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Walking in L.A.

Antoinette Samardzic, Los Angeles

Riots in L.A. Riots everywhere. Enraged people exploding onto the streets after months in lockdown. Curfews from 6 pm to 6 am. The first since 1992 during the Rodney King riots. More protests planned today at the Rampart Division on the LAPD, site of the aforesaid Rodney King incident. Curfew: derived from the French couvre feu "cover fire" from the Middle Ages when citizens were ordered to douse all fires in the evening to prevent fires from breaking out. Sirens wailing on the 10 freeway day and night. A young friend from San Diego sends out a plea for a gas mask so that he can safely reenter the fray. Two nights ago another friend is accosted by would-be car jackers but he uses Aikido psychology on them by giving them his brightest smile and Hi how are you, and, confused, they wave him on. This all brings to mind the anti-Vietnam protests of 1969 in London when my sister and I, together with our boyfriends, joined a march to the American Embassy in Grosvenor Square and witnessed protestors (our boyfriends included) throwing stones and other missiles at the mounted police. Heady times.


To end on a more a peaceful note, the jacaranda (pronounced hacaranda) trees are once again gracing L.A.with their ethereal lavender blue blooms. The hacaranda is a South American tree  introduced to Southern California in the late 1800s by botanist Kate Sessions.



Pedagogy and Print

Nick Wonham, North Hertfordshire

This morning Tilly and I got up early for our walk in the hope of seeing a kingfisher. We were at our local nature reserve by eight o’clock and had some good views of a blackcap and several reed warblers. Then we met another birdwatcher who reported seeing a kingfisher nearer the head of the river. We crept through the wood which runs alongside as quietly as we could, stopping every now and then at likely places, but saw nothing. Despite having seen kingfishers many times elsewhere, I’ve never seen them in my local patch. Disappointed we left the river behind and were soon walking alongside a field of stiff metallic green wheat surrounded by the sound of skylarks. I noticed what I presumed would be a skylark appear above the crop and idly aimed my binoculars at it. A flash of yellow! A yellowhammer? No. One, two, three yellow wagtails, skipping across the heads of wheat towards the hedgerow. And another on the path ahead of us. I’ve never seen a yellow wagtail before. If I’d been given a choice before we set off, I’d have plumped for the wagtails!


The furthest point of our walk was another nature reserve, Knocking Hoe, at the most northern most reach of The Chiltern Hills, where we hoped to see wild orchids. At Easter we had found the rare and beautiful pasque flower here. We did too, though not the rare burnt-tip orchid promised by the information board. We found the common spotted orchid, and the pyramidal orchid, a chalk hill specialist. I’m afraid the photos came out a bit blurred. As we sat there and enjoyed the view towards Deacon Hill, where we used to go sledging with the children years ago, Tilly spotted a hare running along the opposite field.


Back home in time for lunch and planning for my new class in September. I don’t yet know whether I will be back in school before that.


Words know no distancning

A B Lindgren, A Swede in Beaconsfield



When Corona came to knock, I said: No thank you, we don’t need you here!

When Corona kept knocking, I said: Thanks, but no, please don’t come near. 

I’m not ready to become and number in the statistics of death across this land

I’m not ready to die alone without my beloved holding my hand!


When Corona entered our nest, I felt a lack of control like never before

When Corona came to stay, I said: please, no more!

I coughed and I coughed and I gasped for some air

I begged for oxygen, for relief, then paramedics to help my despair


When Corona overstayed its welcome and lingered in my chest

When Corona remained, dawdled  and didn’t do what was best

I prayed and I visualised. I aired and I cleaned.

I became fanatic, trying to antibacterial wipe this fiend


When Corona stayed for a prolonged fiesta, I said: No

When Corona didn’t listen, I begged: Please, please, just GO!

I thought positive thoughts and I tried till my days filled with begging

I told myself tomorrow will be a day without any further choking


When Corona insisted on sticking around

When Corona gave no respite here, on my ground

I pleaded: relieve me of this pain I have now

I gently whispered: what do you want, I will give, just show me how 


When Corona dropped its droplets of wheezy venom my way

When Corona chose me to experience this illness’ dismay

I felt confused and refused to let the virus define me

I fought day after day to come back stronger, the way I can be


When Corona caused havoc and danced dangerously with my inner cavities

When Corona, the seducer, swept around the organs like a tango through the cities

I thought to myself how much longer can I go on this shoddy?

I’ve suffered enough, and so has my aching body.


When Covid-19 has bid its farewell and left us well and truly in peace

When our home is free from this clingy, relentless disease 

I will wear the immunity like a badge, with pride

I will use the diploma to serve and abide


When Corona is no more I shall celebrate, loudly

When Covid-19 has finally subsided, I will live soundly

I will hug, I will drink, I will summon my family

I will never return to that moment of insanity


No F-off Corona, we don’t want you here

We never asked you to creep near

So long you infectious and determined droplets

A Dieu, farewell, auf wiedersehen - raise those goblets!


Home Thoughts

Hilary Q, North Norfolk

Yesterday, on my walk I encountered an abandoned vehicle ... it’s lights still flashing but number plates removed. It was wedged across the narrowest most peaceful lane imaginable with verges of cow parsley in front of densely flowering dog roses.  Along the tarmac I could see where the vehicle, as it headed in my direction, had gone into a bend, lost control coming out of it, slid on its side for some 50 yards against the high verge and miraculously not flipped over. It was last night that I started to feel shaken. It is a lane used by walkers and cyclists and had anyone been in the path of the vehicle there is no doubt they would have been slaughtered. There was no where to go.  


Good news is that our little donut of a crab boat will be put in the water later this week and our little sailboat which we have stopped using has been sold to a local family.


Counting my blessings

Sue, Yorkshire

My blessings have been a bit thin on the ground recently but things are looking up.  Both my sons who live hours away have been to visit individually naturally, one on the worst day in May! We had lunch in the garage with the door open and when younger son came he slept in his campervan in the drive, all meals being outside in the lovely sunshine. It was wonderful to have walks and talks with them both and it has given me back my energy and impetus which was beginning to wane. I am slowly learning more about gardening - admittedly in my dotage - but it has been a lifesaver in this glorious Spring.  I thought I should add this little piece to The Journal before the sunny weather ceases later this week and life might not be quite so enjoyable.


Bumpy landing on the south coast

Catherine, Sussex, UK

How quickly, in the blink of an eye, can a stack of cards come tumbling down, because of a slipping or buckling of one of them. Plans delayed or quashed, lives upended or, in the worst case ended, in a split second.  Poor Sheila! I know we will all be wishing you the speediest recovery. The pain and frustration can only be imagined. You are so pivotal to the journal that this particular edifice must be rearranged, rebuilt, or put away for a while. We are all rooting for you. The sun, too, has gone away in sympathy.


A Poole-side View

Martin Green, Ashley Cross, Poole



My self-enclosing bubble is about to burst

As fast approaches both the time and place

Where we are granted glimpses of the first

Chance of new meetings, chats without embrace.


We'll summon friends and neighbours to our barbecue - 

Permission only for a group of six.

Bring your own knife, fork, glass, your own plate too,

Comestibles, wine, the entire bag of tricks.


We've clapped our weekly thanks to key workers and staff,

Kept to the rules, emerged once a day.

Two metres apart, we'll now share fun and laugh;

The sun's in its heaven, time to make hay!


Corona Diary

Annabel, A village in North Norfolk

Trump used tear gas to clear a path to the church near The White House so he could walk there with his massive security detachment to get a Bible so he could stand outside with The Bible in his hand pontificating about sending the military on to his own citizens what ever the individual governors thought. 

I have deleted my next sentence.


Religious leaders are shocked. A Law and Order president. Violence, racism, curfews. Horrible scenes which I am finding it quite difficult to watch.


blackouttuesday on Instagram where people post black squares with the hashtag blackouttuesday.


Matt Hancock has been accused by the statistic boffins of at best massaging the figures on testing and including antibody tests and kits sent out in his 200,000 number.


It was the last Grayson's Art Club last night. Sad its finished. Has been sweet and lovely. Noel Fielding came out with a funny comment re Mat and Boris, a Netflix series in the making.


In my world I go round in circles. I've been looking for one thing for someone which takes hours and I still havn't found the info they needed. I do wish people wouldn't ask me things that I don't know the answer of without going through every file in the whole house.


I changed the water on my bunch of flowers on the table and pulled out the dead ones. There was a zoo in there. Hundreds of green fly and a big green caterpillar.


I keep finding envelopes of cash that have been in quarantine from odd bits of shopping done for people. I'm rich!


Decided I must do one painting a day even if its crap I must just do it.

Did one yesterday. It was crap!


OMG its 14.59!


Have a stream of visitors tomorrow like buses all coming on the same day. Must make some cakes.


Now its 15.04

I'll have the wrath of our lovely editor to deal with.


Love Annabel xxx


Thin air

John Mole, St Albans



Wherever it flows

is away from here,


carrying the moment

to become another


and leave you standing

while pale clouds gather


then reveal the sun

as a parting gift.


To come and to go

in whatever direction,


catching the light

that plays on its surface


and hinting at depths

that travel beneath                  


is a river’s true course

and a poem’s too.

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