This weekend I should have been in Northumberland celebrating my parents' golden wedding anniversary. My sister and I had rented a house large enough to accommodate all 12 of us, and the long weekend was going to be spent in the great outdoors and then sprawled around a comfortable and rather grand sitting room. On Monday evening I was coming back to London with my Mum and one of my nieces, and on Tuesday together with them and my youngest daughter, was flying to Pittsburgh and from there driving to Ohio. There we would have met up with my aunt, uncle, cousin and [later] sister for a few days, and together we were to visit my Grandmother, now aged 94, in her care home. At 94 I cannot help but wonder how many more chances we will have. Meanwhile my eldest daughter was accompanying my Dad back to Scotland to help look after him and my sister's other two children, and Mrs L would be in London supervising the final burst of GCSE revision for my eldest.
No anniversary celebrations. No family get-together in America. No visiting of ancient relatives. No cousins spending time together. No GSCEs and no end-of-an-era school leavers jollity. We've seen no-one and been nowhere. Meanwhile I read of Government advisors quietly skipping off to see families and lovers, I see reports of fun days out birding here there and everywhere, of long-distance twitching, and of photos of crowded beaches and clogged roads all over the country.
You can imagine how that makes me feel. No doubt there are solid reasons for some of this activity, and I am sure that many people have found ways of justifying it to themselves, but quite a lot of it makes me seethe. Imagine what nurses and doctors seeing this first hand must think. The selfishness of so many people is quite extraordinary. My 'favourite' was a news report of some people who had driven an hour and a half to go to a beach and were without any sense of irony annoyed that lots of other people had done the same thing. I've also read stories of people who never got to see their aged parents again because they died before they could visit, and I'll be honest here - I cannot reconcile those two things. People who are irritated that other people also felt like a nice day out, and people who won't get to see a family member again ever.
Right, deep breath.
Here in Wanstead it has been feeling quite like June for quite a while already. Other than the majesty of local Swifts birding has been scant, and unfortunately I have now turned to insects. On Thursday night we put out the moth trap for the first time this year. Immediate success with Buff-tip, Small Elephant Hawk Moth and Angle Shades - three mega-cool species to find in my back garden. Seek and ye shall find.
We've also had regular visits from a Broad-bodied Chaser that likes to rest up on a particular Yucca leaf, returning to it time and again much like a Flycatcher, and there have been a variety of other interesting insects that I have discovered whilst gardening and on whose identity I am currently clueless. Help is at hand in the form of various established pan-listers, including local
Stay safe. And don't be selfish.