Rememberance Sunday 2020 was like no other. Large public gatherings are against government guidelines for Lockdown. People were encouraged to reflect privately. Today is Armistice Day and I thought I would share some of the singular images I have been able to gather at unusually quiet War Memorials this week.
A little bit of weekend meandering. I realise that 2020 is both a landmark year and one that many of us would like to see the back of. I’ve caught myself twice this week discussing how I would like to look back on this year and understand its significance on the future. I don’t think I’m wishing my life away but I’m intrigued to know how life will be post pandemic ponderings. For now I’m sharing some random thoughts and images that have brightened our weekend.
A very late wildflower patch is maturing under our outdoor tomatoes, tomatoes that would not exist if we hadn’t been in a Lockdown for so long.
The glorious poppies of late spring and early summer, much loved and instagrammed by our neighbours during lockdown are long gone but one lonely little seed pod came indoors with me today and nestled in a sunbeam on a velvet cushion.
The next pictures are related because they were taken at the same location. The first two are tiny figureheads that mark the gender of the Loos at our favourite pub/coffee shop. I’ve included them because during last week I’ve been working at The Box, a new museum and gallery in Plymouth during the soft opening sessions before it opens properly. Figureheads are a big feature of the entrance area, but any photographs of the actual museum are banned until the museum is properly open. These two are at the Lord High Admiral in Plymouth. A fine substitute until I can share the real things. The Lola picture was taken just after we had had our weekly coffee fix at The Hutong ‘pop-up’
Four pictures from the weekend that would not have existed if the Pandemic had not happened.
Seasons in the Sun.
Rarely in England is Spring considered a season in the sun. Spring 2020 was an exception and along with Lockdown I think I’m going to miss it.
I stole the title from a 1973 song Seasons in the Sun which is a pretty melancholic song. In the 1973 iteration by Terry Jacks it is sung from the perspective of a man who knows he is about to die, he says goodbye to those close to him.
The original version by Jaques Brel was also melancholic, but told from the perspective of a man whose heart is broken by his best friend having an affair with his wife . The man with the broken heart believes he will die of it.
For those of you with an interest in Cardiology there is a broken heart condition called Takotsubo Syndrome.
Anecdotally people do present with all the symptoms of a heart attack and are seen in a Cath Lab days after someone they love has passed away. On rare occasions after their loved one has attended the same Cath Lab.
The link below is to the original song.
The 1973 version of the song became anthemic in my small Essex town during the seventies, when two teenage boys were killed in a road accident. The link below is the Terry Jacks version, should you care to share my earworm.
Today I was earwormed as I cut down and disposed of the poppies and alliums that lit up the days of spring. The poppies in particular became a local landmark. Which is in part why they have had to go. They were looking pretty shabby this morning.
They will live on in other gardens next year.
So much pondering from clearing a rough area of its faded poppies.
The alliums also took a one way trip to the compost bin.
Both can show off one last time to finish off this blog.
We had joy,
We had fun,
We had seasons in the sun.
But the hills that we climbed,
Were just seasons out of time.
We’ve had a gardening casualty. Let me take you to the dark places in a poppy before it crumples. Poppies don’t do well indoors so this one was whisked into a vase and posed before its frail beauty faded.
And finally , in homage to Victorian portrait painters.
The deathbed portrait.
Sunday was cooking day for us. I made Brownies from a foolproof recipe which I had to adapt because we couldn’t get all the ingredients. That then makes it not foolproof of course.
The reason I needed a foolproof recipe is fussiness. I only like a brownie that is dry or crisp on the outside and very moist on the inside. I was browsing the internet on a completely different quest when another blogger claimed the same fussiness and presented the ‘perfect’ recipe. Normally I would have waited until I could get the correct ingredients but yesterday I had all the pandemic time in the world and a yearning for a perfect Brownie.
My necessary adaptations caused no problems and the resulting brownie was so lovely I’m going to have to adapt and rewrite the recipe to use forevermore.
The things I couldn’t get were , unsalted butter and milk or dark chocolate nibs.
Here is the brownie served with ice cream and cream. A serving suggestion first brought to my notice by the wonderful Jessie and Lennie Ware on the Podcast , Table Manners.
Try it, you might never go back.
The brownie is versatile and is equally happy with a cup of tea.
We also stepped into the world of Nigella Lawson and made a tray bake chicken supper that involved frozen peas and Cinzano Bianco.
We employed social distancing and distributed chocolate brownies to a few friends.
The dogs didn’t have to social distance and enjoyed Mel’s hard work rejuvenating her water feature during one delivery.
The Poppies are putting up quite a show on the tidied up rough ground.
People are stopping to take their portraits. At a Social Distance naturally.
This morning this beauty appeared in the rough ground that runs along the side @theoldmortuary.We planted a mix of Oriental Poppies and Field Poppies on the rough ground to mark 100 years since the end of WW1. The land is opposite the village War Memorial.The rough ground is not officially ours but it is the entrance to our back garden. For many years it was the responsibility of the local council to look after it. It is a sad little triangle of land planted with actual road signs. It also bears the posts of old Street furniture and the droppings and scrapings of many years of road surfacing contractors left over cement and tarmac. With Austerity the council has abandoned it. As a growing space it has a mixed aptitude, in the spring it does beautifully with miniature daffodils . In summer weeds do particularly well but so do the poppies. At a high point, it slopes quite steeply up a hill, we have created a little garden between abandoned curb stones and an old but hugely fecund ash tree. The garden like the rest of the triangle is somewhat picky on what it will grow. Currently it supports a very old climbing rose from Hannah’s parents garden. A Christmas tree from a broken home who needed somewhere to rest his roots, some vivid geraniums, a glorious helibore and a few bright Heucheras.Attempts at introducing other things have failed , not exactly expensively, but disapointingly.This week’s Lockdown outdoor project is our annual chore of taming the wild space for the summer. We’ve not quite finished but it was a great reward to have this beautiful poppy this morning.And then there were two.and then the job was done.