Although friends evolve over time and are generally the people we choose to be with, it isn’t possible to choose our family nor to any great degree, our neighbours. My husband and I are fortunate to live close to people who have always been friendly, outward going and obliging. If we ask for help, we have always known there will be no hesitation on their part in offering their services. However, as Lockdown starts to ease up, we have taken to yelling at them in what my late mother would have deemed an uncouth and unseemly manner. I suspect we are not alone in this as the relaxation of the Lockdown rules allows us to meet a limited number of people in the open air. It was one of my neighbours who suggested we sit outside, alongside or in, our piece of hedge and raise a glass of something to each other as we chat or share the Round of Applause moments which finished last week. All of us were enthusiastic, albeit cautious participants of this notion and tidily spaced ourselves along the hedgerow of our lane. We were beyond legitimate in our observation of social distancing, separating ourselves not just the requisite two metres apart but multiplied the area by at least three times. Consequently, any neighbourly chit-chat was not murmured or spoken in gentle tones but rather, yowled at a decibel level exceeding the socially acceptable normal. It’s how we spend out time these days, in our part of Grimston Lane.
It’s all part of our gradual emergence from the Lockdown, which started 79 days ago. During these days, some people have decorated, cleared cupboards, walked many miles, baked cakes, read books and indulged in the thousands of ‘Box Sets’ available via BBC iPlayer, Amazon, Netflix et al. Some have coped with the solitude whilst others have struggled in their isolated homes. The weather has been heightened the beauty of the natural world, breathing in clearer air under cerulean blue skies. Spring has been exceptional this year but the absence of rain has increased the possibility of a hosepipe ban. As the rules relax, aspects of B.C-19 emerge alongside us. Vapour trails appear, traffic increases, schools attempt to re-open and businesses assess their chances. The sound of power tools is heard throughout the land. Some hotel chains such as Travelodge are on the brink of disaster, attempting to save themselves through C.V.As. (Company Voluntary Arrangements); some people attempt to save their careers in front if an incredulous public; some people believe proffered explanations; some don’t. Many Businesses are slowly re-opening; some are about to permanently close their manufacturing plants due to a combination of Brexit and Covid – 19. All around us the world is changing as we are hasten towards a gradual resumption of ordinary life.
There are fewer reports to publish from my correspondents as they re-enter the lives they put on hold ten or eleven weeks ago. For the time being this will be my last Covid 19 Blog although I will of course, Stay Alert to any alteration to the course of normal progression, whilst continuing to keep my own Recorder’s Journal. Hopefully, my next Blog will be relate to a completely different time although not a different place
The last two weeks on Facebook have seen posts on the following subjects:
Historic photographs; planning, Homes and KATCAG issues; Lost, stolen or strayed pets; Blackie’s new ovine friends; posts from local businesses, such as The Mariners; Official notices; Nature; Felixstowe Nub News; Two Sisters Arts Centre; Felixstowe Book Festival; Items for sale; the re-opening of schools; water use.
Here’s my blog up to and including June 1st 2020.
Tuesday 19 May, change in routine today, out came our bicycles. As we cycled Hill Cottage Track the Home Farm fieldsmen came to check the crops, we apologised if we were in the way, as we had stopped to admire the river view, they were not at all perturbed and agreed the view was stunning. As we cycled back by the railway track skylarks were dancing over the pea fields and swifts were gliding through the skies.
On Wednesday we noticed Blackie had two Hebridean sheep as companions, at this point we hadn’t heard of Shaun’s departure.
Thursday, Ascension Day, a service had been sent on the iPad, so it felt good to say it, thinking of others doing the same thing. Clifford was most disappointed that the promised thunderstorm didn’t arrive. That evening, before The Hand Clap, we watched 3 micro lights, flex wings is the preferred term now apparently, sailing through the cloudless sky.
Bank Holiday weekend arrived and was warm, sheltered from the strong gusty winds, none the less we were able to enjoy an evening with neighbours at the front of our properties, socially distanced, of course.
Tuesday 26th was a Land Mark day, as we were now able to go on a socially distanced walk with a friend. It was such a delight to see and chat with a friend in the flesh. We enjoyed the magnificent foxgloves by the railway track and the pleasure of being together catching up on each other’s news. A very happy day, as in the afternoon I cycled to Falkenham with a delivery and managed to walk over the footbridge with no incident.
At Thursday evenings Clap, we were thrilled to hear the news that from June 1st Lockdown was easing a little more, meaning we could see our daughter on her birthday. Yet none of our grandchildren are returning to school, but much news and discussions on this subject prevails.
We waited expectedly on Friday for the emptying of The Green Bin, I’m sure they had so much to collect it didn’t happen until Saturday morning. Clifford laughed at me, as I was emotional and flung open the window, clapped and waved and called my thanks. I think they appreciated it, it’s another step towards the ‘new normal’.
Sunday 31st Pentecost The Birthday of the Church. Listening to Radio Suffolk Morning Service I heard that somehow remotely church members from across Britain had joined together to sing A Blessing over the nations of the world. Apparently, it has taken YouTube by storm. An amazing witness for The Living, Loving Church.
Monday June 1st another very special day, I was able to pick a posy of flowers and we could take them with our gift and card to our daughter in Holbrook. We had to time it carefully, as with home schooling, we needed to arrive at Break Time! It was so lovely to see Kate on her birthday and our grandchildren brought out a cake for her with a candle, so we could sing Happy Birthday together. Strange not to be able to hug in our normal manner, but I am full of gratitude that we only had relatively short journey to make, and therefore practical for a short visit. I was then able to cycle over to see our family in Falkenham, whilst they were having a late lunch.
I do realise how fortunate we are and my loving thoughts and wishes goes to all those with heavy, sorrowing hearts.
Lorna, one of the School Governers sent a video message from Trimley School.
It’s woodpecker watches now. A very noisy netful of chicks. In fact, they gave themselves away because of the din! One of them has fledged, he/she is making racket in a nearby tree. The one I still see peering out of the nest is a young male…he cheeps all day long! The parents share the task and never stop filling him up with goodies. I don’t know yet if there is another one in there…I think there might be because sometimes the parents disappear into the nest, maybe there is one in there who is not so strong.
I have been tackling nettles in our wild part of the garden. The roots are like underground cobwebs, a back breaking task. Because the ground is so hard, it’s like digging into concrete. I do wish that the sun wasn’t so hot sometimes! There is an empty pond area here, dried up and overgrown. The wildlife is flourishing in the garden and I want to get the pond back to how it once was……out of nowhere came diving beetles, dragonflies, frogs, ducks, herons, etc. Such a joy, so we WILL get there.
Deer have been seen recently in the field off Howlett Way…just like they were when we first came here getting on for 20 years ago. I can remember opening the curtains and seeing them in the garden. All this resurgence is about to be ruined by planners who want to put a housing estate on precious fertile farmland. Will we ever learn?
Look at brownfield sites, enhance them… make them attractive to wildlife. Many people have commented, how, in these times, they have for the first time noticed our creature companions. This is vital for our wellbeing. I don’t want to be a human who says to a future generation…’Do you know what this is? ‘…’No? ‘…’It’s a hedgehog’.
As lockdown eases, I don’t see habits changing much. At times I wonder if the new rules are just a bit too ‘random’? People seem confused. Some are sticking to the rules, some aren’t sure….and some don’t get it!
Meanwhile I am trying my best to learn more about technology and the internet! Thank goodness we have a very patient daughter.!
As I end this…all I can hear, now the A14 has gone quiet…is the blackbirds! My tame one almost ate out of my hand today! Brilliant! He is a one off…he has one wing that is ever so slightly droopy, he follows me in the garden, then sings away all the worries of this world!
A message to Becca:
If, it’s not too late and if you want wild flowers, use the most rubbishy soil you can get. Several years ago, I tried some, specially bought wild flower meadow seeds.
The patch I choose to sow, had been under a Victorian washhouse for over 100 years, had never been fertilised, but as a wild flower site, was a disaster. I eventually mowed it into the rest of the lawn.
Now, must be 20 years later, there is one small patch of Daisies and the occasional Yarrow.
(Thanks for the subject, I was heading for the briefest blog ever)
Sunday (over ran)
What do you know? The grass kept looking back at me, trying to prick my conscience. I solved that, I cut it, now we’re both happy.
More of a blip than a blog. Another area of grass was mown, the work plan is, spread it out, (still 4 weeks to go) An old 8ft shrub, mostly new growth, is now 18″ high. Sticking to the work plan, added yesterday’s massacre to the log pile, and the trash to the green bin. It’s now only got a foot’s depth to last 10 days.
Broke an all-time personal record, ‘shade’ bathed for 35 minutes, doing absolutely nothing!! I can’t lie on a beach either.
Wednesday Wandered round the garden using the hair clippers, saves sweeping up the hair afterwards :))
Thursday. Got to midday, this week’s jobs finished.
The space sums up the rest of the week ;))
A half ‘Grand Day Out’
The weather since lockdown has been so dry and we have had a lot of gloriously sunny days. One such day was last Tuesday, May 19th. We have spent a lot of time traipsing around our local footpaths with notebook in hand and a smart phone, plotting out routes in preparation for making a booklet of maps. Now that we can drive anywhere we like in England, Hubby was anxious for a walk along Felixstowe prom for a change and so we decided the best time to go to avoid day trippers would be first thing in the morning. After breakfast we set off for Old Felixstowe.
There was a fair amount of traffic on the A14 including several lorries. The ‘candles’ on the horse chestnut trees in Beatrice Avenue were really showing off. Presumably the pink ones are the female trees? We parked up near the clifftop Green at the end of High Road East, just managing to get the last parking space. We walked across the green noting that people are now allowed to sit on the benches. The latest rules of allowing one person from one household to meet one other person from another household are helping people who live on their own to have company. We saw people sitting at opposite ends of benches chatting to each other.
I am going to have a short digression to cover this interesting, behavioural issue. We have noticed on our walks that most people in Trimley and Felixstowe are obeying this rule. The rules are being somewhat more flexible in a good old British way. Young mums are deciding to meet up with their offspring on their daily walks so that their children get a chance to meet up with other children. However, when we went walking in the woods on Nacton shores, on the outskirts of Ipswich, we observed that there were quite several groups of adults together who we would guess would be from more than one household.
Continuing with the story of the walk, we went down some new steps to the prom and walked to North. It was great to see people enjoying their beach huts and children playing on the beach. One enterprising your mother was home-schooling by making letters out of pebbles on a rug for her young child. One person was even swimming in the sea. (You still must keep 2 m apart while swimming!) Hubby says he hopes the sharks know that the fishermen were out in force now this is allowed. (I couldn’t understand why this was banned in the first place as any fishermen that I’ve ever seen have always self-isolated anyway, they must’ve found it unbearable to have to stay at home and be with other people.) Also, the golfers were playing around. The prom itself was very quiet.
Just before the golf course there was a sloping stretch of grass with the most wonderful display of red poppies. Beside the golf course there was pink Valeria on the verges. On this part of the shingly beach near the golf course we saw masses of frothy balls of white seakale all tossed around in a random fashion on the beach. I don’t remember seeing these before. In case you think I’m showing off about my knowledge of plants, I confess that I use Google lens. Looking out to sea we couldn’t see any container ships only barges.
We decided to walk back along the road and so climbed up to the carpark by the Golf Club. There were several camper vans there and for the first time in my life, I envy people with these vehicles. They are the only people who could now go out for a whole Grand Day Out as they don’t have to worry about their bladders. The ticket machine was broken so they were indeed very happy camper vanners.
Reflecting on our walk, you wouldn’t think there was anything amiss, as no one was wearing a mask. Everyone was having a great time in the sunshine. However, the two cafés in this part of Felixstowe were closed, as were the loos.
People are certainly not travelling to Felixstowe by train. On our numerous walks over the new railway bridge we have yet to see a single passenger on a train. Every time the bus passes us we only see three passengers at most and it’s quite often they are empty.
Perhaps there should be a new Visit Felixstowe sign. ‘Visit Felixstowe. Great half days by the sea’
Ok, so here’s my next instalment (I’m losing track of the weeks!).
Since the beginning of lockdown, I have been participating in an online survey for Covid19, as part of a Twinsuk research programme (I have an identical twin sister in London). The app has now been opened for everyone and basically involves logging in each day and reporting on the state of your health.
As I had been suffering eye problems, I dutifully reported it on the app. Next thing that happened was I received an email saying that this could be a sign of Covid19, so would I please have a test ASAP. I was given the link and password to request a test – I opted for the home test – and this arrived the following morning. I had to swab the back of my throat and nose, parcel up the test kit and phone for a courier to collect it the next day. All very efficient, I thought. With the test duly collected, I then had to wait for the results. I wasn’t unduly worried, as I didn’t have any other symptoms, but the fact they had wanted me to have a test was a cause for concern. The results came back in 48 hours by text message and email – negative, thank goodness. So, all is well, so far.
Heard news from the vets and I am still being furloughed for another three weeks. With the decorating finished and the garden neat and tidy, I shall have to find something else to do. May even do a spot of writing. We shall see.
Another day, another week, another month. The weeks run by so rapidly and routines become set. Don’t get me wrong but it must be a bit like being in prison in “normal” times or even on a cruise – four walls with some exercise and pastimes but a set itinerary with no deviation permitted.
That said I do enjoy my days as it is still a privilege to be able to do whatever I want in surroundings I love.
Technology has really come into its own. We still have a family WhatsApp group and a book club, which is great for keeping in touch. We also have Zoom (I wish I had shares) which has taken off big time. Socially it is great – I have mentioned before that we have family quiz nights where we can see and talk to each other. The next is on 13 June and we are really looking forward to it. We had our first Parish Council meeting a couple of days ago using Zoom – not ideal but better than communicating by email. Keep an eye out on the PC website for the next one – hopefully by then it will be an “actual” one but, if not, you can join virtually.
Although things are officially easing up I do not intend to change my behaviours quite yet. I will try to remain alert – whatever a “lert” might be.
Following on from the last offering I thought I would share with you some information about another nurse, Louisa Jordan.
Louisa was born in Glasgow on 24th July 1878 who, after qualifying as a nurse went to work in Quarrier’s Home, a Bridge of Weir sanatorium then later moving to Shotts Fever Hospital. This was followed by a move to work in a Manchester workhouse hospital before returning to Scotland, first in Edinburgh then as a Queen Victoria Jubilee nurse in Strathaven from which she was transferred to Buckhaven, Fife working as a district nurse.
At the outbreak of World War I, Louisa joined the Scottish Women’s Hospital, which was founded by Dr Elsie Inglis. Undeterred by the initial response from the War Office towards her offer for female medical staff to support the Army Medical Corp or as a unit on the Front, Dr. Elsie set up a number of Scottish Women’s divisions sending them to the various countries involved in the War.
Following signing up on 1st December 1914, Louisa was sent to Serbia to work with a unit led by Dr Eleanor Soltau. On arrival at Salonica, the unit was deployed to Kragujevac where initially she treated war wounded soldiers at Scottish Women’s Hospital. Before long there was a need for four hospitals due to the early action of war in Serbia. Although working with just 300 doctors to look after 500,000 men Louisa’s diary tells of the positive experience of the team. Unfortunately in February a typhus epidemic occurred in the camps and thrived in the filthy, cold conditions.
As she had experience working within a fever hospital Louisa was placed in charge of the special typhus ward where she met up with a colleague and friend Dr Elizabeth Ross also from Glasgow who qualified as a doctor in 1901.
Sadly Dr Elizabeth Ross came down with typhus and Louisa tended to her needs right up until when Dr Ross died on 15th February 1915. A few weeks later Louisa herself contracted typhus and passed away on 6th March 1918 aged 36 years old. An Edinburgh orderly nurse, Margaret Neill Fraser, is also reported to have died from typhus when treating the sick in Serbia at the same time.
Louisa is buried at the Chela Kula Military Cemetery in Nis and is remembered annually in Serbia along with other nurses who served during the 1915 typhus epidemic. In Scotland she is commemorated at the Buckhaven War Memorial and at Wilton Church, Glasgow.
Up until recently Louisa has been remembered more so in Siberia than Scotland, so when the Scottish Exhibition Centre in Glasgow was set up to care for coronavirus patients it was announced that as a fitting tribute to her service and courage the hospital would be known as NHS Louisa Jordan.
A fitting tribute indeed.