At A Standstill

Scroll this

I could tell you about how we were diagnosed with COVID-19. Thomas’ father, 86-year-old Jaap, who was on the mend after bypass surgery. Anne-Marie, his wife. Thomas and I.

I could describe the dry cough and the deep fatigue that passed through our bodies for weeks. The inability to smell and taste anything.  I could also tell you about the generous amounts of love we received from friends and family. And I could stuff this page with the sadness and anxiety we felt for Jaap, alone in a hospital overrun with virus cases. With the particular kind of awfulness in not being able to hug someone when they’re ill. I could, but the worst is over.

We’re all doing fine. Jaap is recovering from his ordeal at home. And we are back on the estate, grateful for having only mild symptoms and for the slow return to ‘normal’, French lockdown number two.

And so it begins again. The first lockdown came when a magical spring was blooming, and we drank in the season’s sweet smell and bright colours, the promise of renewal. This time our confinement happens as days darken into winter and it is playing achingly on my heart. It’s eerily quiet, and oddly warm for the time of year. Nature holding its breath while the world comes to a doubtful standstill again. Apparently we cannot put this pandemic behind us just yet, there’s more uncertainty we must deepen into.


As always, the estate is my teacher. Confinement or not, the grounds and the house have the usual demands. We work largely outside -just a little short of breath- mowing the orchard, raking leaves, clearing away dead trees, and shifting logs. We’ve spent days atop ladders to tidy vines and roses, and under the hoods of the tractor and the Land Rover to tackle maintenance. As yellow leaves flutter over me, I start feeling better, part of the cycles of life again. Less detached from the world, more ready to deal with change.

Lescure’s autumn days begin with misty mornings, then clear into fleeting golden light just before the early sunset. I feel comforted: the seasons are inevitable. Winter will come, and then, as always, gloom will lighten into spring again.


  1. Ik wens jullie veel licht en liefde toe, al gaat het al veel beter. Ook voor Jaap en Anne-Marie. Touched by your story and photos (again!). Liefs uit Middelburg.

  2. Bonjour au domaine et à tous ses occupants
    Quelles terribles nouvelles, … mais aussi quel bonheur de vous savoir rétablis.
    Le temps nous éprouve, et renforce toutes les incertitudes sur les lendemains…
    Heureusement que la terre de Lescure est bien là, immuable avec sa nature toujours aussi belle, d’après les superbes photos de Véronique…
    Je suis sur que le domaine vous rend les attentions et les soins que vous lui portez.
    Alors prenez grand soins de vous.
    Tous mes meilleurs souvenirs au papa de Thomas, content de le savoir bien se rétablir auprès de vous.
    Amicalement – Yves-Olivier & Annie

    • Merci beaucoup, Yves-Olivier & Annie. J’espère que vous allez bien. On vous appelle un de ces jours!

  3. As usual, touched by the magic of you images and words. Longing to smell, taste, sense, and be at this place.
    Celebrating the wonders of the season. Deepening the love for this magic place. Gratitude to be Human- Beings and experiencing the joy of live. Enjoy and warmest Peter Paul

    • Thank you for your kind words, PP. Warm regards from both of us.

Submit a comment