Day 41

It wasn’t wet, nor cold. Partly sunny. I stepped out the back door. It was warmer out than in. I stepped back into the kitchen. I worked intermittently at my desk for the rest of the day, into mid-evening.

I pause occasionally to watch the clever rat climb the top of the post stretch across to the dangling food. It has to be persuaded to leave the feeder with a broom. Its sibling is a ground feeder.

Long-tailed tits have set up home nearby. They are regular visitors now. Numerous blue tits crowd around too. Chaffinches are happy to find scraps in the grass, working around the doves and a huge pigeon, that may or may not have others to feed. It is hard to tell, there is no urgent visit from a pigeon, no hurried departure and then swift return; not like the tits. The goldfinches pop round too.

The grass is out-pacing the recovering yellow flower-heads of dandelion.  Bluebells are thriving. Their blue is erring toward a hue of lilac. Daisies have reappeared after the recent mowing. Cowslips continue to stay fresh and bright. 

We spoke for two happy hours. Some days that is all we would choose to do, were it not for the mortality of phone batteries.

My eldest is back on night shifts. Radio silence is maintained respectfully.

Christopher Perry

27th April, 2020

Day 35

Cycling west along the coast road to the next village this morning took about half the time of any previous trip. The east wind pushed me along as I pedalled furiously to take full advantage.

It was thrilling to travel so fast without wind rushing in my ears, without battling to make progress. It reminded me of running with the wind on a yacht; no wind noise, just the bows cutting through the water. Today all I hear is the spinning of the chain, the tyres on the road and the sound of birds singing.

I return by climbing the rise to the heath at the top of the hill. This route back shields me from the easterly blow because the road is below the brow, is hedged and then runs through oak woodland until the summit of Bard Hill. From there home no pedalling required, just the brakes.

The bluebells are yet to feature under those oaks, but the little nubs of blue are forming in the clumps of shiny, leaves that sprout through the leaf litter. They are readying themselves to break out any day now. They are not alone in that.

Uninterrupted sunshine is forecast to be with us for the next few days. The temperature will be about average for this time of year, but the sunshine offers false hope of greater warmth. I am accepting of weather – it happens; its expectations that need managing.

Wireless connectivity problems shorten our conversation in the morning; weariness and appetite shorten it in the evening. All understandable and reasonable, as long as reserves of reason and understanding remain.

I am disappointed to miss a mid-afternoon call from my son. I was sitting outside having a cup of tea in the cosmetic sunlight.

Elsewhere, mother and baby, (and father) are doing fine.

.

Christopher Perry

21st April, 2020

Day 34

Ice blue is the only way to describe yet another cloudless sky. The wind moves from the north to the east as the Sun tracks around the side of house to the back field. I get out for an evening walk only when our star has turned white and offers little in the way of warmth.

Earlier I saw a pair of house martins flying raggedly in search of their regular nesting site. This evening, a swallow careens around the end of a hedge and swerves past me at head height. Is that the second of the year, or the first I saw six days ago?

Halfway down the field-edge toward the sea I take a left at the footpath that takes me towards the clump of Scots Pines. These provide a break from the buffeting wind and under these trees it is noticeably warmer than out in the field. There is a gap in the gorse above the road that gives a good view of the birds feeding on the marshes. 

While I am sheltered here there is the constant sound of the wind in the trees. It is as if someone is sweeping a giant broom across a vast expanse of flagstone floor. However, the pine needles and stiff breeze are only providing the top notes to constant undertones of the raging sea, which have accompanied my walk from the start. In fact the whole day has been full of this low rushing sound since I awoke. The sea is angry.

White horses are visible to the horizon. The waves are curling up into beautiful curves before hitting the beach. The resulting explosion of foam and spume, water and pebbles regularly shower higher than three metres into the air. The collapse of these breakers and their disintegration is visible even from behind the shingle bank. This display inevitably draws me to the shoreline.

The beach is being smashed by every incoming wave. The frequency of the waves is such that there is no respite between the destructive hit of one wave and the arrival of the next. The huge beach extends for more than 12 kilometres to the tip of Blakeney Point and then about six kilometres east to the soft clay cliffs of Sheringham. At every part of the shoreline the power of the sea is witnessed. The sea is unforgiving in this state. All along the shore the air is misted by spray. The sun sets as a heartless, silver disc through this briny veil.

When I take my jacket off at the house, it is as damp as if I had have been walking through light rain, despite the sunlight and clear sky. I lick my lips and savour the taste of sea salt.

I am told the new parents have agreed on a name for their daughter. The new grandmother waits for a decision about when her daughter and grand-daughter will be allowed home. 

Sporadic text messages punctuate the late evening before lights out.

.

Christopher Perry

20th April, 2020

Day 33

At times words are inadequate. Common enough moments for humanity, such as a woman giving birth, are in the living of the moment, beyond words.

Today, before first light, my sister’s first grandchild was born. The day has been “very emotional.” My sister says before climbing the stairs to an early bed. 

Many people know of this birth after all the extending web of phone calls, text messages, video messages emanating from the maternity ward. This tiny girl, lying in a cot somewhere distant, is the well-spring of great happiness.

Her mother and father have yet to settle on a name, so at present she is known as “Little Baby Dot”. This follows on from her previous name, “Little Dot”.

Little Baby Dot shares your birthday. This adds to my happiness, if that is possible.

Mowing the lawn, lying with shirt-off on a garden bench, reading, walking to the beach in late- afternoon in my sister’s company, are all done with a lighter heart. For this I am grateful.

.

Christopher Perry

19th April, 2020

Over and Out

Through the walls

At just after Three in the morning

I hear my sister’s voice

Pitched high

Excited by recent events

“Oh!! Thank you for calling.”

Crying, sobs

“Has she a name?”

.

I hear the owls singing in celebration on the heath

A moth with two left feet tap dances joyously around my bedside lampshade.

.

n.b. Of course IT’s over, SHE has begun.

No name yet. 8 lbs exactly (3.269 kg).

.

Christopher Perry

19th April, 2020