A Day in the Life

My diary entry for May 6th follows...

My WI Our Town group can't meet under Lockdown, so instead I set a task for everyone - who wants to - to keep a diary on the day we would have met. So far over 20 members have responded with quite different accounts of their ordinary day in the most extraordinary of circumstances. Here's the account of my day to join with them...

Clematis 'Dorothy Walton' and 'Diamantina' with May on the public land providing a lovely backdrop

My day starts with a walk round the garden after breakfast. I'm currently working out a mindful walk for a blog post to come - the idea is to provide a calming pause before the day's thoughts and emotions come crowding in. This scene's a little earlier to usual by a couple of weeks, probably due to April's sunniest on record. I'm used to coming back from Chelsea Flower Show later in May to find these clematis in full cry and they're currently my favourite part of VP Gardens.

A bit of computer work followed by coffee on the patio with NAH. Thank goodness the weather's been mainly warm and sunny under Lockdown.

Teddy for key workers display

Time for a walk... I've decided to do my regular 'Big Puff up the Hill' with some new additions I've wanted to explore for a while. It's a much longer walk than usual because I'm also aiming to add over 20 new names as part of my 'walk every street of Chippenham' challenge. Update: Street #200 walked today (Clifton Close, take a bow), only 300 to go!

I'm pleased to see Ted is back to thank our key workers. He disappeared for a while, but now has a daily puzzle to entertain passers by as well as the cute display. Today's question: Two brothers were reported to have married each other in 2019. How could this happen?

A view down Hardenhuish Lane

A quick glance down an empty Hardenhuish Lane, which usually hums with traffic, before...

St Nicholas Church and Hardenhuish Woods

... stopping to admire Hardenhuish Church, then diving into Hardenhuish Woods a little further up the hill for a spot of welcome shade and no other people, despite a fair number of other walkers using the lane for their daily exercise. Quite a few of the trees are numbered like the one shown, which makes me wonder if there's an ID guide to them around somewhere. Hardenhuish School did investigate the ruins of the old summerhouse in the woods a while ago, and I guess this may be evidence of another of their projects, or possibly the council who manage the woods.

Petrol price display board

I'm keeping an eye on petrol prices as they're the lowest they've been in years - it's currently a penny cheaper at Sainsbury's just over 2 miles away, though 5p a litre more at a rival petrol station on the other side of Morrison's roundabout. US Crude oil prices have crashed - even turning negative for the first time ever at one point - and it's ironic I can't take advantage of this when I'm only driving 5 miles per week.

Update 12th May: the sign said 99.7p a litre for petrol when I walked past last night. It was reported by the BBC yesterday and also shows a graph of prices which suggests this is the lowest price in around a decade.

Birds Marsh Wood and bluebells

My neighbour tipped me off (at a distance!) at the weekend that the bluebells at Birds Marsh Wood were looking good and I'm so pleased she did. A new housing estate is being built on neighbouring land and I wonder how long this tranquil, people free space (at the time of my visit) will fare in the future.

Roadworks, signage and evidence of more to come

Something that seems busier than ever under Lockdown are the local roadworks. At least there's less disturbance to road users and local businesses during this time, but not to the increased number of footpath users. Along with the usual signs and footpath closures, there's a huge crop of cryptic markings on many paths and roads, plus a new warning sign about social distancing and critical workers.


Towards the end of my walk I bump into #Chippenhamdino, much to my delight. This Cepen Park North resident's been cheering us up over the past week or so and I catch dino in the middle of bringing birthday greetings to several children and some fun and dancing to the residents of a local care home.

Inside Plan B by Emily Barr

Lunch is homemade guacomole and toast and seeing it's a good drying day, today's chore is a load of washing. Then I settle down with the book I'm currently enjoying, Emily Barr's Plan B. Our estate's got a great freeconomy going, with boxes of books, toys and other goods appearing on the streets for passers by to help themselves. This one's courtesy of my neighbour who offered some spare books via Cepen Park North's Facebook group.

Tea is pan-baked ginger salmon with lots of salad, then fresh berries and yoghurt for afters. I'm being quite strict with our diet since NAH's heart attack in March and make sure we have heart friendly meals and well over the recommended 5 a day of fruit and vegetables. I'm not doing too badly on it either - I've lost 10 pounds in weight since mid March.

A quick catch-up with friends on Facebook, then it's time to settle down with NAH for our favourite programme, Repair Shop. Our cats Skipper and Spot decide to join us for a cuddle on the sofa. I stay on for The Great Sewing Bee, then a final watch of the late news together. Afterwards NAH plays "laser beam chase" with the cats before settling them in the kitchen for the night before we go to bed.

And so ends another Groundhog-like Day under Lockdown.


  1. Dear Mrs Michelle, very nice and interesting website this is. Will stay for a bit and read Your articles. Am beginner when it comes to gardening. Started for 2 years back in 2010 and now came back a bit after 8 years. Godbless.

  2. What an excellent project Michelle! An intriguing looking church - when was it built? In this neck of the woods a special police constable dressed as a panda has been bringing birthday smiles to little faces and some big ones. Well done on the weight loss. I thought of you last weekend when Malvern should have been on. The weather these last few days has been very reminiscent of our blogger's meet up ๐Ÿ˜‚

    1. It's a lovely little church Anna, built in 1779 to the plans drawn up by John Wood the younger, more famous for some of the famous architectural features of Bath. It's the only Georgian period church in Wiltshire. I'm so lucky to have this gem just round the corner from me :)

  3. In many senses your days are a bit spookily like mine. I liked 'clematis in full cry' by the way... We have walked very lane round our house - not much of a challenge to walk all the streets here! Some nice reminders of Chippenham - years now since I've been to Birds Marsh Woods - was always rather under utilised I thought.

    1. It's a bit of a palaver to get in there with the building work going on, but worth it. We've made several trips there under lockdown and it's very peaceful. How long that will last now the new estate is going up, who knows.


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