THE GREEN DIARY : Thursday, 18 June 2020.


Ninety-six days into the Lockdown and the extraordinary thing is the speed with which this has flashed by. No matter the hours spent in contemplation, the inevitable boredom that would normal slow the day, we are experiencing the exact opposite – there are not enough hours in the day to complete the daily round! Friends all – are you experiencing something similar? Many of you of course are able to work from home and are probably just as busy there as in your office or studio or surgery? Webinars and Zooming are the new communication landscape and may prove to outlast this pandemic when it is shown we simply cannot return to the old ways.

The wheat fields by Mistley Woods & The Gamekeepers’ Pond

But apart from the actual illness itself which Tony and I have now categorically had proven we have had, there are other things sneaking up which I’m sure are a consequence of the Lockdown. I wonder how many of you are experiencing these:

At the risk of seeming to navel gaze, we have started having bouts of unexplained anxiety and deep depression despite our very lucky circumstances. I mean the existential kind of rumination which brings on these black dogs. They are not pleasant.

Do you, Friends feel this way at all? We know that the Lockdown has had an effect on our wider family so clearly these are symptoms that must surely be shared by many?

The news does not help. From nowhere is there good news. Even in New Zealand where “the last Covid case has been chased to ground” there comes news of poorly administered quarantines and the disease popping right back into the community while the riots in America, and their counterparts in other parts of the world, including New Zealand (I learned yesterday), paint a picture of a world that is in some sort of meltdown.

Beth Chatto’s Garden

The BLM Movement, the Supremacist reaction to it, the arguments about our history, our monuments, our leaders past and present and their handling of these burning issues, the sheer idiocy of Trump, of Bolsonaro, of Putin and unnumbered others, the mediocrity and mendacity of our own Boris Johnson makes us wonder why humanity bothers!

The “13th did not help to cheer, though we both feel it ought to be obligatory viewing everywhere not least the Home and Foreign Office. Do look at it Friends, if you’ve not already – its on Netflix.

Mulling all these things causes a sort of despair which feeds straight into “black dog” (may I use “black” in this context?).

Do any of you share any of these, Friends all? 

It’s the helpless feeling of not knowing how to help! What to do? 

The nursery at Beth Chatto’s Garden

Not a lot – we can only set about the daily round,  the routine, the 288th meal, the walks, the wonderful Zooms with Friends, where it is now generally agreed we are running out of things to say, and the Webinars. Share our shock at the lackadaisical way Lockdown is being implemented and the flagrant disregard of the scientific wisdom by ordinary people who think they know better and have had precious little example from those in charge and their advisors. Here in Essex the rules are breaking down further each day as fear ebbs and ignorance of the possible consequences prevail. 

The potted olive trees love the hot sun but the poor hydrangeas get scorched and will have to be moved!

And the streams and streams of opera, theatre, ballet, concerts, box sets and rehearsed readings. Last night, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST bravely played out in a Webinar format that partially disconnected as some actors dis- and re-appeared without corpsing once! Bravo, bravo! 

So that’s where we are today here on The Green. Yesterday a visit to Beth Chatto’s wonderful nursery to buy more plants & pots and a huge bag of grass seed to chuck all over The Green which is looking sadly brown after the scorching sun of the past weeks. We had to move the newly planted, potted Hydrangeas to shadier spots; in a matter of days their blooms started to scorch.

A gentle rain is falling and time still flashes by.

5 Replies to “THE GREEN DIARY : Thursday, 18 June 2020.”

  1. First rate capture of the current zeitgeist. We need adrenaline firing on all fours stuff. But bottled up as we are opportunities for generating Adrenalin are limited. We are all living in a giant old age home. Meanwhile the rules are being completely ignored by the under forties. Under cover of the trench smoke of Covid they have sallied forth and claimed the high ground. It is nothing less than regime change! A coup! Alas poor Rhodes, I knew him well. His grave will be difficult to desecrate in the Motopos though. Difficult to find and extremely remote in Matabele land.

  2. To avoid the hydrangeas being scorched, just twist them – in their pots – through 1/3 of a turn each day.
    That way, no one side will get burned by over-exposure to the sun.
    However, you must be careful how much you turn: 1/3 of a turn each day is essential but a full 180 degrees would mean that you just ended up with two burned faces, one opposite the other.

    1. Richard, you are giving sound advice. In the last five years I had the good fortune to spend a few summer weeks on Cape Cod, (for 3 years running) and they have a drier, hotter summer than we do. All the gorgeous clapboard houses had lots of pots and stands of Hydrangeas, in fact they are the most commonly grown plant. They water them profusely all summer long and they look fabulous. All Hydrangeas are water hungry and will soak up water before other plants near them get a chance!

  3. We’re all feeling it in different ways…It’s a time of anxiety, disappointments, puzzling and rollercoaster emotions, and projecting our helplessness and anger onto systems and authorities… it would be crazy to be ‘cool’!
    I’ve written an ” alphabet of coping” as a couple during lockdown, called Relationships – maintenance and repair. For anyone who wants it.

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