The Coronavirus Diaries, 3rd May 2020

Sunday and quiet. I read the Railway Children. I have seen the film countless times, and loved the stage adaptation which I saw at Waterloo Station some years ago, but I don’t think I have ever read the book before. I enjoyed it, though the sexism was a bit much. A lot much in fact. It made me start thinking about how we are divided and ruled in so many silly ways. Pitching girls against boys, women against men, calling it the battle of the sexes; are you a cat person or a dog person? Both. More war analogies. Currently we are being encouraged by some to divide along other lines – ease lockdown soon, keep it in place; blame the Chinese, the scientists; blame is very much a tactic used in the divide and rule handbook. It seldom achieves anything other than mistrust and anger. We point fingers, squabble and fight among ourselves, while the people who run things in governments, in banking, carry on in some stratosphere most of us never see.

I think it says quite a lot about my concentration that the only book that has held my attention for longer than an hour is one written for children. This morning I came across a tweet by the Reader Organisation. Those of you who have followed this blog for years will now I am a fan. I deeply regret that it no longer holds annual conferences in London. Anyway, the organisation is tweeting a video each day of one member of staff reading a poem. Here’s the link. You are invited to recite the poem aloud yourself and give feedback. I read it aloud and felt quite emotional.

I also found a thread on Twitter which, despite my lack of religious faith, I found very moving. Hopefully you will be able to read it too if you click here. So it seems poetry may be a pathway through this. For me at least. Poetry, walking, talking, jigsaws, MasterB and photography. The walking is great. Today we saw so many roses, smelled some which were delicious, noted how the bluebells are all now dead, explored Subterranea, a place I have only seen across the street, from where you can easily see the beehives on the roof. We examined the fruit trees, the asparagus. If this were not lockdown I should have been at my boat or about to go and I would be buying fresh asparagus from someone’s garden in East Anglia. Subterranea is not hosted in a pretty spot. That’s the point really. It is a space with disused garages on the edge of the housing estate where Bee Urban has become involved. There’s a community bike repair shop and lots of raised beds as well as the beehives. I wish I knew more (anything) about bees so I could say what these two are.

Bee

Bee

Flourishing raised bed

Fruit tree and unseasonal but healthy Christmas tree

Across the street beside some flats there’s another garden I have never noticed before. It looks rather sad and neglected but it’s easy to see how thought has gone into the structure, and with some tlc how pleasant it could be.

Good underlying structure, but

in need of love and attention

In one of our favourite streets, in the neighbourhood of Book Group, I spotted this sign on a gate.

No riff raff

And I really hope some birds have made these boxes their homes and are enjoying the roses and jasmine.

Desirable residences

We met two lovely cats, one of whom definitely knew she was very handsome, and another who was horrified at being looked at by two strangers. There were two particularly happy dogs who seemed to be returning form a walk and looked at us with bright eyed interest. We saw a lovely GSD enjoying a game with a tennis ball, evidently completely unaware his breed has a reputation of being fierce.

Yes I think poetry and photography, pets, walking and talking is doing much to help my mental health right now.

Stay safe, keep well.

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