June 10th

Our garden backs on to woods running alongside the River Avon at Hanham, and as a result we’re very aware of our wildlife neighbours. Any number of them will visit throughout the year: birds mainly in daytime, badgers, foxes and, very occasionally, deer at night. This link with nature has somehow strengthened during self-isolating and staying at home; in particular we seem to have been befriended by a female blackbird who likes resting close by on our decking when we sit outside for coffee. For all I know, she may have been around for a while, but lockdown has given us the chance to notice her properly: now not just another bird, but a recognised and valued local.

One of the positive fruits of the pandemic has been to remind us of our responsibility towards one another, our calling to love our neighbour. Our sensible adherence to the rules and guidelines set by the government is important, not just for ourselves, but for the safety and welfare of all those around us. In that respect, it seems to me that we’re rediscovering something of what it must feel like to belong to a village community where people are known and lives are intertwined, for good or ill! While Radio 4’s Ambridge storylines should warn us against over-romanticising rural life, nevertheless there’s a lot to be said for that kind of belonging together. Our online looking out for one another at Tyndale shows that community caring is still perfectly possible even in the urban context and under conditions of partial lockdown.

Ken Stewart