As we approach the first anniversary of the Great Fear, Saturdays have largely become the most uneventful day of the week. My activity, or otherwise, on them has become governed by the weather. This aftenroon was very pleasant — so out I went. The local sheep population had a spring in its step, too.
Walking down to the station in the morning I noticed a commotion by the side of the road, heard desperate cawing. I thought at first it was a bird with a broken wing, flapping around, maybe having been hit by a car. Then I saw what it actually was. It will be forever regretted that the focus ended up on the wall and not the hawk; I only got the one shot off before it picked up the starling (I think) in its talons and flew off to enjoy its breakfast. But other than that slight lack of focus I can’t complain too much about this one. Surely there is a detectable look of pride on its face. I am also reminded of this picture: which William Blake/Thomas Harris fans will recognise.
Is Joe the only person in the world whose most recent birthday has been a lonely affair, deprived of real contact with friends and all but his immediate family? Of course not. But that doesn’t lessen the sense of sadness that I feel, while at the same time, celebrating the anniversary. Not just any birthday this year, either. He is 18, the age of legal responsibility, official adulthood. Whether that makes him feel any different than he did yesterday is his own concern. But somehow, I feel different.
Misty and cold at home, but sunny and mild in Manchester all day, sun which filled the public spaces of campus with students, at least compared to how it’s been for the last two months. ‘Without making a political point out of it, the idea of ‘lockdown’ is just no longer being confirmed by observation. Small businesses are still being shafted, but otherwise, many people have obviously just returned to living their lives.
I put up this photo because I love the backdrop of the houses on Calder Holmes Park. A proper football landscape if ever there was one. I put this up also because of how it wound up certain people when I posted it on a Facebook group earlier. One of the most iniquitous things about the year that we have lived through is how it has wiped out the idea that any ‘ordinary people’ might be able to make their own judgments about what is healthy and safe, and what is not. Well, lockdown lovers everywhere — yes, there are certain people who are back out there, living their lives.
Whomever made an effort to build this small square of concrete and stick a basketball hoop at one end of it obviously had lofty ambitions for the health of the youth of Dodd Naze estate. Now it stands forlorn and forgotten: no more than a third of a mile from my house as the crow flies yet until today I had no idea it was there. But that also means it hasn’t featured on here before, and as the second half of the blog’s tenth year opens with us still in (nominal) lockdown; new scenes are precious.
Media rhetoric suggests we should all be grateful that Our Glorious Leaders have announced a ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown but none of that changes the fact that for now, and for weeks yet, there’s nothing to do. The ducks continue to have a far better social life than us, At least the evenings are getting lighter, the days (a little) warmer.
This walker knew just what she was doing when she saw me pull out my camera. She called over afterwards, saying ‘don’t mind me…’ — but I assured her that I had got the shot.
For more pictures of today, being my latest attempt to stay sane and healthy, see the page on my County Tups blog. Also, as this technically counts as being in Bolton, I now have to award that place the title of ‘location to have the longest gap between appearances on the blog’. It’s 2,539 days since its first, and only other, appearance on the blog thanks to Bolton Wanderers’ stadium featuring on day 933 (15/3/2014). At over 1,000 feet in height — not to mention that its base is itself 1,440 feet above sea level — the TV mast seen here is one of the tallest structures in the UK.