Day 12

British Summer Time, the forward shift of clocks by an hour, has blown in on a gale straight off the North Sea. Hailstones are spat at the window. Some of the ice pellets stick before slipping slowly; disintegrating as they slide, leaving a tear stain on the pane.

The hazel bush flexes in the gusts, before springing back to a position south of upright, unable to fully right itself.

Blue tits make brisk trips to the jangling feeders dangling on the frame. Flights are brief hops. No stopping for rest as rest is impossible when balance so precarious.

The wind strokes the pasture. The grass becomes fluid; water running up hill.


CLP 29/03/2020

Day 11 – After Noon

Briefly outside, but I’m driven back by the falling temperature. The grey sky gave way to blue eventually, but there was no warmth in the sunbeams.

There seems little enthusiasm today in the birds’ calls. The greenfinches are the only ones heard throughout the day, but even they lack energy.

A picture is sent by my son of his two children leaning over the top rail of a fence by a bluebell wood stream. They missed the kingfisher’s fly by, but watching a gurgling stream is magic enough.

During the afternoon and evening messages flow gently across the English Channel. It’s been an enjoyable day.

Quiet descends. Cold and dark thicken beyond the curtains.

CLP 28/03/2020

Day 11

Awoken at 04:30 hrs. First dim light of the new day.

A stag bellows from the wood on the hill.

Tree branches, unsteady in the stiffening northerly wind, emit a low, irregular moan.

Behind this lies the slow-motion rush of heavy waves breaking hard on the shingle. Then the long draw as the sea inhales before the next swell rolls in.

I am lulled back to sleep

CLP 28/03/2020

Day 10

Unclouded skies of these past five days have stimulated rapid growth of shoots. What were twiggy branches, bushes, shrubs are now thick with green.

So many variations of green unfold from so many buds. Here we have more greens than words for “green.” Perhaps, like the Inuit with all their words for snow, the English should work harder on finding more adjectives for greenery.

Birds have not lost enthusiasm for song, but they seem to be less competitive. Instead of a wall of sound, the day is calmer, the air less congested. There is now space to hear individual contributions.

A musician would call a pause in the score, “fermata”. A fermata is written on the stave as a “bird’s eye”. Today is filled with these bird’s eyes, seasoning the musical soup from the burgeoning bushes.

Sparrows are constant in their tweeting and goldfinches in their chirruping. Other species seem to have become more contained, confining their orations to the early chorus.

Today is Friday, I had to have it confirmed. Days are becoming similar, simpler. Spring is happening around us. Our reduced circumstances slow us so that the changes the season brings are more easily apparent. With less to do there is more to be seen.


CLP 27/03/2020

On Daisies

It was warm that early April Sunday

We ‘d set out to the coast on foot

Ignoring the mosaics

Shunning the churches

We headed east

Seeking swishing pines stood in sand

A first sight of the Adriatic


Progress was erratic

Heading east for a beach?

My pigeon brain unable to compute

For me the sea is the English Channel, the Solent, the Western Approaches

South or south-by-south-west ingrained

So when we finally found the road “al mare”

It was time to rest on a daisy carpet


We shared water

Unwrapped silver foil to take a snack

The pink-tinged flowers tickling our legs

You cross-legged, summer dress tucked up to bare your knees to Sun

I sprawled, pressed my gangly silhouette into the flowers

We two temporary distractions

To hover-flies and bees


CLP 27/03/2020