Posting new pictures from the garden seems to be my way of postponing writing about the miserable state of Coronavirus Britain, or about the stuff I’ve been watching and listening to lately, but I’ll try to get onto those once the latest batch of marking is out of the way. In the meantime, the tulips have lost their petals, the trees have gained their leaves, and spring is about to give way to summer…
The rain yesterday morning meant that the conditions were ideal to hunt for earthworms with my daughter for an outdoor learning project. We found this one as soon as we started digging. After a good look we let it loose, then watched it take ten minutes to burrow its way out of sight.
The flowers are blooming, the sun is coming out, and we’ve been spending more time in the garden.
The kids and I went for a bike ride on Friday for our daily constitutional, along to the Meadows, across to Arthur’s Seat, and then back via the Grassmarket and the canal. In places it was quite busy with joggers and other cyclists, although everyone was well-spaced, but the roads were as unnaturally quiet in that part of town as in ours. Here are a few photos, along with one from a walk to Morningside this afternoon, where you can see people’s new habit of walking out into the empty road to maintain distance from other pedestrians.
There isn’t going to be much travel for a while, but at least I can take a few photos of our communal garden as the flowers come out, as expertly tended by our retired neighbour. Here are a few photos of it from the last few days.
I’ve been wanting to write a longer entry here for weeks, rather than just post Covid-19 links and the like, but the situation has conspired against me. Like millions of other parents, including my wife, I’m attempting to juggle working from home with home-schooling and entertaining two kids, and have had little time or energy to write anything for myself; but it hasn’t just been that. It’s that what I’d be writing about is both too personal, unsettling, and momentous, and, at a time when millions are sharing the same experience, too generic, ordinary, and obvious.
But one day I’ll want to look back over this blog to remind myself what we were all going through and what I thought of it all, assuming I’m still here. So I’ll try to capture some of it.
In January and February I linked to advice from Laurie Garrett and Ian Mackay on preparing for the coronavirus now known as COVID-19†. After bubbling under the surface of the main news headlines in the UK for weeks, last week it leapt to the forefront; it was pretty hard to downplay the shutdown of northern Italy and now the whole of it. I’d not posted about it here (apart from those links) because I’m no more an expert than anyone else, but as of this week J. is part of UK efforts to test for the disease—on the coordination side rather than in the lab—and not much seems more important than that. We’re so proud of her.
It hasn’t been much of a winter for snow in Edinburgh, which seems to have missed most of it this year; we had some cold days and a few flurries, but nothing that settled for long. Now the weather is shifting and the blooms are out, and that seems to be that.
Here are some photos of the start of the year around Edinburgh.
We went away for a few days in the kids’ February term break, staying on a small farm in Warenton in Northumberland, a few miles inland from Bamburgh. The weather was pretty bleak, with one storm having just passed and another just arriving—on the drive home through the Cheviots we drove gingerly through a lot of flooded roads—but we enjoyed holing up for a couple of nights by the fire, feeding the sheep and the chickens, seeing the castle in Bamburgh and Barter Books in Alnwick, and going for a walk up an anonymous peak nearby, with traces of a neolithic hill-fort at the top of it. Here are a few photos of it all, to go with the fine fellow on this month’s sidebar.
I said goodbye here to our car when it finally died, so I should really do the same for my bike, a Claud Butler Dolomite hybrid which lasted eighteen and a half years before I finally donated it yesterday to the Bike Station, where it will be repaired and sold on. Over those years I’ve ridden it right around Edinburgh, out over the Forth bridges, from Glasgow to Edinburgh twice with Pedal for Scotland, around the Trossachs, up and down the hills of Glentress, and back and forth to work and the shops and the kids’ school (since my youngest finished nursery I’ve been riding to work every day). It was my seventh bike, after three as a kid and three others as an adult, and lasted by far the longest. Farewell, faithful steed—and welcome, shiny new Pinnacle Cobalt 4.