Thursday 21 January

At last a sunny day, so a chance to go for a walk in rural Kent. However since the rain has been pretty relentless recently, and indeed there is flooding in parts of the UK, underfoot it was rather swampy.

The walking is inevitably a bit slow, and it is sort of 3 steps forwards and one step sink down. But the birds were twittering, the sun was shining, and the views were lovely. We met a couple of other walkers and compared notes on National Trust gardens which remain open. It is actually very much quieter than going for a walk in a local park: these are getting very crowded, with dog walkers, furloughed adults and lots of school children.

This was an unexpected delight, a whole load of snowdrops at the side of the path, very tiny.

And surprisingly an open church at the end of the walk. The lady vicar, who seemed about the age of a Sixth Former, was showing someone around, so we had a peek. Some of you will realise that I have a love of harps and lyres, and it has become a point of honour to check for a stained glass window, usually of King David, portraying a harp. Today’s was slightly different, being quite modern. Interesting that you can see the hand on the other side of the harp.

This is in Chevening church. Chevening House is currently the country seat of Dominic Raab. It apparently is within the Prime Minister’s gift to nominate a resident. Before that it was Jeremy Hunt. The House belonged for many years to the Stanhope family; I had heard of Lady Hester Stanhope as she was an early and intrepid explorer in the Middle East. Way ahead of her time in the early nineteenth century, as an archaeologist and adventurer.

I heard this today, the music from the romantic and utterly tragic film Elvira Madigan. It is Mozart’s Piano Concerto 21. The well known part comes in after about a minute and a half.

It is pure escapism. I think I would have to have Mozart’s collected works with me on a desert island.

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