Photograph memories showed a quick snapshot of a plaque in the cottage we stayed in on the Llyn Peninsula, Wales. This when Covid rules were oh so very slightly relaxed in the middle of that awful chaos of ‘Allowed to/Not Allowed to’. My wife bought supplies of various home made products for her Wholefood shop from the couple who owned this cottage. The cottage near their small holding was basic, yet comfortable. They kindly let us rent the cottage after the recent turmoil of fears and worrisome thoughts for all who had been in isolation and lockdowns. Cleaned thoroughly and ready for ourselves to inhabit. Albeit with some trepidation born from fears linked to all matters ’virus’.
So. We took all our own bedding and other essential items. It was really strange that particular week. Still present, with a few of the opportunities opening up, you had a deep ingrained psychological fear linked to realities ever present in the ongoing Covid situation. None of the usual visits and abilities to ‘go into’ places. No frequenting for ourselves of craft/art galleries, sit inside cafes, National Trust site visits, charity shop bargain buys, garden centres, museums or just shops and tourism in general. It was us and the VeeDub Bus (Campervan) and park up in outdoors isolation trying to avoid people in general. Relaxed rules did not, in reality, relax the fear of the situation.
As said. It was travel around in the VeeDub for pleasurable snapshots of sit, breathe deeply, escape craziness and take in superb views with the kettle on. Then walk awhile in the beauty of our isolation waving at other people from distance. Camaraderie in essence with no deeper conversational exchanges. Although the need for those exchanges tugged at the emotions. You could see it in peoples’ eyes and facial expressions as clear as day. Forlorn and wistful alongside a glimmering of hope and relief. Strangers passing? An almost silent mumbling to one another across safe distancing. A strange phenomena of lowered voiced ’Hello. Good morning’ exchanges in case the very volume of words would shoot the virus over the gap between you all and end up infecting each other. I wrote often in a journal at that time. Reading and reflecting back on it? The words spoke of feeling crazily happy to be free of work/home/work/home cyclic drudgery. Yet still linked to this new found holiday happiness was an awful ongoing feeling of doom and the suffocating ‘claustrophobic’.
Here is some writing at that time of the holiday.
“After much work, sweat and energy….here is a presentation of what I shall be eating for lunch. Local flower petals, herbs and wild leaves to provide aroma and graceful nuance to the senses of sight, smell alongside taste, cucumber peeled and Julienned, spitefully hot and wickedly red radishes, Edame bean salad with it’s sidekick humourless Henry hummus, swishy Swiss Emmental that is nutty and yet deep, with home made sour dough bread a-topped with Filly Delf Eeha soft cheese. A rare expensive cheese. And very hard to find. I was lucky, but am now £14.36p out of pocket. So…Deliberated whether I would ruin it with an acidic dressing and cracked black pepper. But indeed…..NO! The balance spoke to me of a perfection in…..well….balance and the whole synergy of my lunch sang on my tongue. I smell now of flower petals and sour dough. Who would think opposites work like this? And for my pudding sweet? Yup! Good old Jimmy Beam.”
I feel that the writing down of that simple 5 minutes to put together ‘meal’ as a culinary splendour of sweat and tears provided a stupid tongue in cheek diversionary tactic. With hindsight though. That holiday sticks in my memory wholesale. We did get through to realising a brighter outlook during that much needed break. Actually able to finger pierce push the balloon like presence of that initial impactful World ‘plague’ away for a while. Always difficult to smile for us both. Day to day reality became forgotten for a while. My wife’s business continued with a ’to be much admired’ determination from herself and staff. She herself alongside her staff served from the doorway of her shop. One to one serving, safe distance monitoring in queues, strict hygiene control, orders taken by email/text/phone calls, to be packed and picked up safely later and yet more and more considerations too. People who were shielding at home? My wife arranged deliveries to leave outside the doors. It was draining for them all. Ever present cautions and fears had to be mastered as they chatted with a bright manner to their customers. But with the amazing ‘Members from the Local Community’, in their tens of hundreds, supporting her shop with their own strengths and purpose? It worked really well. A spirit existed beyond measure.
I continued daily working in the Staff Nurse role. On the hospital ward and struggling psychologically and physically with the idea that, at the drop of a hat, the virus would grab a hold of my body’s systems and break me down. I was honestly in abject fear. The irony, is that I recently got infected with Covid after attending a wedding. It has left my wife in an awful breathless state on small exertions after 11 days now. Myself aching, tired and presently lacking true motivation to get fully active. The gardening has become pottering status.
So, back to that holiday. As we found ourselves in our small, limited and newly found Llyn Peninsula holiday cottage, that photograph of a plaque above purported the simplicities of life which were still allowed. Limited. But, thankfully yes!, still allowed. And now, after retiring from work, a few months back I added to and changed the wording. With a wry smile into, not only cottage rules, but now added retirement rules too. These often much deserved holiday breaks we badly need and find ourselves in from time to time during the year? They have these basic rules suggestions to follow. However, they should also exist in life’s ongoing weekly considerations too. Throughout the year. Isolation in Covid rules taught me that one! In retirement, it allows extending those rules even more. To daily, all year round, realities. Mind you! Life, in retirement is simply not a permanent holiday. It’s just that life makes more sense. An opportunity to really love and enjoy life from a very different perspective. The day begins and it simply shines even though it may be raining outside.
One Golden Rule…….No rules at all? Well no! That can never be considered! Ethical/Moral rules are vital. Or where would we be as human beings? One Golden Rule I believe avidly is entrenched in my Buddhist beliefs.
Be kind and treat others as you would expect to be treated yourself.