The lumps and hollows of Mousehold Heath, with some gorse in bloom and robins singing, while blue tits whizzed back and forth in easy sight, were chock-a-block with citizens walking their dogs and children on a blustery, humid day. The Sun was out and it was a joy to feel the warmth of it through the back of my coat.
Daffodils are about to burst open. Two or three of the shoots were already unfurling the first yellow petals down by Bishop’s Bridge. The river bank there will be flooded with yellow in a few days.
The allotments were busy with the plot holders doing early spring work. The allotments I passed today have a wonderful aspect, facing south-west over the city. They must be highly sought after.
Another day when temperatures have not climbed much above zero centigrade. Bearable for a short cycle ride until turning into the easterly wind bowling in off the North Sea. Surprisingly chilly and not a day for diving in the River Yare like this Canada Goose did when I walked by.
New infections have started to fall in the UK and the number of people dying from Covid-19 and its mutations is decreasing. However, another 758 people were added to the casualty list today. The records are maintained by the Office For National Statistics.
The cold weather has probably encouraged people to stay indoors and not mix as much as they might, so this natural encouragement of the third lockdown’s strictures, may be a blessing. Combine this with the usual cut back in socialising after the Christmas and New Year festivities and maybe we have reason to be more optimistic now about getting infections down to manageable levels.
In New South Wales, Australia no new cases were declared in the morning of 13th February, 2021. The population of NSW is estimated at 8.1 million people. Zero sounds pretty manageable.
Meanwhile the UK vaccination programme is making progress, although what works against which variant of Covid-19 is still being determined.
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.