Share this:


Counting My Blessings During A Difficult Time by Judy Leigh  

Murphy The Cat

My thoughts go each day to those people who are currently working hard for the good of the nation despite all sorts of difficulties. But I also want to remember those people for whom lockdown must be a nightmare: people who are isolated and feeling lonely, people who are isolated with people they don’t want to be isolated with, or people who can’t get outside in the sunshine even for a breath of fresh air. It’s not an easy time and some people have it tougher than others.

We are constantly reminded about the unwise behaviour of those people who are still going out in groups and socialising, congregating on beaches, in parks and are heading in droves towards the coast when they should be in imposed isolation for the good of themselves and everyone else.

In these difficult circumstances, I realise how lucky I am to be living in a place where there are so few people around and so much open space. The rural community I live in is incredibly supportive: I have some of the best neighbours possible; we keep in touch on a group chat and share what we have readily, from groceries and baking to jokes and viral videos.

The local pub sells milk and groceries to the locals without human contact and delivers food boxes and meals to those who aren’t able to manage without support. We are all making the best of the situation, and I’m frequently reminded that we are so fortunate to live in a place where we can go outside and breathe. I’ve lived in small flats and places with no garden or outdoor space and loved city life, but how much more difficult must that be for people in that situation now?

There’s a three-mile walk I often take and it’s a beautiful stroll through a country lane, to an open field, past horses, sheep, pigs and into woodland where there are blossoms, meadows, buds and birdsong. I often take a big bag with me and pick up twigs for kindling for an open fire. I wish I could share the walk with everyone, especially those stuck indoors.

Yesterday, I walked to the woods and Murphy, one of my three cats, came with me. He enjoys a walk and he won’t be discouraged; once I set out, he follows me and no amount of ‘Go home, Murph’ will persuade him not to come. My other cats aren’t quite so keen: Colin, the most eccentric of the three, prefers to stay at home, lying on the computer, purring, trying to edit my latest chapter with a swish of his tail or by parking his bum on the letter ‘a’ to create a chapter all of his own. TC, the most affectionate one, who follows me everywhere for food, won’t always take on an arduous walk especially if there’s a patch of sunlight at home to lie in. But Murphy, the faithful and indomitable one, sometimes decides he is ready for an adventure!

It was a bit warm for a small cat to walk so far though. He stopped to lap some water when he could and he had a small rest in the shade of a tree, but he trotted the whole way. Incredibly, he was sufficiently energised when he came home to catch himself a rabbit and treat himself. Country life does have its down side…

But lockdown for me means I can still go out. It means that I can still do the things I’m used to doing: I write and edit novels and I bake bread and read books and exercise by walking or going upstairs to the gym (an exercise bike, a treadmill, some weights, a mat). I am incredibly lucky, although it will be great when this difficult time is all over and I can see my daughter, who is holed up in Cornwall right now, my son’s girlfriend can come over from the USA, and I can catch up with so many dear friends. But compared to what many people have to endure, my experience is a walk in the park – or even the woods.

So I’ll dedicate this blog post not just to those brave and brilliant people who are keeping us all going through their invaluable work in the NHS, all the drivers and packers making all the regular deliveries and those people who keep the shops open, but to all those people who are stuck inside and aren’t able to breathe the clean air. By isolating so rigorously, they are doing their bit to flatten the curve and keep everyone safe. I can’t thank them enough. I send warmest wishes and love to them all. When this is all over, we’ll all be able to have a huge party – and we’ll all be able to celebrate outdoors!


Judy’s book Five French Hens is available in ebook, audiobook and paperback now! And Judy’s upcoming book, The Old Girls’ Network is available for pre-order now.

Get your copy by clicking on the covers below. 


Social Boldwood