A grand day out! To Ashburnham Place. Well, it was once we got there. There were road works on the A21: the most irritating factor being that as you drove past the forest of cones, there were no workmen to be seen. It was very quiet at Ashburnham as the only visitors at the moment are anglers ( plus spouse). Angling is the most socially distanced pastime you could wish for, so we ticked every box. Except perhaps for not heeding the motorway overhead: Stay Home. Essential Travel Only. As the zillions of cars thundered past, I can only imagine they were doing some essential angling.
It was a beautiful autumn day, and I walked my usual circuit of the Capability Brown lakes. Yesterday we were talking about a recent survey extolling the delights of the open air, but saying that every so often you should pause and admire with awe a particular sight. It can be very simple like a lemony gold leaf, some chestnuts, a pheasant….but pause and absorb. Good for mental and physical health. I found this awe-some.
I think if you look at this fallen log you can see a crocodile/dinosaur figure. The eyes are clear and the horn and the tail. The colour of the leaves are just perfectly autumnal. I am very aware that I am fortunate to have the opportunity and energy to access all these amazing sights. It helps lockdown to pass more rapidly.
Amid all the talk about the number of cases, and vaccines and prevention, I began to think about other preventable diseases. In 2018 there were 228 million cases of malaria worldwide. An estimated 405,00 deaths. Now this is a preventable disease, as all worldwide travellers know. So should we not throw a bit more weight behind this? Yesterday the historian and broadcaster Dan Snow: interesting sense of proportion.
Speaking on Times Radio, he said: “I’ve got an unfashionable take on coronavirus, which is that in the broad sweep of history it won’t be remembered. First of all because it’s not a mass mortality or mass morbidity event at the moment, unlike the Black Death [and] Spanish influenza.”
There have so far been 50.9 million reported cases worldwide, with 1.26 million deaths, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University in Maryland.
It is estimated that the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-19 infected about 500 million people, with at least 50 million deaths. The Black Death of the mid 14th century is thought to have killed up to 50 million people in Europe alone, 60 per cent of the population by some estimates.
Today’s CD is an odd one: The Epic of Gilgamesh as an opera by Martinu. Sung in Czech and English. A present to me because many of the poems I have performed with the Gold Lyre come from the Gilgamesh story.