Spring is done and as we stumble into Summer we can look back on a testing few months. Nature was in an extended lockdown of its own because of the cold and dry April which delayed all the new growth. May was not much better, still cold in the beginning, but also very wet, which I suppose was a blessing as the preceding month was very dry. As it warmed later in the month so the growth surges started, and now, as we find ourselves in meteorological summer, the plants are racing ahead.
Similarly, we have sort of been released from an enforced shutdown, but unlike the flowers, we still have some restrictions. We can eat out, indoors or outside, we can indulge in that uniquely British pastime of shopping; that is wondering aimlessly round Mall’s and retail parks looking at stuff and spending all the money saved during lockdowns. Increasingly larger crowds have also been allowed to return to watch important sports fixtures. Finally the mad rush for continental holidays that started in May suddenly ground to a halt as the Government changed the rules and then more recently changed them again, so now no-one knows what is happening. Very limited overseas travel is permitted to a short list of countries. Anyone fancy a summer holiday in the Falkland Islands or with the British Antarctic Survey Team? Both are on the permitted list, but getting there will be very difficult.
One salvation is that we can get out and walk, both on our own and with friends. Indeed one of the joys since the rules eased has been to meet with friends we have only seen on Zoom, and enjoy long walks with them. We also recently joined our Ramblers Group for our first organised walk with them for well over a year. It was good to feel a semblance of normality returning.
In the spirit of refreshment and renewal, our back garden is currently undergoing a major overhaul. A new patio has been laid after some difficulty with obtaining supplies and finding someone to do the work. New paths and more planting to help our struggling wildlife is planned.
There is much to look forward to as well. Holidays make a welcome return with trips to the Lakes, Teesdale and Lincolnshire planned as well as overnight meet-ups with friends and family. I have two photo workshops booked, one to Exmoor and one, which I have been waiting for two years to attend, in Glen Coe, Scotland.
I have not long completed my first photographic workshop in two years. Advertised as a Bluebell workshop, we visited a new location on the Norfolk Broads, Buckenham Woods. Sadly we were about two weeks early as the expected carpets of lovely blue flowers did not materialise. The potential was there as there were many flowerbuds but the intensity of colours was not there. I have also led two trips out to photograph the Bluebells for the Landscape Group in my Photographic Club. These were much more successful despite the variable weather and the group came away with a host of great images.
The Bluebell workshop I joined also visited one of the many wind pumps on the Norfolk Broads. This one, near the Cantley Sugar production facility is Hardley Wind Pump. This is my best image from that shoot:
On reflection it has been a testing few months and luckily we have managed to stay fit and well. As we venture out into the wider world again we are restricted in where we can go. I do not forsee any overseas trips for at another year, and as for a return to Australia and New Zealand, I think that is off the agenda until at least 2023 due to their entry requirements. As cases rise again, will we be back under restrictions come the autumn. Who knows?