These are strange and distressful times for all humanity. Being a ‘Baby Boomer’ I felt we were the lucky generation who had missed out on the earlier torment of 20th Century conflicts and economic woes. But now the pandemic, long expected, has finally arrived in the form of the Corvid-19 Virus.
Ruth and I came home to Australia on 3 April. The borders closed around us in Switzerland mid-March and flights back home evaporated. I was nervous about hopping on crowded commercial flights anyway, since last October I contracted a case of Legionnaires Disease from our travels in Provence and had to be hospitalised. This event placed me in a high-risk category for the Corona Virus. It was obvious anyway that our still scheduled Singapore Airlines flight mid-May was not going to happen! We were prepared to spend at least the next six months in Switzerland.
At the end of March Ruth saw an article in the Swiss news stating that the Swiss Government were repatriating their citizens from Australia. We were more than fortunate to gain permission and assistance from the Swiss Government and our Australian consulate in Geneva to fly home to Sydney via this Swiss Edelweiss charter. We felt safe with only 15 people on board to Sydney!
The 14 days in quarantine at the Sheraton on the Park Sydney were surreal. The staff were wonderful, however two weeks without fresh air, locked up in a ‘luxury’ hotel room, was difficult. Thank goodness for modern social media that made isolation more palatable. Our time of incarceration however allowed me to complete my fourth and final drawing of My Seasons of the Rhine, Schaffhausen; Spring required hours of patient detail.
We were away from Australia since the beginning of 2019 – over a year – and we were blessed to visit many of our dreamed European destinations, plus Indo-China and Egypt. I have made a rich and varied collection of sketches, drawings and paintings – many destined for a planned exhibition of my works next year. The masses of photographs taken now form a library of inspiration that should last me for many years to come. Irrespective, we are delighted to be home, and I can now once again continue my love affair with the Australian landscape.
Here is Spring at the Rhine Schaffhausen. To view all My Seasons on the Rhine – click here.
The Rhine in Spring, Schaffhausen, 2020, charcoal and chalk on paper, 33 x 24 cm.
Umbrian Umbrellas, 2020, oil on canvas, 70 x 50 cm.
Lake Como from Bellagio, 2020, oil on canvas board, 31 x 40 cm.
From the Nile toward the Valley of the Kings, Luxor Egypt, 2020, charcoal on paper, 29.7 x 16.5 cm.
A quick one hour sketch on a trip down the Nile in February 2020.