I’m on the coast in North Norfolk, with my daughter Margaret, because in these strange days of uncertainty, the steadfast qualities of familiar place and community feel more important than ever.
Norfolk is where we lived as a family for 16 very, very happy years, it’s where our children grew up - it is also where my mother grew up. And her mother, and her grandmother, and so on- right back into the mists.
So Margy and I are at home.
I’ve set up a desk in an upstairs window, and my view stretches out across fields, over the village where Granny lived. I spent countless childish days picking strawberries, raspberries and red currants in her garden, and blackberries with her out in these same fields...
Granny and I made jam together, often, and with my brother and grandfather we went puttering about in the creeks in his small wooden boat. A typical summer day usually involved what seemed like a 100 mile trek, in wet gym shoes, miles out across the shining sands at low tide- and picnics weren’t very exciting by today’s standards, consisting almost always of cheese in a bread roll, a hard boiled egg, an apple, or on red letter days a club biscuit, with a tin cup of lemon barley water to drink.
We swam and mudlarked in the creeks, and my brother and I spent days and days fishing small crabs out from their muddy lairs.
Then a couple of decades later I did all those things all over again with my own children. ( With better picnic food!)
And ten years further on, I’m here with just one of my 4 grown up children, trying to get nifty at meetings on Zoom, and FaceTime conversations with friends and family- as we all wonder what the future holds.
We can’t know, but we can stick together, and we can remember, as we wrestle with unfamiliar skills ( I was the art director in our family garden, now will I learn to wield a spade?!) that we are at least all in this together: and together we can keep our spirits up - and await the next news bulletin.