Pandemic Pondering #202

Coffee and books, some days just ooze with pleasure.

This one started well with the arrival of our coffee prize from Extract Coffee. Our beans were roasted by hand restored roasters Big Bertha and Vintage Betty at Extract Coffee.


Coffee at my elbow, it was time to Bookclub Zoomstyle.

Again no spoilers, we all felt very much the same about this book. A complex beginning that could be off-putting but a good tale once the narrative established itself .

Three of us shared an emotional moment that had happened when we met earlier in the week,with the group. @theoldmortuary and a Covidfriend all lost our parents at an earlier than average age, we all loved our parents dearly. A passage in the book had made us all have a little weep. And then another weep when we discussed it and then today when sharing the tale of our weepings, there were more weepings.

The protagonist had never known her mother and now her father was close to death.

“On the third and final night, a bright light shines from my Father’s body. And in the sublime peace of his face, I saw my mother waiting for him.”

” I had never seen my mother’s face and had longed beyond all longing to one day see it. I still fact- that is a desire that age hasn’t softened- because that night her face was hidden, covered by the thick tress of her dark hair.”

” But I knew it was her because she used words like mine and daughter and her breath was of the sea.”

” My father said to her: Hello my love. You’ve come back to me.”

” My mother said: I never left.”

“And in those three words was a lifetime.”

” He said: Shall we go then? And they turned to me and they said: Can you let us go do you think?”

” And I could say nothing. I raised my hand, a feeble attempt at a wave, I think. But I could say nothing. Because I was 14 years old and all I wanted to say was, Please, don’t go.”

There’s not much that can follow such a passage but fortunately the book offers a very upbeat Bonus Material addition to the book.

To be a Reader 

by Sarah Winman

To be a reader, for me,  is about entering a world of unimagined possibility;  to have the willingness to suspend disbelief and to journey trustingly across the terrain of another’s imagination.

 To be a reader is to feel a little less lonely. To be a reader is to be challenged. To feel anger, to feel outrage and injustice. But always to feel, always to think. To be a reader is not a passive state, it is active, always responding.

To be a reader is to have the opportunity to question ourselves at the deepest level of humanity – what would we have done in this situation? What would we have said? To be a reader is to feel empathy and compassion and grief. To be awed and to laugh. To fall in love, with characters, locations, the author.  To be a reader is to learn and to be informed, and to rouse the dreamy inner life to action.

To be a reader is to take time out from the group. To not fear missing out; to turn off the TV, YouTube, the Internet. It is to slow down and engage; to be of the present. To be a reader is to find answers. It gives us something to talk about when we are unsure what to say.

To be a reader is to have the chance to collect stories like friends, and hold them dearly for a lifetime. It is to feel the joy of connection.

To be a reader is a cool thing to be.

To be a reader is wealth.

Pandemic Pondering #201

We’ve had a shockingly wet weekend, tasks that would normally be difficult have been made difficult and uncomfortable. Just before the rain set in I snapped this picture. It seemed like a metaphor for the current Pandemic, although I think the dark alley might have a bit of a way to go yet. I’m not sure what the ladder represents, maybe a vaccine, as yet undeveloped. currently however as much use as a ladder laying on its side.

We went to a cafe in Burford , we met our Covid Friends there. The cafe is situated within a church building. It is a warm welcoming cafe with a soft buttery/ creamy interior and the smell.of good coffee and smiling people within it. There was a striking image of a hug just as you walk in.

The Prodigal Son by Charlie Mackesy

1 Church Ln, Burford OX18 4RY

The painting represents the return of the prodigal son, but just like the alleyway it takes on a different meaning in our current situation when hugs of this intensity are denied us in almost all circumstances. This weekend however hugs with either of us would have been damp affairs. A planned weekend of business away from home but in the pouring rain has depleted our small supply of clothes packed into overnight rucksacks. The saying ” There is no such thing as the wrong weather, you just need the right clothes” exactly sums up this weekend. Luckily beyond rain we were also showered with the company of friends and family who were very lucky not to have to hug us but who made onerous tasks easier and more joyful with their presence.