The past month has flown by in a flurry of activity which came to a screeching halt 2 weeks ago as we entered lockdown. With four school-aged children ‘learning from home’ and me adding ‘teacher’ to my list of responsibilities, time and energy have been scarce. But it has not been without its joys. The stay-at-home orders have removed all of our former after school and weekend activities, now our only trips (for me and one of the kids) being the once a week journey to the closest shops to gather food and the bare essentials.
Never has life been so routine. At first, I felt the weight of the past 18 months or more bearing down on me. Is this how I always felt before I stopped to pay attention. I was seriously rundown. With renewed energy, I have rediscovered my creative side, resuming those knitting projects gathering dust and turning a lovely piece of fabric tucked away in the recesses of the fabric stash into a set of napkins perfect for Christmas celebrations and beyond. With students not expected to return to face-to-face learning until after October 25th, I need to find opportunities to celebrate life while at home. It is one thing I miss, aside from the obvious disappointment at not seeing family and friends. Celebrations, events to herald in the seasons, community gatherings and sharing with your village, are all so deeply rooted in culture, history and tradition. They give purpose and provide a rhythm to our lives. In the absence of anything tangible, I am turning my attention to planning for Christmas.
I’m not going crazy buying gifts online but instead thinking of those activities and dishes that make Christmas such a magical and poignant time of year. Being the season of all things citrus, I tried my hand at drying orange slices to use in decorations (I’ll share more about this in a later post). And I am thinking ahead to gathering ingredients to prepare the cakes and puddings that I adore and only enjoy at Christmas time. They need time to develop flavour and intensity, so now is a perfect time to get all that dried fruit soaking in your spirit of choice (Bundaberg rum is my choice every time).
There are many things to enjoy at this time of year. We have been bringing in more and more eggs as the longer days encourage the chickens to lay. The golden hue of wattle has been ever-present in our backyard and along every roadside. With its beguiling scent and stunning colour, it is my absolute favourite native shrub. The black cherry plum is also in full flower, it’s pale pink blossoms a beautiful vision in the afternoon light. The roses we transplanted to pots before demolition of the old farmhouse began are showing signs of new growth, and the tiny seeds planted in trays are slowly unfurling promising a colourful and vibrant garden this year. There is much hope to be found.
This blog will be temporarily offline as I give it a much overdue makeover. Maybe even a name-change. I have lots of ideas and with a clearer mind it is a perfect time to give this neglected baby of mine a bit of love. I hope you can bear with me while I make the changes.
Until I see you on the other side, I hope you are finding your joy.
Take care, much love. P xx