OPINION: I've embraced nature rather than shops as life returns to normal

The Scrape at Minsmere. Picture: PAUL GEATER

James was keener to visit Minsmere for the first time rather than hit the high street shops - Credit: Archant

Busy isn’t it? Suddenly everywhere’s come back to life again and going out is the new staying in.

This week I’ve kicked off my post-lockdown list of things to do by visiting not only a pub but also a walk round the nature reserve at Minsmere, here on the Suffolk coast.

I’m ashamed to say that in all my years of reporting and living in Suffolk I’d never been. I have righted that wrong and soaked up a bit of nature to boot.

As you will recall this year we were all entranced by the spring – we looked at it with fresh eyes during the excitement of lockdown one – and I recall we all rather enjoyed seeing the world with fresh eyes.

So far this year I have already heard the cuckoo – April 16 to be exact – and seen and heard a green woodpecker, pecking. I also spotted a couple of lapwings and have a duck sitting on six eggs in one of my planters.

At Minsmere I spotted a little deer – probably a muntjac – and all sorts of birds on the water though I couldn’t tell you which they were.

Interestingly as I walked from the Eel’s Foot Inn, at Eastbridge, to the coastguards cottages I discovered once again that I rather like the great outdoors and going somewhere new.

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After a sit down and a coffee – I didn’t feel like overdoing it – I spotted what I think must have been Southwold lighthouse in the late morning mist and, after a stroll on the beach – the sea was almost blue – came across what appeared to be a ruined church.

As the more regular readers among you will know I have a thing about ruined churches – and thanks to all who wrote in to tell me about the one at Ashley near Newmarket – and rather like nosing around them.

Swallow at the Sluice at Minsmere. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Swallow at the Sluice at Minsmere. Picture: PAUL GEATER - Credit: Archant

On this occasion I didn’t want to get into a field with horses but I’m not sure if it’s accessible anyway. Maybe next time I’ll have a closer look.

After my walk the surprise of normality hit again with my first visit to a pub in what must be a long time.

I had half a lager in the sun and felt quite emotional at it all – it’s suddenly amazing, if not a little bit overwhelming, to be out and about isn’t it?

Accentuated perhaps by the beauty of the spring in this region and part of the world we are able to call home.

I have yet to go shopping – I’m not that bothered – but by the sounds of it several of us are parting with the money that has been burning holes in pockets.

I did reflect, however, not only how lucky we are to live where we do but also how lucky we are able to get the vaccine without too much trouble. I had mine this week – they reached my age group now – and it was a very simple procedure.

Next on my list is a lunch out – I’ve booked one for later this week – and a holiday to Chester and north Wales in the coming weeks which I am much looking forward to.

My reflection is one this week of gratitude but also how quickly we can forget the tough times of life. It seems to me that often the memory prefers to side-line the worst and highlight the best.

Perhaps this observation is also due to the speed at which the human brain can restore itself from adversity. I hope so anyway.

In the meantime I cannot help be excited about the future as we all rediscover the joys of life – I hope you are too.