The insistent snowdrop. Some say it is a miracle, and others a sign of hope. To me it is a reminder of the life we cannot measure.
While climate change, politics, wars and greed, rattle around the world, hope and snowdrops keep coming. You can ignore them or admire them, they don’t mind. Their pulse is not ours.
Here in England, when the Christmas lights go out in early January, Galanthus begins to push its way up through the fallen leaves. In February, as the fog thickens over layers of frost and damp, the small green shoots are stretching inch by inch to their allocated height. Then, when the time is just right, they shake out their petals like tiny linen sheets. Each hangs suspended, still as washing on a windless day. They are bright white in the gloom, immaculate and untouchable, poisonous to deer, and to rodents.
As we wilt through the drab winter, they survive – there not to surrender, but to encourage.
Not sure if this photograph can give you a sense of just how cold it was in the wind today at Stokes Bay, Gosport. We’d come to have lunch at Pebbles Fish and Wine Bar.
It was only once inside, warm and waiting for food, that we saw through the window the stone commemorating the Canadian troops who took part in the D Day landings. It’s not a big stone.
This evening I did a little research. It seems that right where we’d been enjoying delicious fresh fish and hot chips, young Canadian service personnel had once packed the beach front, preparing to launch themselves into a war thousands of miles from home. I can’t imagine how they felt, preparing to fight for, and against, nations many of them may never even have visited.
Other than the rock we saw no sign of them, nor of the docks from which they set off. The only traces I did see were in the freedom of the windblown families who came and went around us.
We gobbled up The Gold. The series (six episodes) is on BBC iPlayer, and still showing every Sunday on BBC One.
It’s about the armed robbery of the Brinks-Mat warehouse at Heathrow, London, in November 1983. There were six men in the gang who carried out the heist, all of them from south London. Apparently they were hoping to find about £3m in cash, but instead they discovered £27m in gold, and were quite happy to take it. Then they had the massive problem of what to do with it – how to get rid of it without anyone noticing.
I found it fascinating. Completely 1980s. The police investigation was blind without CCTV, and had to operate a tiny follow up force to get around the corruption in its own members, and the sticky network of freemasons.
Worth a watch if you can find it. It’s fiction, but based on real events. Like Ferrante’s tales from Naples, Italy, there are women caught up in the crimes, and characters stuck in poverty, or recently released from it.
The Gold had me gripped. It’s got a great cast. And it’s changed my view of London.