Looking for comfort at the time of Coronavirus

I may die

But not everyone will die.

I may die

But there will still be blue skies and green fields.

I may die

But I will have lived.

I may die

But my whole history has happened, is a reality.

I may die

And that matters to me, but not to the world.

I may die

But there will still be elephants and zebras (hopefully).

I may die

But there will still be daffodils and oak trees (probably).

I may die

And my whole consciousness cries out at the tragedy.

I may die

But maybe someone will read all my writing, hear all my recordings.

I may die

But you, reader, have not died.



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Kew Gardens


I reacted to the weather this morning (ie rare sunshine) and went to Kew Gardens.

Ate pork chop and roast vegetables in the Orangery, rode around on the excellent little road train, went up on the treetop walkway (which I couldn’t find last time I went there), and walked in the bluebell woods.  (Learned the difference between English and Spanish bluebells.)

I noticed a lot of ladies of all ages walking around on their own.  I suppose it’s a safe place for lone women to get the ‘countryside’ experience.  I wondered how many were sad widows thinking about their lost husbands (like me).

The number one attraction at Kew has to be the main greenhouse by the lake, the Palm House.  The atmosphere is amazing, the plants are beautiful, it’s clearly so exquisitely well kept.  I’d have to put it in my top 10 favourite places in London.  (I’ll have to think about what the other 9 are.)

The even hotter waterlilly house just does something to me.  I’ve only ever lived in a temperate climate, but that heat speaks to me somehow, like some primeval echo.

Also deserving of mention is the gift shop, in which the goods on offer have ‘evolved’ over the years (by a process of ‘human retail selection’) to be the most beautiful and desirable in existence.  A wonderful selection of appealing flower and garden related books, beautiful scarves, cushions, tea towels, mugs, calendars etc etc. (Somehow I restricted myself to two purchases, a cuddly rabbit and a CD of Latin Cafe music.)

A highlight of the day was seeing, as I exited from the Palm House, a lovely big fox trotting utterly nonchalantly across the grass, literally amidst the tourists.  A young French girl next to me uttered a charming and appropriate word as we watched him: “Magnifique!”

Other things I saw at Kew today:

  • Lots of squaaky green parrots
  • A peacock sitting under a bush
  • An orange-tip butterfly (plus yellow and various red butterflies)
  • Stunning beds of tulips
  • Glorious blossom trees and magnolia
  • A tree which they thought was dead in about 1987 but came back to life again after a big storm
  • Spooky ‘ghost’ pictures in the Palace
  • Rowers on the Thames
  • A human-sized badger sett (but no human-sized badgers)


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Now I am definitely NOT going to get myself a dog.  I have no experience of having had pets like dogs or cats in my life (only budgies and goldfish).  It’s too much commitment.  It would be cruel in the inner city – I’ve always thought I would never consider it unless I had some sort of huge country farmhouse with outbuildings.  And no way am I doing the poo collecting thing – seriously not me.

However, I don’t see what’s wrong with speculating about what breed of dog one might have IF one was going to have a dog.  I love dogs – aesthetically.  I like some better than others.  Hence my decision to go to Crufts; in order to visit the area where you can see and ‘meet’ different breeds of dog (200 according to the website).

I really enjoyed it.  I saw it as an opportunity to maximise hands-on dog experience.  I amused myself by considering what my top three favourite breeds are.  In fact there are two different top threes – one for the dream/fantasy scenario (said huge farmhouse), where size isn’t an issue.  And another more realistic shortlist.  One that I just might conceivably, if I moved out of London and was living somewhere by the seaside where I could take a dog out for walks, consider as a possibility.

Fantasy top three breeds: Pyrenean Mountain Dog, Australian Shepherd, Golden Retriever.
Realistic top three breeds: Lancashire Heeler, Swedish Valhund, Pomeranian.

Last time I went to Crufts (on my own, some years ago), I fell in love with something called an Irish Water Spaniel, because of the way it FELT rather than looked, such lovely soft cuddly fur.

This year, of all the dogs I saw, I would make my personal overall winner a (I think it was) German Shepherd with a beautiful all over deep grey coat, which was doing amazing tricks and generally being charming.  He won me over completely.



Earlier on, I wrote that at first feelings of grief take up most of your mind, like a paddock taking up most of a field.  Then the paddock shrinks and other feelings reappear as well, but the grief in the paddock is always there, you have to learn to live with it.

Metaphor for today:  At the moment I feel like grief keeps escaping from the paddock, it won’t be constrained.  I imagine it like a horse that I go and catch, and lead it back through the paddock gates, into the space it’s supposed to be kept in.  Stay here, grief-horse, I’ll come and walk with you sometimes, but let me have life apart from the grief, can’t I?  Keep out of this grief-free part of the field that is my mind.

But he escapes, the horse.  He jumps out, he crashes through the fence, he charges round all the areas he isn’t supposed to be in.  He won’t be ignored, he won’t be shut up in one space.

It’s not working, this trying to keep the grief in one place.