Open Gardens

In England we have our first easing of lockdown. We are now allowed to have up to six people from two different households in our gardens,

I wondered how I could celebrate this. So this is what I’ve done. On my gate I’ve placed a notice saying ‘Welcome.’ Then in my fairly small front garden I’ve placed three garden chairs, well spaced out.

I’m hoping they will be used by neighbours, friends, passers by and dog walkers. Not quite sure what to do about drinks, but have a tin of sweets and biscuits ready. (By the time I’ve made a drink people might nave moved on) I already have two booking this week. So exciting.

(Welcome to all my friends from Australia, it was great to talk with you last evening)

Children

I know I’ve said this before but I love seeing the children walking to school. Sometimes they are in groups of four and sometimes two. Occasionally there is a child on his or her own. I do hope that they will be meeting up with their particular friends round the corner. I feel for the lone child, it is so sad if they are lonely at that age.

I remember I used to walk to my primary school with Joy and Michael because they lived near me. When we left that school the friendship stalled because we had nothing else in common. When I went to senior school no-one lived near me, I walked alone. That was lonely. I met up with friends when I got to school but they were already in their own groups.

Loneliness is something that so many people are facing at the moment. I do hope and pray that when some restrictions ease, people will have friendship again.

Thankfulness

I have a calendar this year which each month gives a statement about thankfulness. The words for February are ‘there is always something to be thankful for.’

This is true for everyone, especially for Christians. Every morning the sun rises, even if it it blanketed by clouds, fog or rain. It is still there wherever we are in the world. We feel it’s benefits, without it we would not survive. We can be thankful for the rain, without the rain our food would not grow. Whether we get our food from our own country or from round the world, we still need the rain.

We are thankful for human friendship. Of late it has been limited, which means we are more thankful than ever for it. Where would we be without our friends and family. I have a habit of writing down three things every day to be thankful for. It is a good exercise and lifts my spirits.

First Lockdown

24th March 2020 was the date of the first lockdown in England. We had no idea what we were in for. Suddenly we couldn’t go where we wanted, see who we wanted or buy what we wanted. We had been used to absolute freedom.

If we wanted to go somewhere, we went. We had various means of transport, car, bus, train or even walk as far as we wanted. We could go to see who we wanted or they could come to us. We never really appreciated that. We could meet them anywhere, our homes, our gardens, the cafe, shops or cinema. We could buy what we wanted where we wanted. On-line shopping was not ideal and we wanted to go to our high streets, to browse, meet friends, or even buy.

Living only nine miles from the border with Scotland I couldn’t see Scottish friends in the street or drive to their houses. Scotland really felt like another country.

Now we are thinking about the last day of the last lockdown. Even that is scary. How will we cope with crowds, how will we feel about driving as far as we want. The first day of the first lockdown to the last day of the last day of the last lockdown, what a lot of painful living has happened in between.

2020 Diary

My 2020 diary is out again. It was exactly a year ago that I started making plans to have changes made in my bathroom. The bath had to go (too difficult in get and out), the shower was to be replaced by a walk in one. Then covid struck (that’s not too forceful a word) It took me a long time to find a company to do the job. A few measurements were taken , a quote offered and accepted.

Now silence. Every time I have a shower I long for the alterations to happen. Phone calls are unanswered, letters are ignored. Maybe they have gone out of business. I can’t yet travel to their offices to see what’s happening. I hope cleanliness is not next to godliness!

Children at School

During lockdown the birds have not stopped flying around and now building their nests. It has been therapeutic to watch them when everything else seems to have stopped.

The dog walkers have still walked past the house, in rain, snow and storms. Twice a day I have enjoyed seeing them on their walks and hoped they wouldn’t leave any dog mess.

What I have missed so much has been the children walking up the road in the morning and returning in the afternoon. Now there’re back. The school is only up the hill, so I see many children of all ages between five and eleven. I lifts my heart twice a day. It is the highlight of my day. I hadn’t realised what a pleasure it was until it was taken away. Oh dear, I suppose that’s like everything in life. We need to give thanks more.

Our Eyes were Veiled

God has been merciful. A year ago we didn’t know we were in for during 2020. This was a blessing because we couldn’t do anything to prevent covid.

We didn’t know about the loved ones we would lose. We didn’t know that some of us would have long term covid. There was no appreciation of what isolation would be like. The mental suffering that would be experienced was unknown.

Our ignorance was a blessing. Now we can look to the future with happy anticipation.

Hail Storm

We had had a few days of heavy rain, then on one evening we had a hail storm. As the hail battered on to the windows, the world turned white in seconds. Everything was covered, trees, cars, bushes. In some places the hail stones were blown into piles by the relentless wind. The sky turned dark, there was a flash of lightening followed closely by a crash of thunder.

Then the hail stopped suddenly and the sun came out illuminating the stark white scene.

Checking the time I realised that the children would be safely home from school. The office workers would not have started their commute .No-one was in danger, especially me watching from the safety of my own home.

I could only wonder at the great power. Power beyond any human strength. Made me pause in wonder.

Train Travel

Looking at last year’s diary I see that it is a whole year since I travelled on a train. It was only a journey of 100 miles from my home city to the Edinburgh. But it was travel to another country, supposing Scotland is another country! As I live only nine miles from the border I can only travel nine miles north before I meet an invisible barrier. When I come to think of it, nine miles is probably as far as I’m supposed to travel, even alone in a car.

Did we appreciate our freedom when we had it? Probably not. That is mankind for you, never being thankful for what we have. So therefore I’m thankful for the sun shining today, it might not be shining tomorrow (I’m fact, it probably won’t) I’m thankful for the birds singing. They will be singing tomorrow, especially if it’s raining. I’m thankful for the kind family who brought me home-made scones, jam and cream yesterday, ( a virtual afternoon tea) so I didn’t feel lonely.

I am thankful.

People

I don’t know whether this is a true story but I thought it was worth sharing.

A little girl was out in the park with her mother and father. When a couple of people was seen approaching from the other direction, the little girl hid behind her mother crying out, ‘Be careful, here are some people!’. So sad that she has learned that human connection means danger. It is bad enough that we teach them strangers are dangerous, now they see everyone as dangerous. It applies to adults as well, when we meet someone we cross over to the other side of the road. Are we all becoming like the priest and Levite?

As Christians we want to reach out, help, hug and connect with other people, yet the rules rightly say, keep away. How we long for the day when our help can be physical and intimate!