This is a kind of follow up to my Memory Hole post. As mentioned then, I’ve been struggling trying to remember details of the pandemic period. I don’t think this is an uncommon phenomenon. Prompted by a suggestion by Rashbre, I made a video. He suggested several short ones, which would have been sensible, but I’ve gone for one 16½-minute epic, including over 400 photos and videos from 2020. It really has helped me put things in order in my mind. I don’t think anyone will want to watch it but me, but never mind.
The first photos of the year come from the February half-term trip to France, which started in fog and then became one of those unusually sunny late winter weeks. Shortly after we got back (or maybe on the way back), I guess I got Covid. I remember running through the NHS check-list repeatedly, never sure if my symptoms matched what was being described. But as I was still having occasional coughing fits several months later, I think it was Covid.
It was around then that talk of lockdowns started. And the photos after that are mostly of walks taken round the neighbourhood and home baking activities, including the simnel cake, pinwheel cookies, and more.
Then there was my Lockdown One project, stripping down an old table and painting it in stripes. More walking, blossom, cattle, sheep. Barbecues – using the old gas barbecue which died on us around a year or so later.
A picture of my youngest holding up a Tesco t-shirt with a “2m apart” message dates from her p/t job that she kept throughout the year, until it was time to go to uni.
A cupboard full of flour reminds me of the time the supermarket shelves were empty and home bakers got desperate. I always have pizza flour, but at some point there was an oversized bag of McDougal’s that had appeared in the supermarket.
And then there’s the arrival and assembly of the pizza oven, and lots and lots of pizza experimentation, and experimentation with other things I could could in the oven, like salmon and chicken and roasted vegetables.
More lockdown walks, as we get into early summer. Loaves, a quiche, and a walk along the route of the old Buckingham branch of the Grand Union Canal, where we saw a lame sheep and an old lock. Alpacas.
The photo of my e-bike under the staircase at work dates from the times we (teaching staff) were taking turns going in to supervise the children of key workers. That must have been May or June, but I was still coughing, even then, from the time I had what might have been Covid in February. I remember getting off the bike, feeling fine, but then coughing for about 15 minutes solid.
One pair of gloves on a fence post stands for all the pairs of gloves, and hats, I photographed during the lockdowns. Fields of wheat and the sun through the trees. Birds in the garden, rabbits on the rabbit walk, and a new camera.
Experiments with sweet pizzas. Banana, Cherry, fig. At this point we weren’t certain we’d be able to get to France. Cycling to work again, for days spent teaching sixth formers. I don’t really remember the faces. More walks. Blue skies. Rabbits. Golden hour.
A walk with a friend, and then the summer trip to France. Glory glory sunshine, but it felt great to be there, notwithstanding the nagging anxiety about testing to get there and worrying about the ever changing rules about travel. In the end, we did have to return early and “quarantine” for 14 days. But France was great while it lasted, and we packed a lot in. Slow motion butterflies in a shrub, bike rides. Piles of wood. Greenery. The steep path through the woods. The lake. A female redstart.
A trip to Basel for a Hopper exhibition. Nights at Dédé’s for whiskey. The legendary grandma pizza.
Welcome visitors from home, a trip to the Ronchamp Le Corbusier chapel, walks around the village (the heat, the heat). Donkeys.
Storks and drinks in Alsace, a farewell meal of fritures de carpe on the lake.
Then the late summer Covid clear out of the barn, the occasional storm. Our older daughter visiting with friends. That last summer pizza party before we cut the trip short and headed home.
September: a new car for my OH, delivered. Taking the youngest up to university, visiting Byron’s grave in Hucknall, and walking around the campus park.
A new iPhone for me, covered in fingerprints as soon as it was out of the box.
At this point, the YouTube version of the video has some faulty image processing, so some of the pictures are ghostly.
Christmas was just me with the youngest, the other two in Copenhagen. Wintry walks. The same old alpacas. Fish soup. And the final photograph of the year: sausage rolls.