It seems a world away since we cut short our last trip and skedaddled out of France and returned to back to ‘Blighty’ back in March. Oh how things have changed. I’m not sure many of us knew back then how blighted the UK or the world was about to become.
With the global situation becoming ever more serious and as our concerns grew, we became increasingly cautious during the last two weeks travelling through France. On the 14th March when we heard (in a take-away) in Mehon Sur Yevre the French were going into lockdown, we knew it was time to go.
Looking back, our re-entry into the UK via the customs post at Folkestone Eurotunnel terminal seemed very, very casual. No health checks, no masks, and no questions asked. Just a cursory glance at our passports and we were waved through.
Continuing our ‘virtual quarantine‘ in the van, we decided to slowly make our way up country and did our best to observe the principles of the government’s 14 day quarantine. Our first stay at Love Lane Campsite near Hertford had no other campers, so felt right.
We then found a pitch in the car park of the Thaymar Dairy Farm shop. Very handy for isolating from others, yet with fresh produce literally on the doorstep. And… they made their own ice cream – what’s not too like…
Having agreed to let some friends stay in our house until the middle of April, arriving back in the UK mid March we therefore weren’t immediately able to go back home. So we booked ourselves into a campsite five miles from home.
But when a few days later the government announced all UK campsites were to close we started to run out of options. Luckily we persuaded (we’re coming to park on your lawn, you don’t mind do you?) our friends Martin and Dawn to let us stay in Charlie in their garden. Dawn kept us topped up with groceries as we continued our self isolation and took rides out to sample the beautiful but conveniently remote countryside around Crosby Garrett – Where?
Like many others the Covid-19 lockdown encouraged us to tackle some of the ‘elephant in the room‘ jobs around the house and for us our largest land mammal is our rear garden. This area has been the dumping ground for all the stones, rocks and building detritus, left as a task to be tackled some time in the far distant future.
Well, Lesley with the help of Liam, a neighbour’s son, and encouraging noises from me, the three of us set about clearing the multitude of stones, by digging, shovelling, raking, sieving and levelling the soil to prepare this wasteland for a lawn. After a couple of weeks 200 sq/m of turf arrived and was laid in double quick time before we all had to go for a lie down. It’s amazing what can we achieved when you’re metaphorically chained to the job!
As I write this we’ve not finished the construction of the waterfall we planned to compliment our large exposed rock face. However after falling off my mountain bike (cracking a cheekbone, bruising a few ribs and tearing a ligament in my shoulder), this provided the necessary excuse to stop any further hard labour in the garden this year.
With UK garden centres and plants sales in the summer hitting record levels many of us found solace in our gardens. We’re pleased lockdown helped us to achieve what might otherwise taken several years. But not everyone was in the same boat.
The Same Boat
by Julie Sheldon
‘We’re all in the same boat’ they say
But I would disagree
So many different sailing crafts
Upon this stormy sea
Some sail on ocean liners
In comfort, style, and ease
Relaxing on their balconies
….Sipping their G & Ts
Some speed along in motor boats
As if it’s all ok……
With little care for smaller crafts
Which may get in their way
Some struggle on their battleships
Where nothing’s going right
For the next relentless fight
Some huddle in their lifeboats…
And pray that they’ll be saved
Hoping for a calmer sea…
And fearing every wave
Some drift around upon their rafts….
They barely stay afloat
They’re praying for a change of luck…
And chance to board a boat
Some haven’t found their sea legs yet….
And dread each wave and swell
They’re struggling to stay upright
And don’t feel very well
So whilst you’re on your journey
To a safe and calmer port
Look out for fellow sailors
Who may need some support
Could you throw them a life belt?
Or a paddle or an oar?
Perhaps you could help guide them
A bit nearer to the shore
Well that’s all for now. A blog of our next adventure is currently with the type setters and should be published in the next few days.
Dave & Lesley