Lockdown 2 (Day 23): Whitlingham Broad

Friday 27th November, 2020

What day is this? Friday already? It has come around fast, but I am finding it difficult to keep track of each day and the date. I lost track of writing up each day on Monday and have subsequently struggled to remember where I am chronologically.

I have also been aware of my mood slowly moving to a low setting. I actually admitted it to a friend today and subsequently found myself in tears on a number of occasions. The tears first seeped out last night, in fact at about four in the afternoon. Having let out some of the pressure this evening during the unusually open text conversation, I feel very tired and ready for bed.

Before I go, I must report that the day started well. I woke to the alarm at 07:00 hrs and walked to Whitlingham Broad where I met a couple of my fellow students. We walked through some of the woods by the old quarry and flint mines and then completed the circuit of the broad.

Tufted ducks sit in large groups on the dead calm water. Nothing is moving, no ripples except where another leaf detaches from an overhanging tree and falls silently to the water. The black and white markings of the ducks emphasise the monochrome nature of the foggy world we are walking through.

As we were passing the water sports boat yard I spotted a kingfisher which settled on one of the many silver birches there. It sat for a while an eye on the water, an eye on us.

Suddenly a flight of Greylag geese took off from the paddock behind us. They had barely enough airspace to clear the trees and bank up and away over the woods toward open water. When we turned back from the commotion I saw the silhouette of the kingfisher skedaddling along the line of the bank only a foot or so above the water. It has been a while since I have seen a kingfisher. The last was probably in April or early May in 2019, Ilminster.

There was heavy fog when I set off and the sun appeared as a white roundel that faded to bright grey and back again as the clouds of heavy fog thinned and thickened like stirred soup.

It was good to walk with my friends. Talk was quite intense, reflecting the uptight emotions of the moment. The announcement yesterday by Prime Minister Johnson provided little we did not already know.

This morning the UK originated vaccination does not seem so effective as first announced. The competing companies are keen to exploit the commercial opportunity of being first to market, but if Covid-19 is an existential threat to humanity, there is a strong argument for cooperation not competition and open sourcing any scientific discoveries, rather than commercial secrecy. By this I mean sharing the formula with the world so that sufficient supplies can be manufactured at locations on each continent to facilitate a speedy vaccination programme for all.

We discuss what the implications might be when a vaccination becomes available. Will proof of vaccination be required before entry is allowed to pubs, clubs, football grounds or cinemas, restaurants, schools? 

Later, I bake bread and take one of the loaves to my friend on the other side of the city centre. I stand just outside the front door as we talk. She holds the door to let fresh air into her apartment where the air is so highly charged with dry air that I can see some of the hair on her head standing out straight from the static charge. 

The sky is clear. The moon’s brightness attracts attention even when walking back through the park and the city’s heart. All the Christmas lights are on display now. There are few people to enjoy them.

It is very cold, discouraging dawdling. I am now in the habit of putting my face mask on as I cut across the main shopping zone.


CLP Friday, 27th November, 2020


  1. Thanks for taking me on your walk!

    1. Hi Angela, You’re very welcome. It is great having your company. Your message was placed in the Spam folder by WordPress…don’t know why! Sorry to have been slow replying. Hope all well over the water there. How is the book project going?

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