Sunday 17 January

I woke up at 6.30 this morning, so was out and about by 8.30. No one around apart from a few dog walkers and joggers. I suppose there will be no London Marathon this year, so people are just running to keep fit, and for the pleasure of being in the open air. Which I was, at Cudham, in the London Borough of Bromley, so not far away, but remarkably rural. It has a very impressive Hall, now private flats, but I have not yet found out its heritage. When I type in the name, I get estate agents’ blurbs about property for sale. It is a very fine building.

We walked 5.5 miles, as the crow flies, but the up and down in the squelchy mud must have added a bit more to it. It was wonderful to see the signs of spring, catkins, and bluebells poking through. The birds were twittering furiously, and the crows seemed pretty manic. A university friend of mine has enlivened a whole group of us during lockdown, with jokes, cartoons and anecdotes. A recent theme has been possible collective nouns, such as a giggle of schoolgirls, a flood of plumbers, a drove of cabbies……I thought it could be a caw of crows.

I am still on the lookout for weather vanes, and I thought this cockerel was a very fine beast.

Sunday evening seems catch up time on Zoom calls. My niece told us that she had been swimming in the sea at Portobello, briefly, no wetsuit. 6.6C. Chilly. The family blames Auntie Jenny for this craziness. I admit to wild swimming, and sometimes in pretty cool water, but this would be a step too far. So well done!

I had a long conversation with an Austrian friend this week, and thought how much I miss going there, and seeing the mountains, swimming in the lakes, and hearing some Austrian harp music. So here goes: nostalgia.

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