After almost two months of “house arrest” I was finally allowed out past the garden gate yesterday. Don’t get me wrong: in spite of the speed with which my hair grows, I’m certainly not complaining about the confinement. I am one of the relatively few people to have actually benefited from this lockdown, having the privilege of being with my nearest and dearest who have accustomed me to a lifestyle that I won’t be able to replicate once I get back within my own four walls. I really enjoy being Lady Muck, having all my meals cooked and served to me, not having to go shopping or do any housework more strenuous than making my own bed or drying dishes now and then, and having congenial company constantly at hand. Even my washing is being done for me.
I have greatly appreciated being able to see, interact with and actually hug (now officially condoned) my grandchildren and great-grandchildren, in person and not just on a screen. Sorry if I sound smug, that isn’t my intention: I just want to say how grateful I am for my circumstances.
And yesterday, a lovely day in the merry month of May, we got into the car and drove out to the picturesque village on the Rhine where my youngest granddaughter has just moved into a “new” flat (new to her, that is). It’s always exciting to move house, even if it can be exhausting. An opportunity to de-clutter, and – in our family – to acquire bits and pieces from friends and other family members that fit in with the new décor. And my granddaughter is no exception, she shares the “musical furniture” genes too. Just the odd little piece here and there, bringing in happy associations and certainly adding to the general appeal.
It’s a very nice little flat, well laid out ergonomically and full of light, with a lovely view of the surrounding countryside, and being on the fourth floor without a lift it will give her plenty of opportunity for exercise! She has good taste and has made it both attractive and cosy. Full marks from me, anyway. I do hope she will be very happy and blessed there.
And as the weather was so clement, we went for a little walk down to the riverside, trying hard to keep the requisite distance from all the other Sunday strollers. It was quite exhilarating to be able to walk in a fairly straight line instead of in circles, and the path took us through a little woodland onto a wooden footbridge leading to the island of Werd. The water was crystal clear here, which is close to where the Rhine exits Lake Constance, and full of fish – I thought they were trout, but was put right by a local man who was feeding them with bits of bread. No, he said, they are Alet. I looked this up when I got home: my angler father would have recognised them as chub. Maybe I should have persevered with The Compleat Angler. A tiny coot kept attempting to catch some crumbs, but the fish were not only faster but also much bigger. Coot didn’t stand a chance.
Over on the island, a woman was standing next to a swans’ nest, fussing the swans. Our initial reaction was horror: you don’t go near a swans’ nest when the swans are sitting on it, they can be very aggressive. But our new friend explained that this lady is known as the Swan Mama – and we saw that indeed, the swans were very welcoming and enjoying her attention, keeping her from leaving them – and, he said, he himself was a “swan whisperer”. In fact, several years ago he had featured in a short documentary about his close relationship with the swans and we checked this out when we got home. Fascinating!
Our walk then took us around the village, which gives the impression of having grown up organically, with houses of different styles and periods scattered a bit higgledy-piggledy, not all in neat straight suburban rows, and the gardens were filled with spring flowers and blossom. A lovely way to spend my first morning out!
In the afternoon, my eldest granddaughter came by with her elder son (11) and younger daughter (3), another treat for us, enhanced by the fact that she brought a trio of trout caught that very morning by her husband and younger son (5). These really are trout, and my son-in-law knows how to turn them into a delicious lunch for us.
The lockdown isn’t over, social distancing is still de rigeur, but – I repeat – I am absolutely not complaining. In a day or two, I shall be taken home – with my own fish! – and left to my own devices. I shall miss this family bubble.