#5000colo Day 6: Blackberries and Barbara

Distance travelled: 20.96 miles
Cumulative distance: 154.54 miles
Distance remaining: 4845.46 miles
Percentage complete: 3.09
Villages visited: Lakenham, Keswick, Swardeston, Mulbarton, Bracon Ash, Swainsthorpe, Stoke Holy Cross, Saxlingham Nethergate, Shotesham, Newton Flotman.

Today I went on a very important mission. During lockdown, I had volunteered with the parish council to help elderly neighbours who were shielding.

What started as a weekly shopping trip to buy essentials for Barbara quickly grew into a friendship; my wife and I would pop round to have a chat with her and water her plants for her.

Barbara then had a fall in her home, and was taken to hospital for treatment; she tested positive for Covid-19. After fighting and beating the virus, she was allowed back home again.

Sadly, she then suffered the loss of her best friend, and shortly after that she had another fall. She spent several weeks in hospital, and has now been moved to respite care while her family try to find her a suitable care home.

Katie and I decided to pop down to Newton Flotman to visit her, so it was an obvious chance for me to tick off some more villages. Katie drove down in the car and picked up some of Barbara’s favourite things en route.

To say she was surprised to see us was an understatement! She’s been in isolation for the two weeks since she left the hospital, with no visitors allowed (we were permitted to speak to her through the window).

Tomorrow, she will finally be allowed out of her room to go and meet other residents and take part in the activities in the home. If you’re feeling a little bit glum today, just imagine what the last two weeks have been like for Barbara.

Make every day count, and count your blessings. If you’re reading this and you’re able-bodied, with a roof over your head, food on the table and the company of friends and/or family, take a moment to cherish those things.

In other news (and be warned, this is utterly thrilling), I picked some blackberries on the way down to Newton Flotman. Picking blackberries always gives me a nostalgic twinge as I remind myself of childhood walks.

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