I still have mixed feelings about the easing of restrictions. I have been to dinner at a friends home which was delightful. A delicious meal but not formal. We enjoyed lots of laughs and even resorted to Irene’s diary to check facts about our shared holidays. That action opened many fond memories to revisit. I have had a visitor to the apartment for a coffee. That was a spontaneous invitation which motivated me to do a hurried tidy up. The place gets a bit scraggly with Alf’s toys spread around, too many books on the table and washing drying on the clothes rack. I am not a clean freak but I try to maintain some standards. Clean bathrooms and kitchen plus I have a strange obsession with keeping the dirty clothes basket empty. That is a hangover from when I had twin babies. I felt like I had chaos under control if the basket was empty! When I had 120 nappies a week on top of baby clothes it seemed essential and I have never recovered. Dust might be whirling on the cork floor but an empty basket was supreme.
It was delightful to just have a coffee and a long talk with a friend. Chris has never visited me before. We are friends from the gym and have shared a few post coffees before but this was not limited by the day ahead. I do crave company and good conversation.
So, eager but not frantic to get out into the world is how I assess myself. Crossing the road is getting tricky again and there are fewer people in the parks. I have missed the regular calls from my sons that I enjoyed during the tighter restrictions. They are back working more. The good news is Jonathan has been restated into his design and production job which balances Clare having her hours cut to three days. Helping them settle into the new house was tiring but enjoyable. Ziggy is back at school and happy to be there. He is thrilled to have two friends in his new street too. Shifting Jonathan mobilised me to finally set up the futon base that I have had stored in the cage, photograph it and put it onto Melbourne marketplace. I sold it very quickly and delivered it the next day. I was scared they might get cold feet!
The 31st May would have been my husband’s 71st birthday. my brother-in-law Gary organised a tribute video for the Saturday family Zoom catch up. Jonathan and Clare joined that event and also announced to everyone that they are expecting another child. The boys and I along with Clare and Ziggy, cousin Jacina and partner Andrew as well as their Uncle Robert met at the Melbourne Cemetery the next morning to pay our respects to Peter and also their mother Jean. A visit is always bitter sweet. We remember lovingly and joyously but simultaneously mourn what Peter has missed over these last 11 years. Nick reflected on how much he would love to be able to have a mature conversation with his father.
Prior to this visit I had been thinking a lot about Peter and one morning when I walked the dog up our usual street to the park I felt like I had walked through a cloud of freesia perfume. I looked everywhere in the gardens for evidence of these flowers but found none. I thought I would smell them when I returned the same way but I didn’t. I decided I had had a visitation from his spirit. So often I am so busy and mentally distracted that I don’t think I make space for these sorts of communications. Sceptics can scoff but I had some very intense and strange experiences early after Peter died that I choose to see as messages of comfort and this was another. It might be nearly 11 years since he died but he is very much present in our thoughts and hearts.
The wool I mistakenly ordered from the UK instead of Australia, finally arrived. My enthusiasm for craft has waned slightly now that freedom beckons and I am hoping the deepening of winter will spur me on again. I have crocheted three scarves and now think some finger less mittens might be good to try.
We (my old hiking team) took a hike in the Sherbrooke forest for a few hours which was so delightful. Muddy underfoot and hilly too but a sunny, sparkling day. We were all a bit shocked when we arrived at the carpark to see nearly every space taken, but fortunately our path was not crowded until we headed home and then it was reasonably spaced.
Gary has started doing a virtual Camino (MYVIRTUALMISSION App) and asked me to join him. I was not so keen as it cost $34 and I had completed the real thing in 2012. Then I felt my activity enthusiasm wane a little as the colder, greyer days commenced and I decided to join his team. This just means I can walk my 10,000 steps with a purpose most days but it isn’t all up to me. Gary rides as well as walks where I am just a walker. To complete the 800kms will take us about 11 weeks. It is more challenging to get the distances because we have other demands upon us. When I walked it in reality, Lyn and I averaged 25-27kms for 33 days. Our job was to walk. It was one of the best experiences of my life. It wasn’t easy, it wasn’t comfortable at times but it stretched me as a person, it liberated me from many fears and gave me the quiet to reflect on my life and future without Peter.
That walk really energised me and lifted my spirits. But the next day I had CoVid 19 brain when I was about to take Alf for a walk in my Ugg Boots!
I finished the week in a conference call with the ALIA committee for the accreditation of the South Pacific TAFE. I felt buoyed by my interaction. It was on point and useful so I am not losing my marbles after all.
I have also treated myself to some painting time which was entirely absorbing. Water colours are so challenging and I don’t do them enough. Another easing of restrictions means we can get back to our life drawing classes in mid June. I booked Anna and I in immediately. No dropping in anymore but booked places. The gym will be the same. That will be a bit difficult to adjust to and times will be limited so probably as intense as the Zoom sessions!
It has a feeling of winding up again which I suspect I am ambivalent about. The MTC contacted me to finalise action over tickets for cancelled shows, Palace cinemas are surveying us about returning to the cinemas, I have embarked on some major dental work that I had put off to travel instead and now I will spend the money in my mouth! There is a busyness in the air. I look forward to speaking with people but I don’t want to get overly engaged with activities.
Finally being blasted into the wider world with the appalling death of George Floyd and the subsequent re-ignition of the Black Lives Matter campaign, a supercilious Trump waving a bible, the video of an indigenous youth being brutally arrested in Sydney, and the blasting of an archaeologically significant Indigenous heritage site by Rio Tinto have cut through the sense of togetherness and revealed the reality of intrenched racism and inequality. The world has listened but will we act appropriately to move forward together? To be equal means facing down white privilege, sharing equally all our resources and really hearing the other point of view. There is hope but it is sobering that the world has been here many times before.