This post, again, won’t be a normal one for me; not that I have been posting very often over the past few years so ‘normal’ is probably not the correct word to use, but that’s by-the-by.
Just like many people, I haven’t been able to concentrate, especially when it comes to reading the books I would normally choose to read. As well as anxiety about the virus I have had a bad flare-up of my osteo-arthritis in my hands and feet which has meant I haven’t been able to do much housework or gardening, any sewing or knitting, typing or writing for any length of time, or walk far without pain. (Fortunately, after over a month, the discomfort is now ebbing away.) However, I have been doing a lot of thinking. I have also been sitting with Elinor while she works at her university projects. She suffers from chronic anxiety and this virus has made her unhappy and she too, has found concentration very difficult. If I sit with her at the kitchen table she is more likely to get on with work than if she stays in her room where there are distractions aplenty and opportunities to slide into despondency. She is also aware before I am when I start to drift off to sleep and she gives me a helpful nudge. She has introduced me to many things during our companionable vigils in the kitchen and not all of them are to do with graphic design and graphic illustration – her degree subject. Her on-line ‘research’ has led us down many winding paths, admittedly some more interesting to me than others. We have found many Covid-19 articles as you have too, no doubt.
First, this article from Robin Hood’s Bay in North Yorkshire. Please watch the video in the article.
Norfolk takes things a little more seriously.
If that was too gloomy then there is always this from Wolverhampton…
If you think that too silly here is a ‘cute creature’ story.
We have also visited Horrible Histories many, many times.
My thinking has revolved around memories, as in my last post, and our strange predicament. One poem has stuck in my mind.
I think all of us who are especially vulnerable will find our situation similar to that of the Lady of Shalott.
I have been listening to music. I have been reading poetry and short stories, essays and children’s books. Everything that doesn’t need me to concentrate for too long. I was rather pleased with my choice of Lent reading this year. The first book I read was ‘Simply Good News’ by Tom Wright. I started it before the pandemic got going and even though my reading slowed down I was able to finish it and read my second book, ‘Luminaries: Twenty Lives That Illuminate the Christian Way’ by Rowan Williams, before Lent finished. Tom Wright’s book explains why the Christian faith is ‘good news’ and shows that many Christians over the centuries have lost sight of this. It is an exceptionally easy book to read and explains our faith, or what it ought to be, very clearly. Rowan William’s book is an excellent read with twenty short essays on different people from St Paul to St Oscar Romero who are inspirational role-models. I see that this book has been chosen by the Bishop of Ipswich and St Edmundsbury as recommended reading for this month.
I read and enjoyed Margery Allingham’s ‘Flowers for the Judge’. Allingham’s plots are better in some of her books than in others. However; I don’t read her novels for the plot but for the atmosphere she creates and her excellent descriptions of London in the 30’s and 40’s and 50’s, of her characters, their mannerisms and names, of the weather and how it affects towns, country and people, of the countryside, especially the East Anglican countryside.
I am currently reading ‘A Literary Pilgrim in England’ by Edward Thomas the war poet. This is a book of essays by Thomas about many of England’s (and Scotland’s) most famous writers. The book is over a century old and was published in 1917, the year of Thomas’ death; he was killed while fighting in the Battle of Arras. He talks about the influence ‘place’ had on all these writers and divides the book into areas. For example, ‘The West Country’ has pieces on Herrick, Coleridge and W H Hudson; ‘The East Coast and Midlands’ features Cowper, George Crabbe, John Clare, Fitzgerald, George Borrow, Tennyson and Swinburne. I am enjoying it very much being a devotee of Edward Thomas’ writing.
Our rector, Leon has been working hard to keep us together and in touch as a community of worshippers who cannot worship together in the same place and whose churches are locked. Apparently, worshipping together in church will be one of the last things we will be permitted to do once the lockdown eases. Singing is the main problem as this forces globules supposedly full of virus out of our lungs just as much as coughing and sneezing does. Even if we decide not to sing hymns there will be other considerations that would probably make going to church difficult. Leon puts a short talk on YouTube each Sunday and has also begun midweek services from one of our churches. For the past couple of weeks some of us have been having a Zoom chat for 45 minutes at the usual Sunday service time.
May you all keep safe and well.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.