There is very little that can be said about seclusion that I would find worrying. Mostly I love it. I love the peace and quiet of home, the comfortable familiarity of what I know. The kettle on. The window open. The slower pace of a quiet life that makes no demands on appearance, brings no bad news, has no initiative to overwhelm.
Just the sounds of life outside, going about it’s business.
From my kitchen window I can see the church, the graveyard, other stone houses, the bridge and the river, as it winds it’s way gently through the village. From where I sit at my table, the comings and goings of various inhabitants of this little corner go about their day – at a respectable distance of course – and are busy with church yard maintenance, watering plants and trees, calling to each other across the river, heading on foot to the local store, walking their dogs. It is a delightful prospect.
Since my last post we have continued to adjust to our partial life in an English village, albeit a quiet one.
The little things thrill me terribly – like my mail slot.
Right in our front door, we have a mail slot. I actually had one of those in Tasmania, but it was novel only and left for the sake of appearance as the old door had been salvaged from a demolished building. This one though, is the real deal. I hear the squeak of the gate, the footsteps down the stone steps and POOF! Like magic, letters appear into the slot of the door and fall onto my floor. The first time this happened I actually squealed with such delight that Steve thought I had quite lost my mind. This was the stuff that movies are made of – a delivery of mail through my door.
Then there is the red phone box – right in my back yard. It belonged to the late mother of the lady who sold us the house. She intends to donate it to the village as a small lending library, as her mother would have wanted it preserved. It stands here until the job of restoring it can be completed and the relevant permissions granted for its relocation. For us, it is almost de ja vu. Steve’s mum was an English lady, emigrating to Sydney as a child with her family, and later moving with her husband and children to northern Tasmania. Steve fondly remembers how she somehow managed to find herself an old red phone box, and it lived in their front garden. On approaching this house via the lane, the phone box protruding from behind the stone wall was the first thing that Steve saw. I think the cottage sold itself to him right there and then. Of course there was a pang of disappointment when we learned it wasnt to stay, but then it will be put to good use and we will still walk by it every day.
Today we were given the local Parish newsletter – this was brought by hand by a masked individual (a sign of the times only, nothing sinister) walking his two boisterous dogs. He had quite a time getting through my rickety little gate, as it has an automatic closer, and he seemed to be stuck in between with him on one side and the wayward animals on the other. He did get through eventually, in time to place the item into my hands with a greeting and a wave (there isnt much conversation to be had through a surgical mask). It made for some nice reading this afternoon – all manner of newsworthy articles about what goes on, where and by whom. The Parish newsletter reminded us all to look out for our neighbours, check in on loved ones wherever possible and to become the church in the truest sense of the word.
Tonight I walked down the lane right on dusk and wandered over to the bridge. Watching and listening to the river making it’s continuing way to the sea reminds me that life goes on in whatever form it needs to.
So while we are secluded, isolated and confined, let us remember the little things. The quirks, oddities and simple marvels that colour every day. The ordinary is actually rather extraordinary when you think about it.
Happy day to you all.