Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Keeping the Rules


I went out for my permitted walk yesterday, and returned to find this, photographed through the vine leaves by my neighbour. I thought there had been a sudden snowfall on my lawn, but there was a magnificent Sparrowhawk, being a Pigeonhawk and doing some socially-distanced outdoor eating.

She was keeping the rules, just as I am. ('She' because she is so much larger and more powerful than the male. Please note that this is a fact and not a sexist comment, and this girl was huge - even more huge when she tried to take off with a pigeon-filled crop.)

Although the very difficult 'shielding' situation has been lifted, people in my situation of extreme vulnerability have been advised to return to isolation with the exception of being able to meet one other person outdoors to go for a walk.

In recent days this has been good, in sunshine and with magnificent autumnal colour surrounding us all. In rolling mist it's not so good, but still possible. In wind and rain it's still possible and it has to be, otherwise my legs will drop off. 

What is not possible is travelling to meet people far away, or even relatively near. Not even going next door to say thank you for the photograph.

How I wished that my nephew was here to photograph this beautiful bird, but he's in New Zealand in Southern hemisphere spring-time. He has created so many superb photographs of birds (and many other things). However, two days ago we managed to talk via Skype, in the evening for me and the next day's breakfast time for him. As we concluded our talk another Skype call came through. It was my elder son and my youngest grandson, playing in a sunny room at mid-day on the same day as here. They were stacking wooden bricks and grandson was chewing on a plastic giraffe in front of huge windows with views of sky-scrapers and distant snowy mountains. Not their usual views in Austria. Grandson is in Canada for his parents' wedding tomorrow and the distant mountains are the Rockies.

I've not yet been able to meet my nine-month old grandson, I won't be able to attend my son's wedding, I haven't properly talked with my nephew for a long time, but I genuinely, genuinely feel a very fortunate old biddy.

I'm still here, and there is now some hope of this solitude changing. In the meantime technology enables me to reach across the world, over time-zones, through night and day, into tomorrow and back to yesterday: to see and talk to people who are so important to me, to have virtual suppers with grand-daughter and grandson senior, to witness the development of a baby and to have some form of attendance at a wedding half a world away.

We keep the rules in the huge hope that they, and the possibility of vaccines, will work.


gz said...

It is good to see Pete's photos..lucky you that your family do Skype.
Stay safe, keeping our heads down here too , keeping healthy and hoping xx

Relatively Retiring said...

He has an extraordinary gift with wildlife and perhaps it's as well not to have a close-up of the massacre on the lawn.
You've made tremendous strides with your garden, cooking, potting, preserving and obviously not wasted a moment of lock-down. Stay safe, best wishes to you both.

Elephant's Child said...

My largely luddite self if very, very grateful for the huge advances in communication technology. And thinks (often) of just how very hard it must have been for early pioneers and their families. And for those hit by earlier pandemics.
I live in hope - as so many of us do.

Relatively Retiring said...

E.C.The technology is really so recent, and the developments within my own 80 year span have often seemed unbelievable. I am also very grateful for almost all of it. All good wishes to you in these difficult times.

Zhoen said...

Pete has a way with birds.

I'm just glad you've managed to skip this virus. Here' to not being a vector. Missing family beats losing family, but you know that.

I watch the casualty lists every day, so much waste.

pohanginapete said...

Wonderful to spend some time with you, even despite the limitations of the technology. This post brought back memories of two things in particular: spending time with you in your garden, and photographing a falcon eating a pigeon on the rooftop next to the place I was staying in Jamnagar, Gujarat, a world away from your garden. And, in the early afternoon today, a falcon circled around in front of my place before speeding out of sight up the valley. It felt like a messenger.
Looking forward to more conversations.

Relatively Retiring said...

Zhoen: such a wise statement, missing certainly beats losing family. We're all fragile. We all need to make the best of all we can, while we can. I think of you often and hope you and all the family, human and feline are coping with all this.

P.Pete: me too about the conversations despite the sound disruptions.
Birds of prey are truly wonderful. When ever I spend time in the garden I hear and see the effortless circling of buzzards, high over the hills. I'm hoping for Red Kites. They are around in this area, but seeing them dining out in this garden might be a bit too much. I just hope that it was the falcon carrying a message and not one of the pigeons being eaten before delivery.