Photos of the California / Oregon / Washington state wildfires and the surreal orange skies, as if 2020 didn’t feel enough like a horror film. The lead image is particularly powerful. This year started with fire, and looks like it will end with it too. I really feel for the affected communities and hope that the fires can be extinguished as soon as possible.
I have been reading a lot about botany and mycology this month, and found this article on Victorians, botany and pteridomania – obsessive fern hunting and collecting – interesting:
Botany was, after all, one of the few avenues open to women who wanted to experience adventure for themselves; it was popular and widespread enough to be deemed an acceptable outdoors activity for the ladies. Indeed, women could even engage into fern hunting unchaperoned, since it was considered an entirely wholesome, healthy, and moral activity.
2020 has seen many of the things that I enjoy get cancelled. The spring shutdown meant that I couldn’t get out to the hills, couldn’t go hiking in Wales, and couldn’t work – weddings were banned and physical distancing meant that I couldn’t work on portraits or my documentaries either. The continuation of restrictions – and uncertainty – throughout the summer meant that we didn’t go camping like we usually would, and now that we’re heading into autumn, I can feel the walls closing in again as the second spike / peak / wave / call it what you will of the pandemic begins. I have no idea when I will next go to a punk show, go camping, or work – either a wedding or on my documentaries which require me to be in close proximity to people in their homes. It’s shit. There’s no two ways about it.
Yesterday I took myself down to London for the day. I wanted to go in January, but couldn’t find any cheap train tickets in the new year and didn’t want to pay full fare. Then the pandemic hit, and so September was my first opportunity to go. London is very quiet at the moment. The roads are busy as a lot of people are driving rather than taking public transport, and some people are venturing back to work, but it’s much quieter than usual. International tourism is pretty much shuttered at the moment, which meant that the parts of Central London that are usually tourist hotspots are peaceful for once.
On Saturday Ed and I went to Oxford for the day. We visit Oxford a couple of times a year, and each visit is much the same as the last in terms of the places we visit and things we do. Invariably a visit to Oxford includes a trip to the Botanical Gardens, a walk along the river and down by Christ Church Meadow, a cone of sorbet at our favourite icecream shop and some time spent in Blackwell’s bookshop.