When Life with Covid-19 was Still a Novelty

Blogging challenges, North Yorkshire

The last day of 2020. We began our year with Emily and Miquel, in Spain. Then – Covid-19 happened, and has dominated everyone’s lives ever since. Optimism and general feel-good is in short supply after all this time, so I choose instead to remember those three months of Lockdown in the spring and early summer. This was a desperate period of isolation, anxiety and money worries for many, so I feel almost ashamed to admit that for me, it was a time when I did little but get out into the fine spring weather and walk, walk, walk, discovering in a way I never had before, the delights of our own home patch.

I was also beginning to get stuck into Jude’s 2020 Photo Challenge, and always took my camera with me to reflect on her latest demands. This review of a year of challenges is only partial: it leaves out all of the later tasks which as the year wore on, relied for me increasingly on archive material. But I’ve discovered a lot about getting the best from a shot – the benefits for instance, of a low viewpoint, or of framing the scene. I’ve had reinforced what I already knew: that fiddling around with dials and apertures ain’t for me, It’s my loss, but I’ll live with it. I’ve discovered too that black and white photos are anything but snaps with the colour removed.

And Su, I’m including this post in your The Changing Seasons theme, even though there are four seasons in every year, not just one. On this occasion, I wanted to remember the best of the year that’s on its way out.

Just click on any image if you want to see it full size. Thank you, Jude, for a mind-stretching challenge during a year when my brain usually seems to be filled with little more than bran. And Su, yours is a challenge I’ll join again too. Next time, I might even stick to the rules.

53 thoughts on “When Life with Covid-19 was Still a Novelty

      1. For me, that wasn’t the case…I locked down and didn’t get out until later when I found an area of few people thanks to a friend…but it’s getting more used now. I’m probably not going to get outside much now….

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  1. I’m with you on the twiddling, Margaret. I’m not at all a photographer, just someone who likes pretty or interesting pictures, and you provide lots. 🙂 🙂 Happy New Year to you, honeybun! Some of these can be given another outing in Jude’s Colour challenge. Heavens but life’s challenging these days 🙂

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    1. Oh, isn’t it Jo? I’m not in a very good place just now, despite trying to appear cheerful. Hope you’re feeling OK? Let’s hope next year ends better than this one, eh?

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      1. Well, tipped straight into lockdown doesn’t do much for anyone, hon. We have a curfew here from 11 tonight. Was this what it must have been in the war years? At least we’re not blacked out. Then we have to be home from 1.00 lunchtime Friday till Sunday 😦

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  2. You’ve made me wish I’d got out more during the year, Margaret. At this point in the never ending Sunday of the holidays, I feel particularly blobbish – a feeling not helped by the previous nine months of limited horizons.

    I love your picture selection – the ripples, the sheep and the poppies in particular. I do enjoy fiddling with aperture and shutter speed, but most of the time I take pictures on instinct. My husband fiddles for ages and only commits when he thinks the framing is right. I typically take around six times the pictures he does when we’re out and about together.

    I usually make a calendar for the coming year using photos I’ve taken over the previous 12 months. I had nothing this year, my camera has stayed in its case all year. I only used my phone camera when I did go out. It feels as though 2020 is going to be a blank year when I look back on it in years to come.

    Let’s hope 2021 sees some improvement.

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    1. Getting out into the fresh air is the only thing that’s kept me sane. I realised that when I stopped doing it to a large extent in this season of poor weather. When I look back on this year, I think what I’ll mind about the most is the loss of not being with small grandchildren as they grow up and change – pretty much from day to day. And you’d think I’d have compensated by reading voraciously. But … nope. That seems to be a common problem too. Let’s hope for better things in 2021!

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  3. Rules, schmules.
    It’s lovely that you’ve shared this post with us Margaret. Your images are beautiful and I think we all need to remember the best of the year and carry that with us going forward. Happy New Year.

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  4. For me 2020 is a year we should remember for being kind to ourselves, each other and celebrating achievements no matter how big or how small, and to my my mind getting out and discovering the hidden delights and detail of your local patch is a huge achievement, and one to be shouted about from the rooftops. A truly lovely post Margaret

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  5. I have loved your photos this year and thank you for joining me in discovering more about photography. Spring was indeed very different and annoyingly we couldn’t make the most of our deserted beaches. I also missed out on the poppies so it is wonderful to see yours. Soon be lambs in the fields and daffodils in the hedgerows as spring comes a little earlier down here. I just hope for more dry weather. Wishing you and yours a safe and happy 2021 and as they say in the north “keep your pecker up”
    Jude xx

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    1. They were wonderful. If only they were allowed to wander across the fields too. I’ve enjoyed your park meanderings too. Let’s hope we can do these things in the company of frinds next year.

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  6. I’ve really enjoyed seeing your submissions for the challenges and to watch you growing in confidence. Many of my favourites have been of your fields and trees, but I love the poppies and the grasses too.

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    1. Oh thanks! Yes, this last year has definitely had a few benefits, and I have come to enjoy photography more. You seem to embrace a wider field of topics too than when I first followed you, and I always look forward to them. All good wishes for 2021!

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  7. Great collection of photos, Margaret. I love the zig-zaggy water and the flowers in profile against the sky. Is that a snipe of some sort? You did well to capture it as it is so well camouflaged. I love that last photo of the poppy that looks like a bird in flight. I am looking forward to next year, Margaret, and I send you best wishes for a much better year.

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    1. You too Tracy. That bird is a curlew. It was so exciting to see it close up, as they’re not keen on humans, and becoming scarce too. This was a find just as Lockdown was easing an I guess their confidence had grown as we disappeared off the radar. So there were a few benefits from that strange period. Here’s hoping that 2021 will get easier though.

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    1. Thank you! It’s not an ibis – we don’t have them here – but a curlew, a shy moorland and coastal bird that’s becoming endangered, so it was so exciting to spot this one.

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  8. Dear Margaret – it has been good to see your lovely springtime photos and to recall how that first lockdown period felt (it was different here as it was initially so strict that even walking out was not allowed). You are right about the benefits of shooting from a low viewpoint that you have used to such good effect.
    I imagine that this time of the year and of the season is always depressing in the chillier parts of the northern hemisphere, with spring still a long way off. Of course this year the anxieties and deprivations wrought by the pandemic are awful whatever the season or the weather. It is an irrevocable loss not being able to spend time with your grandchildren during this period, and I am really sorry. It can be hard to know what to do when one is at a low ebb, but I try to have faith that my feelings will fluctuate and I try to find distractions that help (even if I know I am conning myself). It can be remarkable though that faking feeling better can actually help!
    On the subject of distractions, yesterday we watched Bill Bailey and Oti Mabuse’s dance routines on Strictly Come Dancing (available on YouTube) and then moved on to watch some iconic Fred Astaire set pieces and it was possible to smile unrestrainedly for a while …
    And thank you for the wonderful distractions that your blog and beautiful photos provide as we negotiate our way through these toughest of times.
    Sending very best wishes xxx

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    1. I’ve never been a Strictly fan, but I do love Bill Bailey, so I might give this a chance. You’re right about Faking Feeling Good too. It can work. As we’re clearly stuck with a horrible situation for a while, I feel the need to develop more positive routines. You always seem to have a project on the go. For us, the shortest day is now over though, so that always makes me more optimistic. And there are green shoots! And even the birds have started singing again. So it’s not all doom and gloom. So long as you continue posting on your blog, all’s well. You research them so carefully, yet relate the post to your own situation with always great photos. Stay well and healthy! xx

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      1. Yes, I just watched the Bill Bailey clips, and his partner and mentor Oti Mabuse is originally from SA and she is an inventive choreographer with great style.
        The common sense advice is always to have healthy routines so we are working on that too. And we punctuate the day with coffee and other little breaks and rituals, and we try to observe weekends as different from the other days. Small things provide some light and shade. And your lengthening days will be providing quite literally more light 😎
        I will carry on blogging – it does provide a lovely point of contact with such generous people from different continents. So thank you.
        You keep well and healthy too, and I hope the weather moderates enough soon for you to be able to have more enjoyable walks in nature xx.

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      2. I’m doing quite well with the walking – not usually as long as I would like, but at least I’m doing it. Making weekends different is an excellent idea. Things are fine, but one day does tend to flow into another. Your South African variant sounds even more worrying than ours, so vigilance is still the order of the day. I can tell you’re super-careful. Keep it up! xx

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      3. Glad that you are keeping on walking. My husband is better at doing that regularly than I am – we have a eucalyptus plantation to walk in and it has rather limited attractions, but at least it is better than walking in suburbia or on pavements.
        Yes the variant here is horrendous, and added to that is that so many people don’t take the need to take precautions seriously – including people who don’t need to take risks and should know better.
        We try to be as careful as we can. We are so reclusive I worry that my brain is rewiring and I won’t know how to be social after this is all over!
        Take care xx

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      4. I know. I don’t think I could cope with a social gathering any more. And we’re luckier than you in that we can legitimately walk in the Great Outdoors. Thanks to my virtual dog, I’ve been out every singl day for more than a week now.

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      5. Interesting to hear that you are also feelin a bit weird about the prospect of social gatherings!
        Oh, sorry if I misled you, we can walk outdoors now – it was just in the initial six weeks of the most stringent lockdown starting in March that there were restrictions on walking out. However, during the current surge in infections, parks and beaches in hotspots regions are now closed until mid Jan but we can walk elsewhere.
        Glad your virtual dog is providing such excellent motivation! We look forward to our real dog Rory being able to go on walks again once he has recovered from his op. I have to distract him when my husband sneaks our other dog, Amy, out for a walk 🙂

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      6. Yes we have heard about the lockdown, and perhaps your PM won’t change his mind again tomorrow?
        So sorry that the situation is so awful. All we can do his hibernate and try to find ways of keeping going. The New Year was supposed to be a turning point for better prospects, so I think many will find the surge in infections and subsequent lockdown a very hard blow emotionally. And the tragic loss of life is overwhelming. The health workers deserve all the support they can get – so hopefully restrictions will be observed and the conspiracy theorists who think the pandemic is hoax will catch a wake up.
        Keep safe xx

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