Coronavirus Lockdown Coppice and Bramble

Two moments encapsulated the enjoyment of living with Michael this morning. The first was his ready at 6.30 am prompt for us to leave, no hanging around, we are on the same dance to the same time. Unlike my previous partners, of Bob and Barry, both of which could give little notice for the one waiting. Barry would typically fit another thing into the time, leaving me to hold up the table waiting for him to take the other end – only when he was ready.

The second was his love of finding pretty way, which indeed we did, our venture out on the back roads to Saxmundham revealed exactly as he anticipated, grass verges peppered with primroses.

Where were we off to? Waitrose for the over 70’s morning slot. Michael’s favourite shop. Not that we needed anything urgently, except celery. I think we were going for the experience to give M an outing.

Empty carpark. Ah, the shop opens at 8 not 7 as M thought he’d seen on line. Let’s go to Sizewell, so it was we found the unexpected pleasure of walking on Sizewell beach alone bright sunlight sharp wind, dogs ecstatic.

Returning we found the polite Waitrose distance adhered to queue for the opening hour exclusively for over 70’s. Only one person aloud in, and Michael wanted to do it. I found the church and an unusal grave which I could not find with reference to the North Star.

Remainder of day in the woods and East Lodge, repeating the theme of yesterday, brambles on the northern boundary and then again at East Lodge. Late (well I was a late developer) I had the inspiration to turn the self seeded bottom half of the garden into a coppice. Yes, far too late, but I coppiced the self sown Hornbeam. When is the best time to plant (coppice) a tree? 20 years ago. Next best time? Now.

The evenings I loose in tiredness and food washed down with a glass of wine.


Coronavirus Lockdown 7

After the cold and crazy hail of yesterday, the day was calm and  warm and all day I worked in  the woods. A satisfying task of pulling up bramble along the northern boundary ditch and road side, an annual task although I think not done last year. A few afternoon walkers passed, men and women together. How may divorces after this enforced intimacy? thought passed through my mind. Or how many divorces avoided?

Meanwhile, India racked by greatest exodus since partition as millions of workers flee cities as wages evaporate, with many walking hundreds of miles home.

Back in Suffolk, Dave the sax arrives in his truck, asked to move on by police when camped up near Norwich. The wood welcomes him. Naturally the busking business has dried up.


Conavirus Lockdown 5/6 – Saturday /Sunday

This time last week, we were walking in Benacre, (as others were bumper to bumper in Snowdon, and escaping to Scotland and the Lakes).

Trump imitation is in high production.

An advertisement ridicules Trumps response to CORVID 19 by juxtaposing quotes from Trump with a graph that traces the exponential growth of coronavirus cases.


I finally caught up with myself this weekend, after all the planting of seeds, moving in with Michael, typing up the Vernal Equinox story and sent to Leon and the gang. (Lovely response from Lorna). Having caught up and settled in to this new every changing regime,  I began to look out. I began to wonder how friends and family were. Emailed Rachelle and took round lemons. Wrote an email to the family (Kelletts and Wrights)

Michael and I finished reading Salt to each other. Begun at Brancaster on his birthday weekend, the book has been brilliant to read aloud. Found myself laying on my back looking at the Rag Clouds the other day. Dead mens fingers. The oak wood felt as old and dry as a church. Swimming across to the Hamsa. The Langor brothers, living their failures. Lyrical. Evokative of north norfolk. I remember the whale. Even had the Wild Man of Orford as a  play.

Once again, feels so good to hear international news from AlJazera. Tonight, Libya and Hondourus, and CORVID 19, Libya saved by having so few tourists still. In Nicaragua they are still playing public football matches. Italy had fewer deaths for first time. Spain hit record of deaths, and they are converting an ice rink into a mortuary. Even hearing the weather. Showers likely in Iraq.

Disobeying the 2 mile rule, M and I drove and went for a walk to Raydon woods. Bitterly cold but more protected in the coppiced woodland, I’d last visited to see Richard Woolnaugh. Michael and Tamsyn came here often with their children, and in typical Michael fasion, he knew exactly as we turned a corner that the giant weaping holly was there.

Zoom drink with Unathi at 6.30.

Oh and a day of doing what so many others are doing. Cleared out freezer and all bedding clothes.





Conavirus Tuesday – lockdown2

After Boris Churchillian speach of gravity last night effectively announcing nationwide lock down, I escaped at 6.30 am to East Lodge. Typical response, I thought as I drove on empty roads, of a freedom finder. Effectively I closed up the house. By surprise Sonia arrived to clean. ‘I’m asking each person, taking it case by case’. Of course, she needs the income. She stays while I garden, and next week she will do my air bnb ironing. We are all finding our own accommodation.

It is a day of feeling the moist giving soil, imagining others doing the same. What gift is this, to have announced Lock Down on a azure blue sky day bright sun, fresh wind. With Persephone out of the underworld, into the first days of her 6 months in the day light, just passed the Vernal Equinox. Cleaned out Tamsyns glorious greenhouse in which a great vine grows, and pots with dried out soil lunged hopefully, the succulents surviving well with such abandonment. After up to the raised vegetable squares with finely sifted soil, – i am not sued so such luxury. My dream of living with an Aga and a greenhouse has materialised this time, and I feel in a kind of heaven. First day without visiting the wood.

Dogs to Barry who rocked up from London just escaping in time yesterday. We kept out distance driking tea him telling me about his shopping, soup making and the usual Barry conversation. According to Gove, in the event of  children divided between separate partners, they are allowed to share their offspring, so Barry and I share the dogs. I will wash their fur when I get them back!

On television news we are seeing the inside of peoples homes as they present their news from their study or living room. Jon Snows library case includes Darwin. Behind one was a huge reproduction of Surrats Bathers. The  news tonight is the taking over of Excel stadium for thousands of potential beds. The morning tubes in London were still full (of foolish people), but I wonder if people like me needed to close up what they left behind last night, and in effect the lock down will succeed.

Aware of the Uk centricness of news we switched to Aljazera, which was an informative more. 1.3 million people in India went into Lock Down- watching Modie announce in English, I felt Heather’s sentiments that this emergency time exposure and action will give kudos and gravitas to a right wing ruling government and do little to effect a change to the politics of my persuasion namely more left and social justice based. Conavirus has hit Syria. Remember Syria? How will that pan out. May be like the first reports from Israel: Israelis and Palestinians now have a Common Enemy: the Coronavirus.

We play a mad American game of aquiring hotels but my mind not on stocks and shares. In bed I start to make a movie of the solar project.




Conavirus Monday – lockdown 1

Walk with Sara at Walberswick, a good route away from the sea with plenty of space for us to walk with healthy 2 meter separation. She is anxious. Protecting Jeremy. Watching news. Anticipating events as they fall. Of course, this is why we love each other, one of us skeptical to the others glass half full. While my cup contains potential of self delusion, hers contains the downside of anxiety and worrying about things that may not happen, and even if they did worrying would not dull them. She knows this. With astute self awareness she knows she is a news addict and has had to put an app on her phone to stop her checking intermittent news feeds. This walk is good for both of us. Expressing and distracting. It is a glorious day, not a plane in the sky, bird song. Jeremy is going to embrace growing vegetables in their garden overlooking a field to the sea

I have never seen so many cars in Walberswick. The Londoners 2nd homers have arrived. I would have done the same but this is also what happened in Lombardy Italy, with the southerns escaping south and taking the virus with them.

Walked with Sam around the wood. I can no longer pay him, but offer him this safe place to stay during these uncertain times. He is happy here, and embraces the list of woodland tasks to accomplish. A swift visit to Rigeons for some last minute bits to fix the guttering, just in time.

The UK news is 335 deaths to date and the lack of PPE. Mat Frei gave hard shift to our health minister, Matt Hancock. What’s gone wrong? We knew about this from China and Italy. In Italy doctors are dieing. Michael’s document from Candy explains that the 2nd and 3rd person contracting from the first gets a much more leathal dose of the disease.

Back at East Lodge, MJ’s work has dired up. ‘People have time to do their own gardens’,

Trump – who continually refers to this virus as ‘the Chinese Virus, wants to re-open America for business in “weeks,” not months and refuse to say whether he would simply ignore public health experts if they advised. In this ilk a 69-year-old Texas Republican, said in a Fox News interview that, as a senior citizen, he would rather risk death than have the government pursue measures that would fundamentally damage the American economy. “I just think there are lots of grandparents out there in this country like me,” Patrick said. “Let’s get back to work, let’s get back to living, let’s be smart about it, and those of us who are 70-plus, we’ll take care of ourselves.”

Trump: “People get tremendous anxiety and depression and you have suicide over things like this, when you have a terrible economy, you have death, definitely would be in far greater numbers than we’re talking about with regard to the virus,” Trump said. “We have a double obligation. We have a great country, there’s no country like it in the world, and there’s no economy like it in the world.”

This from the internet

Not really feeling sick and do not want to be.. but if you are feeling confused as to why Coronavirus is a bigger deal than Seasonal flu? Here it is in a nutshell. I hope this helps. Feel free to share this to others who don’t understand…

It has to do with RNA sequencing…. I.e. genetics.

Seasonal flu is an “all human virus”. The DNA/RNA chains that make up the virus are recognized by the human immune system. This means that your body has some immunity to it before it comes around each year… you get immunity two ways…through exposure to a virus, or by getting a flu shot.

Novel viruses, come from animals…. the WHO tracks novel viruses in animals, (sometimes for years watching for mutations). Usually these viruses only transfer from animal to animal (pigs in the case of H1N1) (birds in the case of the Spanish flu). But once, one of these animal viruses mutates, and starts to transfer from animals to humans… then it’s a problem, Why? Because we have no natural or acquired immunity.. the RNA sequencing of the genes inside the virus isn’t human, and the human immune system doesn’t recognize it so, we can’t fight it off.

Now…. sometimes, the mutation only allows transfer from animal to human, for years it’s only transmission is from an infected animal to a human before it finally mutates so that it can now transfer human to human… once that happens..we have a new contagion phase. And depending on the fashion of this new mutation, thats what decides how contagious, or how deadly it’s gonna be..

H1N1 was deadly….but it did not mutate in a way that was as deadly as the Spanish flu. It’s RNA was slower to mutate and it attacked its host differently, too.

Fast forward.

Now, here comes this Coronavirus… it existed in animals only, for nobody knows how long…but one day, at an animal market, in Wuhan China, in December 2019, it mutated and made the jump from animal to people. At first, only animals could give it to a person… But here is the scary part…. in just TWO WEEKS it mutated again and gained the ability to jump from human to human. Scientists call this quick ability, “slippery”

This Coronavirus, not being in any form a “human” virus (whereas we would all have some natural or acquired immunity). Took off like a rocket. And this was because, Humans have no known immunity…doctors have no known medicines for it.

And it just so happens that this particular mutated animal virus, changed itself in such a way the way that it causes great damage to human lungs..

That’s why Coronavirus is different from seasonal flu, or H1N1 or any other type of influenza…. this one is slippery AF. And it’s a lung eater…And, it’s already mutated AGAIN, so that we now have two strains to deal with, strain s, and strain L….which makes it twice as hard to develop a vaccine.

We really have no tools in our shed, with this. History has shown that fast and immediate closings of public places has helped in the past pandemics. Philadelphia and Baltimore were reluctant to close events in 1918 and they were the hardest hit in the US during the Spanish Flu.

Factoid: Henry VIII stayed in his room and allowed no one near him, till the Black Plague passed…(honestly…I understand him so much better now). Just like us, he had no tools in his shed, except social isolation…

And let me end by saying….right now it’s hitting older folks harder… but this genome is so slippery…if it mutates again (and it will). Who is to say, what it will do next.

Be smart folks… acting like you’re unafraid is so not needed right now.

#flattenthecurve. Stay home folks… and share this to those that just are not catching on. To copy and paste, hold your hand on the text till copy appears, then go to your page and hold you finger down again till paste appears.

Meahwhile at 8.30 Boris Johnson delivers a Churchillian type speech announcing Lock Down.


Conavirus Sunday – Benacre walk

Scotland advising the campervans that have migrated to Scotland, that this is not a holiday time, that their health care and infrastructure cannot cope with an influx of people. Snowdonia was bumper to bumper.

Meanwhile Michael and I go to the most remote place we could think of locally, Benacre, well remembered by him. I think i first came here with Bob and saw the crumbling edge of the UK for the first time in my life. No change here, a brick arch, perhaps once an archway into a garden, disappearing into the North Sea, provides a back drop for some visiting cyclists who frantically take selfies in front of it.

Lemon pasta with salmon. Michael gives m 5 out of 5.



Social Distanced Vernal Equinox (March 20)

Postponed, the word of these CORVID 19 days, emails coming in every day, with the unsurprising announcements: Event postponed. The first I recall was the James Bond aptly entitled film No Time to Die back on March 4.  Yes what feels way back then when the virus was still a remote concept in some far away land. Although it was getting closer, Italy was suffering.

We postponed Kinda Forest School, ahead of the Government guidelines, together with our Vernal  Equinox invitation, a culmination of a years solar system investigation at Kinda Forest School. However with fresh air and woods being the clearest cleanest safest place to be,  I invited a few friends to the wood for a modest walk around our newly completed planetary experience. All instructed to keep social distance of 2 x Uranus (ie 2 meters) naturally. Invited were the Planetary folk, namely  Bo and Ryan from Kinda Forest School and Leon amongst our facilitators. Ryan unfortunately could not make it (unfortunately as he was a brilliant contributor with Leon to the myth stories and was the maker of Mars) but Kym came with Levon and Hazel and for the first time Gus. We were a modest handful of souls, Jo and MJ and the dogs rocked up, all keeping our distances among the oaks.

Standing beside the first of 3 fires on the hard standing, I turned to Sam and asked,
‘So how did the universe begin?’
‘No warning?’ he says, eyes, slightly panicked. But he did it, of course, he spoke of that mind bending concept of there being something from nothing. That according to the standard Big Bang model, the universe was born during a period of INFLATION that began about 13 billion years ago. It swelled from a size smaller than an electron to nearly its current size within a tiny fraction of a second.

In the closing light of the equitable day, we walked up passed the Angel of the woods to our Kinda centre, our parachute. Here the 35 meters of material neatly sown by Julia and her mother, Valerie, awaited us to furl it out and feel the 35 meters diameter  of the sun. Based on the idea of the  Swedish Solar System,  the world’s largest permanent scale model of the Solar System, ours is a scaled down version attempting scaled size not distance between – let alone orbit trail! While Sweden used the length and breadth of it’s long landmass to encompass relative distances, this would not be possible in a 5 acre woodland.

Planet Diameter Kaliwood
Kilometer     Meter

Sun              1,390,000    35.5
Mercury            4,879      0.13
Venus               12,104      0.31
Earth                12,742      0.33
Moon                  3,474      0.05
Mars                   6,779      0.18
Jupiter           139,820      3.55
Saturn            116,460     3.05
Uranus             50,724      1.3
Neptune           49,244     1.25
(Pluto                   1,188)   0.06


Bo led the unfurling all the way to beyond the swing. Where was my prepared camera? no where to be seen. You’ll have to imagine it. Did we talk about thermo nuclear fusion of hydrogen and helium and all starts are suns? That the sun is now Middle aged and will remain stable for another 5 billion years. Or did we talk about Apollo? God of light, healing, music and prophecy, poetry, art, oracles, archery, plague, medicine, sun, light and knowledge.

Although the  International Space Station (Solar Powered) Space Disco, was ready and waiting for take off we were a bit slow with firing up the rocket engines (the on off switch)  so our sun song – HERE COMES THE SUN –  melded into our take off music DON’T STOP ME NOW, an effective  warming up dance around the fire, Leon leading us in fine voice, and here is one of the rare photographs of his.

Planet show

Off we set rocketed by Freddie (to) Mercury

I’m burning through the sky, yeah
Two hundred degrees
That’s why they call me Mister Fahrenheit
I’m travelling at the speed of light
I wanna make a supersonic woman of you
Don’t stop me now, I’m having such a good time….


Here the winged messenger, Mercury / Hermes AKA Bo, donned his cape of pheasant wings (sown by the lovely Valerie), to become the messenger taking us around the planets as well as souls to Hades.

Turning back I saw high above the naked oak branches the bright star, which I happened to know was Venus.
‘Look, Mr Astronomer, what’s that bright star up there?’ I ask for dramatic effect.
‘Why, that is VENUS’, said Sam
‘Then let’s go to Venus’, I cajoled.


In Mell’s absence (Oh Mell you would have done it so much better) I felt I had to perform, so wrapped a scarf Roman style around, put up a mask and kicked my Wellington Boots in some kind of Can-Can form – to BANANARAMA’s VENUS. (No photo of this, thankfully). Behind watched by the Venus de Milo. I think it was here that we established our perfect double act of Leon giving us the Myth and Sam (Mr Astronomer) telling us about the science.  I learned two things: the first that Aphrodite was born of the foam from the sea after Saturn (Greek Cronus) castrated his father Uranus (Ouranus) and his blood fell to the sea. The second that  it was the thick toxic clouds and propinquity to us that give Venus it’s brightness:

The closest possible opposition distance between Earth and Venus is 38 million kilometers which is the closest that any planet comes to Earth. The farthest that Venus ever gets from Earth is 261 million km.
Because it is the closest planet to earth and because its thick clouds reflect most of the sunlight that reaches it (about 70%) back into space, Venus is the brightest object in the sky other than the moon, and  can often be seen within a few hours after sunset or before sunrise.


Gaia. We missed Brook to tell us about Earth, made by her father James Nobbs, from welded knives, spoons and forks, now perched a Ash tree stump, surrounded by Oak, Beach and Ash. It was here that Leon introduced us to the essential Gods Genealogy with Gaia

Gaia the ancestral mother of all life,  the primal Mother Earth goddess. She is the mother of Uranus (the sky), from whose sexual union she bore the Titans (themselves parents of many of the Olympian gods) and the Giants, and of Pontus (the sea), from whose union she bore the primordial sea gods.
‘She lay with Heaven and bore deep-swirling Oceanus, Coeus, …….  After them was born Cronos the wily, youngest and most terrible of her children, and he hated his lusty sire.
When Cronus learned from Gaia and Uranus that he was destined to be overthrown by one of his children, he swallowed each of the children born to him by his Titan older sister, Rhea. But when Rhea was pregnant with her youngest child, Zeus, she sought help from Gaia and Uranus. When Zeus was born, Rhea gave Cronus a stone wrapped in swaddling-clothes in his place, which Cronus swallowed, and Gaia took the child into her care.

A late photograph arrived from Lorna, of the younger Kinda tribe getting to grips with the moon circling the earth



David Bowie’s GROUND CONTROL TO MAJOR TOM, took us off to Mars, and on the way LIFE ON MARS (which has little to do with the planet Mars and more to do with the girl with mousy hair). The two shields beautifully crafted by Ryan and Leon, lounged on two tree stumps awaiting a battle that hopefully one day would take place between a Roman and Greek. It was here that the lights started working, (thank you Sam), solar powered lights that surrounded the red planet. (Ryan – you’ve got to come to see it)

We journeyed past the ASTRAL BELT (inner tubes of the bicycle tyres happy to find a use) to the giant gas planet, suspended happily between 2 great oaks.


Holst’s Planet suit, JUPITER – the Bringer of Jolity – was belting out from the ISW.  Performed 1918 those stiring strings (I vow to thee my country) must have been stiringly emotional at the end of the first world war.

Jupiter being the largest of planets, was the most challenging to construct. (Eleven Earths could fit across Jupiter’s equator). Finally it was built by Sam as well as Rudi and Win over from Amsterdam: both over 6 foot tall, both masterful at knots and finding solutions.

Now bedecked with lights around it’s girth and with 4 moons in its red eye of a storm, representing the four largest of Jupiters 79 moons.  We were all pressed to recall their names,  Io, Europa, Ganymede and ….. A good 5 minutes later and out of nowhere  Mr Astronomer suddenly found the forth – ‘Castillo!’ he exclaimed. We meandered around the red eye of the storm, a gigantic storm that’s about twice the size of Earth and has raged for over a century: was the wind in one direction or was there a contra current?

Roman Jupiter equivalent to Greek Zeus brother of Neptune, and Pluto and begetter of countless others. His father was non other than Saturn’s Cronus…


PINK FLOYD’s TIME  took us to Saturn.  Only half finished but looking impressive emerging out of the earth a semi circle of bicycle rims now encircled in lights. The clock said 7.15.  the myths became dominant, and once again we battled the idea of time, what was time before time? Bo’s mum, Sarah, drew an excellent analogy: A way to imagine “no time” can be to think of it like our dreams where everything can happen at the same time.

Famous for it’s rings – yet to be created – Saturn cannot support life as we know it, but some of Saturn’s moons have conditions that might support life. Saturn has 82 moons, the most potential for life is Titan. In the 2014 movie Interstellar, the wormhole that enables the astronauts to travel to another galaxy appears near Saturn. Didn’t Dave speak of a Saturn festival?

Solar planets-5

Saturn – the god of generation, dissolution, plenty, wealth, agriculture. As the Greek Cronus he became the God of time. Saturn’s consort was his sister Ops, with whom he fathered Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto among others.

“Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
Firtter and waste the house in an offhand way
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way
Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.”


Molly’s favorite planet. I’ll not forget her dressed in blue for Latitude festival. Silent and dark and beautifully enlighted by our torches, our organic creation of Uranus was begun by Sue and finished by Eloise and Michael (using Social Distancing).  This said all there was to say, as Mr Astronomer admitted to knowing nothing more. Leon taught us how to say it.

Planet Uranus

The first planet found with the aid of a telescope, it was discovered in 1781 by astronomer William Herschel. Uranus is an ice giant, most of its mass is a hot, dense fluid of “icy” materials – water, methane and ammonia – above a small rocky core. Uranus has 27 known moons, which  are named after characters from the works of William Shakespeare and Alexander Pope.


Dark, cold and whipped by supersonic winds, ice giant Neptune is the eighth and most distant planet in our solar system. We made it out of 3 hula hoops, which may sometimes return to their given purpose. On the way however we got distracted as Orion appeared through the trees, and the supergiant quality of Betelgeuse tantalised us.

Betelgeuse is 640 light years from Earth. It is classed as a red supergiant and is the tenth brightest star in the night sky. Easily recognizable as the right ‘shoulder’ in the constellation Orion, it is becoming redder and fainter.

By now the darkness was complete, and Jo had lit us a welcoming fire around which we warmed or hands. Some drink and a few snacks were prepared on the table near by. At this point Bo reminded me of what I had forgotten – our Mnemonic game and competition. He was brilliantly practical. ‘Where is the paper Rachel?, and ‘We need 5 pens to work in teams’. So it was Bo announced the competition, for us to find our own Mnemonic and there would be a prize for the best, judged by Rachel. (That took me by surprise)

Woodland Vernal Equinox-2

We’d developed our own last year: Mells VW Engine Just Stopped Not Parking.

The prize was a shell. Everyone won a prize – except the ingenuous rude one judged unworthy by Bo – as there was a prize for every category: imagination, Science, and Magic

Here they are:

The end  was indeed magical.
‘Can I sing my song?’ asked Leon. He bought us full circle. He reminded us that today Persephone had arrived out of 6 months in Hades to the light, and that spring arrived on this equitable day of equal light and dark.

As Persephone bent down to pick the pomegranate seed, the earth opened and Hades seized her and dragged her down to his kingdom. Because Persephone had eaten six pomegranate seeds, it was decided that for six months of each year, she must return to the underworld with Hades, on Mabon, and winter would come to the world. In spring she would once again return to her mother, allowing the earth to bloom. Hence, she is  associated with  the fertility of vegetation.

Woodland Vernal Equinox

Leon’s mother recorded the beginning of his song – can I find a copy of this? Leon’s sister managed the music on our ISW.  In part Leon sang without music  into the clear night sky, and gathered around the fire, we all listened. It was a magical ending.

We  made our way down the darkened woodland track back into the uncertainty of Conavirus world and realised this was probably our last social meeting for a while. We took with us this vision of a vast world out there, in which equinoxes would come and go, as would the Conavirus, hopefully not damaging our lives fatefully.

March 27th, one week later, which seems like a year later.



Coronavirus Thursday 19

All day in the woods preparing, and still I forgot the torch.

We are advised to stop all non essential contact and

The coronavirus outbreak has done what local and international politicians and activists have been unable to do. It has sparked an extraordinarily high level of cooperation and coordination between Palestinians and Israelis.