For those of you outside the UK who don’t follow the news…. As of last night our Country has, again, been placed in full lockdown. This new covid variant has caused cases to sky rocket, hospitals are almost full and sadly loss of life is increasing. Our PM has said if all goes well with the vaccine roll out restrictions could be eased mid-Feb, 7 weeks. A look through the window, cold, wet, windy, my mood is not getting better.
Let’s take a look back at the last twelve months and reflect on happier times in an awful year.
The new year started in grand style with a luxury hotel break in mid-Wales. We were on an organised coach trip and got to see the sights of the Elan Valley and the Cambrian Mountains. On the return home a stop in Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon. Little did we know what was in store.
Into early spring and as temperatures rose the first butterflies appeared in the garden, just in time for the first lockdown. The (my) world became eerily quiet. Roads were deserted and skies empty of planes. At work and customers were panic buying, shelves emptied and supplies ran out. Surreal.
As spring progressed I spent my time in the garden or walking the country lanes around the village. I was getting itchy feet. Driving the few miles to a favourite Broad I felt like a criminal. I craved to be out by the wetlands and the dragonflies and butterflies welcomed me with their beauty.
By June restrictions eased and I ventured the 120 miles down to Essex to photograph the Heath Fritillary, one of Britain’s rarest butterflies. It was my first venture onto roads other than between home and work and it felt unreal, like I had never driven before. Locally and the Silver-studded Blue’s emerged on the heath. It was so peaceful just to sit among them.
July was a major upheaval as we sold our home of 30 years, moved into temporary accommodation with Angela and Simon and set about buying a new house. We still had plenty of free time to explore the local countryside and found some superb wildlife. I ‘treated’ Mrs H to a trip to Canvey Island in Essex to see the rare Southern Migrant Hawker dragonflies and got my best ever in-flight shot.
We moved to the new home in September. Lots of decoration and garden clearance but we had a pond, somewhere I would spend hours watching the comings and goings. Most of the year and sport was banned, then allowed with no spectators. As you are aware I’m a drag racing addict and I was getting ‘cold turkey’! Santa Pod Raceway announced a trial of three races with limited entry and lots of guidance, no matter, I was going!
Restrictions started getting tighter again. I had made the massive decision to take early retirement from the end of October. Life’s too short to spend your days stacking shelves in a supermarket during a pandemic. We were allowed out to exercise so I went to Suffolk to ‘exercise’ and just happened upon a very rare bird I had not seen before, as you do.
We also started going on long walks with our friends Rose and Mick. These hikes are now not permitted. We can walk locally around town but no more driving to beauty spots.
The last year proved it can have its good times. It must be said that my part of the Country was the area with the lowest infection rates. This is no longer the case, now we are among the highest. Spring will come again and if the vaccine is a success the future could be brighter.
Stay safe everyone.