These grey days under clouds shed a different light on surroundings. Somehow birdsong is easier to pick up. Do they sing differently in the mist? Before any crow this morning, before the blackbirds, I hear the pigeons from the wood opposite.
I see there is a way into the cathedral grounds from the riverside, the gates are not locked. Edith Cavell, a nurse shot during WWI for helping Allied troops escape the field hospital in Belgium where she aided the wounded of both sides, has a grave site and a medal and plaque pinned to the old building’s outer wall. This memorial is in addition to an elegant statue of her that stands in Tombland. She is outside the cathedral and outside its walls, is this symbolic? Is she undeserving of a place within?
The spire pricks the mist that hangs over the city today. There are many people out in couples, some in illicit threes, can they not either count or read the current regulations? Everyone seems respectful of the other walkers; distances are maintained, space conceded, people wait for others to pass by before squeezing into narrow pathways, some walk in the roadway to ensure enough space is allowed for passing.
On Thorn Lane there is the chirruping of goldfinches. They have collected in a sizeable flock in a solitary, naked tree by the car park as I walk down the steep incline. I stop and listen. The flock is joined by others that flutter across the road from the slice of wood that is squeezed behind the row of industrial units on my right.
Further on, where the autumnal leaf fall persists as a slimy mulch, a sparrow jumps about chirping in fluted tones. It disappears behind a telecommunications junction box as I pass. Even sparrows seem to understand physical distancing in a day when a record number of UK Covid-19 deaths are reported.
We are advised to behave as if each of us is infected with the coronavirus to protect ourselves and others. I note that Johnson has finally seen that vaccinating frontline health workers is likely to be helpful. You know, it may even mean fewer medical staff do not get infected and can continue to work and care for others. The Great Clown’s brain may have a pulse after all.