Everyone I talk to has a tale to tell of how being buried in the lockdown is getting to them. What effect are restrictions (if any) having on you? It's making me less communicative in writing, I think - it's a struggle these days to even do Facebook, and, although I love to read your blogs I'm not writing here much either. Are you doing Zoom chats with family and friends? I'm certainly doing that more.
In general, we're okay though. We've both been vaccinated and we are managing day to day, but we have friends and relatives living in countries where vaccines are in short supply or even unavailable, and every day is an incredibly anxious one for them. Yes, we're lucky.
My first vaccine shot was two weeks ago. I haven't a date for the next one yet but they're not booking much in advance. Below's a (blurry) photo of inside the vaccination centre. We were in a gymnasium, sodium lit and freezing cold, with people filling out consent forms, all muffled up against the cold, with volunteers running around sanitising chairs and vaccinators working full stretch in the little white booths at the right.
And T. and I have been litter picking. It's great to leave a place looking better than you found it. We've been spending more time than usual around the church of St John-at-Hampstead, which is on our regular exercise route. It's a popular and welcoming spot but does get litter. We keep hoping we'll find some ancient treasure while poking about under the bushes and behind tombstones, but the most interesting thing so far was an unopened tin of tomato soup, a nail file, some unopened jam and some scissors. I spent quite a while wondering what the story was behind that little hoard!
A very prominent tomb is that of a carpenter's-son-turned-clockmaker who solved the problem of longitude in the 18th century. This may sound a little academic, but until John Harrison invented a clock that kept accurate time at sea, the only accurate clocks had pendulums, and, these do not work at sea. By enabling accurate navigation, Harrison transformed the whole business of sea travel and trade, and, of course, saved countless lives.
The Mark 4 portable chronometer, which he spent his life developing, kept time to within three seconds a day. I looked it up and found it resembled a huge pocket watch which ticked at five times a second and this picture below shows what a beautiful piece of work it was. The image is from the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, which is proudly selling great big prints of this and other beautiful instruments in its gift shop, (or would be if it was open, as I hope it soon will be again).
Both villages are both around 450 ft, so first we have to climb up one hill, then go down across the valley to get to the other hill, and then back. It's not exactly the Tour de France but it is reasonable exercise and Highgate is a nice place to look around.