Tuesday 31 March

The first decision today was to take the scissors to my hair. I am due a hair appointment this week, which is clearly not going to happen, so I have trimmed my fringe and found some hairclips dating from the days when I had seriously long hair. Next to decide which earrings to wear. They are pendant moonstone and garnet, and I bought them in Spitalfields market from an Afghan salesman. I remember having a long conversation with him about my experience of teaching English to Afghan asylum seeking students.

I am conscious of the fact that I dream very vividly. And no, it is not because I had pints of red wine before bed time. I always have dreamed a great deal and can often remember the details. At present I seem to have a recurring theme of teaching at college, and deciding it is time to retire, and saying, I must write my letter of resignation. I wake up ready to write, and gradually remember I did in fact retire a while ago. Perhaps the current situation does cause additional stress which plays out in the subconscious.

I went for a very nice walk this morning, across fields to a lane and back. I saw celandines, wood anemones and violets. I was reminded of a poem by Wordsworth which my father was fond of quoting whilst shaving: ” a violet by a mossy stone, half hidden from the eye, fair as a star when only one, is shining in the sky.” As I walked back along the roads, I saw a large notice pinned to a door: Mr Asda driver, You are a STAR. It’s this kind of unexpected comment which brings tears to my eyes.

A house along the road is having the roof repaired. There is masses of scaffolding and it appears to be half done. Now of course there is little construction work so they would appear to be condemned to 6 months of flapping plastic. Ironically we received a letter yesterday offering to buy our back garden for housing development. We regularly receive such missives: drones go over to see where there is a bit of land. Luckily there is a halt to all development at present, and in any case, the garden is currently our salvation and no way would we be selling. I was out there again this afternoon, tackling weeds and listening to the birds.

Modern technology allows us to keep in touch with friends around the world and I am humbled to hear from friends in Kenya who undoubtedly face very difficult conditions: water shortage, power cuts, hospitals at a distance. It helps me to keep a perspective.

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