Sometime in early July
Spellcheck suggests After the Goldfish. Well, why not? This morning has a kind of random feeling about it. I spent yesterday wading through a boxful of the last 18 months worth of mail that we have managed to live without. Worse, it’s missed the commercial shredding…. Well, there will be more.
The above is a fragment of an attempt at starting a blog last week, I think. It didn’t go anywhere, so I am going to start again!
Afterthought: Too many tracks? They outrun the text, but they all say something in terms of mood. Use them as you will.
19 July 2021
This is the best image I can come up with at the moment for the way I feel. We are poised halfway along the high wire between Bristol and Crete, between homes, between lives. Today I almost felt my foot slip. Was it a feint, or an actual slip? I will interrogate my dreams. The other image it conjures is the high wire act that we are all performing, as we cross the territory of the pandemic. At one side, the scientists, firmly anchoring their end of the wire in the concrete base of research and statistics, and at the other end a bunch of clowns. The walk is a wobbly one.
I was reading a feature earlier on today, picnicking in a Bristol Park. It was written by a consultant, and what really stuck in my mind, was the following sentence – not an exact quote, but something like this: people try their best, follow the rules and do all the right things, and still wind up in hospital with Covid. The consultant was warning that NHS resources are stretched too thinly, staff exhausted and/or absent; I can only imagine how they feel when asked to open another Covid ward. And yes, there’s flu and the other thingy that kids get, also affecting the respiratory system. So today felt bleak. Al and I have been talking about how the current ‘Freedom’ is messing with our plans to spend time with our friends in this precious window of time before we return to our lives in Crete. As cases accelerate away, the more travel, the more contact, the more risk, to ourselves and others. Of course it’s not the only opportunity but the twin giants of Covid and Climate Change are the gatekeepers to the future. I warned you that I felt bleak.
21 July 2021
Just to be clear, regardless of my genetics, I am Welsh, and from time to time, I am strongly reminded of that. Here we are literally in ‘border country’ and of course that reflects my state exactly.
The house we are camping in belonged to my cousin Kay, on my Dad’s side. It is a 4 bed detached in the English style, in an area of suburban housing, bordering the agricultural countryside of the Wye Valley – a traditionally beautiful area. Down the road is Nimrod Drive, named for Edward Elgar who lived in one of the rambling early 19C houses nearby. But neither the house nor the area are really to my taste. We are camping not because the house lacks basic amenities, but because it just isn’t a good fit with what we do are how we are.
The countryside might be calendar pretty, but diversity is limited with a very limited population of flowers, birds or animals. The English suburban garden is supposed to be a haven for birds and butterflies, but we have seen mainly starlings and wood pigeons, despite rigging up a bird feeder when we arrived. The rivers here are swimmable, but don’t seem clean. Reports of barely legal discharges bear this out.
This is interesting – a medieval hay meadow in a state of preservation. It borders the River Lugg. About 15-20 minutes walk away. We discovered it in the heat of the late afternoon, and are planning an early morning hit. Hay meadows were a big feature of a countryside that depended on animals (oxen as well as horses) to power the machinery of plowing and harvesting. Hay was the fuel they ran on after the summer grazing was finished. The smell reminded me of the circus.
We have also found a local managed woodland. Herefordshire has some spectacular trees.
We drove to Hay on Wye at the weekend. No cream teas, no bookshops or other attractions for us – we shy away from human contact in the face of the wildly accelerating disease situation (as Alice Roberts said – we can learn to live with Covid like we have learned to live with traffic accidents, but it doesn’t mean we cross the road in front of an articulated truck. Was that Alice? I digress.) On the way we stopped to check out a stream next a very old, very English church.
I like the smell of churches, old stone and wood. Some beautifully made and cheerful tapestry work in the hassocks and other church paraphernalia.
All today’s photos taken from Al’s phone. He is fonder of the English countryside than I am.
Coming soon: Picnics and People