Taking Stock…

…and the World is my Oyster

My last trip to town took place well before Christmas. Now, at the end of January, I am taking stock, making a list, preparing for the next foray off the Rock and into town.

The pantry is still pretty well stocked, the freezers are still nearly full. It has been a fairly mild winter and there are still plenty of vegetables to be found in the garden. Potatoes, carrots, parsnips, leeks, purple and green cabbages, cauliflowers, several varieties of kale, Swiss chard, beets and a couple of rutabagas remain, under mulches and in cloches, there for the plucking whenever I feel like wandering up to the garden to do a little harvesting.

Purple cabbage and Romanesco cauliflower

There is still half a box of winter squash in the pantry, a couple of wooden apple boxes full of Blenheim Orange Russets and Grime’s Goldens under the house and an enormous Cinderella pumpkin sitting on the kitchen counter that I have only just begun to deal with. Physically, we are not going to starve to death.

Mental and social starvation is another story, but at least C. and I have one another, our pandemic pup Billie, four geriatric chickens in their coop, and a couple of neighbours whom we sometimes get together with for a distanced walk. So we are not necessarily going to die of loneliness.

We might yet die of boredom, but there is always some chore or project to be accomplished around the place and these keep us busy, in a “death by 10,000 chores” sort of way.

The recent dump of snow has made the great outdoors seem like an open air refrigerator, which suits C. to a T but I am quite happy to find indoor activities to occupy my days.

When I first came to live here in 1992, I swore I would avoid accumulating more stuff than I had already schlepped over to the island from former incarnations. I have been trying to use things up and wear things out ever since, and still have not managed to achieve this goal.

To this end I have taken up sewing non-medical masks from various fabrics that have been in my stash for decades, including a couple of Indonesian sarongs that I acquired over 30 years ago on an earlier Island  adventure. Interesting how the past occasionally rears up to meet the present, bringing vivid memories and associations back from the brink of forgetfulness. It is a wonderful thing, and as I handle the colourful cotton batik fabric of those old sarongs, some of the adventures of that earlier time come to mind, and somehow make me appreciate the stability of this part of my life.

Recently I have taken to using the Internet to resolve some of the social gaps in my life during this crazy Covid time. Luckily we are able to connect quite well via satellite, a good thing as the telephone service here on our island is a bust; virtually non-existent. 

Flash back forty years to another time and place. It is the winter of 1981 and I am sitting next to the roaring mouth of a six foot high open stone fireplace, the sole source of heat in the 16th century French farmhouse that belongs to my older Polish relative; cousin of my mother, my second cousin once, twice or thrice removed, I’m not sure which. Wieslaw has recently acquired the old stone relic of a building and due to its almost uninhabitable state, has pitched a tent in the middle of the living room, adjacent to the massive fireplace where we are seated.  

My Canadian friend ML is there with us; she and I have been travelling together around Europe, as one did once upon a time, and have landed on my relative’s doorstep, late one evening, in the middle of a Dordognian, autumnal rainstorm. The three of us are having a merry time together, warming up with glasses of inexpensive (a.k.a., cheap) “vin ordinare” interspersed with liberal doses of Calvados, the regional specialty. We are debating (arguing) about the futuristic idea of an in-home “computer/telephone” type device that will allow one to do all of one’s business, communications, socializing etc. face to face, directly from one’s own home.

I remember clearly decrying the entire notion of such a concept. Utterly impossible, I recall stating emphatically. A completely ridiculous idea!

Fast forward to 2021, and here we are, up to our ears in the time of Covid, no longer able to explore Europe or anywhere else freely as we once could, and guess what?! I am using the home computer devices and the newfangled, Internet connection system to chat, face to face, with my nearest and dearest; most family and friends are only a click or two away, no matter how far away they are in reality.

Happy 85th Birthday Mum!

I have been learning to do almost everything online, from the comfort of our own home, that I once did in real time: visiting the library, paying the bills, a bit of Christmas shopping, ordering some more seeds for this year’s vegetable garden and recently signing up for some “New Year’s resolution” yoga classes. The options are endless even if time is not.

The world is my oyster, or so I’ve been told.

copyright 2021 claudia lake

18 thoughts on “Taking Stock…”

    1. Thank you Laurie. Glad you enjoyed the read. So sad not to be able to be with your children. I look forward to the rare, distanced moments with mine, but it has been several months and I miss them like crazy too. Yes, I agree, about the ability to visit online. Who would have thought it would come to this? Take care, spring is on its way!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I miss you too Tala! Yes, it is good that we are able to keep in touch this way; we will have to try a video chat soon! That would be fun! I look forward to spending time with you in person again asap! Thanks for reading and for your comment. ❤

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  1. Love reading about your life there that seems hasn’ t been altered too too much by pandemic restrictions. Your trip to town an adventure. I am doing a Nia (dance) class and an art class on zoom. So much fun! May be boating up your way this summer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading Linda! How nice to hear from you! Dance and art by zoom sounds like a lot of fun. Would be good to see you if you find yourself boating this way next summer. Take care…

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  2. Lovely to hear from you. Your veg patch sounds really productive. I reckon C needs a bit of training in the correct wearing of the mask, but what a lovely use of old clothes. With regard to the ‘computer/ telephone” thing, you can blame/ applaud a certain gent who has a property just down the road from us – Tim Berners-Lee. If you haven’t heard of him you can look him up on his invention! BTW Calvados is probably my favourite ‘strong drink’ Keep safe, Ian

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    1. Thanks Ian, thank you for reading and commenting. C. is impossible to train, though I have been trying for a very long time! Haha! Thanks for the tip re: your “neighbour”; I shall look him up on his own invention for sure! How funny! I enjoyed the Calvados at the time, but don’t think I have tasted it since; I do recall the after effects were a bit grim; very large headache! Plenty of apples here in the autumn, perhaps I should build a still!? Alas, too many apples, too little time; will stick to cider I think. Cheers!

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      1. Yes, I have a similar problem with S. aka Sue. She’s always right (and I don’t mean that in political terms!) She has Tshirt with “I’ll do it my way” which about sums it up!. Having ‘family’ in your part of the world, I really must put BC on my bucket list.

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  3. Dear Claud! The time in the Dordogne, Wieslaw and his tent, and the deadly Calvados (which I knocked back so blithely, as you may remember!) Forty years ago, yeeks! How young we were and look, and from this vantage point, how young W. looks in your photo, not a wrinkle, barely 60! Great memories…

    I find myself living on memories more & more, they just come out of nowhere, reminding me I once had a v.different life! Not a whole lot else to live on here in indefinite lockdown. Can’t even sit in a cafe ‘distanced’, visit friends (tho I do, one or two regulars) and my weekly walking group (main social contact) prohibited since last Nov – all things I esp miss in this inhuman time. Ho hum.

    Glad you’re finding ways to find stimulation, contact via internet, along with your usual pursuits (you really are well-stocked, food wise!) My tel line & internet was down for over a week, made me realise how addicted I am to internet and how relatively peaceful it was being without. Have been trading books with a friend, which so far provides enough stimulation. But what of the future?? How will we find the necessary stimulation, with more & more control over our lives. (Just finished reading ‘Cloud Atlas’, which may have increased my anxiety abt future scenarios! tho much of it is already here…)

    Take care, hope Spring comes early, and esp hope to be sitting chatting with you in real life in the not too distant…Love, ML

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    1. ML!! Lovely to hear from you and thank you so much for reading and for commenting too. That was a memorable time for sure. I couldn’t remember if we arrived in a rainstorm or a snowfall, but thought i had better er on the side of caution. Bloody perishing whatever it was doing! Zero central heating and not much in the way of a roof either. Just thinking of that time reminds me of so many more wonderful scenes that took place there. I could write a book….At that time, W. had recently retired; I think he was born in 1916, or so, so would have been about 65 when we were there with him. The anniversary of his birthday is coming up on Feb 7. He shares a birthday with my brother….it was a decade later, same place, Christmas-time, along with my mother, when
      i made the decision to leave my life in Britain, and return to Canada, to come and live on this island. Funny how life goes round in circles…I hope you will be able to complete your circle, and return soon too. Look forward to seeing you one of these days, and to at least a few more adventures together before we are done! Love, C.

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