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Lockdown certainly didn't come as a surprise as we had been following the story of a young friend (peer of our children) and family in Xian, China since Christmas. So, when the announcement eventually came it was into 'make a plan' mode! The alarm clock was set, a daily walk planned, and the store cupboards checked.
Of course, like everybody there have been ups and downs. Time to reflect on what is important and what is not important. But, looking again to our friend in China, there will be an end to it even if it will all be a little different then.
The hardest part is not meeting up with family and friends. Two holidays with friends have been postponed until next year and special anniversary parties cancelled or postponed.
So what has been good?
Particularly the first 4 weeks, those conversations held across the road or down the field when out walking were 'how are you?' and 'do you need anything?' And now the nods and waves from others as we acknowledge fellow locals either walking or lambing! Little packets of yeast and tins of tomatoes passed over at arm's length or left on garden walls. A knock on the door might mean someone at the end of the drive pointing to a box of eggs on the wall. The hens are laying too many for one household and it would be a shame to waste them. Sharing with neighbours those precious online delivery slots as we piggyback on each other's and leave 'food parcels' on their garden walls – supermarkets are 24-80miles round trips from here. Not good if what you want isn't there.
Foraging. I have always meant to do more but never had the time. Having seen a recipe for nettle, wild garlic and dandelion tart in a magazine my eyes homed in on a small clump of wild garlic on my daily walk. Waiting a couple of weeks for it to grow I then collected some on my way back. Having weighed them I repeated the process the following day – they are very light weight! Then it was out into the lane, scales in hand, to pick dandelions and nettles. I had very tingly finger ends that night! Add to that an egg from those obliging hens and a few other ingredients I already had, and a grand tea was eaten. Sadly, a few days later, the farmer strimmed the wild garlic and I am not sure where there is more within walking distance.
I never really thought I would be so pleased to be able to try what was new technology to me. Anything mentioned here – other brands are available!
Live Facebook services – I could see in the side column that I was there, sitting with my friend 40 miles away. We were the naughty two on the back pew texting each other through the service, popping to the kitchen for a coffee!
Zoom etc to have a fish and chip supper with neighbours along the dale, take part in Café Church, Kev to attend meetings (he 'went' to Middlesbrough this week!) and to keep our regular bible study going. We have saved 8 hours travelling time this week. That must be good for us and the environment!
Video calling on the phone. To see and hear that 'Mummm, what have I done wrong?' and to be shown the new knitting project and pattern, and 'Come in the kitchen, look at this' and to be rushed through the house to see the ceiling that was coming down and to assure it was not structural, the house would stay standing. And to be 'in' each others kitchen's as tea is cooked.
Yes, it is a strange time, concerning at times. But it has been a time to reflect. On where we are, what our faith says and what is really important in life. I'm sure my priorities are changing!

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