n.b. I cannot imagine I ever let anyone borrow that from me, but no sign of my copy of the classic text by Simon Inglis and I would never have knowingly given it away.The Football Grounds of Europe is still with me, so maybe this is telling me something about my future?
Chilly sunbeams caught the trees with such intensity that the bark shone. In Chapelfield Gardens this mighty specimen’s complex skeleton is revealed.
Although the temperature was barely above freezing, the first crocuses were pushing though to join dangling snow drops and daffodil shoots. What will trigger the opening of the daffodils? Will it be warmth or light that they respond to? There has been the rain to ensure the earth is soft and will separate at their insistence. We wait for the fanfare of silent yellow trumpets to confirm our progress.
Magnolia buds, sticky to touch are fattening, their pinched tips speared with pink.
All the trees are beginning to show some suggestion of colour now as leaves start to form. The townhouses have just a few more weeks to enjoy unscreened sunsets.
There is little traffic today, except that squeezed into the hours at the start and end of the commercial day. I head out to complete a couple of minor errands. The biggest danger is pedestrians stepping into the street without looking for cyclists as they considerately make space for each other.
When I cut through the perimeter of Eaton Park I notice the car park is full and the footpaths busy. In the line of trees running by Southside Avenue starlings are agitating to fly before the onset of evening. Their squabbling is a terrific noise.
I note that infection rates and related deaths are beginning to fall across the United Kingdom. We must hold our discipline and see this through. On the Isle of Man, once a stronghold for Vikings between Ireland and Britain, the pubs are open and a normal life has resumed as there are no known cases in its population of 82,000.
The other local difficulty has taken a worrying turn as Loyalist extremists in Northern Ireland have begun a campaign of intimidation against the local government workers who have the job of processing paperwork on goods moving between the six counties and Britain as a result of Johnson’s farcical Brexit deal.
I went out to deliver a loaf of bread and spent time talking with my friend who was taking a few moments outside her front door taking in the bizarre combination of fresh air and tobacco smoke. She smokes quite theatrically, turning her head to the side when exhaling the toxic gases she has moments before inhaled quite deeply. I haven’t spoken to a smoker for many months and it was a novelty to observe her process.
A recent study from Kings College London showed how vulnerable smokers are to covid-19. As I may have mentioned before, I think that banning tobacco sales would have been a good move when the pandemic measures were implemented. If saving the NHS was such a big deal, why not remove one of the main sources of ill-health in the country (in the world!) from the market?
“It is my only pleasure” you might hear a nicotine addict say. Will they say that again when dying of pneumonia after having a lung removed and their loved ones witnessing their ghastly and untimely demise?
Rain started to fall as we stood about four metres apart. Here and there tiny white balls of ice fell that appeared too white and too light to be hailstones. They melted on touching the ground. Snow balls? The Inuit have a word for this form of precipitation I suspect.
As I cycled back home through Chapelfield Gardens two police officers were talking to a homeless man. One was writing into her notebook. The man’s worldly possessions, including a sleeping bag rolled up and tied with string, were lying under a bush. I hope the officers were able to direct him toward some support. They will have plenty of information to tap into. The question will be whether he wants any help they can offer.
The first lockdown illuminated the size of the street homeless population. It is a growing problem as jobs are cut and incomes fall due to the economic impacts of the pandemic and Brexit.
Goldfinches litter the air with their excited song. The days are a little lighter, despite the cloud cover.