Sunday, 31 May 2020
Today’s long walk - to the former RAF Hunsdon, somewhere we have been promising to visit for a long while, nice to finally get round to it. Out to join up with where we headed for home last week, followed by a walk up the other side of the valley to pretty much the highest point in the area - you can see why they chose it for an RAF airfield! A beautiful memorial to those based their who lost their lives during the war, and we were glad to finally get to pay our respects there.
This week will be about working on rebuilding some habits I think. So to start with - a list of 5 things to aim for:
- Better sleep habits
- A trip out just for me
- a couple more runs
- Getting back to setting out the next days clothes the night before
Starting tomorrow with a trip with the camera - Lakenheath USAF base, where they have been conducting regular flying. I’m really missing my aviation photography at the moment - I’m obviously way too far from Scampton to go there, even a Coningsby trip would be too far at the moment, but Lakenheath is under an hour away and is somewhere I wanted to get to more often anyway so this is the perfect excuse.
Saturday, 30 May 2020
Today, we should have been travelling from North Uist to Barra for our last day in the Hebrides. Although we have re-booked our trip for later in the year, I currently have no confidence that we’ll be able to get across even then. Worse, it feels entirely uncertain whether visitors to the Islands will be welcomed even when we are allowed to return - there is a huge amount of hostility from some currently towards those who are expressing that they want to visit when it’s safe to do so. We absolutely will NOT go over until we are assured it is safe - but it appears as though even then there may be those who will try to take the law into their own hands where visitors are concerned.
It’s going to be an issue from both sides - there are many on the islands who rely on tourism to make their living. This year is already going to be a desperate struggle for them. It’s going to be a tricky tightrope to tread - balancing the risk against the need to return to a degree of normality “at some point”. Making those who are regular visitors and have been for many years feel as though they are not welcome to return simply means more space for new ones - those who don’t understand how serious the virus could be in small islands with no ICU facilities - they are the people to be scared of encouraging, not those of us who understand the dangers.
We’ll wait and see. In 2 weeks time we will have clearer view I think - both how the easing of lockdown is going in Scotland, and also in terms of the general feeling around re-opening.
Friday, 29 May 2020
The gravestone above belongs to my Great Uncle - Uncle Bob. Probably one of the people who had the greatest impact on my life when I was a child - Bob loved nothing more than spending time with his great Nieces - there are 4 of us in total. I am the oldest, followed by Vicky, Diana and Kelly. He was a wonderfully kind man, who instilled into me his own love of the countryside - the wildlife, the surroundings - something that now, I’m so grateful for. He loved exploring anywhere unusual, or new - and he also had a secret love of all things related to aviation. One of his ultimate ambitions was to fly on Concorde - something he achieved not that long before his death. This was the reason why when the opportunity arose I seized the chance to have his name put on the tail of a RAF Red Arrows jet - in the last few years he has been literally all over the world on the tail of XX322 - Europe, across the U.K., and throughout the USA & Canada too. Of all of those locations though, probably the one that Bob would have been most pleased about was the display at Swanage Carnival in Dorset a couple of years ago. We holidayed in Swanage several times when I was small - I have wonderful memories of us walking down to see the steam trains in the morning - he would have loved the idea of flying over the place!
It feels really strange to think that we had to say goodbye to Bob over 20 years ago now. I would have loved for him to have met MrEH - they would have got on like a house on fire! Bob would also have loved the adventures I have had in aviation over the past 5 years or so - he would have been excitedly waiting for the next instalment I suspect, and eagerly awaiting the next batch of photos. He would also have loved hearing about our Hebrides trips - somewhere that I’m pretty sure he would have loved! I was the last family member aside from Auntie D to see him before he died - and I have vivid memories of our last conversation. I suspect Bob knew all too well that he didn’t have long left, but still he was cheerful, interested in hearing all I’d been up to. I consider myself incredibly lucky to have had the 25 years of my life that I did, with him in it.
Thursday, 28 May 2020
Today has featured bread flour - lots of it. We found Sainsbury’s well stocked this morning - I was able to get both wholemeal and an organic flour for sourdough in there, then a little later on we popped into Lidl for a couple of bits for my parents (our local Lidl clientele have zero concept of social distancing, so Mum is sensibly avoiding the place like the plague!) we found that they had plenty of ordinary strong white. We are now well stocked for bread flour!
Also, as you can see from the photo above, an unexpectedly high amount of walking. Having done Sainsbury’s and back this morning (a little over 4 miles in total) we went out again this afternoon for what was planned to be just a little amble at Amwell - and ended up walking a stretch of the Lea Valley walk that we’d not previously covered - the “gap” joining up the stretch down into London which is the Lea Valley walk proper, with the stretch from Amwell to Hertford that we had also covered before. Another 8 miles plus there, giving me a total of 15 miles today. The feet are feeling it a little now!
The other “unexpected” that you may also be able to see from the photo above are the multiple cracks that have appeared in the screen of my Fitbit. Before you ask, I have no idea how they got there - it hasn’t been dropped, and I can’t recall anything more than average daily life knocks or bumps, so I can only assume that perhaps it’s a couple of scratches than have now developed into cracks. I now have to make the decision whether to say that this one has done over 3 years, I have had my money’s worth, and replace immediately, or chance making it last a bit longer. I know the model I want to replace it with, and that has now been superseded by a newer version, so the risk is that by leaving it longer I may then struggle to get one. Decisions to be made.
In other news today, the big one is that we will be able to meet people from outside our household in groups of not more than 6 outdoors, from Monday. From my perspective it means that now a socially distanced dog walk with both my parents might be workable. From what we have seen of the family groups out and about for the last few days it’s rather appeared that a number of people have already been doing that anyway, so hopefully it won’t increase the likelihood of a second wave.
Wednesday, 27 May 2020
Another hot day for a run, but another 4 very slow run/walk miles done. I’m finding running really tough at the moment - the heat is always a nightmare for me anyway, it plays hell with my breathing plus I overheat ridiculously fast as well. I need to get out there and do more of it, is the first thing - and that will help acclimatise me again. I also need to regain my confidence in my ability I think - and that’s the bit I’m not sure about how to address. I still love it, but at the moment it doesn’t seem to love me. Might try an early morning river run one day and see if that fixes things - it often does.
At roughly the time I was running this afternoon, 20 years ago I was getting married. Yes - our 20th anniversary, intended to be spent mostly on a beach in the Hebrides, with a nice meal and a few drinks this evening, hopefully while enjoying a stunning sunset. Instead, MrEH spent the day working, we’re planning an Indian takeaway for Friday night, and the drinks have been deferred at least until tomorrow. The weather today was certainly more than a bit different from 27th May 2000 - then we had a bit of everything - from bright sunshine to torrential rain, thunder, lightning and a hailstorm (with a rainbow to follow!). It was also distinctly windy - and as a result my veil is either standing on end in most of the photos, or being firmly held down behind my back by whoever was next to me! While today may not have been quite the day we had planned, we’ve been together, there have been lots of nice memories, and well-wishes from some of those closest to us - and those, after all, are the important things.
Tuesday, 26 May 2020
Today sees the start of week 10 of Lockdown - can you even come close to believing that? In some ways the time seems to have flown, it barely seems possible that it was over 2 months ago that I was last in the office, for example. In others it now feels like this is just the way life is - with all the odd restrictions, shops being closed etc. A date for shops re-opening how now been set - 3 weeks away with strict regulations in place - so I think we’re heading towards beginning to step back to some form of normality again. At the moment nothing is being said about the general return to work for those who work in offices though - whether they are going to request that hose that can continue to work from home for a while longer remains to be seen. Certainly in the city, where MrEH works, it’s hard to see how they can suggest people return at the moment - the London transport system is largely at capacity during rush hour times in normal circumstances, with them limiting the numbers in stations and on trains, there is going to need to be a dramatic drop in numbers using the system for it to be practical as a means of transport at all. From a personal perspective the bought of him having to go back to using the tube at the moment really is very worrying, and I’d certainly prefer that a fair few weeks pass so any impact of public transport use in London can be seen in the infection rate before he returns to a regular commute.
Anyway - today has been “more of the same” really. Some more old photos processed - concentrating on Hebrides shots at the moment and have found some stunning sunsets to take a look at! Also some time outside with the camera and macro lens photographing the little chap just above. A walk this morning and a short run this afternoon, just a couple of miles. I was keen to do more but in spite of leaving it until late afternoon it was just too hot and I’m really not good at coping with running in the heat. Running loops round the woods was about the best option I could come up with for staying at least vaguely cool, but even under the trees it felt really warm!
We also picked elderflower heads this morning, and set them to steep for the day ready to make cordial this evening once MrEH had finished work.
Beautiful aren’t they - and they smell glorious too! We now have just over 2 litres of wonderfully fragrant cordial - I may need to treat myself to a bottle of Prosecco one weekend to make elderflower cocktails I think!
Monday, 25 May 2020
Dominic Cummings is still claiming he did nothing wrong - the U.K. public meanwhile appears to be largely split between wishing he would just resign so the whole matter could be put to bed, and calling for his head on a stick. It appears that in strict legal terms he may well have done nothing inappropriate, morally however it may be another question. The saga will, no doubt, roll on...
We spent today relatively lazily. A wander out this morning to get a Ben’s paper, and then a longer walk this afternoon, up over the Common...
...and then on over the motorway which is just beyond the top edge of the common - busier today than it was the last time we crossed this bridge a few weeks ago.
Once again we found lots of wildflowers, and also butterflies including a pair of Gatekeepers which neither of us can recall seeing locally before. And more roses of course - they are everywhere now and it’s lovely to see the different types - this one was larger and slightly more fussy than those we saw yesterday, with a paler pink blush.
Tomorrow normal life - or what currently passes for it - resumes again. MrEH gets a 2 day week this week which he’s not complaining about overmuch. I will be pottering again - there are more old photos to hunt out and process, and I’d like to run at some stage this week.