Saturday 12 December

Today the stag ventured into our garden, I have yet to discover how it got in, and his 2 lady friends were in the neighbours’ garden. There is very little left to eat, hard times, guys. And the squirrels are busy excavating the bulbs. I read that the only way to deter them is to cover the ground with chicken wire, but by the time I have bought wire, cut it up and laid it down, I might just as well buy flowering bulbs and stick them in the ground in March. Lockdown is making me more attentive to detail which is not always a good thing, I think.

This afternoon we drove to Crawley to visit daughter’s new house. They have unpacked a lot of boxes and it looks remarkably habitable in two days, amazing. Nearby is the romantically named Gatwick stream, which they were told about in case of the remote chance of flooding. As it appears to be hedged about with sensors, this would seem highly unlikely. I have yet to discover the Worth Way, a 7 mile footpath linking Crawley and East Grinstead, in part following an old railway track. Sounds a good ‘un. Driving back there was the most incredible afternoon light. Long sunbeams illuminating bare branches in a scintillating gold light, against a slate grey sky. It was the most spectacular sight.

I thought it would be fun to hear some Colombian harp music played by my good friend Diego Laverde. Just listen to the first couple of minutes to get a taste of it (I think there may be a fault on the recording later, as it happens). But you will see what I mean when I say the first time I saw him play, I thought the harp would fly to bits. He really attacks it!

Why didn’t Mary and Joseph make it to Bethlehem? All Virgin flights were cancelled.

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