Day 101

Well according to the recording in my diary.

101 days since the 17th March. 101 days of altered life.

Lockdown didn’t begin then. It started the following week, on Monday 23rd. But on the 17th I wrote in my diary , “Odd day. Sort of day one” .  The day before there’d been  a press conference discouraging us from all non essential social contact, recommending against visits to cafes, bars, theatres etc.

It wasn’t an order, not at that point.

On the 17th I had my hair done, by the 18th I began to hear of friends self isolating. Our walking group met for the last time on the 19th.  Instead of the usual groups of two or three people of the same pace chatting together, we were a long straggly line.  Friday the 20th we returned from the shops to find signs warning of Covid in the area*

And so it’s continued, through an often glorious Spring.

 

My May blogathon. Horrible word. Sorry.

Lots of baking

Many,

many,

photos of DogS.

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“you can never have too many photos of me”

And now things are beginning to change.

We’ve had drinks with friends in their and our garden.

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And we have plans to take our fortnightly quiz** “live” next time.

But it’s still baby steps, as it should be. And always with fingers crossed and touching wood. Though it’s science and hygiene that will guard against a second wave.

I’m looking forward to lots of things: travelling beyond the town to take DogS to the beach,  enjoying tea and a scone at the outdoor cafe afterwards, visiting a garden.               MasterS being able to visit. Meeting family and friends. Conversations that’s aren’t yelled.

I wish I could honestly say it’s all the simple things. But that’s not me.

I want to be able to travel further.  To sit with a drink as the sun sets***, hearing a language that’s not my own.

But I’ll wait. Keep with the baby steps. Appreciate what I’ve got.

Resist the temptation to rearrange the acceptance mantra  “it is like this”.

And now I’m off to bake.

Until next time.

Marina xx

 

 

* Yes, I have documented this before.

**We do this online with two other households, each writing a round of questions. For big money prizes. So weather permitting we’ll all meet up outside. And yell the questions at each other.

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sometimes it’s veg from the garden 

***we’re just past the solstice, the sun sets at around 10pm.

 

the 31st May

Well, it’ s not that I have any particular fondness for this date. It’s not my birthday or anything.  But today I’ve completed the challenge I set myself.  Or will do as long as I get this finished and posted before midnight UK time.

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“yoo don’t look verry busy to me”

 

Earlier today an email  took me to this post.  And that set me thinking.

Have my posts managed to either “Entertain”, “Teach” or “Inspire” ?

Right then, entertain? Well if you like pictures of dogs or baking, then yes.

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“there be peoples who don’t like pictures of dogs???”

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Oops!, Guess who bought the wrong type of cream?

Perhaps that’s not your thing and you’d prefer some photos of nature?

Or a lovely travel shot?

 

Educate? Well I learned something from a blog I read today.  Two words “poop tube” .

Go and read it yourself.

But that doesn’t count. I have to do the educating.

So, here goes, some facts about May 31st.

On this day in 2017 a new word entered our world – “Covfefe”,

in 1911 the Titanic was launched in Belfast,

and in 1669 Samuel Pepys made the last entry in his diary.

He stopped due to his bad eyesight.    Insert your own joke here*

Inspire? Nope, I don’t think so.

But I was inspired to do this by my friend’s more physical challenge. She’s been successful and I so have I. Well I got here.

And now as it’s a lovely sunny evening, I’m going to enjoy a nice cool drink.

Cheers until next time,

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Marina xx

 

*perhaps only UK readers.

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Ile de Re

I must start with an apology, I’m getting a strong sense of Deja-vu with this post. I’m pretty sure I’ve written about Ile deRe before, but on a quick scan back through old posts couldn’t find one. It’s possibly on my old blog? If it does turn up it would be interesting to see if I’ve written the same things and used the same photos? A pretty high chance I think.

Why today? Well quite often on sunny days, and today had been very sunny, I’m struck by the similarities between  it, and “my” island.

We have the same sort of small white cottages, though ours were built to house slate miners. There aren’t miners anymore but you can find  fishermen (yes it is always men), here. We even have oyster beds, Ile de Re is famous for oysters.  But lobsters, crab and langoustines are dominate here.

Both islands have lots of lovely summer flowers.

And both  are on the Atlantic coast, connected to the mainland  by a bridge.

Our trip to Ile de Re was quite a while ago, 2013 and it was our first trip abroad with DogS. And because of that, also the first time we crossed the channel using Le Shuttle.

First impressions weren’t great. We couldn’t even see the island as we drove onto the bridge . There was a fog worthy of an Edinburgh haar*

Luckily the weather improved, most days were nice and sunny.   We had a lovely time exploring, eating seafood, shopping in the market, even the odd drink.

Oh and cycling. Well sort of I had a tricycle.

And though she wasn’t keen at first, DogS came to love the box. Specially when  I picked up speed, and she could enjoy the wind through her fur.

She made friends too

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DogS is the very hairy one on the right

but was less keen on “Les Chats”.

We were based in St Martin de Re which is the capital, and that’s where the differences start. There’s a fabulous local shop here,  but not the kind of designer boutiques you find in Ile de Re. None of our three villages could be called the “capital”.

And we don’t have donkeys, and certainly no donkeys in stripy pyjamas.

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this one is “au naturel” but traditionally they wear stripy PJs to protect their legs from salt and beasties when they work in the marshes

There’s no point in my giving names of bars or restaurants that we liked, seven years on so much may have changed. Even without Covid-19.

One recommendation, we visited in June and our accommodation was almost 50%  cheaper  than it would have been in the peak months (mostlyAugust when Parisians visit). And it was still a nice buzzy place in the slightly off season. It would be interesting to visit in the off season, but I imagine a very different experience.

Oh and a warning, it was the place I took this photograph.  While it was easy to eat out, visit the shops and even some of the monuments, many of the beaches were off limits for dogs

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So on  a lovely sunny day at home it’s been  nice to remember another pretty island and a happy holiday.

Until tomorrow

Marina xx

*Haar – a sea fog common on Scotland’s east coast, usually in Spring.

Feeling slightly sad at seeing my former favourite Sonia Rykiel top. Repurposed last year when it became too holey to wear or repair.

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a clean page

A new fresh notebook, filled with empty pages and promise. A new document, “open from new blank document”, and write.

And write….

And this time it’ll be different. The voices will stay. They’ll stop being shy, come out and tell their stories.

I’ll sit down and write or type until it’s done. No stopping to scroll through Twitter, or Facebook, check the mail, play Pokemon Go, or read that really interesting article.

And the words that are hiding in the corner of my minds eye, will shout “Boo!”  and let themselves be caught.

Why won’t they? Why don’t they?

Is it age, or worse? the menopause? I’ve  heard of “chemo” brain, is this “Covid”* brain?

No.

Back forty years.

In my Welsh bedroom. Light back on.  Writing with youthful pomp, about the cruel words evading me. Dreams of Dylan.

But never the singer

I though this might help.

Making myself write every day. What’s it meant to be? Practice for 10,000 hours and you’ll get proficient?

The wasted time. The times I’ve thought but not written, and then seen it written. Because among 7+ billion why should I have original thought?

The times I’ve thought and written, then seen it written elsewhere.

But better.

Because among 7+ billion why wouldn’t it?

And the person who writes it is.

Is?

Is a writer. Sits and writes.

Spends the hours.

Is known, has reach.

No! Chase away the resentment. It just curdles. Compacts thoughts into meanness.

I should keep trying. Ha!

But that’s so much more.

Something to read properly.

Another time.

Instead of scrolling. Instead of playing.

Until tomorrow

(When normal service should resume)**

 

Marina xx

 

*reaction to the Covid situation not suffering from it, as far as I know I’ve not had  the virus

** I did this more or  less stream of consciousness earlier, and lacking inspiration and nearing Friday night dinner time I pressed post. Hopefully back to armchair travel tomorrow.

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Meeting up with friends

And from tomorrow we can.

In small groups* and outside.  Nicola Sturgeon”s announcement today had been expected,  so we’ve already got an invite for coffee with friends next week. In their garden.

IMG_3896It’ll be nice to sit and chat with them. We’ve had conversations across the road when our daily exercise paths have crossed, and shouted from the garden when they’ve passed at other times. But yelling gets a bit tiring.

We’ll be hoping that the sunny weather keeps up, remember it wasn’t picnic weather  last week.  Sunshine and a light breeze would be ideal**.

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No catch ups with family for me yet though. The rules on travel haven’t  changed, and  even if they had I certainly couldn’t manage  the journey to  Wales or even to see MasterS** without a stop. And public toilets and cafes are still closed.

It’s welcome, but a bit scary too. And a long way from the life we were used to.

Baby steps.

Until tomorrow,

Marina xx

 

*In Scotland, groups of up to eight people but only from two households.

**weather conditions least attractive to midgies

***I’ve only once managed the journey to Edinburgh without needing a stop

 

 

Sunshine

It was sunny this morning and  I retraced some of Saturday’s steps.

This rose had unfurled

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the anemones seemed happier

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and the May* was definitely out.

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The lambs had left their shelter

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and this guy looked contented.

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Here’s that peony, even blousier than before

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There was even a breeze to keep the midges at bay.

Though that didn’t stop DogS picking up a tick snootering in the long grass.

tick.

When I got home, I put out the washing (MrS removed the tick)

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And  brought it in again**.

When the rain came back.

Until tomorrow

Marina xx

 

*I did cast a clout

**it was dry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

inspiration.

And today that is something I am most definitely lacking.

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Aaaargh!

I wondered about another baking post, they’ve been popular. But the problem with that is I’ll end up with cake. And I like cake. A lot.  Here’s one I “rescued” from the shops on Thursday. And ok  I haven’t eaten all of it, just most of it.

Never mind “The VeryHungry Caterpillar”  I’m the “always hungry and can usually manage a little something even when I’m not, Marina”

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he once had lots of segments and three more feet.

Compounded with that,  MrS made another batch of ice-cream and these!

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I’m pretty jealous, I’ve always failed with meringues

So so no baking for me, well unless it’s doggy biscuits

very cute Bramble pic

“sounds good to me”

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“fink we have all the ‘gredients”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know it probably only matters to me but I don’t want to repeat myself too much. And I haven’t been further than the shops since the middle  of March. So no travel nor days out inspiration for posts. At least last time I challenged myself,  I gave myself a theme. Although with 31 days perhaps I didn’t really think that one out…..

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I just went  off piste after “z”.

We’ve had horrible wet weather for the past few days too. So even though I’ve had my usual walks they haven’t been as productive.

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“Mmm, can’t say we’re too impressed either”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And I’ve spent far too much time fuming at the news. Scrolling through Twitter, liking, re tweeting and searching for a pithy comment to make in my own tweets.  But mostly just sinking into an incoherent spluttering “Whaaaat???”, “Buuuttt” .

It’s all here.

As  I write it seems that our Prime Minister’s chief adviser remains in post.

Those incoherent splutters are threatening to overtake me again.

It’s such arrogance and disdain; for all the people who have died, have lost  family and friends, and have simply obeyed the rules to try and keep others safe.

I think I’m going to take DogS’s example,

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find myself a comfy chair, and my book.

 

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Until tomorrow,

Marina xx

 

 

 

The changing seasons

So I’m now 23 days into my #EveryDayinMay challenge to myself. And Spring is moving towards summer. Here are some photos I took around the beginning of the month

And now some taken on walk today.

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First I noticed these Hawthorn or “May” blossoms.

Do you know the saying “Ne’er cast a clout ’til May is out”? There’s often debate, disagreement even, over its meaning.

Is it referring to the month or the flower?

And what is a “clout” or  “cloot”?

Well in Scotland a “cloot” is a cloth, and can be used as word for vest. As in don’t stop wearing your vest until. ..

Well until when?

Until the 1st of May, or when the Hawthorn blooms?

Or perhaps the end of May? With May being “out” meaning over?

And then my mother used to say the same thing. In Wales. Where we didn’t use the word “clout” in the same way. Although it was usually a warning not to go out without a coat.

And  walking along I noticed the blossom wasn’t even at the same stage everywhere.

So:  “Don’t take off your vest/coat/make any rash decisions that it’s summer, until it’s May/May is over/Hawthorn starts to bloom/is in full bloom.

Is that clear now?

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this tree was absolutely covered in blossom

But everywhere I walked there were signs of summer, bluebells going over and being replaced by campion.

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Wild roses starting to bloom.

Ditches are filling up with irises and umbellifers,

anemones and peonies blooming in gardens.*

the trees in fare in full leaf and bloom.

Those lambs getting bigger. And wiser.

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No room for these guys  though.

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“just turn your back on it, and it’ll go away.

All topped off with beautiful summer weather**

 

Until tomorrow

Marina xx

 

*mine are still in bud and getting battered by the wind

**winds of 50+mph and a temperature of 9.9 degrees centigrade

 

Oh, and there are still plenty of rabbits, they were just a bit too quick to catch on camera

 

 

Gardens

I’m not much of a gardener but love visiting and being in gardens. My mother filled her small terraced garden with blooms

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and my sister has inherited Mum’s green fingers and has a lovely garden,

but I’m usually having too much fun to take photos which do it justice.

I’m lucky to have two beautiful open gardens right on the doorstep and another just a short drive away.

 

We can’t visit them at the moment but will be back before too long.

I’ve enjoyed the cool of beautiful gardens in hot places, like these in the Philippines

 

and the Jardin Botanico  and Parque del Drago in Tenerife.

 

And then there’s the formal  French splendour of Villandry in the Loire valley.

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“I be a bit worried ’bout what he’s planning”

Or this at the Casa de Mateus  in Portugal.

 

This French garden at Varengeville- sur Mer in Normandy was less formal.

As were these glorious borders at Dyffryn gardens in South Wales

 

But there then there are places that have it all…..

Dumfries House in Ayrshire, possibly my favourite garden ever*.  All my favourite flowers, delphiniums, cornflowers, poppies, lavender, it was absolutely gorgeous. The house is beautiful too, it’s a great day out.  But the joy of visiting gardens is that DogS can come too**. That’s why we chose Villandry as our Loire chateau.

Like many others we’ve been spending quite a lot of lockdown time in the garden. But it’s still very much a work in progress.  And of course at the mercy of bambi and the  bunnies.

Until tomorrow,

Marina xx

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Bringing the garden indoors***

 

*to visit.

**all the gardens mentioned in the UK or mainland Europe were dog friendly at the time of visiting

***that’s from last year, the sweet peas are at least a month away from flowering

Beaches

I love going to the beach. It’s top of my list of places to go once we can make non essential journeys. We live beside the sea

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and it’s beautiful, but we don’t have a typical sandy beach.

We don’t have to drive very far to find one, just the other side of our nearest town. Simply out of bounds for us for now.

But it will be our first trip, because if there’s “someone” who likes a beach more than me, then it’s DogS.

Particularly if there’s a tennis ball around, the scruffier the better.

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this was not a welcome sign

Although  I’m not a sunbather my favourite travel destinations are beside the sea.

sunset looking east

 

Home

and away,

wild and urban.

On a hot sunny beach you’ll find me under an umbrella with a book, not stretched out soaking up the rays. I like paddling though, and swimming when it’s warm enough. I learned to swim in the sea (the Bristol Channel) and love the feeling of the waves.  I’m not so hardy these days and prefer warmer seas so don’t get a dip as often. I’m not a particular thrill seeker and hate the term “bucket list” but I’d love to try waterskiing.

I like a seaside cafe

or sometimes, something grander.

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I try to leave only

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but pick up the occasional

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and can get quite obsessive about clearing up

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One of my favourite films was set not too far away.  Here I am acting out one of the scenes.

 

 

I’m looking forward to feeling the sand between my toes again.

Version 2

Until tomorrow

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