AT last, I steeled myself to do something. We can’t go anywhere, can’t even take the dogs into the forest with a clear conscience and boy, hasn’t it rained? The lane outside became a river last weekend with the field, orchard and veg garden all out of bounds, saturated through and through. And so am I. Soaked.

I actually stayed in bed until 10.30am one day last week, something I can’t remember doing ever. There’s always something to do. So I finally raised myself, ate a kipper released from the bowels of the deep freeze, got out my trusty chainsaw, put on my boots and set about tidying up after what has been a Winter of Discontent in the wood, with fallen boughs and even fallen apple trees everywhere. And didn’t it do me good? I’d soon taken two trailer loads of rubbish to the bonfire site, but a good fire will have to wait for a dry day or two, if we ever have such a phenomenon.

So I can now make myself a decent cup of tea and watch daytime telly. I got a Pointless answer just now, because I kept a gem of information in my memory and knew the name of the American discus thrower who won gold medals in three successive Olympics. No, I’m not going to tell you. You will have to keep your own brains active in these depressing times. So answers on a postcard please, to me, here and now. There, that will sharpen you up, I think.

I was less successful yesterday, because for the life of me I couldn’t remember who it is who ‘flies like a bird in the sky’ on some TV pop quiz. But talking of birds (which we weren’t, actually) the lockdown has been good to my tame blackbird who reappeared after autumn with the first frosts and is now competing with a whole cast of garden birds and a spotted woodpecker for mealworms and maize. The pecker drums repeatedly on the old Post Office transmission pole at the bottom of the garden. Listen, there he goes again now. Less welcome is a sparrowhawk which clocked in this morning. Personally, I’d swap all the hawks in the county for nice, plump, cheerful robins. But, wait a moment. Wasn’t it Fairport Convention? And who flew like a bird? Maggie? Help! Well, I did at least know that was The Beatles.

READ MORE: Forester's diary: Fings ain’t wot they used t’be

The daily paper isn’t much help either, is it? COVID, COVID, COVID. Not a mention of ‘corvid, corvid, corvid’, a mighty convention of crows, rooks and jackdaws which gathers regularly in our little wood. Apart from the dread virus, I read that schoolchildren swooped on some oak transplants with no sensible destination (the oaks I mean, not the kids) and planted them God knows where or with what plan. The real story, as we know, is why such a situation could arise in a country which aims to plant 30,000 hectares... is it next year? Or sometime, or never? Take your pick. And then protestors defending a wild pear tree from HS2, the tree of the year was it, an old pear tree? Is this to what we aspire? Not a mile or two from me, here, are magnificent Douglas firs, 50 metres tall, surrounded by regen. Tree of the year? A crabby old derelict oak, perhaps? And, going back to the birds, there wasn’t even a partridge in the pear tree.

I must say these chainsaw boots of mine are the most comfortable items of footwear I possess. It’s a shame to take them off, but they are a bit of a burden about the house. Years ago, one of our advertisers sent me, free, gratis and for nothing, a pair of bright orange protective wellies. Can you guess the donor’s identity? Write it on the bottom of the postcard you are sending me. It’s not difficult. Stephen will tell you I used to wear them to shoot pheasants. He had a theory that the birds, threatened by the beaters, would choose to fly over me as anyone wearing orange wellies was unlikely to be much of a shot.

 So, see you next month, I hope. I feel a touch less threatened now that I’ve had my jab. They gave priority to anyone working in the woods at my local jab centre, and if you turn up in orange boots, you get a booster but not until next year, I think they said. Then they told me to go away – that I do remember.

But, believe it or not, things are looking up. Next to me, on my desk, is a small cube of thick, clear glass containing a clear spirit with a faint greenish tinge. On the label, what does it say? Douglas fir Infused Dry Gin. Douglas fir! What does it taste like? What do you think? A sort of green, lemony flavour. That’s Douglas fir. Pointless? No way, I got the point right away.

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