We are constantly bombarded with numbers and statistics, relating to Covid, deaths, hospitalisations, vaccines. Mostly I subscribe to the lies, damned lies and statistics school of thought (Mark Twain) but occasionally I think about it a bit more. Yesterday the total number of deaths in the UK from Covid was 126,000. That is roughly in a year since the pandemic began. I didn’t know what a normal annual death rate would be: it is apparently around 540,000 in the UK. So let us say in this year around 25% of deaths were Covid related. The biggest killers are heart disease and stroke, and one in four people will be carried off by cancer. All of these are aggravated by obesity and diabetes, which are related. I am beginning to think we should shift our health care focus in another direction: the vaccination schedule is going well, there has not been a massive surge in cases since the schools reopened. Can we now begin to look at other issues?
A week ago I was wearing a skirt and sandals. Today I was back in full winter walking kit. The temperature was 2C and as my phone cheerfully told me, “feels like -2C.” It sure did. We did a circular walk from Woldingham station. “A beautiful walk in an unfrequented fold of the North Downs” it said. And so it was. There are still masses of primroses, dog’s mercury (very toxic), and just the first shimmer of bluebells. Lovely violets everywhere.
Also a great deal of wild garlic, powerful smell. Despite the cold wind, the sun made for a great 6 miles, and this was the view over the North Downs as we stopped to picnic.
There were many more people out walking today. Part of it was on the North Downs Way which is very well marked, and families with children and dogs were out in force. Very encouraging. The walk ends by skirting the grounds of Woldingham School, which is a girls’ boarding school. It has 700 acres of land, the mansion was originally Marden Park Hall. My father would have said, you can think beautiful thoughts here.
When I got home I spent about an hour doing some weeding. I think if I do a bit each day it will not be so onerous. I came in when there was a snow flurry, and almost immediately saw a deer heading for my raspberry canes which are just coming into leaf. Grrrr.
I heard this today, played by Lang Lang. I didn’t know that although attributed to Bach, it may not in fact be by him. It’s very simple and beguiling and beloved by all piano teachers.