Perhaps for the first time in our lives, we have lost the freedom to travel where we like.

First, when there was the closure of borders on three sides of us – north and west, to Norway, and east to Finland. After that the airlines began grounding their planes, and soon ‘escape’ from the country was no longer possible. We find that we too are grounded, for the time being.

So it was a particular pleasure to meet a large flock of Whooper swans today on the open river. They had stopped by to breed, after a long flight from the south. They were bobbing up and down and dancing on the ice, and feeding deep in the water. They were still free to fly across borders, and follow their instincts. This was some consolation for us, the grounded ones.

This breed of swan have especially long and elegant necks, and they create perfect mirror images of one another as they act out their courtship rituals on the ice. I can see why they might have inspired a ballet. They were rather more elegant than I was this week, following a ballet class on Zoom in one of our now redundant guest bedrooms. Strange times.