Before anyone used the term lockdown or knew what Covid was, we thought it might be a good idea to have a flower festival. And then it was 2020 and for some of the time the church was actually locked.
Come 2021 we weren’t sure if now was the time to run the festival but eventually we agreed that something creative, bright and non competitive could be really helpful and optimistic.
Our aim was to reflect on the last 18 months, the like of which none of us have ever lived through. It has of course been a worrying and frightening year. We invited people to contemplate on how that time had been for them. If they chose to focus on the sad and thoughtful, that was fine but it was also possible to see the strange, the weird and indeed the funny.
We wanted this to be an open, inclusive, community event so we made it wider than just a flower festival. We said that people could use any materials that they wished to interpret their theme, as long as there were some flowers involved in the arrangement! There were no other rules.
We have been touched by the enthusiasm and involvement of everyone and their willingness to help. It has been a project full of positivity. We hope you enjoy.
Lockdown! Can’t go out! But I have a garden, a haven for me - and the bees.
God’s Creation began long before Covid19, but these difficult months gave us a greater appreciation of Nature, with walks in the countryside, a weekend Nature Quest in the churchyard, and a Bat Walk this weekend. Consider the birds of the air and the flowers of the field, and remember how much God loves them, and how much more He loves you.
Out of the chaos of modern living, the Light of Faith remains a constant in all times and in all circumstances. It is reliable, permanent and everlasting.
The woods have been a great source of solace and inspiration, when nowhere else seemed safe. Long days spend looking at nature through the eyes of our children, noticing every detail and sounds of God’s most beautiful creation.
Not humans, but birds often witness the most beautiful mornings in this world.
Beau means ‘love of my life’ and we called him our besties boy. He loved to bring a toy or a slipper but wouldn’t let us have it. He loved his walks in Hughenden Park and laying in the stream even in the freezing cold and snow. He was a loving and gentle soul except when he saw a German Shepherd when he would become our protector. He allowed little dogs to run rings round him, taking toys and biscuits out of his mouth without trouble. He was our ray of sunshine through the dark days of Covid but then life got too much for him and we lost him in April at 12 years old. We miss him so much. Thank you Lord for our Beau.
In memory of James whom I lost last year. Dedicated to his love of cricket.
Friday, 27th March 2020, 20.50 hrs
I am standing on the Church Cottage threshold. It is moonless. Hello darkness, my old friend! There are no vehicles visible or audible: at all. Not even the rumble of the motorway at Handy Cross. In the great churchyard yew tree the owls give easy voice. Divine! Minutes pass, and then the silence is broken as the clock on the Royal Grammar School strikes 9, coming so clear from the one mile distance that it might just be from the field opposite the church. Is the hand of God at work in the lockdown? Judge for yourself! Oh happy curfew! Oh blessed Sound of Silence!
Having played bridge for 60 years both socially with friends and at clubs it was a sad day when Covid restrictions ended it. However as one door closes another opens and I was persuaded to experience bridge online. My Missenden club decided to invite members to form an online league which enabled us to play each other and as matches had to be arranged we kept in touch with each other by phone. Bernard Magee a renowned bridge teacher has been giving interesting seminars twice a week so bridge has survived and when the clubs reopen I will still know the difference between an ace and a king!! Many other bridge online options are available but that sufficed me.
Sashiko and Ikebana are Japanese arts which I began exploring during lockdown. Sashiko is a type of traditional Japanese embroidery or stitching used for the decorative reinforcement of cloth and clothing and I have made some bags using Sashiko. Ikebana is the Japanese art of flower arrangement, also known as ‘Kado’ (way of flowers).
Books are essential to my well-being. I love everything about them: their weight, the artwork, the smell of a new book. All this before I even open the cover.
The pandemic and the lockdowns just intensified this feeling and the wobbly piles of books beside my bed began to grow rather out of control. I found new times of day in which to read: early in the morning and after lunch.
The gentle thump of a new book landing on the doormat became a frequent and slightly guilty pleasure. The lasting result is a new floor to ceiling bookcase in my bedroom. It contains the stories that brought me through lockdown.
While locked down we had the time to make a small wildlife pond in our garden and it has been a source of immense pleasure. Damsel flies have laid eggs in it, a half-grown frog visited for a few days and jays, magpies, blackbirds and many smaller birds have bathed in its water. We look forward to new life in the spring, perhaps frog spawn, newts, dragonfly larvae.
How I coped with the Covid19 lockdown was to set myself daily enjoyable and achievable interactions and activities which were both meaningful and purposeful. I knew that it was important for me to involve people. My focus was to give support by phone to all the members of the Friendship Group and other people I knew who, like me, were living on their own. My weekly Zoom Meeting with my House Group, with whom I felt a real sense of belonging, spiritually fed me and helped me to keep focused. At the same time I involved myself in both physical and mental activity as revealed in my floral collage.
This is a slogan of the vaccination campaign. After seeing the images of the Coronavirus on our TV screens, my arrangement recognizes the countless hours spent and continuing to be spent, by St John and NHS nurses, doctors, dentists, vets, pharmacists and others in vaccinating the population. It also remembers the army of volunteers from all walks of life who give up their time to help fight this disease. Together we WILL get through this.
Growing things kept our family occupied over the last 18 months. Fruit, veg, and flowers to occupy the bees and butterflies as well as the slugs and snails. And after a wait of 20 years I’ve achieved Granny status thanks to my ‘growing’ family!
I was very blessed to be in a bubble with members of my family during the winter months. There were many moments spent around the fireside whilst we contemplated the various aspects of the Coronavirus pandemic.
It's been a strange 18 months of Pandemic Pandemonium. One of the things I really appreciated (between lockdowns) was the opportunity to meet others for a Picnic in the park! It still reminds me of what St Paul wrote to the Hebrews:
Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
Hebrews 10: 24-25
The Lord provides an abundant harvest in times of trouble.
Annie Jonson Flint's poem 'God Hath Not Promised' and her story of strength and hope in extreme pain and suffering, have been an enormous help and comfort to me. Together with good healthcare, music and the rainbow of hope, these are the things which have helped me through difficult times.
Thank goodness for family, friends, neighbours and the community shop. We started making cakes, biscuits and bread and I was sewing masks. Keeping fit, using Zoom and catching up with jobs around the house and garden helped to keep us busy. The reward was a cup of tea and piece of cake.
During lockdown we played countless games of Scrabble, or Squabble as it became known.
In memory of all those in the NHS who put their lives on the line to save others.
I was so fortunate to have all my family keeping in close contact with me.
My entry depicts my struggles over the years of life, health, relationships, fears and more recently the pandemic. It depicts my climb towards Jesus, relying on Him daily for hope, healing and strength, trusting that what He did for each one of us, on the Cross, will lift us up and give us the hope and strength that we all need for daily life.
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
During the long lockdown it was difficult for me to buy flowers so I decided to do a 'floral' arrangement with foliage from my garden.
This was my daily target each day in lockdown and I walked endlessly on the local footpaths and pavements to try and stay fit, as did many people. It offered me time to collect my thoughts during some frightening months and gave me a wonderful way to stay in touch with neighbours and friends whom I passed, and really take in the beauty of our valley and its flowers, trees and wildlife.
A tribute to the scientists who worked so hard to find the vaccine that has allowed us all to see the light at the end of this very difficult ordeal.
Neil worked at home from the first lockdown onwards. This meant that at 6.30 in the evening, instead of beginning his drive home from his office, he was able to walk down the garden to our summerhouse where we would have a glass of wine, talk about our day and count our very many blessings.
We had found a pale, dry rose wine in Marks and Spencer’s that worked very well on a warm evening. I will always associate that wine with the hot, sunny but very frightening spring of 2020.
More time to listen to music and more time to play it. Food for the soul.
This has been a specially consoling feature during the last two years. We grow exclusively flowers, bulbs and flowering shrubs and aim always to have something on show. Louches Lane is popular with passers-by and our sunny front patch, including a small wildflower zone, seemed to bring pleasure to others too.
As a child I was often happily engaged in creating little gardens in my mother’s baking tins. These little gardens always contained a tree, a pond (made of silver foil) a little stepping-stone path (gravel) and miniature flowers I had robbed from her borders. This piece reflects the garden I have now. During lockdown periods we were so glad to be out in the garden, shaded under the trees, with the humming of insects and the beat of birds’ wings. My gardening is totally organic, so there are a lot of weeds and wild areas, (even though it is small) and mostly it looks green, but I think there is a great sense of harmony to it, and I like to think that all creatures who enter it, know that they are safe. It is my place of peace.