It's a truth universally acknowledged that you usually only miss something when it's gone. I can't count how many times I have cursed the crowds at busy venues when working, or out and about, and how much I always said I hated having to push through people. When working and carrying all my camera equipment, some of which protrude a fair way out and thus limit my usual ability to slip unnoticed through small spaces, I suddenly transform into a serial apologiser and I find myself repeating the same lame excuses 'Excuse me ma'am, sorry sir, please sir can I just squeeze through there, oh goodness, I'm so sorry, oh bloody hell, whoops a daisies' as I tried to ease my way through the heaving crowd, trying desperately not to bump into anyone with the end of my 500mm lens, or the camera hanging off my waist belt. Equally, trying to bend your torso suddenly to avoid having a hole burnt through whatever I'm wearing by someone's evil cigarete butt that smokers always seem to insist on (not all all selfishly) on holding as far away from their own body as is humanely possible, can prompt me to mutter expletives under my breath.
Yet suddenly I'm missing crowds! Missing the atmosphere that a crowded room or venue would bring. Who would have thought!
Which leads me to my conclusion that pandemics are completely dreary and that I hate the profound changes they can bring to society in such a short time. Yesterday afternoon I popped in to the supermarket to buy a few supplies. I live in a semi rural community but all of a sudden there was security guard in the local IGA. A security guard!!!!!!! It was a thoroughly depressing sight and while I smiled, said hello and happy easter, I hated every moment of it. Our supermarket is really nice, staffed by locals (including many kids) and almost always well stocked, even during the period highlighted by the thoroughly unlikable and locust-like behaviour of some. In a stark reminder of the times, you can instantly tell when they've had a delivery of toilet paper by the number of people hurrying back to their cars with a packet under their arm and a triumphant look on their face. That in itself is depressing enough! But security guards! In a grocery store!!!!! Here???!!!!!! I hate the idea of being suspicious about other people, of others being suspicious of me. Don't even think about touching anything and not buying, unless you're prepared to feel a hundred daggers suddenly thudding in to your back. And whatever you do DON'T sneeze. No matter how much pollen is swirling through the air! Much less cough!
This year we are spending Easter at home. In any other year I would be at my Mum's house and would have spent the week immersed in the world of the thoroughbred (and watching quiz shows with mum when not around the sales). It really hurt to not be able to attend the Inglis Easter Yearling Sale. I can't remember the last one I missed. April is a beautiful mild time of year, there are lots of people and friends around, and the horses are gorgeous. I don't usually edit all the sale photos straight away. Typically they are like secret treasures hidden away and wait to be dug out (often at 10pm when I should be going to bed) when I get wind that a nice horse I photographed at least 12 months has been named, or is about to trial or race for the first time, or wins it's first race. Or perhaps to see whether that horse had caught my eye and/or I'd been at the right place at the right time when they entered the parade ring. But not this year. The Inglis Easter Sale was held as a virtual auction for the first time in it's history. No photos. No nothing. I wasn't able to photograph at Randwick last Saturday or this Saturday and being forced out of work isn't a lot of fun.
So what have we been doing instead of working? Well for a start I insisted that we buy a turkey to cook here at home. The Baking Queen decided to make a reappearance after Jessica and I got bored and baked the famous Buttermilk Spice Cake. I'm back and forth to my horse changing rugs (because it is that time of year) which she likes because then she gets breakfast and dinner. I'm editing old photographs. Doing french homework and had my first french class online. We've been going on bike rides to get some exercise. I've been forcing myself to do some bookwork which is sooooooooooo boring..... The kids have started doing their music lessons online and getting used to that, and courtesy of this development my office desk now has a microphone behind my camera and a speaker cabinet blocking the cupboard. We're told school will be entirely online for the whole of term 2 which will be a challenge. We're trying not to trip over each other and trying to keep things harmonious. My desk is looking suspiciously tidy (although don't be fooled, there's still loads to get through) but has the tell tale signs that I'm not shooting because of the number of different hard drives currently sitting within arms reach. AND I tidied the pantry! I've bought a couple of new books that I've never read, both by Jane Austen, after spending an enjoyable night in Sydney with Mum last month watching Alan Rickman (still sad), Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet in 'Sense and Sensibility'. I can't believe I'd never seen it before, and resorted to watching it when I thought my head was going to explode with panic if I watched another single report on COVID-BLOODY-19!
I'm also planning some creative projects and researching new products in an attempt to continue to innovate what we do and how we do it, plus trying to think how I might remove at least some of my Eggs out the Racing Industry's Basket, because the last 4 weeks has demonstrated what a tenuous position this really is if they make an arbitrary decision that you can't work.
So, as I wish you Happy Easter, I can't help missing life as it was. The spring carnival is probably lost although we will argue hard to be back on track for that. I continue to hungrily digest any news on the scientific progress towards a vaccine and am encouraged by the work being carried on here in Australia towards that end. I hope that 2021 will bring a vaccine because without that it will be a while before we safely have more of this!