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It may be a weekend but nothing’s really changed apart from the weather. The fantastic run of sunny days that we’ve had finally came to an end today, albeit only for a few hours. We actually had rain for the first time since the lockdown began, much to the relief of many plants! Not that it lasted very long so i’ll still be out with the watering can on Sunday as the sunshine’s due to reappear.

My day was spent writing, decluttering and scanning yet more old slides to gradually whittle down the queue and free up more space at home. Well, some anyway as our local tip remains closed so the bags of broken slide mounts and other detritus are mounting up outside waiting for the day it reopens.

The gray and cold weather didn’t encourage venturing outside so I was happy to keep occupied with work and ploughing through pictures, with occaisional forays to the bedroom to stare out of the window and gaze across the valley to see what the clouds were up to. Sadly, there’s not much of a view out of my office window, unless you like staring at dressed Yorkshire stone. Our row of cottages are built on land that was hewn from the side of the valley and I’ve often wondered if the same stone was used to build them. The result is that we have a narrow cobbled alley at the back of the houses with the old outside toilets up some steps on the other side. Nowadays all these have been converted to sheds. Then above them and reached by steep stone steps are small gardens or terraces, one per cottage. My office looks out on the steep retaining wall and stone shed roofs which are a playground for birds and the local cats – although not at the same time! I have put an old bathroom mirror up against the wall so that I can see the reflection of the sky in the valley, which acts as a rudimentary weather early-warning system.

By late afternoon the weather had brightened up even if it hadn’t warned up to the same degree, so I donned my walking gear and headed out to get in my steps solo, which gave me time to think about life, the universe and everything. I’m genuinely curious to know if these exceptional times will result in any major change to people’s behaviours. My personal thoughts are that they won’t. Oh, there might be some differences. There might ne a small increase in the number of people working from home on the odd day, but we’re (mostly) sociable creatures so I can’t see many people being happy to be based from home full time – even if they could be – and I have grave doubts about some of the claims being made about how muddling through these few months will set the patterns for the future. Time (as always) will tell…

What did make me thoughtful was considering how many peoples lives have been ended prematurely by the pandemic and how plans for the future can soon turn to dust when something like this comes knocking on your door. The old motto ‘Carpe Diem’ has never seemed more appropriate. Events have also made me realise just how cluttered my life is with ephemera, which is something I’m determined to do something about now that I have time. At least charity shops and e-bay are going to benefit from events! I’ve got so much memorabilia that I’ve horded over the years and now’s the perfect time to let it go…

Meanwhile, my Zenfolio website is coming on in leaps and bounds. Tomorrow I should pass the 64,000 picture mark as I’ve added over 2,400 images so far this year. Don’t forget, you can buy prints of various sizes directly from the site. In some ways my website is a documentary of almost half my life. That’ll become more personal once I move on from the old railway pictures and on to the travel stuff. I really want to get the images from my world travels in 1991 and 92 on there so that I can start blogging about them in diary form. Over the past few years my life seems to have been taken up fighting for/against things – such as HS2 and Brexit. Now it’s time to let those things go. I’m tired of fighting. Now I want to move on to a more relaxed and reflective phase of my life. Right now, the one thing that appeals more than anything is getting away from it all. Sitting on a beach, listening to the waves, feeling the sand between my toes and the sun on my skin and the chance to ‘be’. Watch this space…