The weather forecast proved to be correct, and this morning was brisk but bright. Overnight the flood water in our valley had receded enough for R and me to get out of the village, so we went to Stratford and walked as much of the river bank as the flooding around Lucy’s Mill allowed. We also had gingerbread lattes and cake in the park, which – on Christmas Eve and after yesterday’s monsoon – was an unexpected treat and made us feel rather lucky.
Here and in today’s extra are a pair of mute swans who were flirting with great concentration on the river opposite the theatre. I have other shots in which they were posturally mirroring each other perfectly, but either with their heads under the water, or with one almost entirely hidden behind the other. It was cheering to see them reinforcing their pair bond in advance of next spring’s breeding season, and compensated me for a complete absence of the tufted ducks I’d been hoping to photograph.
Back at home we finished tidying up, and then spent the afternoon and evening quietly in front of seasonal films and television, trying not to miss the Offspring too much. This will be the first Christmas R and I have spent alone since 1986, and it will be a very low-key affair. But at the same time I’m remembering that tens of thousands of people in the UK have died in the pandemic over the past nine months, and for those who loved them this will be a very sad Christmas indeed, with no post-vaccination celebration to look forward to – so we just have to count our blessings.
Wherever you are and whoever you’re with, if you’re celebrating the season tonight I wish you joy. If you’re not celebrating, I wish you peace. And either way, I send you love.