It is the last day of April. I am at my desk looking out onto more blossoms than I have ever seen here before. It is a riot of colour and a joyous expression of nature’s determination to live and procreate.
Our “confinement” will due to ease in twelve days from now. It will be a gradual and cautious process, which I fully support. Michel and I intend to stay here and respect the rules we are following now, except we will not be obliged to print out an attestation, stating our purpose for outing every time we venture beyond the gates. In my case, I have only left the property three times in seven weeks.
We are amongst those who are blessed during these very challenging times. We have land and we have each other and our dogs. For those of you who are alone or who are closed within a confined space, I hope that you are managing to find ways to cope with this. Reading is, of course, a way to travel, to take your imagination on a journey. I have been receiving so many emails from readers who have been enjoying accompanying me along the paths of discovery in my two Olive Route books (The Olive Route and The Olive Tree). Others prefer to lose themselves in novels. Most of mine are set in France or exotic locations so there’s a splendid destination to discover. It comes with the price of the book! I have been reading a great deal myself and walking up and about the land. Swimming, too. Otherwise, I have been spending quite a fair bit of time at my desk.
Since I last wrote, at Easter, I have read Jenny Colgan’s An Island Christmas. It is the most recent of her Isle of Mure novels and as light as a feather in the best sense. A feel-good read. The Museum of Broken Promises by Elizabeth Buchan is a love story set in Paris and 1985 Prague. It is an unusual tale of love and life behind the Iron Curtain.
A must-read for me has been Edna O’Brien’s Girl. I read it twice at the beginning of the year for a literary festival award whose judging panel I had been invited on and I have returned to it recently for my own reading experience. It is not a light read but the writing is exceptional.
I am just commencing Warlight by Michale Ondaatje, set during WWII in the UK.
I have not been watching many films and no television at all. I don’t precisely know why because I LOVE watching movies in the comfort of home, but the silence of the page and my interaction with the written word feels more suited to this time. I did watch Phantom Thread a couple of nights ago. Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, it is set in the world of haute couture in the 1950s, so lots of extravagant frocks! There are two wonderful central performances from Daniel Day-Lewis and Lesley Manville. The photography is beautiful. I recommend it.
So, talking of frocks, our land has been dressed in the richest of colours with choruses of birdsong – few cars and no planes in the sky – to heighten the joy of being out of doors. The swallows have arrived, our short-toed eagles are circling overhead, I thought I heard a nightingale yesterday evening. We are planting fruit trees: cherries, almonds, mandarins and oranges. The avocado I grew from stone is bursting with small blossom and the olive flowers are opening.
Here is a quick article I wrote for the Irish Time’s magazine, Gloss, about being in Lockdown.
I want to learn from this experience and extract the good from it. I don’t want to forget, when we get in the car and start hurtling up the autoroute to our office outside Paris, that actually we have had mostly everything we need during this time. We have been talking together and laughing a lot. We have fallen in love all over again with each other and this wonderful place where we are the caretakers for a few short years. I hope, sincerely, that there is at least one positive that each and everyone of us can take from this extraordinary Time of Pause.
Please stay safe. Your presence here, reading this is also a great gift to me. Thank you.
Enjoy these photos from the farm. Carol
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© images and words Carol Drinkwater 2020