L3(Day 51): Norfolk

Out into the broad expanses of Norfolk north of the city where the land is flat and the rivers are still young, we went. There vast swathes of open land devoid of hedge rows to protect the lanes from cold cross winds.

There are lines of ancient oak trees along some field boundaries, some showing signs of age, some of weakness, but the majority grey, stolid witnesses to the continuing changes in farming practise.

In one field machines were planting potatoes, in another despite the strong wind, spraying was taking place.

Where there was protection from the cold wind, the Sun was able to penetrate the February air and make it pleasantly warm.

At a stop for drinks, I queued behind behind a rotund man who spent nearly £50 on tobacco. Behind me a man had come in to buy lottery tickets. Outside at the chip shop a queue was forming along the village street. Friday for fish and chips?

On the way back a farm has reclaimed an area that had chainlink fencing and large areas of concrete aprons and old runways from the time of the Second World War. The nearby church of St Peter’s, with its round flint tower, had a sign stating that it was a site of Commonwealth War Graves. Here lie the remains of air crew from that conflict.

Passing through Norwich city centre on my way home, I was not surprised to see so many people walking in the bright February sunshine, but I was a little taken aback to see that several people seemed to be walking in groups, rather than alone, or in couples. There seems to have been a relaxation of the physical distancing rules all of a sudden. Have I missed something about Covid-19 not being able to infect people in this city?

I am increasingly aware of people being affected for significant periods of time by the symptoms of Long Covid. I am also aware of an attitude that some people who now having been vaccinated losing interest in what is going on with pandemic. Meanwhile teachers and school staff, police, prison officers and supermarket workers are being asked to work on without being repaid for their year-long public service by early vaccinations.

Teaching staff in the UK have suffered a death rate from Covid-19 of around a quarter more than the general population and still The Great Clown wants to make them wait by age for vaccination. Bad mouthing the teaching unions as he goes. If children’s education is so important, why has he not working with the workers’ unions to get a decent plan? Dead teachers can’t teach.

It is late. I am tired.

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CLP 26/02/2021

L3 (Day 46): Norfolk

Took a ride out in the sun, passing through Seething and cycled along Biggott Lane, Spong Lane and passing by Big Back Lane. Norfolk’s history writ in its place names.

Daffodils in full bloom, a deer startled, ran this way and that before switching fields by suddenly darting across the road and then disappearing through a line of oak trees. A herd of cows and their calves steaming in a huge barn. The smell of damp turf. The sound of a lawn mower. Cricket fields with sight screens waiting for the coming summer. A buzzard’s cry, a couple searching for a bullfinch through binoculars, woodpeckers knocking and more skylarks singing – always the skylarks.

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CLP 21/02/2021

Lockdown 3 (Day 26): Yaxham

I cycled west from Norwich deeper into the heart of East Anglia. I passed poultry farms and great swathes of open fields, solid flint wall churches with square towers, wind turbines, solar panels and the remains of at least one war time airfield.

The old road was marked by roughly estimated mile stones. On one straight road I passed two white painted stones at least a mile apart that announced ‘Norwich 10’. When cycling into a freezing easterly such repeated approximate information can be a little demoralising.

The wooden road signs omitted distances and were held in slotted signposts that in wartime allowed hasty removal of directions, should an invasion from the Nazis have come.

I saw and heard many redwings today. Heralds of bad weather, these colourful birds make more tuneful chatter than starlings. They reminded me of being in love in Sussex and walking hand in hand through falling snow at this time of year, many moons ago.

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CLP 31/01/2021