2020 has seen many of the things that I enjoy get cancelled. The spring shutdown meant that I couldn’t get out to the hills, couldn’t go hiking in Wales, and couldn’t work – weddings were banned and physical distancing meant that I couldn’t work on portraits or my documentaries either. The continuation of restrictions – and uncertainty – throughout the summer meant that we didn’t go camping like we usually would, and now that we’re heading into autumn, I can feel the walls closing in again as the second spike / peak / wave / call it what you will of the pandemic begins. I have no idea when I will next shoot a wedding, go to a punk show, go camping, or work on my other film and photography projects. It’s shit. There’s no two ways about it.
Minou turned seventeen on Sunday. She put in a request for sunshine and a tub of coconut yoghurt to help her celebrate, and both her birthday wishes came true. I put cushions out for her in her favourite sunny spots on the balcony, and made sure that there were steps – carefully positioned chairs and an upturned flower pot – for her to use as she’s not got much strength in her back legs these days. She whiled the afternoon away on the bench, enjoying a couple of teaspoons of coconut yoghurt as the sun moved around. A good birthday, I think.
There’s a Turkish shop on Smallbrook Queensway that we often stop in at when we go to the market or walk to the station. It came into its own during the early weeks of the shutdown back in April and May, as the shelves are densely packed floor to ceiling with all sorts of essentials including dried beans – which we struggled to find in the supermarkets – and other goodies like tahini – a staple in our household – as well as treats like tins of stuffed vine leaves. Ed and I call stuffed vine leaves ‘Tamek’ because that’s the brand the Turkish shop sells.
I have to laugh at myself for fitting the stereotype of my generation. In my defence, my collection of succulents is quite small and only takes up a tiny corner of one room of my home. I can also put them out on the balcony when it’s warm. I never thought I’d be interested in houseplants – chuckling at the couple who live opposite and have blocked their entire window and all natural light in their flat with a collection of huge plants – but I found myself craving something green while both botanical gardens were shut during the first wave of the pandemic, and so here we are.