Coronavirus Diary 45 – Paint me like one of your French girls

Every day since I took delivery of my little front garden bench, I have had an early morning cup of tea there.  The road is always quiet and I share my time between watching the sun rising higher in the sky and watching the birds, bees and butterflies fleeting around my vista.

These days the sun rises here at 4am so the sun is quiet a way up by the time I plonk my behind down at around 5.30-6am.  It’s also a good place to have an orange juice around 8am and on a very warm day in the back garden, it is a much cooler place to sit in the evening too which was something I hadn’t envisioned.

Most people don’t even notice I am here and those that do give a friendly smile or Hello or like this morning “Good Morning Sir” which made me look behind to see if they were addressing someone more important.

One of the people who goes past every day is a jogger.  Most joggers and walkers and cyclists are very quiet but this man always sounds as if he is in intense pain.  In fact the first time I heard him it was around 7am one day and though my hearing is famously good, I thought someone was being attacked 2 or 3 minutes walk down the end of the street.  As it turns out his running style seems to mostly consist of shouting “Aaarghhh” every 5 or 10 seconds and as he has headphones on, I’m not even sure he is aware of it.

The first day I sat outside I was confronted by two surprises.  The first was a big dollop of something that had come out the back of a fox.  It had all the fields opposite and the whole street and the many big houses with expansive gardens, why on earth after 3 months of living here did it choose to do its stuff right where I wanted to sit?

I’d no sooner cleaned that away and sat down when a lady seemingly crossed the road and walked right at me.  I thought that a bit strange and I was all ready to take evasive manoeuvres when she didn’t continue to walk into the garden but instead continued up the street but on my side.  It turns out she crosses over at the same point at the same time every day whether I am there or not.  If it were me I’d carry on walking just 5 seconds more and cross the road after me but it is a free country as they say.

Paint me as one of your ladies Jack

This morning I was sat doing not very much at all when an older lady stopped right outside the fence and asked me if I minded if she took some photos.  It turns out she is a water-colour artists and wanted to use my garden and a neighbours as inspiration.

If only she would wait until my plants arrived I opined to her although the existing roses are making a good show of things now.  She didn’t want to wait and liked things just as they were.  I told the lady I would get up and go in the house so she could do whatever she wanted but she insisted I stay where I am.

So I guess I am going to be in her next work.  Going by how unruly my hair now is I can only imagine she will title it “Cousin-It amongst the roses” with reference to Cousin It from The Addams Family.

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Or perhaps she just pretends she is a water colour artist as cover and has her walls covered with photos of men 40 years younger than her.  It doesn’t seem that sort of neighbourhood though, however if my cup of tea is interrupted tomorrow by a small group of 85 year olds then I will know my hunch was correct.   Ding-dong as the old movie star Leslie Phillips would say!

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About Stephen Liddell

I am a writer and traveller with a penchant for history and getting off the beaten track. With several books to my name including a #1 seller, I also write environmental, travel and history articles for magazines as well as freelance work. Recently I've appeared on BBC Radio and Bloomberg TV and am waiting on the filming of a ghost story on British TV. I run my own private UK tours company (Ye Olde England Tours) with small, private and totally customisable guided tours run by myself!
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7 Responses to Coronavirus Diary 45 – Paint me like one of your French girls

  1. Oh golly! You made me laugh. And what a beautiful place to sit and enjoy life. I can almost smell the roses. I envy you, yes a sin but I do. Ive not not been outside of my bedroom since arriving home from ICU 2 months ago. I do sit and stare out my window quite a bit. Ive asked for a bird feeder to be put up for me so I can watch the birds.

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    • Bless you. I hope you are getting better. I spend most of my days looking out of the window too. Here is a little tour video I made, you might like 🙂 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoEA00GFgQw&t=4s

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      • Thanks so much for that! I enjoyed riding along in my chair with you, learning about these beautiful old buildings and parks. The bright orange tree …beautiful. I love Fall the best…well, I love spring too when the flowers are beginning to bloom. But if I had to choose a time to just take a walk (in my dreams) I love the fall… the smells, the sound of crunching leaves under the feet, wheels :)…was that you talking?

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        • Yes I like the golden leaves too and also frozen soil that crunches in the winter. That was me talking, I don’t like having my photo taken or being on video so I do it as little as possible. I think everyone hates their own voice when they hear it don’t they? At least everyone who isn’t a bigmouth!!!

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          • oh yes, crunchy snow…sigh Stephen, you have a wonderful voice and it makes your posts really come alive now as I can hear you telling me these stories about all your wonderful walking trips. I do agree tho on not like ones own voice. I am always shocked when I hear mine and ask stupidly “Is that me…is that how I sound…uggg”

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            • Thank-you. I get quite a few American mothers telling me 2 or 3 hours into a tour how their daughters want to marry me on account of my voice. Last year on the London buses they had advertising that said “Come to the USA where your voice is an aphrodisiac”. Yes I always think I sound a bit simple!

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              • LOL Oh my, choked on my tea…True though, the ladies here do love the accent. I recall my new in laws waiting around the table to hear a southern drawl….sigh. Sorry new family, Im from Maine, transplanted to Arizona then to Texas….I CAN put on a drawl but….golly. why? I guess I can pull it out if Im going to faint…oh I mean have the vaipers….

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