A day in the life – summer of 2020

27th July 2020 No Comments

The summer of 2020 isn’t a normal summer. A normal year, by now we would have enjoyed two street festivals, attended lots of music sessions in the pubs, travelled a bit and had some G&Ts and pints at O’Neill’s bar. But 2020 isn’t that kind of year. 

Instead, this summer is all about creating quality of life despite the circumstances, and to cope with the uncertainty. This year is about living in the moment, and to make the best out of it. For us, that means lots of music, good food, whisk(e)y tastings, creative work, and enjoying the garden and the beautiful surroundings.

My husband has started playing the mandolin, and I’ve picked up the guitar again after a few months of barely touching it. We’re now so dedicated to playing our instruments that we don’t have time to worry or miss our old life!

Flatbush A4 mandolin

A normal day, summer of 2020

D gets up before me and before he goes to work, he practises the mandolin. What a nice sound to wake up to!

Then I get up and have coffee, after which I usually practice guitar. I’ve been working on my guitar skills also before the pandemic, but now when my husband started to play the mandolin, I was inspired to go back to learning flatpicking (bluegrass lingo for melody playing) again, instead of just chords and bass runs. I tried that in 2015 when I had bought my Taylor guitar, but work stress took over my life and I didn’t continue. Now I’m back at it and I’m having a blast!

Coffee in the garden
Martin D-18 acoustic guitar
Now I play Martin instead of Taylor. It’s simply the best guitar for bluegrass flatpicking.
Guitar picks and flatpicking tune

My days are usually mixed with online classes, website maintenance work, writing or planning blog posts, and guitar practice. In between, I take strolls in the garden.

This certainly isn’t the summer of fabulous weather. We moved to West Cork partly because of the climate, but it certainly wasn’t the summer weather we were after! Still, we do get very nice days and then I give up all my indoor plans for the day, and go out – there is always something to do in the garden, and I want to take advantage of good weather when we have it.

In the mornings I go out to look for new flowers, check on the general progress of my plants and to look for insects and spiders. Sometimes I go for a walk – something I’ll try to do daily from now on unless the weather is really bad. I exercise way too little these days, and the areas around here are lovely.

Morning walk in West Cork, Ireland
Morning walk in West Cork, Ireland

The garden stroll is something I’ve been doing since early April and it’s always been one of the best moments of the day.

Sulfur Cosmos
Flowerbed in the garden
Flowerbed with shrubs and nepeta
Strawberry plant in pot
Spider web with spider
These live all over my shrubs

Now in the summer we try to have dinner outside as often as the weather allows. This spot behind the house is wonderful, with evening sun. Sitting there on a warm evening until the sun sets is total quality of life!

Dinner in the garden

Then after dinner we usually play a couple of tunes. It happens that we go on for a few hours… that’s also quality of life and I’m so glad we’re back to playing regularly again. Last week we were invited to join a fun weekly Skype music session – it was good fun and definitely a good substitute for the sessions in the pubs.

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