Jan's View

By HarlingDarling

Changes in the landscape

This is part of a stream bed that is being remodelled by the council. The stream floods nearby houses from time to time and this is intended to slow the flow down, to provide safe havens for various aquatic beasts and to create an area full of wild flowers. It's a big project which includes another area having dams built, in order to slow the flow down and give flood water somewhere safe to go. It's exciting stuff! The ice shows you that it isn't exactly hot here!

But it's been a lovely sunny day, we sat out on the little patio with a hot drink, out of the breeze and in the sun. Keith went off for a bike ride and I did a couple of hours of layout work for the annual general meeting of our local Left party. We are meeting on zoom of course, and this power point presentation is intended to keep the interest of our members as we report on the activities of the year gone by. It contains hardly any text and a lot of photographs of people and places which is more fun than a talking head anyhow!

We were in Härnösand this afternoon walking on the outskirts of the town with our friend Ruth. She is studying at a distance and has just finished an exam. The course material for the next unit isn't available on line till Monday so she felt freeeee! I made it up some quite steep hills at a reasonable pace which is good going for a fasting person. That sort of explosive energy needed to push is usually in short supply, but the tramping along for ages works well. This is day 10 and I feel like I could carry on for ages like this! Of course I won't because eventually it gets dull.

We had a delicious curry dinner at Rose's, (well one of us did!) and spent a pleasant evening conversing over a G&T (not me in fact!) before rolling home at 10, through deserted streets. It looked like a ghost town as we drove through the well-lit but silent town. The restrictions that this pandemic demands have created new habits. One of the better restaurants declared bankruptcy this last week, and businesses are struggling. But we are doing so much better than many places in Sweden, where the virus is setting off again in a third wave. So far the rate of infection in our area is low and steady. 

I was reading about Blackburn, where my brother lives (and is a councillor) near to where I grew up. They have the worst death rate from covid per capita of any town in Europe, which is a very chilling statistic indeed. It's a disadvantaged borough, where years of central government neglect mean the citizens are paying a high price for economic inequality och lack of investment . That pattern of disadvantaged areas having more deaths is repeated everywhere, also in Sweden. Poverty kills.

What a year this has been. We are all sort of hanging on, waiting to be called for vaccination, and hoping life can begin to take on a more familiar shape before too long. No visits to grandchildren for Rose, No visits to Mother-in-law for Ruth, no foreign visitors for us - but we are grateful to be where we are, all of us. Healthy and relatively free to roam in the fresh air of spring. The thaw continues, even at night - under the almost full, very bright, peaceful moon.

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