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

 

 

Having fun with my sister

I’ve been having fun with her all my life.

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that’s me with the ears (and bonnet)

It might have been less fun for her. After all I just appeared one day, a surprise when she got home from school. No careful preparation for new siblings back then. And I certainly didn’t bring her a gift. I was more likely to trash her toys. Not deliberately,  I was just a little *enthusiastic* Although she did once get her own back with a certain Sindy hairdressing incident.

We live hundreds of miles apart and both hate the telephone but manage to stay close.

Usually  we manage to meet up a few times a year. And pick up where we left off.

Whether  it’s Christmas

a birthday.

Or just to have fun.

Which often involves eating,

and drinking.

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Mmmm, I think this might have been mine

She’s a cat lover

and Mum to one.

Then there are  the men in her life.

 

She’a a scientist, crafter, gardener….

And who else could supply one of these?

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it starred in our panto this year

Doing my yoga this morning I found this on my mat

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It’s a few years old now and came with this

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I’m not sure how it got there, I haven’t used that bag since Christmas.

I hope it’s not too long before I use it again.

And can send one of these, to say we’re not far away.

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Until tomorrow

Marina xx

Scents

Thinking about the town that smelled of chocolate has made me remember other scents. Childhood day trips to my favourite beaches on the Gower, holding my breath as we drove past the stinks of Llandarcy. No point really.  I got a bumper dose of the stench once I gave up and breathed again.  Nearer to home, the sight of dead trees promised the stink of rotten eggs when we passed the smokeless fuel plant. And then there was the  burnt carrot whiff of Cardiff that I learned was beer brewing.   “It’s Brains you want” as they used to say.  Summer brought molten tar, always a threat my clothes.

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home was also scented with flowers

 

Childhood wasn’t all bad smells of course, there was delicious baking, cut grass, the  central heating – newly extended to our bedrooms, Dad’s big white hankies which smelled of leather and coins, the fresh crisp plastic of a new term’s pencil case.

And when we reached the seaside on those trips, it smelled of adventure.

And still does.

It was in the 1970s that I first discovered perfume. Aqua Manda in its chunky brown bottle, Charlie, L’Aimant. Then there was the huge (as it seemed to me then) bottle of Chanel No5, I bought on my first trip abroad.  A present for my big Sis. I fretted it contravened duty allowances (I was too young to have an allocation) so persuaded a teacher to put it in her luggage.

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not this one, this is still sealed.

Travel brought new and exciting scents. Kerosene and charred meat, jasmine, grilled fish and the sea, even cigar smoke which I hated at home.

 

And new and exciting perfume stores.  Sephora, Marionnaud, Guerlain, and most recently Perfumeria Bengas in San Sebastian. Even though at that last one I bought this

 

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rather than this.

I couldn’t blow most of my holiday money on a bottle of perfume, even if it did look and smell wonderful.

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And I have quite a collection anyway.

A scent can transport…

lighting one of these

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can take me back here

 

Clearing a house, I couldn’t throw these away, but more for the bottles  than their scents.

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Not because the scents were bad.  But apart from the “Ma Griffe” they didn’t remind me of the person they’d belonged to.  Maybe they’d been kept for the memories they held?

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Look inside and  you might find

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I  pick them up at the perfume counter.

Get them sprayed with a scent I’m not going to buy.

The  scent my Mum wore.

That one must be quite old.

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And with the scent gone it’s just a piece of card.

Until tomorrow

 

Marina xx

Travelling, but is staying at home*

*Well apart from our permitted hour of outdoor exercise*.*

So with plenty of time on my hands I’ve been looking back at some photos from our trip to Europe in the Autumn.     I last posted in November. Back then my main worry was the effect Brexit would have on future trips.  And I was sad that it might not be easy to travel around Europe in the same way again…..

France.  And DogStarke

How things change.  At the beginning of March I spent a couple of days in Edinburgh.  MrS was busy with some research at the Archives. I had fun, meeting a couple of friends for lunch, spending time  with Master S.,  and treating myself to a new phone.

Then the world began to shrink.

Mid March I had a hair appointment, we were being discouraged from too much contact and large gatherings had been banned so  I rang ahead to check my stylist was still happy to see me.  As I sat in foils under the heater my phone beeped with notifications.  Business after business announcing their closure, pubs,  restaurants, small shops.  The cinema had closed the day before. By the end of that week we had Covid locally and pretty much went into lockdown,  lots of my friends went into shielding isolation. Lockdown became official policy the following week.

Spain and DogS again

Our days changed.  Normally I walk to our local shop while  MrS takes DogS for  her walk.  But I’ve cut those trips down to once a week and  instead we go out for our hour of exercise together. We have a route that avoids livestock*** (completely) and people (mostly) and gives DogS a chance to walk off lead.  After that we’re home where MrS has been working in the garden, aided or otherwise by DogS. I’ve been catching up on reading, trying to write, and failing in my attempts to draw trees****  We do a weekly trip to town***** to go to the supermarket  or Food Hub.

Portugal, an apposite caricature we saw there, and you know who.

It’s hard not to see friends, difficult not to go out on a sunny evening and scary to hear the news each night.   But I’m lucky, I have a house,  garden and live in a beautiful part of the world.   Tonight there was some good news, a relaxation of restrictions in Austria, a slowing of the pandemic in Spain, and a downward trend in Italy;  but still too much grim news.

views from our walks*****,* my attempts with pencils, and DogS

 

What will life be like after?  Different,  probably for quite a while.  Relaxation of restrictions will be gradual and perhaps not the same everywhere.  Many businesses won’t have survived to reopen. There will be hardship and recession.

And too many people missing their family and friends.

 

 

Here’s hoping that even though things change, so the good things stay the same.

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And looking forward to being with friends again.

 

Marina x

 

 

 

**permitted at time of writing,  and hoping it continues.

***although we are rural we can’t walk in the fields as it’s lambing/calving season

**** you might imagine I’ve never seen an actual tree

***** it’s about 12 miles to our nearest town

****** we’ve been doing much the same circular walk most days, but in different directions.

Shock

I arrived home after my walk today to a missed call on my mobile and the message light blinking from the landline. Looking up the number I recognised it belonged to MrS’s cousin. Oh that’s nice I thought, she must be coming to visit her friend and wants to  drop in on her way.

And so we listened to the message.

She’s dead.

I can’t really take it in. Whilst she was (so hard to write) in her seventies, retired,  a grandmother she was by no means old. And not ill. She was always full of life, walking travelling, keeping up with family and friends.  Both her parents lived into their nineties.

Now she’s gone.

It’ll be worse for MrS;  the cousins are the senior generation of his family. A chain of births stretching from the ’40s to the ’60s.  And now a link is gone.

We’ll talk about it later no doubt.  Remember.

But for now there is just shock.

And sadness.