The Seventh Sunday

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Yesterday was the seventh Sunday of physical distancing restrictions, and we woke up to grey skies and 12C after a week of sunshine and warmth. Whereas Minou spent the whole day on Saturday asleep on the bench on the balcony, yesterday she curled up on an armchair indoors and refused to move. Rather than stay in and listen to de Pfeffel babble on and wave his hands like a mad man, Ed and I got in the car, put Spanish Love Songs’ Brave Faces Everyone record on to play, and drove down to the Lickey Hills for an evening walk. The contents of the speech had been leaked anyway, so there was nothing to be gained from watching it live.

For seven weeks we’ve stayed local, even though driving to take exercise when you live in a built up area is allowed under the current guidelines. I’ve not wanted to encounter countryside vigilante types though, so both Ed and I chose to run and walk from home rather than frequent our usual haunts such as the Lickey Hills and Sutton Park. As it was cold, windy and overcast, the Lickey Hills were deserted. We encountered three or four small groups of people – families, dog walkers – on our usual loop through the forest, but other than that we had the paths to ourselves.

The wind was strong and the backs of my hands turned blue, but I’m so glad we got out of the city for a walk while everyone else was at home watching the live broadcast. Spring is my favourite time of year and I’ve really missed the forest. Seeing the bluebells, the new growth on the blackberry and raspberry vines and a rabbit bouncing about in the grass, and hearing the creaking branches of the larch trees overhead really cheered me up. For Ed it takes a run with friends and a fresh haircut – I cut his hair for him on Saturday afternoon – to feel like himself, and for me, a walk in the forest and an excuse to take some photos does the job. They’re simple pleasures, but things we’ve missed nonetheless.

I came home with a smile on my face, pockets stuffed with storm felled branches and tiny pine cones for Minou to play with, and a handful of wild garlic for dinner.

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