Social Distancing Is For The Birds (Too)

The thousands of people who crowded the UK parks and beaches over the weekend; and the London Underground yesterday, gave the Government no option but to send us into compulsory lockdown, which was announced and came into place with immediate effect last evening. Again this morning the tube trains were packed.

All non-essential retail outlets are to close; everyone is to stay indoors except when shopping for essentials once a week or for outdoor exercising once a day; gatherings of more than two, except for family groups must stop. Clearly complete policing will be impossible. Much will still depend upon common sense and consideration for others.

At the moment the police are only able to use persuasion. The regulations will imminently be enshrined in law and fines for infringement will be introduced.

This afternoon Jackie drove me up to the highest point of Holmsley Passage and decanted me onto the terrain, where I walked for forty minutes in complete isolation.

She photographed the proof. This was my outward journey;

this the return.

I have mentioned before that we see things differently when on foot than when driving.

We had never known that, even on this high, albeit undulating and soggy, ground, There lay a deep, reflecting, pool.

I passed a recently toppled tree

in the woodland on the right hand side going down the lane

A pair of walkers

descended the steep slopes of the heathland;

a lone cyclist prepared to cast down the lane.

I crossed to the other side where bright yellow gorse

dotted the heath

where a small family kept their distance;

as did a cyclist disappearing on the pitted track.

I photographed trees in silhouette

while Jackie also photographed a tangle of lichen covered branches;

and a robin with its mate practising

social distancing.

Careful not to interrupt this pony’s slumber, I did poke my lens out of the window at Brockenhurst.

We took a diversion to Pilley on our way home, tapped on Elizabeth’s window, pulled funny faces, and bravely ran away. She came out after us and, keeping a little more than the requisite distance we enjoyed a pleasant conversation.

This evening we dined on luscious lemon chicken, crisp roast potatoes, crunchy cauliflower, and tender cabbage with tasty gravy, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Tesco’s finest Médoc 2016.


  1. Social distancing might be for the birds, but the photos look lonely and sad, other than your trademark reflection ones, of course.
    We usually take a walk in the evening; it looks like a ghost town here – very depressing. Hopefully, a solution will be found sooner, than later.
    Be well and stay safe!

  2. Your social ‘distancing’ photo of the two Robins is poignantly gorgeous Derrick…

    “Blossom Over Jerusalem

    I write about the purple moon
    That eats the night with a silver spoon
    I write about the yellow sun
    That bathes our day with gold by the ton

    I hear the bird’s morning songs
    They caress the world’s souls, right or wrong
    I hear the animals’ mighty roars
    They remind us of the great outdoors

    I see the blue sky above
    Where life’s white doves carry our love
    I see the green pastures, beyond Jerusalem
    Where life’s fruit trees blush with blossom”

  3. Nice seeing your photos. Glad you were able to go for a walk, it is rainy and cold here, but hopefully tomorrow it will be nicer and we can go for a walk.

  4. Derek and I both enjoyed this post, Derrick. Sometimes he likes to read your posts out loud to me with his “British” accent. 🙂 Wonderful photos! I like that you made funny faces in Elizabeth’s window. 🙂

  5. You and Jackie’s beautiful photos and words are a lifeline to so many people who are stuck indoors. Thank you to both of you!
    Ha! I love that you funny-faced Elizabeth! And got to have a safe-chat! 🙂
    We chat like that with our neighbors. 🙂
    All of our family are too far away to get see during these COVID19 days. 🙁 So we phone, text, Skype, e-mail…even sent a few snail-mail cards. 🙂
    <3 and HUGS to you all!

  6. I spoke to my youngest daughter earlier. She is an essential worker. She said today was night and day to yesterday and she spat fire about the selfish fools who gave the Government no choice. But I am glad that the PM has taken the action. It was necessary. Amazingly here in Massachusetts we are merely on a stay at home advisory – this, because so far people are doing as asked. Only vital businesses are open (that for 10 days now) and the day after the Governor enacted that proclamation, the streets emptied from Boston to The Berkshires. Whatever it takes, our leaders have a duty of care to their populations and it is with relief that I view your wonderful pictures. Relief that the people I care about even if I have never met them are being made safer in this troubling time. Je trinquerai une verre à vous deux ce soir 🥂

    1. Thanks very much, Osyth. Your folk are clearly more sensible than many of ours. I hope your daughter comes through – and that you enjoyed your “verre”.

  7. Wonderful! And it’s so true that we see things differently while on foot. It’s true for motorcycling, as well. Things I notice while riding on a motorcycle are totally different from things I see while in a car.

  8. Thank heavens you two have each other to play the fool with! That will keep your spirits up. I feel you should be knocking on the windows of various friends throughout this time, pulling funny faces and running away – such fun!! 😀

    As you know, I had a melt down yesterday and today all the things I melted down over are solved which further proves to me that getting too serious about things is such a waste of energy! I think I shall have to take up knocking on windows and running away too.

    You took a good walk today too Derrick. 49 mins on undulating turf is quite a feat. Your knees must be getting stronger again. This is good news. Last night I stole/took’borrowed one of your beautiful upside down reflection photos and put it on my laptop as a screen saver – it is a wonderful reminder that there is beauty to be found even when the world is turned upside down <3 Thank you <3

  9. My favourite today is the first of the robin photos, although the social distancing one made me smile and gorse always fascinates me. It seems either to have a long flowering season or else there are different types of gorse that flower at different times of the year.

    1. I think gorse may be a plant that flowers twice. Magnolias (magnificent this year, btw) do.

  10. I enjoyed the photos from your outing, Derrick and Jackie. Trees, reflecting pool and ponies. Do you see many frogs or turtles? I can just picture you two going up to Elizabeth’s window and running away!

    We had cool, mixed weather here, and a brief hailstorm. The roads are much quieter now. I made some hot food and put it away for tomorrow – stir-fried sweet potatoes, red onion, chickpeas, kale and leftover brussels sprouts greens seasoned with a little salt, pepper and turmeric.

    1. Thanks very much, Lavinia. Turtles are not indigenous. We have never seen a frog out in the forest, but there is one lane bearing notices asking us to beware of toads – we have never seen any of those, either. You made a tasty meal.

  11. That gorse is a blaze of brightness in a landscape which doesn’t look like spring as yet. Walking is good for the soul and we have been walking in the evenings so we get some fresh air and exercise. I’m surprised how few people we come across during our perambulations.

  12. Enjoyed your heathlands with the folks out a bit. It looks as if it was warm there, shirtsleeves showing on a few. Alas, we had chilling rains again this week! Keep in good spirits and healthy in this lockdown–as shall we in Oregon.

  13. I keep being told I’m making a duplicate comment, so imagine I’ve said something about the countryside, the photos and the amazing meal.

  14. Such a beautifully clear day. And great you were outside, safely distant from others, enjoying all nature has to offer.
    Stay well.

  15. It’s such a pity that you can’t really distinguish male and female Robins very easily. If they were clearly a pair, then forget the rest of this sentence, but they might possibly have been males establishing the edges of their territory, a bit like the RAF fighters and the Russian Bear bombers.

  16. I liked the walk you had, Yes, lonely and sad, almost a preview of what is around the corner unless people begin to take the virus seriously.
    Last Friday night my seventeen-year-old grandson was invited to a party, his parents were horrified and said No. Apparently, it was a good party and almost everyone turned up. We found it difficult to understand why middle-class intelligent parents allowed their children to attend, even more difficult to fathom were the parents of the party boy!

    1. “middle-class”=”intelligent”? H’mmm. I haven’t taken pics but empty shelves are present in my nearest Waitrose, as well as Sainsbury’s, Tesco

  17. The robin photos are such a delight, although I enjoyed seeing that gorse, too. I’ve heard of it, and probably have seen it in photos before, but I didn’t remember it. It’s such a bright, cheerful yellow — a good sight for these variously gloomy days.

  18. Thank you for sharing your beautiful countryside with us. As you might suspect, I really loved that deep reflecting pool. The yellow gorse is beautiful.
    We need a nation-wide lockdown here, but it’s being done state-by-state.

  19. Looks like a wonderful place to linger awhile, Derrick! My son and I are planning a hike for this afternoon, so his job this morning will be to find someplace devoid of crowds to walk. Stay safe!

      1. I know where he wants to go, but, by governor mandate, we have been asked to stay out of the Columbia Gorge. I’m thinking maybe the Arboretum or Washington Park. I’ll let him choose…

  20. Wonderful that you have so many places for isolated walking. And what places! Also, great that you could talk to Elizabeth while keeping a safe distance. As for the people who continue to crowd each other…as we say in the north, even duct tape can’t cure stupid.

  21. I wish there was a function to show appreciation of a particular photo. I love reflections and trees, so the combination of the two is sublime 🙂

  22. It doesn’t matter where we live in the world there is always someone flouting the rules and making life harder for the rest of us. Stay safe and keep pulling faces at windows it is how we and our neighbours are keeping sane.

  23. Absolutely right about being on foot being a different perspective from driving, the full sensory experience. At least the lockdown gives an opportunity to walk everywhere – one of the benefits for the kids, too, life doesn’t come with a taxi service.

  24. In France, for a few days, the restrictions on going out have been even stronger because people do not respect them
    You can only go out to do your basic food shopping, go to the doctor – if you are NOT contaminated -, go to the pharmacist, go to work – if you cannot telecommute or your office has closed -. You must have a papaier on which you put name, address, the reason for your exit and especially the time …
    Well, now in my neighborhood I have not seen controls but people who are not in good standing or disobey – there are – receive a fine of € 135.00.
    If you are caught more than once the fine is even higher
    I find the French not very reasonable and think that containment must be total, as in China – we see that it works there -, but our government does not want (moreover they could not take care of having to feed all the population)

      1. The English government took a long time to act (look for example; the Cheltenham festival went well. Not far from 250,000 people present and alolrs that the Covid 19 was already well present. What a bomb …
        Most of us believe that the government is not doing the right thing, at least not enough

Leave a Reply