Buttercups, jackdaws and Zoom

I’ve had some positive reactions to these recent posts on my lockdown rambles and experiences, so will keep them coming. As Jacqui said in a comment on the previous post, nature is a balm to the soul at the best of times – even more so now.

I get a huge amount of pleasure when out on my daily walks with Mrs TD in the countryside near our house to hear the birdsong, which echoes in the valleys and under the canopy of the trees as if we were in an avian cathedral. Today, after spring showers, the path through the trees was redolent of damp earth and young leaves. Cow parsley has started to flower, and copses have a low mist of bluebells.

ButtercupsOn both sides of the path – which is the route of an old mineral railway or tram route to the old docks on the river by the city centre, now long gone – the meadows were vivid green with grass, and shot through with golden yellow – a host of buttercups. My picture can’t do more than hint at the colour. Last time we walked this path, a buzzard stood sentry on a post in this field.

Last night we had the first in what will be a regular Saturday-night family quiz on Zoom. Our daughter was question-master, resplendent in a pink boa and paper bow tie made by her daughter. She looked like Judge Rinder channelling Ru Paul.

Her questions were stretching. Who knew that vanilla came from orchid seedpods? I didn’t.

I found some old seed packets (herbs and salad leaves) in the cellar (sell-by date 2011) and sowed them in a trough. After a week I’d given up on them, but after the recent rain they’ve started sprouting. I’m thrilled. The ones in pots by the kitchen window are still refusing to budge, though – but they were seeds from dried chillis from a local Cornish chilli farm, so I suppose it was a long shot.

I had my weekly Zoom exercise personal training session yesterday in the dining room, with the door open for coolness. A raucous horde of jackdaws gathered on my neighbour’s roof to watch and cackle derisively at my efforts. Mockingbirds. Surely not a sin to kill them.

I regularly stop in our local convenience store for a paper, eggs, or today, beer. The young woman serving there told me that the old man she often talks to outside is a daily visitor. He’s afraid to go inside, fearing infection (odd that he stands so close to her and other people outside), so she brings him out what he needs and chats. He’s obviously lonely; this is his only daily contact with living people.

Some days ago she told me he came inside for once and said he’d got some photos to show her: himself as a young man, in blue suede shoes. “I’m sorry,” she told him, “it’s busy at the moment. Pop outside and I’ll come and look at them when these customers have gone.”

She continued serving – and forgot about him for an hour. “I felt awful,” she told me. “A customer came in and told me there was an old chap outside who looked a bit lost. I went out to him and told him I was so sorry to have kept him waiting. He said not to worry, and showed me his pictures. He was lovely.”

Some people are being selfish and callous during this lockdown, but most, I like to think, are like this kind young woman, taking time out from her busy job to make a lonely old man’s day.


14 thoughts on “Buttercups, jackdaws and Zoom

  1. These are lovely posts, Simon, and the nature pictures are lovely too. I think any crisis brings out the best in some people to counteract the nastiness, and I’d like to think there’s more of the kindness your shop lady showed about than negativity.

  2. I do enjoy your posts and pictures. Nature is so soothing.
    This crisis is like a magnifying glass. The good, the bad, all so much more visible.
    I spoke with an elder man at the park at the beginning of the ,lockdown. He said he hadn’t spoken with anyone in three weeks.
    You seem to be taking advantage of Zoom.

  3. Thanks once again Simon. Yes, these are wonderful, you have such a gift for close observation and description.

    Three “observations” from my grocery trip yesterday (I will follow up with a picture and YouTube attachment on Twitter to “Tredynas Days” there.

    a.) I passed a big grey tree with outstretched arms and a slash of a mouth that appeared to be warning me of something? To keep my mask on?

    b.) I heard a child and woman laughing outside a car in the grocery store parking lot. They had a “giggle fit” about the child’s daffodil-yellow bandana mask the mother was putting on. The child also wanted to make sure her Wonder Woman necklace was visible!

    c.) Nice chat with two grocers on break (social distancing in play) about the Beatles, including the use of Beatles song, “Tomorrow Never Knows” by Mad Men cable series, at a cost of US $250,000!

  4. That’s a beautiful story, Simon. It confirms what we might have forgotten if we spend too much time on social media or reading the tabloid news. Most people are actually really nice.
    PS It’s nice to see the spring… it’s autumn here, and we’ve just had a blast of wintry weather to come. Snow in the Dandenongs, in April!

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