Wednesday 11 November

A mild autumn day, and I drove to Shoreham, a very pretty village near to Sevenoaks, to meet Barbara for a walk. We met at the church, which was open. It seems very well maintained, and with an active congregation. For a small community it seems quite large: in days gone by I think the wealth will have come from agriculture: there were some sizeable estates in the area. A very unusual tower.

Opposite the church is a pub: it struck me as archetypally English. Closed at the moment. This village has quite a few pubs, I cannot think that they will all survive, yet traditionally a pub is at the heart of a community.

The walk was quite undulating, and at times a bit slippery underfoot, owing to mud and fallen leaves. But we had some great views. At one point we could see the Queen Elizabeth bridge at Dartford, and also the buildings of Canary Wharf. Yet it was very quiet and rural. We saw buzzards overhead, and at ground level, many types of fungus, and also flowers still in bloom as it has been so remarkably warm. It has not yet been cold enough for all the leaves to change colour, though there were enough to make it very pretty. Ivy and beech leaves: what a mosaic.

I have had some correspondence with a colleague in Kenya. I taught alongside her in Eburru, she is a young woman with a little daughter. I asked her if Kenya still had lockdown. No, she replied. The president has said that “everyone must care for themselves.” So then I began to feel that we are being treated like irresponsible schoolchildren who cannot make decisions for themselves. Papa state knows what’s best for you. Food for thought.

A very unusual CD for today. Musica Romana: Musik der Antike. I have met and performed with the leading light of this group, Susanna Ruhling. They play replica Greek and Roman instruments. A very creative bunch of musicians.

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