Well, the few days have been eventful, after months of non-eventfulness under lockdown. I received a gorgeous book marking the 40th anniversary of Roland Barthes' Camera Lucida in the post. It came with no note attached, but the sender was, it turned out, a friend with whom I had fallen out during my tumultuous 20s, over some ultimately insignificant matter, who sent it as an anonymous peace offering—very Mercury retrograde. I spotted a volery of long-tailed tits in the woods, flashing silvery breasts and flicking tails and darting from branch to branch, buoyant and restless. I got croissants and an oat milk flat white at the much-anticipated new cafe at the castle; in the neighbouring field, cattle grazed under the two massive horse chestnuts and hawthorn tree in bloom among hip-high buttercups and bitter dock. I drank gin and tonics with friends in their garden for the first time in a year. And I finally got my first vaccine shot; it left me with a sore arm and a mild hangover feeling, sleepy and craving pizza, har. Afterwards we went shopping—shopping!—and ate fish tacos in a beer garden beside the river Garavogue.
On Instagram, a friend tags me in a photo of Dutch irises, coaxed from bulbs I had sent her for her birthday. Elegant and deeply purple, the rewards of enduring patience.