The Gate is Shut
Like the rest of the world I have been in lockdown since March. As I slowly recovered from shingles it was a continuation of a self-imposed isolation for that virus. And March turned into a convalescence period as well as the lockdown. By the middle of April I had some energy back and was eternally grateful for the garden, the tracks nearby and our woodland. Somewhere to walk and lose myself in gentle gardening. And this is the valley that the house and garden looks over. The sketch is incorrectly dated as who knew what day, or indeed month it was!
Biggles the dog took himself off for walks, without the permit that we had to sign for our reasons to go out. I kept telling him I was going to tuck one in his collar.
Keeping in Touch
Many of my friends set to and began sending out quizzes, YouTube links to all sorts of music, lots of jokes and art work. Where would we be without the internet? And not only all this connection, but video phone calls to family all over the world.
My writing took a turn into short stories, all very different and Helen Hollick put them on her Ten Minute Tales spot on her website. Here are the links to them, a gentle ghost story, a quirky reimagining of a well-known fairy tale and a story inspired by a photo a friend sent me of a bridge somewhere in the Balkans. All through March and April, you could (and can still) read a daily short story by a wide range of writers.
Apart from me writing, there is an artist in the family and here is his sketch of that gate that has been shut for six weeks. It will be wonderful when it is opened again and whatever is to be the new normal life begins. I hope and trust that all is well with you and yours, wherever you are.
In France the lock down is known as confinement, which English speakers associate with something rather different. Perhaps the idea of being imprisoned, and certainly the period of time when women were confined before child birth. Something that Isabella of Angoulême experienced fourteen times! Here is an excerpt from the time she was confined for the birth of her first son with Hugh Lusignan.
Isabella had taken to her chamber in Lusignan in the month before the birth and had it all hung with tapestries to keep it warm, dark and quiet.
‘Like the womb,’ she explained to Hugh, who was forbidden from being there as she waited. ‘We must make sure the baby is born into a place he feels is home.’
Her women had tutted and chided and shooed him out. Agnes laughed at his despondent air and called after him, ‘It will not be long before you hear the cries of a Lusignan again. And perhaps Melusine will cry too.’
‘She will rejoice if it is a boy!’ Hugh was taking each stair slowly and heavily as if on a penance. ‘How we need a boy.’