‘But Nana,’ five-year-old Bee says with some concern, ‘how did Father Christmas get to be so old?’. Never mind Father Christmas, I think, looking at the photo of my four-year-old self, where did all those years go? Slowly - and very carefully - we’ve been catching up with our loved ones and as joyful as each of these reunions has been it’s incredibly painful to say goodbye again in these very uncertain times. Perhaps that’s what’s behind Bee’s request to ‘look at all your pictures, Nana?’ Perhaps Bee, like so many of us, is looking for patches of solid ground? Although seeing the change in me from the little girl I was to the great age I am now seems to have given her a bit of a wobble! ‘ Who’s this then, Mum?’ asks my daughter, Rose, a few weeks later, looking through my box of loose photographs, and it’s then that I realise I should probably do something with them. I’m not someone who often needs a rear view mirror, I’m much happier where I am now or looking ahead to what’s next.
My previous Home Thoughts happened in another world; a world where enjoying a meal in a restaurant, taking part in a real half marathon or casually hugging a dear friend were all possible. The shadow of coronavirus was there, of course, but we clung to some semblance of what was normal, hoping against hope that the unthinkable wouldn’t happen. Less than two weeks after I posted my blog, we were in lockdown. Like so many of us, my first response was to try to organise my way out of the pandemic, to try to maintain some sort of sense of control in a world of uncertainty. I emptied and sorted drawers, cupboards, wardrobes and cleaned the house to within an inch of its life. And then, when - oh, how cruel! - the loveliest weather we’ve had in this part of Wales for years arrived, Tom and I began clearing and tidying the garden. (Fortunately, I had an epiphany one evening and realised the garden will always be a work in progress and that’s absolutely fine!). Quite early on, I also