Remember Bojo’s infamous remark about Burkas? The latest edict is that from 15 June it will be compulsory for everyone to wear masks when on public transport. So we’re all going to look like letterboxes now Mr J!

Getting post is not quite the same any more, is it?  You hear the familiar plop as it comes through the letterbox and lands on your door mat. Do you run to the front door to pick up your post? No. Not even if it’s your birthday.

You leave it sitting there for about 72 hours hoping it’s not anything urgent. And then you tear open the envelope and immediately put it in the bin. Then you wash your hands singing happy birthday twice or whatever ditty works for you. Only then do you open it.  And what do you find?  In the case of OH (other half) a letter from our dentist reminding him that he is overdue for a visit to his hygienist and to phone them at his earliest convenience.  A visit to the hygienist is not exactly top of anyone’s wish list right now.  I’ve had a filling missing since early lockdown but am in no hurry to go to the dentist. That’s of course, if the dentist were open. But it’s not. And nor is our hygienist.  We checked online just to be sure and our dentist remains closed. So, who is sending out these letters?

Hairdressers are also not yet open.  My enterprising stylist has been offering some sort of online lottery.  Pay £10 and if yours is the text she picks out, then you’ll get a discount at the salon when lockdown is over. Well, I suppose she could be congratulated for being entrepreneurial. But I can’t imagine many people taking her up on this, can you? Spend £10.00 and take a chance on money off your next haircut. There’s only one person benefiting here and it’s not the customer!

So, how’s the lockdown been for you?  The Bank Holiday weekend in early May began with the wind blowing the branch of a tree down on to the roof of OH’s car. The first thing we knew about it was when a neighbour knocked at our door. We had no idea this had happened as the only window at the front is in our dining room which we haven’t visited since our pre-lockdown days. We phoned the local council but they weren’t interested as the tree in question was in our front garden and not in the street. We would have to remove it ourselves or pay someone else to do it.

OH (other half) had to go into the front garden and attempt to lift the branch from the car which he succeeded in doing. Not so vulnerable after all, eh? He moved the branch on to our hedge and thence onto the pavement where it lay half on the pathway and half in the gutter. In the course of a week we had a number of concerned people asking us if we knew that our tree was on the path. We even had a truck stop and its occupant offer to remove the tree – at a price of course.

Two weeks later our lovely gardener came along and removed it  – just as well because our neighbours were all getting into a flutter about it.  One of them even kindly offered to saw up the branch and share out the remains between a number of neighbours’ green bins.  This is the same neighbour who has cut down two of his own trees – resulting in broken toes, wasp stings and a tree less garden. Nevertheless it was a very kind offer.

It’s now nearly three months since I last drove my car. A number of people have suggested that we should all keep starting our cars so our batteries don’t go flat. This was said after only a few weeks of lockdown.  When you think how often you go away on holiday leaving your car in the driveway, why should this time be any different?  My way of coping with lockdown is to imagine that I am on a three month cruise. After all, we are all in the same boat.

I miss the clap for the NHS – or the NHS clap as some people call it, making it sound like a new kind of venereal disease.  The clapping was a lovely, heartwarming gesture and it has also resulted in people who have lived in our road for years finally getting to know one another.  Last week one of them even had every one over in front of their house for a gathering of socially distanced drinks. Sadly, as we are currently in quarantine (for reasons I may divulge at a later date) we were unable to join in.  Now everyone probably thinks we are anti-social as well as being naughty neighbours for not having removed our tree quickly enough.  The wind did us a favour actually because that tree can now wait a bit longer before it gets pruned, disproving that well known saying, “it’s an ill wind …”

I’ll be back next week. Have a good weekend.

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems













One of the few bonuses in this world wide lockdown is that we are all now able to take pleasure from beautiful birdsong.

And that was true for me too until last weekend when our dear neighbour decided to cut down a magnificent tree in his back garden.  Apologies for not knowing what tree it actually was. Suffice to say it was beautiful.  I would lie in bed and look at it swaying in the breeze, watching the birds flying to and fro from its branches. I had often thought that if I ever became so ill that I had to remain in bed that, at least, I would have this wonderful tree to enjoy.

Alas, no more.  A group of men – not socially distancing naturally – have been noisily working on the tree all week.  We have been unable to sit outside in this unseasonably good weather because of the ear splitting noise from their chainsaws. (The sound of their tools reminds me that I am well overdue for an appointment at the dentist.)  To make matters worse, we have had the incessant sound of their tinny pop music plus having to put up with all their mindless banter which passes for conversation.

Today the tree has gone. Disappeared. It as if it was never there. But the noise continues as they saw up the branches so that all the debris can all be transported away.  Aside from the tragic loss of this ancient tree – which I am sure would have been under a  preservation order or suchlike – I think of the loss to all the wildlife who must have made it their home.

I remembered this poem, “Trees”, by Alfred Joyce Kilmer who was killed in action in 1918. At least, I remembered the first two lines. The remainder I had to look up.


I think that I shall never see

A poem lovely as a tree.


A tree whose hungry mouth is prest

Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;


A tree that looks at God all day,

And lifts her leafy arms to pray;


A tree that may in Summer wear

A nest of robins in her hair;


Upon whose bosom snow has lain;

Who intimately lives with rain.


Poems are made by fools like me,

But only God can make a tree.



With the advent of Covid-19 most of us have no doubt been going through all the stages of grief.  Denial, anger, depression and acceptance. The loss of this magnificent tree has made me feel quite bereft. It is a form of bereavement perhaps made even more intense by what we are all currently experiencing.

At any other time, OH (other half) and I would probably would have made a fuss – protested to our neighbour or to the local authority in one way or another.  Because this tree, like all the trees in the nearby gardens, was meant to be protected. Preserved. Left alone.

But now one thinks. Get over it. It’s not a human being. However beautiful it was, it was only a tree.

Much better to get upset over the estimated 178,658 thousand human beings who have died so far from Covid-19.

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems