Twilight at Wivenhoe Sailing Club on the River Colne.
Having recently moved home, I am meeting and getting to know my new neighbours. This one favours a spot two minutes from my front door, just by the jetty.
On a day of high winds and a high tide, I went out front to see if the flood barrier had been closed. If not, I wanted to know whether I needed sandbags at the apartment.
On Tuesday 17 March 2020, I was sent home from work. It was time to start lecturing from home. I said farewell to as many of my colleagues and students as I could find. It was an already much quieter City of London as I walked through Smithfield and Charterhouse Square on my way from Farringdon to Liverpool Street.
Four months, and an uninterrupted work schedule later, I am told that I am expected back in the lecture theatre to deliver in person in September exactly 6 months to the day since I was last there. In the meantime, I have been reminded that I am not cut out for 7 hours + per day sitting at a computer, that I miss my colleagues and the City of London dearly and that I enjoy moving around to interact with students while lecturing.
Now, I also enjoy being barefoot and so, in that respect, working from home has suited me fine. I’ve been Zoom-ready from the waist up; smart shirts, full make-up, ear-rings, all accessorised by the professional smile. From the waist down, it’s been yoga leggings and bare feet. So, while my face is work-mask-ready, my feet are most definitely not work-shoe-ready.
Will the shoe fit?
A view north from Trinity Street, Colchester on a day in late May.
A few weeks ago, two robins decided that the garden shed was the site for their next nest. On Mothers’ Day, 10 May, I found out that they had hatched six chicks in a plant pot – high on a shelf, at the back of the shed. Day after day, I watched the two robins flying back and forth with food. From time to time, I’d peer through the window, and would catch a glimpse of a fledgling. This weekend, the parent robins stopped flying into the shed through the hole on the roof and out through the gap in the door. I opened the door wide, and stood back. No noisy intervention or fly-by from the parents – the fledglings had flown, leaving an empty nest.
‘The more one does and sees and feels, the more one is able to do, and the more genuine may be one’s appreciation of fundamental things like home, and love, and understanding companionship.’
Amelia Earhart, quoted in ‘Soaring Wings : A Biography of Amelia Earhart’ (George Palmer Putnam, 1939)
During lockdown the apple tree in the back garden has blossomed. The grass is now carpeted with blossom petals as soon as there is a breeze. The tree really needed pruning a while back – as did so many of the garden shrubs – but I like having a green wall between me and the outside world. Now, I’m happy I let it be. I sleep with the bedroom window open and the blossom is the first thing I see every morning when I wake.