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.

~

CLP 26/02/2021

L3 (Day 49): In Shorts

Seventeen degrees

Out to the broad. Quick cup of tea

Sunshine on me knees.

~

n.b. The warmth held until around 5 p.m. despite a strong breeze. See the striations in the late afternoon sky. A lot of wind for weather forecasters to talk about today: they talk a lot about the wind.

~

CLP 24/02/2021

L3 (Day 48): In The Sun

I turned east-by-south-east toward the morning Sun and let its light pour onto my face.

With my essential shopping done and due to return indoors, I chose to stand, eyes closed, just for that moment to savour the un-closeted warmth. It was a good moment after all that has come before.

~

CLP 23/02/2021

L3 (Day 45) Mousehold Heath

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.

A good day to be out walking.

~

CLP 20/02/2021

L3 (Day 27) Norwich

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.

~

CLP 01/02/2021

Redwings

By noon the light was in retreat

the nagging wind swung east, north-east

its oscillations conjured more ice from air

to add to morning’s thick frost still laid

below hedges trinketed with hips and haws

that baited flocks of redwings

whose fluted chirps and piped notes

added winter music to this rime

and brought vibrancy

to Cut Throat Lane.

~

n.b. Under the heading of ‘Weird Norfolk’ the local newspaper recounts the tales of Cut Throat Lane, Yaxham.

~

CLP 31/01/2021