#LockdownDiary – One of many – Day 26

#LockdownDiary – One of many – Day 26

Day 26

I listen to more stories at the virtual Cycle Touring Festival today. It reminds me of how little I’ve toured the last couple of years. I have missed it.

I was going to rectify that this year, pick up tea in Monmouth, check out the see at Fishguard, and cycle quiet lanes of Wiltshire to start with.

I bring my attention back to the screen. Outside pigeons are cooing. I have never quite realised how many pigeons live around our house. Over the last couple of days I’ve noticed a particular couple that keeps returning to the tree by our fence.

The words of the speaker go unheard, my attention elsewhere. I find it difficult to focus. I pick up my phone, check Twitter and WhatsApp yet again. Nothing has changed. I turn my laptop off and pick up my Nintendo Switch. I explore Hyrule for a while in search of shrines and a cooking pot but all too soon the battery runs out.

Outside pigeons are still cooing. I think of the chaffinches in the bush in the alleyway between my house and that of my friend. I miss my friend. We talk via messages every now and again but it’s not our long philosophical discussions. It’s not laughs shared over our movie night.

I head downstairs to put the Switch on charge and watch another cycle touring film. It kills time but does not soothe me. Maybe the festival wasn’t such a good idea for me. Memories have invaded the forefront of my mind and I find it hard to live in the now.

‘Do you want to go for a walk,’ my partner asks.

‘Yeah. Okay.’

I grab my camera and we step out. I think of the starling I spotted the day before, its black feathers beautifully streaked with colours. It had not minded me looking at it and I wonder if we’ll meet again today.

We don’t. Instead there are birds I don’t see but hear. I don’t know what they are but it is of little importance. We follow our longest loop, past the deserted train station, and via the shadowed path by the brook. I haven’t checked my phone for a while. 

Back home, we prepare a couple of gin and tonic with with freshly squeezed grapefruit juice. We sit in the garden and play a game of cards. We’ve missed the 6 o’clock gathering of gulls on the roof facing our garden. The pigeons are still there, nestled in the tree. One of them keeps cooing softly. I wonder if there’s a nest but I don’t dare get too close.

I cook dinner and we eat watching an old episode of the Pretender. Our resident blackbird pays us a visit halfway through and I know it is 8 o’clock. It hops on the fence surveying its territory. I forget about the television. 

In bed, an hour later, I read Journey To Portugal by José Saramago. I drink in his words, savouring the descriptions of Aveiro’s lagoon and the wines he drank. I am both here and there.

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