Celia is back from Wales.
B&J, Celia, Mr Celia, Hartley, Romeo and I convened in the garden this evening over a bottle or two of wine.
There was more than a suggestion of autumn in the air.
Actually this was useful as tomorrow evening we are all, save Mr Celia who’ll be at the Cricket, off to an outdoor event, listening to Octavia’s niece singing in a Handel opera. Celia found her layers wanting within minutes, and although Hartley was doing his best to warm her by sitting on her knee, one of my fleeces was needed. I was trying out a combo of jumper (US sweater) and body warmer, which worked for the most part but there was a bit of a cool patch between the bottom of the warmer and the waistband of my jeans. B&J were rugged up. So it was something of a warmth dress rehearsal. I plan to take a blanket with me, possibly a flask, a quilt might be going too far. Maybe not.
It was lovely to have the gang reunited. Pre-Covid, Celia and Mr Celia hardly knew B&J. Now Celia says she can’t imagine life without them. They have all been wonderful carers of MasterB when I have been away in Ireland or more recently at das Boot. There are moments when the look in MasterB’s eye suggests he is wondering when I shall be away again so he can have the love and attention he deserves. Nothing in the diary at the moment, but there is Uncle Bill’s 100th in October.
I’m quite excited at the idea of being back in Ireland. It’s a place where I have never lived, though I have visited since I was child. Has something changed? Has a dial clicked round so that it now has more of a feeling of home? In some ways the idea of moving there if I leave London is very attractive. Another part of me is yelling “no”. The inevitable split experienced by those of us with parents from different countries perhaps. Maybe that should be different regions. If one parent is from Yorkshire and the other from Norfolk, and you grow up in Norfolk but visit your Yorkshire family frequently and feel at home there, I imagine it is very much the same as having a Greek parent and a French one. Your loyalties are going to be with both places. Maybe that’s why London, and other cities made up from multi cultural communities are so attractive. Those of us who belong to two different places with their subtle or unsubtle differences in culture feel at home.
I have started reading The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver. I think it’s the only novel of hers I have not read. I am enjoying it (only on P24 so it’s early chapters). My novelist friend Michèle has reservations about Kingsolver which I don’t share. Michèle, if I recall our conversation correctly, thinks she’s a bit preachy, a bit ‘this is a message I want to get across’. I like the way she gets those messages across and I am pleased and grateful she is so passionate and humane about big issues. Michèle and I shall doubtless debate this further.
When I was at the National Theatre yesterday I sneezed into my mask. I don’t think I have Covid, I said to the two strangers to my left. We have, responded the one beside me. She was with her daughter. Her son had attended football matches, Euro 2020 (held in 2021 just to explain) and fell ill. The rest of the family isolated, tested negative, then fell ill. The woman had had two vaccinations. She told me it started with a very sore throat, went on to a raging headache, and after a few days she lost her sense of smell and taste. Retested, unsurprisingly she tested positive. She is fine now, which is great, but it is a timely reminder that being double vaccinated does not stop you from being very ill.
Tonight J asked me what vaccine she had had. I didn’t think to ask, and the woman didn’t tell me, so I don’t know. I’m not discarding my masks and my hand sanitation gel yet awhile.
Stay safe. Keep well. Value your differences.