It had been billed as England’s Independence Day. (Scotland and Wales have their own agendas – please don’t ask!). After 104 days of lockdown and restrictions, Saturday 4 July was the date that most people had been waiting for. Life would apparently return to a semblance of normal, in that, we could get a haircut, go to the pub or a restaurant, and for some, go on holiday. Judging by some of the images of city centre pubs on the news channels, many seem to have forgotten all the guidance on social distancing with pictures of drinkers spilling out of the bars on to the streets outside.
But what is “the new normal” folk are talking about? We still have to socially distance, we can’t meet or exercise in groups of greater than 6 and, although professional sport is back, games are being played behind closed doors. Plastic screen makers have never had it so good, as shops, cafe’s and hairdressers erect shields to protect us from each other and their staff. The good news is that we can now meet and mix with up to six friends outside our own family, albeit maintaining the 2 metre spacing where possible. We are told this is the new normal, get used to it for now. For Lyn and I, the easing of lockdown measures is being treated with caution. We will not be joining those flocking to their nearest pub, cafe or restaurant just yet, let us see how the new world order beds down. Caution is our watchword.
I am a member of a photo sharing site called Blipfoto. The idea is each day you post one image to share with others. Some use it to chronicle their daily lives, others, like me, post when they have something to share. Some of the images below are recent posts. If you want to take a look at mine and others images please try this link
Some recent “Blips” from our garden.
And below, two from our local walks. The little dog in image 1 is Poppy, one of our neighbours dogs, that we have been walking at the weekends.
Top: The Long and Winding Road with Poppy; Bottom: Local cloudscape – Big Norfolk skies.
On a more positive note I had a very pleasurable couple of hours recently, photographing a large poppy field just outside Norwich. Contributors to social media had highlighted this location as the source of some lovely images so I headed off there on a showery afternoon to take a look. It was very popular, judging by the number of cars parked close by and people clustered around the gate. In the interests of self preservation I walked along the roadside verge for a few metres and entered the field through a gap in the hedge where there were no bystanders. Wow, it was a stunning sight, red poppies covered the field entirely but with clusters of people all around it was difficult to get any decent images without being “photo-bombed” by groups of small children being pushed on by a parent. Oh and I got wet due to a passing thunderstorm.
However, a couple of days later I went back for an evening shoot, when the light would be more gentle. There were far fewer people there and I spent a pleasurable couple of hours taking images of the poppies and the sunset.
Getting creative in post processing. I discovered the “Twirl” effect and tried it, with these results.
From Sunsets to gardens, more specifically our garden. Having completed the front garden pond recently, my attention now turned to a new project Lyn had set for me. She had requested a small “container pond” to be located in the back garden close to our summer house. A quick look on that well known e-commerce site named after a central American river, secured me a large plastic tub that I could bury in the garden. A couple of afternoon’s work later and the new pond was complete. It now has its own resident frog so the garden slugs had better look out, and our garden birds have somewhere else to have a drink!
Our new back garden pond. The surrounding plants cost more than the pond container!
As summer has taken centre stage, the weather has gone the other way and the last week has been distinctly wet and autumnal. This has not stopped us getting out for our walking and cycling trips and we have been out and about exploring some different areas of Norfolk.
Clockwise from top left: Another bike ride, another church. This one at Runhall. Me; Us; Swan on the village pond at Wramplingham
Breckland is a large area of gorse covered sandy heathland stretching from south Norfolk into North Suffolk. It is a protected conservation area noted for its unusual flora and fauna. Strangely it is also home to a large Military Training Area and the Army do much to preserve this unique natural landscape. Within the conservation area a series of trails, known as Pingo trails have been laid for walkers to enjoy this area. Despite this being noted as one of the driest places in the UK we visited on a dull day of showers, but managed to dodge the rain.
Top to bottom: : Two images of Thompson water, part of the Pingo Trail in the Brecks; Swan family on Thompson Water; Wild Flower Meadow in the wet!; Us with Thompson Water in the background.
The weather was fine for another walk, this time from Caister St Edmunds. Close to the village is the site of an old Roman town known as Venta Icenorum. Opposite this is the start to a very pleasant walk which takes in the site of an old Anglo Saxon cemetery. Beyond this the farmer has planted meadows of wild flowers to encourage wildlife. We walked around the permissive paths the farmer has left around the boundaries of the fields, taking in the colourful landscape and the dramatic cloudscape. Despite the fine weather the clouds serve as a reminder that during a British summer, you are rarely far away from a rain shower!
The wild flower meadows near Caister St Edmunds. The clouds threatened but there was no rain.
Us with our neighbours dog Poppy out for a walk on Lyn’s Birthday.
Finally, over the last few months the people of the UK have come to realise what the National Health Service (NHS) means to them and there has been an outpouring of thanks to those who care for us during times of illness especially during the pandemic. We have had the weekly “Clap For Carers” on a Thursday evening. People all over the country stood on their doorsteps at 8pm each Thursday evening to clap, bang pots together or make noise in recognition and thanks for the service given by the NHS staff. Staff are offered discounts in large stores and people have come up with other ways of saying thank you and raising money for NHS Charities Together.
One company has come up with a unique way of saying thank you. The Aircraft Restoration Company is based at the historic airfield at Duxford (home of the Imperial War Museum historic aircraft collection) and among other aircraft, they own and operate a number of WW2 Spitifire aircraft. Their Photo-reconnaissance Spitfire is painted in a sky blue colour, similar to the NHS colours, and has been inscribed with the words “Thank You NHS” on the underside of the wing. They are sending this aircraft out around the country on flypasts of hospitals to say thank you and to raise money for NHS charities. For a £10 donation you can have your name inscribed on the airframe. They reckon they have room for over 80,000 names. What a novel way to raise money. The aircraft recently did a thrilling flypast of our local hospital as part of that tour, and it will be the only air display I will attend this year.
Spitfire flypast over the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. The aircraft is a former Photo Reconnaissance version painted in the original sky blue colour scheme.