No doubt we will look back on this year, weep and laugh and reflect. I kept thinking of other aspects to add to my doggerel poem sent out at Christmas, but Arundhati gives me hope that a shift can come from this drama, and the shift could be in line with nature rather than against the grain.
Classically we over ate on deliciously rich food: a very expensive goose (£70 from Palmers) which was tough on the night, but has been delicious subsequently in wine (today the final meal will be a cassoulet), and the most sublime stock I have ever made in the bottom aga, giving us soup after soup. I know I have put on a stone since living with 3 meals a day Michael – and I must take stock (!) and reverse: a three day fast is imagined. Here I am talking food, which is exactly what Michael does. How was your christmas Dad? his kids ask. Very good, he replies, we had goose for christmas day, with red cabbage, a few partridges, etc.
I have written up my 2021 resolutions, which includes walking more (no longer the 10k run!). I miss my walking with Sara, but was thrilled to find in Christina a fellow risk taker who was all for walking over private land, so we extended our walk (the beginning of which she did not know, a balanced exchange) to John Hunts newly acquired land and a second visit to Blyth Woods, and the hornbeams.
What I want to write about (how like me to take a long run at the jump i want) is Buckenham Carr. It’s only taken me 13 years to get here, a simple hour away. Michael noticed in my book, Crow Country, Mark Cocker had signed it, 2007, Harleston, when I met him as part of the local festival, and must have read the book soon after, and since then vowed to find Buckenham. The book weaves Mark Cockers own journey up to this landscape and discovering the sight of the thousands of roosting Corvids, as well as Corvid family history and myth. In fact his book opens with a brilliant description of Buckeham at dusk in January, and the arrival of the corvids to their roost.
We prepare: flask of hot chocolate, tiffiin, warm clothes, sensible boots. The journey – albeit not part of the government guidelines – is easy, even the diversions for road closures are surmountable.
We are not alone on the last day of the year, at the end of the track at the request stop only railway station. About a dozen cars are parked up. It was sheer excitement that kept me warm – for I’d left my winter coat behind like a fool. Excitement and Julia’s mothers scarf. We crossed the line, and walked down to the Yare, Michael saying walk on, walk ahead, to keep you warm. A lone birder with his tripod on the banks of the Yare silently observing. The landscape huge, mist softening the light, that kept changing as I turned round in awe, pastel cold blues and soft yellow with rose towards the horizon, hints of warmth. It feels like a giant film set. A lone stump of a windmill in the distance. Such stillness. No sign of crows, a few small flocks flew over. Reaching the closed pub on the opposite side of the bank, we turned back, along the track. To the east a copse of naked tall Alder trees, with nest roosts in evidence at the tops of their branches, but no sign of rocks. Inside the car, engine on, we warmed our hands and insides with hot chocolate. We turned the car around and headed back, as Michael told me of how he and Tamsyn had seen thousands gather on the fields before they took up the flight to roost. Disappointed of course, but we could return.
Then I saw to the east the a movement. We pulled over, and over they came, the rag tag of them, like scraps of paper Mark describes them. Then like water, in a mass they moved back and forth over the woods around the church tower. A snap of a photograph does nothing to say how it was, but fixes the memory. It was 4.30, later than we thought, sun had set 30 minutes.
We returned with an unexpected joy in our hearts.
Enlivened, we returned for a perfect evening – back to back West Wing, so engrossed we passed the midnight hour. With Leo post heart attack, his recommendation, CJ takes over as Chief of Staff, and successfully mounts the up hill battle for her position. Meanwhile as Jed struggles with MS effects, the new candidates emerge for the next battle. Echo’s of Obhama here. Champagne accompanied.
1 thought on “Lockdown end of 2020”
New year, new walks…..I miss them too, so let’s get back on track!
Lovely piece this. We saw masses of crows flying over Cookley yesterday just before sunset – I’ve never seen so many before. Xx