The Blue Coat

Suitably equipped for the fray

Jackie joined the queue at Tesco five minutes before opening time. She really felt for the woman in the blue coat.

The orderly social distancing exhibited outside the supermarket was somewhat belied by the few customers who reached past others to claim items they were afraid might disappear. Although we didn’t need any, Mrs Knight reported that toilet rolls were in stock.

Perhaps the fact that the fresh meat, fish, and deli counters were off limits enabled her to

feel relaxed about photographing sheep and lambs along Christchurch Road on her way home.

After watering the pots in the front garden this afternoon – the Head Gardener was to hose those at the back later – I took a trip to Honeylake Wood and back.

This involved walking along Christchurch Road past the closed Royal Oak pub, Downton Garage, Woods used car establishment, and a row of cottages, to the currently fallow field featuring a footpath to the wood.

Sandbags line the pub’s front porch, suggesting the management had not anticipated our current dry spell when the coronavirus closures were required.

This gentleman walking a couple of dogs

back to the kissing gate

was clearly complying with the request to keep canines under control.

Choosing to eschew the gate which others will have touched, I entered via a gap in the hedge beside the disused telephone box and the still active letter box.

I then walked along the edge of the field to the footpath.

Like most local fields this one is fenced by wind-sculpted trees.

The winding path through the wood

slopes down to a bridge over a stream. The photographs above indicate the fleeting nature of the shadow-casting sun. The bridge has been repaired since my last trip down here, but I did not lean on it for the same reason that I avoided the gate.

The banks of the stream were embroidered with gentle yellow primroses.

This evening we dined on chicken thighs of considerable size crisply roasted with potatoes and parsnips; Yorkshire puddings, carrots and spring greens, with which I drank Carinena El Zumbido Garnacha Syrah 2018. Jackie had finished her Hoegaarden while cooking.


  1. Hi Derrick, seems like you guys are keeping the home fires burning very well! Hope all is well, Alex

      1. Hi Derrick! My surgery for right knee replacement has been postponed of course…tell me, are you happy with the result? I’m keen to hear “first hand” comments!

        1. I am still in pain two years after the first one – that leg will never be be right. After just over a year the second is better, but still painful. However I have met others who are doing much better. I can walk for half an hour over rough ground – four years ago I would cover miles. (I am 77, but otherwise very fit) Thank you Rex

          1. Thanks Derrick! I can hobble for 100m before it hurts. In bed at night it aches. Standing up from a chair as I straighten the leg it clicks painfully. So I’m hoping for some improvement! Love your posts! I was a runner for years, now I am a road cyclist decked out in lycra! Lol.

  2. Hi Derrick – so pleased to see you’re able to get out and about into the woodland, and could everything you needed at the supermarket. Keep safe and well both x

  3. Glad to see Jackie suitably protected from airborne nasties.
    Do hope the lady in the blue coat was able to buy all she needed.
    Take good care of yourselves.

  4. You have done your best to take wonderful photos as usual, Derrick, but the world out there is still sad and lonely. We’ll get through this calamity somehow, I am sure!

  5. A pity that no one was able to pick up things for the woman in the blue coat. But, then again, maybe she wanted to go on her own. Jackie looks as she was well prepared. After months of telling us that masks are unnecessary, our government had changed its mind and now tells they are necessary after all.

  6. I am fortunate in that I can have my groceries delivered, being over 70 I am among the prioritised to be kept out of harm’s way. Or just out of the way πŸ™‚ I feel for the lady in the blue coat too. On our walks I too am careful not to touch anything. Putting the poo bag in the provided bins though has become a daily giggle-fest. They have overhanging tops, so just a narrow aperture that normally requires some contact with the hand depositing said filled bag. Now I stand back and take several tosses before eventually obtaining the correct trajectory. I have noticed I need fewer practise runs already…… If this lasts long enough I could be a candidate for the caber tossing at the next Olympics…..

    1. The funniest bit of this was that I was imagining an Olympic sport before I got to your last sentence. πŸ™‚ We, too, could have stuff delivered – if we could wait at least a month for a slot. Thanks very much, Pauline.

  7. Unfortunately, after the empty butchery section in Tesco, when I looked at those lovely lambs I just saw chops! And I don’t even eat meat.

  8. Just like you I also enjoyed seasoned chicken thighs with roasted potatoes for supper.
    I’ve left everyone else to do my shopping, I am still not venturing to the shops.

    The walk look a little like an obstacle course today.

    1. A nice culinary coincidence. That walk is a fairly tough one. It would have been more interesting had I continued over the bridge, but at the moment that would have been one too far. Thanks very much, Sue.

  9. Glad you two are getting out a bit but are taking extra precautions. Can never be too careful in today’s new normal (although hopefully temporary) new way of living in this world of ours!

  10. I like those woodland footpaths, primroses and wind sculpted bare trees, too. Glad you are able to get out. I do feel for that poor woman in the blue coat, too.

  11. There are so many old and/or isolated people having to find ways to cope. There are several organizations here that are delivering both grocery boxes and meals to the homebound, which is good, but it’s still hard to see the old folks in the stores. Of course, there are some who are perfectly happy to be out and about, so there’s that. Just being old isn’t always the handicap it might seem from an outsider’s perspective.

    What’s certain is that those lambs are almost unbearably sweet. I’d love to be able to pet one.

  12. These are the weirdest of times. The Head Gardener has certainly made the most of the β€˜social distancing’ and the consequent tranquility. I have a feeling the lambs symbolise the innocent. Beautiful photographs.

  13. Oh, Jackie, I feel for the little lady in the blue coat, too! πŸ™ I wish she hadn’t need to get out there, and alone at that.

    Those sweet lamb made my day! πŸ™‚

    We made homemade potato soup for supper and added onions, kale, peppers, etc. πŸ™‚ ‘Twas yummy yum! πŸ™‚

    Okay, you two precious people…keep taking good care of each other! Stay safe! Keep smiling!
    (((HUGS))) and <3

  14. You are practicing good guidelines and I thank you for that!! Our store has been getting in beef, but little in the way of chicken (I wonder why), but still no toilet tissue. Thank goodness my better-half ordered a bunch online weeks ago right after I said there might be a shortage.

  15. Jackie looks well-prepared. These are crazy times. I’m glad you’re still able to get out and share your world with us. The little lambs are sweet–and yes, a contrast. I liked the photo of the trees with shadows.

  16. What a lovely walk considering I am limited to Surrey Quays smaller park. That poor woman in the blue coat does look like she could do with some help. Here in Southwark there is a community aid group that has been organised to help those in need.

      1. Welcome Derrick. It seems Southwark has changed a lot since the 80s. I live in Canada water and as the name suggests there are water features a bit everywhere in this community.

      1. And yet, she and we persevere. I’m going to believe she’s home relaxing now. Thank you for appreciating my good news stories. Good news is more abundant than we might realize.

  17. The lady in the blue coat makes us feel for her vulnerability–and ours. The last time I was in the store, an elderly lady with a face mask on was behind me in line and we exchanged a smile (her eyes smiled; I couldn’t see her mouth) and I hoped she was out because she was stubborn and independent and not because nobody had offered to help.

  18. Nice to know supplies are getting back to normal. That worried me more than thoughts of getting the virus.

    Jackie seems to be laughing behind that mask, judging from the sparkling eyes. Or was she just crying at the thought of empty shelves?

      1. Are you telling me you think she looks good in a mask? I think you’re entering territory where covid and bad knees will be the least of your worries… πŸ™‚

  19. I like the path in black and white, and the gentle yellow primroses. They don’t grow wild here like that. A year ago when Tara and I were in Ireland, we saw them everywhere and it was lovely.

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