Saturday, 16 January 2021

Sun seeking. Muddy paths. Enclosures. Mixed messages. Musical vaccinations. And “days”.

Yesterday we decided to take advantage of the sunshine and get some vitamin D by going for a walk up the hill towards Dobcross.


As it was so crisp and cold we took the risk of turning off onto  our “forest path” skirting round below Dobcross village. It’s been so wet and muddy that we have been avoiding the path for weeks now. However, there was a chance that the mud would be nicely frozen.

Well, only partially. There were still lots of surprisingly soggy places. Often these were further churned up cyclists. Quite way anyone would choose to cycle that path, even with an all-terrain bike, is beyond me. But this gave me an opportunity to try out my new lightweight walking boots. My old boots have served me well for years and years but their waterproof qualities are seriously suspect and with all the wet weather we have had I have returned home with soggy socks on more than one occasion. So new, supposedly waterproof, boots were called for, ordered, delivered and yesterday given a test drive. They seem to work well, I am pleased to report.

On our various “adventures” up the hill towards Dobcross we have watched a patch of land go up for sale and eventually be sold, around the high point that we call IADH (it’s all down hill). A fine new five-bar gate was erected at one access point, a section of dry stone wall was partially restored and then seemingly abandoned and various piles of stones were gathered. And that was that. The piles of stones have since grown grass. Nothing much ever seemed to be going on, or if it was it was just round the corner of the access pathway and we could not see. 

On odd occasions the gate was left open and we saw vehicles parked there but little sign of any kind of work taking place. This was reasonably reassuring as it implied that nobody was building a huge house there. 

Yesterday on our foray down the forest path we came across a new section of fencing in a place where there has always been open land at the side of the pathway.  It is rather unfriendly fencing with a couple of strands of barbed wire at the top of it. Is this what has been going on when we have seen vehicles at IADH? It’s a possibility.

The fencing does not prevent access to the pathway. You can still get to the Wishing Tree. Nonetheless it looks a little forbidding and the air of open meadow has disappeared. Maybe the owner plans to put animals on his land. I’m pretty sure the land was sold as agricultural rather than any other kind of area. We shall see.

We still had a good walk. At the end of the path we turned up the lane to Dobcross village and headed home once more. As we walked we could see mist of cloud rolling in from the direction of Uppermill. The sun was about to disappear. We made it home before the cloud reached Delph but that was the end of the blue sky once again!

During the night it rained. Copiously! The noise of the rain woke me several times in the night. In fact, the sound of the rain permeated my dreams, weird dreams involving a former student and a lot of heavy rain. All I remember about the former student is that it was her wedding day; the rest of the dream narrative has gone, the way dream narratives do  but the rain remains. When I eventually got up all was quiet so I assumed there was a hiatus in the rainstorm, a good chance for a morning run. In fact the heavy rain had just turned into quiet drizzle! It might be time to start building an ark.

As a matter of fact, an ark might pretty soon be our only means of travel. The much vaunted travel corridors are closed from Monday. Nobody is allowed in from South America. Are we finally going to become an actual island, isolated from the rest of the world? I doubt it.

As regards the Coronavirus, I think the prime minister is trying to reassure us and warn us both at the same time. On the one hand he wants to tell us that we are beating the vaccine (Never Say Die Johnson!) but on the other he wants to remind us that we must remain vigilant. Both these things may well be true; the second one certainly is. Levels of infection might be falling slightly but they remain frighteningly high. Maybe the PM should have been less reassuring at earlier stages! 

But vaccination is under way, although with some odd stories accompanying it. Here is one:-

“Soothing organ music will be played as people over 80 receive Covid jabs in what must be the UK’s most spectacular and historic vaccination centre - Salisbury Cathedral.

Local GPs have invited a group of patients to be vaccinated in the 800-year-old building and the cathedral has organised a programme of music, which will be played on its 19th-century Father Willis organ.

The Very Rev Nicholas Papadopulos, Dean of Salisbury, said the cathedral was delighted to be helping. “We are proud to be playing our part in the life-saving vaccination programme, which offers real hope in these difficult times,” he said.

“Staff of our local NHS and their patients will receive a warm welcome to their cathedral, and we assure them of our constant prayer.””

There we have it: the church as a place of refuge and protection from evil! Will vaccination in a cathedral offer extra protection?

And now for a bit of nonsense. I have been known many times before now to express my amazement at the proliferation of “Days” - National or International ... insert topic or theme of your choice ... Day. There are “days” to suit all tastes.

Well, on an advertising item for Spanish tourism that pops up on social media I came across this little gem:

“Today is International Croquette Day! ðŸ˜‹ To celebrate the one of our favourite tapas, we've taken them for a short tour around #Spain and hidden them in our snaps! 

Can you spot them? ðŸ‘€

#SpainGastronomy #DiaDeLaCroqueta”

Oh boy! Whatever next!

Life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone!

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