Life in the Craig household continues as normal even though I miss the opportunity to go out for a picnic or have friends over for a meal. Chatting by video just isn’t quite the same as being with each other. We walk, read and play games, and listen to podcasts. I can tolerate this isolation but refuse to consider living in a world where isolating the over 70 year olds might become the norm; that is not a life it is a jail term!
Perhaps Covid-19 is good preparation either for retirement or for learning how to live with one’s chosen partner. Andy and I have been without full time work now for a few years so we have finally adjusted to a lifestyle where we don’t tread on each other’s toes or run out of conversation. We have started playing games after dinner, including scrabble and backgammon, and my 93 year old father is secretly hoping that we will start playing bridge together.
Colin the Cat has taken to hiding from us under the bedcovers, scunging up the sheets but at least he doesn’t have to tolerate his humans being at home so much. He appears at dinner time when he supplements his dinner with moth entrée as we have been inundated with moths, large and small, ugly and questionably beautiful.
Andy said he grew up calling these moths Widow’s moths because of the sharp v that their wings form when closed, but I think they are called Swift’s moths and there seem to be many variations. They divebomb our salads, splash down in our wine and singe their wings on the candles! Even the local newspaper is reporting these irritating invaders. I have to cover my glass of water on the bedside table otherwise I get a mouthful of moth in the middle of the night.
No-one really knows why they have arrived although it may have something to do with the long period of drought then rain. ‘Blame it on climate change’ – seems to have disappeared from the newspapers lately. I think originally there were too many larvae hatching into caterpillars which devoured my rocket, then they hatched into heaps of moths and there were insufficient parasitoid wasps to eat the moth larvae but there are a lot of bean bugs destroying the snake bean harvest. The grandsons and I have been chanting: Four green caterpillars sitting on a plate, out came the secateurs and then there were eight!’
I am torn between loving my other invader, the Swallow Tail butterfly and tolerating the caterpillars. It was fun watching a male butterfly dance and flutter its wings, casting its pheromone love dust towards the female who had perched on a particularly vicious thorny rose stem.
I watched her perch gently between the thorns and wondered about the many times marriage is expressed as being a bed of roses with the occasional thorn (or nail as Bon Jovi sings) thrown in. Roses were on my brain as I had just listened to a podcast about the poem Le Roman de la Rose where a knight breaches the castle of jealousy and finds the rose.
So my garden has been an utter disaster this year other than the lime tree which as usual is producing far too many fruit for us to consume. I have been pruning it vigorously, even though it isn’t that time of the year to do so and after making two batches of lime marmalade, salted limes and limeade, I gathered the crop into small parcels and walked up and down my street handing them out to the neighbours. I even put a large collection at the front gate and asked passers by to help themselves which has removed some but only some of the surplus.