I found myself today sitting over a late breakfast (I'd done the week's supermarket shopping first) catching up on Wildwood's journal as if I were reading a novel. And it struck me, not for the first time, how exotic - and in some cases terrifying - other people's lives can seem in comparison to our own tame existence. (I'm doing a great deal of catching up just now - there's been a spell when I've been blipping far too late at night and not managing to read anyone else's journal, which isn't really the point.)
My day today - my mundane, tedious day - was shaped by the weather: an easterly gale began whistling in at my bedroom windows in the night, and by morning had been joined by increasingly vehement rain. I managed to deal with the messages before I was totally soaked - mainly while carting the bags from car to back door through the wet garden - and spent the rest of the morning indoors. I caught up with my pal on FaceTime over coffee; I had a phone call from my sister; I dealt with mail giving various permissions for material I provide for an interview by a heritage researcher looking at people's radio- listening habits during WW2 and up till 1960. And after lunch I allowed myself to get well drawn in to Hilary Mantel's novel of the French Revolution, A Place of Greater Safety, where I've reached the day they stormed the Bastille.
We did, however, notice much later on that the rain had ceased, and decided to walk up to the church (exercise, a bit) to record a hymn for the Zoom service on Sunday as well as practise one I'm going to sing solo at the first actual Sunday service in church. The photo is of the approach to the church, which you can't see at this time of year because of the trees - it's up on the left above the road. It struck me how amazingly green the whole scene is, apart from the small red figure of Mr PB in his cagoule on the bridge, and there came into my mind the vision of the fires in parts of California: the smokey sky, the red sun, the heat, the dryness, the falling ash. It altered my perception of this most familiar of views, one I've been seeing over the 46 years I've been walking up to this church.
On a lighter note: I was amused to note that, in preparation for the next service in church, two bottles of hand gel have been given their own little white plinths to stand on in the choir, one on either side for the use of communicants. During the Swine Flu pandemic, my many friends and acquaintances in the Scottish Episcopal Church took to referring to the need to make use of Sacragel at the altar, and since then my pal has told me that she associates the consecration prayer with the smell of cucumber ...
Footnote: I bought my first ever hand gel, in tiny, very useful bottles, in San Francisco.