I first heard about Covid-19 virus late December 2019 during our Christmas cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Mexico. Early February we had friends from Berlin visit us at our apartment in Fort Lauderdale who had been travelling far and wide, and we discussed the virus implications. We then travelled to northern Florida to visit friends and of course discussed the implications again. Then my brother and wife arrived from the UK and by this time things were becoming more serious. They were not unduly worried although we were becoming a little anxious. Early March my Berlin girlfriend who had visited us was in New York and Washington at the time President Trump closed the borders to incoming Europeans excluding the UK and she had three more weeks left before returning to Germany, however she re-booked and took the last flight out from New York by Lufthansa to Frankfurt.

Our return flight scheduled for early April was with BA through Heathrow. So, we decided to stay until then. However, the very next week all incoming passengers other than US citizens from the UK were banned. We therefore knew that there would be fewer flights coming and going. Because of the healthcare system and health insurance etc., in the US we decided to return to Berlin earlier and managed to re-book.

So, middle of March we arrived home after four months away. Lots to do and clean in and outside the house. We were sad leaving the wonderful weather and our friends in Florida but every morning we awoke in Berlin to the sun shining, so we spent many happy hours in the garden. Early springtime is always a time of cutting back, cleaning, tidying and thus we embarked upon this venture. As my husband had just retired, we had the time to thoroughly clean out the shed, summer house, garage and cutting back ivy that has a mind of its own and gradually creeps up the house given half a chance. It can also completely cover shrubs, so lots to do to get the garden in order. My husband is now concentrating on the lawns.

During April when the weather was warm, we even managed to BBQ a few times and
sat outside on our terrace enjoying all the blossoms on the trees and shrubs.

Not wanting to venture out to garden centres, I ordered a few plants and a couple of roses online. Delivered and packed very well, hey – this is the way to go in the future – door to door. They have taken hold and growing well, despite the recent cold spell.

In the past we have been in Florida from mid-April until late May and have therefore missed many of the lovely flowers and blossoms our garden has to offer, so this year we were so surprised at the wonderful displays.

We feel very fortunate to have our garden and now with food deliveries when we need to replenish our groceries, we are totally self-sufficient. Of course we miss seeing friends and eating out from time to time but I have been trying out new recipes and baking, even tried a recipe from a previous chef to the Queen of her favourite scones which she must have every afternoon no matter where she is in the world, and of course Netflix has satisfied the evening entertainment.

Recently we have been exploring our neighbourhood for long walks and so surprised at the parks with wonderful blossoms and open cultivated fields just around the corner from us of which we had not experienced in the past.

At the moment, my new norm is touring the garden every morning, exploring the neighbourhood, having deliveries of everything I want or need, working out in my gym, eating the Queen’s scones, watching Netflix and not forgetting video or telephone calls with friends and family both near and far and finally keeping the garden trim.

Keep well everyone and greetings from Zehlendorf. I look forward to seeing you all in the not too distant future.