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On Tuesday evening I had an online bridge session with my club, with a typically low score, but who cares? In the Tuesday session we can actually see and chat with people, as at an in-person (that’s the jargon term these days, isn’t it?) club session. Good to keep up with, and in many cases to get to know better, other members.

The weather on Wednesday was not as warm as it had been the previous two days. Indeed, it was quite a chilly early start for me, as I had to pick up my Click and Collect groceries from Sainsbury’s before three friends, Chris, Jill and Tony, arrived for a four-part sing in my garden. (Thus the new chairs.) We hadn’t met since early November. Although we had arranged to meet on December 22nd, to sing carols outside a local care home, this was cancelled at the last minute as the home had just had its first case of Covid-19, and plans to move residents into others’ bedrooms to be near the windows had to be abandoned. Pre-pandemic I used to go to this home once a month to sing to the residents, old (mainly pre-1960) pop songs, with karaoke-style recorded accompaniment. Whenever it may that that resumes, sadly there will be several missing faces.

Our four-part sing was really very enjoyable, though I was a bit croaky, not having sung for all those months, and after one particularly high piece my throat was rather sore, but it was so good to be in real company again. In the afternoon, a friend, Kathryn, came for a natter, at a late enough hour to justify taking a glass of wine together. Where we had definitely not seen the sun in the morning, at least it accompanied our wine in a wan fashion late afternoon.

Thursday afternoon saw another bridge session, via a different ‘platform’ (is that the word?) which does not include video and live chat, just what they call ‘live chat’ – which is really typed! It therefore requires less bandwidth and enables less well internet-served people, including my regular club partner, Daphne, to join in.

The next morning, Friday, it was out to met a friend, Zoe, for a resumed monthly walk. We had not met since June. She arranged for us to meet in a car park at Dear Leap, in the Mendip Hills, and our walk was along Ebbor Gorge. Sharp intake of breath as I pulled in to park! This met my eyes. I had never been there before. Zoe said the view was even better when there was no mist.

The weather promised to be cold, and so it was, but we walked (scrambled for part of the way) in glorious sunshine for much of the time. I ached in the afternoon, so it was as well that I had nothing planned for then. Here’s a selection of photos I took as we walked and talked.

As we passed these stones, Zoe explained that the area was known as Deer Leap because ‘once upon a time’ a deer had leapt the distance between them – about 10 metres I would say.

Glastonbury Tor between the stones, in the far distance.
We met only one of these animals during our walk.

Our path went downwards.

The bottom of the gorge.
And what/who goes down must go up. Scrambling in this case.

It was sunny at the top.

Down there was where we had been.
I thought these two looked charming.

That was a tiring but very satisfying walk, both from the energy aspect and aesthetically.

On Saturday, I joined a Zoom meeting with members of the South West Early Music Forum. As befitted the season, our Chair, Clare, played through all the chorales from J S Bach’s Matthew Passion on her home organ, and everyone else played, sang or just listened along as they wished.

Instruments I could see on the Zoom call were two bass recorders, a violin (viola?), a cello – and a concertina! Perhaps it was as well that we could not hear each other, and I could certainly see the effect of internet ‘latency’ as I watched others singing – they were all either behind or ahead of me, as I sang to what I heard from Clare.

And to round off the week, in the afternoon I visited a National Gardens Scheme garden, just 20 minutes away from where I live. Midney Gardens was a nursery, tea shop and gardens until Covid. Sadly, the business has now had to close for good, but they are still opening ten times a year for the NGS, raising loads of money for various charities.

I was told as I arrived that there were about 140 different varieties of daffodil in the garden, though some had by now gone over.

To say the garden displayed a few quirky objects would be a serious understatement. But of course a garden has beds, doesn’t it? I wonder what will be planted in this one later on in the season.

They’re not called cauliFLOWERs for nothing.

The Gin Garden. How long did it take the owners to accumulate all those bottles?
Their kingcups are well ahead of mine, which are in full shade.
I thought these were my favourite of all the daffodils I saw…
… until I saw these.
“This seat is for lichens only now. Do not use”

Midney is so near to my home, and will be offering cream teas later in the year as it opens for the NGS – I shall return!

When I got home, I noticed this in my garden. I’d not seen it in previous years – is it a mutant, a variant?

It was a busy week. This looks to be much quieter. Boiler service, two bridge sessions, hopefully a meet-up or two with friends, and some podcasts to catch up on, with some knitting to finish as I listen.