Lockdown 2 (Day 17): Norwich

Saturday 21st November, 2020

A day spent doing less.

I walk to Chapelfield Gardens and spent some time there enjoying a couple of cardboard cups of tea in the fresh air.

The park is a convivial setting. Nearly every bench seat around the perimeter of the park and those bordering the elegant, empty bandstand at its centre has people meeting and talking. Despite blustery conditions that lift up whorls of dry leaves in flurries, people appear relaxed and happy. They are enjoying being outside and socialising at comfortable distances. There are nods and smiles, polite greetings exchanged between passing walkers.

Some people simply come to the gardens, as I do to enjoy a change of environment. One woman has a book, is well wrapped up with a heavy coat and a smart blanket. She has a flask for her hot drink beside her on the bench. She seems settled for the duration.

The play equipment is well used by young families. Parents talk while their children stretch and climb and slide and trip over their growing feet and hesitate before breaking into shocked bawling. One dad walks from the gated play area carrying a plastic potty. He is looking for somewhere to distribute the contents in the borders, or shrubbery. By the careful way he holds the toddler’s plastic toilet bowl, I suspect that it is pretty full and its liquid contents are slopping around with each step he takes in his quite tidy clothes.

As I start to set off home I notice a pack of police officers have come into the park. They are grouped loosely around two or three adults on the far side of the gardens. As I exit a gate to follow the road down towards the main shopping area, I note two female officers, wearing yellow reflective tabards over their uniforms are chatting casually by a long brick wall. They do not appear to be back up for a serious policing operation.

There is a sense that this is all a public relations exercise being carried out for effect. There is no edge to the presence. There appears to be no van to carry off any miscreants. The manner in which the officers of the law are clustered simply raises curious glances from the occupied park benches, they provide a distraction for the friendly twittering. I expect to find a press release sympathetically adapted to explain the mildly mysterious goings-on here in a local free sheet during the coming week. These gardens are just a short beat from the main city police station, which is on the south side of the impressive Norwich City offices; they are a convenient and photogenic setting for PR photoshoots.

Incidentally the city offices are an Art Deco construction from 1938 that carries the reputation as the finest city hall built in England during the inter-war period. It is an impressive and elegant structure. I suspect that far fewer people are employed there now than it was designed to accommodate originally. A national newspaper today carries articles designed to soften up the population for further cuts to central government spending on local services in months to come.

These public gardens are a much valued amenity. They are well maintained and well used. Who will be running a bookkeeper’s eyes over the value of this space as a result of the Chancellor’s next budget statement? How will the cost-benefit analysis of this space be spun out?

The evening dark arrived before the afternoon football matches had been completed. Therefore the evening felt uncomfortably long.

It is exactly a month to the Winter Solstice after when we are treated to longer hours of daylight. This next month will be the challenge.


CLP 21/11/2020

On Numbers (More)

It’s said pathogens

Have one aim; to reproduce.

We no different.


n.b. Dress life up as we might, but without children we have no legacy; we die out as a species. All we do has no meaning without the generations that follow. We are otherwise just marking time.

The sociability of humanity is how we ensure that children can thrive so they too can mature to take up the task of reproduction. It is an inclusive process.

Cooperation not competition.

CLP 20/11/2020

Lockdown 2 (Day 16): Norfolk

Clear, dry, cold. Temperature at 09:00 hrs is just above freezing. I meet with my cycling buddy from Norwich and we set off at pace toward the countryside through Thorpe St. Andrew.

Avoiding major roads we make our way to Acle. After a tea and bun from a café on the northside of the A47, we make the trip back under a sky that turns from blue to grey. We part after just over three hours cycling. We are close to frozen, but invigorated.

At one point on the route a skein of geese pass noisily overhead. They are heading south, calling to each other as they go, evoking winter.

Plans are being formed to vaccinate the populace. Some will refuse to have such a vaccination and continue to argue that the illness is a fiction, or a grand scheme to control free thinkers. A term, “sheeple” is amusingly coined by “free thinkers” to diminish any sympathetic connection with those keen not to add their friends, family or neighbours to the +50,000 victims of this coronavirus in the UK.

A friend and l discuss the difficulty of talking reasonably with people who espouse firm beliefs, evangelise their belief systems, put down those who have different perspectives. People use beliefs in order to be able to simplify the complexity of life.

As I get older I believe less. The world is a complicated place and for me that is what fascinates.


CLP 20/11/2020

Lockdown 2 (Day 15) Norwich

A message from my son, the elder who works in a huge hospital on the south coast. His spirits have been lifted by the news of three vaccines that promise relief from the pandemic.

This is the start of the third week of England’s second lockdown. 501 people are reported to have died today within 28 days of contracting the coronavirus. The Prime Minister announces £24.1* billions will be spent on modernising the armed forces, something that comes out of the blue to many people.

He suggested that the UK has been in “retreat” and this money will restore the country to a position of international military influence, he claims. This contrasts with a decision made a day or so previously in which international aid has been significantly reduced, “to help pay for” coronavirus.

The only retreat the UK has been engaged in has been the retreat from a peaceful European Union, membership of which is now over and with a transition period that is planned to end on 31st January, 2021.

I retreat under my bed covers.


n.b. *£24.1 billions (corrected from £16 billions. Source The Guardian, 19th November 2020).

CLP 19/11/2020

On Numbers (ChAdOx1 nCov-19)

Vaccination known

by this code offers us hope

don’t forget the cost


n.b. Not a number as much as a label for the latest vaccine that is thought to be able to generate antibodies and T cells that will adapt to protect most of us from Covid-19.

The numbers are important: the 1 denoting the first iteration of the this vaccine, the 2019 indicating that it is a vaccine pertinent to the 2019 variant of a Covid coronavirus. We are advised to beware that these numbers will change as new vaccines will have to be developed as coronaviruses adapt and evolve over coming years.

What is most interesting is that the way the immunologists have identified the structure of this coronavirus and worked to use this knowledge in combination with understanding of the human immune system to find what might be an effective response to this coronavirus, which mirrors findings in Germany and the USA.

I have to add that the volunteers who take part in these trials are just as important to the success of this work as the scientists. It strikes me as a brave thing to do in this time of need. Thank you all.

Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-54993652

CLP 19/11/2020