Looking forward, looking back

Hello and welcome to the 7th blog of The Olivia Rose Diaries on May 1st 2020.

I was woken this morning by the rain dripping on to my pillow, missing my forehead by just a few centimetres. The leaks in our rear hatches have been getting progressively worse and there is a mammoth DIY job waiting for us as soon as the hardware shops re-open. The rain shower turned torrential and then added in a hailstorm for good luck, so I enjoyed my morning cup of tea in bed with a plastic bucket propped next to me on the pillow.

Our run of hot weather has left us for a few days and the cloudy skies have put me in a philosophical mood this morning. Time to run for the hills folks – but as none of you are allowed to run anywhere why don’t you settle down with a cup of tea and be philosophical with me.

I have mixed feelings about the human race at the best of times and this pandemic, like any disaster or catastrophe, is bringing out both the best and the worst of us. It also illustrates how far we will go to survive. It is truly astonishing that not just one country, one government, one culture, one religion but so many countries and their peoples across the globe have united for the common good.

If this virus was a cartoon character I can imagine it gnashing its teeth and howling in fury as the entire human species acted in unison to deny it the feast of a lifetime. Sadly, it had the first course before we fully realised what was happening. We can only hope that humanity will not be back on the menu as we tentatively move towards something resembling normality.

I have noticed a shift in the conversations I have with friends and family. People’s thoughts are turning wistfully to dreams of where they might travel when all this is well and truly over. Gone are the usual plans for a fortnight in the sun. Now people are thinking of three months, six months, taking that trip of a lifetime while they can. Life has always been a fragile, precious thing but when most of us lead manic lives rushing from work to the supermarket to bed and back to work again, that awareness gets pushed to the very back of our minds. It takes something as big as this to bring it to the forefront of our attention. Unfortunately all these conversations have one big question mark hanging over them. When will this be ‘well and truly over’? No-one can answer that question so instead of looking forward, I have been spending a little time looking back, back to where we were this time last year. I have pulled out a selection of photos to share with you. The memories these pictures bring back to me are bitter-sweet, for I find myself mourning the life I have temporarily lost, but I keep telling myself this WILL end and we WILL get our lives back. Repeat daily!

Returning to the present, the village of Basse-Ham, which is where our marina is, isn’t really a village any longer. The neighbouring town of Thionville has spread out and swallowed it. There are still little patches of green amongst new housing estates, which are being ploughed up and sown with crops or being grazed by livestock. Walking to boulangerie the other morning I found that a previously empty field sandwiched between two houses was now home to a herd of ponies. I spent a happy ten minutes watching them. They are a mixture of stallions and mares so there was plenty of action, mainly the mares giving the stallions a good ‘you haven’t got a hope so don’t even think about it’ thump with their back legs when they got too pushy.

Cows are appearing in thin strips of land along the river bank, held back by flimsy strands of electrified wire and ruining the walk for our dog Maddie, who is terrified of most things but of cows in particular. Animals always make me happy. We had a smallholding ourselves for seven years in Wales, with Jacob sheep, Royal Berkshire pigs, a varied assortment of chickens, an Icelandic horse and a donkey, but no cattle as they make me nervous as well as Maddie. I quite envy people who have animals to look after in times like this. They give a sense of purpose and are soothing to the soul. Perhaps we can borrow one of those little ponies…..

No quiz questions this week. Instead, Michael has a request. Can you suggest a bird that he can draw. Just tell us the name and he’ll find a photo that he can use on the internet. He’ll pick a suggestion and put it on a future blog. Thank you.

The answers to last week’s questions are below.

Take care and stay cheerful!


1. How many number one singles did Abba have in the UK and which was the most successful? Answer – nine number ones and Dancing Queen most successful.

2.In what year did Simon and Garfunkel get to number one in the UK with Bridge over Troubled Water? Answer 1970

3.In 2016 who sold more cd’s – Beyoncé, Adele or Mozart? Answer Mozart

4. How many individual pieces of wood in a violin? Answer 70

5. Lady GaGa has recently played the lead female role in the film A Star is Born. How many previous film versions have there been and can you name any of the female leads? Answer Three other versions – 1937 with Janet Gaynor, 1954 with Judy Garland and 1976 with Barbara Striesand

7 thoughts on “Looking forward, looking back

  1. How about a hoopoe, Michael? These exotic-looking birds used to come and visit us when we lived in south-west France… Beautiful!


  2. A very philosophical look at life during lockdown. In years to come these sort of writings will go down in history and future generations will learn what it was like, perhaps even studying it for their final thesis. The photos are lovely and you must look at a few everyday to remind yourself of things past and give you hope for the future!


  3. Fabulous photographs and wonderful memories for you both. At least you have them to look at and enjoy, and sooner or later some sort of normality will definitely return ….. You are right about animals, and they do keep you sane. We have kept horses, chickens, sheep, cows, pigs and a couple of goats and we do miss all of them but when we do finally decide to settle down (cannot say when as so much to do and places to go) pets are definitely on the agenda for us, as we dearly miss all of our cats and dogs from over the years.

    Firstly, why stick to birds, what about animals around you like deer, coypus, squirrels – then birds Puffins, Woodpecker, song thrush….

    Stay safe and well. Loving the weekly blogs Mary-Jane. Our best wishes to you, Michael and Maddie ….

    Good luck with the leaks – right nuisance DIY stores closed.


  4. Cy has suggested Captain Tolleys Creeping Crack Cure. We used it a lot for temporary repairs when our windows leaked. Why is it always the ones over the bed!
    A sketching suggestion would be a Goldfinch – we’re seeing loads on our feeder and they are truly delightful.


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