveries: the Devonport Inn in Kingsand delivers hot fish and chips with brilliant tartare sauce on Friday evenings, as well as other meals during the week. The Maker Canteen, one of our favourite local places to eat, delivers hot Sunday lunches which are enormous, even for us. RG Seafoods of Torpoint deliver a fantastic value collection of five or six types of fish for £20! Our last bag weighed almost three kilos (no bones) and contained cod, haddock, fish pie mix, plaice, red mullet, and another flat fish which I couldn’t identify but which was delicious.
Probably the less said about my visits to the Toast website the better…but I have discovered the delights of jumpsuits, and am currently wearing an orange linen one with a yellow T shirt underneath. I also have a great navy one. I never thought that I would find them either comfortable or flattering but these are both. They are my new favourite pieces of clothing for an English summer. And John Lewis, of course, for new bedding and some kitchen essentials….
Which brings me to routines. Riverford deliver on Wednesdays, Freddies on Thursdays, Waitrose usually on Sunday. We have fish and chips delivered on Fridays. Our day is punctuated by the news at one o’clock and six o’clock. Family phone call after the 6pm news. We take our walks after lunch. If we have parcels to post, we walk the coast path to Kingsand. Otherwise, we take it in turns to plan walks. We have occasional Zoom chats/virtual drinks. Well, the drinks are real, but the company is virtual. Alarmingly, much thought and conversation is devoted to food. I’m getting kohlrabi in my veg box – that will be interesting. I have to use a certain amount of ingenuity with vegetables. Hence several jars of chutney – butternut squash, courgettes, onions and red apples, all of which were in oversupply.
My balcony gardening has been very enjoyable and I have promised an update soon. I have also had enormous fun making elderflower cordial. I wrote about this in an earlier blog, so will content myself with another picture, making a change from perfect sourdough and/or banana bread. These are from my final batch of 2 litres. After a hot May and wet June I fear there will be no more elderflowers to pick when the weather picks up again.
What do I miss? Theatre, or more specifically opera. The freedom to ring up a friend and ask to pop in, or visit for a couple of days. A close friend died recently, and another, more distant, a former colleague. How I wanted to go to their funerals. As it is, a part of me knows they are dead, but I don’t altogether believe it.