On Barley Yields in Norfolk, 2020

Without rains of spring

Fibrous, malnourished ripe crop

Heads of brewers’ droop


n.b. The beer industry may have to turn to farmers in Europe for grain, but OH! the UK has left the EU and talks are not going well.

Noses missing from faces! Not a good look. Another good reason to wear a face-mask, boys (for it is manly, private school boys who pushed for this isolation from our nearest and soon to be dearest, trading partners).

By the way chaps, where is the report on Russian interference in British politics? It awaits publication. Chop, chop!

Do look up Brewer’s Droop online if it is a new phrase to you. First I had heard of the phenomenon too 😇


CLP 09/07/2020

Day 6

Sat on the front doorstep, mug of tea to hand, the cool breeze is worth enduring for the joy of sun on my face. I listen to the birds, a buzzard’s cry easily distinguished above them all.

No traffic, no aircraft. All that can be heard are these birds in song.

Later a dog down the street barks from a backyard for a reason only he knows. It draws responses from another, who according to its owner, is deaf.

At the simple metal feeder blue tits, great tits and coal tits flit to and fro in an endless chain. Some are tidier than others with their feeding. The great tits are able to neatly carry off one nut at a time, while the blue tits peck furiously, spraying flakes in their haste to get to the kernels they seek.

A lone starling clatters onto the wire feeding cage, clears the stage. Flapping its wings to maintain temporary balance, it displays the multicoloured, luminous beauty of its feathers.

Collared doves waddle around in the grass below, picking at the fallen crumbs. A chaffinch joins their scavenging; then a robin.

On the borders of the garden blue-bell plants approach maturity, but for now only a few stalks carry buds with hints of colour.

The hazel is sprouting soft, ribbed leaves, but there is more cane wood than foliage. At this time the trees offer incomplete impressions of the full-bodied canopies they will carry.

Today’s highlight is the fleeting visit of a Red Admiral that touches down on the grass, opens its wings for a second, kisses them together, then flickers up again. It quickly disappears into the dazzling mid-morning light.

We speak as you walk up through the vines above the lake. You join the regulated queue at the supermarket. I return to my work at the makeshift desk, by the window. Your voice as delightful to my ears as the butterfly to my eyes.

My eldest son texts me. He is returning to the hospital. Duty calls him.

CLP 23/03/2020

Lions, Lionesses and The Clown

If this is war

Why are we sending our troops into battle

Without equipment?

This is not Passchendaele

When the blood of 275,000 Allied troops was sacrificed for nothing

This is post-Brexit Britain when we have complete control

So where is the PPE for our paramedics, our nurses and doctors?

Boris, you are a wartime leader, indeed

One, like Churchill, prepared to waste young lives in the frontline

In another Gallipoli


n.b. PPE: Personal Protective Equipment

At this time, distribution of available equipment is a challenge.