A week's diary
Monday 12th April was the day for the opening up of some restrictions in England, not here in Wales where some things (hairdressers!) had already opened and others (outside hospitality) remain closed until the 26th of this month. So here, in case I forget as I surely will, is a day by day account of this last week.
We drove to Manchester for the first time in months to see our older son and his family. You know that little children grow very fast but even so it was a shock to see how tall the six year old has become and that the two year old has gone from a toddler to a chatty little girl in the months since we had seen them. The oldest, at fifteen, is very clearly a young man now. How fast it goes. We shared lunch and walked and played in the park. At one point the six year old said with some satisfaction "You really like me don't you Grandma?" How lovely. That is one of the great gifts grandparents can give their grandchildren, that sense of other people who think they are wonderful. "Yes Ted," I said. "I really do."
Tuesday is language learning day every week: an hour's conversation with my Spanish friend in Valencia in the morning, a three hour zoom class with the Welsh tutor in the afternoon. At the end of the day, as I am every week, I was shattered. It is the concentration I think. How did I hold down a demanding job and travel all over the place and work every hour God sends? I have no idea. But now this is the one thing that I do that works the brain and is hard. It is good to do something hard amidst the easy gentle pace of retirement, well it is for me. Without it I would turn to mush.
I went for a run, if you can dignify my slow speed with that term. Ian and I signed up for the Chester 10k again and at the moment it is scheduled to be run in July. There is no way in the world that I could run 10k right now after a winter of little running. I don't know if it reflects not having been a runner at all until I was sixty four but my fitness disappears very quickly and it is a battle to regain it. After a month of trying hard to get back to running three times a week since we came here I am just starting to have the occasional run which feels good instead of impossibly hard. That is what I do it for, that glorious sense of your body moving, doing what it was made for. You don't get it all the time but when I run more often it is reasonably frequent, and even when, as now, it feels hard while I am running, it always feels great afterwards.
Thursday was a red letter day. I went to the hairdressers. I will happily never go to a big sporting event. With much more difficulty I could I suppose forgo theatre and concerts (but I don't want to!) but the one thing I was looking forward to that was not to do with family and friends was having my hair cut and coloured again. I am not one of those people who loves the process but I do love the result. It makes me feel like me again! Despite the wearing of masks and the temperature taking and the social distancing in the salon it felt so good to be back.
Friday was another run in the morning and a visit to younger daughter's garden in the afternoon. We have also had our electricity supply for the new house laid on this week. The road outside the plot had to be closed while the trench was dug and the cable brought to the house. Apologies to our new neighbours for the inconvenience this must have caused them! This feels like real progress after several weeks in which the house itself has not grown at all. Friday evening has become an evening for fish and chips from the local cafe and a zoom call with friends over a bottle of wine. Perhaps it won't be long until we can eat outside together in the garden or on their deck. It just needs a few degrees more warmth!
On Saturday afternoon we watched the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh. To my surprise I was very moved by the music, a choir of only four singers filling St George's Chapel with a glorious sound, and by the sight of the Queen alone, small and frail with her head bowed. A fitting send off for an unusual man who took the chaos and instability of his own childhood and transformed his life into a strength and stability in support of his wife which cannot have been easy for a man of his generation I imagine.
And today we went for a coffee with a friend and to look at some of her new lambs, impossibly sweet and cuddly like illustrations from a children's book. Again we had not seen her for months. Life is slowly slowly opening up. Little by little things are changing.
What have you done, if anything, with your new found freedoms?