The dreaded feline alarm jolted me awake at 04.30. The arthritic clomping about along with intermittent demands for attention, chin tickling and/or food ensured that my sleep was over for the morning. I got up and planned a route to work on my laptop. After all, summer is back and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.
Everywhere I plotted was uninspiring. I’m feeling a bit bored with the same old routes so hopped up onto the Flitch and went where the wheels would take me. In other words I didn’t go anywhere near the places where I spent 15 minutes planning on going. It took about 2km before the first 2 close passers announced themselves. A couple of startled juvenile deer ran across my path, bolting from the safety of one bank to the other. I probably wouldn’t have seen them lurking behind the trees if they hadn’t moved. Shortly after, I switched onto the road and followed the quiet country roads. Quiet because I only had to put up with 2 cars in the first 12km. I ducked down a bridleway that I have seen a number of times but never had the time nor was going in the right direction when I’d seen it before. After exploring a couple of duds the previous week, this one gave all I wanted including a handy off road short cut. Another one in the collection.
I came out onto a paved road feeding some farm buildings and if I come from the opposite direction, I would never have found this path. Bonus. I skipped on down the path to the Church and had thoughts of a brekkie stop in the sun but then had my second wildlife encounter, a couple of swans with their cygnets right in the middle of the path and next to the pond. One of them reared up at me with a fearsome thou shalt not pass! hiss.
I paused and waited for them to calm down, took a photo and steeled myself for a quick pass before my leg got a nasty peck. I got a full show of wings and another hiss. I didn’t bother stopping for brekkie, the Church was around the corner and I didn’t want the neighbourhood swan gang to spring a surprise attack. Besides, work was calling and I was running late.
I got there 5 min late but nothing was on apart from a full inbox and teaching later in the day. I was able to leave early and buoyed by a strong coffee burst into the 25°C heat under a clear blue sky. It doesn’t get much better than this in my part of the UK. I headed through Hunsdon airfield and towards Matcham wood, site of another WW2 airfield, RAF Sawbridgeworth, where SOE agents started their perilous missions to occupied Europe.
I was in an airfield perimeter defences kind of mood and, as the paintball adventure place that takes up some of the former perimeter is not in business due to the C word, thought that now was the best time to explore the area. I found a couple of octagonal pillboxes and could even crawl into one. My 10 year old self was excited, not only at my find but at the forbidden nature of my trespass.
I trundled on into town to pick up some groceries and after too long in the sun, made my way home feeling like I had burnt all my matches with 62km for the day. An announcement was made today about the easing of lock down measures. There is still a 2 metre distancing “rule” but if you can’t manage that, then stay no closer than 1 metre. But only from 4th July when pubs and restaurant’s reopen for business. Dunno about you but from my experience of English pubs, I can’t see this turning out how they want it. We are heading to the poorhouse and they are desperate to revive the economy regardless of the risk to life. If I woke up from a coma tomorrow that had lasted the last 4 months, I would think that I was in a horrible alternate reality.
Total UK deaths: 42,927 (171)