Since March 13th we have spent a lot more time here at home in Fuchsia Lane Farm as the country entered a whole new experiment with Lockdown. As a result we were able to observe nature emerge in the Spring and enjoy many small events, probably insignificant in a more normal year, but this time they seemed to bring more joy. Perhaps it was because of an underlying tension that existing in many of us, perhaps in the whole world, because we did not know where and when this virus was going to emerge in our lives and if we would wake up some morning suffering from the symptoms. Consequently, each mornings walk along quiet lanes, through peaceful pastures and melodic woodlands afforded little glimpses of nature telling us ‘it will all be ok’.
We heard the cuckoo early each morning, we saw the swallows return to their usual nesting spots, and marvelled on their journey. In many respects there was a reassurance in seeing the cycle of nature offer up its wonderful annual possibilities and this helped us to look forward. The daffodils emerged with their sunny faces, not concerned that the cottages were empty of guests, they were just doing what they always do, irrespective of encouragement from human interaction! The woodland leaves emerged, the familiar smells of fresh growth touched our senses, the regularity of crop growing and silage season returned as it always does.
We found time to do the jobs that had been on the everlasting ‘to do list’. The rainy day jobs that needed a fine day to get done. We tidied, resurrected, refreshed, painted and then we did some more. We were energised and exhausted, at many times during each day. We got cranky with ourselves then we realised that we didn’t mean that and we progressed on. We walked Holly, she went for her swim in the lake and she lived in the moment, as only a family dog can. The cats adapted to being let into the house more and found new ways to look cute. The ponies learned that a new whinny could result in a longer chat, a kind stroke and a scratch on a favourite spot.
And we communicated with all of you, out wonderful guests, many from previous holidays here and many whom we only knew from an email booking or enquiry. We heard of your concerns about cancelled family events, weddings that could not happen, trips of a lifetime to Ireland that had been planned and saved for years that had to be postponed or cancelled. We deleted bookings from our calendar and did not even look at the financial side of all this as everyone was in the same storm. And we were thankful for our health. We shared photos on social media, we received wonderful messages from people who stayed with us years ago and they spoke about their memories from their time with us and all this gave us heart. We saw what we have here with fresh eyes and we fell in love with our place again.
We parked up the car and cycled to the village, we were drawn to the local shop which became our focal point to say hello and greet neighbours, we enjoyed the lake and the wonderful quay that had grown out of community effort a couple of generations ago. We remembered the people who made all this happen. We pondered on our own mortality. We made bread. A lot of bread. We compared sourdough recipes, starters and leavens. We dug the garden, we sat there in the evenings when we rang old friends. We sat there and did nothing. We remained hopeful.
We look forward now still unsure about the business that we will have for this year, bookings might still be cancelled or postponed and we have no control over this. All we can control is what we have here and how we view it. We are proud of our cottages and rural retreat. We will continue to offer what we have, we have ideas for future possibilities and we will welcome you all again. So will Holly.