THE GREEN DIARY : Sunday, 26 April 2020.

NOTES FROM THE COUNTRY

It’s the bluebells again – that time of year. We reckon a week earlier than usual. 

We broke the Lockdown regulations this morning and drove to Little Bentley where there are several acres of woods. The weather is perfect. Blue, blue sky; no vapour trails; hardly any traffic; just some cyclists and one or two walkers.

In Little Bentley we parked up by the church and walked along the road to the gate into the fields.  This is possibly one of the nicest parts of Essex. Still air; hover flies buzzing; there is about half a mile of piste to the woods in the distance, a huge field on our right, this year under goose grass, paddocks and an avenue of trees to a distant homestead on our left. It’s dead flat.

You can smell the bluebells before you get to them. Well, I could but Tony’s sense of smell has been affected by this Covid virus, so he couldn’t. 

The path enters the woods; much evidence of coppicing; there are birch, oak, beech and sycamore and the forest floor is carpeted thickly with wild garlic and the shimmer of purple bluebells, an almost indescribable purple that looks impressionist or even pointillist.

You walk the paths and breath the cool air; the sun shines through, dappling the floor and, at a bend in the path through this magic, the edge of the woods border a fully flowering rape seed field the extraordinarily electric yellow colour almost paining the eye in contrast. 

The trees are alive with birdlife. Their sounds sooth. I heard on the radio that they seem louder this year because there are no background noises. No jets. No traffic.

Someone had left little painted rocks half hidden along the pathway. With hopeful words painted on them, like “Hope”, “Have a Fab Day” and one like a cupcake. Rather sweet and magical – a sort of Easter-egg Hunt.

We spent an hour in there refuelling our senses. The first time Tony has been away from the environs of Mistley for six weeks. I have been the one on shopping expeditions. His gloves and facemask remain virgin! It was a beautiful break, against the spirit of Lockdown but there was no-one there. 

Our car was parked alone outside the church where we had left it but someone while we had been gone had put up a big notice :

IF YOU DO NOT LIVE IN LITTLE BENTLEY

PLEASE GO HOME AND STAY SAFE THERE

We opened the car roof and drove gently home and hope we have not sullied the air of Little Bentley too much. 

The Sun still shines. Its teatime now and soon we will play bridge with Cathy and Jabe on Bridgebase Online.

A lovely Sunday.

Thanks to all those who responded! More emails please!

Here is a beautiful one:

Dear Peter,

“Nothing is so beautiful as Spring — 
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness ; the racing lambs too have fair their fling”.

Thank God for Spring and lots of wonderful weather, a perfect antidote to the obscene antics and rampage of Mistress Corona. Such a nightmare for so many. 
And thank you for the solace of bluebells and green pages, to set against the darkness. A year full of calamities, fire, flood, famine, wars, ‘warming’, dispossessed polar bears and plastic, locust swarms in threadbare Kenya and extinctions on a colossal scale — and now, plague. Grave shadows remain and will be with us for some time, maybe always. It’s going to be a long haul. The world must somehow change its tune, direction, its morality, or we will all choke to death. 
Gloom, frustration and uncertainty cloud the days — an unnerving blankness, but painting defines them. Praise de Lord, I can work. I can take flight !
My exhibition has been postponed until next year which is a disappointment, but in the scheme of things, small beer.
We followed the adventures of the Mistley Robins with interest, tough, charming birds — no disasters there we hope.
I have almost finished a painting of a large jar of frogspawn and tadpoles, I felt like producing something primeval, a reminder of our origins. They are spectacular !
And we have Welsh Poppies in our garden and the Hawthorn is out !

Love, Peter & Jenny Unsworth.

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