The Coronavirus Diaries, 13th May 2020

The other day Matt Hancock MP was asked about summer holidays. This is what he said: “I think it’s unlikely that big lavish international holidays are going to be possible for this summer.” Actually I don’t have any big lavish international holidays in mind for this summer, though I do have a flight booked to Belfast at the end of a July. I imagine most of compatriots have been thinking more along the lines of a week camping in the New Forest, or a caravan somewhere near the coast, than a month in the British Virgin Islands. Hancock’s answer was yet another example of the disconnect between those in power and the vast majority of the population. Matt Hancock has not shown to advantage in this crisis. He is one of those you seriously wonder about.

Maybe I will get to Belfast and then on to Magherafelt, but I have a day trip in mind that might be my consolation if not, and which can be reached easily by train: Bedford. Birthplace of John Bunyan, and not, so far as I am aware a major lavish holiday destination for international travellers. There was a piece in the Guardian on Saturday I almost missed. You can read it here. The Garden of Eden in Bedford. Who knew? Certainly not me.

Celia and I were talking about walks we shall take when we are allowed back on trains, and she reckons the Guildford circular that included Watts Gallery at Compton might have to be our first one. It is a lovely walk but I have a sneaking suspicion that she is hoping to buy a new shirt in the wonderful shop at the gallery.

Today’s walk was closer to home. I had a yen to see Cancell Street again. So our route took us there and through nearby streets. Each time we go down a street we notice something new. We are starting to pick out details in Cancell Street. I have never seen a sage plant with such large leaves.

The Biggest Sage Leaves You Ever Did See

Another garden was very ornamented.

Ornamented Garden

This front garden appealed to me a lot. I especially liked the little frog.

Spot the Frog

This panel on an end wall puzzled us both.

And this is?

I don’t know if Bedford’s Eden has roses and cats, but Lambeth does. Kendal Close was particularly rich ground.

Cat on a Windowsill


Cat on a Gate Post


Cat on a Mat

At the end, on a corner plot a bungalow had a particularly fine selection of roses. This bush by the garden wall was within reach.

Fragrant and fabulous

The colours were fabulous and the fragrance beautiful. The buds were yellow, the open roses ranging from a rich butter colour through to almost cream. We sniffed. We admired. I took pictures.


A woman came out to ask us if we were alright. We’re admiring your roses, we said. We must have stood talking for at least ten minutes. She told us how her aunt who lives in Italy normally prunes the roses in winter but was ill and unable to come; how she buys a product that she swears by; how we are welcome to pick her damson plums when they ripen, and in June if we call she will give us morello cherries from her garden. Her name is Michele. I have forgotten the name of the wonder product. Then she let me choose a rose to take home with me.

My Rose

Were it not for coronavirus, for lockdown, we might not have taken that walk this afternoon, seen the cats, the roses, met Michele. There are silver linings.

Stay safe, keep well.

6 thoughts on “The Coronavirus Diaries, 13th May 2020

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