Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Storytelling Starters ~ What we’ve been missing

Disgruntled is how I feel. Not about any particular person or situation. Just disgruntled – and all the more so as Lockdown trundles towards an end. On Wednesday this week, as if to emphasise what we’ve been missing, Paul and I were royally entertained to lunch by some friends, one of whom is a most fantastic cook. Thankfully Wednesday’s weather  came up trumps for, of course, we needed to sit outside for this lunch. So sit outside we did, enjoying the food, the talk, the garden and the company of two affectionate dogs. It was altogether a pleasure.

So why, you may ask, did it produce that subsequent feeling of disgruntlement (if disgruntlement is a word)? Well, only because the occasion itself was a reminder of the social life of which Lockdown has generally been depriving us. For life before Lockdown was peopled by friends. By now, we’ve probably all become acclimatised to doing without the social pleasures that friends bring. But as I was reminded of how much we’ve been missing, it did make me feel a bit sad.

Yet I have to admit that Lockdown has not been entirely melancholy. One pleasure it has produced for me, perhaps for many of us, has been the quietness that the absence of friends has highlighted. And one of the particular pleasures this quietness has made me appreciate has been the birdsong in our garden and, in particular, the singing of our blackbird. Our blackbird I call it. Yet the joy of its singing must surely have been shared by many of us in our street and the streets which surround us too. Morning and evening, our blackbird has sung its heart out as if to console us for everything else we’ve been missing with its beautifully musical riffs.

I once owned a book about bird song. I’m on the search for it again among the many books in this house. It deals with the songs of birds as if they were musical scores. Quite right too. When I hear ‘our’ blackbird in the early mornings and evenings, I do feel I’m listening to music.

Another great benefit that the end of Lockdown will bring for me is that when it’s finally over, Paul and I will once again be able to drive to Pembrokeshire. Except for the nine months when I was a VSO in Kenya before going to University, I think this must be the longest time I’ve ever been away from my home county. Of course, I must have been just one of so many people in this country who’ve been in a similar situation, unable unless they cheated to go back to their home area to see family and friends and places they love. All I can say about this particular deprivation is that even if absence doesn’t always make the heart grow fonder (for I don’t think I could get any fonder of North Pembrokeshire), it certainly makes you aware of what you love.

P.S. My top picture is of the camellia in our front garden and the second of another from the back garden. The bottom picture speaks for itself. They’re Paul’s shoes, not mine. But when the time comes what bliss it will be for both of us to take off whatever shoes or sandals we’re wearing and walk barefoot across the beach.

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2 Responses to “Storytelling Starters ~ What we’ve been missing”

  1. Karen Tovell Says:

    Thanks, Mary. Your P.S. paragraph caused me to google “Footprints in the Sand” a wee story that always brings a tear to my eye!

  2. Mary Steele Says:

    A great thing that you had your outside lunch before the weather reverted to winter. On April 2 I put in some seeds that should have been sown Jan-Mar according to the packet; with snow forecast for Monday, I hoped I could fool them into growing. Happy Easter and I hope you can get to Wales soon.

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