Tag Archives: 50

Pondering the future

Tuesday 30th June 2020, 11.20am (day 3,232)

Pondering, 30/6/20

First trip to campus since March 8th, which as it was a Sunday, already had a desolate, end-of-the-world feel about it that the subsequent closure has cemented in place. On the few days over lockdown that I have visited, all of the city of Manchester has seemed like a coma patient. There is a certain amount of internal activity, things moving around from place to place, but there’s no real life or consciousness to it. This guy looks very much like he’s pondering his future and so should we all. Plants are doing well, though.

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Pumpkin pollen

Monday 29th June 2020, 4.15pm (day 3,231)

Pumpkin pollen, 29/6/20

This is a follow-up shot to last Monday’s shot. As we have more flowers on the squash/pumpkin/potential producer of large orange fruit, but a lack of insects buzzing around inside our house in the brief hours of flowering, we’ve been doing our own pollination, with cotton buds. It’s a good thing my hay fever has gone down over the years — though the weather was so revolting today that I doubt there was any of this stuff doing the rounds outside. If you don’t believe a whole country’s weather can turn from Mediterranean to Arctic in three days, you’ve never been here in June.

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Shelves for CDs, and other things

Sunday 28th June 2020, 12.55pm (day 3,230)

CD shelves, 28/6/20

It is getting difficult to sustain the (my, your) interest over the endless, repeated days of lockdown. Particularly when they are cold, grey and wet, like today. I sorted out and dusted the CD shelves: this is as exciting as it got. The extra decorations have always been there.

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Stormy sky over Old Town

Saturday 27th June 2020, 2.45pm (day 3,229)

Stormy sky, Old Town, 27/6/20

This being a British summer, the balmy heat of Wednesday and Thursday has gone, and it’s raining again. It will do this until it feels like being different.

Old Town sits on the hills to the north of Hebden Bridge. In Christopher Saxton’s atlas of 1579, the first atlas of England and Wales ever published, it’s called The Old towne…. so it’s been around for a while.

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Awayday (not away)

Friday 26th June 2020, 9.55am (day 3,228)

T+L awayday, 26/6/20

Staff ‘awayday’ for us today — which in geographical terms, of course, meant little more than a different Zoom URL and, for me, the latest in a series of shots taken in Clare’s treatment room. It was a big day for me in a way as copies of my new book arrived, but all played out on the same stage. And not even with a very clean screen on the Mac.

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Gate to the woods

Thursday 25th June 2020, 7.55am (day 3,227)

Gate to woods, 25/6/20

What’s been lacking over the last three months is not just variety of scene, but variety of event. There’s nothing happening, no parties, no shows, no sports, no conviviality. We just plod on.

At least there is still variety of light. The morning, indeed the whole day, was a beautiful one. This becomes the first pre-8am shot since I was still commuting to Manchester at the beginning of February. But this one is taken within yards of my house, and despite the glorious weather was one of only two photos I felt moved to take today.

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Different country, same stuff

Wednesday 24th June 2020, 11.10am (day 3,226)

Welsh social distancing, 24/6/20

Doing this blog for nearly nine years has started to affect my behaviour. Today I decided that my record streak of English-only pictures had gone on quite long enough — specifically, 142 days. The nearest point from my house that lies in any other country is where the Welsh border crosses Bumpers Lane beside the Deva Stadium, Chester, which lies approximately 53 miles from my house as the crow flies. With nothing but reading and thinking to otherwise do today, I set out for it — and here is, more or less, the first scene that I saw after crossing into Wales at said point.

Looks a lot like England really, doesn’t it. I mean, social distancing an’ all. Hwyl anyway to my nearest unEnglish neighbours. And their dogs.

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Signs of life

Tuesday 23rd June 2020, 11.45am (day 3,225)

Pencils at RTQ, 23/6/20

Three months ago, as lockdown started, I presented a picture from inside the private tutoring service from which Clare rents her room in town. Today when I went in, there were, for the first time since then, signs of life; these pencils laid out on a desk, a hand sanitising station at the front door, etc. I welcome these greatly, as I did today’s announcements from the Government announcing the easing of lockdown from the 4th July. There was a shocking negativity about this from some quarters if you ask me, but that has nothing to do with pencils.

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A one-day bloom

Monday 22nd June 2020, 8.30am (day 3,224)

Squash flower, 22/6/20

This squash plant is growing on the window sill of our room. Now I’m no expert on botany, and it is true that one rarely gets the chance to observe flowers in such controlled conditions. But I have never seen a plant that blooms in such an ephemeral way. This flower had not opened at all last night: here is what it looked like at 8.30am. But it was already withering. By 11am it was visibly drooping and by not later than 4pm it had shrivelled away to the state of the one visible behind it — which had done all this two days ago.

I hope it got what it wanted out of its few hours of glory, anyway. You have to hope that evolution still knows how to build things that are fit for purpose.

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Unexpected stash

Sunday 21st June 2020, 2.55pm (day 3,223)

Whisky samples, 21/6/20

A long-awaited visit to my family, unseen since lockdown began. A welcome interruption that highlighted how pointless all this is becoming. Why my sister Vicki was dishing out the whisky samples in the middle of a Sunday afternoon, well, that’s a story hidden beneath the surface of this picture. Particularly as I don’t even like the stuff. (I know whisky is a noble drink with much character and history: I just can’t stand it.)

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